Nintendo Wanted to Make Major Physical Changes to Pikachu, Charizard, Other Pokemon

Nintendo of America wanted to make some major changes to the Pokemon franchise when it was first being localized for the US. Yesterday, Did You Know Gaming put the spotlight on some proposed changes to the Pokemon franchise when they posted a video containing a translation of an old Japanese interview with Tsunekazu Ishihara, the president of the Pokemon Company. In the interview, Ishihara explained that Nintendo of America felt the Pokemon were "too cute" and proposed some changes to classic Pokemon like Pikachu. "They turned Pikachu into something like a tiger with big breasts," Ishihara said. "It looked like a character from the musical Cats. When I asked how this was suposed to be Pikachu, they said 'Well look, there's its tail right there.'"

We knew that Nintendo of America and the Pokemon Company clashed over early Pokemon designs, as some alternative concepts of the Charmander family had already been posted online a while ago. Nintendo of America reportedly hired artists that specialized in graffiti-style art to make mockups of different styles of Pokemon. Luckily, the official Pokemon anime series started to broadcast in Japan during this discussion and the franchise began to grow more popular, leading Nintendo of America to realize that localization would take a ton of work if they scrapped the designs of all the Pokemon. You can check out the proposed re-design for Charizard below.

Image from iOS
(Photo: Pokemon)

Luckily, the Pokemon Company stuck to its guns and Pokemon Red and Blue remained (mostly) intact when the games to the United States. While the Pokemon Company has made a few minor changes to its Pokemon designs over the years, they've almost always been subtle changes like adding fingers to Mr. Mime or slimming down Pikachu.

Are you surprised that Nintendo of America wanted Pikachu to look like Bombalurina? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!