Perchance, are you familiar with my “New Content Approaching” series? If so, welcome to its rebranding as “Character Chronicle,” where I’ll continue to discuss intriguing characters in this medium. And our latest challenger hails from one of Nintendo’s premiere franchises.
Among Nintendo’s many properties, Pokémon is the most heterogeneous in terms of its cast; every new batch of Pokémon contains a plethora of colorful, multifarious creatures, all of whom will develop their own group of fans. And Game Freak’s artistic output remains as strong as ever, with one of their newest creatures earning a valued place on my team.
The public was introduced to Mimikyu through the July 2016 issue of CoroCoro. Bearing a unique Ghost/Fairy typing combination, Mimikyu seeks to shield itself from sunlight, and its hidden body is said to bring sickness to anyone unlucky enough to see it. As a pragmatist, Mimikyu wears a makeshift Pikachu costume to solve not only those problems, but also in hopes that using the mouse’s likeness will help it make friends. A trailer for Sun and Moon that premiered the following week divulged the ghoul’s English name and its distinctive Disguise ability. Certain Pokémon are destined to garner more acclaim than others, but the fanbase quickly became enamored with Mimikyu.
Within the world of Pokémon Sun and Moon, players likely first encountered the species through its Totem specimen on Ula’ula Island. Any wondering 11-year-olds partaking in the abandoned Thrifty Megamart challenge will encounter the critter throughout their expedition, mistaking it for a stray Pikachu. Trainers are warned “a pair of eyes” is observing them enter the store’s backroom – a room we later learn does not physically exist – in the Trial’s climax, discovering an obsessive shrine to the yellow mammal. Totem Mimikyu lurks behind the player, attacking upon having its picture taken. Brave Pokémon Trainers could afterwards re-enter the deserted supermarket should they desire to, and standard Mimikyu could be caught there. Mimikyu’s next appearance in the mainline series occurred in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, where it received its exclusive Z-Move, Let’s Snuggle Together.
The Pokémon Sun & Moon anime began airing on television alongside the launch of the games, bringing franchise stalwarts Ash, Pikachu, and Team Rocket to Alola. A Mimikyu debuted in the third episode, and Jessie caught it the following week. However, while ostensibly under her command, this Mimikyu is nevertheless a wild one; it periodically ignores Jessie’s orders, electing to focus on its deep loathing of Pikachu. Team Rocket’s Pokémon habitually depreciate in their combat prowess as time advances on, yet Jessie’s Mimikyu has consistently been portrayed as a threat, even serving as Ash and Pikachu’s opponent at Thrifty Megamart. Additionally, Ghost-type expert Acerola travels with a shiny Mimikyu, although hers is an actual ghost, meaning it’s intangible and cannot battle.
Of course, Pokémon’s portfolio expands well beyond its core games and the anime; it also spans a trading card game, the Pokémon Special manga, boundless merchandise, and side games like Detective Pikachu and Pokémon GO, with Mimikyu bearing a presence in all of the above. Appearing as a Support Pokémon in Pokkén Tournament DX is arguably its weightiest extracurricular activity thus far, and, as a further testament to the specter’s prevalence, it will appear in a similar capacity in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
So, what’re my thoughts on Mimikyu?
Pikachu is synonymous with the Pokémon brand, but its fame exceeds past the confines of this medium. Game Freak, always eager to ape their mouse, introduces at least one new mammalian Electric-type in every subsequent Pokémon generation, iterating on Pikachu’s pioneering design. None of those rodents have left the impact their forbear did, nor could they. The aptly classified Disguise Pokémon is almost a concession or deconstruction to this, admitting that such humdrum attempts to replicate Pikachu will never yield a character capable of duplicating its strength.
However, Mimikyu wants the adoration Pikachu recieves, hence its earnest efforts to simulate the corporate mascot we’re all familiar with. And, truthfully, Mimikyu’s plight is shockingly relatable; everyone has moments of insecurity, we all seek companionship, and we’ve all strived to emulate a successful role model. It anthropomorphizes these humane emotions, vulnerabilities it even softly sings about in its theme song. And it achieves all of this while it’s packaged in a strikingly indelible design. Mimikyu’s true black form is hidden from our gaze, giving it a disturbing mystique. Its creepy undertone is contrasted and accentuated by the quality of its rags; the Pikachu face scribbled on its “head” and the accoutrement it holds in lieu of a tail emit a childlike air of earnestness in their inept attempt to resemble Pikachu.
As for Jessie’s Mimikyu, it’s a disappointment its characterization veers so far from the typical, wholesome portrayal of its species, yet I nevertheless like it too. Seeing a Pokémon with a sometimes bloodthirsty, sometimes apathetic demeanor under the possession of a major cast member is refreshing, even if its one-note rivalry with Ash’s Pikachu can get tiring. But when it isn’t obsessing over its anathema, Mimikyu’s relationship with its teammates can be entertaining, especially its rapport with Meowth. It must have some sinister tendencies, seeing as how the chatty cat is often humorously speechless in fear over whatever Mimikyu is saying. I’ll miss it when it inevitably leaves Jessie’s party.
Pokémon Sun, Moon and their Ultra iterations will eventually be out of the spotlight, but Mimikyu never truly will be. It will be remembered as one of Alola’s stars, having left a mark on the Pokémon brand and in my heart.
Congratulations, Mimikyu! You earned my friendship!
Well, it’s been a while! I’m working on a few articles at the moment, so hopefully it won’t take months for me to procure my next scoop. I’m actually revisiting a dilapidated rehabilitation center I’ve been to before for one of my pieces. A giant brute stalked me the entire time I last journeyed through here, but this other guy sounds rather friendly…
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