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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Mewtwo Strikes Back
CoroCoro Comics is known for its coverage of the Pocket Monsters movies. Every year the magazine is used as kind of the centerpiece of the films' coverage with news getting announced there first and then making its way to other media outlets from there.
Since I live in Japan I have access to bookstores that sell old issues of CoroCoro Comics. They're hard to find but every now and then you'll get lucky enough to come across a Mandarake or a Book-Off store that has an old issue of CoroCoro Comics from the 90s. I've managed to find a few of these precious time capsules from the late 1997 / early 1998 period and so today I thought we'd take a look at what one of the biggest publicity machines this franchise has was doing to promote Mewtwo Strikes Back.
Unfortunately I do not own every issue released at the time so there will be some gaps in the coverage here. I'll try to fill those in once I'm able to get my hands on those issues of CoroCoro.
The December 1997 issue of CoroCoro Comics, which would have gone on sale on November 15th, had a two page spread about the upcoming movie.
The title of the article is "Big Scoops about "Mewtwo Strikes Back!!" Here are translations of the four big scoops it reveals:
The "TV special" they mention in the second bullet point there seems to be in reference to a special that aired on October 7th, 1997 (秋のスペシャル). The special was a recap of the first 27 episodes and also apparently featured footage of Mew at some point. There's a Yahoo! Auction for the script for this special that is, at the time of this writing, running at about US $1,600.
I have no idea what the trailer that was shown at the Nintendo Space World event was. Could it have been that weird trailer featuring an older Kasumi, minus the disclaimer at the end saying the movie doesn't have any scenes of extreme flashing since this would have been shown before the Pokemon Shock incident? I've tried to look it up but so far haven't come up with anything.
Notice how the article doesn't have any screenshots or even an official movie logo. It was common for CoroCoro to have its own artists provide the artwork to accompany their articles in lieu of screenshots at the time and this article is just another example of that.
At this point it seems like Mew's involvement in the movie had yet to be officially announced though it is being heavily implied. It also looks like the Pikachu short wasn't given a title yet.
The April 1998 issue of CoroCoro Comics went on sale March 15th, 1998.
There really isn't much of anything here. We just find out that the movie pre-order tickets go on sale March 20th and that the first 30,000 people to get a ticket will also receive a set of commemorative pokemon postage stamps. That massive block of text in the yellow box there is merely a list of stores that are selling the pre-order tickets so I'm not going to bother translating that.
You would think the pre-order bonus for this movie would be getting a Mew for your Red / Green / Blue games but there was actually already a Mew giveaway earlier in 1997 completely unrelated to this movie. I'm also sure the logistics of having kids line up with the Game Boys and connecting their machines to a transfer cable, one by one, was too much of a headache for them to bother with and so they decided to give out postage stamps instead.
It also shows that the title and the logo for the Pikachu short had already been revealed by this point. So I'm guessing that was announced from January - March 1998?
The coverage seems pretty light but you have to remember that the show was still on its hiatus at this point.
The July 1998 issue of CoroCoro Comics went on sale June 15th, 1998.
This issue reveals a few scoops about the upcoming film.
CoroCoro Comics pulls a 4Kids and mixes up their pokemon names! That's right, the author of this piece misidentifies Marril as Bull and Bull as Marril! Bull's name is written in Japanese as ブルー, and while we all know that this is meant to be written out in English letters as "Bull" it's also possible to interpret that as "Blue." And, well, since Marril is a blue pokemon then whoever wrote this piece for CoroCoro probably just assumed that the blue pokemon is named "Blue" and went with that. Still, it's pretty sloppy journalism and is the sort of mistake they'd absolutely get hammered for if it happened today.
Also, "Donphan, who may appear in the new Game Boys games" is such a weird sentence for them to write considering how Donphan had been hyped up as one of the new Gold & Silver pokemon for quite a while by that point.
Here's the rest of the article:
The history of the ANA Pokemon jets is a topic for another article but it's interesting to see how it all started from Mewtwo Strikes Back.
The website misoの末裔 has scans of the flyer for the actual stamp rally (the one shown above is a picture of the poster from the previous year's rally) and is worth checking out.
This issue also contains the 52-page manga adaptation of the film created by Ono Toshihiro.
You can read more about this manga adaptation over in the Manga Guide.
The August 1998 issue of CoroCoro Comics went on sale July 15th, 1998.
The main feature dealt more with the Pikachu short than the main feature, for what that's worth:
Well, they managed to get Bull's and Marril's names right but it seems like the writers still didn't actually bother to do any more research beyond that. I love how they're just like "I guess Bull's based on a bulldog, maybe?" Come on now.
They're not even trying to hide the fact that this is an advertisement, are they? It's hard to imagine the modern-day CoroCoro Comics being this brazen.
There were also ads scattered throughout the issue for movie-related merchandise. On the left there is an ad for a new series of Carddass cards that will feature "the newest information from both the TV series and the movie!" The ad in the middle is for "Pokemon Craft Movie Special," a set of special paper dolls you can make "without scissors or glue." The ad on the right is for the seventh and eighth Pokemon CD releases, "Can You Play All the Pokemon Songs?" and "Pika Pika-massai-chu." The latter is a CD that contains both the opening and ending themes to Pikachu's Summer Vacation.
And that's all I've got! I'll be sure to add more information as I acquire more vintage issues of CoroCoro Comics.
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