Pikachu (Japanese: ピカチュウ, Hepburn: Pikachū, pronounced [pikatɕɯː], English: /ˈpiːkətʃuː/) are a species of Pokémon, fictional creatures that appear in an assortment of video games, animated television shows and movies, trading card games, and comic books licensed by The Pokémon Company, a Japanese corporation. They are yellow rodent-like creatures with powerful electrical abilities. In most vocalized appearances, including the anime and certain video games, they are primarily voiced by Ikue Ōtani. A Pikachu also appears as part of the main cast in the live-action animated film Pokémon Detective Pikachu, played in CGI and voiced by Ryan Reynolds.
The Pikachu design was conceived by Atsuko Nishida and finalized by Ken Sugimori. Pikachu first appeared in Pokémon Red and Green in Japan, and later in the first internationally released Pokémonvideo games, Pokémon Redand Blue, for the original Game Boy.
Pikachu is one of the most well-known varieties of Pokémon, largely because Pikachu is a central character in the Pokémonanime series. Pikachu is regarded as a major character of the Pokémonfranchise as well as its mascot, and has become an icon of Japanese pop culture in recent years. It is also seen as one of the major mascots for Nintendo.
History with the Macy's Parade
Pikachu was introduced to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2001, its 75th anniversary. Although this was his first appearance as a balloon, he was allowed to appear in walk-around form on the "Toon Balloon-Abration" float along with a number of characters who had balloons in the parade that had since been retired. Also, Pikachu's balloon in the parade that year was preceded by a themed Volkswagen Beetle called the "PikaMobile"; This balloon is also notable for being one of the shortest balloons in Parade's history, at only 30-feet tall. This balloon is also known as "Flying Pikachu", and continued to appear until the 2005 Parade.
After it was retired in 2005, it was later used as the test subject for a trial flight in Times Square on May 22, 2006, after an accident from the previous year's Parade. Of note, this was the only time a test flight took place in a Manhattan route.
The balloon made and additional appearance on August 8, 2006 at Bryant Park, as part of the "Party of the Decade" for Pokemon's 10th anniversary.
The original Pikachu balloon would be seen one last time in 2007, making a special appearance in the now-defunct Balloonopolis exhibit, located in Universal Orlando Resort. The balloon has yet to make another appearance.
Pikachu with PokéBall
In 2006, to celebrate Pokémon's 10th Anniversary, a brand-new, larger Pikachu balloon made his Parade debut. The balloon features the beloved Pokémon chasing a larger-than-life, 14-foot tall PokéBall balloon. This Pikachu balloon was the second-ever balloon to utilize blinking lights, in the form of Pikachu's flashing cheeks. This feature was also previously used for the Cheesasaurus Rex balloon's camera.
This version of the balloon was joined by sculpted statues of Reshiram and Zekrom, the two title characters of Pokémon: Black and White video games in 2010 to promote the game. This version of the balloon appeared until 2013 and was later retired. It is known that this balloon remains intact and survives as of November 2016.
The iconic yellow electric mouse Pokémon would light up the skies once again in 2014, with an all-new balloon. The balloon, based on a 2008 Pokémon Center plush doll, features Pikachu sporting a cozy green-and-red winter scarf, as he clutches his own snowman Pikachu.
The balloon has been in commission since its debut, commonly promoting the most recently-released Pokémon video game, continuing to remind players that they "Gotta Catch 'Em All."
Below, you will find a list of the music tracks that played during the balloon's appearance on the NBC telecast
- "Pokémon Theme Song" (Instrumental; 2001-2013)
- "Pokémon X and Y Title Screen" (2014-present)
- In 2012, Pikachu's ears were deflated. It is unknown how they deflated, although it is possible that the ears were over-inflated and burst due to the expanding helium, causing the balloon to deflate on the route.
- At Balloonfest 2006, Pikachu's tail was slightly bent. Additionally, the internal tie-ins for the electric mouse's mouth were not in their proper place, causing the mouth to protrude from the balloon.
- The second version of the Pikachu balloon had a brief appearance in the 2019 film, Detective Pikachu. Here, the Pikachu balloon was joined by fellow Pokémon including Bulbasaur, Gengar, Eevee, and Squirtle.