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Character Chronicle: Mimikyu

Special thanks to Wolfman for helping with edits, and Voyager for providing emotional support.

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.

Ken Sugimori artwork of Mimikyu

Ken Sugimori artwork of Mimikyu (Image: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company)

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.

Mimikyu’s History

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.

Totem Mimikyu in Pokémon Sun and Moon

Alola’s Ghost-type trial was its most satisfying one. Channeling supernatural folklore by forcing you to photograph the ghosts was nifty, but meeting Totem Mimikyu was the apex. (Image: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company)

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.

Mimikyu in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

While Mimikyu will skip the Kanto-centric Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee, I know I’ll catch one in the forthcoming 2019 titles. (Image: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company)

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.

Pikachu and Mimikyu in the Pokémon Sun and Moon anime

Game Freak appropriating Pikachu’s fame into Mimikyu is also a nice homage given how Sun and Moon commemorated the multimedia franchise’s twentieth anniversary. (Image: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company)

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!

Catching a Pokémon at Thrifty Megamart in Sun and Moon

Mimikyu really resonates with me; it’s my favorite Pokémon from its generation and, by extension, one of my all-time favorites. (Image: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company)

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…

Outlast Screenshot Dr. Trager

“You made the right choice, here, buddy.”

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Cart Boy

Cart Boy wants to be the very best. Like no one ever was. He also occasionally contributes an article here when the stars align properly, and he helps out with editing and Source Gaming’s Facebook page.
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6 comments
  1. A good write up, Mimikyu is such a fascinating pokemon and I’m a big fan of it, good job!

    DustyPumpkin on October 12 |
    • Hey, thanks, Dusty! I know you share my love for Mimikyu, so I’m glad you enjoyed my tribute to it.

      Cart Boy on October 12 |
  2. Wassup! Long time no see! Sorry for commenting this late, been busy with my job so badly that I could hardly come home now these days…eventually I’ve been coming back home every midnight, the schedule is messed up as abnormal. This is why I didn’t have a chance to comment on Layers of Fear; the comment section has already been closed as I was too late. Thinking of quitting this job since it’s too unhealthy to me. But anyways, lets start commenting on this creepy Halloween-type Pokemon!

    Mimikkyu is an interesting Pokemon when I first saw it through trailers. A mysterious Pokemon who disguised as Pikachu, as it admires its sempai as it wanna get loved by others. I thought it was so cute, even with its theme song which I fell in love with. I never felt anything scary about this creature, as I’ve seen many fanarts of Mimikkyu’s heart warming relationship with the protagonist.

    I never understand about it’s alternation in the anime. Using the Pikachu outfit as a sign of hatred toward the actual Pikachu? Like…exactly why? What did the Pikachu do to Mimikkyu? But of course, just like AshGreninja’s case, the anime staffs will NEVER answer such question as they’ll keep it secret for eternity. But due to this setting, many fans start to speculate, which eventually becomes an urban legend, that Mimikkyu might be Porygon, who was killed by the anime staffs because of the infamous “Pokemon Shock Incident”. You know…one episode which Porygon appeared for the first time in the anime, created a red/blue flash that brought viewers sickness (while several died eventually), and lead the show to be cancelled about a year or so. While Pikachu’s the one who created the deadly flash, the anime staffs framed Porygon instead, wiping Porygon and their evolution lines off the anime series entirely. Many fans speculated that Porygon’s spirit has turned into Mimikkyu, which explains why it hates Pikachu so badly. While many denied this case, I thought it would be interesting to bring this up here.(lol)

    But it does make me wonder what underneath that costume. Just like how Luigi saw Shyguy’s face in fear, Meowth’s the only one who’ve seen its true identity, so maybe it’s not that good. But eventually, we’ll never know.(lol)

    Mimikkyu being in Smash Ultimate is a great thing, but sadly it didn’t become playable. If it wasn’t for Vergeben’s info, maybe nobody would’ve become disappointed for the result. But even then, I’m glad to see Mimikkyu joining Smash in some form.

    And that’s about it! While I don’t know who’s coming next, I’ll be looking forward for it! Only if I have time though…

    zoniken on October 27 |
    • Hey, zoniken! Always great to hear from you, buddy. Sorry for my own tardy response, and I’m sorry to hear about your irregular hours. I hope your situation improves.

      I instantly warmed up to Mimikyu when I first saw it, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who did. All of the heartwarming fanart depicting it just cemented it as an all-time favorite. I knew I’d need to catch one and keep it on my team, though I was slightly disappointed when I got Sun and learned I’d need to wait until I was on the third main island before I could catch one.

      I almost mentioned the Porygon theory because I like it even if I doubt Game Freak was thinking of that infamous episode when designing Mimikyu. I do find the idea that a vengeful Porygon wanted to mimic Pikachu’s form out of spite for its species’ 21-year animation ban amusing, however. At least its species has had odd cameos here and there, I guess! But, yeah, I do wonder why the anime staff wrote Jessie’s Mimikyu to be so different from its species’ standard characterization. I guess not every Mimikyu thinks alike?

      Gotta admit, Mimikyu was the Pokémon newcomer I was rooting for. I never thought it was all too likely, but at least it gets to be a classy Poké Ball summon. Besides, Sun and Moon had a lot of nice creatures to pull from, and I like Incineroar too.

      In case you missed it, the next piece is out. It’s a return to Outlast, which I recall is a game you’re unfamiliar with. All of the “Character Chronicle” articles I’m currently working on concern franchises more likely to resonate with Source Gaming‘s audience, although the specific character I teased in Trager’s article may not end up being who comes next. Now I feel a little bad about teasing her…

      Cart Boy on November 5 |
  3. […] rock body makes it naturally look like a tree, and it can even learn a move called Mimic. But while Mimikyu is not the most fitting, it’s by far the most Halloween themed one. It’s a creepy, horrifying […]

  4. […] he wasn’t the only Variant there who caught my eye. So, in the spirit of October, we’re leaving one spook to examine […]