Who the hell is Captain Pikachu?
Tickets please, we're flying high into a new era of Pokemon, as the long-running anime is getting ready to say goodbye to Ash and Pikachu. While it's the end of the era, worry not, because it wouldn't be the anime without a replacement Pikachu waiting in the wings.
With Pikachu being the mascot of The Pokemon Company, it's easy to forget Ash's Pikachu is just one of many. The anime has introduced us to Puka the surfing Pikachu, Ritchie's Sparky, and the cloned Pikachutwo from The First Movie.
The wider world of games and TCG have even more Pikachu variants, and let's not forget Detective Pikachu isn't the one we met in Pallet town. Even though Ash's Pikachu is packing his bags, Captain Pikachu is ready to soar into action.
Who is Captain Pikachu?
While we already know the main protagonists of the next series will be Liko and Roy, it looks like they'll be in good company. As well as the Gen IX starters of Fuecoco, Quaxly, and Sprigatito, we're spotted two newcomers who are sure to become fan favourites.
First is a new professor, with Friede definitely being dishier than Prof Oak - sporting a fancy aviator jacket. We've also got Captain Pikachu and his signature hat. While it's unclear what kind of captain Pikachu is, Friede's style makes it seem like his companion is the flying kind of captain... not the nautical one.
Hyping the arrival of Captain Pikachu, The Pokemon Company Vice President Taito Okiura said: "For 27 years, Pikachu has been synonymous with the Pokémon franchise, and we look forward to seeing this beloved Pokémon continue to have a significant presence in the animated series and remain an icon for the brand."
We only know that Friede and Captain Pikachu will be assisting Liko and Roy, but here's hoping they have a cool mode of transport, like an airship, to fly our heroes across Paldea. Yeah, the Gen IX starters are all well and good, but let's be honest, Captain Pikachu will be the merch machine here.
There has actually been a Captain Pikachu before, with the Pokemon TCG having a pirate-themed Captain Pikachu card. Even though we loved Ash's Pikachu, is it a case of simply sticking a hat on that electric mouse to make him infinitely cooler?
Fans react to Captain Pikachu
Opinions were split on Captain Pikachu and whether he's a worthy replacement for THE Pikachu. One joked, "Putting on a new hat makes Pikachu a new character. Interesting lol," while another added, "Can't wait to meet Doctor Pikachu in 20 years."
One critic grumbled, "A little disappointed it's Pikachu. I thought it would have been a good opportunity for a fresh Pokemon mascot. I suppose they are playing it safe since it is a big risk to remove the face of Pokemon, Ash and Pikachu."
Another said, "Why is anyone shocked is money-chu? He’s the mascot of Pokémon. They need to cash in their merchandise. Did I want Pikachu again as the main character? Hell no…but it’s not like Combee will bring in viewers lol."
Someone else mused, "This is actually Ash in disguise living his best life in retirement. You can't convince me otherwise." We know this isn't the case though, with The Pokemon Company debunking the theory that Liko is Ash's daughter from the future.
Love him or loathe him, Captain Pikachu is set to be the new MVP of the anime. To quote The Simpsons, "He's just regular Pikachu in a stupid, cheap hat."