Katy Perry's Pokémon Music Video Is a Subtle Nod to a Badass Gym Leader

A Pikachu and her Katy Perry.
A Pikachu and her Katy Perry.
Screenshot: Capitol

To celebrate the Pokémon franchise’s 25th anniversary, the Pokémon Company’s been releasing special, limited-edition merchandise and partnering with artists like Mac Miller and Katy Perry to put out Pokémon-themed music meant to tug at your heartstrings. Perry’s new song, “Electric,” is the first track from the upcoming Pokémon 25, and while it’s a perfectly pleasant power pop ballad, it’s also a nod to one of the franchise’s first Steel-type specialists.

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The “Electric” video follows as Perry and her Pikachu wander through a Hawaiian forest that leads them to a coast, where they find a massive lighthouse that inspires the pair to reminisce about their history together. After Perry and her Pikachu climb the lighthouse, they’re transported to a moment in the past before Perry became a well-known celebrity and before Pichu (Pikachu’s first stage) evolved into its current form.

Though Perry and her Pikachu know what’s in store for them both, their younger counterparts don’t, and while the young Perry’s already comfortable singing her heart out in front of strangers, the “Electric” video’s all about the older Perry giving herself the push she needs. As the young Perry and Pichu wander around the town unaware that they’re being followed, their future selves work in the shadows to convince their younger selves to participate in an impending talent show. The spark Perry nurtures in her past self is represented in the present by the lighthouse repeatedly lighting up, and it all fits together with the video’s general electrical theme.

While the only Pokémon in the “Electric” video are Pikachu and Pichu, the presence of a lighthouse and one of Perry’s outfits feel like rather unsubtle nods to a key plot point from the second generation of Pokémon games. When you first travel to the Johto region’s Olivine City in Pokémon Gold, Pokémon Silver, and Pokémon Crystal, there’s no way for you to battle Jasmine, the gym leader, at first—due to her temporarily leaving her post in order to deal with an issue that has the local lighthouse malfunctioning. Olivine, being by the ocean, relies on the massive Glitter Lighthouse to help ships navigate waters by the coast. But because this is the world of Pokémon, Olivine’s lighthouse is powered by an Ampharos, an electric type Pokémon whose bulbous tail emits blinding flashes of light.

In both the games and the anime, Jasmine only agrees to battle after her Ampharos is healed from its sickness, and while that specific monster doesn’t make an appearance in the music video, it definitely feels as if director Carlos López Estrada kept Jasmine and Ampharos’ story in mind here. Though a straight-up Ampharos lightshow would have been quite the sight, way more people recognize Pikachu and know what they can do. But the next time you happen to hear “Electric,” there’s a good chance you can safely assume that while it’s Pikachu and Katy Perry’s faces in the video, it’s Jasmine and Ampharos’ legacy that really makes it special.


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Charles Pulliam-Moore is an NYC-based culture critic whose work centers on fandom, pop culture, politics, race, and sexuality. He still thinks Cyclops made a few valid points.

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ahildy9815
Ahildy9815

partnering with artists like Mac Miller

What? Isn’t he dead?