In the latest issue of The Yomiuri Shimbun, Game Freak designers told the newspaper that Pikachu’s design was originally inspired by a Squirrel, rather than a mouse.
Atsuko Nishida, who was working at Game Freak, was tasked with designing a “cute monster” character that is an “Electric-type” Pokemon and have two stages of evolution. Her first sketch was a “vertically long daifuku rice confection with ears”.
After being told that she had to draw something cuter, Nishida sketched a new designed based on a squirrel, which she wanted to own as a pet at that time. This is the first time The Pokemon Company has revealed to the world how Pikachu was conceived.
Check out how Pikachu has changed through the years below.