Why Did Ash Choose Pikachu Over Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur? Pokémon Exec Explains

Kunihiko Yuyama, Pokemon’s executive director, explains how Ash started his journey with Pikachu and is not one of the Kanto Pokemon’s first-timers.

Pokemon Executive Director Kunihiko Yuyama finally gave a behind-the-scenes explanation of why Ash Ketchum, the anime’s protagonist, started his journey with Pikachu and not one of the three main Pokemon in Kanto.

Recently, Yuyama sat down to interview AnimediaMagazine. The interview was translated by Defender, a Serebii forum moderator. ” I think of Pikachu as a combination of strength, cuteness, and the ability to bring a few laughs,” Yuyama said. “By all accounts, I decided that the Pokemon which would become Ash’s companion would not be from the three available at the start of the game. I thought that could make some people sad. This is why the Pokemon he chose was a Pikachu, a decision I’m very happy with.”

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Following the initial launch in Japan in 1996 The Pokemon Red video games as well as blue were made available in North America in 1998. When you start a game, players can select one of three starter Pokemon that are fire-type Charmander, water-type Squirtle, or grass-type Bulbasaur. The Pokemon anime was first introduced in Japan in 1997 and made its debut in the West in 1998. In the anime, the main character Ash does not sleep on the day he is scheduled to receive his first starter from Professor Oak. When he gets there, Charmander and Squirtle are gone. Oak is pitiful to Ash and offers him the electric-type Pikachu instead. (That said, Ash would later add Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur to his team under different circumstances.)

Pikachu and Ash Changed the Game Literally

Interestingly enough, the popularity of Pokemon anime and Ash’s Pikachu specifically actually affected the first game series. In 1998, Pokemon Yellow was released in Japan as well, and then the game began coming to North America in 1999. Yellow takes place in the same place and is based on the same storyline as RED and Blue. Instead of being able to choose between Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur, players are automatically given Pikachu as their starter in Pokemon Yellow. The Pikachu in the game is akin to Ash’s Pikachu. He is a fan of moving beyond the boundaries of his Poke Ball and refuses the evolution into Raichu.

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Pikachu and Ash have become so popular that they have appeared in many iterations of Pokemon anime. But, with Ash becoming Pokemon World Champion in Pokemon Ultimate Journeys The Series successfully achieving his long-term goal to become a Pokemon master Ash and Pikachu are finally preparing to leave. Ultimate Journeys currently is wrapping up its run. A brand new Pokemon anime will follow the show, featuring two new characters: Liko (and Roy). It is set to debut in the year 2019 and is based on the latest Pokemon video games, Scarlet, and Violet.

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