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POTW Pokemon of the Week #34: Mewtwo

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In the World of Pokémon, there lives a vast number and variety of amazing creatures to befriend and collect. Every week, we will be focusing on a single one of these Pokémon or evolutionary line and talking about what makes it special. This week, in honor of his birthday on February 6th, it's Mewtwo!


Mewtwo, the Legendary Pokémon and genetic recombination of Mew, was the very first Pokémon that children in the United States were ever introduced to, being the first Pokémon shown in the Indigo League opener. But this Pokémon's origins remain shrouded in mystery even 20 years later.

Depending on whether you read the manga, watch the anime, or play the games, Mewtwo has a different, though similar, origin story in all three continuities.
In the anime, Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, was desperate to find the Legendary Pokémon, Mew. He dispatched one of his top agents to South America to track down the rare Pokémon, but she was lost.
Eventually, though Mew was never located, a Mew fossil was found, and the DNA material was extracted and modified. Bankrolled by Giovanni, a series of genetic experiments, lead by Dr. Fuji, were conducted and, ultimately, resulted in Mewtwo's creation.

In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Mewtwo has a similar origin story. Instead of Dr. Fuji, however, Team Rocket scientist Blaine is responsible for Mewtwo's creation. Not being able to extract enough genetic material from the sample, Blaine added in his own DNA to compensate, making Mewtwo part Pokémon and part human.

In the core series games, by reading the diary entries scattered in the Pokémon Mansion on Cinnebar Island, you can read about how an expedition to Guyana discovered a new Pokémon, christened Mew, and brought it back for studying. On February 6th, that Mew gave birth, and the newborn Pokémon was named Mewtwo. Oddly, the scientific logs do not mention any form of tampering with Mew's embryo or any form of genetic modification whatsoever. To find any evidence of genetic tampering, one must check Mewtwo's PokeDex entries. Also absent from this origin story is Giovanni, as it seems like the discovery of Mew and the creation of Mewtwo were merely accidental in this version.

Whether it was due to the agony from being constantly experimented on and having his genes manipulated, or if it was merely an oversight or byproduct of his creation, Mewtwo is said to have the most brutal heart of any Pokémon. Indeed, the purpose for Mewtwo's creation, at least in the anime and manga, was to be the ultimate unstoppable Pokémon. So how does it perform in battle?

There has never been, and likely never will be, a Pokémon quite as powerful as Mewtwo was in its debut in Red, Blue, and Yellow. At the time, the Special stat took the place of what would later be divided into Special Attack and Special Defense. A single Amnesia not only boosted Mewtwo's resistance to special moves, as it would in later Generations, but also boosted its already significant offensive special stat as well. Additionally, Psychic Pokémon had only one weakness in Gen I, Bug type, and Bug's only offensive moves were laughably weak. Psychic also boasted an immunity to Ghost and was only resisted by other Psychic types.

Since then, Mewtwo has been significantly nerfed, but continues to remain a force to be reckoned with in Smogon's Uber tier.
Gen V at last gave Mewtwo a signature move, Psystrike, a 100BP special attack that deals physical damage. In Gen VI, Mewtwo received two Mega Evolutions, making it one of only two Pokémon to receive multiple Mega Evolutions.
Mega Mewtwo X is Psychic/Fighting, and gains significant physical offensive capabilities, while boosting both of Mewtwo's defensive stats.
Mega Mewtwo Y trades some physical defense for special defense, and has gains in all offensive stats.

Lastly, I would be absolutely remiss if I didn't remark on Mewtwo's appearances in the Pokémon movies. He served as the main antagonist in the very first Pokémon movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, creating an army of cloned Pokémon as a means of getting revenge on humans. The same Mewtwo appears in a feature special, Mewtwo Returns, where he is acting as the protector of the cloned Pokémon he created in the first movie.
Interestingly enough, the next major appearance of a Mewtwo in a feature film or special episode was in Mewtwo - Prologue to Awakening and Genesect and the Legend Awakened, although this was a different Mewtwo.

Here are some questions to consider to get conversation rolling. You don't have to answer all of them or any of them in your post as long as you're staying on topic and within global forum rules.
-Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
-How is this Pokémon in-game?
-How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
-Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
-How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
-If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
-Why do you think that Mewtwo is Pokémon #150, while Mew, the Pokémon from which Mewtwo was genetically modified, is Pokémon #151?
-Which of Mewtwo's origin stories do you like the best?
-What are some of your favorite theories regarding Mewtwo?

If you have any suggestions for Pokémon you'd like to discuss in the future just leave your ideas at the bottom of your post. Make sure you give your thoughts about the current Pokémon first!

Thanks to @Rick for suggesting this Pokémon of the Week!

Previous Pokémon of the Week:
Pokémon of the Week #1: Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, & Venusaur
Pokémon of the Week #2: Scraggy & Scrafty
Pokémon of the Week #3: Gulpin & Swalot
Pokémon of the Week #4: Porygon, Porygon2, & Porygon-Z
Pokémon of the Week #5: Emolga
Pokémon of the Week #6: Rufflet & Braviary
Pokémon of the Week #7: Ditto
Pokémon of the Week #8: Wynaut & Wobbuffet
Pokémon of the Week #9: Sneasel & Weavile
Pokémon of the Week #10: Murkrow & Honchkrow
Pokémon of the Week #11: Houndour & Houndoom
Pokémon of the Week #12: Exeggcute & Exeggutor
Pokémon of the Week #13: Gastly, Haunter, & Gengar
Pokemon of the Week #14: Smoochum & Jynx
Pokémon of the Week #15: Beldum, Metang, & Metagross
Pokémon of the Week #16: Bidoof
Pokémon of the Week # 17: Deerling & Sawsbuck
Pokémon of the Week #18: Munchlax & Snorlax
Pokémon of the Week #19: Hoppip, Skiploom, & Jumpluff
Pokémon of the Week #20: Nincada, Ninjask, & Shedinja
Pokémon of the Week #21: Pumpkaboo & Gourgeist
Pokémon of the Week #22: Mudkip, Marshtomp, & Swampert
Pokémon of the Week #23: Froakie, Frogadier, & Greninja
Pokémon of the Week #24: Rattata & Raticate
Pokémon of the Week #25: Mimikyu
Pokémon of the Week #26: Mareep, Flaaffy, & Ampharos
Pokémon of the Week #27: Delibird
Pokémon of the Week #28: Espeon
Pokémon of the Week #29: Rowlet, Dartrix, & Decidueye
Pokémon of the Week #30: Popplio, Brionne, & Primarina
Pokémon of the Week #31: Litten, Torracat, & Incineroar
Pokémon of the Week #32: Woobat and Swoobat
Pokémon of the Week #33: Vulpix & Ninetales
 
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This Pokémon, quite simply, is a monster. Even though it's never going to see its Gen I power again, it still has the distinction of being one of only two Pokémon ever to reach a base stat total of 780, and like the other Pokémon that shares in that glory, Rayquaza, achieving that height of power is done through Mega Evolution.

For competitive purposes, Mewtwo is tricky and unpredictable - what Mega Evolution does it use, if any? Can you take it out on time before it Drain Punches its health back, or will you get pegged by Psystrike's effect of hitting a foe's Defense stat? I'm a big fan of this Pokémon for this field.

As for why it's #150, to be honest I think of this from a technical and developmental perspective - it's likely that it was just done this way to preserve Mew's secrecy, either in haste or even merely because Nintendo was never given knowledge on its existence until later. With all that in mind, though, they have repeated the separation of a related Pokémon from its Mythical bretheren in the Pokédex order a number of times, and even for a few groups of Legendary Pokémon that aren't Mythical - Keldeo, Giratina and Darkrai come to mind in relation to the rest of the Swords of Justice, Dialga and Palkia, and Cresselia, respectively. It's certainly left a legacy...

To be honest, I'm not really that sure what theory I like best for Mewtwo's origin, if mostly because I don't explore them that often outside of the games.

If Mewtwo was a thing in our world... I think a continent or two would be levelled. Just sayin'.
 
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Mewtwo, Mew nonpareil
Genetic Pokémon(Sorry, couldn't help it)

Mewtwo is one of those pokémon that presents quite a challenge for fanfiction, at least. The most famous anime canon doesn't give a lot of wiggle room for dealing with any problems, not least how it managed to find its way into the National Pokédex if Mewtwo was supposed to be a Team Rocket project. The only explanations that occur to me would be that either a) The Pokédex readily accepts pokémon whose existence is in doubt, which I suppose would be consistent with a lot of other pokémon or b) The Mewtwo project was legitimate, but had a secret element to it, perhaps the actual creation of Mewtwo.

It raises some questions about the scientific community of Kanto, anyway. Was anybody concerned about the ethics of modifying a pokémon, not least a pokémon that had only just been discovered? In the game canon, why was its DNA tampered with in the first place? What were the scientists trying to achieve? I suppose it's a standard trope to just assume that creating a super-battle monster is motivation enough, but to my mind that's not good enough an answer. You could point towards men like Harry Harlow as examples of real "mad scientists", though the obvious counter would be that Harlow (For example) did have a stated goal for the worst of his experiments, even if they did nothing to achieve that.

Mind you, given what's implied to have happened to Mewtwo in the game, that would go a long way towards explaining why nobody's ever tried something like that again. My favourite theory, I think, would be the anime, since it's the most complete and (In the Japanese version, at least) gives understandable motivations for all involved.

Oh, and incidentally Striking Back: Memoirs of a Clone is a great Mewtwo-centred story
 
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The most famous anime canon doesn't give a lot of wiggle room for dealing with any problems, not least how it managed to find its way into the National Pokédex if Mewtwo was supposed to be a Team Rocket project. The only explanations that occur to me would be that either a) The Pokédex readily accepts pokémon whose existence is in doubt, which I suppose would be consistent with a lot of other pokémon or b) The Mewtwo project was legitimate, but had a secret element to it, perhaps the actual creation of Mewtwo.
I'd imagine that it's just a byproduct of Red's adventures, where he could register it in his own Pokédex. I think the major implication that's supposed to be in place is that these Pokédexes do not actually acknowledge the existence of a Pokémon until it's seen at least once, at which point some data can be recorded - though obviously, full data can be recorded once it's caught. This is reflected by how most every Pokédex up to this point only goes up to the latest number that was caught, though perhaps there is a bit of contention to even that - I guess at that point I can just chalk up all the other numbers that appear as being the Pokémon that were known to the Pokémon researchers prior to implementing that partial data in the Pokédex.

Following on from the above, I'd assume that the whole thing about it being in a National Pokédex is a byproduct of previous Generations' stories and the implication that they did indeed catch them all, where the Pokédexes with a National function are programmed with the gaps for those Pokémon whose existence was previously known to others prior to you obtaining your own.

To be honest, it's stuff like this that really irks me when I realise that this page exists on Bulbapedia, and even more because it's to do with Sinnoh (a region I actively dislike for a number of reasons): List of Pokémon that do not appear in any regional Pokédex - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia
 
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I'd imagine that it's just a byproduct of Red's adventures, where he could register it in his own Pokédex.
Ought to clarify there, that paragraph you quoted was me discussing the anime canon, not the game canon
 
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-Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
I like it. Interesting story, interesting design, great in battle.
-How is this Pokémon in-game?
It was a beast in Gen 1. It's still good in later gens, especially after Mega Evolution.
-How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
Haven't tried using it in competitive.
-Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
I liked the first movie and Mewtwo Returns. Didn't like the Genesect/Mewtwo movie, though.
-How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
It would interact with the world for a while, then there would be no world left to interact with it -_-
-If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
Better stats and Abilities, a secondary typing for Mega Mewtwo Y.
-Why do you think that Mewtwo is Pokémon #150, while Mew, the Pokémon from which Mewtwo was genetically modified, is Pokémon #151?
Because Mew was added in the game the last moment.
-Which of Mewtwo's origin stories do you like the best?
The original one at the Pokemon Mansion.
-What are some of your favorite theories regarding Mewtwo?
That Team Rocket will someday try to capture it and get a nice legendary-related villain plot.
 
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-Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
Love it. My #3 favorite Kanto Pokémon. I love its design and backstory. Everything. :D
-How is this Pokémon in-game?
I've used one such Mewtwo that I caught in X numerous times, and it's amazing. The one I've got is currently Level 100.
-Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
I loved the Mewtwo that appeared in Genesect and the Legend Awakened. I liked that in the dub, it was portrayed as a female.
-How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
Probably about the same reaction(s) to the humans in the Pokémon world.
-If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
Nah, it's perfect. :p
-Why do you think that Mewtwo is Pokémon #150, while Mew, the Pokémon from which Mewtwo was genetically modified, is Pokémon #151?
Well... I'm not sure, really. I guess it could be that no one knew enough about Mew until after the Kanto Pokédex was created (with Mewtwo as the last), and so an entry wasn't needed until further information was acquired.
-Which of Mewtwo's origin stories do you like the best?
From that movie I mentioned before. :p

How about Deoxys next time?
 
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"Artificial life created from genetic manipulation"
"Imitation of a mystical creature which deemed as the ancestor of all similar kind"
"Most powerful and most vicious"
"Created by the villain whose goal is world domination"

With all the above typical background tropes of a strongest yet the most tragic character within a fictional work, how can I not love Mewtwo?
What I love most about Mewtwo, is the thematic atmosphere depicted by its existence. I don't know how to explain it in full, but just looking at Mewtwo, it give me a kind of anguish sentiment. As a fictional character, Mewtwo is very well-defined due to its solid background.

Because of that, I really dislike the Genesect movie brought in another complete different Mewtwo individual. Not only because it ruined a well-defined unique character that is supposed to be one of a kind, but even from genetic manipulation POV it should be technically impossible to create another power-up creature that looks exactly like the first Mewtwo purely from Mew's DNA. Unless, the new Mewtwo is the exact DNA copy clone of the first Mewtwo. But how is that possible when the M01!Mewtwo won't even reveal itself before any human being?
 
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Mewtwo is one of those Pokemon that holds a nostalgic charm to me, only because of the first movie. I never used it in-game nor have I used it in Uber competitive battles. I would imagine it would be decimate everything in-game considering its stats are off-the-charts amazing. I got my ass handed back to me against a trainer who had an all-Uber team and only had to use Mewtwo to bring my team of non-Ubers and OUs to its knees. Its stats are incredible, and its banned from competitive play for good reason unless it's a special tournament, which people tend to go for something more potent than Mewtwo, anyways.

I, like most other people, prefer the Mewtwo of the first movie and as well as the Japanese version. Being artificially created and searching for a purpose made him more likeable and more human compared to 4kids "take over the world" bit they had going. Very eye-roll inducing stuff. I have not seen the recent movie that had Mega Mewtwo Y so I am not going to comment on that.

As an artificial Pokemon with enormous power, I would be deathly afraid of it. He's pretty much the equivalent of a super weapon of mass destruction with that much power.

I wouldn't change a thing. Maybe the shiny coloring? The green color is meh.

If I remember correctly, Mew was an added feature that was unknown to many at the time of the game's creation. However, the name "Mewtwo" stands out to me because there was obviously a "Mewone" even before Mewtwo was created and named. Maybe when they intended for there to be 190 Pokemon, Mew was created and was going to be numerically before Mewtwo but was dropped officially and added in secret. I don't know. I'm just adding my two cents on what could have happened.

My favorite Mewtwo story? The Japanese first movie. They portrayed him as a more sympathetic character rather than the malevolent "take over the world" character that was portrayed internationally. I wish 4kids didn't dumb it down for that typical slop.
 
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Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
We all had fun with this one when we were kids. Not my fav legendary these days but it's still alright in my books. Just wish it wasn't so overrated
How is this Pokémon in-game?
Not as good as it used to be but it still has its uses. Like being one of the fastest in the uber tier
How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
Assuming the world is still standing and Mewtwo is hiding in a cave somewhere peacefully I think humans will always play a big role in its life. Team rocket and other trainers will never stop chasing it since its so powerful and as strong as it may be it can still be caught. That's why I think an organization of people would be formed to essentially quarantine off the land that Mewtwo resides in so no one can use it for evil or provoke it into a world ending rampage. The last thing we need is giving Mewtwo reason to believe humans are a blight that need to be wiped off the Earth. Also the kind of research that made it will be destroyed and similar practices will be outlawed around the world since one of these is already dangerous enough.
Which of Mewtwo's origin stories do you like the best?
The original one. It leaves enough open for that extra bit of mystery to make it more interesting.
 
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Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?

I like it. It would have been easy to introduce a wave of new Pokémon in the first games without elaborating on them at all - we'd just accept them as a fixture of the world. But the idea of Mewtwo shows that the series had a degree of self-awareness very early on. They took the concept of the Pokémon world's society and its systemic interesting in battling with them, and right away, considered the possibility that somebody might try to use science to fashion a Pokémon more than any other. In a world that revolves around Pokémon, it does indeed figure that you could perhaps become the dominant force by having a Pokémon that can defeat all others. Granted, we don't really know why the scientists in the games created Mewtwo, but it being intended as a weapon is a likely possibility.

The use of science to this end is intriguing to me. Kanto, in the Gen 1 games, seems very interested in the possibilities of advanced technology. Reviving fossils, creating artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and cloning in the case of Mewtwo, and then things like Poké Balls and the PC system. Whereas I think most games since then have been more concerned with mythology and things from the ancient past. SM play around with both, and I did like that. Then again, I also kinda like that it's mostly just a Kanto thing. It makes that region feel somewhat unique among the others, and makes the creation of Mewtwo feel more morally grey. Mewtwo doesn't come from some dignified legends. It's a man-made weapon that arguably shouldn't exist.

I also tend to like Pokémon whose origins are a part of the narrative, although in general I think that's something better kept as a rarity.

Mewtwo's design is also very cool. That second neck/spinal cord is distinctive, and properly strange and science-y.

If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?

I'd probably just give its Mega Stones a reason for existing. I like the look of its Mega Evolutions, but they weren't explained at all. In fact, I was initially expecting Mewtwo to have a role in the plot of XY, and was fairly disappointed when it didn't. I liked the idea of doing something new with it after all this time. Here's hoping some other game comes along and picks up on that...

Why do you think that Mewtwo is Pokémon #150, while Mew, the Pokémon from which Mewtwo was genetically modified, is Pokémon #151?

We also see this with Phione and Manaphy.

Personally, I assume it's just because the Gen 1 Pokédex is being filled by Red, and is (largely) meant to represent the order in which he encounters new (from his perspective) Pokémon.

Which of Mewtwo's origin stories do you like the best?

The one in the games for being more cryptic and less directly villainous. Although I won't disagree that it's easy to picture Mewtwo being the kind of thing that Giovanni would want to create.
 
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I think the anime explanation is the best.

Giovanni wants to take over the world, and what better way to do so than with a very powerful Pokémon.
Also, I don't see how an actual Mew can get caught given it was described as the most powerful Pokémon. Maybe they trapped it and it didn't know Teleport? So Team Rocket discovering a fossilized Mew makes more sense.
Then Mewtwo is mad that it was created to serve Giovanni and disappears.
Favourite Legendary because nostalgia and the movie.
 
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I have never liked Mewtwo's design, personally. Not even from day one. And the longer time goes on, the more I view it like Charizard and Pikachu as another Pokemon that receives undue interest and hype.

I never watched the anime, and I hated how the first movie had Mewtwo running roughshod over everything, only to hit a reset button in the end and nobody else remembers anything.
 
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Before this thread gets replaced by this week's PotW, I figured that I would give my thoughts on Mewtwo.

Mewtwo is one of my favorites, if not my favorite, Legendary Pokemon. I love its original design, I love its origin stories, and I love its appearance in the early movies.
As for which origin story I like best, each of them is intriguing in its own way.
The game origin is far more mysterious and cryptic than the others, which allows the imagination to add in some details.
The anime origin is touching because of the reason Dr. Fuji is researching cloning and genetic engineering in the first place.
The Adventures origin is certainly curious, because it implies that Mewtwo is part human. An intriguing notion.

I'm not particularly partial to either of Mewtwo's Mega Evolution designs, and would have potentially preferred a Mewthree to the Mega Evolutions.
Along a similar note, per one of the comments above, I don't like that the Mewtwo in the Genesect movies is different from the original Mewtwo. The lab where Mewtwo was created was completely burned down, and all of the researchers who worked on the Mewtwo project were killed. The odds of the first Mewtwo letting another human examine its genetic material are not very high, to say the least.
So how would the second set of researchers been able to duplicate the first experiment so thoroughly? Even accounting for the fact that the "Mega Evolution" aspect would, technically, make it a different Pokemon, duplicating the initial form is unlikely, if not downright impossible, without any of the previous material.
 
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mewtwo doesn't do anything for me. I know the point was for its design to be somewhat unsettling, which can definitely work, but I don't find it appealing, it's just ugly to me. It's not the worst legend out there, but it's still bad. Mega x makes it even worse, it's all lumpy and its forehead looks dumb. I don't care for mega y, but it's definitely the least ugly of the three, while still maintaining most of its unsettling appearance.

it has a cool backstory, I'll give it that much
 
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Mewtwo isn't one of my favourite Generation I Pokemon, but I still like it quite a lot. I also like the fact it is the only legendary in said generation with an actual backstory, although considering the fact it was created by humans, it isn't surprising. It also has a good movepool, with an awesome signature move in Psystrike and coverage moves in Aura Sphere, Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Flamethrower, and Shadow Ball. I also find it interesting that it can learn Dive in OR/AS, despite not being able to learn Surf.
Its Mega Evolutions leave much to be desired, though. X is just ugly, Y is a little better, but I still prefer the vanilla Mewtwo. In this sense, it is the exact opposite of Charizard.
 
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