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Why Pikachu Won’t Go In Its Poké Ball In Pokémon Yellow

Similar to the anime, Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow will never go inside of its Poké Ball. However, there are a couple more reasons behind this feature.

Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow is unique among Pokémon in that it will never get in a Poké Ball. This is a trait that hasn’t been shared with any other Pokémon in the main games, making it particularly stand out among the series. However, there is a fairly easy way to explain why this specific Pikachu refuses to enter a ball.

Pikachu is the mascot of the Pokémon franchise. It appears in almost every game associated with the series, and is the main character Ash’s signature Pokémon in the anime. It is easily the most recognizable Pokémon in existence, and any reference to Pokémon will almost definitely involve Pikachu in some way. It is not a stretch to say that Pikachu is the world’s most popular Pokémon. When Pokémon Yellow was released, not only did it update several elements of Red and Blue, but it also let players have a Pikachu as their starting Pokémon for the first time.


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In Pokémon Yellow, Pikachu will refuse to go into a Poké Ball, and will instead follow the player around on the map. This is actually one of the game’s intended mechanics, as the player can talk to Pikachu at any time. Pikachu’s reactions will show how they are feeling at the moment. At first, they will be quite cold towards the player, similar to how Pikachu was in the first episode of the anime. However, as time goes on, the player will be able to see Pikachu’s reaction towards them change in what could be seen as a predecessor to Pokémon‘s hidden friendship stat. By the end of the game, Pikachu will likely be very happy with them. If Pikachu had stayed in its Poké Ball, then this mechanic couldn’t have worked.

The Official Pokémon Handbook Says Pikachu Are Afraid Of Poké Balls

Just lik in the anime, Yellow's Pikachu rejects Poké Balls.

Pikachu remaining out of his Poké Ball could also easily be a reference to the anime. In the anime, Pikachu refused to go into a Poké Ball the first time Ash tried, and its aversion to Poké Balls remained throughout the series. Pokémon Yellow features several other anime references, such as Brock and Misty being redesigned to match their anime designs and Jessie and James of Team Rocket being present. Since Pikachu refused Poké Balls in the anime, just like Pikachu always refused to evolve unlike other Pokémon, it only made sense for it to reject them in the game as well.

There is one more reason as to why Pikachu would refuse Poké Balls in Yellow, and it comes from a relatively obscure source. The Official Pokémon Handbook claims that Pikachu are actually afraid of Poké Balls, and encourages players to walk with them instead. This can admittedly be disputed, as other games in the series feature Pikachu inside of Poké Balls with no problem at all. However, Pokémon Yellow took this claim at face value, and had its Pikachu refuse to go inside of any Poké Ball in the game. This is a detail about Pikachu that is frequently forgotten, likely due to the obscure source. However, Yellow incorporated it into its mechanics regardless.

Pokémon Yellow is a game starring Pikachu, and keeping Pikachu out of its Poké Ball was one way of making that clear. While the player’s decisions are entirely up to them regarding their team, they cannot change the fact that the game makes Pikachu their primary companion. When it comes to Pokémon Yellow, Pikachu avoiding its Poké Ball pushed it further to the forefront.

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