Japan to take Pokémon star Pikachu to World Cup

The Rio Report

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Pikachu unveiled at Friday's official conference (IGN)

Japan have named their official mascot for the summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

It’s Pikachu.

Yes, THAT Pikachu.

The animated ‘electric mouse’ is the figurehead of the hugely-successful Pokémon video game franchise, and Adidas, official apparel sponsor of the Japanese football team, confirmed this week they had reached an agreement for Pikachu and 10 other Pokémon characters to lead ‘The Blue Samurai’ into action in South America.

Joining Pikachu will be four other characters many would stand a chance of recognising. Meowth, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle were all part of the original series of Pokémon games – Red, Blue and Yellow – and like Pikachu also feature heavily in other ventures, such as films and cartoons.

In addition, six Pokémon from the latest video games – X and Y – will take part in the promotional campaign: Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie, Pancham, Helioptile, and Litleo.

No, those names mean nothing to us, either.

But, to Japan and Adidas’ collective credit, the sight of Pikachu and his original series friends will certainly raise a few eyebrows in June and July.

Reports that Italy are set to counter by naming Mario and Luigi as official joint-mascots, however, are for the time being unconfirmed.

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