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Does pikachu have a red tail?

Pikachu is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and recognizable Pokémon. With its bright yellow fur, red cheeks, pointy ears, and lightning bolt-shaped tail, Pikachu’s unique design has made it the face of the Pokémon franchise for over two decades.

But there has been some debate among fans about the actual color of Pikachu’s tail. While most depictions show Pikachu with a solid yellow, lightning-shaped tail, some images and games show Pikachu with a red tip at the end of its tail.

In this article, we’ll examine Pikachu’s tail across various Pokémon media to determine if Pikachu canonically has a red tail tip or if it’s just a common artistic interpretation.

Pikachu’s Tail in the Anime

In the Pokémon anime, Pikachu’s design remains consistent throughout the seasons. Ash’s loyal Pikachu companion has a short, blunt, lightning bolt-shaped yellow tail without any red coloring.

This is the Pikachu design that most fans are familiar with, as the anime has had the biggest influence in cementing Pikachu’s iconic look. The show sticks closely to Pikachu’s original game sprite, where its tail is completely yellow.

Pikachu’s Tail in the Games

Pikachu’s game sprites have evolved over time as graphics improved. But even from the early Pokémon Red and Blue days, in-game art has consistently shown Pikachu with an all yellow tail.

Game Pikachu Sprite
Pokémon Red/Blue Pikachu sprite from Pokémon Red/Blue
Pokémon Yellow Pikachu sprite from Pokémon Yellow
Pokémon Gold/Silver Pikachu sprite from Pokémon Gold/Silver

As the sprites increased in resolution and detail, Pikachu’s tail is clearly shown without any red coloring. Even modern 3D games like Pokémon Legends: Arceus consistently show Pikachu with an all yellow tail.

Pikachu’s Tail in the Trading Card Game

The Pokémon Trading Card Game features many different illustrated depictions of Pikachu over the years. Most cards portray Pikachu with a completely yellow tail.

However, some illustrators have taken artistic liberty and added red coloring to the tip of Pikachu’s tail.

Card Name Card Image
Pikachu (Base Set) Pikachu card from the Base Set
Pikachu (XY Evolutions) Pikachu card from the XY Evolutions set
Surfing Pikachu Surfing Pikachu promo card

The card artwork is left up to the illustrator’s imagination, so there is some diversity in Pikachu’s tail color across different cards. However, the majority of cards keep to Pikachu’s canonical all yellow tail.

Pikachu’s Tail in Manga and Books

There are many Pokémon manga and book adaptations, with illustrations by different artists. Once again, most stick to the established all yellow tail design.

But a few take creative license and add a red tip to Pikachu’s tail. For example, in the Electric Tale of Pikachu manga, Pikachu is sometimes depicted with a red tail tip.

Media Image
Pokémon Adventures Manga Pikachu in Pokémon Adventures manga
Detective Pikachu Movie Detective Pikachu from the movie

The official Pokémon books and manga stay true to Pikachu’s original design. The more stylized manga and movie adaptations take some artistic liberties with Pikachu’s tail color.

Merchandise and Toys

There is a massive amount of Pokémon merchandise featuring everyone’s favorite mascot, Pikachu. Everything from plushies to keychains to clothing features images of Pikachu.

Most licensed Pokémon merchandise keeps Pikachu’s tail completely yellow. However, there are exceptions where the tip of its tail is red or other colors.

Product Type Image
Pikachu Plush Pikachu plush doll
Pikachu Hat Pikachu hat merch
Pikachu Figure Pikachu figure with red tail

Some merchandise like figures and apparel may take creative liberties with Pikachu’s tail for stylistic reasons. But most stick to the iconic solid yellow tail that fans know and love.

Why Do Some Depictions Show a Red Tail?

Looking at Pikachu’s portrayal across various Pokémon media, it’s clear there is no definitive canon source that gives Pikachu a red-tipped tail. However, many fans have come to associate Pikachu with having a red tail tip.

There are a few possible reasons why this notion persists:

  • Early game sprite limitations made colors hard to distinguish, leading some to perceive a red tip.
  • Certain manga, movies and merchandise have added red tail tips for artistic interpretation.
  • The red cheeks and lightning bolt shape naturally lead the eye to assume the tip is red.
  • Mandela effect – collective false memories of Pikachu’s design among fans.

So while the canonical evidence suggests Pikachu’s tail is all yellow, the perception of the red-tipped tail has still embedded itself in the minds of the Pokémon fanbase.


After reviewing numerous official sources and depictions of Pikachu over the years, there is no definitive proof that Pikachu has a red tail. The main anime, games, cards and manga all point to Pikachu having an all yellow, lightning bolt-shaped tail without any red coloring.

The likely source of the misconception is a combination of early ambiguous game sprites, some creative liberties taken in merchandise and media depictions, and collective false memories among fans (the “Mandela effect”).

While it’s a common belief, when examining the facts, the consensus is clear – Pikachu’s iconic tail in the Pokémon franchise is canonoically all yellow without any red tip. But fans are, of course, still free to imagine Pikachu however they please!