The Pikachu Mandela Effect: Mind Blown.

pikachu mandela effect, header


This post was last updated on November 1, 2023

Pikachu is a beloved character, an adorable mouse that has been the mascot of Pokemon for well over 20 years. So many people have fond memories of Pikachu growing up. But what if we told you those memories were wrong? In this article, we’re going to talk about the Pikachu Mandela Effect.

What is the Mandela Effect with Pikachu’s Black Tail?

Pikachu’s black tail, the Mandela effect, is the idea that Pikachu once had a black tail. Specifically, many fans remember Pikachu’s lightning bolt shaped tail having a zig-zag pattern with a black tip.

Weirdly enough, this isn’t the case and appears to never have been. Pikachu’s tail has always been yellow with a bit of brown fur at the base.

Still, thousands of people can’t be wrong, can they? Why do people seem to remember the wrong Pikachu? Why do people remember Pikachu’s black tail?

What is the Mandela Effect?

Before we can really dive into the research, we should explain what the Mandela effect is. The Mandela effect is a common term for a prevalent, shared false memory. It’s a phenomenon where many people remember specific events that never actually happened.

The phenomenon is named for Nelson Mandela, a South African apartheid activist who many believed died in prison in the 1980s. In fact, Mandela went on to become president of South Africa in the 1990s and didn’t die until 2013.

So many people have the same false memory that it became the go-to term for such a phenomenon.

Another common example is ‘The Berenstain Bears,’ a children’s book series that is somehow spelled like that! Most of us seem to remember it being spelled ‘Berenstein’, and yet, apparently, that’s never been the case.

There are so many examples, and the more you find, the more mind-numbingly frustrating they become. A few more to hurt your brain include:

  • The Star Wars quote isn’t: “Luke, I am your father.” It’s: “No. I am your father.”
  • The ‘Jiffy’ peanut butter brand never existed. It’s always been ‘Jif.’
  • The popular cartoons were named ‘Looney Tunes’ not ‘Looney Toons.’
  • The Monopoly man has never worn a monocle.
  • It’s ‘Flintstones’, not ‘Flinstones’. (Sure, it makes sense, but it still hurts.)
  • Snow White’s Evil Queen muttered the words “Magic mirror on the wall,” not “Mirror, mirror, on the wall.”

Why do these Mandela Effects Happen?

The short answer: It’s anyone’s guess. The long, probably more realistic answer is: Human memories are extremely subject to outside influence. Beyond that, our memories really just aren’t as good as we think they are.

Now, is there a possibility that the first successful firing of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider scattered particles of antimatter across the world, and that those particles transported a number of our consciousnesses into a similar, but different, parallel universe?


Is that realistic? Who are we to say? We’re not scientists. So that we’re not responsible for mass paranoia we should probably say no.

Regardless of the reason Mandela effects occur, they’re weird. It’s always such a shock to learn that something you could’ve sworn by never existed, or at least not in the way you remember.

So with that, let’s get back to talking about Pikachu’s tail.

What is the Truth: Is Pikachu’s Tail Black or Yellow?

Pikachu has, and always has had, a yellow tail with brown fur at the base. Of course, this isn’t the whole truth. Pikachu is basically the primary mascot of the Pokemon anime, so it’s been represented in a lot of different ways over the course of the entire franchise.

Let’s clear up some information about Pikachu before we go any further.

Everything You Need to Know About Pikachu

Pikachu is an electric-type Pokemon from the Pokemon series. While most people refer to Ash’s Pikachu from the anime series, there are many Pikachus out there, all almost identical members of the same pokemon species.

Pikachu is a mouse-like creature with five fingers at the end of each of its short forearms and three toes at the end of each of its stubby hind legs. It has two black tipped ears ears on its head, although the ears are mostly yellow.

Most recognizably, Pikachu has a red circle on each of its cheeks, which it uses for electricity storage.

Now we get into the controversial piece. Pikachu’s tail is almost exclusively covered in yellow fur, although it does quickly transition into a small brown base. While you don’t see it often, since we typically see Pikachu from the front, it also has two brown stripes on its back.

Pikachu Evolution Tree

Like most Pokemon, Pikachu evolve to become different creatures altogether. Pikachu originally started out with just one evolution in Raichu but has since gotten an arguably cuter pre-evolution, Pichu.

Pichu, essentially a baby Pikachu, is a smaller electric mouse that notably does have a completely black tail, not just a black tip.

Raichu, on the other hand, changes quite a bit when it evolves, gaining a much more defined lightning bolt tail and darker fur that leans closer to orange.

The Pikachu we know and love was never a Pichu. Then, Ash Ketchum has never used a thunder stone to evolve his Pikachu into a Raichu, although the option has been presented several times.

So, while Pikachu’s evolution has always been a possibility, it’s not something that has played a large role in this false memory.

Cosplay Pikachu

cosplay pikachu

There is a Pikachu with a black tail! The only exception anyone seems to be able to find with any real authenticity is the cosplay Pikachu from the Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire video games. This special Pikachu has a black heart shaped patch on its tail.

Now, this Pikachu isn’t some false memory, Omega Ruby wasn’t released until 2014. Interestingly, reports of people who remember Pikachu with a black tail date back to at least 2009, as far as we could find.

So, it’s not the cosplay Pikachu’s tail that’s causing all of this, although it might be a clever troll from the company. So, should we look to other different versions of Pikachu?

Alternate Pikachus

There are also gender variations for Pikachu. A female Pikachu has a heart-shaped tail, with the same coloration and two horizontal brown stripes on its back. So, at least we have a sort of v shaped notch that could make up for some of the confusion.

Ash’s Pikachu can’t be the culprit either. In the anime, the adorable mascot has worn plenty of costumes, but it hasn’t so much as gotten some mud on its tail.

Why Do Some Pokémon Fans Remember Pikachu’s Black Tail?

We may never have a real answer to this question. Maybe people draw Pikachu with a black tail. Maybe so much poorly informed fan art has circulated that we’ve become confused.

Of course, maybe it’s the black tips on the ears that confuse us. Did you think Pikachu’s ears were plain yellow? Did we all just swap the two?

It makes a lot of sense that we could misplace a black patch in one spot for another elsewhere. Still, Pikachu is such a prolific character. Surely it couldn’t be the pointed ears making a huge portion of the population so confused.

Unfortunately, these Mandela effects aren’t something we can solve with a bit of research. The problem is that reality differs from what so many of us believe.

Did Pikachu ever have a black tail? Maybe. Are there any pictures anywhere that can prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt? No.

Maybe the real question we should be asking is: Will Pikachu ever have a black tail again? Who knows. The anime has changed so much, and Pikachu might fall out of the zeitgeist now that Ash is no longer the main protagonist of the anime.

Did Pikachu Ever Have a Black Tail?

pikachu mandela effect, black tail

Pikachu has never had a black tail (except for in one very specific instance). No matter how much we believe it, every piece of evidence in the video games and anime is going to prove us wrong.

While we might easily point to cosplay Pikachu, female Pikachu, or Pichu as sources of our confusion, the truth is clear.