The new Pokémon: TCG Celebrations set, which commemorates 25 years since the release of the trading card game, was released last month and besides the 25 new Pokémon cards featured in the set, several cards are centred around the game’s unofficial mascot, Pikachu.
Alongside the Pikachu V and V-Max cards, the Celebrations set includes a Pikachu V-union card which is made up of four separate Pokémon cards that must be played together in order to be used. When all four cards are played together, the player can put the enormous completed Pikachu V-union card into play, displaying all the different Pikachus featured in the artwork in all their glory.
Following the general theme of the Pokémon: TCG Celebration, there are 25 Pikachus found on the V-union card each based on a different iteration of the adorable electric mouse, including ones from the character’s original designer, Atsuko Nishida, and the creator of the beloved chubby Pikachu - Mitsuhiro Arita. In honour of the sweet little yellow friend we’ve decided to rank every single Pikachu featured on the V-union card.
25. Least interesting dive-bombing Pikachu (top right)
As the V-Union card’s background is incredibly ambiguous - this could likely be taking place in Heaven itself - it looks like there are a lot of dive-bombing Pikachus flying around on this in this one piece of artwork. Choosing between all of them is a little tricky, as they are rather similar, but I like this lighter toned one the least because its colours look faded .
24. A slightly more interesting dive-bombing Pikachu (top left)
This dive-bombing Pikachu has more shading and eyes that look like the ones you might find in a haunted doll, so I like it more than the previous.
23. Dive-bombing Pikachu, but reverse (top right)
Unlike its descending brethren, this dive-bombing Pikachu has chosen to shoot up rather than down, presumably to return to the right-hand side of the canonical Pokémon god, Arceus.
22. Shiny stubby Pikachu (top right)
A much more compact and aggressive cylindrical version of the character, this Pikachu looks like it could be from a film by CGI-animation studio Illumination - that’s the one that made Despicable Me. Considering that Illumination is set to make the upcoming animated Mario movie, this particular Pikachu is scarily closer to existing than anyone would like.
21. Chunky shiny Pikachu (bottom left)
This one has a similar look to the previous Pikachu except it’s a lot rounder and slightly less shiny, but the comparisons to a cheaply made animated film still apply here. I just like it more because it’s chunkier and, therefore, probably more pleasant to hold.
20. Dropped Pikachu (top left)
It looks like someone - possibly the aforementioned Pokémon god - just dropped this Pikachu, letting it plummet down to the earth. Kudos to the little buddy, they’re still smiling and waving all the way down to hell.
19. Cheeky little Pikachu (bottom left)
With its back facing the player this Pikachu is waving at us from over its shoulder, as if it knew we were admiring its chubby little form. The cheek pouches on this one are particularly plump...that’s the ones on its face, in case I needed to clarify.
18. Laughing Pikachu (bottom left)
We all know that Pikachu is a jolly ol’ Pokémon and loves a good laugh, but the Pikachu V-union card wanted to remind us of the rodent’s sense of humour by including a picture of it chuckling to itself, possibly in response to my terrible attempts to play the Pokémon: TCG.
17. Regretful Pikachu (top left)
This Pikachu gives off strong vibes of regret. The expression on its face clearly says that it did not intend to come plunging down into the middle of this riving horde of other Pikachu, but it’s certainly too late for this Pokémon to turn back now and it knows it.
16. Waving Pikachu (bottom right)
The pose this Pikachu has, of seemingly waving towards the onlooker, is undeniably cute and its body shape makes it look a little like an Animal Crossing villager, which would set Twitter ablaze with excitement if it ever actually happened.
15. Pikachu indoor skydiving (bottom left)
How this Pikachu is posed and the expression on its face makes it seem as if someone has chucked it into an indoor skydiving centre, like an alternative solution to the daycare found in the original video game series.
14. Dancing Pikachu (top right)
Hidden in the top right corner of the Pikachu V-union card is a little friend who loves to bust some moves. This Pikachu is poised to shimmy and get down, possibly with other dancing Pikachus or maybe a Bellassom or two.
13. Sassy Pikachu (bottom right)
Possibly the largest one on this card the pencil-drawn Pikachu in the bottom right looks like its ready to throw down with any tentacool stupid enough to try it. The shading on this Pikachu is actually really nice, so props to whichever artist created this image.
12. The Pikachu at the centre of the universe (middle)
In order to play the Pikachu V-union card players need to gather all four cards that - when fused together - form the complete V-union card. There is a Pikachu right smack bang in the middle of the Pikachu V-union card, which means that it’s various body parts have been spread across the four cards like pieces of a great key that open some mighty, Pikachu-shaped lock.
11. Smug Pikachu (top left)
This furry ball of electricity is very happy with itself indeed. Those closed eyes, the little secret smile and paw-paws tucked into the face, all of this is telling me that Pikachu has done something or knows something that we certainly don’t. Sneaky little sod.
10. Rub that Pikachu’s belly! (top right)
I’ve seen this pose being performed by a cat or dog many times, but not by a Pikachu before. On its back with its paws in the air, this Pikachu wants belly rubs and it wants it now. If only I could reach through this card to facilitate its adorable demands. If only!
9. Guilty Pikachu (bottom right)
In contrast, guilty Pikachu is curled up and seated. The belly is covered, possibly because of a desire to protect itself from a potential incoming scolding. Possessing an expression that would be best described with an utterance of “uh oh!”, this Pikachu has committed some sort of felony and must be punished accordingly.
8. Paper Mario Pikachu (top left)
This reference may well fly above most people’s heads, as it is neither Pokémon related nor tabletop gaming adjacent. However, for those that do know what I’m talking about, this Pikachu looks like it came straight out of the beloved Nintendo roleplaying game franchise Paper Mario and that’s cool!
7. I can be your angel, I can be your devil Pikachu (top right)
Yes, I am directly referencing an internet meme in this list. What did you honestly expect? Regardless, you could put this Pikachu in that meme of “I can be your angel or your devil” and it would work just fine.
6. Look what I drew Pikachu (bottom left)
I see you there little Pikachu. You’ve made a wonderful drawing and I’m so very proud of you. What a talented Pokémon you are! Have some rare candy.
5. Kickboxing Pikachu (top left)
You’d better not be getting in the way of this Pikachu because it looks like it took a lot of self-defense classes from Machop. Its expression is that angry but adorable look that a lot of the cuter Pokémon often sport. An absolute classic.
4. Parappa the Rappa Pikachu (bottom right)
Cue another obscure video game reference that even fewer people are likely to get. In the 1990s, Playstation published a series of rhythm-style video games starring a dog called Parappa the Rappa. Now seemingly consigned to the cursed world of internet memes, the resemblance that this Pikachu has to several of the characters in that series is uncanny.
3. Squishy Pikachu (bottom right)
This Pikachu is squishing its face up in a really cute way. That is all.
2. Uwu Pikachu (bottom left)
I don’t know if there’s meant to be greater meaning in this Pikachu but it’s using the uwu face - an expression of quiet cuteness communicated via typing in the letters uwu - and frankly that’s more than enough to have it rank highly on this list.
1. Angry Pikachu descends (bottom right)
God I love how this Pikachu looks. Not only is its expression a superior version of that angry-cute look I was talking about earlier, but it’s body shape is pleasantly puffy. It looks like a Pikachu pancake that’s about to land on your stupid Caterpie in a sublime body-slam that any of the coolest WWE wrestlers would be impressed by. (I don’t know any of them apart from John Cena, The Rock and The Undertaker.)