Over the past couple of days, Pokémon fans have been sharing photos of their tattered Pikachu plushies online. Which is to say, I’ve been having a very good time lately indulging in a bounty of deformed Pikachu.
It all started when the Twitter account Out of Context Pokemon shared a screenshot of a post that appeared to be a storefront composed entirely of strange Pikachu toys. Polygon couldn’t find a source for the images, but regardless of whether this is a legit store, folks in the replies embraced the plushies.
Any one of these Pikachu would put Mimikyu to shame. Some, with their weird proportions, look like knockoffs. Others look like the result of some horrid lab accident somewhere and are missing entire body parts. But many are just worn down and have put in their time as beloved stuffed animals! Regardless of each one’s supposed “flaws,” they make me want to scoop them all up and love them.
While the post by itself is great, what makes this even better is that in the replies, folks started flooding the original tweet with photos of their own wonderful little babies. Turns out, abnormal Pikachu are weirdly common.
Perhaps the most horrifying one I found was this Pikachu, whose head is completely flipped around like an owl. It will truly haunt me in my dreams for years to come.
Some are just well-loved, as any Pikachu should be. I like this one because I swear it’s staring into infinity with its big black eyes.
This one was maybe ripped up by a pet? I don’t know, but its current state is weirdly relatable.
This one looks like it’s going to try and sell you illicit goods.
After poring over these works of art, I suddenly remembered my own childhood toys. So, I asked my mom to send me photos of my wonderful little goblins. The big one pictured in the lead image of this article is a permanent fixture of our basement and entryway, and greets every single person who comes to my family’s home.
I have this other Pikachu that’s orange that my mom ordered from a random Amazon vendor. I’ve only had him for four years, and he’s already busting a seam in his butt. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to lock him up in a storage unit — on video calls with sources for stories, all too often they would just want to talk about the giant Pikachu behind my head.
Leaving that aside, I actually do appreciate my stuffed Pikachu and people’s responses online. No matter which way you slice it, Pikachu is the best-known mascot for one of the biggest media franchises since the turn of the millennium. We see Pikachu the way The Pokémon Company wants us to see it. These stuffed animals are great, because I love seeing their beloved symbol all distorted and melted.
No matter what people say, I will always love these cursed little Pika babies.