The Birth of Mewtwo






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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Mewtwo Strikes Back

Mewtwo Strikes Back

The "Birth of Mewtwo" (ミュウツーの誕生) was a radio drama that was broadcast on Inuyama Inuko's Pokemon Hour (犬山犬子のポケモンアワー), a show on the Nippon Broadcasting System, Inc. radio station in the greater Tokyo area from late 1997 to early 2001.  The Birth of Mewtwo was broadcast in five parts from June 7th, 1998 to July 12th, 1998.  It was created to help promote the movie Mewtwo Strikes Back, which was released in Japanese theaters on July 18th, 1998.

The radio program, which is about an hour long altogether, tells the story of how Mewtwo came to exist in our world.  It delves into the history of the world of pokemon, explains how the Rocket-Dan came to find out about the existence of Mew, gives us the motivations behind the professor in charge of cloning it, portrays Mewtwo's meeting with said professor's daughter, chronicles Sakaki using Mewtwo to do his bidding, and leads us to the pokemon's eventual declaration that it is the only creature qualified to rule the world.  The radio drama was written by Shudou Takeshi (
首藤剛志), the same person who wrote the film Mewtwo Strikes Back.

According to Shudou Takeshi's blog, he wrote the plot of the radio drama after finishing work on the script for Mewtwo Strikes Back.  Mr. Shudou didn't usually write story pitches - he was used to just writing his scripts from the ground up - but since there are so many people involved in the Pokemon franchise he decided to write one out for this radio drama. 

The radio drama was eventually released as part of the 2-CD set The Birth of Mewtwo (
ミュウツーの誕生) on February 12th, 1999.  Disc One of the CD set contains all five episodes of the radio drama while the second CD contains the movie's soundtrack.  A detailed track listing, as well as links to where you can buy it, can be found here.

An animated adaptation was created for Mewtwo Strikes Back - The Kanzenban, a "complete" version of the movie created in preparation for the movie's North American debut.  The animated short debuted on TV-Tokyo on July 8th, 1999.

Radio Drama Plot Synopsis

The radio drama aired in five parts, starting on June 7th, 1998.

The dates posted here are based on the dates posted on uploads made of the original radio show episodes on which this radio drama premiered.  I am not able to independently verify them so please take these dates with a grain of salt.

Episode One "The Phantom Pokemon "Mew" " (第1 話「幻の「ミュウ」」)
Original Airdate:  June 7th, 1998 (Sunday)
Duration:  14 minutes 42 seconds

Twenty years ago, a Rocket-Dan agent by the name of Miyamoto makes the first voice recording of the legendary pokemon mew in the jungles of South America.  The boss of the Rocket-Dan at the time, a woman known simply as "Female Rocket-Dan Boss" sends Miyamoto and a team out to the mountains to capture this pokemon.  Miyamoto waits and waits until, one day...

Episode Two "The Birth of Mewtwo" (第2 話「ミュウツーの誕生」)
Original Airdate:  June 1st, 1998 (Monday)
Duration:  10 minutes 42 seconds

The Rocket-Dan's scientists unearth a fossilized eyelash.  A professor working for the Rocket-Dan named Fuji-Hakase takes the DNA from this fossil and uses it to create a new pokemon, Mewtwo.  However, Fuji-Hakase has an ulterior motive for cooperating with the organization.

Episode Three "Mewtwo and Ai" (第3話「ミュウツーとアイ」)
Original Airdate:  June 21st, 1998 (Sunday)
Duration:  13 minutes 08 seconds

A young Mewtwo meets Aitwo, the clone of Fuji-Hakase's deceased daughter.  Ai and a group of cloned pokemon teach Mewtwo about the world around it and about creatures known as "humans" and "pokemon" before the cells in their bodies start to break down.  As Aitwo dies, Mewtwo notices that tears will not stop flowing from its eyes.

Episode Four "The World's Strongest Pokemon" (第4 話「世界最強のポケモン」)
Original Airdate:  June 28th, 1998 (Sunday)
Duration:  13 minutes 14 seconds

Mewtwo continues to grow, as does its incredible psychic powers.  Before long, Mewtwo lashes out against its creator and destroys the lab in which it was created.  It is then approached by Sakaki, the current boss of the Rocket-Dan, and is offered a deal...

Episode Five "Mewtwo Strikes Back" (第5 話「ミュウツーの逆襲」)
Original Airdate:  July 12th, 1998 (Sunday)
Duration:  13 minutes 00 seconds

Mewtwo soon grows tired of being used by the Rocket-Dan and rebels.  Later, Mewtwo decides that neither humans nor pokemon are fit to rule the world and that it, Mewtwo, is the only one with the power required to fulfill such a role.  Still, it can't get this nagging feeling out of the back of its mind that Mew is still out there, waiting for it...

You can read a much more thorough, much more detailed synopsis of what happens here.  Additionally, those of you who can read Japanese may want to take a look at the full script for the radio drama as posted on Shudou Takeshi's blog.

Notes

In Mr. Shudou's original pitch for the radio drama,  Fuji-Hakase's daughter Ai (アイ) was named Mii (ミー), taken from the English first person pronouns "I, Me, and My."  Mr. Shudou explains that part of this had to do with his daughter - her name is Miho (三穂) and was often called Mii (ミー) for short - while part of this was Mr. Shudou's desire to give the character a name that would further emphasize the whole "self existence" theme that was so central to the first movie.  As the story went through production, however, Mr. Shudou felt that the name "Ai" was more fitting for this little girl whose existence was so fleeting.  The name Mii would end up being used, however, for the little girl from the third movie The Emperor of the Crystal Tower Entei.

In the actual script for the radio drama, there's a part in Episode Three where Ai and a young Mewtwo go through the English alphabet.  This part was removed for the final product.

The Animated Adaptation

An animated adaptation of the radio drama was created for Mewtwo Strikes Back - The Kanzenban, the special version of the first movie created in preparation for the film's North American release.  It debuted in Japan on July 8th, 1999 when TV-Tokyo aired mewtwo Strikes Back - The Kanzenban during a two hour special to promote the new movie The Explosive Birth of the Phantom Pokemon Lugia.

Two Hour Special

While the adaptation hits most of the high notes of the story, it is still heavily condensed; the radio drama is, altogether, about an hour long while the animated adaptation is only about ten minutes.  Some of the changes made include:
  • The entire first episode of the radio drama is skipped over completely.  Likewise, all of Miyamoto's reports at the end of each radio episode are removed as well.
  • The professor who creates Mewtwo is known in the radio drama as Fuji-Hakase (フジ博士), but everything else - the actual movie itself, the animated adaptation of the radio drama, all the promotional materials and guide books for the movie - refers to him simply as "professor" (博士).
  • Sakaki does not make an appearance in the animated adaptation.  While it's clear that Fuji-Hakase works for the Rocket-Dan in the radio drama, the professor's connection to the organization can only be inferred in the animated version.  Sakaki is also never brought up in the Japanese version of the short, though the English version does add a bunch of lines that explicitly connect the two.
  • The cloned pokemon - Fushigidane, Zenigame, and Hitokage - actually say the word "two" as part of their pokemon cries in the radio drama.  Their animated counterparts do not.
  • The cause of Ai's death (a car accident) is never revealed in the animated adaptation.
  • In the radio drama, Fuji-Hakase's wife leaves him before Ai's death while in the animated adaptation she doesn't leave until after she passes away.
  • The clones that Fuji-Hakase's made are not able to last longer than four years, implying that the professor's been at this whole cloning business for quite a while.  None of this information is given in the animated adaptation.
  • Young Mewtwo was recast for the animated adaptation.  In the radio drama, young Mewtwo is voiced by Takimoto Fujiko (瀧本 富士子) but is voiced by Morikubo Shoutarou (森久保 祥太郎) in the animated version.
  • Ai spends more time teaching Mewtwo various words / phrases in the radio drama than she does in the animated adaptation.
The final two episodes of The Birth of Mewtwo retreads material that's in the actual movie, though there are some differences here as well.
  • As Mewtwo continues to grow, its psychic powers start to break various equipment around the lab.  This causes the lab's computer to identify it as a threat and therefore take actions to eliminate it.  A laser beam is fired at Mewtwo that effectively kills it for a few seconds.  Before long, however, Mewtwo's life signs return as the pokemon displays its ability to regenerate itself.  Mewtwo then identifies the computer that attacked it and destroys it with its psychic powers.
  • The attacks that Mewtwo can use in the radio drama are identified as Psychic Power ("Confusion"), Sleep Paralysis ("Disable"), Speed Star ("Swift"), Psychokinesis ("Psychic"), Self-Regeneration ("Recover"), and Hyper Beam ("Hyper Beam").
  • When Mewtwo is working for the Rocket-Dan, it is implied that it captures the Fushigibana, Kamex, and Lizardon that would eventually be cloned and used to battle the trainers on New Island.
  • In the radio drama, Sakaki has a trainer's Boober captured in a Monster Ball despite the numerous examples present in the animated series showing that this should be impossible.
  • At the end of the radio drama, Mewtwo states that it has never shed tears, alluding to a comment made at the beginning of Episode Four (and at the end of the animated adaptation) that it had forgotten all about Ai and the cloned pokemon.
This may seem like a lot, and I guess it kind of is, but despite all this I still feel like the animated adaptation is pretty faithful.  A lot of the dialogue is kept word for word, and the overall themes and ideas present in the radio drama are still there.  I still recommend checking out the audio version because it does contain a lot of really great detail, but if you can't for whatever reason, then the animated version is not a bad way to go.

The English Version of the Animated Adaptation

Despite the fact that the animated adaptation was made for the Kanzenban, which itself was made for the North American release of Mewtwo Strikes Back, the full short never actually aired in American theaters.  I unfortunately don't have a copy of the Region 1 DVD with me right now, but from what I've heard / remember, only the first scene with the explorers going into the jungle and finding the Mew fossil was kept.  Everything dealing with young Mewtwo and Amber was cut.

Pokémon The First Movie was released in theaters in the U.S. on November 10th, 1999.

In Japan, the animated adaptation was released on DVD on June 23rd, 2000.  This bilingual DVD contains the full English dub of the animated short, meaning that an English version of "The Birth of Mewtwo" existed at least as early as that.  Did 4Kids dub the short and then decide to cut it at the last minute?  It's possible.  Maybe 4Kids thought kids wouldn't want to sit through so much backstory before getting to see Ash and his friends, and maybe they were worried that the content of the story was too dark for them to retain the movie's G rating.

Uncut Story of Mewtwo's Origin

The full, uncut version of "The Birth of Mewtwo" was finally released in the U.S. on December 4th, 2001 with the release of "Mewtwo Returns" on DVD, about a year and a half after the English dub was released in Japan.

In Japan, "The Birth of mewtwo" was added to the beginning of the first movie and has essentially become the first ten minutes of mewtwo Strikes Back.  The English version, on the other hand, has never been attached to the film and is instead treated as a standalone short.

Listening to the Radio Drama

Unfortunately, the CD The Birth of mewtwo has been out of print for a decade and a half, so finding it can be a bit tricky.  The CD set will pop up on Amazon and e-bay from time to time, so I would advise checking those sites periodically to see if anyone's selling them.  The set will probably be a bit on the pricey side, but it is absolutely worth it to be able to experience one of the most fascinating tales ever told in this franchise. 


 

 

 

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