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Pokémon boss gives cute reason Ash ended up with Pikachu in the anime

Ash Ketchum didn't end up with any of the traditional Pokémon characters in the anime series, but we're glad he got to travel with Pikachu instead.

Ash and Pikachu become firm friends at the start of the Pokémon anime series

The world of Pokémon has been built around the charming bond between Ash and Pikachu for decades. The anime series and the best Pokémon movies have followed their adventures since 1997, with the new anime spin on the TV series set to follow new protagonists.

But it’s easy to forget that the decision to put two of the best anime characters together wasn’t always as much of a no-brainer as it seems through today’s eyes. In the videogames that inspired the anime, players were given the choice between starting with Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur. But those rules didn’t apply to Ash.

The first episode of Pokémon showed Ash over-sleeping on his first day as a Pokémon trainer, with all of the available starter critters already taken by other trainers. He was left with a volatile, unruly Pikachu who didn’t like him very much. Of course, we got the joy of watching them bond.

Pokémon executive director Kunihiko Yuyama recently explained how that decision came about in an interview with Animedia Magazine (via CBR).

He said: “I think of Pikachu as a combination of cuteness, strength and the ability to bring a few laughs. By the way, I decided from the very get-go that the Pokémon that would become [Ash’s] partner would not be one of the three you choose between at the start of the videogame, 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.”

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It was a smart decision to ensure that every young Pokémon player was on an equal footing, instead of telling some kids they’d made a different choice to the anime hero. And we’d all get to play with Pikachu when Pokémon Yellow showed up for consoles in 1998.

For more from the world of Pikachu and the rest, find out where to watch Pokémon and take a look at our piece on why Pokémon movies are better than you think. Or you can head on over to our sibling site Pocket Tactics, where they have a Pokédex for your perusal.