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On Mewtwo’s birthday, we revisit the curious case of its conception

As Pokémon Red and Blue will tell it, today — Feb. 6 — is Mewtwo’s birthday. It’s unclear just how old the one-of-a-kind Pokémon is turning this year according to the games’ canon, but that’s not the biggest question about the handsome legendary’s special day. Instead, what we’re most wondering about is: How was Mewtwo actually conceived?

Pokémon fans know that Mewtwo is a clone of Mew, its namesake and the legendary Pokémon succeeding it in the Pokédex. But a diary entry found in the original Game Boy games seems to suggest that their connection’s even more … biological.

On this day, Mewtwo was born. Happy birthday Mewtwo. pic.twitter.com/LYs1OC0zag

— Joe Merrick (@JoeMerrick) February 6, 2017

A journal found in the Pokémon Mansion on Cinnabar Island includes many details on first generation Pokémon, including the note about Mewtwo’s Feb. 6 birthday. But the entry doesn’t explicitly say that the clone came into the world that day. Instead, it says that “Mew gave birth.”

That’s a curious wording to explain the two Pokémon’s relationship. Neither Mew nor Mewtwo can reproduce in the Pokémon games, like the majority of legendary Pokémon. Mewtwo’s Pokédex description refers to it as the result of “horrific gene splicing and DNA engineering experiments,” and the first Pokémon movie also makes it clear that Mewtwo was created from the mysterious Mew’s genetic material.

Yet because the games suggest Mewtwo was “born,” not “created,” fans have puzzled over just where Mewtwo came from over the years.

mew gave BIRTH to mewtwo? dude thats nasty

— Siro (@SkeletonSiro) February 6, 2016

the fact that “mew was found and gave birth to mewtwo” and “mewtwo was cloned from mew” are both cannon keeps me awake at night

— local catbug (@raynaxmarie) April 5, 2016

@JoeMerrick@gunswordfist but mewtwo is man-made

— PSPortable Lamb (@psppsvitalamb) February 6, 2017

The talkback page for Mewtwo’s Bulbapedia entry gives a glimpse into this long-running conversation about how Mew “birthed” its successor.

“Mew did not physically give birth to Mewtwo. Mewtwo is a genetically inhanced [sic] clone of Mew,” explains one editor of the fan-created Pokémon encyclopedia. “The whole concept of ‘Mew gave birth’ is a metaphor for the fact that after a long time of creating clones of Mew that didn’t survive the cloning process, the scientists were finally able to create a living clone from Mew’s DNA.”

Another user argued, however, that “disregarding all evidence from the anime, we are told nothing about Mewtwo’s creation other than that it was cloned … and that Mew gave birth to it. We also know that these two events are possible to both be true.”

It’s one of Pokémon’s stranger controversies, and there’s no hard consensus about if Mew played a direct part in Mewtwo’s conception and subsequent birth. Still, it’s an inarguable fact that Mewtwo wouldn’t exist without Mew. Mewtwo’s birthday is our annual reminder that Pokémon biology is inscrutable and, at times, very, very strange.

Either way: Happy birthday, Mewtwo.

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