Mario’s first movie was a weird anime
The very first Mario movie was actually an anime; however, it presents a very unique take on famous Nintendo characters.
When Nintendo announced the casting for the next Super Mario film, it sent shockwaves across the internet, with everyone rushing to social media to give their thoughts on the cast. However, this is not the first time that Mario has made his way to the big screen. And, just like the upcoming movie, the previous one Mario the movies have done amazing things with the famous video game franchise. However, Mario’s first forgotten movie was actually an anime.
1986 was a great year for the Italian plumber. In June of that year, Super mario bros 2 hit Japanese consoles, and the character was riding a huge wave of popularity. Nintendo decided to capitalize on this by working with Grouper Productions, director Masami Hata, and writer Hideo Takayashiki to create the feature film Mario Adventure. Super Mario Bros. : Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! Or, in English, Super Mario Bros. : The great mission to save Princess Peach! This film hit theaters on July 20, 1986, making it one of the first video game films to exist, on par with Running Boy: Star Soldier no Himitsu, which arrived in theaters the same day.
The story of the film is slightly odd, especially for modern audiences, as it presents a unique take on the Mario familiar characters from the franchise. But you have to remember that this movie came out right after Super Mario Bros 2, before Mario and his friends had well-defined traditions. The film opens with Mario playing a game on his Famicom. However, suddenly, a woman appears on the screen, fleeing various enemies. This woman quickly dives off the screen and appears in Mario’s living room. This woman explains that she is Princess Peach and that she is running away from King Koopa. However, before she can do much else, King Koopa jumps off the TV. Mario and King Koopa fight, but the villain takes over and grabs Peach, bringing her back to TV.
Mario is obviously confused by all of this, but finds Peach’s necklace on the floor. The next day, Mario and Luigi go to work in their grocery store (they’re not plumbers in this version), where Mario shows Luigi the necklace. Luigi identifies the necklace as a “visionary jewel” that can guide the owner to the Mushroom Kingdom, a land teeming with treasures. Then a dog-like creature called Kibidango walks into the store and steals the trinket. Mario and Luigi chase the dog and cross pipes that lead them to the Mushroom Kingdom.
However, the kingdom is in disarray. Kinoko Sennin, a man in a white robe, informs the brothers that King Koopa has taken over and used magic to turn the citizens into blocks. He also says that Koopa plans to marry Peach on Friday the 13th. However, the brothers can stop this marriage and save the kingdom by collecting a mushroom, a flower and a star.
Armed with this knowledge, Mario and Luigi embarked on an adventure to collect the items, encountering many classic Mario enemies on their way. After collecting the items, Mario and Luigi go to the wedding and beat Koopa. Peach thanks Mario and takes her necklace back, saying that she is destined to marry whoever wears her exact copy. Mario says he will find it. But Kibidango transforms into a human and says he’s Haru, prince of the Flower Kingdom and owner of the Second Necklace. And, in a surprisingly melancholy ending, Mario, although he clearly has a crush on Peach, accepts this marriage and returns home with Luigi.
Super Mario Bros. : The great mission to save Princess Peach! is a fascinating film, as it departs in several ways from the accepted Mario lore. Most notably, Luigi is described as greedy for money and slightly angry, which makes him feel more like Wario than Luigi. However, the film also marks the debut of several elements that would become staples of the franchise, including Koopa having a crush on Peach and him being more stupid than evil.
After its theatrical release, the film was released on VHS and Betamax. However, this tape was only made in small numbers and only in Japan. For this reason, copies of the film are scarce today, with blank copies demanding high prices on auction sites. In fact, it’s easier to find promotional items than it is to find the movie itself.
Super Mario Bros. : The great mission to save Princess Peach! is an excellent historical curiosity. It’s great to see this first version of Mario before the later games flesh out and define the characters and the world. While it sounds odd today, the writers and directors are to be commended for turning a relatively simple game into a full movie. Hopefully one day it will be reissued so that more people can watch and enjoy it. Mario curiousity.
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