It's hard to imagine a world without Pikachu in it at this point - the cuddly little critter has been an ever-present star for both The Pokémon Company and Nintendo since the late '90s - but its design could have been significantly different here in the west if Nintendo of America had had its way.
An interview with The Pokémon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara, recently shared and translated by Dr. Lava in collaboration with Did You Know Gaming?, reveals that Nintendo had some pretty out-there ideas for how Pikachu should look to please a western audience. Deeming the original design "too cute", Nintendo of America staff submitted their own designs. Thank goodness they weren't accepted.
Tsunekazu Ishihara: "The first time we showed off some Pokémon in the US, we were told they were 'too cute'. The staff in America submitted their ideas for replacement designs, but we just couldn't believe the kind of stuff they were proposing.
"They turned Pikachu into something like a tiger with huge breasts. It looked like a character from the musical Cats. When I asked 'how is this supposed to be Pikachu??' they said, 'Well look, there's its tail right there'... Seriously, that was the kind of stuff being proposed."
Of course, Pikachu has changed a bit over the years, although we've never had any 'huge breasts' added to the design. The character used to carry a little bit more podge in the '90s, and has since enjoyed regular Wii Fit sessions to slim down.
Do you think Pokémon would have had the same success if Nintendo of America had its way? Hey, for all we know, Pikachu might have been even more popular than it is now.