I feel so sorry for Raichu, Pikachu’s evolution. I feel so sorry for it, especially since I have personally insulted the electric mouse Pokemon, calling it a “fat bastard that no one likes”. I know Raichu is a fictional species in a series of fictional animals, and I know I have gone on and said far worse about other Pokemon (especially Dragonite) but Raichu doesn’t really deserve it.
Raichu’s problem isn’t that it’s a bad Pokemon. It’s actually a pretty cool, stylized creature with unique features and looks totally like something Pikachu would evolve into. Raichu’s problem is simply that it’s the evolution of Pikachu, the insanely cute and fluffy mascot of the entire series, a Pokemon who has a reputation of not actually evolving.
Even when it comes to the official animes and mangas and all that, Raichu just… isn’t really a thing. It’s a Pokemon Ash and his Pikachu fought once and somehow magically defeated on a second attempt. Pikachu is there all the time and Raichu is barely mentioned. Sure, you need to have enough episodes and chapters to be able to fit appearances for all 800+ Pokemon, but Raichu is literally the evolution of the main mascot and it gets basically no attention at all.
In fact, Raichu’s own unloved status is so obvious that it’s mentioned in the Pokedex of Ultra Moon.
Because so many Trainers like the way Pikachu looks, you don’t see this Pokémon very often.
Exactly. That’s forgetting that Alolan Raichu also exists and is a rather weird thing. Looks-wise, it’s got that same dead-eyed stare that Sylveon has, and since it’s unique to the Sun and Moon games (and Pokemon Go), it garners a little more interest, especially since Alolan Raichu also has psychic powers and uses its tail as a floating surfboard. It also is rather fat and excretes a sweet aroma from its cheeks. But clearly people dislike Raichu SO MUCH that they would rather just keep their Pikachus intact. I can sort of understand why people in the Alola region think that, but normal Raichu is fine! It’s plenty cute enough!
And to make matters worse, there’s Raikou, whose name is nearly identical. Raikou is also a way more interesting, way more powerful Pokemon with much more lore behind it. A legendary Pokemon of the same type. Alolan Raichu has actually been in raids for ages, but no one does them because, well, it’s Raichu, and the chance of getting a shiny Alolan Raichu is tiny.
No matter what, Raichu gets kicked to the curb. The well-meaning big brother who isn’t as lovable as its siblings, who is abandoned and left to fend for itself. Raichu is a big Pokemon, it doesn’t need love. But Raichu deserves the same love that Pikachu and Pichu do. Or at least a very tiny amount of love, because these days, Raichu might as well not exist at all. You could make Raichu vanish and only a worryingly small number of people would care.
One of those people being me, because I have a cute collection of Raichus with hats in Pokemon Go.
Really though, Raichu needs more love. I suppose it should be thankful that the proposed third evolution for Pikachu in Generation 1 never made it in, otherwise Raichu would have been even more forgotten…