Top of the day to you my dear Watsons! I am back from my escapades as Zubatgirl. Last week’s posts was one of the least liked posts that have been recently made! Princess Pinkie told me that is because I am the least liked Pinkie and that I am boring. I do not wish to believe such poppycock so today we will return to format and get back on the regular cases. Today we investigate the story of the stolen evolution!
The story of Gorochu!
A Neutral Choice
There is no doubt in my mind that everyone in the world knows Pikachu even if you haven’t played anything of Pokémon, one could not have missed Pikachu… well at least not if you’re reading this blog. I am sure your aunty Trisha from that manor in Higher Upton who has silverware ranked for how fancy her meals are and who collects Hummel-statues might not have heard of the electric mouse. Pikachu is the official Pokémon mascotte. The electric mouse pokémon is so present throughout the franchise the games might almost have been called Pikamon. Few people know however the story on how Pikachu became the mascotte. An anime was planned to launch alongside the game with a young trainer going on his pokémon journey. However there was a problem, from a marketing stance it would have been unwise to let him choose either Bulbasaur , Charmander or Squirtle. If Satoshi/Ash chose one of the three people playing the game might have felt they picked the wrong one. So an election was held. Kunihiko Yuyama, the lead for the anime printed out the , not fully official, line up and have a popularity contest.
Pikachu’s original sprite was elected as the most adorable partner for the anime protagonist. Atsuko Nishida was the woman behind this design says she based the design of the shocking little rodent on a long Daifuku rice treat with ears.
It resulted in a more plumb looking Pikachu a very fat looking mouse, that nowadays more resembles pika-clones like Dedenne , Marill and Togedemaru. However thanks to some concerned mothers who feared Pikachu’s fat look might promote childhood obesity and issues like that Pikachu was eventually slimmed down due to peer pressure. An inquiring mind like me can’t help but to wonder. Would Pikachu still have won the election if it started out slimmed and not so adorably plumb? Maybe they would have elected another Pokémon to be the cutest and we could have had Farfetch’D or Snorlax as our mascotte. We do know that miss Nishida designed is quite different from what Pikachu is now and in 2018 she told us Pikachu wasn’t only meant to evolve into Raichu it was meant to go even further beyond.
Devilish good looks
Anno 2019 we know this for a fact Pichu->Pikachu->Raichu (or Alolan Raichu) but in 1995 Atsuko designed it as follows Pikachu->Raichu->Gorochu. The latter would a more devilish design. Witth horns and large fangs it would resemble an electric demon and look somewhat more serious than the other two. This would also be reflected by it’s name. The Pika for example is a certain type of mouse/hare like creature indigenous to most of the northern hemisphere, western europe being the exception.
From the forests and plains of Asia to the Himalayan caves as well as large parts of eastern Europe and North America, much like Pikachu this mouse is everywhere. Pika is also the onomatopoeia (sound-imitation) of a japanese spark… yes sparks sound differently in japan! They make a Pika sound. Rai is japanese for thunder. Gorochu’s name would have been derived from Gorogoro the japanese onomatopoeia for a threatening rumble in the distance. Though the original design for Gorochu has never leaked, and twenty years after it’s planned release it is unlike that it ever will, yet fans have come up with a few designs of how it might have looked like. Such a handsome devil I must say.
At some point Gorochu was scrapped from the game. Now it’s easy to blame the design. Western mothers are terrified of any religious references let alone the devil. It has lead to many dubismn’s and censors. Stuff like Dark Magician Girl from yu-gi-oh losing her pentagram pendant.
Digimon censored a lot of religious names mostly in attacks and even completely negated Joe’s budhiman in the first season. Perhaps one of the biggest examples is Kami from Dragon Ball, he is actually meant to be God.. like THE god. Of course that did not fly with some people so that is why we call the green guy Kami to this day. Could Gorochu be the same?
Ken Sugimori the final artist of Pokémon claims the answer to this question to be no. ‘There weren’t any problems with Gorochu’s design at all, it was removed from the game for balancing reasons’ he said in an interview with Yomiuri. Now this seems a somewhat odd statement to make for a few reasons. First and foremost stats are simply a numeric value which would be very easy to change to rebalance the monster. There are no two stage evolution electric pokémon in gen I at all so makes it rather unique as well, in fact it may very well be the only typing in the generation that doesn’t have any stage 2 evolutions (not counting the repurposed fairy) the only other typing that didn’t get a stage 2 evolution would be the ice type and those are extremely rare in the game as it is unlike the electrical type. So state wise as well as type wise it would not seem THAT unbalanced at all, at least nothing that is not fixable. Raichu itself does not have to great stats either, though Alolan Raichu is decent , regular Raichu has fallen flat for many years. It’s one of the more lackluster evolution lines so once more excluding Gorochu seems a very odd call when it comes to game design and balancing. Could it be that there actually is some ulterior motive behind these choices? Would Gorochu really be that overpowered it would unbalance and already unbalanced game? Why come up with such a easy excuse. Even if it was unbalanced it could have been patched in generation II where a few others pokémon got new evolutions as well. Why was it completely omitted? It is time to come up with some theories!
How would Gorochu evolve is the first question we have to ask us. Would it be by thunderstone and Raichu by level? No! There is still some dialogue in the game that flat out confirms that Raichu was meant to have a trade evolution. When you arrive on Cinnabar Island there is a laboratory there. Inside that labtratory you can find a trainer, an old man wanting your Raichu and offering an Electrode for it. Now this is not a trade many people would make because in Gen I Raichu was actually better (nowadays it arguably is not). However should you have traded and talked to the man he tells you that the raichu you traded him went and evolved.
So Gorochu seems to function like a trade evolution and this trade though bad was meant to clue us in on that. With that in mind we can distill a theory that Gorochu was scrapped for being the fifth trade evolution. It would be a lot easier to have 4 trade evolutions and you can bounce them off each other, with a fifth you’d have to put faith in the other trainer at some point… but this argument doesn’t fully hold up as you can basically trade anyway you want and both can trade the same trade evolution as well, both could trade a Raichu to get Gorochu. But the companies do prefer round numbers so four for trade makes more sense than five A flimsy excuse but an excuse nonetheless.
it is strange however that the line of dialogue made it into the english version of the game. Dataminers never found any artwork for Gorochu as it was scrapped n the japanese version already and the american version came out nearly two years later. For the dialogue to exist it would mean they deleted Gorochu in the japanese version and making the mistake not to adapt the dialogue, then letting it go unnoticed for two years after which the american production makes the mistake to directly translate it without noticing it either. Not impossible, but in a game with so many secrets and where they are discussed at playgrounds and all.. somewhat unlikely. If we talk about the Mew/Truck why not speak about the secret Pikachu evolution? Could it be the perfect storm of a trade that none one really wanted to make and translators not knowing the game in addition to a oversight from japan? Most likely yes, but could it be that they initially planned for Gorochu to return in the future as well and left the dialogue in as a tease? … they just might have.
Why would Gorochu be that unbalanced? Could he have competed with a pseudo legendary? Could that be the reason why the anime Pikachu became such a Gary Stue, having access to incredible powers? Was Pikachu meant to evolve and be Ash his way to glory? The story seems to have begun with the idea of an immensely strong Pikachu that got more and more retconned as they went along. There seem to be some oddities about the way the original story was told, Pikachu got reinvented as the show went on.. he slimmed down, became weaker or less powerful and around the third gym the door to evolution was closed off to us in the anime at least. Could the decision the anime made have led to Gorochu never being reintroduced?
We might never know! One might speculate though that had Pikachu never been fat, we might have had another mascot and Pikachu could have evolved because there would be no need to freeze it in time much like Ash. Maybe they did not want their mascot turning into something quite so evil themed…. maybe if they had implemented it I could have ran the pokémon onto a decent team. As much as I adore Pichu for it’s cuteness, the moment Gorochu was deleted from the game they robbed the line of it’s true potential. Alolan Raichu may have patched it up a bit but we could have had such a great electric type that got snuffed out for some very weird reasons.
What do you feel happend to Gorochu? Why did that beautiful boy have to be cut from the game? Do you know of other Pokémon that didn’t make the cut you would have liked to have seen become a reality? Let me know in the comments or leave a like! Onto the next mysterious case and onto new adventures and remember
I am not weird! Just very pink!
Until we read again!