Anime Pokémon

Is Ash’s Pikachu Special? Why Doesn’t He Evolve?

Pikachu is cute, Pikachu is marketable. Pikachu loves his freedom and Pikachu hates evolution. But most of all, Ash’s Pikachu is Detective Pikachu! Pika Pi!

Our favorite Pikachu is the one that made refusing evolution cool. He is the first of Ash’s Pokemon to choose not to evolve, Bulbasaur and Squirtle following suit.

Ash’s Pikachu is special because he is Ash’s Pikachu. He is the face of the show, the mascot of Pokemon, and one of the most recognized anime characters in the world.

He is Ash’s best friend and prefers to travel with him on his shoulder rather than his Pokeball.

This just makes Ash’s Pikachu more special – despite being such an experienced Pokemon, he is hellbent on staying a Pikachu forever instead of levelling up into Raichu.

1. Why Does Pikachu Never Evolve into Raichu?

Ash’s Pikachu does not evolve because he doesn’t want to. In S01E14, Pikachu swats the Thunderstone from Ash’s hand, offended by the prospect of Ash wanting him to evolve.

Pikachu wants to get stronger as a Pikachu and proves himself by defeating Lt. Surge’s Raichu.

Is Ash’s Pikachu special? Why doesn’t he evolve?
Raichu And Pikachu | Source: Fandom

Ash respects the choices of his Pokemon, and although he carries the Thunderstone with him, leaves the ultimate decision of evolution to Pikachu.

In Pokemon Journeys (2020), the topic was raised again, when Goh got a chance to get his own Pikachu. A female Pikachu tries to urge Ash’s Pikachu to evolve using one of the hundred Thunderstones littered on the mountain.

But Pikachu refuses once again, because he wants to train on his own might, and not use a Thunderstone to become stronger by evolving into Raichu. This sentiment also changes the female Pikachu’s mind.

Ash tells the Pikachu: “It’s better to only evolve when you want to!” Good ol’ Ash.

2. Will Ash’s Pikachu Ever Evolve?

It is unlikely that Ash’s Pikachu will ever evolve into Raichu for the simple fact that he doesn’t need to. Pikachu is one of Ash’s strongest Pokemon, especially since his Gigantamax form. In the game, Pokemon who can Gigantamax cannot evolve.

Is Ash’s Pikachu special? Why doesn’t he evolve?
Ash and Pikachu | Source: Fandom

Pikachu has Z-Moves and Dynamax moves and has defeated Legendary, Mega, and fully evolved Pokemon despite several disadvantages.

Another likely explanation comes from Pikachu’s backstory, revealed in S23E01. Pikachu originally grew up as a Pichu with a wild Kangaskhan and her child.

He realizes his presence might be placing a burden on the mother who had her own growing child to take care of.

Pichu evolves into Pikachu when he decides to leave his childhood home. Pikachu might associate evolution with leaving his home, and Pikachu’s home is Ash.

Some Pokemon lose their memories of their prior life upon evolution. Pikachu’s bond with Ash is too precious to be risked.

3. Is Ash’s Pikachu Stronger Than Other Pikachu?

Ash’s Pikachu is stronger than other Pikachu because, according to the game (from which the entire Pokemon franchise is based), his individual and effort values (IVs and EVs) are stronger than the rest.

Is Ash’s Pikachu special? Why doesn’t he evolve?
Ash and Pikachu | Source: Fandom

In the anime, all the power boosts given to him since the start of the journey make him more powerful than an ordinary Pikachu.

All Pikachu are Pikachu, but with different stats, similar to the fact that we’re all human but with different DNA; that means, they are all have their own individual stats for speed, attack, defense, durability, etc.

They also differ in terms of training and experience, the moves they learn through battle, their evolution, and power-ups.

4. Is Pikachu At Max Level – Level 100?

Theoretically, Ash’s Pikachu should have surpassed Level 100. He has been with Ash since the beginning and has been present through all the generations/leagues/regions. He has gained more experience than any other Pokemon, during battle and otherwise.

Levels in the core series, i.e., the game, determine how strong a Pokemon is, with 100 being the max level a Pokemon can reach by winning in battles, gaining experience, and learning new moves.

Dynamax Pikachu LV 1 vs Pikachu LV 100
Dynamax Pikachu LV 1 vs Pikachu LV 100

When a Pokemon reaches a certain level, they might also evolve into a stronger form with increased stats.

Now, though Ash’s Pikachu is strong in the anime, it has nothing to do with the level he is at. Pikachu’s level is reset with every new region – this is evident when he loses to a Level 5 Snivy in Unova, but has defeated powerful Pokemon in Sinnoh and Hoenn.

Pikachu, just after refusing to evolve using the Thunderstone, defeats Lt. Surge’s Raichu. He also defeats a Dragonite in Gen 5.

5. Why Is Ash’s Pikachu So Powerful? What Power-Ups Does He Have?

Ash’s is Pikachu is so powerful because of the power boosts he has been receiving since the start of the show.

The anime might not specifically mention levels too much, but it does give an explanation to Pikachu’s level reset.

Every time Ash begins a journey in a new region, Pikachu is, in some way or the other, exposed to high levels of electricity or magnetism, which messes up his own electric ability.

Is Ash’s Pikachu special? Why doesn’t he evolve?
Pikachu | Source: Fandom

This is why before or after he arrives in any new region (with the exception of Kalos and Alola), Pikachu is seen wandering off after an electric build-up in his system.

This extra electricity may fry Pikachu’s brain, but it definitely has some sort of prolonged effect on his abilities.

In the very first episode, Pikachu is struck by a bolt of lightning. He redirects and disperses the lightning to defeat a flock of Spearow that have been attacking Ash.

In episode 2, Meowth admits that Ash’s Pikachu is “powerful beyond its evolutionary level.” Ash takes a cue from this, and a few episodes later, with the help of Flint, hooks Pikachu up to an electric generator to give him a boost in order to defeat Brock’s Ground-type Pokemon, Geodude, who has a type advantage.

In Hoenn, Ash and Pikachu get stuck in a giant magnet while battling Team Rocket. Professor Birch explains that the powerful magnetic pull caused Pikachu to have an excess of electric power that needed to be released.

These power-ups and Pikachu’s natural abilities and tenacity make him more powerful than not just other Pikachu, but also Raichu and many fully evolved Pokemon.

He has knocked out 4 Legendary Pokemon – Brandon’s Regice, Tobias’s Latios, Glandion’s Silvally, and a wild Tapu Koko.

Despite being not fully evolved and a Non-Mega Evolved Pokemon, he has defeated 2 Mega Evolved Pokemon – Korrina’s Mega Lucario and Misty’s Mega Gyrados.

6. Why Doesn’t Pikachu Go into a Pokeball? Why Did He Distrust Ash in the Beginning?

Pikachu hates going into his Pokeball because he hates being confined. He values the freedom Ash allows him, and prefers being present by his side during all his adventures.

In the Pokemon movie I Choose You, Ash asks him why he dislikes the Pokeball and he replies saying that he always wants to be with Ash.

Is Ash’s Pikachu special? Why doesn’t he evolve?
Ash And Pikachu | Source: Fandom

In the beginning, Pikachu distrusts Ash. Ash gets Pikachu as a Starter from Professor Oak only because he sleeps in and all the 3 Starters have been taken. He calls Pikachu cute and when he picks him up, Pikachu shocks him.

In the Pokemon franchise, a Pokemon usually disobeys and dislikes their trainer if they do not respect them.

Pikachu makes his aloofness and annoyance pretty obvious and he is uncooperative until Ash risks his life by protecting Pikachu from the attacking Spearow. 

7. Conclusion

So, it honestly makes sense that Giovanni/Team Rocket is so obsessed with Pikachu, calling him rare, special, and powerful.

Is Ash’s Pikachu special? Why doesn’t he evolve?
Pikachu | Source: Fandom

Pikachu is no Meowth – who actually is quite rare. But because Ash’s Pikachu is a “Partner Pikachu” in gaming terms, i.e., is Ash’s partner with the strongest bond, it gives him an edge.

Additionally, his unique personality and super stats make him incredibly puissant, especially for a small adorable yellow mouse.

Watch Pokémon on:

8. About Pokémon

Pokémon was first released in 1996 and is set up in a world where humans catch monsters and store them in pocket-sized poke-balls.

They are creatures with an affinity to certain elements and some superhuman abilities related to that element.

Revolving around a teenage boy Ash Ketchum, Pokémon takes us through his journey to becoming the most accomplished Pokémon trainer the world has ever seen.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores and/or online campaigns. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.


Leave a Reply

Vansh Gulati

Vansh Gulati

Meet our very own Hinata Shoyo! - There is no anime or manga that he’s not aware of. Also the go-to guy for all things Epic at EML. He’s on a journey to discover life one bottle of sake at a time!
Ps...anime is not a cartoon!

Connect with me:

[email protected]