If you've spent any time on social media of late, you're likely familiar with the "as a treat" meme. It's the latest to take over Twitter, and even The Pokemon Company seems to be getting in on it! Their version of the meme, of course, references Pikachu's well-established love of ketchup. Since the love affair has only been referenced in a handful of episodes in the more than twenty years the show has been on the air, it certainly qualifies as an occasional treat, at best! Despite that infrequency, it has become a popular piece of Pokemon canon, and has even become a popular meme of its own, over the years.
Pikachu can have a little ketchup, as a treat. pic.twitter.com/5ckK2Cyri2— Pokémon (@Pokemon) January 14, 2020
Pikachu's obsession with ketchup kicked off in the first season of the anime. In the episode "Showdown at Dark City," the show's heroes take a short break in a restaurant, where Pikachu goes a little overboard while using the condiment. Unfortunately, an out-of-control Scyther destroys the bottle using Cut, leaving Ash's Pikachu in tears. According to Bulbapedia, Pikachu wouldn't be seen with the condiment again for another 234 episodes; hopefully Pikachu had some opportunities to enjoy its favorite condiment a few times in between! Regardless, that image of Pikachu sobbing over the lost bottle clearly stuck with fans all over the world through the years.
It's always interesting to see what elements of a show stand the test of time. In Dark City, Pikachu's love of ketchup was essentially just a throwaway sight gag during some exposition, but through the years, it has become a fondly remembered aspect of Ash's Pikachu's character. Since the episode aired, a number of Pokemon products have been released giving Pikachu back his beloved ketchup bottle, including figures, plush toys, and even ketchup bottle toppers. A Japanese ketchup manufacturer even used the electric mouse during a promotion back in 2015!
With The Pokemon Company clearly well aware of the meme, it's interesting that Pikachu hasn't gotten more opportunities to consume ketchup. Of course, if it did, it might ruin the novelty that fans feel when Pikachu is shown with the condiment. Perhaps it truly is better as a treat.
Do you like it when the Pokemon anime shows Pikachu with ketchup? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!