Mewtwo – Mew (#151) – Chikorita
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Created by||Shigeki Morimoto|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by||Kōichi Yamadera (Mewtwo Strikes Back)
Satomi Kōrogi (Lucario and the Mystery of Mew)
Mew (ミュウ Myū ) is one of the fictional species of Pokémon creatures from Nintendo's and Game Freak's multi-billion-dollar Pokémon media franchise—a collection of video games, anime, manga, books, trading cards, and other media created by Satoshi Tajiri. It is considered a legendary Pokémon in the Pokémon video games and anime.
Mew was programmed into Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow by creator Shigeki Morimoto as a secret character. As such, its presence has been surrounded by rumors and myths, which contributed to make the Pokémon franchise a success. Mew cannot be obtained in the games except from glitching in Red, Blue, and Yellow, use of the GameShark or Action Replay, or Nintendo promotional events.
Mew's first film appearance was in Pokémon: The First Movie as a main character alongside Mewtwo. The movie reveals that a fossilized Mew hair, found in the Amazon River by a team of scientists, was used to create Mewtwo, a genetically enhanced Mew clone. Mew later appeared in Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew as a main character alongside Lucario; the backstory of the film revolves around Mew's mysterious history and how it came to be so powerful.
Unlike other characters in the Pokémon franchise, Mew was not initially conceived by Ken Sugimori, but by Game Freak programmer Shigeki Morimoto. Morimoto programmed Mew into the game secretly, as a prank amongst the staff just prior to its release in Japan, intending it to be a Pokémon only Game Freak staff members would know about and be able to obtain. Mew was added at the very end of the development of Pokémon Red and Green after the removal of debug features, freeing up just enough space to add the character despite being told not to alter the game any further at this point. Though not intended by the developers to be obtainable, due a glich players were able to encounter it. In the spring of 1996, Game Freak president Satoshi Tajiri used the Japanese manga journal CoroCoro Comic as an experimental exhibition of Mew and distributed the first cards of it for the card game as free giveaways, which surprised many at Game Freak, including Morimoto. Due to the success of the experiment on April 15, 1996, Game Freak announced a contest to publicly release Mew to 151 winners. Tajiri described using Mew to create hype around an "invisible character" within the game and to keep interest alive in the title and create rumors and myths about the game passed around by word of mouth, which resulted in increased sales for the game.
Like Mewtwo, Mew is a Psychic-type Pokémon with high stats. Morimoto designed it as a pink, feline-esque Pokémon with large eyes and a long, thin tail that broadens at the end. Its skin is covered with a layer of short, fine hair. Its DNA combines the genetic composition of all existing Pokémon species; the game describes it as being the single ancestor of all other Pokémon. It is shy and rarely seen by humans. It is a legendary Pokémon from the first generation, along with Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Mewtwo. Mew's number in the National Pokédex is 151, the last of the first-generation Pokémon, with 150 being Mewtwo and 152 being Chikorita. In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, the player can find journal entries in the Pokémon Mansion on Cinnabar Island stating that Mew was discovered deep in the jungles of Guyana, South America, on July 5 (the year is not specified), and named on July 10, and that it "gave birth" to Mewtwo on February 6. The name mew is an onomatopoeia of a cat's cry, like meow.
In the video games, it is possible for Mew to learn any move that can be taught. Other than Ditto, it is the only Pokémon that can transform into other Pokémon using the "Transform" technique. In the anime, it is capable of flight, teleportation, shapeshifting, summoning giant pink bubbles of psychic energy (which serve various purposes such as closing itself in for protection, acting as a cushion, or simply for Mew's amusement of bouncing on), and rendering itself invisible.
Other than using a GameShark or Action Replay (this may damage the save file it is used on), Mew cannot be obtained within the Pokémon video games except via Nintendo promotional events and a glitch in Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow. The glitch involves exploiting programmed events, such as walking into the view of a trainer, then using a Pokémon's "Fly" or "Teleport" technique to escape the area before the trainer notices the player. This changes some of the number values in the game's memory—similarly to how MissingNo. is found—and starts a battle with a wild Mew. The glitch was discovered in 2003 which is often attributed to a GameFAQs user named "The Sythe"; however, he denied discovery of the glitch himself.
Mew's first major appearance in the Pokémon anime was in Pokémon: The First Movie where it served as one of the main characters. It was believed to be long-extinct and "the legendary and rare 'most powerful Pokémon ever'". After years of research, a scientist uses a recombination of Mew's DNA to create Mewtwo, a genetically enhanced clone of Mew who becomes the film's main antagonist. The backstory of Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew revolves around Mew's mysterious history and how it came to be so powerful. In the movie, a Pokémon "family tree" is shown; the first Pokémon on it is Mew, and the last is Ho-Oh.
Mew appears in the Pokémon Adventures series of Pokémon manga. Mew, also known as the "Phantom Pokémon" in the manga, appears in the first chapter when the criminal organization Team Rocket tries to capture it. Pokémon Trainer Red also tries to capture it, but he is easily defeated by Mew. In following chapters, it is revealed that Team Rocket wants to have Mew's DNA to finish the creation from Mewtwo, and Red and Trainer Green join forces to avoid it being captured.
Mew's presence as a "secret" Pokémon contributed to the success of the franchise. A promotion in the April 1996 issue of CoroCoro Comics called the "Legendary Pokémon Offer" offered the 20 winners the opportunity to send their cartridges in for Nintendo to add Mew to their games. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata attributes the success of the games to this contest. Since then, the weekly sales of Red and Green had began to match its previous monthly sales, and then becoming three to four times larger. At Nintendo promotional events soon after the release of Pokémon Red and Blue, players could have it downloaded to their games. Many fans of the game bought cheat devices only to obtain it. Mew is also one of the Pokémon featured in the 1998 painting on the All Nippon Airways Boeing 747-400. In September 2006, in celebration of the release of Lucario and the Mystery of Mew and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, players with a copy of Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed, or LeafGreen could go to a Toys "R" Us store to download it for free. Included in the DVD of Lucario and the Mystery of Mew was a promotional Mew trading card.
Due to its balanced statistics and ability to learn any move that comes from a Technical or Hidden Machine, Mew is regarded as one of the best Pokémon in Red, Blue, and Yellow. Studies on the impact of fictional characters on children, such as those in Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon, have noted Mew as popular with younger female children who tend to be drawn to "cute" characters; Mewtwo in comparison was described as a polar opposite, popular with older male children who tend to be drawn to "tough or scary" characters. The book Media and the Make-believe Worlds of Children noted a similar comparison, describing Mew as "child-like and gentle, combining characteristics of power and cuteness" and emphasizing the importance of the contrast for children between it and Mewtwo, and its role as a source of appeal for the character.
The revealing and distribution of Mew through organized events has been noted as a major reason for the series' success in Japan, with the Japanese contest receiving over 78,000 entries. However, Computer and Video Games magazine criticized the exclusivity of Mew to Nintendo events as one of the worst aspects of Pokémon, noting that through the use of cheat devices such as the Pro Action Replay to access Mew, they were rendered obsolete.