What? Who is this Pikachu you speak of? We've never heard of him, and we totally didn't rip him off for our new recycling mascot. Ok, that last bit may be a bit untrue ...
It's not too often that city mascots come under fire for ripping off popular cartoon characters. However, that's just what's happening over in Ube City, Japan, where a new recycling mascot is a pretty blatant rip-off of Pikachu.
It turns out the city created the character Ecoha to promote recycling and environmental friendliness. That said, as you can see in the video here and the photos below, Ecoha bears more than a passing resemblance to the world's most famous Pokémon. Between the rosy cheeks, enormous eyes, ear placement, and color choice, there's really no feasible argument that this character design isn't a Pikachu rip-off.
Apparently a number of citizens had a problem with the design: "The city has received 96 comments from citizens. 82 of the comments could be categorized as complaints about how Ecoha looks too much like Pikachu."
The city has now decided to change the character's design. The fact that Ube City actually went so far as to not only OK the creation of this character and then promote it is a bit mind-boggling. Did officials actually think that no one would notice?
Source: Geeks Are Sexy