There are many iconic characters within anime that would diminish their shows if they weren’t there. For Pokemon, it’s honestly hard to imagine it without Ash Ketchum as its lead trainer and Pikachu as his most faithful partner. We’re going to see eventually what it’s like without them as their time in the anime is winding down. However, with the end being near, one of the directors of the series, Kunihiko Yuyama, had an interview translated that revealed the origins of the duo coming together as they did. Turns out, it was the plan from the start!
“By the way, I decided from the very get-go that the Pokemon 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.”
But that’s not all he discussed. He also talked about why the duo wasn’t on the best of terms to start the show:
“Pokemon aren’t always what humans expect them to be like,” Yuyama continued. “They’re unique individuals that each have their own individual reasons for how they interact with humans. That’s the kind of themes, or relationships, the Pokémon anime shows; How someone can eventually get along despite being unable to communicate at all when they first meet. Communication is one of the main themes of the show, and Satoshi’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.”
And ti’s been a story that’s gone for 25+ years, and it’s been quite a ride.