The Most Unique Versions of Pikachu

Pikachu's had some pretty iconic looks over the years, and these are some of its best ones.

Published: February 28, 2023 1:00 PM /


Pikachu versions all together

Over the years, Pokémon's iconic mascot Pikachu has had a ton of different looks. While the main Pikachu in the anime has had a pretty standard look, there have been several others through the anime, games, and even merch that stand out because Pikachu dons a new look. Here are some of the most unique looks Pikachu has had through the decades.

Manga Cosplay Pikachu
All the Cosplay Pikachu in the manga, Source: Bulbapedia

Cosplay Pikachu

In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, players are given a special Cosplay Pikachu that excels in the Pokémon Contests featured in the game. The Pikachu had two different outfits based on the player’s gender, along with moves it could learn that specifically helped Contests. It could also change outfits to specifically fit each category of Pokémon Contests. Cosplay Pikachu eventually made it into the anime and manga as well. Pikachu Libre (generally considered a version of Cosplay Pikachu) was also seen in Super Smash Bros. and Pokken. Various versions of Cosplay Pikachu have also been featured in the TCG and merchandise over the years. 

Pokemon Shuffle Shiny Gyarados Pikachu
Pokémon Shuffle's artwork for Shiny Gyarados Costume Pikachu 

Shiny Gyarados Costume Pikachu

Pikachu has dressed up as other Pokémon for various promotions, and one of the most iconic ones is when it dressed up as Shiny Gyarados Costume Pikachu. Shiny Gyarados is a well-loved Shiny form in the Pokémon series, and Pikachu made the fierce ‘mon look adorable. While Shiny Gyarados Costume Pikachu is most often seen in merchandise, it also appeared in Pokémon Shuffle.

Surfing Pi-Kahuna
Pi-Kahuna was shown surfing with its trainer often


Fans of the OG Pokémon anime may remember Pi-Kahuna, the surfing Pikachu that was featured in the second season of the original anime. Pi-Kahuna has special powers that can sense massive waves nearby, which its Trainer uses to surf. The elder Pikachu has a few appearance differences, such as its bright blue eyes and wrinkled skin around them. There’s even been speculation that Pi-Kahuna has cataracts because of its eyes. 

Pikachu Gigantamax
Gigantamax Pikachu is a throwback to the OG Pikachu design

Gigantamax Pikachu

When Pokémon Sword and Shield introduced Dynamax and Gigantamax Pokémon, Gigantamax Pikachu quickly was one of the first added. It’s endearingly dubbed fat Pikachu, and it actually looks like the mouse Pokémon’s early days. In the original games, anime, and manga, Pikachu took on a rounder form. While it’s slimmed down in design over the years, Gigantamax Pikachu feels like an ode to the early days that’s hard to forget. 

Pikachu with balloons
A special Terastalized Pikachu became Flying type.

Flying Pikachu

It’s a bird, it’s a plane -- oh wait, it’s just Flying Pikachu. This variant of Pikachu shows it tied to balloons and flying through the air. It has popped up in the TCG, and there have been several events that gave players a Pikachu that could learn Fly in the video games. However, Flying Pikachu was originally found in the opening scenes of Pokémon Yellow, the Gameboy Color game where players started their Kanto journey with Pikachu instead of the other Generation One starter Pokémon. In the game’s opening scenes, Pikachu was shown flying around using balloons. There’s even a Terastalized version of Pikachu with balloons on its head in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Realistic Detective Pikachu
Pikachu has never looked as cute as it did in Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu is pretty popular, especially considering Ryan Reynolds took on the voice of the mouse Pokémon in the movie dedicated to the investigative version of Pikachu. Between the movie and the 3DS spin-off video game, this is one of the most popular versions of Pikachu. It’s also the only version of Pikachu that can converse with humans (despite how well Ash can understand his partner Pokémon, his Pikachu isn’t speaking the same language). This version of Pikachu can also be seen in Pokémon Go.

Pikachu as a Captain
Captain Pikachu takes on Ash's Pikachu's fierce stance

Captain Pikachu

After Ash’s Pikachu had over a decade of screen time, a new Pikachu was introduced to the anime to fill in the mascot role. Captain Pikachu was announced to step up, and the special Pikachu had big shoes to fill and a big hat to wear -- literally. The Pokémon wears a big captain’s hat, making it look as though it truly is some kind of boat or aviator captain. Considering its fierce stance in promotional images, it seems like Captain Pikachu is ready for the task. Its trainer, Friede, also wears an aviation outfit minus the Captain hat -- that’s Pikachu’s role. 

Pokemon Go Mimikyu Pikachu
Pikachu dressing up as Mimikyu... dressing up as Pikachu?

Mimikyu Pikachu

Mimikyu’s entire design is purposefully trying to imitate Pikachu, so it’s pretty endearing to see Pikachu take on Mimikyu’s look. The 2019 Halloween Event Pikachu featured a Mimikyu cape that made Pikachu basically dress like itself. It was featured in plenty of promotional merchandise at the time, and it was even in Pokémon Go. Considering Mimikyu is technically inside of the Pikachu costume it wears and uses that as a disguise, it’s almost as if Pikachu is dressing up as itself. 

Pikachu with a straw hat
Pikachu has never looked sweeter

Straw Hat Pikachu

Pokémon Go has seen an abundance of event Pikachus. While some of them are seen outside of the mobile game, not all of them are, and Straw Hat Pikachu is a good example of this. The mouse Pokémon is generally showed off as strong and courageous, so it’s not often fans get to see a more vulnerable side to it. However, Straw Hat Pikachu looks much sweeter with its ears tucked under a big-rimmed hat and the heart-tipped tail that all female Pikachu have. 

Pikachu wearing Ash's cap
One of the many nostalgic Cap Pikachus

Cap Pikachu

Of course, no unique Pikachu list would be complete without Ash’s own Pikachu. At times, Pikachu takes Ash’s hat and wears it on its own head. Considering Ash has had many different hats over the years, there are several versions of Pikachu with Ash’s different hats, but they’re generally referred to as Cap Pikachu. These have popped up in several Pokémon Go events, and they’re quite adorable for similar reasons as Straw Hat Pikachu -- something about Pikachu’s ears hanging down makes it even cuter than normal. 

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| Staff Writer

Brittany's been gaming since she could walk -- literally. A doctor told her parents to get her a handled console to improve her hand-eye coordination… More about Brittany

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition
Game Freak
Release Date
September 12, 1998 (Calendar)
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