Pikachu Lookalike Appears, Pokémon Co. Mulls Response
posted on 2011-08-03 22:30 EDT by Egan Loo
After the city of Ube in Yamaguchi prefecture posted a picture on Monday of its new "eco character" Ecoha-chan (pictured at right), readers of the city's online blog and other online users began to point out similarities between Ecoha-chan and the Pokémon character Pikachu. Ecoha-chan had attended the opening ceremony for the city's new "Ginten Eco Plaza." (The picture of Ecoha-chan on the city's blog has since been removed.)
The character of Ecoha-chan, who was designed by the city's recycling industry group, was first introduced at an ecological event last October. According to the city, after the character's costume had been completed, an unspecified number of city staff members had said, "It looks like Pikachū." The character's copyrights and costume are owned by the city itself.
A spokesperson for the city said regarding the situation, "[Our] original illustration [and the character of Pikachū] are different, and we consider copyright not to be a problem."
A spokesperson for the Pokémon company that owns the title franchise said, "We will gather more information about the situation, and then we would want to consider our options for how to respond."
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history