Pokémon Scarlet and Violet fans wonder why Larry x Rika is popular in Japan

In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the characters Larry and Rika are both popular in their own right, and fans have created a wealth of fanart for each of them. However, a user on Reddit was surprised to discover that the “Larry x Rika ship” was quite popular in the Japanese fandom and asked others if they knew why this was the case.

Please note that this article contains spoilers for the later portion of the game.

Larry and Rika, along with Poppy and Hassel, are the members who make up the Paldea Pokémon League’s Elite Four. As of the time of writing, there are hundreds of  illustrations on pixiv tagged Larry/Rika (abbreviated as アオチリ in Japanese). There are other character ships in the Pokémon series that have far more illustrations than this one, but the Larry x Rika ship has grown in popularity incredibly quickly since the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet in November 2022.

The Reddit user who created the thread discussing the ship noted the large number of illustrations of the pairing and asked if anyone knew how it had grown so popular.

Other users provided a variety of different reasons as to why Larry x Rika was so popular. One user noted that individually, both are among the most popular characters in the game: “I mean they’re just two of the most popular sv character, as far as we know both single, and both in the e4.”

Another user stated that “maybe it’s because you can see them as Poppy’s mom and dad figures.” Others pointed out similarities between the two characters as the reason for their pairing, like the fact that both are in the Elite Four, and they both wear neckties and suits.

The opposite nature of their personalities is one more reason that users felt they made a popular couple. Larry is always calm and expressionless, never letting his emotions show. He considers his position in the Elite Four, as well as that of the Gym Leader of Medali, to be nothing more than his job.

Rika, on the other hand, is quite open and friendly, despite her cool appearance. In the Japanese version of the game, she refers to herself in third person as “Chili-chan” (Rika’s name is Chili in Japanese) and generally speaks in Kansai dialect—a dialect that, in the world of Pokémon, is mainly used in the Johto region’s Goldenrod City. She is depicted as a character that is easy to warm up to. When interviewing the player for the Champion Assessment, she speaks very seriously and uses formal language, but when battling her as a member of the Elite Four, she will start to speak more roughly as she becomes engrossed in the battle. You could say that Rika is a character that reveals many different sides of herself.

The pairing of two such contrasting characters makes for quite a surprising combination, but it may be precisely because it’s difficult to imagine how the two would normally interact with each other that there is a lot of room for fans to let their imaginations run wild.

One user in the Reddit thread also claimed that they grew to like the Larry x Rika ship after coming across a fan-made, Japanese comic of the two. There are many fan-made works that depict the relationship between the two characters, with Rika actively coming on to him, while Larry is shaken up but still tries to feign composure. Some users find that the personalities of the characters balance each other out nicely.

Additionally, some Reddit users have expressed their interest in the dialogue of the Japanese version of the game. Since Rika speaks in Kansai dialect, it seems to make the contrast between her and Larry stand out even more. Incidentally, in the Italian version of the game, Rika speaks in the Romanesco dialect, a dialect from central Italy.

It’s possible that factors such as the different impressions given off by the characters depending on the language and the differences in values between countries could also be part of the reason that many were left wondering about the especially strong popularity of the Larry x Rika ship in Japan.

As far as interactions between the two characters go in-game, there is one scene that occurs after defeating Larry in the Elite Four battles. Larry attempts to call in Hassel for the next battle, but his voice is too quiet, and it doesn’t seem like Hassel is going to appear. Rika tells Larry that he needs to speak up a little more, but it doesn’t seem to have much of an effect. Eventually, she gets fed up and loudly yells for Hassel to enter. This scene gives players a little glimpse at the contrast between the overly calm Larry and the busybody Rika.

There aren’t any other scenes in the game where the two interact, however, so the nature of their relationship is unclear. Of course, we should remember that the Larry x Rika ship is only something that exists in fan-made works and is far from official.

Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-03-04 18:41 JST)