The Pokémon franchise has a history of amazing character designs, but one of the coolest-looking Pokémon is often forgotten about due to its odd history. At first glance, MechaMew2 resembles a bulkier version of the armored Mewtwo seen in the film Mewtwo Strikes Back. However, unlike that version, this one is fully mechanical and moves around on tank treads.
It resembles a cross between Mewtwo, a Terminator and the Predator, almost like a Pokémon designed by H.R. Giger. If you're wondering how such a fantastic and imposing design can be forgotten, it's because MechaMew2 was only seen in Pokémon: Live!
Pokémon: Live! was a stage musical based on the American adaptation of the Pokémon anime. While stage shows based on anime are nothing new, they are dramatically rare outside of Japan. This show ran from 2000 to 2002, having performances in the USA, Canada, Dubai, Belgium and Portugal. A UK tour was planned but was canceled with the organizer citing "unforeseen circumstances" as the reason.
Pokémon: Live! is basically a sequel to Mewtwo Strikes Back. Giovanni, angered by no longer having Mewtwo, builds MechaMew2, a robotic Pokémon with special powers that allow it to learn and copy any move used against it. Giovanni plans to have MechaMew2 learn every single Pokémon move in the world by masquerading as a mysterious gym leader and offering any trainer who can beat him a special Diamond Badge. This has been so effective that MechaMew2 is only missing two moves, Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt, both of which are known by Ash's Pikachu. So Giovanni sends Team Rocket to capture Pikachu and bring it back.
However, when Pikachu refuses to fight, Giovanni has Team Rocket capture Ash and bring him to the Team Rocket base. When Ash learns that Giovanni has Pikachu, he goes willingly and agrees to battle MechaMew2. This battle goes badly, and MechaMew2 absorbs the final two attacks and seems to take no damage from any other move. Giovanni declares victory and decides to kill Ash and Pikachu, commanding MechaMew2 to use Hyper Beam.
Before this can happen, the original Mewtwo appears, blocking the attack. Ash is confused by this, as he doesn't remember Mewtwo due to the memory wipe he received at the end of Mewtwo Strikes Back.
Mewtwo agrees to battle MechaMew2, but rather than moves, it uses its psychic powers to beam Ash's memories into MechaMew2's head. This causes MechaMew2 to gain sentience and learn the difference between right and wrong. MechaMew2 starts to speak and rebels against Giovanni before getting ready to self-destruct. Mewtwo and Ash flee as the robotic Pokémon explodes.
The show generally took a rather loose approach to Pokémon continuity, which is to be expected given that Micheal Slade, the show's writer, knew almost nothing about Pokémon going into the project aside from the existence of Pikachu. He did his research for the musical via several viewings of Mewtwo Strikes Back, explaining why this show so closely mirrors that movie.
There were plans for the show to be broadcast on TV and for it to receive a home video release, as advertised on the Pokémon website, and producer Chris Mitchell confirmed that a recording was made for this purpose. However, this never happened, with many sources suggesting that the show's low profits and general lack of interest made the distributor consider it a pointless endeavor. While MechaMew2 is mostly forgotten, two of the show's actors would appear in the 4Kids dub of the anime. Darren Dunstan, who played Giovanni, would voice Stephan and Team Plasma's Barret. Andrew Rannells, who played James, would voice Morty, the leader of Ecruteak City's gym.
MechaMew2 looks amazing. It is creepy, imposing and quite unlike any other Pokémon in the franchise. It is a shame that such a good design was seen by so few people and that it was limited to what is essentially a footnote in the franchise. Hopefully, in the future, the show will see an official release so that this Pokémon curiosity can be enjoyed by more people.