Pokémon Sun and Moon introduces players to the sun-drenched archipelago of the Alola region and its whole new roster of pocket monsters all ready to catch, train, trade and battle.
With around 800 Pokémon now registered in the national Pokédex, there is still one critter that, love it or hate it, stands apart as the franchises' mascot: the red-cheeked, volt-charged electric mouse, Pikachu.
From his first appearance in Pokémon Red and Blue (in his full chubby glory), to the "Pika"-shouting 3D rodent we have today, Ash Ketchum's closest friend has been the face of Nintendo's insanely popular franchise since day one.
As a result, each time a new Pokémon game arrives the hunt for Pikachu begins anew, and Pokémon Sun and Moon will be no different. To help Pika-poachers out there, IBTimes UK has put together a quick guide on where to find Pikachu very, very early in the Nintendo 3DS titles via his pre-evolved form, Pichu.
Pokémon Sun and Moon: Where to find Pikachu (via Pichu)
The good news is you won't have to go far to nab a member of the Pikachu family as it roams around in the tall grass on Alola's Route 1.
As soon as you are gifted a set of Poke Balls, make your way back to your mum's house and head right from the door. Walk north along Route 1 and you are officially in Pichu territory. Edit: It turns out that the little scamp is only in one patch of tall grass on Route 1. To find it carry on up the path, past two trainers until you see a set of stairs with torches on either side. To the left of here you'll find a darker patch of grass where Pichus roam.
Pichu is quite a rare find here (a 5% chance, no less) as you'll mostly be contending with endless swathes of Pikpeks (get one, they are really good) and Yungoos. Persist, however, and you'll eventually find a pint-sized Pichu of your very own. At this point you may not even need to damage it to catch it due to its low level (between 3-5), so throw a ball and cross your fingers.
Now we need to evolve him!
Pokémon Sun and Moon: How to evolve Pichu into Pikachu
This process remains unchanged from previous generations since as far back as Pokémon Gold and Silver. In short, your Pichu needs to love you.
The simplest way to do this is to walk around while Pichu is in your party. Held items such as a Soothe Bell (which doubles happiness earned). A quick "lomi lomi massage" in Konikoni City, avoiding fainting in battle and feeding/petting it in Pokémon Refresh will also add to Pichu's happiness levels.
Once it reaches optimum happiness your Pichu will evolve after levelling in battle. Now you have a Pikachu of your very own, it's time to learn his ultimate, unique Z-Move, Catastropika!
Pokémon Sun and Moon: Where to find Pikanium Z
To use this super-powered, Pikachu-exclusive Z-Move, your yellow buddy will first need to learn its signature move, Volt Tackle. Thankfully, both the Z-Crystal and the Volt Tackle Move Tutor are found in the same location.
When you reach Konikoni City in the south western corner of Akala Island, head north until you see three Pikachus and a lady in red overalls. Talk to her and she will teach your Pikachu Volt Tackle and give you the Pikanium Z.
Make the Pikanium Z your Pikachu's held item from the party menu and next time you send it out in battle you can unleash electric havoc on your foes (and watch Pika and your avatar do a little dance routine).
Pokémon Sun and Moon: How to evolve your Pikachu into Alolan Raichu
There is now a big decision to make, though. Do you evolve your Pikachu again into a stronger Raichu or "do an Ash" and keep him in Pika-form forever?
The choice is even tougher in Sun and Moon, too, as you aren't dealing with a standard Raichu: this is a dual-typed, Psychic/Electric, tail-surfing Alolan Raichu.
Either way, if you have a Thunder Stone to hand, feeding it to Pikachu will trigger the evolution, but be warned: you won't be able to use the Pikanium Z-Crystal any more. There is, however, a Raichu-exclusive Z-Crystal called Aloraichium Z which is obtained in Seafolk Village on Poni island and allows any Alolan Raichu with the move Thunderbolt to use a powerful Z-Move called "Stoked Sparksurfer".