'Pokémon' Exec Says Pikachu Was Made Ash's Starter to Make You Sad

Moving toward the end of Ash Ketchum and Pikachu's story in the Pokémon Journeys: The Series anime, one of the executives behind the Pokémon anime has now shared why their journey began 25 years ago. In an interview, director Kunihiko Yuyama shared that Pikachu was chosen to be Ash's companion to make fans sad. Instead of receiving one of the three original Kanto Starters, Ash received Pikachu and had to earn his trust and respect at first, ultimately forming an amazing bond throughout the years.

"I think of Pikachu as a combination of cuteness, strength, and the ability to bring a few laughs," Yuyama said. "By the way, I decided from the very get-go that the Pokémon that would become [Ash's] partner would not be one of the three you choose between at the start of the video game, since I figured that might make some of the viewers sad. That's why he ended up with a Pikachu, a decision I'm really glad I made." Noting how the way their relationship grew helped round out the idea of the Pokémon universe.

"Pokémon aren't always what humans expect them to be like. They're unique individuals that each have their own individual reasons for how they interact with humans." Going on to discuss the themes of the series, "communication is one of the main themes of the show, and Ash's first Pokemon, Pikachu, puts it into practice. There are so many different kinds of Pokemon in this world, so when we depict them, we try to start by imagining what would happen if these Pokémon actually did exist in a given place, and what those Pokémon would be doing in that case, then let the story develop from there."

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