The Electric Tale of Pikachu (Japanese: ポケットモンスター・電撃ピカチュウ Pocket Monsters: Dengeki Pikachu) is a four-volume Pokémon manga series made by Toshihiro Ono and serialized in CoroCoro. It is loosely based on the Pokémon anime.
The manga follows the overall plot of the Pokémon: Indigo League and Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands seasons of the anime. However, the story is not very sequential, as only a few select anime episodes were picked to be adapted into manga form. The manga concludes with Ash’s victory in the Orange League.
The Pokémon illustrations in this manga are not based on the official artwork by Ken Sugimori, and so many appear to be more/less stylized in comparison.
Differences between the anime and the manga
- The characters are the same as in the anime, although characters differ between versions in significant ways. Ash does a significant amount of traveling on his own, although Misty and Brock appear frequently as traveling companions.
- Many main and recurring characters own Pokémon that they do not own in the anime, such as Ash’s Fearow.
- Occasionally, a story from the anime will be adapted to the manga but will be altered slightly. For example, in Play Misty For Me, Ash battles Misty for the Cascade Badge just like in the anime; however, she challenges him to retrieve his hat from her rather than a traditional battle.
- Sabrina is shown as a kind, caring person, unlike in other depictions where she is shown as cold and indifferent to others.
- Unlike in the anime, Gary Oak is shown to have a sister named May Oak.
- Jessie and James are canonically confirmed as a couple in this manga: they are shown to be married at the end of volume four.
- Captured Pokémon are assigned “ranks” based on their rarity. Rank D Pokémon (such as Mankey) are the most common, while Rank A Pokémon (such as Clefairy) are the rarest.
- Ash’s clothes differ in this manga from time to time.
The Electric Tale of Pikachu was the first Pokémon manga to be translated officially into English, making its debut in sampler editions included with home video releases of the Pokémon anime and subsequently released in full as sixteen monthly issues. These sixteen monthly issues were treated as four separate series, each consisting of four issues, and ran from November 1998 through February 2000. When the issues were collected for their graphic novels, each volume was named for their four-issue arc: The Electric Tale of Pikachu, Pikachu Shocks Back, Electric Pikachu Boogaloo and Surf’s Up, Pikachu. The VIZ graphic novels do not mention any volume numbers or relation to each other, as each volume is titled as though it is a separate series.
The manga was heavily promoted by VIZ Media and was featured in several commercial advertisements. Aside from the promotional home video samplers, a collection was also released featuring the first two chapters entitled the Special Signature Edition Red Version. This special edition was included with a Pokémon Video Suitcase promotional set. A second edition, the Special Signature Edition Blue Version, which contains the second two chapters of the same series, was included with a second Pokémon Video Suitcase set.