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Video Game / Detective Pikachu

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Eat your heart out, Detective Conan.

A Spin-Off Pokémon game released for the Nintendo 3DS and is notable for being the final Pokémon game to be released for the 3DS family, otherwise known as Meitantei Pikachu: Shin Konbi Tanjyou (literally, Great Detective Pikachu ~Birth of a New Duo~), this "cinematic adventure game" stars a "smug, talking, lovable, detective Pikachu" who teams up with a young boy named Tim Goodman to solve crimes.

Mysterious incidents of Pokémon going into rampages in Ryme City have happened for over a year now, and Tim Goodman's father Harry Goodman was the lead detective getting to the source of the incidents until he went missing, with only his Pikachu being found at the scene where Harry had a car accident. In the present time, Tim himself decides to investigate his father's disappearance and partners up with Pikachu, whom he finds out behaves much differently than when he used to and can talk human language, though only Tim is able to understand Pikachu's cries. Can the two uncover the truth behind the incidents, why Harry went missing, and what caused Pikachu to lose his memories and gain the ability to talk?

The official Japanese trailer for the video game can be seen here. It was released on the country's Nintendo eShop on February 3, 2016. An expanded version of the game received an international release, including North America and Europe, on March 23, 2018, which also saw the release of a rather large Detective Pikachu amiibo. In addition, Detective Pikachu appears as a Spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. produced a Live-Action Adaptation called Pokémon Detective Pikachu, with Rob Letterman directing and him and Nicole Perlman writing the screenplay and Ryan Reynolds voicing Detective Pikachu. The film was released on May 10, 2019. It's one of the few official live-action American-made media in the Pokémon franchise after Pokémon Live!, which was based on the anime.

A sequel for the Nintendo Switch, entitled Detective Pikachu Returns, was initially announced during the Pokémon 2019 Press Conference on May 28th, 2019 before being formally unveiled on June 21, 2023 and released on October 6, 2023.

This game contains the following tropes:

  • Adults Are Useless: When Tim arrives, the police haven't figured out any information about what caused Harry's disappearance, Detective Baker tries to discourage Tim from investigating on his own, and Lieutenant McMaster is too much of a hothead to be of any use. Ultimately, it's subverted. When Tim's investigation at PCL ends with a confession from Carlos, Baker and Inspector Holiday offer Tim their assistance, and McMaster proves valuable in the final chapter. Holiday even comments that it would've been easier for Tim to just sit by if they had made any progress on their own.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Mewtwo tells Tim that he'll find his father someday, and Tim and Pikachu resolve to continue working on cases together.
  • Art Shift: The Pokémon designs have stayed the same, but the humans have shifted to a Disneyesque style, with no people with Anime Hair in sight.
  • Big Bad: Roger Clifford is the Man Behind the Man to Keith Norman in the plot to spread R.
  • Black Market: The S. S. Prime Treasure hosts an exclusive auction which deals in stolen goods.
  • A Bloody Mess: Subverted. The second half of the very first case has a crime scene with an Aipom with its tail-hand covered in what looks like blood. It would be really shocking if it wasn't for the facts that the Aipom actually covered its tail-hand in ketchup earlier, it's holding a Tamato Berry, and that it's actually just unconscious.
  • A Boy and His X: A boy and his Pokémon, although with a twist on the usual formula: The human is the one assisting the Pokémon, instead of the other way around.
  • The Cameo: It's hinted that the Pikachu briefly seen in Chapter 3 is Ash's Pikachu.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Detective Pikachu apparently has a weakness for beautiful human women. He's prone to winking at them and asking them on dates.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Chapter 6's culprit Max Warhol's whole reason to steal Carina's prized violin for money was so that he had a backup plan for him to avoid heavy losses from losing his job at GNN due to his low ratings, but then he is told the executives never, ever thought about firing him and wanted to keep him around anyway.
  • Covers Always Lie: Pikachu only wears that cape for a single "Pika Prompt" in Chapter 8, and that's only if you managed to win it in the auction.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It's shown in a Dream Sequence that Detective Pikachu was once a regular Pikachu with an owner (Tim's father, Harry Goodman) who looked after him, until one fateful day they were both caught in a car crash.
  • Detective Animal: A tiny, rodent-like Pokémon that solves crimes.
  • Disappeared Dad: Detective Pikachu's previous owner, and Tim's father, Harry Goodman, went missing after the car crash, and their goal is to find him.
  • Disneyesque: Instead of the anime-style humans in most other Pokémon media, the humans here look like they came from a Pixar or CGI Disney film.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Amanda has a boat license, which is convenient to get to Cappuci Island. Unfortunately she's fairly reckless when it comes to boating, which causes Detective Pikachu and Tim to get a bit seasick.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the opening cutscene, Tim passes Meiko (who you first meet in Chapter 2) on the subway stairs.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: As the Big Bad of the incidents is using his R-enhanced Noivern to destroy the R machine and spill its contents on the parade outside, Pikachu, implied to be under some of its residual effects, unleashes an epic Thunderbolt at the Noivern, knocking both it and its trainer out.
  • Episodic Game: The initial Japanese release on the Nintendo E-Shop is only around five or so hours in length, but ended with a To Be Continued notice. The full game is three times as long, but it ends with plenty of loose ends that don't get addressed.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When all the evidence comes together, Pikachu or Tim will declare, "A bolt of brilliance!"
  • Excuse Plot: Chapter 6's case has no bearing to the actual main plot of the game and it is kind of there to give you something to do while Meiko goes to get the video tape for the Fine Park parade footage. However, the case ends up proving crucial later on in identifying key characters.
  • Expy: Roger Clifford strongly resembles Bill Lumbergh.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Much like Unova, Ryme City is inspired by large American cities. Which region Ryme City is located in isn't mentioned, but Alola can be ruled out as the Gen VII Pokémon that appear in these games are seen as "exotic".
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Detective Pikachu prefers walking on his hind legs, instead of on all fours. This has a downside of making him much slower.
  • Great Detective: Apart from being a one and a half foot tall electric rodent, Detective Pikachu is the character archetype.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: A Pokémon game just isn't complete without this trope. In this game's case, it's the Pika Prompts, which are small videos of Detective Pikachu interacting with Tim and other Pokémon. Some are generic responses while others are chapter-specific. There are 158 of them in total and it is unlikely that you'll see all of them in a single playthrough on the first try. The Detective Pikachu amiibo can allow you to access videos in played chapters that you missed.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Beyond the first chapter, nearly every Pokémon-related incident can be traced to a human perpetrator. Mewtwo gets a particularly menacing scene late in the game that establishes that he agrees with the trope's sentiment.
  • Inspector Lestrade: While most of the police and detectives in this game are helpful, Lt. Brad McMaster jumps squarely into this role, particularly in Chapter 4.
  • Mistaken Identity: In Chapter 3, Tim sees a Pikachu that he thinks is Detective Pikachu, but is surprised to see he's not wearing his hat and is talking in Pokémon Speak. Then, the actual Detective Pikachu shows up, and is chagrined that Tim mistook a regular Pikachu for him.
  • Motion Capture: How Detective Pikachu was conceived in development.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Noodle Incident: Harry's disappearance ends up being this, as no one else other than Mewtwo knows where he went after his car accident.
  • Oddball in the Series: It's undeniable that it's one of the odder spin-off games to come out of the Pokémon franchise. That alone is enough reason for people's interest to be piqued. Also, the game's use of Motion Capture.
    • And, to a lesser extent, this game, unlike the rest of the franchise, averts Only One Name for the human characters, each one being given a full first and last name.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Keith Norman isn't as scatterbrained as he is shown to be: he is actually the cause of the R breakouts.
  • Odd Friendship: Minccino (a small, fluffy chinchilla) and Garbodor (a giant Poison-type made of trash). Since Minccino is the scientific facility's janitor, she finds spare pieces of trash for Garbodor to eat.
  • Older Than They Look: Tim Goodman looks like and is described as a young boy, but he's at least old enough to drive. Which is a good thing since Detective Pikachu can't reach the gas pedal... He's likely in his later teen years as Baker mentioned he's passed the test and will soon attend a university located in Ryme.
  • One-Letter Name: The chemical known as R is only referred to as that and it isn't mentioned if it stands for anything else.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: One of the first scientists you meet in Chapter 3 is introduced by onscreen text as Frederick Hartfield. He is solely referred to as Fridge for the remainder of the chapter, even in the case notes.
  • Pokémon Speak: Averted for Detective Pikachu and Mewtwo, but most other Pokémon play this straight. The game might take place in the anime's universe, which explains the Pokémon Speak.
  • Punny Name: Tim Goodman. Naturally, he helps solve cases.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Pokèmon infected with R gain red eyes.
  • Red Herring:
    • In Chapter 9, Ethan Graham is by the evidence, appearances, and overall attitude thought to be the mastermind behind R, but he really isn't the Big Bad. Hilariously, this is lampshaded by Meiko, who wouldn't have doubted if he been the mastermind all along.
    • Chapter 3 has Wallace Carroll, who is independent, impolite, and makes at least one threat in Pikachu's direction. He's also responsible for the lockdown when Tim arrives, and he is the first to blame Tim when an incident occurs. He's not the culprit.
    • Chapter 6 has Olga Ellison, the music critic. She has the most clear motive of all the suspects, being both pompous in the direction of Carina and jealously eyeing her violin. She wasn't the saboteur or the thief.
      • Keith from the same chapter is an interesting example. He has the weakest alibi, and the Sub-Control Technician comments that Keith being in charge of the "Yanma Cams" and being the "New Guy" that the rest of the staff know little about makes him highly suspect. Max turns out to be the the culprit, but Keith was aware of the crime, used it to his advantage in an attempt to eliminate Tim, and is a major player in the larger "R" plot.
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: Pretty much essential for conversations between Detective Pikachu and any Pokémon the duo need to interact with. Of course, he's not doing it just for the audience's sake but for Tim's sake as to gather witness testimonies from Pokémon.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: It's a Pokémon game, so this is expected, but even ones with an unconventional basis like Burmy and Shuckle have adorable mannerisms and voices.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Pikachu gets an "Eureka!" Moment, he hops up on something and declares "A bolt of brilliance!" followed by some kind of dramatic effect from the environment around him. Eventually the subversion of the gag becomes a Running Gag itself.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Like Meowth in the anime, Detective Pikachu had to sacrifice some of his battle skills to gain his intelligence. As a result, his electrical sparks are quite weak, and he can't even perform a simple Quick Attack.
    • The Denouement almost appears to invert this. After managing to summon a Thunderbolt to defeat the Big Bad's Noivern, when he wakes up the next morning he appears to have reverted to a normal Pikachu, much to Tim's dismay. However, this turns out to be a prank on Detective Pikachu's part.
  • Ship Tease: Tim gets a few comments on this whenever Emilia is around. Chapter 8 heavily implies he has fallen for her, though.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Pikachu's hat is a clear reference to Sherlock Holmes. He can also obtain a cape that further resembles Sherlock's outfit.
    • The Baker Detective Agency gets its name from Baker Street, the same street that Sherlock's house and office is located.
  • Spanner in the Works: The unknown luggage handler of the S.S. Prime Treasure that mixed up a bag with critical evidence with a random rich old lady's bag. Had that not happened, Tim and Detective Pikachu would have likely been at a dead end with the overarching mystery.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Naturally, being a Pokémon himself, Detective Pikachu is able to converse with other Pokémon who can't speak human. This is a major factor in how he solves cases, being able to get information out of them that others can't.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: In the final chapter, Emelia is dragged back to the clock tower by the Big Bad while being held in this fashion.
  • Suddenly Voiced: One of the very few times that a Pikachu is not voiced in Pokémon Speak by Ikue Otani (the other being an old Pokémon Mystery Dungeon TV special). Instead, Detective Pikachu has a very deep, masculine voice, and can communicate with humans (or at least Tim). Other Pikachu retain Otani's voice.
  • Symbolic Blood: Aipom gets knocked out with red paint on the floor, giving a wounded impresion.
  • Talking Animal:
    • The title character is a rodent that can speak to Tim. Unfortunately, other humans can't seem to understand him.
    • Like in the anime, Mewtwo can speak telepathically.
  • Tap on the Head: Averted in Chapter 6, where it's implicit that Keith intended to kill Tim by having the Yanma drop their cameras on him.
  • Tourism-Derailing Event: Tim and Pikachu's investigation leads them to an incident that occurred at Fine Park, which once thrived with many visitors until a Charizard suddenly went berserk and attacked everyone present. After-which, the park was shut down with no one returning and the Pokémon that formerly worked there now live in its rundown state.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Detective Pikachu really likes coffee. He knows a great deal about coffee, has a favorite café, and will tell Tim what he enjoys about different blends. Oddly, it's commented by other characters that Pikachu didn't drink coffee at all before Harry's disappearance.
  • Tragic Villain: In Chapter 6, Max Warhol's scheme to sell Carina's prized violin was all for nothing once he learns his worries to be fired from the station were all in his head.
  • Uplifted Animal: Detective Pikachu always moves on two legs, even when he's running. He also can't use any moves, or discharge electricity very well. It is strongly implied that either Mewtwo and/or the early version of R Harry was carrying played a role, but the game ends before any specific details are established.
  • The Unreveal:
    • Mewtwo confirms Harry Goodman is alive, but his whereabouts following the accident are still a mystery.
    • Harry's locket carries a family photo of his wife, a baby in her arms, and a younger Tim. Though he does mention his mom, Tim never brings up his younger sibling.
    • Pikachu's ability to talk to Tim isn't explained either beyond gaining it after said incident.
    • Fine Park's Charizard randomly returns in the ending with no explanation where it really got taken to.
    • At the end of the game, Mewtwo asks Pikachu if he's "Decided on which one to choose", to which Pikachu replies "I've made up my mind", Tim sees a flash and runs over to find Pikachu losing consciousness. What exactly Mewtwo did, what Pikachu had decided on, and what the choices even were are all as vague as can be, and Tim doesn't bother questioning Pikachu about it.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The titular Pikachu has a deep, masculine voice despite his small, cute Pikachu appearance.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: This happens when Detective Pikachu gets seasick.


Video Example(s):


What's under Mimikyu's rag

Ever heard the saying "curiosity killed the cat"? Well, in Mimikyu's case, Detective Pikachu learns this the hard way.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / TakeOurWordForIt

Media sources: