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| Mewtwo Returns
| ミュウツー！ 我ハココニ在リ|
Mewtwo! I Am Here
|| December 30, 2000
| United States
|| December 5, 2001
Mewtwo Returns (Japanese: ミュウツー！我ハココニ在リ Mewtwo! I Am Here) is the first feature-length special of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on December 30, 2000. It was then released on DVD in the US on December 5, 2001.
It is a sequel to Mewtwo Strikes Back.
Mewtwo, his heart having been softened by the selfless example of the human named Ash Ketchum back in his birth land in the eastern Kanto region, has now traveled to the western region of Johto in search of a locale that is unreachable by the prying eyes and harsh judgments of humans for the sake of his band of cloned Pokémon, whose welfare Mewtwo is entirely concerned about. He eventually finds the perfect hideaway: a huge mountain named Mt. Quena, surrounded by steep cliffs that are practically impossible to scale, but in its top is a forest and a freshwater lake that makes for a near-utopia for all the Bug Pokémon living there. This is a perfect fit for Mewtwo's band, so thus they settle in the top of Mt. Quena and begin a new, safe life, with Mewtwo watching over as their guardian, as he feels they cannot belong in the world as they were not born in it (Interestingly enough, he seems particularly close to the Pikachu and Meowth clones, spending most of his private time with them, possibly reflecting how important their templates were in his change of heart).
But Giovanni has never forgotten about Mewtwo's betrayal, and has been concocting a military plan of assault upon wherever Mewtwo has settled to take the Pokémon back for himself. He at last locates Mewtwo in his new mountain retreat and begins his operation to assault and capture Mewtwo and bend his will to Giovanni's. The Team Rocket combat unit heads towards Mt. Quena.
Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu, and Togepi—on their Pokémon journey as always—are passing through the area around Mt. Quena, more specifically Purity Canyon, which is known as Johto's greatest natural wonder. Complications with the weather and the bus service force them to stay though at a cabin at the foot of the mountain, where they meet the Pokémon naturalist Luna Carson, medical researcher Cullen Calix and a spunky girl, Domino from the Pokémon Institute. But there's a break-in and attempted thievery of Pikachu by the classic antics of the Team Rocket trio Jessie, James, and Meowth, and soon a series of turbulent events involving a scuffle on a hot air balloon, leads everyone into the airspace of Mt. Quena.
There everyone sees the approaching Combat Unit, and Domino, revealing herself in league with Team Rocket Organization as elite Agent 009 (or, as she calls herself, The Black Tulip, due to her use of explosive black tulips as weapons), pops their balloon and sends everyone else plummeting onto the mountain while she returns to Giovanni to report on Mewtwo's status. While Ash and the other humans make a canoe to travel to the island at the center of Mt. Quena's lake, Pikachu and Team Rocket end up confronting the clones, Pikachu's clone rallying the other clones to fight back. While Jessie and James are locked away in a cave, Pikachu and Meowth fight alongside the clones as Giovanni's operation to capture Mewtwo begins in earnest, with Ash and his friends and enemies caught up in the core of it. Although Mewtwo manages to free the clones that the initial attack manages to capture in Poké Balls, Giovanni eventually succeeds in capturing Mewtwo. Mewtwo responds that he'd rather die soon than serve Giovanni, but Giovanni then countered with the threat that the other Pokémon clones would be utilized in their experiments and would certainly perish if Mewtwo didn't comply, attacking and injuring Pikachu and his clone to prove his willingness to go through with his threat. With Ash and the Pokémon clones in custody, Giovanni's operation is successful, and he immediately capitalizes by ordering the construction of a new Team Rocket base on the mountain, while Mewtwo is attacked by two machines designed to drain his power and will, leaving him nothing more than Giovanni's puppet.
The characters and all other cloned Pokémon that attempted to protect Mewtwo are then locked away in a prison cell—during which Ash is reunited with Pikachu—along with the cloned Rhyhorn and Nidoqueen, who were attempting to protect their offspring. However, Giovanni's greed for new Team Rocket bases becomes his worst mistake; without warning, a swarm of furious Bug Pokémon (which Meowth realized were coming thanks to the words of the other Pokémon) from the mountain sabotages the Team Rocket base that is polluting the freshwater lake, and the ensuing chaos allows Ash and everyone with him to escape and scatter.
Ash rushes over to Mewtwo, believing that this is the first time he's seen Mewtwo, and he, Brock, and the Pikachu try to free Mewtwo from the machines that are suppressing his mind and body, partly as thanks for Mewtwo protecting Pikachu earlier. However, Mewtwo is weak from using what was left of his power and strength to destroy the machines that held him, putting his life force in jeopardy, but Ash carries Mewtwo away from Giovanni's battle while Brock, Misty and the other clones, along with the Bug-type Pokémon keep Team Rocket occupied.
As Ash, Bulbasaur and Chikorita help Mewtwo towards safety, Mewtwo asks Ash why he's helping him, to which Ash replies that, while Mewtwo protecting Pikachu is one possible explanation, you don't need a reason to help someone in trouble. Mewtwo reflects that Ash may be one-of-a-kind, but Ash says that everyone is. As they reach the heart of the mountain, despite protests that Mewtwo's presence may contaminate the spring, Ash throws Mewtwo into a healing spring that restores his power, prompting Mewtwo to finally accept that he is a real Pokémon, as the water affects him just as it affected others. Restored to full power, the Pokémon clone rises and uses all his psychic powers to move the lake and the spring underground.
Although Mewtwo initially contemplates erasing the memories of everyone involved, Ash, Meowth, and their friends object, Meowth pointing out that the Pokémon clones need to remember their past if they're to have any kind of future, Ash assures Mewtwo that he would keep the sanctuary's existence secret at any rate, and Brock points out that erasing memories doesn't change the fact that the events happened. Acknowledging their wisdom, Mewtwo only uses his mind-erasing powers to make Giovanni and the rest of the Team Rocket operatives, along with Luna and Cullen (whose well-meaning desire to research the spring may put it in jeopardy), forget about Mewtwo and the clones, subsequently departs on his own as all the cloned Pokémon leave to lead life as natural Pokémon in the wild, sending Ash and co. in a Pikachu balloon and Jessie, James and Meowth in their normal balloon. As Ash, Misty and Brock were walking through a city, Ash hears Mewtwo's voice, but is uncertain whether it was real or just a memory. The Narrator concludes the movie with the rumors of a Pokémon who traversed the city at night.
- Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu, Jessie, James, and Meowth meet Mewtwo again after the events of Mewtwo Strikes Back, and this time are allowed to remember the encounter (although it is never revealed whether or not they now remember their original meeting with it), while Giovanni and his soldiers all their memories of Mewtwo wiped.
- Ash, Misty, Brock, and Pikachu meet Giovanni for the first time. Ash does not battle him, though Misty and Brock assist the cloned Pokémon in fighting him off-screen while Ash takes Mewtwo to the spring.
Baby Nidoqueen and Rhyhorn
- This special premiered in Japan between the episodes The Grass Route and The Apple Corp!
- Before blasting off the first time by typhoon, Team Rocket said "How many times must our plans be destroyed, before they’re allowed to be tried? The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind!" which is a reference to the Bob Dylan's song "Blowin' in the Wind".
- This special has never been aired in Britain, even though a dub exists, and it's been released on VHS there.
- This was the first time that any part of the anime franchise, other than openings, used digital coloring.
- Meowth's clone was never dubbed, saying its Japanese name of Nyarth. It is unknown why this happened.
- The cloned Meowth also says its Japanese name in Mewtwo Strikes Back, so it is possible this was done for consistency.
- During the conversation between Ash's Pikachu, Pikachutwo, and Mewtwo (immediately following Pikachu's arrival on the island), James comments "This is like the sequel to a movie I missed." Breaking the fourth wall, this comment is essentially true, since James does not recall the events of Mewtwo Strikes Back.
- Music from Mewtwo Strikes Back is used.
- The cloned Nidoqueen and Rhyhorn are shown to have mated and produced offspring; however, while in the games, not only is Nidoqueen unable to produce Eggs, but if she could, the babies would all be the earliest member of the female evolutionary line. However, this may relate to their nature as clones, although the fact Ash and co. didn't question their existence (or know about the clones yet) would suggest it was simply an error or that the anime has different rules than the games.
- At the end, Mewtwo overlooks a city that bears similarities to New York City (buildings that look similar to the Empire State Building and MetLife Building can also be seen).
- It may be suggested that Mewtwo let Ash know they had a previous encounter as Ash said "This time we'll both be able to remember." However, this is dub-added only.
- When the clones are captured by Team Rocket's Poké Balls, they are shown being captured as white energy instead of red energy which is shown in all other cases - again, this could be attributed to their nature as clones. It could also just be the nature of the balls themselves.
- Team Rocket's Poké Balls vanish upon releasing the captured clones - although this may have been meant to signify their destruction by Mewtwo.
- When Domino tosses out electric net-like lines, they electrocute both Clone Rhyhorn and Nidoqueen. However, if clones keep the same typings as their originals, this should not harm either of the two. This may be due with the anime not having the same rules as the games (i.e. Pikachu electrocuting Rhydon by aiming at his horn), the clones not having types at all or Team Rocket overseeing this and using advanced technology for this situation.
- When being swarmed by angry Bug Pokémon, Giovanni orders to have them all killed in the Japanese version. This may have been removed from the dub because Team Rocket is portrayed mostly as thieves in America, rather than actual cold-hearted villains.
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