Lovable Pikachu, the yellow and cuddly mascot of the Pokémon franchise, once had a third evolution which would evolve it into a devil-like creature with large fangs and horns.
The surprising revelation comes from Pikachu’s original illustrator Atsuko Nishida and original Pokémon design legend Ken Sugimori, who were recently interviewed by Japanese newspaper Yomiuri (translated by Siliconera).
More than 22 years after Pikachu was first designed, Nishida dropped the bombshell revelation that Pikachu’s evolution Raichu was originally set to evolve again – into the fierce-sounding Gorochu.
“It was Pika(chu), Rai(chu), and Goro(chu),” Nishida said. “The Pokémon known as Gorochu bared fangs and even had a pair of horns.”
“Goro” in Japanese is a word used to describe a rumbling sound, fitting with “Rai”, which comes from the word for thunder. “Chu” is the onomatopoeic noise of a mouse-like squeak.
Sadly, no artwork has ever been released of Gorochu. You’ll just have to use your imagination.
This was all, of course, several years before the first Pokémon games were released, and before Pikachu had achieved mascot status as the figurehead of the franchise. It took some time for this to happen, too – until the game was released and fans encountered the electric rodent for themselves.
So why was Gorochu cut? Sugimori recalled the reason was nothing to do with how it looked:
“There wasn’t any problem with its appearances,” Sugimori concluded, “but it was omitted due to matters surrounding game balance.”