Aside from proving Lt. Surge wrong and bankability, there is another reason Pikachu didn’t evolve when it lost to Raichu. There are many answers to the question of why Ash never evolved his Pikachu. Others may give the backstory explanation, while others might say that Pikachu wanted proof it could win without moving. Some might argue that Pikachu’s cuteness and marketability could be lost if it evolved. However, there is another way to answer this question.
The Pokemon anime is a commercial for video games. It’s not only about displaying characters and stories from the games but also specific mechanics that will allow you to play the games. This teaches gamers valuable lessons and entertains them with entertaining stories. Perhaps this is why Pikachu didn’t evolve.
Why didn’t Pikachu evolve initially?
Pikachu refused to evolve due to a number of reasons. Episode 14 “Electric Shock Showdown” reveals that Ash was blubbed by Lt. Surge because he didn’t advance his Pikachu, and made it solid as soon possible. To drive his point house, the Fitness Center Leader defeated Pikachu using its advanced form Raichu. Pikachu and Ash were later given a Thunder Rock to allow them both to advance. However, they decided that this was not the best way to win. In a rematch they beat Lt. Rise and his Raichu, proving that Pokemon don’t need to advance in order to win. However, this episode did not teach the true lesson.
It was Ash’s winning strategy that really taught us the most. Pikachu discovered speed-based relocations such as Agility and Quick Strike by itself. These steps were not shown to Lt. Rise by Raichu, but he quickly evolved them. This advantage enabled Ash and Pikachu to outmaneuver the challengers and earn the Thunder Badge.
The mechanic used in video games is the basis for the difference between Pikachu as well as Raichu. Some Pokemon cannot learn actions until they have evolved. This is especially true for Pokemon that evolve with evolutionary stones such as Pikachu. After it evolves into Raichu, it cannot discover any relocations by leveling. Even if the Relocate Pointer was available at the time, it couldn’t learn anything. Although it is difficult, the rewards of battling with and leveling up Pokemon in weaker, unevolved species until the right time is right are often too great to ignore. Ash preventing his Pikachu’s evolution so that it can learn actions such as Quick Strike and Dexterity was suggested as a demonstration of this important video game mechanic.
Pikachu’s inability to evolve after defeating Lt. Rise’s Raichu can be attributed to all the things that everyone thinks. The episode showed that Pikachu was just as competent in a fight than Raichu. So, progressing was more a matter of personal choice. This lesson about not having to evolve in order to win can be applied to all aspects of life, such as doing what feels right and not taking shortcuts. This would also mean that Pikachu could become Raichu, which would make it less cute and more marketable. Although this is unlikely to be discussed in anime, it does have a negative side effect. While these factors are not as relevant to video games, they can have a lasting impact on anime beyond the one episode.
These factors also produced “Electric Shock Showdown”, but the key lesson about finding out relocations remains the most important takeaway from that episode. A similar episode of Diamon and Pearl, “Pika and Goliath,” could not replicate the ethics of “Electric Shock Face off.” It had Pikachu win in a similar manner by outmaneuvering his opponent’s Raichu. But the factors had more to do with anime reasoning than the skills of video game technicians. Although this might not have been a life lesson, it was an important one that viewers who were playing Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow would appreciate.