"Fat Pikachu" design was originally inspired by a Japanese dessert
Not that long ago, we found out why Pokemon Co. moved away from the original chubbier Pikachu design for a more svelte option. In a newly-translated interview by Dr. Lava, original Pikachu artist Atsuko Nishida explains what the inspiration was for the thicker Pikachu design.
"I didn't draw it on paper and directly designed the pixel art, so there isn't any data of it now. But the first prototype I designed for Pikachu was a daifuku-like creature in the shape of a long daifuku with ears sticking out. I'll leave the rest to your imagination, but it was nothing like the Pikachu you know today."
For those wondering, Daifuku is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi stuffed with sweet filling. I guess Nishida was hungry while working on Pikachu!