Super Mario Bros.: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach – Seriously, WTF
The Super Mario Bros. video games have not — and never will be — known for their stories. (With the exception, of course, of the various Mario RPGs, and even those are better comedies than they are fulfilling narratives.) They’re basic stuff: Bowser has come to fuck shit up (and has probably kidnapped Princess Peach somewhere along the way), and it’s up to Mario to set things right. Not exactly an intricate tale right there.
But that, however, did not stop an hour-long Super Mario Bros. anime feature from being made in 1986, when the game was exploding in popularity. That alone should probably clue you in to the quality of this movie, but if we ended things there, then what the hell would be the point of this post? So follow me in this way back journey to a shameless (and possibly drug-fueled) cash grab of a movie!
The story begins with the anime right away getting all meta on the audience: Mario is playing the
NES Famicom as some strange Ness prototype when the character suddenly transforms into Princess Peach and she kicks a bit of ass for the only time in the movie. Then after the movie swipes a few future sound effects from Xenogears, the scenario suddenly reverses the basic premise of Captain N: The Game Master, and Peach comes flying out of the screen . . . along with basically every other enemy that existed in Super Mario Bros. at the time.
(It’s at this point that I should mention that Mario is played by Amuro Ray himself, Tohru Furuya. He is basically the opposite of how I have heard Mario all my life, but it does allow for plenty of silly Gundam references to be made throughout the picture. Try it — it’s fun!)
Despite the fact that Mario did fuck all to get Princess Peach out of the TV, somehow he is her lord and savior, while Mario immediately falls in love with her and begins his slow transformation into a milquetoast harem lead. (You didn’t know Mario was part of the harem lead timeline, did you? It goes Ataru Moroboshi –> Kyosuke Kasuga –> Mario –> Ranma Saotome –> Tenchi Masaki –> Keitaro Urashima –> an explosion of harem dudes.) But they don’t get too long to celebrate their intense craving for each other because Bowser channels Poltergeist and rips his way through the TV, snatching Peach and mocking Mario with the classic Game Over sign.
He was even thoughtful enough to include the music. Damn, Mario, you suck.
Mario despairs a bit before picking up a necklace Peach left behind, while Luigi just thinks Mario is batshit insane and goes back to bed. Cue hilarious ’80s anime tune! Man, the 1980s were the best. Even the music was packed to the gills with unintentional comedy. After the title sequence fades away, we find that instead of being plumbers, Mario and Luigi run a grocery store . . . in the middle of the freaking desert, even. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think there are any deserts in Brooklyn. Was the whole Brooklyn thing established somewhere else down the line? So disorienting. (The actual explanation, I think, is that Mario and Luigi live in a place that neighbors the Mushroom Kingdom . . . which somehow makes this mess weirder.)
In this scene, the basic characterization of both brothers is solidified. We already know Mario is a dopey harem lead — he’s all in a funk about Peach’s disappearance, and he even manages to piss off an old lady who wants some cake ingredients. Luigi, meanwhile, notices Mario holding Peach’s necklace, and being the greedy bastard he is, he immediately wants to sell it. (Quick aside: Luigi’s colors are changed from green and blue to yellow and blue in this. If they wanted to make him a greedy motherfucker, why not just stick with the green?) Also, Mario and Luigi are twins — fraternal twins, I’m guessing, because they sure as shit don’t look identical to each other. So, yeah, that is the extent of their characterization throughout the movie. Enjoy!