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Anime / Pokémon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon

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The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon, also known as The Terrifying Mirage Pokémon in Japan, is one of three Pokémon: The Series TV specials.

Dr. Yung shows Ash and his friends holographic Pokémon, also known as Mirage Pokémon. They have no weaknesses and know moves that they normally can't learn. However, the Mirage Master kidnaps Dr. Yung and Professor Oak, and Ash and his friends are unable to rescue them because of an army of Mirage Pokémon.

This special is infamous for the voice cast change well before the special aired. The Pokémon Company said that they used the special for a testing ground for the new actors. Of the results, Ash's intended replacement, Kayzie Rogers, was replaced by newcomer Sarah Natochenny. Some liked the new voices, but most hated them. Petitions were created in order for the old voice actors from 4Kids Entertainment to return, even before the new cast's work was aired. Thankfully, the new actors got better over time, so the complaints lessened, although some consider them inferior replacements to this day.

This special provides examples of:

  • Actually a Doombot: The Mirage Master who kidnapped Dr. Yung was actually just a hologram.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Mirage Mewtwo, who gains the ability to use every move.
  • Anachronic Order: At the time the movie was first broadcast in the US, Pikachu had not learned Volt Tackle in the series. At the end of the movie, however, Pikachu delivers one to Mewtwo with no problem. When the special was rebroadcast, it played after the Deoxys Crisis two-parter, by which point Pikachu had learned Volt Tackle.
  • Aborted Arc: Officer Jenny mentions that they were unable to find the Mirage Master's body in the wreckage of his castle, seemingly setting up the character to make a return appearance. Despite this, the villain has yet to reappear.
  • Assimilation Backfire: Mirage Mewtwo tries to kill and absorb Mirage Mew, only to end up getting immobilized by the little guy fighting to protect his newfound friends.
  • Big Bad: The Mirage Master, aka Dr. Yung.
  • The Bus Came Back: Misty makes another return appearance in the special, likely for the purpose of testing out her new voice actress and to commemorate the series' 10th anniversary.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: The Mirage Master wears this in order to keep his identity a secret. Ultimately he ditches the mask and hat.
  • Continuity Nod: During a memory-probe of Pikachu, a screen displays Pokémon that appeared in the second through fifth movies. Ultimately, a holographic Mewtwo is created based on those memories.
    • Said mirage Mewtwo is also able to use the attacks of the Legendaries in Pikachu's memory.
    • The password for Oak's lab is REDGREEN, a Shout-Out to the two games that started it all.
    • Mirage Mew being considered a glitch by The Mirage Master being a Shout-Out to the fact that Mew could previously obtained via a glitch in Gen 1.
  • Cool Mask: The Mirage Master's mask is metal and has red designs on it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Basically the entire fight is this, as Mirage Mewtwo is far too powerful for all of the gang's attacks combined to even scratch. It's only when Mirage Mew paralyzes it that Pikachu is able to finish it off with a Volt Tackle.
  • Disney Villain Death: Misty nearly suffers this, but is luckily saved by May at the last second.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Mirage Pokémon are an allegory for hacked Pokémon, one that couldn't be more blatant unless Dr. Yung put Wonder Guard onto it.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The long-abused Mirage Mew turning on his creator, Dr. Yung.
  • Dramatic Unmask: When the Mirage Master is revealed to be Dr. Yung.
  • Driven to Suicide: Implied. Dr. Yung walks back into the laboratory after it burst into flame, saying he needs to work on the Mirage Pokémon system. Oak tries to stop him, but the gate collapses between the two.
  • Evil All Along: Dr. Yung.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Misty and Professor Oak join Ash, Brock, May, and Max for this adventure.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mirage Mew holds the Mirage Mewtwo in place long enough for Pikachu to destroy the Mirage System with Volt Tackle.
  • High Collar of Doom: The Mirage Master has one on his coat.
  • Highly Visible Password: So that we can see the reference.
  • Identity Impersonator: The first time we see the Mirage Master, he's actually just a hologram.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Mirage Mew, who was given sapience apparently by accident. Or maybe it found a way to Grow Beyond Their Programming.
  • Just a Machine: Dr. Yung's view of the Mirage Pokémon. They're shown to be right about all of them but Mirage Mew.
  • Karma Houdini: Dr. Yung's Mirage System is eventually destroyed by the end, but he retreats into his burning castle and faces no comeuppance for his actions. The combined efforts of Officer Jenny and a team of firefighters bore no fruit even after working together to search for him.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Dr. Yung and Professor Oak wear them.
  • Loose Canon: It's unclear whether the special is canon to the main anime or not. It was made by a different studio than the main series, debuted in the United States before Japan, and featured some discrepancies, such as Pikachu knowing Volt Tackle when he hadn't learned that attack yet in the dub of the main series (although this may simply mean that it takes place sometime after he learned it), Professor Oak having a Dragonite (which has never appeared outside of the special), and Misty's involvement despite it being said previously that her Gym Leader duties kept her from traveling note . Furthermore, the events of the special have never been referenced in the main anime, despite the seeming Sequel Hook endingnote .
  • Never Found the Body: The Mirage Master's body wasn't found in the remains of the destroyed, so it's possible he may return one day...
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Mewtwo vs Mew. It doesn't end well for Mew.
  • Powers as Programs: Quite literally in this case, as the holographic Pokémon are capable of using any attack.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Mirage Mew.
  • The Sociopath: The titular villain, in actuality Dr. Yung, who places no value on life.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: The Mirage Master at the end when he walks back into the collapsing lab. Even the main characters are briefly stunned at the action.
  • Take That!: Against players who use hacking devices on their Pokémon games.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Dr. Yung was expelled from the Pokémon Institute because their research was considered unethical.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Mirage Mew
  • Uncertain Doom: In the end, we don't find what happened to the Mirage Master, though since no body was found he might have escaped and is still out there, planning...
  • Vocal Evolution: Inverted; Michele Knotz had yet to refine her voice for both characters, so as a result, Misty and May sound virtually identical.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The Mirage Master.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Mirage Mew. Dr. Yung merely views it as a glitch in the Mirage system, even as it was the closest to being a living Pokémon. Dr. Yung is also called out on preferring his Mirage system over utilizing real Pokémon.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Though past footage of the second through fifth movies is shown, the first one is notably skipped over. In addition, when Mirage Mewtwo shows up, the Mirage Master makes a specific point to mention it’s not the same Mewtwo from before. While this may be due in-universe to the first movie getting erased from everyone’s memories, the specific tapdancing around the subject meta-wise may also be due to the original anime Mewtwo being owned by Takeshi Shudo’s estate.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Upon creating Mirage Mewtwo, the Mirage Master orders it to attack the other Mirage Pokémon that had been helping him up to that point.

Alternative Title(s): The Mastermind Of Mirage Pokemon