Ash's Pikachu has several rivals, including Meowth and Eevee. But the biggest rivalry of them has been with Raichu. In the newest Pokémon anime, that clash continues.
There is a reason for this antagonism. Website Pokémon Amino explains: "Any Raichu would act as a rival towards it's pre evolution form, Pikachu, and Raichu in the anime mostly appear to be [a] smug Pokémon, that enjoy seeing their pre evolution form struggle."
Thus, we have this classic GIF from an old episode:
[GIF via YakkiOnigiriZoro]
This is also why in the latest one both still get in each other's grill.
— Magical Kazarin~⭐️ (@DannyKazari) February 3, 2017
This is definitely a callback to the rivalry between Pikachu and the original Raichu. Even with them having a race. pic.twitter.com/hXQYAxZ6aH
— Tim, the amourmaniac (@amourmaniac) February 2, 2017
The references to the earlier conflict are hardly subtle.
— ⚡️マオ ⚡️ (@Ohe3U) January 26, 2017
— べっく@ピカソーコ管理人 (@pikachu25volt) February 2, 2017
While the animation is goofy-looking, the Pokémon Sun Moon anime continues to get more and more interesting for longtime fans.