|| The Birth of Mewtwo
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The "Birth of Mewtwo" (ミュウツーの誕生) was a radio drama that was broadcast on Inuko Inuyama's Pokémon 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 Pokémon, 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 Pokémon's eventual declaration that it is the only creature qualified to rule the world. The radio drama was written by Takeshi Shudo (首藤剛志), the same person who wrote the film Mewtwo Strikes Back!
According to Takeshi Shudo's blog, he wrote the plot of the radio drama after finishing work on the script for Mewtwo Strikes Back! Mr. Shudo 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 Pokémon 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.
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 Mythical Pokémon "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 mythical Pokémon 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 Pokémon. 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 Dr. Fuji takes the DNA from this fossil and uses it to create a new Pokémon, Mewtwo. However, Dr. Fuji 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 Dr. Fuji's deceased daughter. Ai and a group of cloned Pokémon teach Mewtwo about the world around it and about creatures known as "humans" and "Pokémon" 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 Pokémon" (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 Pokémon 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 Takeshi Shudo's blog.
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 Revelation Lugia.
In Mr. Shudo's original pitch for the radio drama, Dr. Fuji's daughter Ai (アイ) was named Mii (ミー), taken from the English first person pronouns "I, Me, and My." Mr. Shudo 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. Shudo'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. Shudo felt that the name "Ai" was more fitting for this little girl whose existence was so fleeting. The name Mii would eventually end up being used for the little girl from the third movie Lord of the "Unknown" 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.
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:
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.
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.
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