In addition to the surprise reveal of New Pokémon Snap, this morning’s Pokémon broadcast also included an intriguing cameo from an all-black Pikachu plush, which hung out in the background while company president Tsunekazu Ishihara presented on stream. But don’t get too excited; it seems this was just an opportunity for Ishihara to show off some rare swag rather than a hint at an upcoming reveal.
Social media was almost immediately inundated with surprised responses to the mysterious Pikachu variant. Some thought the all-black design might be a teaser for a remake of Pokémon Colosseum, the villains of which used dark-hued Shadow Pokémon for their nefarious schemes. Others wondered if it was a small gesture to the Black Lives Matter movement. But most simply voiced a desire to purchase one of their very own.
In late 2018, The Pokémon Company partnered with Japanese brand Fragment Design on the Thunderbolt Project, a line of Pokémon-related clothing and accessories. This series included the all-black Pikachu design, which was produced as keychains as well as the full-sized plush seen in this morning’s broadcast. The plush dolls were reportedly only used for display and given away to staff after the event ended, making them both a hot item for collectors and a frequent target of bootlegging.
The collaboration also produced a furry variant of the all-black Pikachu that was sold in limited numbers.
The Pokémon Company plans to hold a stream on June 24 to show off more Pokémon projects. Perhaps the appearance of the all-black Pikachu had a hidden meaning that we won’t understand until next week. Or maybe someone over at The Pokémon Company just wanted to have a little fun with fans by taunting them with a rare piece of Pikachu memorabilia that they’ll never get to hug themselves.