- This article is about Pikachu's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For this Pokémon in other contexts, see Pikachu. For information about Pikachu's clone, see Pichu (SSBM).
||A Pokémon that excels at clever fighting.
|—Description from Melee's manual.
Announced at E3 2001, Pikachu (ピカチュウ, Pikachū) is a Pokémon and starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Like Kirby and Ness, Pikachu was nerfed from the original to Melee, albeit not as strongly.
Pikachu ranks 10th on the current tier list, in the A tier. Pikachu, while nerfed, is still a potent fighter; it has very good speed and plenty of KO options, as it owns the strongest up smash in the game and a quick semi-spike. It also has a very long, safe, and versatile recovery. However, Pikachu is strongly held back by a bad range, with its best finishers having hitboxes very close to its body; coupled with poor options in the air and a short wavedash, Pikachu overall has a poor approach.
In general character archetypes, Pikachu generally stands as a small fighter with good speed; Pikachu has medium falling speed, very good dashing speed (fourth highest in the game), high traction and below average air speed. As a result of average falling speed and high traction gives it a short wavedash; average falling speed, however, gives Pikachu decent SHFFL potential. Due to its small size, Pikachu is also rather resistant to shield stabbing.
Pikachu, despite being fast, has plenty of powerful attacks in its arsenal; its forward and up smashes are among the most powerful in the game (with its up being the most powerful), and it has special moves with KO potential (Thunder and Skull Bash). In the air, Pikachu also has good options for edgeguarding, due to some moderately fast aerials with special properties (such as its up air, which acts as a semi-spike, and its down, which has decent horizontal knockback); Pikachu itself can be difficult to edgeguard, as Quick Attack moves very quickly, grants good distance and it can have a very unpredictable path, making Pikachu very resilient to edgeguarding.
Pikachu also has a very good variety of special attacks, all of which can be seamlessly integrated into gameplay. Its Thunder Jolt is among the most flexible projectiles in the game, due to its ground-hugging properties; with low knockback and decent hitstun as well, it can set up combos on the ground, and it can also interrupt some recoveries. Skull Bash can double as an offensive attack with high power when charged, and in the air, it can act as a decent horizontal recovery option. While Quick Attack has little offensive application, the ability to change its directions and its speed gives Pikachu a long and unpredictable recovery. Thunder, despite its high ending lag, can act as a combo finisher or as a KO move off-stage.
Pikachu's air and grab games are also rather good; Pikachu has multiple options in the air. Due to a lack of KO potential in the air, Pikachu's aerials have good combo ability. Pikachu's grab game has both low and medium knockback throws, most of which deal good damage; its up and down throw can be used to set up combos, while its back throw can easily send opponents off the edge, allowing Pikachu to begin edgeguarding.
Pikachu's primary flaw, however, is its poor range, with almost all of its best finishers being too close to its body to allow them to be used safely. While its forward smash has a disjointed hitbox, Pikachu's best KO options are directly next to it, notably Thunder and its up smash. Thunder Jolt cannot KO reliably at any percentage, and Skull Bash is rather predictable, and it requires a charge to pack any sort of power; additionally, Pikachu's relatively flexible grab and throw game is severely hampered by a very short grab range (the shortest in the game). Pikachu's air options are also poor; none of its aerial attacks can effectively KO except at very high percentages, close to the blast lines. The sole exception is its up aerial; like its ground-based attacks, however, it has high power but low range, hampering its effectiveness.
Pikachu is also harmed by a poor approach. Due to very long-lasting aerials with moderately high ending lag, an average falling speed and a rather high short hop, Pikachu has a poor SHFFL. Pikachu's ground approach fares no better, as outlined earlier, due to poor range in its attacks; a short and slow wavedash also prevents Pikachu from potentially improving its range via wavesmashing, unlike characters such as Luigi or Marth. Additionally, due to its light weight and below average air speed, Pikachu is very easy to juggle and chainthrow; Sheik, for instance, can easily chaingrab Pikachu from zero-to-death in the NTSC version.
For a gallery of Pikachu's hitboxes, see here.
||An extremely quick headbutt. Does very minimal damage, and has short range. This attack can be canceled into itself with two frames between possible inputs, so it can be mashed for a quick series of headbutts.
||Plants itself on its upper paws and kicks its lower paws in front of its body. This attack can be angled up and down as well. This move has surprising range, and the hitbox is out for nearly the whole duration of its animation. Can be used as a defensive attack, or for an edgeguard. It is best used as a counter to SHFFLing characters, as it will almost always interrupt their approach. Low damage, low knockback.
||Swings its tail above its body in an arc. This attack is hard to set up, as it has low range. The knockback works well for juggling and combos well however, as it sends opponents upward. Low damage, low knockback.
||Sweeps its tail in front of itself. This move has decent range, low knockback, and low damage. However, it doesn't have a lot of lag and hits rather low. This can be used as an edgeguard against characters with a linear and/or predictable recovery, though there are better options.
||Jumps forwards, headbutting. While it does have some knockback, it is rather laggy and leaves Pikachu vulnerable (it is particularly easy to shield grab).
||Rears back, then ejects an attached jolt of electricity in front from its cheeks. A powerful attack that can evade some attacks with the initial animation. Has decent range. The hitbox is disjointed, which makes it a wise choice for edgeguarding.
||Does a backflip. This is the strongest up smash in the game in terms of knockback, is extremely quick with decent range, and is one of the strongest smash attacks. Pikachu's up smash is extremely versatile, whether it be setting up juggles or going for a quick low percent KO. Is also good for shield stabbing.
||Spins around in place repeatedly, while surrounded with electricity. This is a multi-hit attack that comes out very quickly. Easily used from a successful crouch cancel, and sets up for an aerial at lower percentages.
||Curls up in a ball and does somersaults in the air. This is a versatile aerial, as it does decent damage, decent knockback, and comes out very quickly. A generic use-anywhere aerial.
||8% if all hits connect
||Does a barrel roll in the air, emitting sparks. This has multiple hits with minimal damage. This has more horizontal range than any of Pikachu's aerials. The move, however, has little knockback.
||Spins in a manner similar to its down smash. Decent range, damage and knockback, however it lags noticeably if missed, especially if Pikachu lands.
||Swiftly swings its tail above itself in an arc. Extremely quick with low knockback, this can be used to juggle opponents repeatedly. Also, if hit with the tip of the tail at certain points during the arc, this will send opponents far at a nasty semi-spike angle similar to Sheik's forward aerial. This trajectory can be achieved even at low percentages. This attack makes edgeguarding a breeze against predictable, linear, and/or slow recoveries. An essential attack for controlling the match.
||Does a barrel roll, like its forward aerial, except it is facing the ground. Unlike the fair, this does one hit in the air, and an extra hit upon landing if the animation is still going when Pikachu lands. The aerial hit does decent damage and has good knockback, more so than the neutral aerial. The hit upon landing has far lower knockback and stun. This attack lags significantly more than the neutral aerial however, and has noticeable startup lag.
||3% per pummel
||Zaps the opponent.
||Places the opponent on its back and shocks them, sending them forward. This throw is multi-hit, and has low knockback. The only use for this throw is to build damage if no other throw setups are available, which is a rare situation.
||Does backwards somersaults with the opponent, then flings them behind itself. Has decent knockback, and is best used near an edge so as to get maximum range from the throw.
||Places the opponent on its head, then headbutts them upward. This throw can chaingrab fastfallers, and at high percentages it is a useful combo move, as it can easily lead into an up smash or up aerial.
||Places the opponent on the ground, then jumps on them. This is a good move against lightweights (like Jigglypuff) at low percentages, as it can lead into a up smash for a low percent KO. This throw is more easily DIed than the up throw.
|Floor attack (front)
||6% (can just barely hit for 3%)
||Whirls around, tail extended.
|Floor attack (back)
||6% (can just barely hit for 3%)
||Whirls around, tail extended.
|Edge attack (fast)
||Quickly does a cartwheel onto the stage.
|Edge attack (slow)
||Slowly climbs up and whips its tail.
||7% (ground), 10% (aerial)
||Pikachu's main projectile. Fires a jolt of electricity forward. It travels forward while bouncing along the ground, and can also travel up walls, below the edge, and along ceilings. If used in the air, it will travel diagonally down instead. Disappears after around 3 seconds. Can be used to gimp certain recoveries.
||4% (uncharged) - 29% (fully charged)
||Charges and, when the B button is released, fires itself forward like a missile. When fully charged or close to fully charged, it has KO power. The move can also be used to extend Pikachu's recovery, though it does have some lag. On the ground, the attack has rather high lag and is easy to shield grab (similar to dash attack).
||3% (first warp), 2% (second warp)
||Moves at warp speed in two directions that can be selected via the Control Stick. Pikachu's main recovery move, and a quick, unpredictable move at that. The second warp is optional, but if used, the direction must be 45 degrees different than the first direction to work. However, new developments suggest that it may be possible to move in the same direction twice - moving up twice can possibly be performed by tilting the Control Stick left, right, or down ever so slightly on frame 22 or 23. The move can be used to warp to the ledge to set up an edgehog, though if not done correctly, Pikachu will be left helpless.
||17% (shockwave around Pikachu), 10% (bolt)
||Shouts "PIKA!", then a large thunderbolt comes down on Pikachu. The move in general is rather laggy, but if the opponent is hit by the shockwave around Pikachu when the thunderbolt lands on it, it deals massive horizontal knockback. If the opponent is hit by the bolt itself, it deals moderate vertical knockback, which can KO off the top screen (referred to as Thunderspiking - can be set up with an up smash). It is also possible for the bolt to not hit Pikachu, by moving in the air after using the move.
 Notable players
- See also: Category:Pikachu professionals (SSBM)
 Tier placement and history
Pikachu was originally a low-mid to low tier character; many professionals thought Pikachu's heavy power, speed, and combo ability nerf from Super Smash Bros. was unmanageable, and that it had lost all of its viability in the transition to Melee. Axe would prove this thought wrong, however, as he showed how powerful Pikachu was at pressuring the enemy, especially at edgeguarding (due to Pikachu's notorious up aerial semi-spike). He also showed how powerful Pikachu was up close, despite its problems in approaching the enemy efficiently. Axe, and a handful of other dedicated Pikachu players such as Chad, would eventually bring Pikachu up to the mid-high tiers, where it ranks now in 10th place.
 Changes from Smash 64 to Melee
When making to the transition to Melee, Pikachu was nerfed, similar to Ness and Kirby. Unlike the two, however, Pikachu still remains a viable competitive fighting force, sitting at the 10th position on the tier list.
- New neutral aerial is more powerful and has faster start-up.
- Forward smash is stronger; from among the more average-powered side smashes to being the fifth most powerful forward smash in the game.
- Up smash is significantly more powerful; it is the most powerful up smash in the game and is overall the second most powerful smash attack in Melee.
- New down smash has more combo potential due to it having lower knockback and sending foes at a vertical-diagonal angle.
- New back aerial has faster start-up and a longer duration.
- Up aerial can now semi-spike, making it a slightly more effective edgeguarder.
- Thunder Jolt will continue to hug and traverse platforms once it passes the edge of the platform.
- Skull Bash gives Pikachu an additional horizontal recovery and KO option.
- Quick Attack now does damage, and has faster startup.
- Generally more vulnerable to combos and chaingrabs.
- The range of its attacks in general has been decreased.
- Air speed is significantly slower, from the second fastest in Smash 64 to below average in Melee.
- Grab range reduced to being the shortest in Melee.
- New back aerial has significantly less knockback and heavily increased ending lag and landing lag, plus is no longer a combo, edgeguarding, or KO option.
- Quick Attack travels slightly shorter, can no longer be extended by allowing the control stick to snap back to its neutral position, and has had most of its invincibility frames removed.
- Thunder no longer has infinite vertical range and now strikes at a fixed height from a thundercloud. It is also much slower and more laggy, which when combined with the generally faster falling speeds in Melee, makes Thunderspiking more difficult to perform and generally much less effective.
- Back throw moved to forward throw.
In terms of cosmetic changes, Pikachu received new voice samples that are higher pitched and more energetic. Pikachu's taunt was also altered slightly, and it now has different palette swaps; green gives it a cowboy hat, while the red palette swap gives it a cap similar to the cap Red would wear in Pokémon Red/Green/Blue. It now has a new special move, Skull Bash.
 In single-player modes
In Classic Mode, Pikachu can appear in one-on-one matches, team battles as an ally or alongside Pichu, Kirby or Jigglypuff, in a multi-character fight, and as a metal opponent in the mode's penultimate stage. Pikachu's stage is Pokémon Stadium; when fought with Kirby in the team battle, it will appear on Green Greens instead.
Pikachu appears in Stage 7 of the Adventure Mode. In its stage, the player must fight eight separate Pikachu's on Pokémon Stadium similar to the Classic Mode's team battle; if Jigglypuff and Pichu are unlocked, they can also appear in the team. In this stage, the only items to spawn are Poké Balls.
In All-Star Mode, Pikachu and its allies are fought on Pokémon Stadium.
Pikachu appears in multiple Event Matches:
- Event 7: Pokémon Battle: In this event match, the player faces off against Pikachu on Pokémon Stadium; both the player and Pikachu have two lives. However, ordinary attacks do not harm it. Players must use Pokémon that appear from Pokéballs on the stage to damage and KO Pikachu.
- Event 30: All-Star Match 3: Pikachu is the second opponent fought in this series of staged battles. The selected character battles it on the Pokémon Stadium stage with a stock of 2 while Pikachu has 1. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat it and the other three characters one-by-one with the overall time and damage: Kirby, Ness and the Ice Climbers.
- Event 48: Pikachu and Pichu: In this match, the player must fight against a team of two Pichu and one Pikachu. The goal is for the player to KO the two Pichu in the shortest time possible; Pikachu has infinite lives, while the player has two and the Pichu have one. The stage used in Dream Land, making the event the only one in the game to take place on a Past Stage.
 Ending images
 Trophy descriptions
In addition to the normal trophy about Pikachu as a character, there are two trophies about it as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star Modes respectively with Pikachu on any difficulty:
- Pikachu (Smash Red):
- While its electrical attacks, such as Thunder Jolt, are powerful, Pikachu is at its best speeding around the fray and waiting for its chance to strike. You can control the path of Pikachu's two-directional Quick Attack, allowing you to jump twice. Hold down the B Button to charge up Skull Bash. (B: Thunder Jolt, Smash B: Skull Bash)
- Pikachu (Smash Blue):
- The angle of the Control Stick controls the direction of Pikachu's Quick Attack. Pikachu will move blindingly fast, and it will also cause damage to any character it runs into. Move the Control Stick during Quick Attack and Pikachu will move in up to two directions. Be sure to check out the ceilings on the level when you use Thunder. (Up & B: Quick Attack, Down & B: Thunder)
Pikachu's changeable clothing in SSBM
- Pikachu can cancel its taunt into any attack or into its shield after the 60th frame (immediately after it starts its second wave). This can be used to trick opponents.