I was born the same year Pokémon entered the world, and I think that’s a pretty great honor. The franchise has maintained its popularity for the last twenty-two years through the expanding of its universe with games, TV shows, films, cards, toys, clothes, and much more. When I think of Pokémon, though, I don’t immediately think of Sun and Moon or even Pokémon GO. My mind immediately returns to the original 151 Pokémon and Ash, Misty, Brock, Jessie, James, and Meowth. I’ve tried to keep up with the films over the years, but the first will always be my favorite, and I will always get emotional when Pikachu thinks he’s lost his best friend Ash. But Mewtwo Strikes Back is good for more than just entertainment value: it teaches a lot of lessons that still resonate, particularly in its climactic battle scene.
1. People who are too similar are likely to butt heads.
It may be hard to end fights between them because they’re equally matched in physical strength, like the trainers’ Pokémon and their clones, or because their personalities and convictions are equally strong. If a dominant personality and a submissive one clash, it’s easier for one side to push its desires onto the other and win without a real fight, but if two people with two similar personalities find themselves at odds, neither is likely to yield without a struggle.
2. Nonviolent methods can be more effective than violence.
When Pikachu stops fighting his clone and continues to take every blow instead of giving any back, he refuses to play into Mewtwo’s plan. Pikachu takes the high road in an effort to end the violence and save his friends, and because of this, Ash learns that he has to stand up for what’s right and do the same.
3. “Even the best of friends will fight sometimes.” – Jessie
This Team Rocket trainer certainly has a point. No matter how much you care about someone, you won’t agree with that person on everything. Disagreements are perfectly fine as long as you don’t let them get in the way of your relationships.
4. When people are in need, someone has to take a stand and help them.
Ash sees how tired and injured the Pokémon are after Mewtwo makes them fight one another until they can’t hold themselves up any longer. He throws himself between Mew and Mewtwo, the two most powerful Pokémon he’s ever seen, to get their attention and force them to end the violence.
5. “But how can I trust you? You was born different.” – Meowth
Team Rocket’s sassy talking Pokémon continues: “We do have a lot in common. The same Earth, the same air, the same sky. Maybe if we started looking at what’s the same instead of always looking at what’s different, well, who knows?” Well said, Meowth.