Part 62: Side Notes #17: The Birth of MewtwoSide Notes 17: The Birth of Mewtwo
In the most recent update, we found a number of passages telling of how scientists discovered a new Pokemon, Mew, in the jungles of South America and cloned it, in the attempt to create the most powerful Pokemon. Unfortunately for them, they succeeded. Now everyone and their mother has heard of Mewtwo, ESPECIALLY the movie version. But we'll be getting to that in due time. Instead, we'll be focusing on a little known part of the run up to the movie's release in 1998: The Birth of Mewtwo.
Before we start, you can watch the entire special here, I highly recommend it.
Anyway, from the beginning, the anime was planned to be a year long thing, ending (more or less) with the movie. Obviously the ridiculous success of the games and anime, and the lovely setback due to the Pokemon Shock Incident, caused that plan to be changed rather quickly. Episodes that should've led up to the movie's release in July were instead moved back to October or November. But, one thing that didn't change was the audio drama, released on Japanese radio on every Sunday for five weeks, between June 7th and July 12th. It was adapted into an anime special and included at the start of every television airing and home video release in February 1999, in the "Kanzenban" version (basically the uncut and remastered version that was also used for the American release). You may also find the scenes familiar. That is because the special was dubbed and put in alongside the movie in the DVD release. Sure, 4Kids butchered it horribly like they do everything else, but at least it's something.
One thing to note is that the audio drama is about an hour long and goes into great detail about the world of Pokemon as well as showing both Giovanni and Jessie's mothers. Madame Boss lead the team before Giovanni, while Miyamoto leads a team into the mountains to try and find Mew. She never returns and as far as I know, has never been mentioned otherwise. The anime adaption is very faithful, but it's also pretty damn short and directly leads into the movie, so you won't miss out on a huge amount of stuff, but it is noticeable.
Now the anime takes the slight lore from the games and changes it to the better, I believe. It made sense to connect Mewtwo with Team Rocket, especially Giovanni and could conceivably give some finality to the organization. But of course it's still kicking around to this day. Anyway, the special, as well as the movie, also gives an expanded story on Dr. Fuji. He's not the exact same person from the games (since he's killed when Mewtwo awakens), as he is following Giovanni's orders to also clone his dead daughter Ai (or Amber). And then clone the starters, to see if current Pokemon can be augmented and become stronger. The five clones become telepathically linked and begin to interact and play with each other. But when the clones begin to die, Mewtwo cries. This is where in the radio drama Ai would say that tears are the gift of life, or something. It means the ending of the first movie isn't a complete asspull, they just made it seem that way. In its grief, Mewtwo begins to exhibit Psychic powers, so it is put into a deep sleep, where it forgets Ai and the clone Pokemon. Finally, it is awakened when it is strong enough and enhanced by a cyber suit, which also enslaves it to Giovanni. And you know the rest.
Overall, Mewtwo is one of the most interesting characters in the entire anime. But even before the movie, there was so much more to it and if you ever get the chance to explore more of its backstory (while the audio drama is out of print, it can still be bought, if a bit expensive), then I'm sure you won't regret it.