Movie and the Comic
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Dogasu's Backpack | Manga Guide | Mewtwo Strikes Back
| Story Synopsis | Differences between the movie and the comic | About the Author |
The manga adaptation of Mewtwo Strikes Back is only an adaptation in the loosest sense of the word. While certain parts of it are similar the manga, for the most part, is doing its own thing. According to an interview with Ono Toshihiro in Animerica magazine Volume 8 Issue 1, this wasn't entirely his fault:
The "Birth of Mewtwo" radio drama wouldn't air until the beginning of June meaning that Mr. Ono would have had absolutely nothing to go off of when doing his version of the birth of Mewtwo.
Fuji-Hakase's family does not exist in the manga adaptation. No mention is ever made of a wife or daughter, meaning that his reason for seeking out Mew in the first place is completely different.
In the radio drama / movie the reason Fuji-Hakase is driven to clone Mew is because it supposedly holds the secrets to life itself. If he can figure those out, Fuji-Hakase believes, he'll be able to find a way to bring his dead little girl back to life. It's a tragic story made even more so by the fact that Fuji-Hakase never really achieves his goal before being killed by Mewtwo.
In the manga, however, Fuji-Hakase is motivated by revenge. He was driven out of some institute because of his "Pokemon Gene Reconstruction Plan" and wants to clone Mew in order to prove his ex-colleagues wrong. When he receives the orders from Sakaki to go one step further and actually create a pokemon better than Mew then how could he refuse?
Fuji-Hakase is also never identified by name in the manga, though to be fair he's never identified by name in the movie either.
Nobody on the South American research team actually meets Mew in the movie but Fuji-Hakase becomes friends with the mythical pokemon in the manga adaptation.
The two become so close that Mew even allows Fuji-Hakase to pluck out one of its eyelashes. In the movie and the radio drama the Rocket-Dan's researchers just kind of find it somewhere.
The two are inseparable until the day Sakaki orders Fuji-Hakase to create Mewtwo. The professor gets so wrapped up in his work - motivated, as mentioned earlier, by his desire for revenge - that he completely neglects the mythical pokemon. Mew leaves him but by the time Fuji-Hakase notices he's already gone mad.
The professor would snap back to his senses shortly before his death, however.
We all know how Fuji-Hakase dies in the movie: Mewtwo is born, gets pissed off at its creators for bringing it into the world in the first place, and decides to destroy the place.
In the manga, however, Mewtwo destroys the lab because Fuji-Hakase asks him to. Sakaki, happy with the way Mewtwo was going, decided that he wanted to put the pokemon into mass production to create an army of Mewtwo. The idea was to strip Mewtwo of all emotion and empathy and to create a mindless weapon capable of unspeakable acts of destruction.
Fuji-Hakase didn't want to see this become a reality so he begs Mewtwo to destroy the lab and everyone in it.
Mewtwo protests at first because Fuji-Hakase is its parent but it eventually decides to follow its creator's orders anyway.
Mewtwo Strikes Back was a trendsetter in a lot of ways and one of the things it introduced to the Pocket Monsters movie was the idea of a legendary pokemon using telepathy to communicate with humans.
In the manga adaptation, however, Mewtwo actually talks. As in, it opens its mouth and talks just like the Rocket-Dan's Nyasu does. Take a look:
One of the things the Pocket Monsters movies have been doing since the very beginning is get special guest stars to come in and voice certain characters. In this movie we have Ichimura Masachika as Mewtwo, Kobayashi Sachiko as Voyager, Satou Aiko as Sweet / narrator of the Pikachu short, and Raymond Johnson as the Pirate-like trainer.
Raymond Johnson was one of the hosts of the kids' morning show Oha Suta from 1997 until 2001 along with Yamadera Kou'ichi. Here's an interview with the American-born entertainer from around 1999-ish that tells you a little bit more about him.
This is what his character looks like in the manga adaptation vs. the animated movie:
Quite a huge difference, huh? The manga adaptation has the Trainer who fights against Satoshi actually resemble his voice actor - dark skin, signature baseball cap, a T-shirt that says れいもんど ("Raymond") down the front - while the character in the movie looks nothing like him.
Mewtwo invites Satoshi and his friends to New Island by sending a Kairyuu to wherever Satoshi is and having it deliver a postcard (it was Japan in the 90s, what do you expect?).
In the manga, however, Mewtwo actually crashes the Pokemon League.
To be fair, it's not the Pokemon League but rather the "Pokemon League CoroCoro Cup," a special tournament whose name is taken from the magazine this manga appears in. Once the final battle of the league is over Mewtwo comes in, dressed in a cloak, and immediately challenges the newly crowned Champion to a battle. The Champion does not fare well.
After the battle, Mewtwo is disappointed that this was the best the so-called "Champion" could do and issues a challenge to everyone in the stadium: come to New Island in one week if you want to battle me, the strongest Pokemon Master.
I don't know about you but I like this version a lot better.
The final difference I'm going to talk about has to do with the Rocket trio's involvement in the story.
In the movie, the Rocket trio first get involved when they intercept the messenger Kairyuu on its way back to Mewtwo's castle. They see the postcard fall out of the pokemon's bag and decide to follow our heroes to see what this whole "strongest Pokemon Master" thing is about.
In the manga, however, the Rocket trio are first seen outside Mewtwo's castle and are about to infiltrate it on their Boss' orders. Though it's never explicitly stated, it's obvious that we're meant to assume that they were ordered to break into the castle to retrieve the Rocket-Dan's secrets that it must contain.
They don't actually break in that day, however, and instead show up at that port a week later with everybody else. We never really find out why.
The manga adaptation ends right when Satoshi and his friends arrive at New Island so unfortunately we don't know what other alterations Mr. Ono had up his sleeve for the rest of the movie.
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