20 Fun Facts About Pokemon: The First Movie

01
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Pokemon: The First Movie was the Highest-Grossing Anime Film

Mewtwo and Mew in Pokemon: The First Movie
Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

During its initial theatrical run, Pokemon: The First Movie made US$163,644,662 worldwide, which made it the highest-grossing anime film in the United States at the time and the fourth highest-grossing animated film based on a television show worldwide.

By comparison, its follow-ups, Pokemon: The Movie 2000 earned US$133,949,270 worldwide and Pokemon: The Movie 3 made US$68,411,275. While general interest in seeing Pokemon films in the theater declined with each subsequent release abroad, the films continue to experience massive box office success in Japan with Pokemon movies frequently topping the charts on an annual basis.

Navigation Tip: To view all of the fun Pokemon facts, use the red arrows on the image above or under the description. Did you know a Pokemon trainer actually died in Pokemon: The First Movie? (And I'm not talking about Ash!)

 

02
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A Pokemon Trainer Died in Pokemon: The First Movie

Pokemon Trainer and Fearow in Pokemon: The First Movie
The Doomed Pokemon Trainer and her Fearow in Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

During an early scene, as the Pokemon trainers are leaving for New Island, a female trainer can be seen departing on a Fearow. Tragically, that trainer is never seen again in the film and it is assumed that she and her Pokemon perished in the storm. Even at the end of the movie after all of the characters are returned to the mainland by Mewtwo, she remains missing.

 

03
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Mew and Mewtwo Debuted in Pokemon: The First Movie Except They Didn't

Mewtwo and Mew in the First Pokemon Anime Opening
Mewtwo and Mew in Pokemon Season One. The Pokemon Company

Mew, Alakazam, Donphan, Nidoqueen, Seadra, and Golduck all make their Pokemon anime in-story debut in Pokemon: The First Movie. Due to a hiatus in Japan, the movie is also technically the first time Mewtwo appears in animated form in-story despite him appearing in an episode of the series set before the events of the film that was originally scheduled to air in Japan before the movie came out.

Of course, both Mew and Mewtwo appear in both the original Japanese and English opening credits of the Pokemon anime series, so fans would have seen them as early as the first episode of Season One.

04
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Magical Pokemon Tears Really Make no Sense at All

Squirtle Crying in Pokemon: The First Movie
Squirtle Crying in Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

The legend about Pokemon tears having mystical powers mentioned in Pokemon: The First Movie’s earlier scenes was created for the English version to give some sort of explanation and context for Ash’s resurrection in the finale. In the Japanese version, there is very little information leading up to this epic scene with the magical tears seemingly coming out of nowhere as a deus ex machina to end the film on a dramatic note.

Even though it’s still unclear how the tears work and why doctors all over the world aren’t forcing Pokemon to cry to cure disease and illness, at least having a character mention that she’s heard legends of such a thing prevents it from feeling completely random.

 

05
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Mewtwo's Voice Actor HATED Voice Acting

Mewtwo in Pokemon: The First Movie
Mewtwo in Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

The voice of Mewtwo is credited to Philip Bartlett but the actor’s real name is Jay Goede. In a response to fans on Facebook, Goede revealed that the name he used for his work on Pokemon: The First movie came from his middle name, Philip, and the street he grew up on as a child, Bartlett Blv. He also admitted that the reason for the alias was due to him not wanting to be seen as anything less than a real actor and that, at the time, he didn’t respect voice acting as an art form.

Years later, he has completely changed his view on animation and is grateful for the support the film has received by fans.

06
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The M2M Girls are Still Around

CD Single Cover for M2M's Don't Say You Love Me from Pokemon: The First Movie
M2M, Don't Say You Love Me.

The pop duo who sang Pokemon: The First Movie’s main song, Don’t Say You Love Me, were actually from Norway. Despite splitting up in the early 2000s, both Marion Raven and Marit Larsen continue to have strong solo careers with Raven even voicing Rapunzel in the Norwegian dub of Disney’s Tangled.

07
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Pokemon: The First Movie Needs to be Watched in 5.1 Surround

Mewtwo in Pokemon: The First Movie
Mewtwo in Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

Surround sound was used to emphasis the difference between Mewtwo’s inner dialogue and telepathic communication with other characters in the English version of Pokemon: The First Movie.

When talking to himself, the front two audio channels were used and when speaking to others telepathically, the side audio channels were implemented. This was particularly effective during its original theatrical screening and in home theatre setups with a surround sound system and a copy of the film with 5.1 audio.

08
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A Lot of Pokemon: The First Movie was Reanimated

New Island in Pokemon: The First Movie
CGI Clouds Added to Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

After Pokemon: The First Movie screened in theaters in Japan, between 15 to 20 percent of the film’s visuals were reanimated to make certain shots more dynamic and exciting for viewers. Things such as the storm and the door to Mewtwo’s stadium were replaced with computer generated imagery and a variety of character shots were redone entirely.

These new shots stand out in the film as they’re significantly sharper and of a higher resolution than the majority of other footage used.

This new version of Pokemon: The First Movie was used in all international versions of the film and also in DVD and Blu-ray releases and television broadcasts back in Japan. The Japanese laserdisc is the only release that contains the original theatrical version.

09
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The Japanese Staff Loved the Changes to The First Movie

Pikachu Crying in Pokemon: The First Movie
Pikachu in Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

According to the audio commentary on the original DVD release of Pokemon: The First Movie, around 30 members of the Japanese production staff flew to the United States to watch the film in theatres with American audiences and they were so impressed with the new visuals and original music score composed for the English version that several members were moved to tears during the climactic battle and Ash’s resurrection.

10
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Pokemon: The First Movie has a Doctor Who Connection

Japanese Cover for Billie Piper's Album, Walk of Life
Japanese Cover for Billie Piper's Album, Walk of Life. Virgin Music

While Sci Fi fans may know Billie Piper as the actress who played Rose on Doctor Who, she actually had an establishing singing career before she won the role and sang the song, Makin' My Way, for the Pokemon: The First Movie soundtrack.

Makin' My Way never saw a release on any of Billie Piper’s own albums in the West but a special remix of it was included with Japanese editions of her second album, Walk of Life.

11
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It's Unclear how Many Mews There are in the Pokemon Anime

Pokemon #151 Mew
Mew. The Pokemon Company

A Mew does appear in the eighth Pokemon movie, Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew but it’s unclear if this is the same Mew from Pokemon: The First Movie, or another of the species. The fact that the scientists use a Mew fossil confirms that Mew is not a unique species (one of a kind). There is no denying that Mew are incredibly rare however.

12
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The English Version of The First Movie Fixed a Plot Hole

Psyduck Fighting in Pokemon: The First Movie
Psyduck in Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

It was never explained in the original Japanese version of Pokemon: The First Movie why the Pokemon were fighting without any of their special moves during the final battle, with the assumption being that they chose physical attacks out of pure hatred and anger. The English version fixed the confusing nature of the scene by having Mewtwo state he was psychically blocking all of the Pokemon’s special attacks to make the fight more even.

13
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Pokemon are Named Incorrectly in Pokemon: The First Movie

Scyther Mistaken for Alakazam in Pokemon: The First Movie
Team Rocket in Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

Three Pokemon are called by incorrect names in the English version of Pokemon: The First Movie. Pidgeot was called Pidgeotto, Scyther was referred to as Alakazam, and Sandslash was named Sandshrew. The Scyther mistake was actually caught before the film’s release but left in as something for fans to spot. Interestingly, this mistake was removed from a recent airing of the film on Cartoon Network in the United States but was reinserted when released on the Pokemon TV app and 20th Anniversary DVD and Blu-ray releases.

14
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Which Came First? Arceus or Mew?

Pokemon God Arceus
Arceus. The Pokemon Company

While it has been stated several times that Mew is the original Pokemon and all of the other Pokemon descended from it, this fact seemingly contradicts the belief that the legendary Pokemon, Arceus, is essentially God and created the entire universe. Which came first? Arceus or Mew?

15
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Several Characters Were Voiced by the Same Actor

Doctor Fuji in Pokemon: The First Movie
Dr. Fuji in Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

A variety of actors voice multiple roles in the Pokemon anime series and movies. Brock and James share the same actor as do Misty and Jesse but one multirole voice actor that may surprise fans is Mewtwo’s voice actor Philip Bartlett/Jay Goede who also voiced the role of Mewtwo’s creator, Doctor Fuji.

16
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Ash Didn't Actually Die (Officially)

Pikachu with Petrified Ash in Pokemon: The First Movie
Pikachu and Ash in Pokemon: The First Movie. The Pokemon Company

While it’s commonly thought that Ash was killed by Mew and Mewtwo’s blast and that the Pokemon brought him back to life with their tears, the film’s director, Takeshi Shudo, has stated that Ash was simply petrified and that the Pokemon tears revived him. If a human is petrified though, surely that would kill them.

17
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New Versions of Pokemon: The First Movie Made New Errors

Errors in the New Pokemon: The First Movie End Credits
Pokemon: The First Movie Closing Credits. The Pokemon Company

The recently released remastered version of Pokemon: The First Movie contained retyped ending credits in a much clearer font than the one originally used. Several errors were made during the retyping process however with Addie Blaustein being used instead of Maddie Blaustein, Bolly Crawford instead of Billy Crawford, and Don't Say Your Love Me instead of Don't Say You Love Me being the most glaring mistakes.

18
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Max's new Voice Actor was in Pokemon: The First Movie

Max from the Pokemon Anime
Max from the Pokemon Anime. The Pokemon Anime

The voice actor for the supporting character Miranda, Kayzie Rogers, went on to voice Ash Ketchum in the TV broadcast of the 10th anniversary special, The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon, after the controversial change in the majority of the Pokemon anime’s English voice actors after the eighth season. While her recordings were redone by Sarah Natochenny (who went on to voice the character from Season 9 onwards) for the DVD release, Rogers became the new voice of Max starting with the ninth season.

19
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New Mewtwo's Have Begun to Appear in the Pokemon Anime

New Mewtwo
More Mewtwos Exist in the Pokemon Anime. The Pokemon Company

Speaking of the 10th anniversary special, The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon also featured Mewtwo. The version seen in this film was a digital replica though and not a legitimate Pokemon despite suggestions that it had gained some sense of sentience by the end of the special.

A real Mewtwo was seen in the 16th Pokemon film, Pokemon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened, but this was a completely new Mewtwo created by Team Rocket and also happened to be female!

20
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There was a Direct Sequel to Pokemon: The First Movie

Pokemon: Mewtwo Returns DVD Cover
Pokemon: Mewtwo Returns. The Pokemon Company

While the events in Pokemon: The First Movie are never directly referenced in future Pokemon theatrical films, a direct sequel was released on DVD and VHS called, Pokemon: Mewtwo Returns. This hour-long film sees Ash, Brock, and Misty encounter Mewtwo and the cloned Pokemon during their travels in Johto.