This article is about Pikachu's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the Pokémon in other contexts, see Pikachu. For information about Pikachu's clone, see Pichu.
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.

Pikachu is currently 9th on the tier list because it is one of the better edge-guarders in the game, and on top of that it has good recovery and reliable finishers as well as a decent projectile. This results in Pikachu being an C tier. Having said that, it also has somewhat mediocre range in some non-electrical based attacks, and it is relatively easy to combo.

Attributes

Pikachu SSBM.png

Pikachu is a small, light character with medium falling speed. It is also gifted with very quick speed and a very long and versatile recovery. Pikachu also has good upwards KO options including a fast, immensely powerful Up Smash (even more powerful than Fox's) and an Up Aerial that can semi-spike and KO characters at low percents. Pikachu also has a decent ground-hugging projectile (which means it can't be avoided by ducking) that can be used to setup approaches, but it still has limited approach. Pikachu has a few chain grabs that work on fast fallers, and its Down Throw is a reliable setup for a finishing move.

Pikachu's weakness lies in its range. Its grab and shield are the smallest in the game, and most of its attacks have low range. This hurts Pikachu in some areas, including approach and comboing, but in the end, pros should keep to the better side of its overall game.

Changes from Smash 64 to Melee

Given that Pikachu was considered to be the best character in Smash 64 due to being ranked 1st in the tier list, as well as having numerous advantages that made it so, when making to the transition to Melee, Pikachu was generally nerfed, similar to Ness and Kirby but its nerfs weren't as severe as theirs. Unlike the two, however, Pikachu still remains a viable competitive fighting force. Pikachu's overwhelming advantages from the previous game such as its huge range of its attacks that helps it to combo were weakened, but it was buffed in grab game and its attacks are more powerful, helping it to keep its ground at the 9th position on the tier list.

Aesthetics

  • Notice.png Pikachu received new voice samples that are higher pitched and more energetic.
  • Notice.png Pikachu's taunt was slightly altered.

Attributes

  • Buff.png Pikachu dashes faster.
  • Nerf.png Pikachu is generally more vulnerable to combos and chaingrabs.
  • Nerf.png The range of its attacks in general has been decreased.
  • Nerf.png Air speed is significantly slower, going from the second fastest in Smash 64 to below-average in Melee.

Ground Attacks

  • Buff.png Neutral attack is faster and can now cancel into itself.
  • Nerf.png Up tilt is harder to combo from due to its knockback and the increased falling speeds in Melee, and cannot chain into itself nearly as reliably. Its hitbox is also slightly less disjointed.
  • Buff.png Forward smash is stronger; going from among the more average-powered forward smashes in Smash 64 to being the fourth most powerful forward smash in Melee.
  • Buff.png Down smash has a new animation which has more combo potential due to it having lower knockback and sending foes at a vertical-diagonal angle.

Aerial Attacks

  • Buff.png Neutral aerial has a new animation which is more powerful and has faster start-up.
  • Nerf.png Forward aerial's damage output is lowered by more than half of the amount and other aerials can no longer be used right after it.
  • Buff.png Back aerial has a new animation that has faster start-up and a longer duration.
    • Nerf.png The attack now has heavily increased ending lag and landing lag.
  • Buff.png Up aerial has less lag and can now semi-spike, making it a slightly more effective edge-guarder.
  • Nerf.png Down aerial has less combo ability and is more laggy.

Grabs and Throws

  • Buff.png Pikachu has been given an up throw and a down throw, significantly improving its grab game by giving it more moves that will potentially lead into combos.
  • Nerf.png Pikachu's grab range has been reduced to being the shortest in Melee.
  • Notice.png Back throw has been moved to forward throw.
  • Notice.png All throws have electrical properties.

Special Attacks

  • Buff.png Thunder Jolt will continue to hug and traverse platforms once it passes the edge of the platform.
  • Buff.png Pikachu has a new side special move, Skull Bash, which functions similarly to Luigi's Green Missile, meaning that it is a decent recovery option that boasts as a moderately high attack.
  • Buff.png Quick Attack now deals damage and has faster start-up.
    • Nerf.png Quick Attack travels slightly less distance, 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. This means it is also much less useful for escaping combos and maneuvering across platforms.
  • Buff.png Thunder falls faster and a new glitch called ceiling glitch helps with edge-guarding.
    • Nerf.png 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.

Moveset

  Image Name Damage Description
Neutral attack Pikachu Neutral attack SSBM.png   6% Pikachu rams its head at the opponent. The A button can be mashed rapidly for a quick series of headbutts.
Forward tilt Pikachu Forward tilt SSBM.png   9% Pikachu stands on its hands and attacks with both feet. This attack can be aimed up or down.
8%
7%
Up tilt Pikachu Up tilt SSBM.png   7% (tail), 6% (tip) Pikachu whips its tail over its body.
Down tilt Pikachu Down tilt SSBM.png   7% Pikachu sweeps the ground with its tail.
Dash attack Pikachu Dash attack SSBM.png   8% Pikachu leaps forward and attacks the opponent with a headbutt. While this attack does have some knockback, it is rather laggy and leaves Pikachu vulnerable if shielded.
Forward smash Pikachu Forward smash SSBM.png   21% (early), 19% (clean), 18% (late) Pikachu releases a jolt of electricity from its cheeks while leaning forward. The hitbox is disjointed, which makes it a wise choice for edge-guarding.
Up smash Pikachu Up smash SSBM.png   17%-19% (clean), 13% (mid), 7% (late) Pikachu does a backflip and attacks with its tail. This is the strongest up smash in the game in terms of knockback and is extremely quick with decent range.
Down smash Pikachu Down smash SSBM.png   2% (hits 1-6), 3% (hit 7) Pikachu spins around in place while surrounded in electricity.
Neutral aerial Pikachu Neutral aerial SSBM.png   12% (clean), 9% (late) Pikachu performs a midair somersault, attacking with its tail.
Forward aerial Pikachu Forward aerial SSBM.png   2% (hits 1-4) Pikachu spirals forward while emitting electricity from its cheeks. This attack hits multiple times.
Back aerial Pikachu Back aerial SSBM.png   12% (clean), 9% (late), 4% (landing) Pikachu spins multiple times in reverse. This attack high lag, especially if Pikachu lands in the middle of the animation.
Up aerial Pikachu Up aerial SSBM.png   4% Pikachu flips and attacks upward with its tail. This attack is extremely quick with low knockback, which can be used to juggle opponents repeatedly. Also, if hit with the tip of the tail at certain points during the attack, the opponent will be launched at a nasty semi-spike angle.
Down aerial Pikachu Down aerial SSBM.png   12%, 4% (landing) Pikachu spirals downward with electricity shooting out of its cheeks. This attack only hits once and can deal additional damage from the shockwave upon landing.
Grab Pikachu Grab SSBM.png    
Pummel Pikachu Pummel SSBM.png   3% Pikachu zaps the opponent.
Forward throw Pikachu Forward throw SSBM.png   2% (hits 1-4), 2% (throw) Pikachu places the opponent on its back and shocks them before launching them forward.
Back throw Pikachu Back throw SSBM.png   9% Pikachu does multiple backward somersaults before kicking the opponent away.
Up throw Pikachu Up throw SSBM.png   5% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Pikachu throws the opponent upward and headbutts them into the air.
Down throw Pikachu Down throw SSBM.png   5% (hit 1), 5% (throw) Pikachu places the opponent on the ground and jumps on top of them.
Floor attack (front) Pikachu Floor attack (front) SSBM.png   6% Pikachu gets up and performs a headbutt on both sides.
Floor attack (back) Pikachu Floor attack (back) SSBM.png   6% Pikachu does a sweepkick attack that hits on both sides.
Edge attack (fast) Pikachu Edge attack (fast) SSBM.png   8% Pikachu returns to the stage and kicks the opponent away.
Edge attack (slow) Pikachu Edge attack (slow) SSBM.png   6% Pikachu slowly gets on the stage and attacks the opponent with its tail.
Neutral special Thunder Jolt Pikachu (SSBM).png Thunder Jolt 7% (ground), 10% (air) Pikachu shoots a bouncing ball of electricity forward. The projectile travels forward while bouncing along the ground and can also travel up walls, below the edge, and along ceilings. If used in the air, Pikachu shoots the projectile at a downward angle. Disappears after around 3 seconds.
Side special Skull Bash Pikachu (SSBM).png Skull Bash 4-29% Pikachu blasts forward, performing a spiraling headbutt. This move can be charged to increase its range and damage. When this move is performed as a smash attack, it starts off partially charged.
Up special Quick Attack (SSBM).png Quick Attack 3% (first warp), 2% (second warp) Pikachu moves at warp speed in two directions that can be directed with the control stick. The second warp is optional, but if used, the direction must be 45 degrees different than the first direction to work.
Down special Thunder Pikachu (SSBM).png Thunder 10% (bolt), 17% (blast) Pikachu calls down a bolt of lightning that launches any opponents caught in the bolt's path. When the bolt hits Pikachu, Pikachu will unleash a shockwave that deals more damage.

Taunt

  • Waves at the camera, yelling "Pika Pikaaaaaa!" This taunt can be interrupted by any attack when Pikachu starts the second wave.

Idle pose

Note: According to the debug menu in Melee, Pikachu technically doesn't contain any idle poses. Instead, it will perform both its idle poses in one loop (mostly noticeable when Pikachu is currently holding an item). Both these animations become Pikachu's idle poses in future Smash Bros. installments.

  • Scratches one of its ears.
  • Looks both sides while twitching its ears.

Matchups

Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  Fox Head 01 (SSBM).png Falco Head 01 (SSBM).png Marth Head 01 (SSBM).png Sheik Head 01 (SSBM).png Jigglypuff Head 01 (SSBM).png Peach Head 01 (SSBM).png Ice Climbers Head 01 (SSBM).png Captain Falcon Head 01 (SSBM).png Pikachu Head 01 (SSBM).png Samus Head 01 (SSBM).png Dr. Mario Head 01 (SSBM).png Yoshi Head 01 (SSBM).png Luigi Head 01 (SSBM).png Ganondorf Head 01 (SSBM).png Mario Head 01 (SSBM).png Young Link Head 01 (SSBM).png Donkey Kong Head 01 (SSBM).png Link Head 01 (SSBM).png Mr. Game & Watch Head 01 (SSBM).png Roy Head 01 (SSBM).png Mewtwo Head 01 (SSBM).png Zelda Head 01 (SSBM).png Ness Head 01 (SSBM).png Pichu Head 01 (SSBM).png Bowser Head 01 (SSBM).png Kirby Head 01 (SSBM).png Avg.
Pikachu.png -2 -2 -2 -3 -1 -1 -1 ±0 Mirror match ±0 -1 +1 -1 ±0 -2 +1 ±0 ±0 +1 +2 +1 +2 +2 +2 +2 +2 ±0

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
It's safe to say that Pikachu is the most famous and popular of all Pokémon. It has electric pouches in both cheeks; when in danger, it shoots electricity at its enemies. Although Pikachu can evolve into Raichu by exposure to a Thunderstone, many trainers like Pikachu so much that they don't let it evolve.
  • Pokémon Red & Blue 9/98
Pikachu (Smash Red):
While its electrical attacks, such as Thunder Jolt and Thunder, 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.
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 the 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.

Alternate Costumes

Pikachu's alternate costumes in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Trivia

  • 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.
  • Thunder Jolt is not actually a move in the Pokémon game series, yet Pikachu uses it in the Super Smash Bros. series and at least once in the original anime. It is also an attack on some Pokémon trading cards.
  • This is the only game where Pikachu does not use an angry expression in any of its attacks.
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