A supposedly leaked summary for an upcoming episode of the Pokémon anime has sparked a dose of panic amongst the community, with some worrying that Ash's Pikachu, star of the show since its very first episode, may be about to evolve.
The summary, which is for the 35th episode of Pokémon Journeys, has been shared online by Twitter account, @AnipokeFandom. It reads, "There's a Pikachu Outbreak-chu!! [Ash's] Pikachu finally evolves into a Raichu?" before suggesting that the series' most famous mascot "finally evolves into a Raichu" thanks to a Thunderstone, an object that is needed for this specific evolution to take place.
As fans will know, Ash's Pikachu has repeatedly shown a lack of interest in evolving throughout the show's 23 seasons, with Ash being more than happy for the little yellow cutie to stay exactly how he is. In fact, it's one of the key moments of the opening season, setting up a relationship between the two characters full of love and understanding.
It would be weird, then, for the anime to go against this and have Pikachu go through this irreversible transformation. It would be weirder still when you consider that Pikachu has become the mascot of the entire series - things wouldn't be the same if Ash starting wandering around with a Raichu, would they?
The panic we mention seems to have stemmed from a number of articles doing the rounds over the last day or two, twisting the information found in the tweet above to create headlines such as 'Pokémon Journeys Is About To Ruin Your Childhood By Evolving Ash's Pikachu Into Raichu', as if the tweet is factual evidence. In reality, we find the evolution of Pikachu to be highly unlikely, especially considering the summary uses question marks to keep readers in suspense.
Our guess is that the summary is simply teasing fans, and that one of the other Pikachu from the "outbreak" mentioned in the episode will evolve instead. Still, stranger things have happened.
The episode in question airs in Japan on 30th August, so we'll find out once and for all very soon indeed.