|| Mewtwo Strikes Back
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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Movie 01
While on a journey to become a Pokemon Master, Satoshi and his friends receive a special invitation. However, what they don't know is that this invitation is really a trap planned by Mewtwo!
Satoshi and his friends cross the ocean during a terrific storm to reach the "Pokemon Castle" (ポケモン城) where they're greeted by Mewtwo, a pokemon who claims to be both the world's strongest pokemon and the world's strongest Pokemon Trainer! Mewtwo plans to capture everyone's pokemon and use them to make superior copies in a plan to get revenge against humans everywhere.
Satoshi and his friends are no match for Mewtwo's great power! After a great battle, Mewtwo's "Mewtwo Balls" (ミュウツーボール) chases after our heroes' pokemon. Just as things get really bad, the legendary pokemon Mew appears! A battle between Mewtwo's copy pokemon and the pokemon belonging to Satoshi and the others rages on. The greatest battle in Pokemon history is about to take place between Mewtwo and Mew! Who will come out victorious?! This first movie was made with dreams, hope, and love in order to make your Pokemon Fantasy come true!
This is Pokemon Square (ポケモン広場), a place where pokemon come to play, and Pikachu and its friends have come here to spend their summer vacation. Just as everyone is finally able to get Togepi to sleep, four pokemon walk by and wake it up by laughing loudly! The four pokemon - Raichu, Karakara, Bull, and Marill - begin to fight with Pikachu and the others when they start yelling at them!
A race between Zenigame and Marrill, Pikachu and Raichu running side by side...during all this commotion, Lizardon's head gets stuck in a pipe! What will everyone do!? This music fantasy shows off the friendship between Pikachu and its friends!
To prepare for the movie's North American debut, a special edition of the movie known as The Kanzenban was created. This version of Mewtwo Strikes Back features touched up animation, new special effects, and a ten minute animated adaptation of The Birth of Mewtwo radio drama.
You can find out more about the Kanzenban here.
The movie's Japanese title, Myuutsuu no Gyakushuu (ミュウツーの逆襲) and its given English title, "Mewtwo Strikes Back," is most likely an homage to Sutaa Woozu Teikoku no Gyakushuu (スターウォーズ 帝国の逆襲), the Japanese title for "Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back." The title may also be an homage to Gojira no Gyakushuu (ゴジラの逆襲), released in the U.S. as "Godzilla Raids Again" and Meka-Gojira no Gyakushuu (メカゴジラの逆 襲), released in the U.S. as "Terror of Mechagodzilla," both of which were released by the same movie studio (Toho) as the Pocket Monsters films.
The film reportedly had a budget of 350 million yen.
The Pokemon Shock incident essentially ruined all the plans the staff of the television series had made to promote the movie in July. For example, "Rival Showdown! The Orchid Laboratory!," the Kanto episode that shows Mewtwo breaking out of the Rocket-Dan headquarters, was supposed to air before before Mewtwo Strikes Back hit theaters and serve as the introduction to the movie's titular character. On his blog, Shudou Takeshi reveals that the movie was originally going to start with that first scene of Satoshi being challenged to a battle by that pirate-like trainer but decided to create additional scenes at the start of the movie to explain who this Mewtwo character was. The new scene was written after Ichimura Masachika was cast as Mewtwo.
According to that same blog entry, Mew was going to be able to talk in the first draft of the script just like Mewtwo does, but Shudou Takeshi was convinced by director Yuyama Kunihiko to change it. Mr. Yuyama figured that it would be more impactful if Mew just flew around Mewtwo without saying a word rather than drone back at it about the meaning of life the was it apparently did in this first draft. Mr. Shudou went into the second draft of the script and replaced all of Mew's dialogue with cries of "Mew." Mewtwo's lines, ironically enough, didn't really change that much between drafts.
According to that same blog entry, the scene where Satoshi goes into the cloning machine to save Pikachu was added by director Yuyama Kunihiko because it was felt that the movie didn't have enough action scenes.
In yet another blog entry, Shudou Takeshi reveals that there were plans to have an episode where Satoshi and Mewtwo actually meet before the Pokemon Shock incident messed everything up. The two weren't going to battle but they were going to at least cross paths. Shudo Takeshi was set to write the episode.
Shudo Takeshi was originally asked to write the script for Pikachu's Summer Vacation as well but declined due to the extra workload it would have caused.
And, according to this blog entry, Ichimura Masachika seems to have been the first person the movie's producers had in mind to play Mewtwo. Mr. Ichimura was basically unknown in the world of movies (his only other film credit at the time was in Nightmare Before Christmas) but was a superstar in the world of Japanese musical theater. His performance in Phantom of the Opera is what really brought him to the director's attention.
Shudou Takeshi read up a lot on DNA and cloning since that was such a huge topic back in the late 90s. In his blog he specifically mentions Dolly the Sheep making headlines at the time. He also talks about how that even though Mewtwo is supposed to be a clone of Mew the two of them actually don't look that much alike.
According to the book This is Animation Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back" "Pikachu's Summer Vacation," about one year passes between the time Mewtwo escapes from the Rocket-Dan's base and the moment when Satoshi receives the invitation to go to New Island.
The fact that the professor in the movie is named Fuji-Hakase and is working for the Rocket-Dan, information that's obtained from The Birth of Mewtwo CD drama, are never actually mentioned in the actual film itself, the "Birth of Mewtwo" animated short, or in any of the promotional material / guide books for the movie. Fuji-Hakase is simply referred to as hakase (博士), or "professor," and Sakaki's meeting with Mewtwo after it destroys the lab in which it was created is treated as nothing more than a chance encounter. Though most fans would consider The Birth of Mewtwo CD drama as canon with the animated movie, none of the official sources even acknowledge its existence.
Though music from Mewtwo Strikes Back was released on CD, none of the background music from the accompanying Pikachu short, Pikachu's Summer Vacation, has ever been made available.
Mewtwo Strikes Back and Pikachu's Summer Vacation have seen eight home releases between the two of them.
*This may be a typo as the same person's name was written out as 福田年秀 in the credits for "Pikachu's Summer Vacation."
Click here to view the credits for the Pikachu short Pikachu's Summer Vacation.
A special pre-order ticket could be obtained for 1500 yen.
The movie made 7.54 billion yen during its theatrical run in Japan.
Pokémon The First Movie made $85,744,662 during its theatrical run in the U.S. The movie came in at number one in its opening weekend and made $31,036,678 over the Thanksgiving weekend. The movie was released in 3,043 theaters nationwide.
Box Office Mojo (U.S. Theatrical Figures)
The manga adaptation of Mewtwo Strikes Back was printed in the July 1998 issue of CoroCoro Comics.
The manga was drawn by Ono Toshihiro (おのとしひろ). It was never collected into graphic novel format and is therefore one of the most difficult manga to get a hold of.
According to an interview with Ono Toshihiro on Viz's website, the manga artist got the script and other production material for the movie in April 1998. At that time, The Birth of Mewtwo story hadn't been made public yet, so Mr. Ono ended up creating his own version of the story that ended up contradicting what happens in both the CD drama and the animated short.
A total of three CDs were released specifically for this movie.
View detailed information about each CD release here.
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