Pikachu apparently doesn’t know how to tone down the strength of his electricity powers.
Pikachu is a marketing team’s dream come true. Not only does he have immeasurable levels of goodwill stemming from his role as mascot of the Pokémon franchise, his character design is so cute that even people who’ve never watched an anime episode or played a video game featuring the cuddly Pocket Monster feel an instant affection for him.
As such, you’ll find tons of Pikachu-related merchandise that doesn’t really have anything to do with his in-anime/game capabilities (a quick look around my apartment, for example, turns up Pikachu hand towels, organizer pouches, and a smartphone futon). But The Pokémon Company and Tokyo-based electronics maker Nearby Direct hit upon a really clever idea not too long ago when they started selling Pikachu-themed mobile battery packs. After all, Pikachu is an electric-type Pokémon, right?
Unfortunately, it looks like Pikachu pumped a bit too much of his Thunderbolt attack powers into the batteries, as The Pokemon Company has released a warning that due to inadequacies in the manufacturing process, some users have observed the batteries becoming abnormally hot and generating smoke. The problem affects not only Pikachu-patterned batteries, but those styled after the series’ Poké Balls as well.
For safety reasons, The Pokémon Company has issued a statement asking owners to refrain from using the devices, and has also issued a voluntary recall for the product in which the purchase price will be refunded. Batteries can be turned in to Pokémon Center and Pokémon Store retail locations, or by mail using the form found here.
It’s unclear whether or not the company will accept returns from overseas addresses. Even if it is, with the battery packs originally priced at 2,808 yen (US$25), fans who purchased one while traveling in Japan may not find it worth the hassle of dealing with international shipping. Should you find yourself in such a position, hopefully you can find some solace in the fact that while you no longer have a Pikachu battery pack, you now have an absolutely adorable paperweight.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where even after all this, he can’t stay mad at Pikachu.