We've all wondered what exactly inspired the creation of some of our favorite cartoon characters and it looks like some Pokémon fans might be in for a shock when finding out what exactly inspired our favorite Pokémon, Pikachu. 

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Some may consider the adorable electricity-charged Pokémon, Pikachu, to carry the traits of a “mouse,” but it was revealed in a recent interview with one of the animated series creators that our favorite Pokémon was actually inspired by a different animal entirely. 

In an interview with Yomiuri, Atsuko Nishida, a graphic and character designer, shared that she created the original designs of Pikachu in Pokémon Red and Green to be based on a squirrel, not a mouse. 

“At that time, I was really into squirrels,” Nishida, tells Yomiuri, “so I wanted the character to have puffy cheeks. Squirrel tails are cute, so I wanted it to have a tail. However, I wanted the character to have a lightning element, so I made it shaped like lightning.”

When asked why she decided to put the electricity in Pikachu's cheeks, Nishida says she again looked to squirrels for inspiration, saying: “For example, when hamsters stuff themselves with food, their entire bodies become round, right? But for squirrels, it’s just their cheeks.”

Who knew our favorite Pokémon character was actually inspired by a squirrel?! 

According to the website, Kotaku, once it was decided that the character would be named Pikachu, the creators of the series decided to make the Pokémon more of a “mouse” type, a characteristic further backed when Satoshi Tajiri came up with the term “electric rodent” when speaking of Pikachu. 

What do you think of Pikachu being inspired by a squirrel? Let us know in the comments below! 

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