For 20 years now, Nintendo and Gamefreak have introduced Pikachu as the “Electric Mouse Pokemon”. Even its name, has hints of it being an “Electric Mouse”. This is because “Pika” is an onomatopoeia for a flash of light, while “Chu” is the sound which mice make. However, during a recent interview, Gamefreak head Ken Sugimori and original designer Atsuko Nishida revealed that it wasn’t a mouse which inspired Pikachu’s design.
Nishida revealed that the guidelines for making Pikachu’s design was pretty simple. Pikachu had to be cute, had to use electricity, and she also revealed Pikachu had to evolve twice. And when she looked for inspiration in the animal kingdom, it wasn’t a mouse which inspired her, but a squirrel. Yes folks, Pikachu should really be an “Electric Squirrel” rather than an “Electric Mouse”.
But rather than say it’s a squirrel, it seems like people thought Pikachu’s original design looked more like a mouse. While they didn’t give a reason why they decided Pikachu would become a mouse, it might likely be because others might think of it more as a mouse rather than a squirrel. So yeah, here’s one of Pikachu’s earlier designs, and lets have you guys decide what it looks like more:
However, years later, Pokemon did add an “Electric Squirrel” Pokemon in Pachirisu in Diamond and Pearl. And yes ladies and gentlemen, it is one of those Pikachu clones like Plusle, Minun, and Emolga we get every new generation.
As for the fact that Pikachu “should evolve twice,” Sugimori and Nishida didn’t explain why they dropped that requirement. However, they did fulfill that 3-evolution requirement for the Pikachu line by adding Pichu in Gold and Silver.
Source: Livedoor News