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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Movies

Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution

Movie Stats:

Japanese Movie #22:  "Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution"
English Movie #22:  ”Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution"
Japanese Release Date:  July 12th, 2019
American Release Date:  February 27th, 2020
Important Characters:  Voyager (Miranda), Umio (Fergus), Sweet (Neesha), Sorao (Corey)
Important Places:  New Island (New Island), Pokemon Castle (Mewtwo's Palace), Masara Town (Pallet Town), Guren Strait (Cinnabar Strait)

Mewtwo is an incredibly strong Psychic-Type Pokémon created from cloning the DNA of the Mythical Pokémon Mew. He has trouble coming to terms with the way in which he was brought into the world and is haunted by the question of who is stronger, the Originals or their Copies? To find out, Mewtwo invites a number of strong Trainers, including Satoshi, to gather at his Pokémon Castle on New Island. None of the Pokémon Trainers are able to stand up to Mewtwo or its army of Copies and so the challenger decides that the Originals are indeed inferior. Mewtwo takes everyone's Pokémon and makes his own "superior" Copies, prompting Satoshi to destroy his cloning machine and set all the Pokémon free. The Copies and the Originals meet face-to-face as the one and only Mew itself arrives on the scene! A long battle ensues between the Originals and their Copies, and things escalate to the point where Satoshi tries to stop it all by throwing himself in the middle of Mewtwo's and Mew's attacks! Satoshi is turned to stone as a result but is soon returned to normal thanks to the tears of the Pokémon gathered. Mewtwo, seeing both the Originals and the Copies unite to achieve a single goal, concludes that they're all living creatures and therefore all have a place in this world. Mewtwo leaves the island with its Copies and transports all the other Trainers back to the mainland, their memories of the events of New Island erased.


Thoughts
I usually use the "Thoughts" portion of these comparison essays to give my review of the episode or film in question but I kind of already did that when I reviewed the original version of this movie back in July so I'd like to start this comparison off instead by highlighting this portion of the review because it's a great way to segue into how I feel about the English dub:

As I'm writing this review I'm curious how many times I'm going to use the word "except" because everything this movie does requires a little asterix beside it. The CG animation looks fantastic, except for the parts where it looks bad. It's a shot-for-shot remake of the longer Kanzenban version of the movie...except it cuts out the 10 minute Aitwo stuff at the beginning. The script is word-for-word the same as the original, except for the parts where it isn't. The music is OK, except for the replacement tracks. It's a good movie, except when it isn't.

"It's a good movie, except when it isn't" pretty much sums up my feelings about the English dub as well. The script for this film is good, except for the sections that aren't. It's a faithful dub, except when it isn't. The voice acting is good, except for the performances that aren't. The soundtrack is the same, except for the songs that are replaced. It's a fairly competent English dub, except when it isn't.

On the one hand, I must be fair and recognize that yes, this is a dub that is superior to the 1999 version in basically every way imaginable. The script actually being a translation for a change is a huge part of that, and the original music not being replaced "to better reflect what American kids would respond to" makes a world of difference. Older anime getting modern redubs isn't so rare in this day and age - One Piece got it, Dragon Ball Z got it via Kai, Sailor Moon got it - and in all those cases fans could rejoice at finally being able to watch a version of their favorite show, in English, without the silly localizations and other annoying changes made during their original runs. Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution was a movie that desperately needed a "fixed" version released because of just how bad 4Kids handled it the first time around. TPCI, more or less, gave it to us.

But at the same time - and this where I go into classic year 2000 Dogasu mode here - it's also really super sad that Western Pokémon fans have become so numb to TPCI's style of releases over the years that we're all ready to pop the champagne bottles over the company releasing a somewhat competent English dub. I mean, sure, be happy. Celebrate. Put some positivity into this toxic-as-hell fandom, because God knows we need it. But let's also keep it a hundred here; the Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution dub is about on par with what the rest of the industry was producing back in the year two-thousand-five. It's not a "great" dub, it's an "pretty decent" dub at best. Accurate scripts and keeping the original background music should be the ABSOLUTE. BARE. MINIMUM, not a delightful little treat we hope to receive every now and then. We're all giving TPCI a round of applause for exceeding expectations by releasing a dub better than a 4Kids production that came out during the Clinton administration and like, maybe let's think about that for a minute?

However you feel about the English dub, we've all seen that TPCI has it in them to do really great work and so we should absolutely expect them to deliver this same standard for each and every thing they release from here on out. No exceptions.

Cut - 13 seconds
The neat little opening animation of Pikachu going from a 2D Game Boy sprite to a full 3D model was completely removed from the beginning of the Netflix release.

Opening
Opening
Opening
Opening
Opening
Opening

In its place we get a static shot of the Pokémon logo you see in the last image there.

Side Note
OK, I'll just get through my thoughts on the voice acting all in one go here.

Sarah Natochenny's Ash is pretty decent here. Not amazing, but the performance does the job well enough. Dan Green's Mewtwo performance is miles better than his predecessor; he doesn't play Mewtwo as a moustache-twirling Saturday morning cartoon villain the way the other guy did, and while it isn't anywhere near the level of Masachika Ichimura's it's decent enough, I guess. Brock sounds better than I remember him from the Diamond & Pearl days, and Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny sound great as well.

I'm kind of eh on Giovanni, who sounds so completely different from the normal Giovanni voice I'm used to that it kind of took me out of it for a moment.  It's the same guy as before, apparently, it just seems like he forgot how to actually voice that character after all these years. Which is a thing that happens sometimes! For what it's worth, I also thought Mayumi Iizuka sounded a little off in the first Sun & Moon episode where Kasumi appeared so it's not just something that happens with the English dub. I know that a lot of fans really wanted Veronica Taylor, Rachel Lillis, and Eric Stuart to return just for this movie are we really sure they'd still be able to do the voices the same way they did 20 years ago?

I'm also eh on Miranda because the performance is fine but what the eff is with that accent they gave her? It was random as hell back in 1999 and it's random as hell now.

As for the bad...well, Misty's pretty rough. Rachel Lillis' performance as Misty is hands down my favorite performance from the 4Kids days so the new actress has that going against her, sure, but also I think the Misty voice in this movie just isn't all that strong. It does get better as the film moves along, at least, but those opening camp scenes in particular are a bit shaky.  I hadn't heard TPCI's James or Meowth in a while, and I suppose the nicest thing I can say about their performance here is that I think it's maybe time for their voice actor to just hand the roles off to some other talent already. Keep Mr. Cathcart on as the Script Adapter or whatever, that's fine, but give his acting roles to someone else, please. Fergus is just Gary's voice (and sometimes he has a bit of an Southern accent? but only when he feels like it?) and Neesha is just her VA putting on that "every Johto filler girl ever" voice she's been doing the past two decades or so.

I do think there are some people who need to be recast but the main characters (Ash, Pikachu, Mewtwo) being as strong as they are help this dub a lot.

Dialogue Edit
The script for the 2020 release is really good. But also really bad. But also really fantastic. But also really frustrating.

So. The first hour or so of the movie is absolutely Godly compared to that dumpster fire 4Kids released back in the late 1990s. Where 4Kids completely threw out the Japanese script and just rewrote the whole thing themselves, most of the dialogue in the first 60 minutes of the TPCI dub is an accurate translation. When you see "Written by Takeshi Shudo" credit during the film's opening you don't actually feel like you're being lied to this time around! Other than a few wording choices I don't agree with, and some light censorship, and some TPCI Team Rocket dialogue being, well, typical TPCI Team Rocket dialogue, the first hour of this movie is basically a dream come true. If I was going to give this movie a letter grade based on the 60 minutes alone it would be a strong A-, easy.

But then, the script unfortunately takes a huge nosedive in the last 30 minutes or so as TPCI starts just upright plagiarizing the 4Kids dub left and right. And it isn't just one or two lines, either; old 4Kids dialogue starts popping up in like every other scene during the film's climax. Reusing dialogue from an old dub in and of itself isn't bad, of course, but when the reused dialogue comes from a dub famous for rewriting basically the entire movie then you have a problem.  Those old lines were rewrites and/or mistranslations back in 1999, and they're rewrites and/or mistranslations when this remake came out in the year 2020. The script quality gets so bad in last 30 minutes or so that it drops the letter grade down to a sad little C-.

Again, it's a great dub, except when it isn't.

It'll be much quicker for me to show you what I'm talking about, so let's just jump into it. First up is the researchers talking about Mew:

Researcher 1:  "Is it good, or evil?"
Researcher 2:  "Is it doing this on a whim?"

In the original the first researcher there asks if Mew is a devil or an angel (天使か悪魔か), not the comparatively more kid-friendly "good or evil."

Religion Edit #2:

Mewtwo:  "Who created me? Neither father nor mother? Then...nature? Then, are you saying that I was created by nature?"
Dr. Fuji:  "In this world, only two things can create life, nature and human science."

Originally Mewtwo asks if he was created by God with a capital "G" (母でもなく 父でもなく…ならば神か?神が わたしをつくったとでも言うのか), not "nature." This "nature" line, by the way, was apparently also used in the Anime Expo subs so it's something TPCI's had in their back pocket for a while now.

Some of the assorted lab chatter was inaudible in the Japanese version but made more clear for the English dub. For example, there's a part where we can clearly hear the researchers say "I can't believe we did it! Congratulations!" when all we hear in the original is indecipherable mutterings. Later, when Mewtwo's destroying the lab, we can very plainly hear Dr. Fuji say "Everyone, we need to leave immediately!" while all we hear is panicked screaming in the Japanese version.

Video Edit
Holy crap we're already at the movie's title screen! This script is absolutely amazing...I certainly hope the rug doesn't get yanked out from under me an hour from now!

Japanese
English

Anyway, the movie's logo animation from the Japanese version was replaced with a new animation for the English dub. Which, fine, whatever, but also the English title is right there in the original logo. What would the harm have been in keeping the title screen as seen on the left there? Would anyone be upset?

Dialogue Edit
The pirate-like Trainer "Raymond" introduces himself:

Raymond:  "Hey! You, little boy! Are you Ash from Pallet Town?"
Both:  (awkward pause)
Ash:  "Huh? Yeah, that's right."

Raymond Johnson's introduction is a little longer in the Japanese version; originally, he says "Hey! You, little boy! Are you the Satoshi from Masara Town who got eight badges?" (へい!そこのボーイ!ユーがバッジ8こゲットしたマサラタウンのサトシ その人かな?). The eight badges bit - a reference to the fact that Satoshi had just gotten his eighth badge before the events of this movie  - is removed from the dub, because reasons? As a result, there's a little bit of an awkward pause between Raymond's question and Ash's response that's not there in the original.

Music Edit - Mezase Pokémon Master '98 (2019 Remaster)
The opening theme for the original version of this movie is Mezase Pokémon Master '98 (2019 Remaster), performed by the one and only Ms. Rica Matsumoto.


The song is, predictably, replaced with a new remix of the original English dub theme. The new version is called Pokémon Theme (Mewtwo Mix).

Can you imagine if, in addition to all the good things TPCI did with their dub of this movie, that they also used it to debut a new English version of Mezase Pokémon Master? That would have been huge! And then! There'd be the added bonus of TPCI now having a version of the song handy for the million more times it'll be used in the franchise from now until the end of time!!

But they didn't, and so we're now 24 years into this franchise (and counting) and still don't have an official English version of the series' most prolific theme song.

<>I've seen a lot of people online be like "well, they kept all the music except the vocal stuff, but oh well (shrug emoji)." And like, no, not "oh well." Modern-day anime dubs either 1) leave their theme songs in Japanese, as-is, or 2) dub English covers of the Japanese songs, and seeing TPCI go with neither option in the year 2020 is just not OK.

Dialogue Edit
Religion edit #3 happens right after the opening song.

Raymond:  "Huh? (gasps and sobs)"

I think you all know this already but in the original he goes "Why? Oh my God!" (あ…  ホワイ?オーマイガッ…) in English

Side Note
At the harbor, Officer Jenny tries to calm everyone down:

Officer Jenny:  "Please, quiet everyone! We have the harbor manager right here."
Miranda:  "I'm Miranda. If you want to hear the will of the sea, listen to the harbor Wingull."

The line is an accurate translation, no issues here. But that Generation 3 Pokémon name drop there probably seems random as hell, doesn't? To understand what's going on we need to compare the line here to a similar line in the original version released in 1998:

Mewtwo Strikes Back! (1998)
Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution (2019)
Umi o shiritakya hatoba no kamome ni kiitemi na
海を知りたきゃ波止場のカモメに 聞いてみな
Umi o shiritakya hatoba no kyamome ni kiitemi na
海を知りたきゃ波止場のキャモメに 聞いてみな

In Mewtwo Strikes Back!, Voyager used the real-world animal kamome (カモメ), or "seagull," because it was the 1990s and the Pocket Monsters series wasn't as strict about the "no real world animals" thing as they are now. Plus, there weren't any seagull Pokémon for them to use back in the Red & Green days even if they wanted to.

But now that it's 20 years later the producers of this film were able to swap out the real world kamome with its Pokémon equivalent Kyamome (キャモメ) because hey, why not? The TPCI dub faithfully translates this line by using Wingull's name in its place.

This little callback isn't really there in the dub because 4Kids never had Miranda mention seagulls in the original; instead, they completely rewrote the scene so that she's talking about the "Winds of Water" ("Listen to me! The prophets have predicted the return of the winds of water. For years I have prayed that mankind would never witness that deadly storm ever again") instead.

But again, TPCI got this line right, I just wanted to explain why she randomly brings up a Wingull for seemingly no reason.

Dialogue Edit
Religion edit #4:

Miranda:  "I knew we couldn't stop all of them."
Officer Jenny:  "Huh?"
Miranda:  "They're Pokémon Trainers. Adventurers. They never would've come here if they'd known they'd be stopped. Here's to their safety."

Voyager's last line in the original is "Let's pray for their safety" (無 事をいのりましょう).

Side Note
After the Rocket trio's surprisingly well done song (honestly, I expected the absolute worst from TPCI and they blew all my expectations away in the absolute best way possible), Brock makes this comment:

Brock:  "You know, that boat sure has great timing."
Togepi:  [Togepi squeals]
Ash and Misty:  "Hmm?"

The "Hmm?" reaction there is because of a play on words Takeshi delivered that didn't quite translate over. Originally he says Kore ga hontou no "watari ni fune" da na (こ れが本当の”渡りに船”だな), and the joke here is that watari ni fune, which is an idiom that means "how convenient," also just happens to have the word "boat" (fune) in it. I guess an English equivalent would be "looks like our ship sailed in" or something like that.

A version of this watari ni fune line was in the original as well ("渡りに船"とは、このことだな) but 4Kids completely rewrote it so they could set up Ash's Minnesota Vikings joke.

Dialogue Edit
Misty worries:

Japanese (Translated)
English Dub
Kasumi:  "But is this boat really safe?"
Misty:  "Is this boat really safe, bobbing in all these waves?"
Musashi:  "Don't judge a book by its cover!"
Jessie:  "It's just like taking a bath."
Kojirou:  "They say a clever Pidgeot hides its claws, after all."
James:  "Wet at first, but soon, you'll take to it."
Musashi:  "Captain! Isn't it about time?"
Jessie:  "Captain! Isn't it about time?"

Kojirou's line is a take on the real world idiom Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu (能ある鷹は爪を隠す), or "a clever hawk hides its claws," a phrase that's roughly equivalent to the English idiom "a person who knows the most says the least." TPCI makes the rare decision, at least as far as the dub of this movie goes, to just rewrite the conversation entirely.

The Rocket trio's disguises wash away underwater:

Meowth:  "I've heard of being wet behind the ears, but this is nuts!"

Nyarth doesn't say anything during this part in the Japanese version; this dialogue that's delivered while Meowth's mouth is conveniently off-screen is an invention of the dub.

Our heroes arrive safely on New Island, allowing Brock to come face-to-face with Nurse Joy:

Japanese (Translated)
English Dub
Takeshi:  "You're the Joy I saw at the harbor!"
Brock:  "You're Nurse Joy, from the harbor poster."
Kasumi:  "Come to think of it they do kind of look alike..."
Misty:  "Come to think of it, they do look alike."
Lady:  "I'm afraid I don't understand. I have been a servant here at this castle ever since I was born."
Nurse Joy:  "I don't understand. I have been a servant here at this palace ever since the beginning."

This might seem nitpicky (nitpicky!? on this site!?!?!?), but in the Japanese version Joy states that she's been a servant there ever since she was born, not ever since the beginning. This line, which is exactly the same in the Japanese version of the remake as it was in the 1998 original, had always led me to assume that Mewtwo had implanted false memories into Joy's brain or something to control her, and that Joy's line here is the brief glimpse we're given into that possibility. The English dub line, while more accurate to what actually happened, has the unfortunate side effect of removing this implication present in the original.

Our heroes meet the other Trainers:

Nurse Joy:  "These are the other guests I was telling you about."
Ash:  "Wait. Just three of them?"
Misty:  "But there were so many more on the ferry landing."
Nurse Joy:  "If a Trainer couldn't make it here through the storm, then they wouldn't have been invited."

Not quite; in the original, Joy says "If a Trainer had gotten an invitation but then couldn't make it here through the storm then that's just too bad"  (あの嵐を乗りこえてこられないトレーナーなど招待しても仕方がない). That Fearow guy (RIP) was invited. That Scyther guy (also RIP) was also invited. The dozens of people gathered there at the harbor were all invited. Mewtwo didn't just send invitations to the six people he knew would be able to make it; he sent them out to a bunch of people.

Inside the castle, Brock flirts with Neesha in one of the new scenes added for the remake:

Brock:  "Just lovely...Blastoise, Dewgong, Vileplume, Ninetales, Rapidash, and your Wigglytuff, too! And yet, nothing can compare to their lovely Trainer! Your boundless beauty. My queen! My lady, once this storm passes, let's gaze upon sun-drenched seas and eat my famous jelly donuts made with love..."

Haha, it's funny because 4Kids made a dumb (and borderline racist) localization change 20 years ago, and then Western fans latched onto it for how dumb it was, and it achieved meme status, and so now TPCI feels confident they can just bring it out whenever they want and the fans will eat. it. up.

Originally Takeshi invites Sweet to come eat his special onigiri (rice balls) with him.

Side Note
The amount of audio-video distortion present in Dr. Fuji's recorded video message varies wildly depending on what version of the film you're watching.
  • In the Japanese original from 1998, the video message sounds like it was recorded using the best technology the late 1970s had to offer. Super janky audio quality that's hard to make out at parts, probably due to it being an analog recording that had survived an explosion and all.
  • In the old English dub from 1999, the video sounded as clear as the day it was recorded. Super clean audio, tape sounds like it was stored in a temperature controlled vault somewhere.
  • In the Japanese version of the 2019 remake, the audio of the video message is cleaned up substantially compared to the 1998 version but there are still places where the audio cuts out; the part where the word "jungle" gets interrupted by static being the most obvious example.
  • In the new English dub from 2020, the video message is a little more distorted than the old 1999 dub but less so than the Japanese version of the remake.
It's not a big change or anything but it's interesting to see how different versions treat this scene.

Dialogue Edit
The TPCI dub is a bit inconsistent when it comes to how it refers to the newly created Pokémon. In the Japanese version everyone consistently uses the English word "Copy" (コピー) but in the dub they keep going back and forth between "clone" and "copy." At first I thought the dub was going for a "certain characters call them clones, others call them copies" type of thing - with Dr. Fuji and the Rocket trio being in the former, and Mewtwo and the party guests being in the latter - but then Mewtwo uses the word "clones" at one point so that theory doesn't work. I guess they just didn't think to give the script one more look over to check for this sort of thing...? For what it's worth the 4Kids dub used "clones."

After hearing the video lecture:

Meowth:  "Wait, why isn't there anybody here?"
Jessie:  "Maybe it's their day off."
James:  "If that's true, they must need it."

I don't really get James' line here? Does this not make sense to anyone else?

Originally Kojirou hears Musashi's line about it being their day off and takes it one step further by asking if they're maybe on a long holiday (
大 型連休とか…?).

After Charizard abruptly attacks Mewtwo

Mewtwo:  "Your Charizard is poorly trained."

Is this the first line lifted directly from the 4Kids dub? I've only seen that version of the movie like 5 times in the last 20 years so I wouldn't recognize it as easily as some of you other folks out there.

The original line is
Zuibun to shitsuke no warui Rizaadon da na (ず いぶんとしつけの悪いリザードンだな), which I would translate as "Your Lizardon has really bad manners" instead. The issue with the dub line now is the same one present back in the 90s; Mewtwo just went on this long speech about how Pokémon allowing themselves to be trained is part of what makes them unfit to rule the world and then turns around and criticizes Charizard...for not allowing itself to be trained...? *shrugs* The line just feels a bit out of place.

Mewtwo summons forth its own special Poké Balls:

Mewtwo:  "I make my own rules."

Mewtwo's line here, in the Japanese version at least, is a callback to when he says the exact same thing back when he's controlling Joy (
わ たしのルールはわたしが決める). If the TPCI dub had picked up on this they would have had Mewtwo say "I am the one who chooses my own rules" since that's what he says in their version of that earlier Joy scene but I guess they didn't get the memo...?

Ash runs into the Rocket trio on his way to rescue Pikachu from Mewtwo's cloning machine:

Jessie and James:  "It's the twerp!"
Ash:  "Team Rocket! I don't have time for your dumb motto today!"

The "dumb motto" thing is another one lifted from the 4Kids script.

Originally Satoshi tells the trio "Sorry but I don't have time to deal with you today" (
悪 いけど 今日は 相手をしてるヒマはないんだ).

Clones start being born:

Jessie:  "There's no stopping them."
Meowth:  "Send in the clones."

And yet another 4Kids transplant.

In the Japanese version Nyarth says "Even my Copy Nya" (
ニャー のコピーも…) in response to his partner's statement.

Mewtwo talks to everyone else while Ash is busy wreckin' shit:

Mewtwo:  "Humans, I have no desire to cause you harm. Simply go home...now."
All:  "Huh?
Mewtwo:  "That is if you can make it home through the storm."

The "no desire to cause you harm" line is a more "kid-friendly" version of the Japanese equivalent "I wouldn't say I'll go so far as to take your life" (
命 までは取ろうとは言わない). I guess the implied death threat was the issue here?

Ash emerges with the Originals:

Ash:  "You can't do this. I won't let you!"

This line is just as much a rewrite when 4Kids wrote it as it is now. Originally Satoshi says "I can't forgive you. I won't forgive you!" (ゆるせない!お前なんか ゆるさない!)


Mewtwo encounters Mew as we here in the audience encounter the part of the movie where TPCI starts to really borrow heavily from the 4Kids dub:

Mewtwo:  "I may have been made from part of you. But now I will prove that Mewtwo is better than the original, superior to Mew!"

The first sentence is worded differently from the 4Kids dub - in that version, he says "
I may have been cloned from your DNA..." instead, but the rest is word-for-word the same.

In the Japanese version Mewtwo tells Mew that "It's true that I was created from a part of you. But I am the stronger one. I am the Original."  (たしかにお前の一部からわたしはつくられただが、強いのはわたしだ。本物はこのわたしだ!).


The plagiarism continues:

Mewtwo:  "This world is too small for two of us!"

Originally Mewtwo says that he will be the only one who survives (
生 き残るのはわたしだけだ).

Mew refuses the attack Mewtwo and at this point TPCI needs to just cut Michael Haigney and Norman J. Grossfeld a royalty check already:

Mewtwo:  "Why do you flee from me? Are you afraid to find out which of us is greater?"

The original line is "Why don't you fight? Are you avoiding a fight because you're scared of me?" (なぜ戦わぬ?戦いをさけるのは わたしが こわいからか).

Some of this recycled dialogue confuses me. The "circumstances of your birth" thing is something that Western fans have latched on to and so TPCI probably kept that in to appease them, sure. Makes sense. I don't like it, and I have some counter arguments of my own (which you'll see below), but I understand the logic behind it. But lines like this here...is Mewtwo's "Why do you flee from me?" a beloved line among dub fans? Would the torches and pitchforks have been brought out if famous lines like "I don't have time for your dumb motto today" and "Are you afraid to find out which of us is greater?" wasn't kept as-is? How did TPCI choose which lines to keep, and which ones to not?

Next up, Mew finally strikes back against Mewtwo. And yes, I am going to bring up every time the 4Kids script is recycled:

Japanese (Translated)
English Dub
Mewtwo:  "So you do have some fight in you. The fight to decide which one of us is the Original starts now. Who is stronger, Mew or I? Who is stronger, you originals or us?"
Mewtwo:  "So you do have some fight in you. But I have no time for games. Destiny is at hand! Who will rule? My super Pokémon? Or your pathetic group of inferior Pokémon?"
Mew:  "Mew?"
Mew:  "Mew?"
Mewtwo:  "We were made to be stronger than the Originals."
Mewtwo:  "We were created with powers far stronger than the originals!"

This one's particularly strange because the TPCI takes the 4Kids script, word-for-word, but then edits out the word "spineless" from the old dub's "
or your pathetic group of spineless, inferior Pokémon?" and it's like...why? What's the point of these weird changes?

Audio Edit
So let's get to the Pikachu crying scene.



So Pikachu notice that its Trainer has stopped moving and is unresponsive. It runs up to its partner and starts nudging it as it cries out Satoshi's name. "Pi-ka-pi!" "Pi-ka-pi!" For a solid two minutes we watch as Pikachu slowly realizes that there's nothing it can do to bring its Trainer back. The other Pokémon watching start to cry, but we don't hear their voices; instead, we remain focused on the sound of Pikachu's voice, and only Pikachu's voice.


But TPCI had a different idea. See a Pokémon on-screen who's not Pikachu? Gotta make it cry!
For Pokémon who keep their Japanese voices, like Gyarados and Lizardon, audio had to be brought in from elsewhere in the movie and spliced in because obviously they weren't going to fly in Ryouta Iwasaki to record brand new audio. For everyone else they just had the actors record additional Pokémon crying sounds.




Once the background music kicks in everyone finally shuts up - probably because even Ikue Otani was silenced at this point and TPCI couldn't be bothered to deal with that - the audio in the English dub finally matches up with the Japanese version again.

The whole thing's awkward, and weird, and adding the Pokémon sounds doesn't really do anything other than disturb a perfectly good scene from the original. It takes more effort to change this than to leave it as-is, and TPCI decided to make that effort. I don't understand why.

Dialogue Edit
We get to that scene:

Mewtwo:  "It is true that both you and I are living beings...Pokémon."
Mew:  "Mew"
Mewtwo:  "I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are."

Mew's first line is an accurate translation. His second, lifted from the 4Kids dub, is of course a complete rewrite. In the original he said "It might be better if nobody knew what happened here today. It might be better if they forget" (この出来事はだれも知らないほうがいいのかもしれない。わすれたほうがいいのかもしれない).

So look, I get it. A lot of people love this line. It's probably the most quoted Pokémon dub line out of everything that's out there. And we could guess this line in particular was going to come back because it was literally the first thing TPCI posted about this movie back in January 2019.



But look at it this way. We already have an English version of this movie with this line so why not, I dunno, give us an English version of this movie that doesn't? If people want to watch this movie with the old line in it so much they can just pop in the old 4Kids dub because it ain't going anywhere anytime soon!

Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution and Pokémon The First Movie are two different films. The former is a several months old CG animated film starring Sarah Natochenny and Dan Green while the latter is a 20-year-old traditionally animated cel-and-paint film starring Veronica Taylor and Philip Bartlett. Telling fans they can have a little 4Kids, as a treat, isn't going to make people suddenly forget that what they're watching isn't the same movie they saw in theaters when they were in elementary school.

Or, let. me put it this way; let's assume TPCI didn't keep this circumstances line, or any of the other 4Kids stuff, and just translated this last part of the movie as accurately as they translated the first part. What would have happened, really? A few fans of the original dub would have spoken up about it and then...that would've been it. The end. But also, let's not pretend fans of the old dub aren't already complaining about the "changes" (i.e. actually translating the dialogue this time around, actually keeping the original music, etc) TPCI made to the film regardless! These 4Kids Easter eggs feel like a wasted effort.

Mewtwo exits the film:

Japanese (Translated)
English Dub
Satoshi: "Where's everyone going?"
Ash:  "Mewtwo, where will you go?"
Mewtwo:  "We were created. We are alive. And we will continue to be alive. Somewhere in this world..."
Mewtwo:  "Where my heart can learn what yours knows so well. What transpired here, I will always remember. But perhaps for you, these events are best forgotten.

Ash's line is slightly different from the 4Kids version ("
Mewtwo, where are you going?") but Mewtwo's is word-for-word the same.

Ash sees Mew:

Ash:  "On the day I set out and decided to become a Pokémon Master, I saw a really rare Pokémon, just like I did now."
Misty:  "Well, then maybe you’ll see that one again sometime."
Ash:  "Huh?"
Brock:  "That really rare Pokémon!"

The dub actually kind of updates something from the Japanese script; originally, it has both Satoshi and Takeshi refer to Houou as a Mythical Pokémon (
幻 のポケモンを見たんだ) which was I guess fine when this movie came out in the pre-Gold & Silver days but is objectively wrong when looked at from a modern point of view. Ho-Oh is a boxart legendary, not a Mythical Pokémon! The English dub replaces the word "mythical" to "really rare."

The final narration:

Japanese (Translated)
English Dub
Narrator: "Pocket Monsters, or "Pokémon" for short. This is the story of the encounter between those who aim to be Pokémon Trainers and the mysterious creatures known as Pokémon. That journey will continue on and on."
Narrator:  "The world of Pokémon, full of mysteries and legends and the stories of those who dream of becoming Pokémon Trainers, as well as the amazing Pokémon who live, work and battle by their sides. As the journey continues, for a long time to come!"

The real change here is removing the "Pocket Monsters, or "Pokémon" for short" thing that the dub rewrites literally every time it's ever been used.

Music Edit - Kaze to Issho ni
The ending theme for the original version of this movie is Kaze to Issho ni, a new remix of the 1998 version's ending theme song performed by its original singer, Ms. Sachiko Kobayashi. She's joined this time by Ms. Shoko Nagakawa and a group of contest winners known as "The Pokémon Kids." You can listen to the song on Spotify here, even in the U.S..

Kaze to Issho ni

It gets replaced by a new song "Keep Evolving" performed by Haven Paschall and The Sad Truth. And look, I can recognize talent when I see it. "Keep Evolving" is a competently composed, well performed song piece of music. And I do like that TPCI decides to have one song playing during the end credits instead of the "let's cram as much of the Pokémon The First Movie soundtrack into five minutes as we can" thing the 4Kids dub had. But Kaze to Issho ni is the ending theme to Mewtwo Strikes Back, point blank period. It's not a song one simply replaces.

I really wish TPCI had just dubbed an English cover of the Japanese song instead of making up a new one.


The English theme also removes the art contest winners from the latter part of the credits sequence and replaces these with plain black screens with white text over them, though this was to be expected.

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Final Thoughts
I don't really know who TPCI's Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution dub is meant for. The new voice actors and "altered script" and "replaced background music" alienates the fans who watched 4Kids' version a hundred times when they were like seven years old or whatever but the unfaithful translations and the vocal song replacements keep it from being the perfect dub it could have been. TPCI is trying to appease both audiences at once, it seems, and they're failing to fully satisfy either one.

Maybe if this movie is inevitably revisited again in 20 more years down the road whatever company dubs it will finally get it right?



  This page was last updated on March 7th, 2020

 

 

 

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