Voice ActorsAna from Passa Aí O Micro created an excellent multi-language reel for comparing Mewtwo's voice actors in Mewtwo Strikes Back (and, in the process, identifying many of the voice actors, as well as finding fun trivia on other characters the actors have voiced). It was so interesting, I realized I needed to make a whole page on Mew and Mewtwo's voice actors (plus I needed a good place to share and expand on everything Ana sent me)!
Mewtwo's Voice Actors
JapaneseThe original, original voice for Mewtwo was from actor Masachika Ichimura, who voiced him in both Mewtwo Strikes Back and Mewtwo Returns. The Japanese version of Mewtwo Strikes Back has a cool echo effect on Mewtwo's psychic "voice" that is not present in dubs.
Ichimura, fittingly enough, has also acted the role of Erik in the 1986 Japanese production of the musical The Phantom of the Opera. I wonder if this had any impact on design of Mewtwo's castle and the events of Mewtwo Strikes Back. Ichimura's dubbing work includes the voice of Jack Skellington for the Japanese version of Nightmare Before Christmas and his appearances in the Kingdom Hearts series. He also voiced Red XIII from Final Fantasy VII, another fantasy creature with a number in his name ...I am detecting a bit of a trend to all of these roles.
The voice actor for young Mewtwo in the Birth of Mewtwo CD Drama is Fujiko Takimoto. Another youngster she's provided the voice for is that of Young Link from the The Legend of Zelda games.
Young Mewtwo's voice in the animated Mewtwo's Origin was performed by Showtaro Morikubo. Among his other roles, he's also played the Japanese voice of Jak from Jak and Daxter. Young Mewtwo seems to have an odd association with pointy-eared protagonists in Japan, eh?
EnglishThe English dub voice for Mewtwo in Mewtwo Strikes Back was the version I grew up with and consider quintessentially Mewtwo's voice (even though I later heard the Japanese version, and it totally puts the English to shame, sorry). This role was credited to Philip Bartlett, who is also said to have voiced Mewtwo in Pokémon Puzzle League (the Pokémon-anime-rebranded localization of Panel de Pon) although the voice might have just been reconstructed from recycled voice clips.
Then, mystery of mysteries, the voice actor for Mewtwo for Mewtwo Returns was switched to Dan Green, a prolific voice actor who has dubbed many 4Kids roles, including Yugi and Yami-Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh!. Despite how often Dan Green performs roles with such booming, deep, dramatic voices, he claims he does not actually sound like that while going about his day or doing his laundry (I am not sure, however, if I believe him).
Although Dan Green did a fine job acting as Mewtwo, this raises the question: what happened to Philip Bartlett? The usual explanation was that he had died, leaving a void in the voice cast that 4Kids needed to fill. At the time when I first wrote the English section of this page, Wikipedia even reported that Philip Bartlett had died precisely on August 9, 2001 at 1:15 AM on an operating table somewhere in Cleveland, Ohio, as surgeons futilely tried to repair the damaged aorta of his ripped heart. I bowed my head, and, after a moment of silence, I managed to carry on, at the time not in the right emotional state to note how there was no citation referenced for this oddly specific yet simultaneously vague explanation...
Other, more observant fans, however, realized something was fishy. Some even sought Bartlett's grave (perhaps to pay their respects to the first English voice of Mewtwo), but somehow could find no record of his final resting place. It was as if Philip Bartlett's body had disappeared.
The last lead the Bartlett Sleuths had was a mysterious Jay Goede... At the height of Pokémon's popularity, a questionably-semi-canon fanfiction was performed for unfortunate audiences across the United States as a live-action musical stage show: Pokémon Live!. I'll be writing a page about this later (so you might want to start preemptively canceling your internet subscription), but it suffices to say for now, Mewtwo appears, and his voice was credited to Jay Goede. How does he fit into the puzzle of all the English Mewtwo voice actors? Does he know anything about Bartlett's unfortunate death?
It turns out, just a few days after I moved on from initially researching the English section here, one brave Bartlett sleuth, rosebr10, took on the risk to contact Goede personally, taking necessary precautions in case such correspondence would put either of them in danger.
And on All-Hallow's Eve, thirteen years after his supposed death, Philip Bartlett returned from the grave.
Through several rapid-fire and somewhat fragmented Facebook messages, as if on the move to shake any would-be assassins, Goede slowly revealed pieces of the truth. Bartlett's body was never found... because Philip Bartlett never actually existed! Philip Bartlett was none other than the secret identity of Jay Philip Goede! (dun dun DUN!)
Goede was able to hastily confirm that, under the alias of Philip Bartlett, he performed in Mewtwo Strikes Back both as Mewtwo and also as the Pokémon's creator, Dr. Fuji, understandably a surreal experience. Later, Goede's trust was betrayed when his real name was mistakenly (or was it intentionally?) used in the program of Pokémon Live!, thereby providing the only clue to the actual man behind the first English voice of Mewtwo.
The reason for his replacement, Goede speculates, was that he had a bit of an unbearable ego, and, at the time, he did not realize nor respect how serious (deadly serious) voice acting for Pokémon would be. He put more importance on his role as a theater actor; his stage roles include playing the Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Perhaps his attitude was what drove 4Kids to do away with him. The Philip Bartlett with the torn aorta was either an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, or else an outright fiction.
As if hunting down the English voice actor for adult Mewtwo wasn't complicated enough, there is also the issue of the voice of young Mewtwo from the dubbed version of the uncut Mewtwo's Origin. This is an extra complicated matter, as this chapter was originally edited out of US release of Mewtwo Strikes Back, so I wonder how well these roles were credited in the final version. Bulbapedia says the English voice actor for young Mewtwo is Maddie Blaustein, who most famously voiced Meowth. However, according to the Pokémon Wikia, the voice actor for young Mewtwo was Eric Stuart, who most famously voiced James and Brock. I don't know where either wiki is getting their information from; I see no citations, and the credits from the DVD I have just lump all the dubbers in one list without explaining any of their roles. I suspect rival wiki-editors are merely guessing who they personally think the voice most sounds like. Considering how rife with intrigue these matters are, I will refrain from speaking definitely on the matter, and leave it to the wikis to battle this one out, meep!
DutchI have since found that the Dutch voice actor for Mewtwo is named Victor van Swaaij (or van Swaay), and, man, he sounds scary! He also voiced Lawrence III from the Second Movie and Entei from Pokémon 3. I guess he is the go-to guy for important male voices in Dutch Pokémon movies.
FrenchBelgian theater actor Jean-Marc Delhausse has the benefit of performing this role in French (which is a language that just about always sounds cool to me), but his version of Mewtwo's voice is so excellently creepy. He provided the voice of Mewtwo in Mewtwo Strikes Back and reprises the role in Mewtwo Returns. He later also dubbed the French voice of Giovanni in Seasons 7 - 13, which is quite an odd turn of events, given the relationship between the mob boss and the clone.
GermanThe German versions of Mewtwo Strikes Back and Mewtwo Returns has Mewtwo voiced by Frank Muth. Despite speaking German (which is a language that just about always sounds creepy to me), his version of Mewtwo's voice somehow doesn't sound nearly as scary to me as it did in some of the other languages.
GreekAgain, we don't know who the Greek voice actor for Mewtwo is, but Ana wonders why he is speaking so breathily when this is supposed to be telepathy. Hm, good point!
HebrewThe Hebrew version's voice actor is currently unknown to me; he makes Mewtwo sound like he is gloating the whole time, which is indeed fitting.
ItalianMewtwo's voice actor in Italian is Mario Zucca. Zucca also happened to dub the voices of Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants and Dinobot from Transformers: Beast Wars, and I find this fact pretty amusing.
PortugueseLike me with Philip Bartlett's performance, Ana has a soft spot for the Portuguese version, voice acted by Carlos Freixo. She says, "compared to the others, it lacks some weight, but the performance is top-notch." She also reveals that the Portuguese version, unlike the others, added weird effects to Mewtwo's voice, perhaps to try to replicate the original telepathy effects used in theaters. However, the attempt mostly just resulted in the home video versions being almost or completely inaudible at some points. Dang.
Frexio is a Portuguese actor who has dubbed many roles including Warner Brothers' Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd, Disney's Goofy, and Simba from the Lion King. He also voiced another monster created to be a fighting machine: Stitch from Lilo & Stitch.
The Brazilian Portuguese version of Mewtwo was performed by Guilherme Briggs, but Ana was unable to put an example of that version in the reel. Briggs's many dubbing roles include Superman, Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, Warner Brothers' Marvin the Martian and Pepe Le Pew, Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, and about half the cast of The Simpsons.
SpanishThe Spanish version of Mewtwo was voice acted by Luis Bajo. Can I say it is really odd to hear Mewtwo psychically speaking with the Castillian lisp?
The Latin American Spanish voice of Mewtwo was done by Enrique Mederos, but Ana was unable to put an example of that version in the reel. Mederos has also voiced Hans Solo from Star Wars and James Bond.
FinnishAna was unable to put the Finnish versions in the reel, but Mewtwo was dubbed in Finnish by Jussi Lampi for Mewtwo Strikes Back. Lampi also dubbed the voice of Sulley in Monsters Inc. and Bruce the shark in Finding Nemo.
Lampi did not reprise the role and instead Pasi Ruohonen performed Mewtwo for the Finnish Mewtwo Returns. Ruohonen also voices other characters in the Pokémon anime, including Professor Oak and his grandson Gary Oak, Ghetsis, and Butch.
PolishMewtwo's voice in Polish was performed by Marek Obertyn. Ana was unable to put an example of that version in the reel, but I've since found the same clip here. His performance is more like he is talking to himself, rather than a dramatic monologue like some of the other versions. Obertyn also dubbed the voice of Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies.
DanishThe Danish voice actor for Mewtwo was Søren Spanning, a former member of the Royal Danish Theater. Ana was unable to put an example of that version in the reel. His other work includes dubbing Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies, mwhahaha.
TurkishThanks to Ali Rıza for sending me information about the Turkish voice actor of Mewtwo! His name is Ayhan Kahya, and he is not only a voice actor, but also a voice director. His roles besides Mewtwo include Optimus Prime from Transformers, Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War and Morpheus from The Matrix. You can compare his performance of voicing Mewtwo here. I think he sounds really intimidating, meep.
Mew's Voice ActorsThe section on Mew's voice actors is going to be a bit shorter than Mewtwo's, hah! The Japanese voice for Mew in Mewtwo Strikes Back was performed by Kouichi Yamadera, and, when dubbing the movie to all the other languages, Mew's lines were left in their original Japanese (because why change it if it already says "Mew!"). Here's an example reel. Yamadera was also the voice actor of Mew in the Birth of Mewtwo CD Drama and for Mew's appearances in the Super Smash Brothers games.
As for his other work, Yamadera has had a few billion roles, as an anime voice actor and also as a Japanese dubber. These include voice acting Ryoji Kaji from Neon Genesis Evangelion and providing the current voice for Inspector Zenigata from Lupin III. In Pokémon, he does the voice of Farfetch'd, and he also has the honor of playing a part in every Pokémon movie to date:
- Mew in The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back
- Lugia in Pokémon 2000
- The butler in Pokémon 3
- Hunter in Pokémon 4Ever
- Rosshi in Pokémon Heroes
- Butler the Magician in Jirachi Wishmaker
- Professor Lund in Destiny Deoxys
- Sir Aaron in Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
- Jack "Jackie" Walker in Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea
- Baron Alberto in The Rise of Darkrai
- Mugen Graceland in Giratina and the Sky Warrior
- Gishin in Arceus and the Jewel of Life
- Kodai's bodyguard Goone in Zoroark: Master of Illusions
- Cobalion in Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice
- Red Genesect in Genesect and the Legend Awakened (oddly enough)
However, for Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, Mew's voice actor was switched to Satomi Kourogi (and the new voice grates on my ears). But it's not like Yamadera had died or anything; in that massive list of diverse Pokémon roles, you can see that he was even working on the same movie and provided the voice of Sir Aaron! What happened? Did he lose the ability to sound like Mew? Did some higher-up think Mew needed a new, super-annoying voice?
I've seen fans theorizing, on the question on whether this Mew is the same Mew that appeared in Mewtwo Strikes Back, that there seems to have been the explicit choice to use a different voice actor for Mew, and this could have been done with the intention of making it clearer to the audience they are indeed different individual Mews. This might have been the reason. However, I argue that the changing voice is an ineffective means of getting this point across: characters change voice actors often and for many reasons (the dub voice of James has changed at least three times now, but the audience is able to accept that it is still the same character without questioning if there have been three individual Jameses) and not changing the voice actor does not necessarily mean they would have to be the same individual (multiple Mews might just sound the same). So, if this was the logic behind changing the voice actor, I don't think it was a good enough reason to grate my ears. Arrgh!
In seriousness, I mean no offense to Kourogi. It is mostly that I really loved Yamadera's rendition of Mew, and Kourogi's voice acting is so different. However, Kourogi also does the voice of Togepi, and I'd say that voice acting is similarly perfect: I would react just as badly if Togepi's voice actor were to change.