Myuutsuu is the Japanese counterpart of Mewtwo. As you would expect, being the same character, they are very similar. However, there are a few cultural differences.
This page will discuss the differences that occurred when the same story was translated, dubbed, or adapted into a different language (primarily focusing on English, since it is the version I am most familiar with. Plus, other languages mostly used the English version as the source, rather than the original Japanese). I will differentiate between the Japanese characters and the dub counterparts by using the Japanese and the English names, respectively.
- Myuutsuu is said to be more of a philosopher than Mewtwo, although they both are pretty big on thinking.
- Myuutsuu curses. At least according to the translation of the Birth of Mewtwo that I have, Myuustuu says, "Damn, take this armor off!" The dubbers would never let Mewtwo curse, as the Pokémon dub is geared for a young audience.
- All talk of God was removed from the dubbed versions, in order to remain politically correct.
- Throughout the Mewtwo Saga, the Japanese version avoids using the word "clone" because of the stigma it has. Instead they say "copy," "replica," "fake," etc. The English version comes out and states that Mewtwo and the others are clones.
- Even though they never say it, Dr. Fuji's name in the dub apparently becomes Professor Smith. I think this was a cheap cop out. Smith is the last name you give someone when you don't feel like thinking of a creative name. Would it really have mattered if they left his name Fuji? I don't think his name is ever even mentioned in the dub anyway.
Mewtwo Strikes Back
- In the Japanese version, Myuutsuu is shown as a complex and tragic character. He does not want to destroy the world for kicks. He wants to discover what his purpose in life truly is. He is a clone, and therefore not considered "real." Myuutsuu feels he does not belong on Earth because humans, and not God, created him. He lashes out against mankind just for the fact that they created him, not to mention that they treated him as a object to be experimented on and used him for their own gain. The dubbers decided that Mewtwo being all deep like that would not do for a kids' movie. There needed to be a clear-cut villian that would not confuse the kiddies by making them feel sympathetic. So Mewtwo was made as flat of a character as possible, and this makes him seem like he is just evil.
- In the dub, the woman at the pier, Miranda, talks about the legend of a terrible storm called the "Winds of Water" that nearly wiped out all life, but the few surviving Pokémon cried for those who died and brought them back to life. She's canceled the ferry because "the prophets" predict the storm's return. All of this is really corny. In the Japanese version, the woman, Boijer, has lived on the pier so long that she knows a bad storm when she sees one, and therefore will not endanger anyone's life. The whole legend thing was added to explain how the Pokémon's tears save Ash's life at the end of the movie. If the dubbers had not cut out the Birth of Mewtwo, Amber would tell us that a Pokémon's tears are full of life and thus save us from all the prophet mumbo-jumbo...
- There weren't any hypocritical anti-war messages in the Japanese version like there were in the dub. Nurse Joy, Brock, Misty and the other spectators of the epic battle actually had lines that originally were not infused with The Moral of the Day. Instead of crying just because the Pokémon were fighting, they cried that the Pokémon would fight to the death to defend their territory. That does gets across the message that the battle was pointless and would lead to senseless loss of life, and implies that the Pokémon should find a way to accept each other, but it doesn't come out so preachy and it's a much more meaningful message than the hypocritical, "fighting is bad."
- In the Japanese version, Myuu was the one who proposed having a battle without special abilities. Myuu felt that the originals would eventually win out using brute strength alone, because the clones were just inferior copies. Although I think I prefer the peace-loving dubbed version of Mew, this in the Japanese version helps show how widespread the problem is of the clones being seen as inferior merely because they are clones.
- A lot of people, when comparing the English and Japanese versions of the movie, point and scream when we reach the clone fighting sequence and hear the song "Brother, My Brother." I think the song actually fits, talking about how the clones and originals really are the same, like brothers, and should find a way to get beyond their differences besides fighting to the death. Plus, the peacefulness of the song really contrasts with the fierce images on the screen. However, I have also heard the Japanese music for this scene, and it is extremely effective. It sort of takes the gym battle music from the TV show, jazzes it up, and adds to it, giving a whole feeling of an epic battle and general badness. Then, whenever it switches to slow motion, the music goes real soft, and you get that sort of angelic "awwwwwaaaaahhh" singing, which makes the whole situation sound very, very sad. Then, once Ash sacrifices himself and "dies," all background music stops, highening the drama of the event, to make you feel that something crucial is missing, that everything, even the final battle between two arch-nemesises, now must stop. Listening to such beautiful and moving music, I can see why people would think that the pop song cheapens it.
- Some major differences are listed here, but just about every line in the movie was changed in some way. I suggest you read through the side-by-side comparison of the English and Japanese scripts.
The Birth of Mewtwo
The only version of The Birth of Mewtwo that was released outside of Japan was the animated addition to the beginning of Mewtwo Strikes Back; the manga tie in and the CD Drama remained Japanese exclusive. These origin stories contrast strongly with each other, and while this is moreso a matter of different canons than different cultures, if you stick strictly to media released in English, Mewtwo can only draw from this one backstory, whereas Myuutsuu can draw from three. This necessarily makes Mewtwo's character a bit shallower, as fewer aspects of the character could be explored in just the one version of the story, but when talking about Myuutsuu, aspects of all three versions can come into play. Another limitation for Mewtwo comes from the fact that the animated version of The Birth of Mewtwo, while by no means weak, is the most kid-friendly of the different versions of the story. Darker aspects of death, cloning, and obsession, strongly present in the other stories, were not so deeply explored in the animated version.
Japanese vs. English Birth of Mewtwo Animation
- Young Myuutsuu's voice in The Birth of Mewtwo CD Drama sounds much younger than that of Young Mewtwo in the dubbed animated special. I would say, at the oldest, Young Myuutsuu in the Drama sounds like a three-year-old, while Young Mewtwo in the dubbed special sounds like an eight-year-old.
- The only blatant evidence of poor dubbing is Mewtwo and Giovanni saying "leave this world" instead of just "die." I'm not sure what was said on the Japanese version though, so it might not actually be wrong. It sure sounds awkward though.
- Because Mewtwo Returns originally aired in Japan as a two-part episode, it originally had commercial and episode breaks. The dubbed version was edited to make it into one feature. This apparently cut out some of the annoying narrator, so those changes would be a definite plus.
Got anything I missed? Send it to me.