You might know tons about Pikachu. How the character used to look slightly different or how Pikachu adores ketchup. But maybe you don’t know these tidbits.
In a recent interview with How to Draw Manga, voice actor Ikue Otani talked about bringing the character to life. The whole interview is definitely worth a read. However, here are five things you might not know about the character or the anime, courtesy of quotes from Otani.
1. When Ikue Otani first auditioned for the role of Pikachu, she had no idea how popular Pokémon was at the time.
“There were Pokémon posters all over the room at the audition, and production officials were telling me that the characters were really popular among kids. All I could say was, ‘Oh, really?’ The other voice actors auditioning for the roles had the same reaction. None of us knew how popular these characters really were!”
2. The Pokémon Were Originally Going To Learn How To Speak
“Pikachu was supposed to learn a language, like a baby learns a language, and that’s the way I was doing it at first. Then, a few months later, the producers told me Pikachu wasn’t going to speak. At the time, I was disappointed. But because Pikachu doesn’t speak Japanese, children all over the world can hear my voice. So it turned out ok. I’ve since given up any dream of Pikachu ever learning or speaking Japanese.”
3. Pikachu Does Make Another Sound
“In the very beginning, there was a scene where Pikachu yawned. But there’s no yawn sound within the ‘Pikachu’ sound. So instead of using ‘chu,’ I made this yawning sound at the end. It’s also a sound Pikachu makes when it wants to get a little attention. It’s a sound Pikachu doesn’t make very often, and that’s why it’s special to me.”
4. The Show’s Producers Wanted Pikachu To Be a Dude
“When the first game came out, the Pokémon were neither male nor female. But by the second version, some Pokémon were male, others female. To me, they’re neither. But the production staff thought that Pikachu should be a boy, because if he were a girl, it could change the relationship between Pikachu and Satoshi. I didn’t totally agree with that, so for the English version, I suggested that Pikachu be made an ‘it’ rather than a ‘he’ or ‘she.’ Then, the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like hearing Pikachu referred to as an ‘it.'”
5. Pikachu’s Pika-Pika Lines Are Actually Written
“The role is scripted, but the mouth movements may be a little different from what’s written in the script. So for example, if Pikachu wants to say something like ‘Yatte yaroze’ (‘Let’s do it!’), I would say ‘Pika-pika-chu!'”
Top image via ほのぴか日和