Follow TV Tropes


Anime / Pokémon: The First Movie

Go To
Mewtwo versus Mew. PLACE YOUR BETS!

"Who am I? What is my true reason for being? I will find my own purpose and purge this planet of all who oppose me, human and Pokémon alike. The world will heed my warning. The reign of Mewtwo will soon begin!"

Also known as Mewtwo Strikes Back, the very first movie complementing Pokémon: The Series. It was directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, with the screenplay by Takeshi Shudo. It was released on July 18, 1998.

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

It's noteworthy that this Pokémon movie is one of the few that is alluded to in the actual series,note  having plot elements set up throughout the first season of the show. It was followed a couple years later with the OVA Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns that continues the plotline and themes.

The film came packaged with a short called Pikachu's Vacation, which featured the Pokémon enjoying themselves in a holiday resort with little presence of any human characters, with Ash, Misty and Brock only making faceless cameos at the beginning and end, and Meowth and the Pokédex narrator being the only prominent characters with lines.

Prior to the film's release, there were a series of radio dramas in Japan known as Pokémon: The Birth of Mewtwo. The drama was never released outside of Japan, however most of it was later animated for The Birth of Mewtwo introduction that airs before the film in home releases.

To this day, it remains the highest-grossing anime film of all time in North America by a sizable margin. Upon its release, it also had the highest-grossing opening weekend for an animated movie... for two weeks.

A CG remake titled Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution was released in July 2019 in Japanese theaters and February 2020 internationally on Netflix.

This was the first of three anime films in the franchise distributed outside Japan by Warner Bros., which would go on to distribute Pokémon Detective Pikachu in 2019 as well.

This movie provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: 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.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Downplayed. Amber's mother left before Amber's death in the radio drama, but left afterwards in the anime.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In both this movie and Pokémon Adventures, Team Rocket is responsible for Mewtwo's creation. In the original games, Mewtwo's creators are not explicitly stated to be part of Team Rocket. As a consequence, the idea that Team Rocket made Mewtwo has been a strong piece of Fanon ever since with regards to the games.
  • Adapted Out: The first portion of the Birth of Mewtwo short is left over. As a result, Jessie's Missing Mom Miyamoto and Giovanni's deceased mother Madame Boss don't have any anime appearances.
  • Aesop Amnesia: A very literal example. Mewtwo erases everyone's memories of the events on the island, so the characters, especially Team Rocket, couldn't recall the important life lessons that they learned. This could be justified as Mewtwo believed it was more important to keep its crew safe from harm.
  • All There in the Manual: In the original Japanese (and the accompanying guidebooks and Birth of Mewtwo short), Mewtwo's origin is remarkably underdetailed — Dr. Fuji goes unnamed, no mention is made of Team Rocket's involvement in the Mewtwo project, and Giovanni's meeting with Mewtwo can easily be interpreted as a chance encounter. All those details come from The Birth of Mewtwo CD drama, the existence of which goes unacknowledged by official sources. For their part, 4Kids attempted to integrate that information into the film itself.
  • 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" and the Japanese version labels her "Voyager".
  • Ambiguous Gender:
    • No one's quite sure what gender this particular Mew is; many fans consider it to be a girl, especially because of all the pink and liking to ship the two, although it's voiced by Kōichi Yamadera (not to mention that, the one time a Mew is referred to with gendered pronouns in PokéPark Wii, 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 its obviously masculine voice. Then, more confusion was caused when another Mewtwo appeared with a feminine voice in Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened.
  • Angst Nuke: Twice within the first 10 minutes, Mewtwo blows up everything around it in rage over apparently being created to serve humans.
  • Animal Espionage: Early in the movie Mewtwo spies on Ash and company with a camera attached to a Fearow.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Mewtwo is an Animal Wrongs Activist. Its original goal is to save the Pokémon by killing all humans, but it believes Pokémon that already live alongside humans are a lost cause.
  • Anti-Villain: Mewtwo is dead-set between Types II and III.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Dr. Fuji makes a voice log entry while Mewtwo is blowing up the laboratory. Screams and explosions can be heard in the background when it's played.
  • Art Shift: An unintentional example. The "Birth of Mewtwo" introduction was created after the film and was added into rereleases. It is computer animated, unlike the rest of the film.
  • 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: The whole soundtrack is filled with award-bait 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 most. "Together with the Wind", the Japanese ending, also qualifies.
  • Back Blocking: During the clone battle, the clone Blastoise is pushing the real one against the wall and the back of his shell fills the screen.
  • Badass Adorable: Mew and Pikachu.
  • Badass Boast: The Japanese version of Mewtwo only does occasional boasting. Its English incarnation, on the other hand, does enough boasting to possibly fill a small page.
  • Badass Pacifist: Pikachu becomes this when pitted against Pikatwo. He refuses to raise a paw against his clone, and just stands there while Pikatwo wears itself out hitting him.
  • Beta Test Baddie: Mewtwo. Having been told that it was made to be a Modified Clone of Mew and be superior to it, Mewtwo becomes very fixed on that status and leads it to creating a Clone Army of similar superior clones to captured Pokémon. When Mew refutes Mewtwo's assertion that it and its clone Pokémon are superior to Mew and the originals due to their greater innate powers, Mewtwo responds with an enraged attack on Mew and chooses to use its psychic powers to block all the special powers of both originals and clones in order to have them fight and prove their "superiority" that way.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mew's generally pacifistic, but if you do manage to hurt it in an unprovoked attack, it will retaliate with extreme prejudice. Case in point, it launches an Energy Ball at Mewtwo so powerful that for the first time Mewtwo is caught completely flat-footed and takes it without any chance to deflect it.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Mew spends most of the movie being playful and adorable ...then when Mewtwo picks a fight with it, it proceeds to blast him through a wall and is the only thing in the movie capable of actually fighting him on roughly even ground.
  • 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 it). It gets better after witnessing Ash's sacrifice and realizing that maybe not all humans are bastards.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The clones vs. their originals. Very much Played for Drama to deliver a lesson about fighting. Even includes a bit of Soundtrack Dissonance. (The undubbed version uses "all life being equal" instead of "fighting" and a more suitable One-Woman Wail for the music.)
  • Big Damn Movie: The anime series up to this point consists of a young boy followed by his True Companions traveling around the region on a journey To Be a Master. They frequently deal with some small-time criminals who are stalking them, but otherwise the heroes are on a long, light-hearted adventure. Then, this movie's plot comes along and they have to save the world from a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds' revenge plot against all of humanity and non-cloned Pokémon.
  • Born as an Adult: Mewtwo was genetically engineered and only emerged from its tank when it was full grown. Although in an intro cut from the American release we do see Mewtwo as a "child" interacting telepathically with the other clones in the facility, though it doesn't remember this as an adult.
  • Bouncy Bubbles: Mew often plays around with bouncy psychic bubbles, even saying Ash from a grizzly fall with one.
  • 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. The American version goes with the "fighting is wrong" aesop, but they forgot to change Mewtwo's dialogue, so in the moment where it learns its lesson it states that it's not 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?
    • 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.
    • Mewtwo also says that "I too began with Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur", which doesn't make sense upon first seeing the film in English since the Origin of Mewtwo short was cut. It also seems a bit odd that despite its memories of Ambertwo's death being wiped when it was still growing, it still remembers them.
  • Broken Ace: Mewtwo was designed to be the strongest Mon ever. Unfortunately, it had some issues with the "designed" part.
  • Broken Aesop: It's a downplayed case. The dub version's "Fighting Is Wrong" message sounds strange in a series about using Pokémon to fight other Pokémon, but there's a fine distinction. In this movie, the clones and originals have a fight to the death while the rest of the series is supposed to be a friendly sport...albeit one that Pokémon are implied to sometimes die during.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Just before the final battle, Mewtwo, after being enraged by Mew's assertion that powers or not what truly makes a Pokémon's strength is what's in their heart, decides to use his Psychic Powers to block all the special abilities of both the originals and the Modified Clones, thus putting them on an equal physical playing field.
  • The Cameo: Gary Oak appears briefly during Mewtwo's training montage. His sole purpose in the film is to show how ludicrously powerful Mewtwo is by getting defeated. Doubles as a Perspective Flip of a scene from the TV series episode, "The Battle of the Badge".
  • Capture and Replicate: Mewtwo captures the Pokémon of the trainers it lures to its island in order to be able to clone them all.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Team Rocket recite the first two lines of their motto, but Meowth tells them to stop.
  • 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". It was not allowed to come to terms with Ambertwo's passing away naturally. The scientists, desperate to control it, inject a lot of sedatives and memory-wiping serum to calm Mewtwo down. Disturbingly, Mewtwo spends the rest of the original Japanese film giggling.
  • Clone Angst: Mewtwo has a pretty severe case of this.
  • Composite Character: For some reason, the Latin American dub decides to make Corey (the trainer with the Pidgeot) and Gary Oak the same person, right down to altering the dialogue so that he and Ash already know each other.
  • Continuity Nod: Mewtwo's battle with Gary Oak in the anime is shown briefly. His explosive exit from Giovanni's base is shown in the anime episode Showdown at the Po-ké Corral as a lead-up to the movie.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • Ash's Pidgeotto is seen among his Pokémon participating in the battle on one promotional card. In the film proper, Ash's Pidgeotto doesn't appear at all. Interestingly, the back of the 2016 DVD features an image of Pikachu riding Pidgeotto that was taken from a Japanese trailer.
    • That same promotional card depicts Mewtwo in Evil Overlooker fashion...with its mouth open, despite the fact that it never does so in the actual movie.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Mewtwo designed his dark Pokéballs to bypass and capture normal Pokéballs just in case any of his guests tried to protect their Pokémon this way (which indeed Ash attempts).
  • 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.
    Norman Grossfeld: We also rescored the entire movie with all new music that would better reflect what American kids would respond to.
  • 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 Mewtwo in its training armor against several trainers, including Gary Oak.
    • Ash vs. Raymond, especially when the former's Pikachu defeats three of the latter's Pokémon at once.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Than the TV show. Human characters die (though Death Is Cheap applies for at least some of them) 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.
    • The "Mewtwo's Origin" prologue is this in spades, as it deals with Mewtwo's tragic childhood. It has to deal with its only friends in the world "disappearing" before its eyes (in real life, they're dying). This is actually a condensed adaptation of the CD dramas.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The first 20 minutes of the film has a very desaturated color palette, which showcases the film's aforementioned dark tone. Even the opening scene which takes place in a Jungle. Also the scene in which Dr. Fuji's wife leaves him is Black and White.
  • Death by Adaptation: Fuji is still alive in the games (at least in Red and Blue), but he gets killed by Mewtwo here.
  • Deus ex Machina: Ash brought back to normal by Pokémon tears after being turned into stone in the original version. At least the dub gave it a set-up early on, but it implied Ash died insteadnote .
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Mewtwo owns the heroes big time, but it's surprised when the Pokémon it captured are freed. It also didn't expect Mew to not be a pushover.
    • It also didn't count on Ash throwing himself in the line of fire trying to stop Mewtwo and Mew from fighting, getting himself (almost) killed in the process.
      Mewtwo: (legitimately surprised) Fool! Trying to stop our battle...?
      Mew: (curious head tilt) Mew...?
  • 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: Though 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 Mewtwo's existence, let alone have a desire to deliberately want to hurt it, is not something a sane individual would do.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: All in the Japanese version:
    • The movie's version of "Masaze Pokémon Master" is once again performed by Ash/Satoshi's voice actor, Rica Matsumoto.
    • The ending theme, "Kaze To Issho Ni", is performed by Sachiko Kobayashi, voice of Miranda/Voyager.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Watch closely at how the clones exit their tubes in Mewtwo's lab—doesn't it seem like newborn infants exiting their mothers' wombs?
  • Dub Personality Change: The English dub made Mewtwo a bit less sympathetic and less grey.
  • 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 and Blastoisetwo uses Rapid Spin. Corey (the Pidgeot trainer) may also count, as he greatly resembles the Cooltrainer design from Pokémon Gold and Silver.
  • Escaped from the Lab: Mewtwo was created in a lab and killed all of the scientists working on it before leveling the entire complex with its Psychic Powers.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Thanks to its own bad experiences, Mewtwo flat out refuses to believe people and Pokémon could ever stand as equals and be friends. Anyone who says otherwise usually angers it more. After Ash's sacrifice it finally reaches an epiphany.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Mewtwo to Mew.
    • Almost all the clones to the originals, the only exception being Meowth.
  • Expy: Dr. Fuji is one of Dr. Tenma, with similar hair, beard, and the same beak-ish nose. The themes of cloning (for Mewtwo and a Replacement Goldfish child from "The Story of Mewtwo's Origin") are also present between the two.
  • Famed In-Story: The pirate trainer recognizes Ash as a famous trainer and challenges him to a battle, even though barely anyone should know who he is at this point in the series.
  • Flat "What": Mewtwo's reaction in the Japanese version when Ash and the "original" Pokémon bust out of the cloning facility. The dub replaces this with yet another Badass Boast.
  • Floating in a Bubble: How Mew and Mewtwo fight.
  • Foreshadowing: As Team Rocket encounters the cloning machine during their exploration of New Island, Meowth's hair is used as a DNA sample to clone another Meowth. In the second half of the film, Mewtwo clones all of the challengers' defeated Pokémon from their DNA samples, including Ash's Pikachu.
  • Furry Reminder: In the Japanese version, Amber says that many people think Pokémon only shed tears in pain, while humans can cry while happy.
  • Future Copter: A particularly cool chopper transports Giovanni to New Island.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: In 1999, the film was re-released in theaters as the kanzenban edition, which redoes a number of shots, among other things replacing hand-drawn effects with CGI ones. This version would be used for international releases of the film, and immediately supplanted the original 1998 version in home media releases. The Japanese version of the kanzenban edition additionally features an extended version of the prologue showing Mewtwo's origin story in detail; international releases use the shorter prologue from the 1998 cut, but home media releases would include the additional footage as an extra, titled The Uncut Story of Mewtwo's Origin.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: When told in the beginning of the movie that it's nothing more than a science experiment and/or a tool for the humans who created it, Mewtwo doesn't take the news very well and destroys the entire lab.
  • Gone Horribly Right: As Mewtwo destroys his lab, Dr. Fuji realizes he accomplished his goal of creating the world's most powerful Pokémon... at a price.
    Dr. Fuji: We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokémon... and we succeeded.
  • 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, thanks to his VA being Pokémon singer Raymond Johnson.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Giovanni is the head of Team Rocket, the criminal organization of the Pokémon world. He's downright evil and is a bigger menace in the setting as a whole, but he's mostly uninvolved in the current story. He only contributes to the immediate conflict indirectly, in his role as part of Mewtwo's backstory.
  • Grief-Induced Split: The additional prologue "The Uncut Story of Mewtwo's Origin" expands on Dr. Fuji's backstory. He is yelled at and receives a divorce letter from by his ex-wife-to-be. She is divorcing him due to his attempts to resurrect their daughter Amber. She painfully and repeatedly tells him that he can't bring their daughter back, and watching him try is too much to bear.
  • Hellish Pupils: Mewtwo's pupils turn to slits as it psychically throws Pikachu across the room.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Mewtwo's belief. Justified in that it only really deals with a few humans before the main plot: the scientists who made it, Giovanni, who tricks Mewtwo and treats it as his slave, and Team Rocket mooks, who generally think of Pokémon that way. Mewtwo might not have even thought so about the scientists if it'd 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 it 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 itself from the original version was left in the dub, but some lines were changed to make Mewtwo say that it is stronger than Mew. It still doesn't know almost anything about itself at that point, so there is no way it could know that or even believe it if it's so confused.
    • Whereas in the series it is heavily implied that Jessie can't and won't cook at all, a rewritten line in the movie has her offering to cook something. Meowth's response implies that she'd become too sure of herself in the moment despite obvious evidence to the contrary.
      Meowth: Thanks, but the last time you cooked, you wiped out eight of my nine lives.
    • When the Trainers decide to go to New Island, Fergus says in the dub that all of his Pokémon are Water-types, but he has a Nidoqueen.note 
    • When Ash reaches Mewtwo's castle, Corey says that "Hurricane winds are a breeze for Pidgeotto, here." He actually has a Pidgeot.
    • Scyther is called Alakazam and Sandslash is called Sandshrew by Team Rocket in the dub, but the audience already knows about those Pokémon from the main anime.note 
    • In the dub, after the explosion near the castle's battlefield, Mewtwo says that "its clones shall inherit the world" as they get out from the laboratory, inconsistent with its confused and worried expression. This is because in the original it asks what happened, since the explosion was clearly unexpected.
    • The dub adds lines about "fighting is wrong" during the Pokémon battling to death scenes. The franchise is based on fighting, though to be fair Joy clarifies that THIS kind of fighting to the death is what's wrong, not friendly sparring matches between trainers.
  • Island Base: After ending its "partnership" with Giovanni, Mewtwo returns to New Island and makes it its lair, complete with a castle that looks like a Miyazaki-esque version of Minas Morgul.
  • Killed Off for Real: The scientists who created Mewtwo. There's no reason to believe otherwise when Mewtwo blows up the entire lab for good measure, with no signs of life whatsoever in the wreckage.
  • 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 it to forget about her.
    • Mewtwo uses its Psychic Powers to do this to Ash, Misty, Brock and the others, and all of their Pokémon as it, Mew, and the clones leave New Island for greener pastures. As a side consequence, they completely forgot the important lesson, it was replaced instead by pleasant feelings.
  • Lighter and Softer: As dark as Mewtwo's origin story is here, it is still considerably less grim than the origin for Mewtwo in the games, in which Mew gave live birth to it (as opposed to Mewtwo being grown in a tube), the experiments done to create it are described as "horrific", and it is implied that Dr. Fuji is the same as Mr. Fuji, having lived to regret his actions. It also serves to humanize Mewtwo more from the compassionless Blood Knight its game self is.
  • 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 changes the character of Mewtwo. Originally, Mewtwo was less outright evil, and more confused and lost than anything else. It was a tragic character; audiences were supposed to feel sorry for the Pokémon. Mewtwo had no intentions of using the storm to destroy humanity, it was merely a method to filter out weaker trainers. The genetic Pokémon simply wanted to prove that as a clone, it was equal, if not stronger, than any original Pokémon. Given that the movie was targeted more towards kids in the West, Mewtwo's arc was meant to be a lot more simple to understand; hence the reason why its negative qualities are dialed up before it undergoes a Heel–Face Turn.
    • In the dub, Mew is portrayed more as a hero, whereas in the original, it has more anti-heroic qualities and is much more hostile. It more or less states only original Pokémon are real, and no matter how much they fight, the real ones will never lose to mere copies in a fight like this.
  • Magical Gesture: Mostly played straight with Mewtwo, but averted with Mew.
  • 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.
  • Meat Puppet: The local Nurse Joy is one. Mewtwo takes control of her mind and uses her as an interface for the trainers it invites until it reveals itself to them, controlling her actions and sometimes speaking through her. Once Mewtwo is done with her, it releases its control on her mind and she's back to normal.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Of course. The Japanese version definitely had this, but it was played up a bit in the English dub, complete with 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.
  • Messianic Archetype: The conflict is resolved by Ash sacrificing himself, and being revived soon after.
  • Mirror Match:
    • The whole plot of the movie revolves around Mewtwo luring trainers to its 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 its clones' enhanced strength and both sides' elemental powers, 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 original restrains himself from starting a fight and the latter has no interest in proving himself at all, not even seeming to mind that he was born a clone.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Mewtwo's ambitions seem very confounded and hard to follow. Initially it desires to rule over the world. Self explanatory. But, then it reveals that it wants to simultaneously liberate Pokémon and enslave humans. However, it deems humans "dangerous" and that they should be destroyed rather than controlled. When Mewtwo's all but won the battle, it's become an Omnicidal Maniac, who now desires to wipe out Pokémon and people altogether without mercy, save for its 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 its memories are forcibly wiped.
    • The Pokémon engage their respective clones in a brutal battle to the death... until it cuts to the Psyducks, who repeatedly slap each other, pausing to tilt their heads in confusion between each slap.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: As nuts as Mewtwo was in this movie, there was enough good left in it to question its actions when Ash nearly died trying to stop the battle between the clones and the originals.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Inverted. Amber's father and Mewtwo's creator is named "Dr. Fuji" in the Birth of Mewtwo radio drama. He's just "professor" in the animated version.
  • Nasty Party: Mewtwo's invitation to its island turns out to be this.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Mewtwo conspired to bring a world dominated by a master race (clones, in its case), wished to purge the world of members of a race it despises (humans, as well as non-clone Pokémon), and its villainy is caused by a tragic backstory. Unlike the Fuhrer, however, it does redeem itself in the end.
  • Never Say "Die": Very much averted.
    Brock: Those Pokémon look like they're ready to fight to the death!
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The first Japanese trailer for the movie is quite infamous for this. It consisted almost entirely of Missing Trailer Scenes that never made it into the actual movie, the most well-known of which depicted what appeared to be a Distant Finale focusing on Miranda, a grown-up Misty and an unknown child.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Mew has no real interest in stopping Mewtwo, and is more concerned with just playing around and having fun...unfortunately for Mewtwo, he can't pass up the chance to prove himself superior to his progenitor and picks a fight with the one Pokemon present that is a realistic threat to him.
  • Novelization: Tracey West wrote novelizations to both this and Pikachu's Vacation.
  • Oh, Crap!: The scientists right before being blown up by Mewtwo.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: In the original Japanese version, Mewtwo's leitmotif is punctuated by a pretty ominous organ.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Pre-Heel Face Turn in the English dub, in the vein of Karl Stromberg and Hugo Drax, where it plans to destroy all life on earth and repopulate it with its clones.
  • Our Clones Are Different: Clones are created by Dr. Fuji as a method to bring back his deceased daughter back to life. Grown in test tubes, they are all referred to as "(Original Name)two" and universally look identical to their source with the addition of darkened stripes with the exception of Mewtwo, who has been modified to the point where he is considered an entirely separate species from his source.
  • Out-Gambitted: When Mewtwo is using dark Pokéballs to catch everyone's Pokémon, Ash decides that Mewtwo can't catch them if they're already in their Poké Balls. Mewtwo shows that it planned ahead of time by doing exactly that.
  • The Paranoiac: Mewtwo exhibits several paranoiac traits. Its primary motivation is an utter distrust of all humanity for enslaving Pokémon (stemming from being itself a scientific experiment Gone Horribly Right and later used as a weapon by Giovanni), to which end it seeks to Kill All Humans and save Pokémon by enslaving all of them, the idea being that since it cares more about them than their trainers do (in its mind at least), it's for their own good.
  • People Jars: Mewtwo was created in a large fluid-filled container. Later all of its clone Pokémon are created the same way.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Mewtwo has a perpetually stoic face except for the occasional frown or smirk.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Mewtwo is an extremely powerful Pokémon. It can psychically blow up machinery and has telekinesis strong enough to allegedly create a storm that will destroy all human life on Earth.
  • Please Wake Up: Pikachu's reaction to Ash's death. To really hammer it home, at one point he says, "Pi-Ka", with the same intonation and cadence as "Wake up..."
  • The Power of Love: It helps win the final battle and bring Ash back from being turned to stone.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the Japanese version: "Discharge, damn machine!"
  • Psychic Powers: Mewtwo displays extremely potent psychic abilities of all kinds. Its telekinesis can whip up a huge storm, repel all forms of attack, and carry dozens of Pokémon (some of which are quite heavy) at a time. It overpowers an Alakazam, which are known for their immense psychic power, in a psychic battle while at Giovanni's gym. It speaks to others telepathically, and can suppress people's minds to make them do its bidding and speak through them. It's also able to erase events from people's memories and teleport them back to where they were before they arrived on the island. Mew also displays great psychic power in its limited screen time when it fights evenly with Mewtwo.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Some fans of Mewtwo's Japanese incarnation have likened it to a scared, confused and angry child, placing it in types B and C of the trope. Mewtwo's motives basically amount to a psychic-powered temper-tantrum as a result of its mistreatment and even some of its dialogue is childish in some aspects, saying "Don't tell me what to do!" when Ash and co. confront it on taking their Pokémon. The English dub averts this, glossing over most, if not all, of Mewtwo's childish mannerisms from the Japanese version; however, the dub of Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution brings back this aspect of its personality and translates the aforementioned line as the equally childish "I make the rules!".
  • Psychic Strangle: Mewtwo performs a variation of this on Fergus, the Gyarados trainer, after the latter states that a Pokémon can't be a Pokémon trainer.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Mewtwo has purple eyes and is not only one-of-a-kind, but has psychic powers far greater than those of any other Pokémon (with the possible exception of Mew).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cute, cheerful Mew in comparison to the badass, angsty Mewtwo. Their force-fields are even color-coded to match.
  • Reimagining the Artifact: An unusual potential case with Miranda, the blue-haired woman at the dock. She has a noticeably distinct design despite having barely any role in the movie. But if you watch the original Japanese trailer, you'll notice the woman with the character that looks like a grown-up Misty and her possible daughter is identical to her. It's possible her character was meant to have a larger role in the first draft, or there was a different character the design was originally made for who got removed from the film in later drafts and they chose to reuse the design for a minor character in the final version.
  • 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 Ending: Mewtwo apparently hits one at the end; not only are all memories of its plot wiped out, but the crew ends up back at the ferry station...during the storm. Effectively, it turned back time.
  • Resolved Noodle Incident: Mewtwo blowing up Giovanni's mansion and pulling a Screw This, I'm Outta Here in the prologue is this in terms of the American release (since the movie was released after this episode rather than the other way around for the Japanese audience). Since "Showdown at the Po-ké Corral" showed the incident from the perspectives of Jesse, James, and Meowth (who were outside the mansion when it blew), it was unclear there what had happened to cause Mewtwo to go rogue. That incident is now finally dramatized here.
  • 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 its purpose was after Giovanni found it. 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. It looks like a pink kitten with rabbit feet and a long, thin tail, squeaks its name in a high-pitched voice, and is curious like a little kid. When it first sees the giant fans on the island, it plays on one and giggles.
  • 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 it is a clone created by humans. Mewtwo is then greeted by Giovanni, who offers it a chance to find its 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 it as a tool, Mewtwo proceeded to blow up the Rocket base and flee to its island, swearing to strike back at the humans.
  • Scenery Porn: The end credits is this non-stop. We are shown breathtaking locations and scenery that Ash, Misty and Brock pass or stop by as they continue their journey. All of this is accompanied by Awesome Music.
  • Science Is Bad: How Mewtwo views the scientists who created it, or at least how they use science.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: When one of its 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.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: She didn't appear much to begin with (though the short film more than makes up for that), but Togepi ends up hidden away in Misty's backpack while the other Pokémon are being stolen by Mewtwo. By the time she comes back out, Mewtwo has already been redeemed and is leaving. Seemingly lampshaded by the way Misty looks at it afterward, implying that she forgot it was there. Averted with Team Rocket, who remain part of the plot (and funny) throughout the film.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
  • Signature Line: The most quoted line in the movie is Dr. Fuji's chilling final words: "We dreamed of creating the world's strongest Pokémon...And we succeeded."
  • Simple Solution Won't Work: As Mewtwo uses dark Pokéballs to catch everyone's Pokémon, Ash figures that Mewtwo can't catch them if they're already in their Poké Balls and recalls Bulbasaur and Squirtle to keep them safe. Unfortunately, it turns out Mewtwo planned for that and the dark Pokéballs capture the Poké Balls themselves.
  • The Social Darwinist: Mewtwo.
  • Sole Survivor: Mewtwo was part of a cloning experiment along with duplicates of the Kanto starters and Dr. Fuji's late daughter, the latter of which it formed a kinship with. Sadly, they all bit the dust one after the other, leaving Mewtwo as the only successful clone. As well as the only surviving one.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Despite the film's dark and troubling themes and near-constant violence during the third act, the dub changed its soundtrack to almost exclusively late-'90s bubblegum pop.
    • For clarity, the songs featured on the soundtrack deal with themes such as a Childhood Friend Romance or a relationship moving too fast. M2M's "Don't Say You Love Me", more or less advertised as the theme to the film, was relegated to being the last 40 seconds of soundtrack music featured in the credits.
  • Sparkling Stream of Tears: At the end of the film, Ash sacrifices himself to stop the fighting between Pokemon and their clones. Moved by his actions, they all begin to cry and their tears turn into light and turn Ash's (now stone) body into flesh and revives him.
  • Status Quo Is God: Pretty much the entire ending where Mewtwo erases everybody's memory of the events on the island.
  • Stealth Pun: The English dub has Brock say that he didn't know Vikings were still around while Team Rocket (disguised as Vikings) 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 
  • Straw Nihilist: Mewtwo believes cloned Pokémon are superior to their originals and wants to eliminate all humans and non-cloned Pokémon from the world.
  • Swiss-Army Tears: The climax of the movie. Ash is revived thanks to these. Somewhat doubles as a Clap Your Hands If You Believe.
  • Taken for Granite: Ash.
  • Take Over the World: This appears to have been Giovanni's motive for manipulating Mewtwo. Mewtwo then tries to pull this off itself with its cloned Pokémon...sort of; everyone would be wiped out prior to this, so it 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 it to abandon its reckless course of action.
  • Team Power Walk: The clone Pokémon walk proudly to Mewtwo's side shortly after Ash destroys the cloning machine for good. Seconds later, however, Ash leads the original Pokémon (including Pikachu) back to the stadium shortly before the final battle begins..
  • Theme Tune Extended: The theme song for the first season of Pokémon: The Original Series 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon.
    • 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.
    • Easily all of the trainers who elected to brave the storm, endangering their own lives for a Pokémon battle and making themselves Mewtwo's unwitting pawns for world domination.
  • 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 is enough to make one feel sorry for the poor guy. It doesn't help that in the short, Mewtwo is a wide-eyed youngster easily as adorable as Mew.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Well, exaggerate. Previews that mentioned the soundtrack album would heavily promote the M2M song "Don't Say You Love Me" as if it were a major part of the film, which it isn't. That said, it does appear in the film...specifically, the last eight seconds of the credits.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Mewtwo. It took it all of 12 seconds to do so.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Pikachu refuses to attack his clone or defend himself against the blows. A literal example, as the clone eventually starts smacking Pikachu on either side of the face.
  • Unguided Lab Tour: Team Rocket, when they sneak onto the secret island and discover the cloning lab that Mewtwo built there.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Upon learning the circumstances of its birth, Mewtwo flips and goes all Carrie White on the scientists and laboratory. It does it again when Giovanni taunts it about being equal partners.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Mewtwo, of all characters, was once an innocent, inquisitive and precocious child, as seen in The Birth of Mewtwo radio drama and the animated prologue. Its consciousness being active before actually being born, young Mewtwo was curious about the humans around it and even psychically befriended a human clone in the tube next to it. Unfortunately, she didn't make it.
  • Vanilla Edition: The current Region 1 DVD - it only has the theatrical film and lacks both the 10-minute prologue that was on the original VHS and DVD and even the accompanying Pikachu short that was shown before it in theatres.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: None of the trainers or their Pokémon remember the events of this movie.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Young Mewtwo has the voice of a very small child in the CD dramas. This was replaced by a young teenage male voice in the animated prologue.
  • Voice of the Legion: Mewtwo has a deep sounding voice, though it possibly actually communicates through psychic means.
  • Wham Shot: The first appearance of Donphan is a meta example, essentially the creators' way of saying "We're not gonna stop at 151."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Early into the film Mewtwo has a Dragonite in its service who delivers the invitations to worthy trainers and a Fearow with a camera around its neck to observe said trainers. Neither of them are ever seen again.
    • When the trainers are leaving the harbor to New Island, a trainer with a Fearow leaves as never been seen again. She most likely didn't make it to the island. The worst: she doesn't reappear in the ending at all!
  • Weather Manipulation: Mewtwo conjures a storm as a test so that only the strongest of the trainers would be able to make it to its island.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mewtwo, though the English version teeters dangerously close to Knight Templar territory.
  • 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 it curb-stomping, among other things, an Alakazam in seconds, helping to capture a large herd of Tauros and trouncing Gary Oak's Pokémon. Gyarados, previously shown as one of the most vicious Pokémon there is in episodes like Pokémon Shipwreck, is the first Pokémon Mewtwo defeats on New Island, reflecting its Hyper Beam back at it and OHKOing it.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the Japanese CD dramas, after Mewtwo takes down another trainer's Magmar, Giovanni steals the Magmar, then orders Mewtwo to attack the trainer.
  • Wowing Cthulhu: Mewtwo, the Big Bad of the movie, is locked in relentless combat with Mew, determined to prove it's the superior one. Ash however sees all the violence between the Pokémon and the legendaries as pointless and horrible and is desperate to stop it. This leads to him performing a Heroic Sacrifice which leads to him being petrified. Fortunately, all the other Pokémon and their clones are brought to tears by this and the tears revive him. Amazed by this, Mewtwo decides the battle is pointless now, finally seeing value in itself and the clones, and decides to stop its storm which would have destroyed the planet otherwise.
  • Writer on Board:
    • This movie was released at the height of both Pokémon'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.
      • Though to be fair Nurse Joy clarifies that it's the kind of brutal "fights to the DEATH" that are bad, not friendly sparring matches between trainers.
    • 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 Fool!: Mewtwo uses this quite handily.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Mewtwo to Nurse Joy; downplayed in that it simply lifts her from its mind control instead of killing her. Although given its intentions for...the world, pretty much (in the dub, at least), it seems Mewtwo was going to kill her along with all the other humans once it had the chance. It even says this trope nearly word-for-word in the dub.
    Mewtwo: Your usefulness has ended.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mewtwo Strikes Back


Mewtwo's Cloned Pokemon

Mewtwo had built a cloning machine to create his own Pokemon just as he was created.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / PeopleJars

Media sources: