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Mew (Pokémon)

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Pokémon series character
Pokémon Mew art.png
First appearancePokémon: The First Movie
First gamePokémon Red and Green
Created byShigeki Morimoto
Designed byKen Sugimori
Voiced byKōichi Yamadera (Mewtwo Strikes Back)
Satomi Kōrogi (Lucario and the Mystery of Mew)

Mew (Japanese: ミュウ, Hepburn: Myū) is one of the fictional species of creatures from Nintendo's and Game Freak's Pokémon media franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri. Mew is a small, pink, Psychic-type Mythical Pokémon. It was added to Pokémon Red and Blue by its creator, Game Freak programmer Shigeki Morimoto, as a secret character. As such, its presence has been surrounded by rumors and myths, which contributed to making the Pokémon franchise a success. For years, Mew could not be legitimately obtained in the games except from Pokémon distribution events.

Mew's first film appearance was in Pokémon: The First Movie as a main character alongside Mewtwo. The movie revealed that a fossilized Mew eyelash, found in the Guyana jungle 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. Pokémon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon had a mirage version of Mew appear as a main character in the movie who helped Ash and friends try to defeat the Mirage Master.

Concept and creation[edit]

Unlike the old characters in the Pokémon franchise, Mew's development was not overseen 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.[1] Mew was added at the very end of the development of Pokémon Red and Blue 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 to a glitch, players were able to encounter it.[2]

In the spring of 1996, Game Freak's 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,[3] which surprised many at Game Freak, including Morimoto.[1] Due to the success of the experiment on April 15, 1996, Game Freak announced a contest to publicly release Mew to 151 winners.[4] 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,[5] which resulted in increased sales for the game.[6]

Design and characteristics[edit]

Mew is a Psychic-type Pokémon with high stats.[7] Morimoto designed it as a pale pink feliform creature with large eyes and a long, thin tail that broadens at the end,[8]  though the shiny version is blue  and are rarely distributed. Its skin is covered with a layer of short, fine hair which may only be viewed under a microscope.[9] Its DNA combines the genetic composition of all existing Pokémon species;[10] the game states that scientists within the game view it as being the single ancestor of all other Pokémon.[11] It is shy and rarely seen by humans.[8][10] It is a Mythical Pokémon,[12][13] though it was previously classified in non-Japanese media as a Legendary Pokémon alongside Pokémon such as Articuno,[14] Zapdos,[15] Moltres,[16] and Mewtwo.[17] Mew's number in the National Pokédex is 151, the last of the first-generation Pokémon,[7] with 150 being Mewtwo[18] and 152 being Chikorita. In the first-generation games and their remakes, 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 of an unspecified year,[19] and named on July 10,[20] and that it "gave birth" to Mewtwo on February 6.[21] Both the Japanese name ミュウ, Myū, and its romanized form Mew are based on the English words mutant or mutation, as well as the onomatopoeia “mew”, the sound a kitten makes, referring to its size and cat-like appearance.

In the video games, it is possible for Mew to learn any move that can be taught.[22] In addition to Ditto and Smeargle (through the Sketch technique), it can "transform"[7][8] into other Pokémon. In the anime, it is capable of flight, teleportation, shapeshifting (via the move Transform), rendering itself invisible,[10] and summoning bubbles of psychic energy for protection, amusement, or other purposes.[23]


In the video games[edit]

Mew is mentioned in Pokémon Red and Green in the Cinnabar Mansion, in a journal referencing that Mew is in Guyana.[24] For a time, Mew could only be legitimately obtained in the Pokémon video games via Nintendo promotional event distributions.[7] Mew was first revealed and made available to the public in the April 1996 issue of CoroCoro Comics. This issue offered a promotion called the "Legendary Pokémon Offer", where 20 randomly selected entrants could send their cartridges in for Nintendo to add Mew to their games. At Nintendo promotional events soon after the release of Pokémon Red and Blue, players could have it downloaded to their games.[25] This period ended with the release of My Pokémon Ranch, where Mew was accessible legitimately without an event distribution.[7] Mew also appears as one of the Pokémon that can be released from the Poké Ball item in the Super Smash Bros. series. When sent out, it flies away from the stage, usually dropping rare items as it does so.

The creature has also long been accessible by the use of glitches or cheating devices.[2] One of the glitches discovered in Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow involves exploiting programmed events. Walking into the view of a Trainer, then using a Pokémon's "Fly" or "Teleport" move (or "Dig" or the item "Escape Rope" in caves) to escape the area right before the Trainer notices the player, then battling a Pokémon with the correct Special stat in a different area and immediately returning to the original location starts a battle with a wild Mew.[26]

In the anime[edit]

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'".[12] After years of research, scientists use a recombination of Mew's DNA to create Mewtwo,[17] a genetically enhanced clone of Mew who becomes the film's main antagonist.[12] The backstory of Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew revolves around Mew's mysterious history and how it came to be so powerful.[27] In the movie, a Pokémon "family tree" is shown;[28] the first Pokémon on it is Mew, and the last is Ho-Oh.[27]

In the manga[edit]

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.[29] In following chapters, it is revealed that Team Rocket wants to have Mew's DNA to finish the creation of Mewtwo, and Red and Trainer Green join forces to avoid it being captured.[30][31]

Cultural impact[edit]

Promotion and merchandising[edit]

Players who won Mew through Nintendo contests and events received a certificate with the identification number for their game.

A promotion in the April 1997 issue of CoroCoro Comics called the "Legendary Pokémon Offer" offered the 10 winners the opportunity to send their cartridges in for Nintendo to add Mew or Mewtwo to their games. To promote the Pokémon franchise, Mew is one of the Pokémon featured in the 1998 painting on the All Nippon Airways Boeing 747-400.[32]

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 the creature for free.[33] Included in the DVD of Lucario and the Mystery of Mew was a promotional Mew trading card.[28]

Critical reception[edit]

The revealing and distribution of Mew through organized events has been noted as a major reason for the series' success in Japan,[3][6] with the Japanese "Legendary Pokémon Offer" receiving over 78,000 entries, exceeding their initial expectation of 3000.[4][34] Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata attributed the success of the games to the "Legendary Pokémon Offer"; since then, the weekly sales of Red and Green began to match its previous monthly sales, and then becoming three to four times larger.[2] 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.[35] Many fans of the game bought cheat devices only to obtain it.[8] listed Mew sixth on their list of "The 25 Awesomest Hidden Characters".[36] Authors Tracey West and Katherine Noll called Mew the best Legendary Pokémon and the fifth best Pokémon overall.[37]

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.[38] 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.[39] 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.[40] IGN listed Mew as one of the best Psychic types, alongside Mewtwo, Alakazam, and Starmie. They called it a good contender to Mewtwo, as well as an unpredictable Pokémon due to its ability to use any TM or HMs, items that teach Pokémon attacks.[41]


  1. ^ a b 『ポケットモンスター』スタッフインタビュー (in Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Iwata Asks - Pokémon HeartGold Version & Pokémon SoulSilver Version". Nintendo. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Pokémania: Secrets Behind the International Phenomenon". Columbia Business School. February 7, 2000. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  4. ^ a b ポケモン年 (in Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  5. ^ "The Ultimate Game Freak". Time Asia. November 22, 1999. Archived from the original on May 14, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Chua-Eoan, Howard; Larimer, Tim (November 22, 1999). " - Cover: Digi Mania - Page 2 - 11/22/99". Time Asia. Archived from the original on May 19, 2009. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e "#151 Mew". IGN. Retrieved June 16, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d "Mew Biography". IGN. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ Game Freak. Pokémon Yellow. Pokédex: When viewed through a microscope, this POKéMON's short, fine, delicate hair can be seen.
  10. ^ a b c Game Freak. Pokémon Emerald. Pokédex: A MEW is said to possess the genes of all POKéMON, and that said, it is a jack-of-all-trades of sorts, since it is the only Pokémon that can learn all moves that can be taught by the player, except for those exclusive to particular Pokémon. It is capable of making itself invisible at will, so it entirely avoids notice even if it approaches people.
  11. ^ Game Freak. Pokémon Pearl. Pokédex: Because it can use all kinds of moves, many scientists believe MEW to be the ancestor of Pokémon.
  12. ^ a b c Klein, Andy (December 2, 1999). "Hokeymon". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  13. ^ HAL Laboratory. Super Smash Bros. Melee. Mewtwo trophy: Although Mewtwo was bio-engineerd [sic] from a fossil of the mythical Pokémon Mew, its size and character are far different than its ancestor.
  14. ^ HAL Laboratory. Super Smash Bros. Melee. Articuno trophy: Clouds gather, the barometer plunges, and fresh snow falls from the frigid air when this legendary Pokémon takes wing.
  15. ^ HAL Laboratory. Super Smash Bros. Melee. Zapdos trophy: It's said that you can hear this legendary Pokémon coming, as its wings make a very distinctive popping sound as it flies.
  16. ^ HAL Laboratory. Super Smash Bros. Melee. Moltres trophy: As tradition has it, the onset of spring heralds the return of this legendary Pokémon from its southern home.
  17. ^ a b Sora Ltd. Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Mewtwo trophy: This legendary Pokémon was based on a recombination of Mew's DNA, created by a scientist after years of research.
  18. ^ "#150 Mewtwo". IGN. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  19. ^ Game Freak. Pokémon FireRed. Diary: July 5. Guyana, South America. A new POKéMON was discovered deep in the jungle.
  20. ^ Game Freak. Pokémon FireRed. Diary: July 10. We christened the newly discovered POKéMON, MEW.
  21. ^ Game Freak. Pokémon FireRed. Diary: Feb. 6. MEW gave birth. We named the newborn MEWTWO.
  22. ^ Game Freak. Pokémon FireRed. Pokédex: A POKéMON of South America that was thought to have been extinct. It is very intelligent and learns any move.
  23. ^ Pocket Monsters Mewtwo no Gyakushū (VHS) (in Japanese). Japan: Toho/Nintendo. July 18, 1998.
  24. ^ "Where Is Mewtwo in Pokémon GO? Theory About Location Of Legendary Creatures". 2 August 2016.
  25. ^ DeVries, Jack (November 24, 2008). "IGN: Pokemon Report: OMG Hacks". IGN. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  26. ^ Pop-Fiction Episode 7: I See Mew (Flash video). GameTrailers. 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  27. ^ a b Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew (DVD). VIZ Media. September 19, 2006.
  28. ^ a b "VIZ Media Announces New Pokemon Products for 2007 Holiday Season". PressZoom. October 12, 2006. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
  29. ^ Kusaka, Hidenori; Mato (2000). "Chapter 1". Pokémon Adventures 1. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-56931-507-1.
  30. ^ Kusaka, Hidenori; Mato (2000). "Chapter 16". Pokémon Adventures 2. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-56931-508-8.
  31. ^ Kusaka, Hidenori; Mato (2000). "Chapter 17". Pokémon Adventures 2. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-56931-508-8.
  32. ^ "ANA's Pokémon Jet Home Page - Design". ANA. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  33. ^ "Mew Distribution Sept. 30". Nintendo Power (208): 97. October 2006.
  34. ^ Land, Calum (2000-04-16). "35 Things your children Pika-choose not to tell you about Pokemon". The People.
  35. ^ NGamer Staff (July 25, 2007). "Nintendo Feature: Best and Worst of Pokémon". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
  36. ^ K. Thor Jensen (December 7, 2010). "The 25 Awesomest Hidden Characters -". Archived from the original on December 10, 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-22. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  37. ^ West, Tracey; Noll, Katherine (2007). Pokémon Top 10 Handbook. pp. 37, 77. ISBN 978-0-545-00161-8. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
  38. ^ Loe, Casey (1999). Pokémon Perfect Guide Includes Red-Yellow-Blue. Versus Books. p. 124. ISBN 1-930206-15-1.
  39. ^ Tobin, Joseph Jay (2004). Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon. Duke University Press. pp. 180, 283. ISBN 0-8223-3287-6.
  40. ^ Götz, Maya; Lemish, Dafna; International Communication Association Conference; Aidman, Amy; Moon, Hyesung (2005). Media and the Make-believe Worlds of Children: When Harry Potter Meets Pokémon in Disneyland. Routledge. p. 105. ISBN 0-8058-5191-7.
  41. ^ Video Games, Wikis, Cheats, Walkthroughs, Reviews, News & Videos - IGN Archived 2010-09-12 at the Wayback Machine

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