Surprised Pikachu / shocked pikachu meme.

Surprised Pikachu

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Updated Oct 04, 2023 at 01:26PM EDT by Don.

Added Oct 25, 2018 at 11:28AM EDT by Adam.

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Surprised Pikachu, also known as Shocked Pikachu, refers to a screenshot from the Pokémon anime of the character Pikachu with its mouth agape, as though it were surprised at something. In the autumn of 2018, the image was used as a reaction image paired with captions where a set-up leads to a predictable outcome that nevertheless leaves one surprised.


The episode from the Pokémon anime where the image comes from is Season 1, Episode 10, "Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village" (shown below at 3:05).

The first post to use the image as a reaction appeared on Tumblr[1] on September 26th, 2018. User popokko posted a scenario with the image and gained over 223,000 notes (shown below).

Tumblr post describing a situation where the poster wonders what happens if they bend an object then using a surprised Pikachu face as their reaction to the object breaking


The post began spreading to other websites in the following days. It appeared on /r/MemeEconomy on September 30th, gaining 880 points.[2] It appeared on Facebook meme page Meme Extreme[3] on October 2nd, gaining over 3,900 likes and reactions and 4,000 shares. As October progressed, the image was paired with more captions. The format grew particularly popular on /r/me_irl. On October 14th, a post with the format gained over 3,900 points (shown below, left). On the 24th, a post edited to be blurry in order to make a point about the effects of prolonged computer use on eyesight gained over 6,200 points (shown below, right).

Surprised Pikachu meme about uploading an upvote meme to me_irl Surprised Pikachu meme about ruining you eyesight by looking at screens too much

The format also appeared on other subreddits and sites. A post on Game of Thrones subreddit /r/freefolk gained over 20,000 points (shown below, left). A tweet using the meme (shown below, right), gained over 42,000 points on /r/me_irl.[4]

Surprised Pikachu meme about Ned Stark trusting Little Finger in Game of Thrones Surprised Pikachu meme about the result of peeling off a scab

March 2019 Twitter Suspensions

On March 16th, 2019, Twitter user @0xKruzr reported that tweeting a Surprised Pikachu image caused an on-site suspension for posting gratuitous imagery.[5] The report was confirmed by several other users, including @bangishotyou[6] and @StephenAymond,[7] who also confirmed that only posting the original (blurred) Surprised Pikachu image would cause on-site suspensions.

tweet telling people if they post the Surprised Pikachu meme their account will be banned message from Twitter explaining a person's account was locked message from Twitter explaining a person's account was locked for tweeting offensive imagery that was actually a surprised Pikachu meme

On March 18th, @StephenAymond reported that the posting the image no longer leads to a suspension.[8]

On March 19th, 2019, Redditor Psherman01 posted an inquiry about the auto-locks to /r/OutOfTheLoop subreddit,[9] where it received over 700 upvotes in one day. While the exact reason why Surprised Pikachu was automatically considered gratuitous imagery was not determined, several users suggested that it could have been a result of the image being mass-reported.[10][11][12]

Various Examples

Anime villian: *Shares all the details of his evil plan with the protagonist in an epic monologue. Protagonist: *Uses that information and defeats the villian* Anime villian: Me: Hmm what happens if I decide to procrastinate and only study a bit before the test? *Flat out fails the test Me: Me: Thank you to the 7 people Who upvote this Post: (gets 7 upvotes) Me: Me: Installs 500 Skyrim mods Skyrim: Crashes immediately Me: Me: I wonder what would happen if I balance this plate like a waiter Plate: *Falls and breaks* Me: me: I don't need to write that down, I'll remember it also me: *forgets it*

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