How Pikachu’s voice actress gives every word her all

How Pikachu’s voice actress gives every word her all

How Pikachu’s voice actress gives every word her all


JULY, 2016

The life of Ikue Otani must seem like an easy one. Hearing her name alone might not ring any bells, but all she would have to do to instantly gain recognition from millions of people around the world is utter one word; Pi-ka-CHU!

Otani, who has been the voice of Pikachu since 1997, was often ridiculed over how simple her job appeared to be. After all, she’s been able to make a pretty decent living off of saying different variations of the same word for almost 20 years. She argues, however, that saying ‘pika’ over and over again is not something just anyone could do.

“If you don’t have a clear understanding of what you want to say in the scene and come up with a plan for your performance, you won’t convey anything,” she says in an interview with

“If there’s the same nuance,” she goes on, “then it would just be okay to use [previously] recorded material.”

Scene from the anime Pokémon of Pikachu in bad mood

© Nintendo

In the anime, Pikachu uses different parts or variations of his name to mean different things. The way he says his name also often imparts his emotions.

Ikue Otani actually records new lines for Pikachu with every episode so Pikachu’s emotion behind the actual line is always conveyed. In a way, most other voice actors have it a lot easier. It’s more difficult to fully convey what a character who only ever says one thing is trying to say compared to a character who is able to speak in full sentences.

Many fans of the anime have actually begun to realize that Pikachu uses the three syllables of his name consistently enough to make it seem like he does in fact, have unique phrases.

The close bond between Ash & Pikachu

© Nintendo

For example, when Pikachu calls out Ash, he says “Pikapi” which resembles Ash’s Japanese name, Satoshi. When a character or pokemon is injured, he says “Pi-ka-chu,” which could mean “Are you alright?” And when introducing himself, he says “Pika Pikachu.”
You can read more about this so-called, Pikaspeak, here.

The names of certain pokemon characters differ from one country to the next. The characters known as Squirtle and Bulbasaur in the US are known as Zenigame and Fushigidane in Japan. Pikachu’s name, however, is universal and so Otani’s voice is used worldwide. Even the talking Pikachu toys and games are voiced by her.

With no one else ever having done the voice of Ash’s Pikachu, Ikue Otani’s voice is undoubtedly one of the most well recognized in the world and deservingly so, as it is clear how much she cares about her role.

She has proudly said, “I give every single word my all.”

How Ash in Pokémon is secretly the creator himself

How Ash in Pokémon is secretly the creator himself

How Ash in Pokémon is secretly the creator himself

Pokémon has once again become a worldwide sensation, and the franchise may actually deserve all the attention it gets, wrapping a massive 20 years success. In the midst of the late 90’s, Nintendo launched the first two Pokémon games, Red and Blue, designed almost entirely by Satoshi Tajiri, who founded Game Freak, a small team that published gaming magazines at that time. Funded by Nintendo after pitching the idea, Satoshi went to create one of the most iconic franchises in modern entertainment.

Hardest decision.. ever. The good ol’ starters. Charmander remains my favourite.

What makes Pokémon so immense?

The man himself.

The whole franchise was inspired based on Satoshi himself. The small pixelated character known as Red in the earlier games, was a younger version of Satoshi. As you navigate him out of Pallet Town into the wildness of Kanto, accompanied by a seamless background tune, you begin to experience the vastness of his childhood imaginations. The name Pokémon was derived from “Pocket Monsters” because it was introduced for the Gameboy, a device which you carry in your pocket. However, Satoshi may have more reasons.

As a child, Satoshi was carefree. He spent most of his time outside, collecting insects and small creatures. He was always excited to see different insects in other parts of the town. He would walk to the ponds and find water insects, he would pick up sticks to inspect them, and find insects in the there. He would sometimes catch them, and place them in small capsules, or boxes, which later he carries around in his pocket. Satoshi successfully embedded the same element of discovery into the game. In the games, you would only encounter Pokémons in tall grass, ponds, or caves and just like insects, sometimes you run into a swarm. Apart from the main character, you will also meet a fellow trainer, a Bug Catcher by the name of Tajiri. As a child, Satoshi was nicknamed “Dr. Bug”.

Satoshi Tajiri

Satoshi Tajiri

Pokémon Creator, CEO of Game Freak

Just like Pokémons, the characters evolved as well. 

Remember the bug catchers? 

Home sweet home...

Satoshi grew up in Machida, which makes the greater part Tokyo metropolis, and located in the central Kanto region of Japan. In the first generation of Pokémon games, you will begin in a region which most players thought was called Indigo, due to the Indigo Plateau. However, Nintendo later confirmed that the region was called Kanto. The Kanto region in the game is not only identical to the actual Kanto region in Japan by name, but also geographically almost entirely. You begin in Pallet Town, which was a model of Shimoda City  (Satoshi’s hometown). As you venture out, you will come to Celadon, a bustling city which was inspired by Shinjuku, the commercial center of Tokyo. Life was different here, and Satoshi was saddened by the changes his hometown endured, as buildings sprawl up, covering places he used to hunt for insects.

The Kanto region. The game music plays in my head everytime I see it.

Satoshi’s mom was a housewife, and his father worked for Nissan. Growing up, Satoshi had a few disagreements with his father especially about his career choices. His father wanted him to become an electrician, which Satoshi was not at all interested. He also suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, that fans speculate might have caused both his hobby for collecting bugs and his distance from his father. In the games, you will start at home, and you only see Mom, and the father was not around. You will later defeat the father in a high ranking Pokémon tournament.

There are no proper time reality in the games, as Red doesn’t need to sleep, eat or rest. Satoshi is famously known for sleeping for 12 hours and work the next 24 hours. He is used to the idea of a continuous process, and has been working that way until now.  

Just like dad? 

Shimoda City a.k.a Pallet Town, where Satoshi grew up. 

Gotta catch 'em all!

However, Red was not the name we all remember. The anime series introduced Ash Ketchum, and his buddy Pokémon, Pikachu, a story of his journey to become a Pokémon Master.

The name Ash was derived from the Japanese version of the character, also named as Satoshi. Ketchum was simply taken from the tagline of the show, “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!”.

Shigeru Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto

Creator of Super Mario Bros, Nintendo

Seen together rivals, Satoshi a.k.a Ash and Shigeru a.k.a Gary 

Ash’s rival in the series was named Gary, which was derived from Shigeru, a reference to Shigeru Miyamoto, who designed Super Mario Bros (1985), and was a mentor to Satoshi. Satoshi admires Shigeru, which he admits that he will never be as good as him.

The confession.

There might be a be a lot more of his childhood elements in Pokemon games and animes, but Satoshi was not a big fan of the spotlight. In an interview with Time magazine in 1999, Satoshi admitted that the character was himself as a kid.

TIME: “The main human guy is named Satoshi. That’s your name. Is he your alter ego?”

Tajiri: “Basically, he’s me when I was a kid.”

The Pokémon universe is riddled with lores that date as far as a few thousand years before the story of Red unfolds. There still many mysteries that surrounds certain aspects of Pokémon, and fans have been generously introducing theories to explain many, one includes a theory that Ash might be in a coma the whole time the anime series took place!

Satoshi Tajiri is currently the CEO of Game Freak and still works with the Pokémon franchise.

“Can you catch 'em all?”

10 Strange places to become Pokestops

10 Strange places to become Pokestops

10 Strange places to become Pokestops

The latest craze in mobile gaming, Pokemon Go, has lured its users to some pretty bizarre places while on the hunt for Pokestops. Pokestops are places in the Pokemon Go world where you can collect items such as pokeballs and eggs that help you advance quicker throughout the game. To truly master Pokemon Go, players need to take full advantage of the Pokestops they come across. The game doesn’t seem to have any requirements as to what actually makes a place worthy of becoming a Pokestop, which has lead to users finding themselves in some very odd situations. Here are 10 among the strangest places that have been turned into pokestops:

1. Walter White’s House

2. A Strip Club

3. Someone’s Grave

4. An ashtray


5. A Creepy Shed


6. The Church of Scientology

7. A Nutella Tree


8. An Abortion Memorial

9. ‘Young human’ Entertainment


10. An Actual Alligator


Celebrities are playing Pokémon GO too!

Celebrities are playing Pokémon GO too!

Celebrities are playing Pokémon GO too!

The newly launched, augmented reality game, Pokémon GO, has recently taken the world by storm, with the average time users spend on the game daily surpassing both Whatsapp and Instagram. According to data from SimilarWeb, Pokémon GO has already been installed in five percent of Android smartphones. As a comparison, the popular dating app, Tinder, is installed in two percent of smartphones. It’s good to know that most people have their priorities straight.

And it’s not just a bunch of nerdy high school students who dream of being the next Ash Ketchum either. Multiple celebrities have taken to social media to express their newfound obsession with the game.

Of course, it’s no surprise that Zack Martin is a fan.

Even Chrissy Teigen is a player!

The game, currently only available in Australia, New Zealand and the US, is set to launch in Europe and Asia not long from now.

The struggle is real for Wiz Khalifa.

Guess Luna Lovegood enjoys interacting with strange creatures outside the world of Hogwarts too.

Trevor Noah has had some awkward encounters.

‘Gravity’ singer, John Mayer spent almost a hundred dollars to advance the game quicker.


A photo posted by johnmayer (@johnmayer) on

Getting Bulbasaur as his starter Pokemon was a proud moment for Nyle DiMarco.

Following reports that a woman, on her quest to find her own Pokémon, had come across a man’s corpse, Joe Jonas might not be wisest.

Is it really a shock that most people find delight in catching Pokémon in real life though? The game, which has already given Nintendo’s stock a huge boost, was clearly headed for success.

And for all you grown-ups out there who still think this is just a boring old kid’s game, Trevor Noah sums it up best:

Which team are you?

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Hasn't decided yet?

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