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Theatre: Pokémon Live!

Pokémon Live! is, in simple words, The Musical stage show based on the Pokémon anime. It ran late in 2000 and is one of the first Pokémon-based productions made entirely in America. It's not canonical to the anime it's based on, but the story does seem to fit the bill of a Musical Episode. The soundtrack was made of songs from the Image Song album 2.B.A. Master, as well as a few songs from the later album Totally Pokémon and some exclusive musical numbers not heard anywhere else.

The story begins with a mysterious Gym Leader challenging all trainers to battle him for his one-of-a-kind Gym Badge, the Diamond Badge. Ash Ketchum, protagonist of the anime, is determined to win this Badge. However, he is also put through a dilemma of sorts; his friend Misty is upset that he never made good on his promise to take her to the movies for her birthday three weeks ago, which she points out is an example of him focusing so much on his Pokémon training that he is ignoring his friends.

What Ash doesn't realize, though, is that the mysterious Gym Leader is in fact Giovanni, leader of Team Rocket. He has been using the Diamond Badge as bait to make trainers unwittingly come face his new super-robot Pokémon, MechaMew2, based off of the powerful Mewtwo he used to own. MechaMew2's ability is that it can learn, amplify, and return the attacks of its challengers, thus making it unstoppable. By a strange coincidence, the only two techniques it hasn't yet learned are Thundershock and Thunder, two abilities possessed by Pikachu. Thus, Giovanni once again sends his Terrible Trio, Jessie, James, and Meowth, to capture Ash's Pikachu (which, surprisingly, they actually manage to accomplish!). During this, he also kidnaps Professor Oak and Ash's mom, Delia.

If you'd like to know how it ends, you can watch the whole thing on YouTube via the show's production manager starting here. An earlier transcript can be found on this site. A Making Of Featurette can be seen here.


This musical contains examples of:

  • Androids Are People, Too: MechaMew2 is treated like an actual Pokemon by the cast even though it's mechanical.
  • Artistic License: MechaMew2's PoisonPowder knocks a trainer's Venusaur out in one hit, despite that PoisonPowder isn't a damage-dealing move and Venusaur is immune to poison.
  • The Atoner: Delia considers herself this to protect Ash from knowing her troubled past with Team Rocket.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Ash has Pikachu repeatedly use Thunder and Thundershock against MechaMew2, even when it's apparent it's unaffected.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Giovanni seems to be rather fond of referring to MechaMew2 as a "mechanical marvel". The term is even used in its promotional trading card.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Giovanni does this in "You Just Can't Win" after grabbing Ash by the chin/neck and shoving him away.
  • Berserk Button: Giovanni mentioning Ash's mom to him.
  • Big Entrance: Team Rocket's entrance; they repeat it to get the audience to cheer for them.
  • Black Helicopter: The Rockets carry Professor Oak and Delia away by dangling them in cages from an (offscreen) helicopter.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Dexter literally pulls this during his song when he claims to "break out" of Ash's Pokédex when things get too difficult.
    • As in the anime, Team Rocket does this a lot.
  • Bring Him to Me: Giovanni instructs Team Rocket to bring him Pikachu alive and unharmed so it can fight MechaMew2. Pikachu refuses to obey them, so Giovanni orders that Ash be captured as well.
  • The Cameo: Numerous Pokémon including Jigglypuff and Psyduck, along with Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny during "Two Perfect Girls".
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Misty, to Ash.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: All of Team Rocket, including Giovanni.
  • Care Bear Stare: The real Mewtwo psychically projects Ash's love for his Pokémon into MechaMew2, thus causing it to become sentient and self-destruct to take down Giovanni.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Mewtwo hits MechaMew2 with enough of Ash's memories to make him faint, and when he wakes up he can't remember the fight or what happened afterwards.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Mewtwo is mentioned early on as Giovanni relates how he escaped from him, necessitating the creation of MechaMew2, and he appears in the finale to help Ash.
  • Chekhov's Gun: MechaMew2 learning Selfdestruct.
  • The Chessmaster: Giovanni orchestrates the entire plot and manipulates just about everyone.
    Darren Dunstan: He manipulates a whole lot of people during the show, and it makes him a lot of fun to play.
  • Circling Monologue: Ash and Giovanni circle each other as they sing/fight in "You Just Can't Win."
    • Rocket Grunts circle Ash and Giovanni as the latter gets the upper hand.
  • Companion Cube: While the characters generally treat MechaMew2 like an actual Pokemon, Giovanni speaks to it as if it were alive even before it becomes sentient. His comments range from innocuous to parental to outright disturbing.
  • Composite Character: MechaMew2 is primarily based on Mewtwo, but also has Mew's unique feature of being able to learn every Pokemon move.
  • Contrived Coincidence: MechaMew2 has learned every single move... except for Thundershock and Thunder. This gives Giovanni the perfect excuse to have Jessie and James kidnap Ash's Pikachu for him. Keep in mind that Giovanni keeps referring to the total amount of moves as 251, which it is in the second generation. This means that MechaMew2 has somehow learned the signature moves of two legendary Pokémon (Lugia's Aeroblast and Ho-oh's Sacred Fire) but is yet to meet one that uses either of the two rather common Electric-type moves.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Delia Ketchum used to go out with Giovanni.
  • Dark Reprise: Giovanni reprises "Everything Changes" and "You And Me And Pokemon."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Meowth and Giovanni.
  • Deus ex Machina: The original Mewtwo shows up and saves the day, using his telepathy and Ash's memories to give MechaMew2 a Care Bear Stare.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The show begins with Giovanni's broadcast interrupting a song. In-universe, it's a commercial for the Diamond Badge.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Professor Oak's eccentricity is taken up to eleven in the show.
  • Everyone Can See It: Brock can easily tell Misty loves Ash.
  • Evil Former Friend: Delia used to date Giovanni. In an original draft of the show, Giovanni was Ash's father.
  • Evil Gloating: It Will All Be Mine is basically evil gloating in the form of a song.
    Giovanni: There'll be world domination / complete obliteration / of all who now defy me. / Let the universe prepare / good Pokémon beware / you fools shall not deny me!
  • Evil Is Hammy: All the villains, especially Jessie, James, and Giovanni.
  • Evil Laugh: Giovanni, even in the middle of his songs! Jessie and James also get a few, such as partway through It Will All Be Mine.
  • Excited Show Title!: The exclamation point is part of the show title.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Jessie and James report that Ash got away from them while walking right past him.
  • Flanderization: Let's just say that Brock has no personality here besides being excitable and going after every girl he sees. He even flirts with Misty at one point.
  • Forgotten Birthday: Ash forgot to take Misty to the movies for her birthday, which she uses as an example of him focusing so much on his Pokémon training that he is ignoring his friends.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Delia Ketchum.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Ash is a friend to all Pokemon. His memories and pure heart even wreck Giovanni's plan by giving MechaMew2 knowledge of love and right and wrong.
  • Funny Background Event: During the Dark Reprise of "You And Me and Pokemon," Professor Oak is seen banging on the bars of the cage he's locked in and even climbing on them.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Giovanni built MechaMew2 all by himself.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • After being slapped around by a bunch of girls, Brock remarks that he liked it and it made him tingle.
    • One of Ash's happy memories in the finale is of the banned bikini episode.
    • As Giovanni and Delia talk, he says he has fond memories of their early days while fiddling with the lock on her cage.
  • The Ghost: Ash's father and Professor Xalrons. Both are mentioned but never seen.
  • Go Karting with Bowser: In the finale, Giovanni dances with the rest of the cast, as does the rest of Team Rocket.
  • A God Am I: During "It Will All Be Mine," Giovanni says he'll have divine power and make the sun shine on only him.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The story starts with Ash sleeping in and Pikachu shocking him awake.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: When MechaMew2 defeats Pikachu, Ash tries to fight Giovanni himself, with his fists. Giovanni responds in kind.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: Jessie and James fall into their own pit trap and Meowth has to fetch a rope to rescue them.
  • Hey, That's My Line!: Jessie and James are confused when Ash demands to be taken to Giovanni, claiming those are their lines.
  • Hidden Depths: Brock knows sign language, which lets him communicate with a deaf trainer.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Giovanni gave MechaMew2 the ability to "learn", which results in it "learning" the difference between good and evil thanks to Mewtwo and Ash. Having learned right from wrong and which one Giovanni is, MechaMew2 tries to take Giovanni with it by blowing up.
    • Earlier, Jessie and James fall into their own pit trap.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Thanks to Ash's memories, MechaMew2 gains sentience and the ability to talk.
  • I Want Them Alive: Giovanni instructs Team Rocket to bring him Pikachu alive and unharmed so it can fight MechaMew2.
    • Later, when Ash surrenders to Team Rocket, his friends and family try to follow them—but Meowth specifies the Boss only wanted Ash.
  • Idiot Hero: Ash comes across as this since he is solely focused on obtaining the Diamond Badge, oblivious to Misty's feelings, and seemingly obsessed with Pokémon. However, in "I've Got A Secret", Ash sings about how he must move on from Pikachu's departure to follow his dream and become an adult. He gets over his idiocy by the end of the musical.
  • Jukebox Musical: The soundtrack was made of songs from the Image Song album 2.B.A. Master, as well as a few songs from the later album Totally Pokémon and some exclusive musical numbers not heard anywhere else.
  • Just Between You and Me: Defied. Delia wants to avoid this trope, so she tells Ash about her past before Giovanni can.
  • Keet: Brock gets the most high-energy, elaborate dancing in the show.
    • Professor Oak was turned into this, making him one of the show's funniest characters.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Giovanni's reprise of "You And Me and Pokemon" mentions this. On stage, Rocket Grunts kneel before him as he sings.
    One fight/Then after that/You'll all be at my feet!
  • Large Ham: Giovanni, the Team Rocket trio, Brock and Professor Oak.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Mewtwo wipes Ash's memories of his appearance; it may have been accidental given he hit MechaMew2 with enough of Ash's memories to make him faint.
  • Last Note Nightmare:
    • "Everything Changes" ends on minor key violins as Team Rocket enters, interrupting Delia and Oak.
    • Giovanni's reprise of "Everything Changes" ends on a creepy minor key. This is exacerbated onstage, where helicopter sounds are played over it as Delia and Professor Oak are captured.
  • Life Isn't Fair: Giovanni says this to Ash in the climax.
    Ash: It's not fair! What kind of creature is that?
    Giovanni: Welcome to the world, Ash Ketchum! My world!
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Almost. Giovanni used to date Ash's mom.
  • Momma's Boy: Delia sees Ash as this, although he wants to get out of it and be a man. It turns out Delia wants Ash to remain like this in order to protect him from Team Rocket.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Invoked; the people behind the show wanted to create something parents wound enjoy as well as kids.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Delia has this reaction after she tells Ash about her past; the revelation combined with Team Rocket stealing his Pikachu made Ash surrender to them to be taken straight to Giovanni—something Delia desperately tried to avoid.
  • Mythology Gag: Jigglypuff scribbles drawings on Ash and co. when they fall asleep after she sings.
    • A Dodrio can be heard giving a morning crow like one does in episode one of the anime.
  • Near Villain Victory: Giovanni's plan works completely, and he tries to kill Ash and Pikachu with Hyper Beam after they served their purpose in his plan. If not for Mewtwo's intervention, he would have won.
  • Neck Lift: Sort of. In "You Just Can't Win" Giovanni grabs Ash by the chin/neck, lifts his head and shoves him away; it'd probably be closer to an actual neck lift if they weren't the same height.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Pikachu's Thundershock and Thunder were the last two moves MechaMew2 needed to learn; with the list complete, nothing can stop Giovanni from conquering the world.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: MechaMew2 is seemingly unaffected by any opponent's attack, no matter how strong.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: After Pikachu teaches MechaMew2 its electric moves, Giovanni decides to kill Ash and Pikachu with Hyper Beam.
  • No Sell: None of the Pokemon's attacks seem to have any effect on MechaMew2, not even very strong ones like Thunder and Self Destruct. It takes multiple Thundershocks and Thunders without a scratch.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Giovanni and Ash get up close and personal in "You Just Can't Win."
  • Nonchalant Dodge: During "You Just Can't Win," Giovanni tries to punch Ash, who dodges and taunts him about it.
    Ash: Guess you're slowin' down, old man; can't hit what you can't catch!
  • Parent Service: During several of the songs, there were dancers in the background wearing skin-tight leotards.
    • James delivers a joke about employment benefits and "Don't Ask Don't Tell".
  • Quarreling Song: "You Just Can't Win," sung by Giovanni and Ash after Pikachu's defeated by MechaMew2.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Giovanni made MechaMew2 to replace Mewtwo, who escaped from him.
  • Rule of Cool: The MechaMew2 robot, the entire last 15 minutes, and the helicopter were probably written to invoke this.
  • Scare Chord: Giovanni's reprise of "You and Me and Pokemon" starts with jarring vocals and guitars.
  • Self Restraint: Upon hearing Team Rocket has Pikachu, when Jessie and James arrive to capture him Ash lets them. They're put off by this.
  • Serious Business: Besides Pokemon being a cornerstone of the world, Giovanni seems horrified when Team Rocket's motto interrupts his villain song.
  • Ship Tease: Between Ash and Misty, Delia and Professor Oak, and there used to be a relationship between Delia and Giovanni.
  • Something about a Rose: James has his iconic rose, even in blocking rehearsals.
  • Strapped to a Bomb: MechaMew2 puts Giovanni in a headlock as it counts down to self destruct.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Giovanni often tells MechaMew2 about his plans and how unstoppable it will be.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Giovanni is this to the point that Jessie and James give him migraines from sheer annoyance.
  • Take Over the World: Giovanni plans to do this through MechaMew2.
  • Taking You with Me: MechaMew2 tries to do this to Giovanni; sadly, the Rocket boss escapes before it blows up.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: This is how MechaMew2 is defeated. Mewtwo hitting it with Ash's memories gives it sentience and an understanding of right and wrong, which it uses to try and take out Giovanni.
  • Team Rocket Wins: To date, this is the only time Jessie and James have ever actually brought Pikachu to Giovanni, and they suffer no consequences for it either.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The show opens with the Johto Pokemon theme before being interrupted by Giovanni's commercial, and Ash listens to the original Pokemon theme on the radio.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Jessie and James.
  • True Companions: Ash considers Pikachu, Misty and Brock his best friends for life ("My Best Friends").
  • Victory Guided Amnesia: Mewtwo wipes Ash's memories of his appearance; it may have been accidental given he hit MechaMew2 with enough of Ash's memories to make him faint.
  • Villainous Lament: "The Best at Being the Worst".
  • Villain Song: Giovanni's "It Will All Be Mine" and his Dark Reprise of "You and Me and Pokémon". Also, Team Rocket's "Double Trouble".
  • The Villain Sucks Song: "The Best at Being the Worst" is Team Rocket doing this to themselves, except they twist it around to make it sound like they're great for sucking so much and how it's their claim to fame.
  • Visionary Villain: Giovanni claims his plan will change the world forever, and his villain songs describe ruling the planet and controlling each day to the point that he'll make the sun shine on him alone.
  • Voice of the Legion: MechaMew2 speaks with heavy reverb and a male/female voice similar to the Mewtwo/Nurse Joy example from the anime.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Professor Oak tries to escape from a cage via martial arts training. It doesn't go well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A comical version. Brock gets the group lost when he chucks away the map to Viridian City to deliberately talk to a pretty girl and ask for directions. Needless to say, Misty is not happy.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears: It Will All Be Mine, Giovanni's otherwise serious Villain Song, has a part where Jessie and James recite their motto by rapping.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Giovanni is perfectly willing to kill Ash with MechaMew2's Hyper Beam, and he engages him in a fistfight shortly before that.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Pikachu teaches MechaMew2 its electric moves, he and Ash are no longer useful to Giovanni, so he tries to kill them with Hyper Beam.
  • Your Mom: Giovanni does this in "You Just Can't Win."
    Ash: No one's gonna side with you; you're stark raving mad!
    Giovanni: Oh yeah? Just ask your mother.
  • You're Insane!: After Giovanni explains his world domination plans to his prisoners, this exchange occurs.
    Delia: You're mad!
    Giovanni: Not mad. Maybe a little angry.

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alternative title(s): Pokemon Live
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