Was it an original 150 Pokémon, or was it 151?
That all depends on whether you count the hidden trick of unlocking Mew in the original Pokémon Yellow, Red and Blue games as legitimate.
The problem for Mew, in being seen as past of the original collectibles, was that the ‘hack’ to capture a level 7 Mew was that not well known – it always felt like one of the many urban playground myths that were floated around.
Pokémon: The First Movie was pitted as Mewtwo versus Mew, however, upon it’s release in July 1998, Pokémon Red and Blue had been out five months, and with a only few having heard/seen of the hidden Mew, the affiliation wasn’t there for this small, pink, psychic-type, mythical Pokémon.
And there in lies the problem in determining whether it was an original 150 or 151.
That’s not to say Mewtwo, viewed as an original, is as adored like the other 149 – with its very own Pokédex entry hardly reading as something particularly friendly:
“created by a scientist after years of horrific gene splicing and DNA engineering experiments.”
Built up as this almighty, yet troublesome Pokémon, the desire to capture the 6 feet 7 inches clone of Mew is, of course, desirable – after all, if you’re going to be the very best like no one ever was, then you’ll need – and want – the strongest of the strong.
However, with Mewtwo’s unsettling ability to speak, its far from cute appearance – Mew will always win the cutest Pokémon award – the connection with the Pokémon audience has never quite taken off as GameFreak had intended.
Although the desire to own a Mewtwo keyring or cuddly toy may not be there, there’s no denying that Mewtwo’s presence, almost 20 years on from its debut, is still felt within Pokémon gamers – whilst Mew, despite promo movie cards, just like Mewtwo, has been somewhat left behind and overshadowed by the very Pokémon Mew created.
Twitter wasn’t even around when Pokémon first touched our hearts, but that hasn’t stopped Mewtwo remaining culturally relevant on the social media platform, whilst Mew is fading into insignificance.