troperville

tools

toys

SubpagesAnime
Awesome
Funny
Heartwarming
Main
TearJerker
Trivia
WMG
YMMV

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Anime: Pokémon: The First Movie

"We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokémon...and we succeeded."
Dr. Fuji, last words

The very first movie in the Pokémon series of films. Because it certainly wasn't going to be the last, so why mince words?

A team of scientists creates Mewtwo, a superior clone of legendary Pokémon Mew. Angry at having been created to serve and be used by humans, he decides he's Gotta Kill 'em All.

It should be noted that this Pokémon movie is the only one that has real plot significance to the series,note  having plot elements set up throughout the first season of the show. Furthermore there is a made-for-television sequel called Pokemon Mewtwo Returns that continues the plotline and themes.


This movie provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Mewtwo, prior to his Heel-Face Turn.
  • All There in the Script: The three other trainers who made it to New Island (Corey, Neesha and Fergus) go unnamed throughout the whole movie.
    • As does the blue-haired woman with Officer Jenny at the ferry port. The novelization gives her name as "Miranda."
      • The Japanese version has her give her name as Voyager.
  • Ambiguous Gender: No one's quite sure what gender this particular Mew is; most fans consider it to be a girl, especially because of all the pink, although it's voiced by Koichi Yamadera (not to mention that, the one time a Mew ''is'' referred to with gendered pronouns, it's referred to as male). A weirder, in-universe example would be the fact that Mewtwo is referred to as an "it" by just about everyone in the dub, despite his obviously masculine voice.
  • Angst Nuke: Twice within the first 10 minutes.
  • Anti-Villain: Mewtwo is dead-set between Types II and III.
  • Animal Wrongs Activist: Mewtwo's original goal was to save the Pokémon by killing all humans, but believed Pokémon that already lived alongside humans were a lost cause.
  • Apocalyptic Log
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Inverted. It was rated G despite its strong violence and its disturbing themes and images. (However, it was rated PG in Canada, where standards are actually more lax in general.)
  • Award Bait Song: Up to Eleven, The whole music soundtrack is filled with Award Bait Song material, including "It Was You", "Somewhere, Someday" by *NSYNC, "We're a Miracle" by Christina Aguilera, "Makin' My Way", "If Only Tears Can Bring You Back" and "Brother, My Brother"; a total of six of these, when a movie usually has one or two at best.
    • "Together with the Wind", the Japanese ending, also qualifies.
  • Back Blocking: During the clone battle, the clone Blastoise was pushing the real one against the wall and the back of his shell filled the screen.
  • Badass: Several
    • Badass Adorable: Mew and Pikachu.
    • Badass Baritone: Mewtwo, particularly in the English dub.
    • Badass Boast: The Japanese version of Mewtwo only does occasional boasting. His English incarnation, on the other hand, does enough boasting to possibly fill a small page.
  • Beta Test Baddie: Mewtwo.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mew's generally pacifistic, however if you do manage to hurt it in an unprovoked attack then it will completely own you.
  • Big Bad: Mewtwo, who starts off a Tragic Monster, but becomes a villain thanks to Giovanni's influence (Not that Giovanni ends up benefiting from this at all.) He gets better after witnessing Ash's sacrifice and realizing that maybe not all humans are bastards.
  • Bigger Bad: Giovanni.
  • Bowdlerize: The intro was severely shortened to remove references to death and human cloning. Also a case of Executive Meddling, as the original part of the intro dealing with baby Mewtwo and Amber was actually completely dubbed by 4Kids at the time of producing the American version of the movie, but was forced to be cut out by Kids' WB. It was later put as an extra in the Mewtwo Returns DVD.
    • This creates an odd moment at the end of the movie. While the American version goes with the "fighting is wrong" Aesop, they forgot to change Mewtwo's dialogue, so the moment where he learns his lesson, he states that it doesn't matter how you're born, but how you live your life that matters. If they were willing to keep that line of dialogue in, why not just keep the original Aesop altogether?
    • With the events of The Birth of Mewtwo taken into consideration, Mewtwo wasn't born evil. It's indicated that the reason he became so vicious and unpredictable was because the drugs the scientists injected into him while he was still developing inside the cloning tube, in order to erase his memories of Amber (fearing that the psychological trauma of her death would kill him), permanently warped his brain and broke his mind.
    • Miranda's tale of "the legend of winds" was added to the dub to provide an explanation for why Pokémon tears had the power to bring people back from the dead. In the original, she just didn't want anyone's lives to be endangered by the storm. This explanation was also mentioned by Amber in "The Birth of Mewtwo" dub, when she was dying and young Mewtwo began to cry, which was all cut from the film.
  • Big Damn Movie
  • Broken Aesop: the movie's end morale in the English version was changed from "All Life Is Equal" to "Fighting Is Wrong"...in a series whose entire profit comes from glorified dog fighting.
    • Though one could argue that the real aesop was about pointlessly fighting to the death is wrong, which is actually true when you think about it.
      • Not only that, but the original "All Life Is Equal" Aesop still remains in the English Dub, because Mewtwo realizes that no matter how you're born, the life you live determines who you are and no person (or Pokemon) is more worthy of life then the next just because of how they were born.
      • It's unlikely that the translators wouldn't have caught the irony if they'd simply been going for all fighting being wrong. Normal Pokémon battling, which was not Mewtwo's intention or work, is usually for friendly competition.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Not a good idea to physically punch a psychic-powered clone, Ash...
  • Broken Ace: Mewtwo was designed to be the strongest Mon ever...unfortunately, he had some issues with the "designed" part.
  • Call Back/Continuity Nod: Both Mewtwo's fight with Gary Oak and his escape from Team Rocket's base happened in the TV series.
  • Captain Ersatz: Dr. Fuji to Dr. Tenma, the creator/father of Astro Boy.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: The pirate trainer releases three pokémon at the same time in a one-on-one battle. Pikachu wastes all three at once.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: Possibly the reason Mewtwo is rather 'unhinged'. He was not allowed to come to terms with Ambertwo's passing away naturally. The scientists desperate to control him inject a lot of sedatives and memory-wiping serum to calm him down. Disturbingly, Mewtwo spends the rest of the Japanese original film giggling.
  • Cloning Blues: The main reason for this movie.
  • Conspicuous CG: Several examples, but the most conspicuous is the huge door to Mewtwo's arena. The original Japanese theatrical cut was almost wholly hand-drawn; the CG was added to the Japanese video release and that cut is the one that was adapted internationally.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: When Ash gets hit by the oncoming blasts of both sides of the Mew and Mewtwo fight, his arms stretch out to his sides before he collapses and dies.
  • Cultural Translation: Songs by American pop bands were inserted into the dub, and the orchestral score was entirely changed.
    "We also rescored the entire movie with all new music that would better reflect what American kids would respond to."
    —Norman Grossfeld
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Mewtwo's first three clones (of the three Kanto starters' fully evolved forms) easily beat the real starters (Ash's Charizard lasts the longest, but then, he only lasts about a minute as opposed to 10 seconds like the others).
    • Footage is shown of gym leader Giovanni using armored!Mewtwo against several trainers in the anime, including Gary Oak.
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: The English dub, especially when compared to later movies and the regular series. Even the dubber's DVD commentary has them admitting to having trouble during translation. There is quite a Broken Base as to how this affects the film's enjoyability.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Think Mewtwo can't take Pokémon while they're in their Poké Balls? Think again.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the TV show. Human characters die and Pokémon are cloned and forced to fight to the death.
    • The Japanese version takes this a step further with its complex existentialist themes, in a similar vein to the Pokémon Black and White video games with its moral themes.
  • Deus ex Machina: Ash brought back to normal after being turned into stone by Pokémon tears in the original version. At least the dub gave it a set-up early on, but implied Ash died instead.
  • Disney Death: Ash gets caught in the crossfire trying to stop the fighting, is killed, and is turned to stone. However, Pikachu, and all the other Pokémon (save Mew and Mewtwo) begin crying over his death and their tears of sorrow bring Ash back to life.
    • Surprisingly, in the Japanese version, he's only turned to stone; it isn't specified whether he actually dies or not.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: While Mewtwo's early life wasn't what you would call pleasant, wanting to destroy everyone on the planet because of it, even though they never knew of his existence, let alone have a desire to deliberately want to hurt him, is not something a sane individual would do.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Marill and Snubbull (in the tie-in short movie), and Donphan. Mewtwo's Signature Move (in this movie, at least) Shadow Ball. Corey (the Pidgeot trainer) may also count, as he greatly resembles the Cooltrainer design from Pokémon Gold and Silver.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Thanks to his own bad experiences, Mewtwo flat out refuses to believe people and Pokemon could ever stand as equals and be friends. Anyone who says otherwise, usually angers him more. After Ash's sacrifice does he finally reach an epiphany.
  • Evil Counterpart: Mewtwo to Mew.
    • Almost all the clones to the originals, the only exception being Meowth.
  • Floating in a Bubble: How Mew and Mewtwo fight.
  • Freak Out/Go Mad from the Revelation: When told in the beginning of the movie that he is nothing more than a science experiment and/or a tool for the humans who created him, Mewtwo doesn't take the news very well.
  • Giggling Villain: Mewtwo in the Japanese version.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Mewtwo.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The page quote is a scientist's last words as Mewtwo destroys his lab.
  • Gratuitous English: The pirate trainer who challenges Satoshi (Ash) in the Japanese version speaks with this mixed into his Japanese, complete with a hilarious "Oh my God!" when he loses.
    • Rather appropriate considering the voice actor was an American singer named Raymond Johnson, who usually does Gratuitous English in the Pokemon songs he did later.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Mewtwo's belief. Justified in that he had only really dealt with a few humans: the scientists who made him, and Giovanni. He might not have even thought so about the scientists if he had more perspective on them and not started destroying everything a minute after birth.note 
  • I Lied: Giovanni's response to Mewtwo when the latter confronts the former's early declaration that they were equal partners. Not surprisingly, Mewtwo is royally pissed at the betrayal and decides to blow the joint - figuratively and literally. Unfortunately, Giovanni turns out luckier than the scientists, and survives.
  • Inconsistent Dub: When the scientists manage to calm down Mewtwo before he awakes in the lab, Dr. Fuji shouts that his daughter is gone forever, since her clone died. However, it is clearly stated before that Fuji was cloning her as many times as he wanted to until making a successful clone.
    • Mewtwo's questioning everything about himself from the original version was left in the dub, but some lines were changed to make Mewtwo say that he is stronger than Mew. He still didn't know almost anything about himself at that point, so there is no way he could know that or even believe it if he was so confused.
    • The title of the movie, "Mewtwo Strikes Back" appears just after Mewtwo says that he is not declaring war on humans, but just simply strike back at them in the original version. The dub changes it to Mewtwo saying that he won't allow human and Pokémon being alike, making the movie title pointless if taking Mewtwo's dub goals in consideration.
    • While in the series is heavily implied that Jessie can't and won't cook at all, a rewritten line in the movie makes her offering to cook something.
    • When the Trainers decide to go to New Island, Fergus says in the dub that all of his Pokémon are Water-types, while he has a Nidoqueen.
    • When Ash reaches Mewtwo's castle, Corey says that "Hurricane winds are a breeze for Pidgeotto here". Guess which Pokémon was beside him.
    • Scyther is called Alakazam and and Sandslash is called Sandshrew in the dub, while they already know about those Pokémon from the main anime.
    • In the dub, after the explosion near the castle's battlefield, Mewtwo says that "his clones shall inherit the world" as they get out from the laboratory, inconsistent with his confused and worried expression. This is because in the original he asked what happened, since the explosion was clearly unexpected to happen.
    • The dub adds lines about "fighting is wrong" during the Pokémon battling to death scenes. The franchise is based on fighting.
      • One can argue that there is difference between friendly competitive battles and hate-filled fighting, as Brock alludes to.
  • Ironic Echo: When Nurse Joy is taken out of her trance, the first thing she says is "Where am I? And how in the world did I get here?". Sounds kind of similar to Mewtwo's feelings early in the movie when he's first brought into the world. Probably just a coincidence though.
  • Island Base: After ending his "partnership" with Giovanni, Mewtwo returns to New Island and makes it his lair, complete with a castle that looks like a Miyazaki-esque version of Minas Morgul.
  • Killed Off for Real: The scientists that created Mewtwo.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The movie takes a dark turn from the anime with the debut of Mewtwo.
  • Kung-Fu Sonic Boom: During the Mewtwo vs Mew fight. With Psychic Powers, and it is awesome.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After a young Mewtwo was distraught over Amber's death, the scientists pacified it by injecting a serum that as a result forced him to forget about her.
    • Mewtwo himself administers this to Ash, Misty, Brock the other three trainers and all of their Pokémon as he, Mew and his clones leave New Island for greener pastures.
  • Little "No": Misty's reaction to Ash's "death" and Pikachu's failed attempts to revive him with electricity is an incredibly quiet, saddened whisper of: "Please no..."
  • Lost in Translation: The English dub translation completely changed the characters of Mewtwo. Originally, Mewtwo was less outright evil, and more confused and lost than anything else. He was a tragic character, audiences were supposed to feel sorry for him. Mewtwo had no intentions of using the storm to destroy humanity, it was merely a method to filter out weaker trainers. The genetic Pokemon simply wanted to prove as a clone, he was equal, if not stronger, than any original Pokemon.
  • Manifest Destiny: Mewtwo's main motivation is that he is searching for his true destiny after two cases of Screw Destiny.
  • Martial Pacifist: The English version of Mew does not believe that fighting is the only way to resolve an issue and tries to avoid it whenever it can. The Japanese incarnation, on the other hand is a bit of a Blood Knight.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Of course. While the Japanese version definitely had this, this was played up a bit in the English dub. It feels like it was meant to excite children about all the new characters as much as possible, and was accompanied by a well-known Burger King promotion which offered about 50 different blind-bagged Pokémon toys in Poké Balls.
    • Unfortunately, several children died by choking on these. Nevertheless, Pokémon's popularity was relatively untarnished by the incidents.
  • Mirror Match: The whole plot of the movie revolved around Mewtwo luring trainers to his island and making clones of their Pokémon, leading to a climax which sees each Pokémon fighting its clone. The downside to this is that, because of Mewtwo making the fight even by suppressing his clones' enhanced strength, that they're killing each other.
    • Well, all except Pikachu, who won't even lift a paw to defend himself against his clone's attacks.
    • Meowth and his clone are another subversion; the former restraining himself from staring a fight and the latter not taking any interest in proving himself at all and doesn't seem to mind that he was born a clone.
  • Mon of Mass Destruction: Mewtwo.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Mewtwo's ambitions seem very confounded and hard to follow. Initially he desires to rule over the world. Self explanatory. But, then he reveals that he wants to simultaneously liberate Pokemon and enslave Humans. However, he deems humans 'dangerous' and should be destroyed rather than controlled. When he's all but won the battle, he's become an Omnicidal Maniac, who now desires to wipe out Pokemon and people altogether without mercy, save for his clones.
  • Mood Whiplash: Before the movie proper, viewers were treated with a happy little short about the heroes' Pokémon having a vacation in a park. Within a couple of minutes, the movie has skidded into an uncharacteristically dark and heart-wrenching account of a scientist losing his wife and daughter and Mewtwo going nearly insane with rage and sorrow until his memories are forcibly wiped.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: As nuts as Mewtwo was in this movie, there was enough good left in him to question his actions when Ash nearly died trying to stop the battle between the clones and the originals.
  • Nasty Party: Mewtwo's invitation to his island turns out to be this.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Mewtwo.
  • Oh Crap: Mr. Fuji - as quoted at the beginning of the page - right before being torn apart by Mewtwo.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Mewtwo.
  • Please Wake Up: Pikachu's reaction to Ash's death.
  • The Power of Love: It helps win the final battle and bring Ash back from the dead.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the Japanese version: "Discharge, damn machine!"
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Mostly played straight with Mewtwo, but averted with Mew.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Some fans of Mewtwo's Japanese incarnation have likened him to a scared, confused and angry child, placing him in types B and C of the trope. His motives basically amount to a psychic powered temper-tantrum (albeit one that is not entirely unjustified) as a result of his mistreatment and even some of his dialog is childish in some aspects, saying "Don't tell me what to do!" when Ash and co. confront him on taking their Pokémon. The English dub averts this, glossing over most, if not all, of Mewtwo's childish mannerisms from the Japanese version.
  • Reality Warpers: Mew and Mewtwo both.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cute, cheerful Mew in comparison to the badass, angsty Mewtwo. Their force-fields are even color-coded to match.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The scientists who created Mewtwo did so in the hope that it would help find a way to clone one scientist's daughter.
  • Reset Button: Mewtwo apparently hits one at the end; not only are all memories of his plot wiped out, but the crew ends up back at the ferry station...during the storm. Effectively, he turned back time.
  • Restraining Bolt: Kinda-sorta-not-really. The armor serves its purpose (hey, Mewtwo didn't kill the trainers' Pokémon) up until Giovanni told Mewtwo exactly what his purpose was after Giovanni found him. Then Mewtwo goes Harrison Bergeron on the restraints and blows up Team Rocket's base.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Mew, who also passes for Cute Bruiser.
  • R-Rated Opening: The main anime is aimed at a younger audience, with the story revolving around Ash's quest to become a Pokémon Master. The movie, however, opens with the birth of Mewtwo, who blows up a laboratory filled with scientists after learning that he is a clone created by humans. Mewtwo is then greeted by Giovanni, who offers him a chance to find his purpose in the world. The next scene features Mewtwo under the service of Team Rocket, demonstrating the organization's darker themes that the main show rarely touches upon. After realizing that Giovanni is using him as a tool, Mewtwo proceeded to blow up the Rocket base and flee to his island, swearing to strike back at the humans.
  • Science Is Bad: How Mewtwo views the scientists who created him. Strangely, this doesn't stop him from creating clones of his own.
    • Actually, his view isn't that science is bad, but humans, in particularly their USE of science, are bad. He is allowed to make his own clones because he will give their lives meaning, while the humans made him for (as was explained to him) no reason. "You are an experiment and your purpose is to be viewed in a tube."
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: When one of his human guests says that a Pokémon can't be a trainer, Mewtwo counters this argument by tossing him into a fountain via telekinesis and later proceeds to do the same with said human's Gyarados.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Pikachu refuses to fight his clone. It...doesn't really work. Weirdly enough, Meowth has more success with his.
    • As does Psyduck
  • Shout-Out: The subtitles for the movie (it actually has two, both are seen as correct however) are references to The Empire Strikes Back and Char's Counterattack.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Pikachu tries to convince Mewtwo that Ash views him (Pikachu) as a friend, not a slave. Mewtwo is not convinced and tries to hurl him to the back of the room, only for Ash to jump in the way and cushion Pikachu's fall.
  • The Social Darwinist: Mewtwo.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Despite the film's dark and troubling themes and near-constant violence during the third act, its soundtrack is made up almost exclusively of late-'90s bubblegum pop, whereas industrial rock or nu-metal, which were readily available at the time, would arguably have fit much better. (To be fair, though, most of the songs were present only in the credits, after the story had lightened up, and too much distortion and angst might have scared younger viewers.)
  • Stealth Pun: The English dub has Brock say that he didn't know Vikings were still around while Team Rocket (dressed as them) are attempting to ferry them to New Island. Ash responds that "They mostly live in Minnesota!" This went over the heads of more than a few British and Canadians. note 
  • Swiss Army Tears: The climax of the movie. Ash is brought back to life thanks to these.
  • Taken for Granite: Ash, see Disney Death above.
  • Take Over the World: This appears to have been Giovanni's motive for manipulating Mewtwo. Mewtwo then tries to pull this off himself with his cloned Pokémon...sort of; everyone would be wiped out prior to this, so he wouldn't really be "taking it over" from anyone.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Averted. The main characters are unable to dissuade or reason with Mewtwo or get him to abandon his reckless course of action.
  • Theme Tune Extended: The theme song for the first season of Pokémon receives a remix here, featuring the additional verses of the original theme.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: "You can't do this. I won't let you."
  • Too Dumb to Live: As per usual Pokemon tradition, Ash and company actually fall for Team Rocket's Viking disguises and are foolish enough to accept the ride in an antiquated wooden longboat against Mewtwo's violent storm. Needless to say, this lack of common sense would've doomed them all if not for their Water-Type Pokemon.
    • Team Rocket themselves, for disguising themselves in such a manner long after the Vikings have been committed to history and for not being equipped to tackle such a violent storm.
    • Finally, the other nameless trainers for braving the storm only to have themselves and especially their own Pokemon become pawns for Mewtwo's ultimate plan to conquer the planet.
  • Tragic Villain: MEWTWO is perhaps the most tragic villain in the anime's universe. The short written for it makes it even more tragic, which makes you feel sorry for the poor guy.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Pikachu refuses to attack his clone or defend himself against the blows.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Mewtwo. It took him all of 12 seconds to do so.
  • Unguided Lab Tour: Team Rocket, when they sneak onto the secret island and discover the cloning lab that Mewtwo built there.
  • Victory Guided Amnesia: None of the trainers or their Pokémon remember the events of this movie.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Early into the film Mewtwo has a Dragonite in his service who delivers out the invitations to worthy trainers. Its never seen again, which raises Unfortunate Implications as in the dub Mewtwo vows to purge all original Pokemon from the world.
  • Weather Control Machine: Mewtwo conjures a storm as a test so that only the strongest of the trainers would be able to make it to his island. No actual machine is involved, though; Mewtwo just thinks about it and the massive storm manifests.
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: If Mewtwo was treated with an ounce of kindness and empathy in the beginning.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mewtwo.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Mewtwo, again. Even moreso in the Japanese version.
  • The Worf Effect: The montage of Mewtwo while under Giovanni's control shows him curb-stomping among other things, an Alakazam in seconds, and help capture a large herd of Tauros.
  • Writer on Board: This movie was released at the height of both Pokemon's Popularity and controversy in the United States. To appease the parents in the audience, the last leg of the movie turned into a lecture over why fighting is bad.
    • The Japanese original took a very different approach to appeal to parents; instead of going "hey, this movie has a great Aesop for your kids!", it actually dealt with more complex moral and existential themes while retaining a related Aesop of its own.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Mewtwo to Nurse Joy; downplayed in that he simply lifts her from his mind control instead of killing her.

    Film/PokémonPokémon 2000
PokémonVideo Game MoviesPokémon 2000
PokémonFilms of the 1990sPokémon 2000
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the SeaAnimated FilmsPokémon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon
PokémonAnimePokémon 2000

alternative title(s): Pokemon The First Movie; Mewtwo Strikes Back; Mewtwo Strikes Back
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
63683
30