Today’s article is actually our first comparison involving Pokémon. So far, we’ve done a lot of comparisons of comic book characters, but this is the first (and probably not the last) time we’re comparing two Pokémon. The protagonists of your article are Pikachu and Raichu, two Generation I Pokémon that are well-known among the fans.
Despite what the anime constantly suggests, Raichu is far better than Pikachu, which is logical since it is Pikachu’s evolved form.
Pokémon, which is short for Pocket Monsters, is a media franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori back in 1995. It is a fantasy franchise set in a world where humans live together with creatures called Pokémon, who take on different shapes and sizes. It started off as a series of video games for the Game Boy console, but soon expanded to other media. The video games and the anime (including the connected films) are the most popular brands today, although the franchise has expanded to even live-action movies like Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic in more detail.
Pikachu and Raichu
Pikachu is the mascot of the whole Pokémon franchise and probably the best-known individual Pokémon ever. This is a consequence of the fact that Pikachu is the partner Pokémon of Ash Ketchum, the main character in the Pokémon anime series, which is – along with the video games – the franchise’s most popular product.
Pikachu is a small, chubby, yellow rodent-like Pokémon that appears in Generation I, as well as in the first episode of the anime series. It was also the mascot of the Pokémon Yellow video game, that was vaguely based on the anime. Pikachu is an omnipresent aspect of the Pokémon franchise, although its fame is more due to the fact that it is Ash’s starter Pokémon, than anything else. It is an Electric-type Pokémon and is a good basic Pokémon to have.
Pikachu’s evolution line looks like this:
But if you find yourselves in the Alola region, it looks like this:
Pikachu also has a Gigantamax Form:
(w/ Dynamax Band)
As you can see, Raichu is directly related to Pikachu because it is its evolution. Raichu looks like a larger version of Pikachu, with darker fur, differently shaped ears and a longer tail. Pikachu evolves into Raichu when it comes into contact with the Thunder Stone (one of the Evolutionary Stones) at any level. Unlike Pikachu, Raichu also has a Regional Form, Alolan Raichu, that is a dual Psychic/Electric-type Pokémon, while Raichu is just an Electric-type Pokémon.
Raichu hasn’t appeared in the anime that often, with the most famous iteration being Lt. Surge’s Raichu, whom Ash and Pikachu had to fight for the Thunder Badge in the Kanto region.
Who is better?
Considering the fact that Raichu is Pikachu’s evolved form, you’d think people wouldn’t ask themselves which one is better. But since they do, we are here to answer this question for all of you.
There is a general rule in Pokémon games that is very logical and that goes as follows: An evolved Pokémon is always stronger than its previous form. Evolution is a process that makes the Pokémon stronger and that increases its stats. Sometime it might not be significantly (such as in the case of Weedle and Kakuna, for example, where Kakuna is practically useless save for a higher Defence), but usually it’s a significant increase (just remember Magikarp and Gyarados) in stats. Pikachu and Raichu are not an exception and although Raichu doesn’t benefit from the Pikachu-specific Light Ball item his base stats are still way higher than Pikachu’s. Let us see the exact numbers for all of the three forms:
* the stats for Pikachu are based on the “Partner Pikachu” from Pokémon Yellow, which is the strongest version of Pikachu in the games. We have used this version specifically to demonstrate that Raichu is stronger than even the strongest version of Pikachu in the games.
The answer is pretty obvious, right? Both forms of Raichu are strongest than even the strongest version of Pikachu from the Pokémon games, and that version (“Partner Pikachu”) is present only in one game, Pokémon Yellow. The difference in stats become evens more pronounced when you consider the fact that “Partner Pikachu” is significantly stronger than a “regular” Pikachu; the latter’s base stat total is just 320, which is significantly lower than Raichu’s.
So where does this confusion even come from? The answer is probably the anime, where Ash’s Pikachu created the illusion that Pikachu is so much stronger than he actually is. Certainly, within the narrative context of the anime, Ash’s and Pikachu’s journey is crafted in a way that Pikachu being so ridiculously overpowered makes sense, as it is proof of the bond that the two of them have. And while a Pikachu might beat some of the stronger opponents in the games, there is no way it could defeat Pokémon like Dragonite, which it actually did in the anime. A notable aspect of this issue is the fact that Pikachu refused to evolve, when offered the chance by Lt. Surge in the anime. Surge taunted Ash to evolve his Pikachu like he did with his Raichu, but after discussing it with his partner, Ash decided not to do it and has been with his unevolved Pikachu ever since. Although there has been some talk about Ash possibly evolving Pikachu in the new episodes, nothing has been officially confirmed so we’ll just have to wait and see whether that actually happens.
To sum it up, Raichu is better and stronger than Pikachu because it evolves from Pikachu and not the other way around. Don’t let the anime deceive you – Ash’s Pikachu is so strong because of narrative reasons.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!