Pokémon's mascot, Pikachu, might be the most universally-recognized game mascot outside of Mario. Adults love Pikachu. Kids love Pikachu. Dogs love Pikachu—or at least they love ripping open the guts of Pikachu plushies and spreading the stuffing up and down the hallway. So here's a bit of Pikachu trivia to make your day a little more Pika-riffic: Game Freak's top mouse almost had a third evolved form that would have bestowed fangs and horns upon the little dude.
Pikachu's original illustrator, Atsuko Nishida, and Pokémon designer Ken Sugimori talked about the lost evolution recently with Japanese newspaper Yomiuri (Siliconera translated the interview, but as of 10 a.m. EST, the site is down). Pikachu's final form blossomed beyond his secondary transformation, Raichu.
"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."
Unfortunately for the world, Satanchu—er, Gorochu—didn't make the final 151 because life is unfair. "There wasn't any problem with its appearances," Sugimori said, "but it was omitted due to matters surrounding game balance."
There's no publicized sketch artwork of Gorochu, but I'd love to see it. I dig the very idea of a mouse evolving into something resembling ice age megafauna. As it is, I think the design for Pikachu's second (and final) evolution, Raichu, is just amazing: The electric barb on the end of his whip-tail looks capable of killing a Tauros with one crack.
I'm not the only one who loves Raichu more than Pikachu. There are dozens of us! Dozens! Anyone who prefers Pikachu was just taken in by that Pokémon episode where Pikachu refuses to evolve into Raichu to fight Lieutenant Surge's Raichu. Propaganda. Pure propaganda.
Uh, anyway, Gorochu's a thing. Now that the Litten is out of the bag, maybe Game Freak will bring him back for the next game? Keep an eye on our guide to Pokémon for the Nintendo Switch for any potential news and updates.