YMMV: Pokémon: The First Movie

  • Animation Age Ghetto: Defied for the Japanese version, according to Word Of God. Takeshi Shudo states that he made the movie to entertain children and their parents/guardians as well, and that he'd be "slightly embarrassed" by parents who'd just take their children to see the movie as chaperones. It's a shame that, not only did 4Kids Entertainment dub this as a straight-up kids' film (as opposed to a family film), but later movies in the series would fall squarely into this trope.
    Takeshi Shudo: "Perhaps this anime is not only for children but also for their guardians: Where is this? Who am I? If you answer, 'This is a movie theater where I seldom come. I am a parent who has a child. —Ah, child rearing is an expensive, tiring job,' I'll be slightly embarrassed by your answer."
    • Despite what people say about the dub if you actually watch it there is alot of stuff you wont find in your average kid movie. Or adult movie for that matter.
  • Anvilicious: Whether the film's aesop is "all life is equal" (Japanese version) or "killing/fighting (to the death) is wrong!" (English version), there's a scene with all the characters preaching about it from the sidelines. It also manages to completely overshadow the much subtler and more fitting secondary message about how one's choices matter more than one's origins, which nonetheless follows more naturally from the Japanese moral.
  • Ass Pull: The dub's moral of "fighting is wrong" makes sense given the context, but has very little to tie it to the rest of the movie and seemingly comes out of nowhere, unlike the original's. It also causes Mewtwo's "circumstances of one's birth" realization at the end to become this.
    • The fighting is wrong thing really needs context to make sense. In the show the fights are exaggerated sparring matches, when one looses they eyes go all swirly and its over. Half the time the pokemon get up right up afterwards and smile it off. But Mewtwo makes it clear that the non clone pokemon will die alongside the humans. Mewtwo is waging a fight to the death for racist reasons... There is plenty of mature content in the dub version as well.
  • Awesome Music: "Tears of Life." That is all.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: "Pikachu's Vacation" has several surreal cutaways (mostly scene transitions) to things involving other Pokémon.
  • Broken Base: The English dub; some have fond memories of it and still enjoy how it took a darker turn from the TV series, while others dislike how watered-down and generic it was made from the Japanese version.
    • And then there are those who actually prefer the dub and think the Japanese version had its own share of problem. Mewtwo does'nt even remember the other clones so the Birth of Mewtwo has little effect on the story and think that Mewtwo's english version is cooler than the japanese version.
    • There is also the "only humans cry" bit in the japanese version which makes no sense because we have seen pokemon cry before this movie came out.
  • Cant Unhear It:
    • If you watch the Japanese version, try not to hear Masachika Ichimura as Mewtwo. Lots of fans had trouble adjusting to Reiko Takashima's performance as M16's "female" Mewtwo for this reason, with Dogasunote  noting that he kept lapsing into reading Newtwo's dialogue in Ichimura's voice when going through the M16 manga adaptation.
    • For the English version, this can either be subverted or played straight depending on your point of view, in that both Philip Bartlett and Dan Green (who took over the role in Mewtwo Returns) seem to be equally well-remembered as Mewtwo's voice.
  • Creepy Awesome: Mewtwo, especially in the Japanese original where he's essentially a Psychopathic Manchild who's toying with everyone just to stoke his ego.
  • Critical Dissonance: Did poorly with critics, but ended up being the highest grossing anime film released in the United States. Modern Pokémon fans also have a somewhat higher opinion of the movie, where it is considered polarizing instead of universally bad. However, the Japanese version is usually considered outright good.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Interestingly enough, both Mewtwo and Mew get this treatment, as the latter is much less innocent in the Japanese version than in the dub:
    • Yes, Mewtwo is incredibly tragic and yes, he learns the error of his ways in the end. But some fans take this too far and use it to excuse his blatantly twisted and hypocritical actions throughout most of the movie.
    • In the Japanese version, Mew is an even bigger victim of this, especially to people who grew up with the English dub. While it does side with Ash, it believes the originals to be superior to the clones and wants the clones to lose in a fight to the death. The problem is, due to Mew being a Ridiculously Cute Critter and much less menacing than its clone, and the fact that Mewtwo is a pretty big dick and his clones serve under him, people are inclined to side with Mew despite the movie's moral of "all life is equal."
  • Ear Worm: "Vacation" by Vitamin C. Good luck getting it out of your head.
  • First Installment Wins: Most people know there were at least two movies, but most people (at least outside of Japan) don't know that there is a 15th 18th movie, and counting.
  • Fridge Brilliance: In the games it is said that Mew only appears to those who are pure of heart. Its first appearance in public shows it saving Ash. Is it a wonder he is The Chosen One in the second movie?
  • Fridge Horror: What happened to all those trainers that didn't make it through the storm?
    • They might still be alive, due to Mewtwo pressing the Reset Button.
    • Ash released all of his Pokémon for the battle with Mewtwo, save Pidgeotto. Does that mean that when Ash was turned to stone, so was Pidgeotto?
  • Growing the Beard: Specifically in Japanese, as the movie was the first Pokémon product to implement complex ideas and themes that would give older viewers something to appreciate and think about. While the English dub was much more simplistic, it at least kept the dark tone of the original, and many people still regard it as a step up from the regular episodes.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ink-Stain Adaptation: Outside of the fandom, the English dub of the movie is considered very shoddy, and is partly responsible for the anime's and the franchise's Snark Bait reputation in the West. This is especially bad considering that Shudo's original script is regarded as better than much of the series.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Mewtwo; while there's no denying that he's a dick, he had an incredibly tragic life up to the point where he vowed revenge on humanity. Even more so in the Japanese dub, where he just wants to prove himself worthy of his own existence.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Mewtwo, pre-Heel-Face Turn, fits this to a tee. Brilliant? Check. Smooth operator who almost never loses his cool? Check. Has a goal and is going to get there, dangit? Check. Charismatic? From the high amount of fans he's earned, it seems safe to say check. Genre Savvy? Pretty much so. Audacious? It doesn't get much more audacious than trying to wipe out all life on Earth.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Pokémon aren't meant to fight. Not like this!" note 
  • Narm: A few examples, mostly thanks to the changes 4Kids made to the original film:
    • 4Kids' editing and script changing is a source of this, though there seem to be just as many people seeing their work as Narm Charm instead.
    • During the sad scene where all of the Pokémon are crying over Ash's body, the Dewgong start making sounds that are downright hilarious, especially in the Japanese version. Mood Whiplash at its finest.
    • Some people, critical of the English dub, find the "Brother My Brother" song to be a case of Soundtrack Dissonance.
  • Narm Charm: Similar to Transformers: The Movie, a lot of people enjoy the English dub due to nostalgia, the pop soundtrack, and Mewtwo's Badassery as a villain, despite everyone acknowledging that the movie isn't one of the best around (as evidenced by its very, very low Rotten Tomatoes rating).
  • Nightmare Fuel: Mewtwo. While Pokémon who are abused usually grow afraid or mistrustful towards humans, this one was driven half insane by it and decides to use his extremely powerful psychic abilities to exact his revenge, human and Pokémon alike. Given his game counterpart's ability in the later series to take on, and possibly even beat, other Legendaries, including Arceus, the god of all Pokémon itself, it's a very good thing for the universe in the anime that Mewtwo eventually decides to take a more productive approach to finding his purpose in life. The last thing Ash and his friends need is a Pokémon version of Kratos or Sephiroth running amok.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Blastoise in this movie is voiced by popular Badass seiyuu Tessho Genda in the Japanese version. "KAMEEEE~!"
  • Subbing versus Dubbing: The dub is far more well-known in the Western fandom, and quite a few fans even ignore that the Japanese version exists. Despite this, people who can find the Japanese version tend to prefer it (thanks, Shudo).
  • Vindicated by History: To some extent. The movie used to be on the IMDb Bottom 100 when it debuted, but now sits at an average rating. Most of the votes were initially from disgruntled adults taking their kids to see the movie, but they later became dominated by grown Pokéfans (the series' Popularity Polynomial definitely helped).
    • Easier (but not outright "easy") access to the original Japanese version of the movie also helped, as it motivated quite a few Pokémon fans who aren't too fond of 4Kids' dub to revisit the movie and develop a more positive opinion.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Many fans unfamiliar with the Japanese version tend to be rather surprised at the "meaning of life" themes, Mewtwo's greater complexity as a character, and the occasional mentions of God in relation to said themes. Which becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when you realize that ever since Pokemon Diamond And Pearl, there actually is a known God in the Pokémon world.