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FANG-TAN

An analysis of the differences between Mew and Myuu

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This person, a fellow Mewtwo/Mew fan, posted a very interesting analysis of Mew's characterization in the Japanese version of the original anime Mewtwo story. It's actually really spot-on and really well-explained - it pretty much goes to show you how much intrigue was lost when the first movie was exported outside of Japan.

It is well known that there are gigantic distinctions between the Japanese and English versions of “Mewtwo/Myuutsu Strikes Back”. Between the script rewrites, score edits, narration (existent only in the dub), and the opposing personalities and intentions between Myuutsu and Mewtwo, any fan can agree that these movies are very different. At the very end of it all, there are only a few elements that remained the same.

Perhaps the most important of these differences are of Myuutsu/Mewtwo. As we all know, Mewtwo starts out as a stereotypical megalomaniac villain who has very little substance – he simply wants to purge, destroy, and reign, until his heart is softened by Ash. However, Myuutsu is a philosopher who only carries out his plans in an effort to come to understand himself. Myuutsu has no desire to create a war against all of humanity and pokemon; instead, he wants strike back (gyakushuu – more literally, counterattack) against those who harmed him.

But what about Myuu/Mew?

Many websites and Japanese fans leave out the differences between Myuu and Mew. The result: Americans are under the impression that Mew is a playful, innocent cat that appears out of no where with the implied idea that it needs to stop Mewtwo. After all, it certainly seems that way, especially thanks to Meowth saying: “Mew says you don’t prove anything by showin’ off a lot of special powers, and that a pokemon’s real strength comes from da heart.”

Let me make it clear that Myuu is nothing like this. And if anything, in some ways, Myuu is as multidimensional as Myuutsu – only subtle.

When Myuu appears before Myuutsu, it is not playfully teasing him like Mew. Instead, it comes across as downright mocking Myuutsu through “play”. Myuu only turns serious upon being attacked by a Shadow Ball. It is then that it has its elaborate – and very insulting – speech. Nyarth (Meowth) translates: “The real one is real. If they fight using only their bodies without their abilities, the true ones will not be beaten by their copies.” This is short, but the difference is profound. Myuu refers to as the originals as the REAL ones, implying that they are the only ones with reasoning to be alive. This is emphasized that throughout the Japanese movie, Myuutsu constantly is plagued by the idea of if his existence is worth anything (in the dub, he is driven by the idea that he has to prove himself BECAUSE he’s a clone; that is, he is narcissistic and selfish). Also, throughout the Japanese movie, the word “clone” is never used. “Copy” is the chosen word, as it is stigmatizing and hints at the concept that a clone is not an individual. Remember, this movie came out at the end of the 1990s when the idea of cloning was a heated controversial issue in bioethics.

So already we can see that there is more to Myuu than an adorable kitty. For one thing, Myuu has a clearly calculating mind and has deep-seated – and in some ways, downright demeaning – beliefs.

The Japanese version also has more information about Myuu that was eliminated from the dub.

Recount that in “The Origin of Mewtwo” (the ten-minute short of Amber and Mewtwo), Dr. Fuji states his intention of the Mewtwo project was for Giovanni to have the world’s most powerful pokemon. Yet throughout all aspects of the Japanese version – from the radio drama to the short to the movie – it is never once highlighted that Myuutsu was meant to be some all-powerful pokemon (and that makes sense. I mean, really, why the hell would Fuji-Hakase care about that?). Instead, the scientist took on the project because he was working with Myuu’s DNA – said to be powerful, yes, but more importantly rumored to be immortal.

Myuu is far more than a super powerful pokemon. It has the gift of immortal life. Possessing and manipulating Myuu’s DNA,Fuji-Hakase believed, would be the key to revive his daughter.

So let us bring this back to Myuu. Here were have a pokemon with godly powers, believed to be immortal. If Myuu indeed can live forever, this is likely why it never cried when Satoshi was turned to stone (try explaining that, 4Kids; after all, didn’t you paint Mew to be some goody-two-shoes?). Myuu is confused by what happened to Satoshi – it is so lost in its godly abilities that it is also detached from mortality, much like in myths in which gods cannot understand why things die/change.

Finally, we have Myuu as one of the leading characters in the radio drama. It is made clear that Myuu was present for when Miyamoto (Musashi’s/Jessie’s mother) went disappearing. Yet interestingly, Myuu did nothing to protect Miyamoto from the avalanche. Nothing. Considering this pokemon – at the time, anyway – was said to be the most powerful of all, there is no reason it could not have stopped an avalanche (I mean, really, Myuutsu/Mewtwo effortlessly formulated a hurricane while sitting on his throne). My theories: A) Myuu could not understand that a life was on the line, much like the scene in which Satoshi turned to stone, or B) For unexplained reasons, Myuu is not allowed to intervene (but why would Myuu later intervene with Myuutsu? Questions, questions…).

There are more differences between Myuu and Mew, but I will stop here. Regardless, I hope this has opened your eyes to this mesmerizing character. Remember, there’s a lot more to that cat than pink bubbles and cuteness. To quote a well-known Myuu fan, “Myuu is a phantom pokemon, and Myuu is a mystery.”

I also have no life but it’s my day off and it’s raining, so I don’t care.

Note: In the future, I intend to write an improved version of the above essay, including comparisons between this Myuu and the one from the Lucario movie. I realize this essay is kinda… ranty. But I’m lazy. In addition, I will write an essay comparing the differences between Myuutsu and Mewtwo. That one will be long!
It's nice to know someone other than me watched the true version of the story enough to actually talk about it on this level. Genuinely.

Like, you seriously don't know how much I'm grinning right now. Seriously, I love it when people write analyses about anime/manga/VNs like this. Having that kind of analytical eye is really useful when trying to enjoy any fictional medium, and it helps promote healthy and intelligent fan discussion if you're willing to share your viewpoint. You might even be spot-on and universally agreed with.

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Updated 12th February 2014 at 05:37 AM by FANG-TAN

Categories
Pokemon Anime , Ichimura Mewtwo , Mistranslations

Comments

  1. Silktree's Avatar
    I don't particularly care for the characterization Shudo gave Mew. It was kept enigmatic, but it's hard to understand what its exact objective was. Merely proving Mewtwo wrong? I'd hesitate to call it a multi-dimensional character. In my mind, Mew should be portrayed as a benevolent creature that cares about all Pokémon because it shares their DNA (so the clones, and especially Mewtwo, shouldn't be an exception). I'll admit that the interpretation about its inability to understand death might be interesting, though.

    On an unrelated note regarding the Tumblr blog:

    I’ve tried - I’ve truly tried - to like Mega Mewtwo X and Mega Mewtwo Y, but I just can’t get myself to like those forms. I even went so far as to attempting to watch the Genesect/Mewtwo movie, but I was bored right from the start. It’s great if you liked that movie, but unfortunately (in my opinion!) it lacked the emotional substance that came with earlier Mewtwo features. (I think at this point we can all agree that there’s also more than one Mewtwo now, but… not going into that ramble again.) Anyway, due to my own immature bias, I will only post content of the Mega Mewtwos very rarely and ultimately as fan service.

    In short, this means that I will continue to focus on content of Mewtwo prior to Generation VI/6.
    This isn't immature bias - it's a completely reasonable reaction. Why let some highly questionable decisions ruin Mewtwo as a whole? I had given Mega Mewtwo and Movie 16 the benefit of the doubt, but that backfired terribly. Now it's time to pretend those things never happened.
    Updated 12th February 2014 at 04:39 AM by Silktree
  2. FANG-TAN's Avatar
    @Silktree

    Quote Originally Posted by Silktree
    I don't particularly care for the characterization Shudo gave Mew. It was kept enigmatic, but it's hard to understand what its exact objective was. Merely proving Mewtwo wrong? I'd hesitate to call it a multi-dimensional character. In my mind, Mew should be portrayed as a benevolent creature that cares about all Pokémon because it shares their DNA (so the clones, and especially Mewtwo, shouldn't be an exception). I'll admit that the interpretation about its inability to understand death might be interesting, though.
    It clearly thought the copies were below the originals in every way and didn't consider them "real".

    It didn't shed a tear when Satoshi was turned to stone. It was confused.

    It didn't bother saving Musashi's mom when the avalanche threatened her life in the Andes mountains. (Note: There's another theory that goes with the myths surrounding Mew's game counterpart - sensing the purity of Miyamoto's love for her daughter, Mew appeared before Miyamoto only for it to disappear when it sensed her greed.)

    Hardly a benevolent creature that cares about all life. However, I never saw it as an evil creature, and I think this Tumblr is spot-on as to why Mew acts apathetic towards death in the Mewtwo saga - its supposed immortality or god-like energy caused it to become displaced from the mortal realm; failing to understand why things die and change. It doesn't make it evil, but it can't exactly understand an inevitable fear of mortality which doesn't apply to it. I think this gives it a lot more dimension as a character in the clash between the real vs "copies" than a superhero that's completely free of spite, little understanding of the value of living, or prejudice (heck, originally it was implied that Mew was the one that instigated blocking the Pokemon's special abilities in an attempt to prove that the real Pokemon were superior). Just because it biologically shares its DNA with all Pokemon doesn't mean it'll automatically harbor this deep love and empathy for every single one of them, especially when it chooses to be elusive.

    Neither Mewtwo nor Mew were right or wrong in that battle. And I dare say they both learned valuable lessons after Satoshi's selfless sacrifice. I much prefer the grey and gray morality that's heavily implied in the original than the typical Hollywood black and white morality given in the dub. I mean, hey, perhaps the learning experience peaked Mew's curiosity enough to motivate it to try and understand "mortals" better and develop into the benevolent, empathetic creature that you prefer it to be portrayed as in the Shudo-verse. Noble omnipotent beings are more intriguing when they have a basis for their nobility rather than just being written with unfaltering nobility from the start.

    I agree with the blogger that, in a way, Anime Mew is subtly implied to be as multidimensional as its clone.

    Now, its motives and why it even entered the fray are unclear. Did it just happen upon Mewtwo's castle by chance, or was there something more that caused it to awaken from its bubble at the beginning of the first film (the onset of Mewtwo's storm)? Given its curious nature, I'd say it sensed Mewtwo's aura - an aura similar to itself (being its clone) - while Mewtwo was manifesting his storm, and decided to follow the direction of where it sensed that surge of power that was not unlike its own. (And I think it's safe to assume that at the time Shudo wrote this, this Mew was intended to be the one and only, so that may be somewhat taken into account as well.)
    Updated 12th February 2014 at 07:36 AM by FANG-TAN
  3. Silktree's Avatar
    Noble omnipotent beings are more intriguing when they have a basis for their nobility rather than just being written with unfaltering nobility from the start.
    But we never saw its nobility come into play, so this never paid off and we never learned anything about Mew outside of its conflict with clones. Shudo had his chance to flesh out Mew's character in the sequel, but obviously that wasn't a priority.

    Just because it biologically shares its DNA with all Pokemon doesn't mean it'll automatically harbor this deep love and empathy for every single one of them, especially when it chooses to be elusive.
    There's a difference between showering everyone with affection and not encouraging violence.
    Updated 12th February 2014 at 08:15 AM by Silktree
  4. FANG-TAN's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Silktree
    But we never saw its nobility come into play, so this never paid off and we never learned anything about Mew outside of its conflict with clones. Shudo had his chance to flesh out Mew's character in the sequel, but obviously that wasn't a priority.
    Given that Mew was in agreement with its clone towards the end of the movie, and that Mewtwo displays a gradual, noble concern for the well-being of all life in the TV sequel following that character development, I think it's safe to assume a parallel in that Mew does eventually display these noble qualities as well. It's a damn shame we never got a real encore from this Mew, but it's not like they'll revisit the character now.

    There's a difference between showering everyone with affection and not encouraging violence.
    Yes, but is it really going to be as empathetic towards the rest of the populace as a whole, even the "copy cats", simply because it shares their ancestral DNA? Sure, there's the saying that blood runs thicker than water, but I think that's somewhat of a cop-out since that's clearly not true sometimes even in reality. A creature with godly power needs a jolt of wisdom to put them into the right direction in order for them to become a truly good deity rather than one that enforces its own beliefs. And, to be honest, the "caretaker of all, from the start" depiction of Mew doesn't really work with Mewtwo unless he's depicted as the hell-bent supervillain he was in the English adaptation.
    Updated 12th February 2014 at 09:06 PM by FANG-TAN
  5. Silktree's Avatar
    I think it's safe to assume a parallel in that Mew does eventually display these noble qualities as well.
    That's the thing: You're projecting Mewtwo's development onto Mew. The problem with that is that their circumstances are starkly different, so I fail to see why their lives should be parallel. Mewtwo was given an actual reason to strike back, whereas as far as we know Mew was never harmed by the existence of the clones. It didn't have to care about them to begin with, but it didn't have to intervene, either.

    And, to be honest, the "caretaker of all, from the start" depiction of Mew doesn't really work with Mewtwo unless he's depicted as the hell-bent supervillain he was in the English adaptation.
    Mew's characterization shouldn't be dependent on what would best serve a conflict with Mewtwo. The movie didn't have to culminate in their battle.
    Updated 13th February 2014 at 12:39 PM by Silktree
  6. FANG-TAN's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Silktree
    That's the thing: You're projecting Mewtwo's development onto Mew. The problem with that is that their circumstances are starkly different, so I fail to see why their lives should be parallel. Mewtwo was given an actual reason to strike back, whereas as far as we know Mew was never harmed by the existence of the clones. It didn't have to care about them to begin with, but it didn't have to intervene, either.
    Continuing with my previous rationale of why it arrived at the castle to begin with, which for the most part makes sense, why should Mew have the mentality to ignore its clone when said clone was hurling Shadow Balls at it and wasn't going to let it go without a fight? As said before, Mew was mocking Mewtwo through "play," already implying that it doesn't think too highly of its apparent copy from the moment it saw and learned of his existence. After Mew actually got hit by a Shadow Ball, it's clear that at that point Mew decided to humor him and display its powers - proving to the "fake" that "real" Pokemon are superior.

    Were it not for its ambiguous innocence coupled with the fact that it probably never had any experience with clones at that point, and thus had no reason to be merciful or empathetic enough to end the fight with words, it could have left with "whatever", but what would be the point then?

    Their lives aren't parallel, they are perpendicular, but their lives and beliefs were changed in very much the same way at the conclusion of the first film to the degree that they were now on common grounds. That's what I'm trying to get at.

    Mew's characterization shouldn't be dependent on what would best serve a conflict with Mewtwo. The movie didn't have to culminate in their battle.
    Then what would happen to the meaning supplemented by plot and presentation? Let's look into this for a second. The dub's characterization of Mew requires Mewtwo to be portrayed significantly evil and narcissistic about his powers compared to it. “Mew says you don’t prove anything by showin’ off a lot of special powers, and that a Pokemon’s true strength comes from da heart.” Whereas the Grey and Gray Mewtwo from the original movie is set off by the fact that his "real" counterpart basically confirmed that his existence isn't worth anything, an idea that plagued his mind the entire movie. Here's where it's clear that Mew's characterization would have caused a rift within the story had it been different.

    The entire death brawl during the climax of the story was supposed to be a Mirror Match in which Mew and Mewtwo were the centerpiece, with each Pokemon on each "side" thinking their status (or lack thereof) as God's creations makes them better than the other. If Mew lacked the characterization it had in the original depiction, it would have withheld fighting and got beaten down just like Pikachu. If the Mew from the dub interacted with the original depiction of Mewtwo, the constant build-up to their meeting, from the time Mewtwo was manipulated by the Rockets up to that point, would be terribly anti-climatic because the dub Mew (by nature) would try to convince Mewtwo that his existence is worth something. The very idea of a Mew existing before "Two" ignited Mewtwo's desire to fight. As its "copy", he felt that he needed to surpass that phantom Pokemon to prove his worth. And the battle with Mew in the uncut movie brought his internal conflicts full-circle. Somewhere along the line: Cue our main protagonist, of the race Mewtwo once grew to despise due to displaying themselves as greedy cowards, courageously sacrificing his well-being by running into the crossfire of these two juggernauts in an attempt to halt the fighting, because he values all Pokemon regardless of whether or not they were born in a lab. Surrounding him are the Pokemon who were previously trying to kill one another, putting aside their birth differences to mourn his loss. Imagine the effect this had on Mewtwo, and maybe even the confused Mew.

    Could the movie have done without the physical appearance of Mew? Yeah, but would Mewtwo, a laboratory attempt at reproducing a Mew born to fight, have been as concise of a character without Mew's existence being interconnected with his emotional turmoil and existential crisis? Could Mewtwo and Mew have confronted each other without physically duking it out? Yeah, sure. But I much rather have the meaning and emotional conflict that was present within the climax, leading to a meaningful conclusion, as opposed to say, Mew taking Mewtwo up to outer space, showing Mewtwo the sunset as they hold hands and kiss. Okay, that was an excuse to dish out a low-blow towards the 16th movie. Jokes aside, it's not like Mew and Mewtwo's battle was an inconsequential part of the film that could be taken out of the original movie and replaced with something else. Plot details and the direction of Mewtwo's character would have to be radically changed to conform to a new non-confrontational Mew. Just as the dub had to change anti-villain Mewtwo into a pure supervillain (with a sudden change of heart at the end) to conform to their portrayal of Mew as a superhero, because the superhero wouldn't fight him otherwise.
    Updated 13th February 2014 at 11:39 PM by FANG-TAN

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