Pikachu was, is, and always will be the most popular of all Pokémon characters and the cuddly yellow critter has become the de facto face of the franchise. Pikachu's pop culture power is so potent, the real world has witnessed plenty of Pikachu sightings and is deluged with a plethora of Pikachu products. Here are 10 of the most noteworthy.
1) Pikachu Kindergarten School Bus
Gotta catch this bus! Kindergarten students in Japan have one more reason to think school's cool (well, ONE at least) thanks to the ultimate yellow school bus. We're not sure why a Tokyo school board decided to modify an ordinary bus at what had to be a significant expense but hey – gotta keep up with the Cat Bus in the next district. Not many details are known about the Pikachu School Bus, though one would assume it's electrically powered... I mean, it's just GOTTA.
2) Bobbing Head Pikachu
Wouldn't you like a cute, bobblehead Pikachu to sit on your desktop and watch you work? Wouldn't anyone? You don't even have to jiggle it – USB Head Bobble Pikachu draws power from your comp's US port. Pat it on the head – c'mon, you know you want to – and Pikachu's rosy cheeks flash bright red. Just 2,990 yen (about $35) from Strapya World – anti-seizure medicine not included.
3) 12 Pikachu Orchestra
I don't know what a “theremin-esque Pikachu statue” might be, but it has to be awesome. Multiply it by 12 and you've got The Pikachu Circuit Bending Orchestra, seen here playing YMO's Rydeen:
4) Pikachu Convertible Ski Mask
You can have your trendy Beardski, hipsters, REAL coolness comes from wearing a Pikachu Convertible Ski Mask! Well, “warmth”, actually, but that goes without saying. Self-styled deviant artiste Sugarcoatidli3z created the pattern for this in-your-face (OK, ON-your-face) Pikachu ski mask. Now this is true coolness you can take to the bank... just don't wear it to the bank.
5) Toyota ist Pikachu Car
The Toyota ist is a subcompact car sold in Japan but you may have seen it in the USA, proudly wearing a Scion xA nameplate. As for the Toyota ist Pikachu Car, you WON'T be seeing it on non-Japanese highways and byways any time soon and maybe that's a blessing in disguise. As for this 4-wheeled Pikachu in disguise, word out to the Japanese Highway Patrol: catch 'em all!
6) Pikachu Huge Thanksgiving Day Balloon
Helium is in short supply here on Earth, so we're glad it's being put to good use... inflating a giant, anime electric mouse! Organizers of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade are at least attempting to recapture Helium from the balloons after the parade, instead of just venting it into the atmosphere as in previous years. Maybe they should just use Hydrogen, it's cheaper, easier to acquire and... oh, the humanity!!
7) Nintendo Pokémon Center Pikachu Edition DS Lite
Rest your wondering eyes on the Pokémon Center Pikachu Edition, a brilliant yellow Nintendo DS Lite featuring official Pikachu branding on the front cover. These babies were only available in Japan for a short time in 2007 and those who wanted won had to apply for the chance to buy one for 16,800 yen (around $200). Marketing... besides electrocuting competing Pokémon, it's what Pikachu does best.
8) Pikachu Gameboy Shoes
Yellow Gameboy Shoes with Pikachu... it's what every gamer guy or gal desires most! Well, maybe just the gals though if you've seen how Japanese guys are going full metrosexual these days, then anything's possible. We're not sure if Sir Elton John had a hand in the design but you can bet he'll want a pair on his feet next time he sings Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
9) “Real” Live Pikachu
Since all the Brooklyn Bridges are sold out (for the moment), may I offer you a real, gen-u-wine Pikachu? Captured one-by-one from the real, gen-u-wine Pikachu Forest? Well we can't, but a Japanese gent did – his ad at Yahoo! Japan advertised 20 “limited edition” living Pikachus priced at just 99,000,002,805,760 yen (over $900 million) each. Hmm, wonder if he might be amenable to a volume discount?
10) Pikachu Bouncy Castle
Well here it is, the infamous image that abruptly ended Pikachu's sweet, naïve innocence... and ours as well. While the concept of a Pikachu-themed bouncy castle is perfectly ordinary, the execution was anything but – and the real question is, how did this thing get past the committee approval stage and into full-scale production? Maybe that should be, “reproduction”.
Whew, that was certainly, er, shocking. What's next for our little electric friend, Pikachu? He's already had Pikachurin, a lightning-fast information transfer brain protein, named after him. Merchandisers have flogged his little lemon-yellow bod to Hello Kitty-esque heights but stay tuned (and take your anti-seizure meds) – this Pokémon's most potent power is his staying power.