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Anime / The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach!

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Because of how obscure this movie is, this video cover is a definite spoiler.

Before The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, but after his run on Saturday Supercade, Mario starred in this obscure Japanese anime film, titled Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (translated: The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach!), a loose Animated Adaptation of Super Mario Bros..

While this film is very obscure, it's notable for being one of the first two full-length film adaptations of a video game, the other being Running Boy: Star Soldier no Himitsu, released on the same day: July 20, 1986. Both preceded the American Super Mario Bros. (1993) by approximately seven years. It was also one of the first Trapped in Another World anime. This essentially makes it the Ur-Example of the "trapped in a video game" isekai anime subgenre.

One night, while playing his Famicom, Mario gets an unexpected visit from the lovely Princess Peach, who is on the run from evil tyrant King Koopa. King Koopa then shows up and kidnaps her, leaving behind the pendant that she always wears. The next day, a little dog called Kibidango shows up at the grocery store owned by Mario and his brother Luigi (yes, they're grocers in this movie) and takes the jewel. The Mario Bros. give chase after him and wind up in the Mushroom Kingdom, where they meet the wise old Mushroom Hermit. The Mystic tells them that they've been brought to the Mushroom Kingdom to rescue Princess Peach, whom King Koopa intends to marry on Friday the 13th, and save the people whom King Koopa has turned into useless objects.


Oddly enough, the movie credited Shigeru Miyamoto as the creator of Super Mario Bros. Until the '90s, Miyamoto's identity was a very well kept secret for Nintendo, which wasn't unusual for many Japanese video game companies in the '80s and '90s, mostly for preventing industrial espionage and also for keeping their privacy.note 

On April 16th 2022, an unofficial HD remaster of the movie made from one of the few surviving 16mm prints was released for free on the internet.

Nintendo would later revisit adapting the Super Mario Bros franchise into an animated film with the 2023 feature film The Super Mario Bros. Movie, made by Universal and Illumination Entertainment.


Tropes used in the movie:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Very small change, but still noticeable. Unlike the rest of the games, Mario and Luigi have black hair instead of brown. Most notably, Luigi's outfit is blue over yellow (blue over red on the VHS cover) instead of blue over green. He also wears a blue hat instead of green.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • This movie's version of Luigi acts a lot like Wario if he was on Mario's side. Interestingly, this is one of the few times Luigi doesn't wear green.note 
    • Unlike other variations of Bowser, this one is clearly a Stalker with a Crush with a very kind and almost innocent personality.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Koopas are portrayed here as being more ragged and taller and having darker beaks than their game counterparts.
  • Affably Evil:
  • All Love Is Unrequited: King Koopa is a Yandere and Mario is a Dogged Nice Guy... But neither of them end up with Peach. Instead, she ends up with Haru, who was really the dog traveling with Mario and Luigi.
  • All That Glitters: Luigi turns to Cathartic Crying after all the gold nuggets he grabbed in the mine are turned into regular rocks.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Bowser's plot to have Peach as his queen revolves around this.
  • Art Evolution: Luigi is designed with the taller and slimmer look he sported in the games since the U.S. version of Super Mario Bros. 2, but his color scheme is a bit different from his later look (in the film, he wears a yellow shirt with a blue hat and overalls).
  • Ash Face: Mario gets hit with this after getting blasted by Bowser's flame.
  • Asteroids Monster: The Cheep-Cheep Mario encounters underwater pops into smaller Cheep-Cheeps after enlarging itself.
  • Award-Bait Song: The ending theme, "Adieu, My Love", which also plays during a dream sequence where Mario dances with Peach.
  • Bad Moon Rising: Upon arriving at Bowser's castle, Mario is surprised to find its currently a crescent moon instead of a full one, before the moon suddenly inflates itself to become a full red moon.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: During the wedding ceremony, Peach exclaims that she's overjoyed the moment she's been waiting for has come, namely that Mario has arrived to rescue her.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: When Lakitu attacks the Mario Bros, his shadow envelopes them before panning out to show he's in the sky.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The fact that Kibidango/Prince Haru owns the other Brooch which signifies his destiny with Peach upsets Mario greatly, but he accepts it as he wants her to be happy.
  • Bumbling Henchmen Duo: A pair of Goombas continually try to impede on Mario and Luigi's progress.
  • Canon Discontinuity: What gave it away? A money-hungry Luigi in yellow? Buzzy Beetles being defeated by fire? The Mario Bros. being grocers rather than plumbers? Or perhaps the mere existence of Prince Haru.
  • Canon Foreigner: Peach's fiance, Prince Haru. He has no analogue in any of the Mario games.
  • Catch and Return: During their second travel montage, Mario catches a Bullet Bill and sends it back towards the cannon.
  • Cathartic Crying: Luigi's reaction to finding all his gold nuggets are actually regular rocks.
  • Characterization Marches On: Mario is deeply adamant about honor in his quest to save Peach, in contrast to his whimsical attitude seen from Super Mario 64 onward. Luigi isn't cowardly like he is in more modern portrayals, instead being defined by his greed, a trait better associated with Wario. One characterization that is consistent with the later franchise is Bowser's Affably Evil personality, particularly his attitudes towards Peach and his happily working alongside Mario and Luigi as a grocer in the end.
  • The Chosen One: The Mushroom Hermit says a prophecy describing Mario and Luigi states they're the only ones who can defeat Bowser.
  • Clam Trap: Mario gets trapped in a clam while trying to get the star. Kibidango gets him out of it by tickling the clam.
  • Collapsing Lair: Bowser's castle gets destroyed after Luigi causes it to flood entirely.
  • Covers Always Lie: Luigi has a red shirt on the VHS cover, as opposed to the yellow shirt he wears in the movie. Also, Prince Haru in the actual film doesn't look anything like he does on the cover.
  • Credits Running Sequence: The credits has Mario and Luigi returning home through all the places they visited.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: King Koopa works at the grocery store at the end.
  • Delayed Reaction: After thinking he's beaten the Mario Bros, Lakitu doesn't realize he's speaking to Mario until he gets a closer look.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: One of the few times where Mario does not end up with Peach.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: Mario and Luigi are told to search for a mushroom, a flower, and a star, to combine their power to defeat Bowser.
  • Don't Look Down: When Luigi tries to escape the Paratroopa's nest, he gets a look down seeing how high they are and immediately rushes back.
  • Early Adaptation Weirdness: Much of the weirdness of the film comes down to how it clashes with canon which wouldn't be standardized until the early 2000s. For example, Luigi's greedy rather than cowardly and his clothes aren't green. Mario and Peach also aren't the Official Couple.
  • Eye Pop: Lakitu's response after seeing Mario in front of him causes his eyes to pop out from shock before trying to flee.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Hammer Bro fails to notice Luigi broke through the cage while searching for Mario.
  • Fainting: Mario faints after finding out that Haru is Peach's fiance.
  • "Far Side" Island: After nearly drowning in the sea, Luigi gets stuck on a tiny isle before Mario arrives with the sunken ship.
  • Forced Transformation: Like in the original game's backstory, Bowser turned the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom into inanimate objects.
  • Foreshadowing: A blink-and-you'll miss example in the beginning where Luigi states the Brooch that Peach dropped has a twin.
  • Forgot I Couldn't Swim: When Luigi jumps in after Mario to get the star, he quickly remembers that he can't swim.
  • Garden of Evil: The two Goombas send Mario and Luigi towards garden infested with Piranha Plants.
  • Gender Flip: All the Toads are female, at least those who were rescued. Making this even more perplexing is that a female Toad was introduced into the series 18 years after this film came out.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: Bowser attempts to crush Mario with this, until getting thrown aside after Mario consumes the star.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: During the third travel montage, a stone bridge Luigi is walking breaks apart, but he doesn't fall in until realizing.
  • Greed: Luigi, in contrast with his portrayal almost anywhere else. This is justified, though, as his personality wasn't established when this movie came out.
  • Guess Who I'm Marrying?: Peach ends up marrying Prince Haru, her fiancé.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: While shocked to learn that Peach is already engaged to Prince Haru, Mario wishes her happiness for their future.
  • Interspecies Romance: Completely one-sided King Koopa and Princess Peach.
  • Kidnapping Bird of Prey: A Big/Colossal Koopa Paratroopa grabs Mario and Luigi to feed them to her hatchlings.
  • Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: "Here Comes The Bride" plays when Bowser starts his wedding ceremony with Peach.
  • Lured Into a Trap: The Goomba duo trap Mario and Luigi in a gold mine by luring them with trails of coins.
  • Meat-O-Vision: After a trek across the Mushroom Kingdom, Luigi becomes hungry enough to see Mario dreaming about food and then tries to eat Kibidango as a delicious dinner.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: King Koopa tries to kill Mario towards the end, despite Peach's pleas for him to spare him.
  • Mushroom Samba: Luigi gets tricked by the Goomba duo into eating shrooms that cause him to act into different emotions.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: After digging a hole to escape the gold mine, Mario and Luigi feign whistling to the Hammer Bro guard before jumping in.
  • Ocular Gushers: Luigi cries a river of tears after finding a gold nugget.
  • Pain to the Ass: Mario gets his behind hit by a Spiny while evading them.
  • Pepper Sneeze: When caught by a Piranha Plant, Mario uses a pepper shaker to make it spit him out after sneezing.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Peach begs Bowser to spare Mario when he's about to be crushed and offers to be his queen.
  • Precision F-Strike: King Koopa calls Luigi a bastard at one point.
  • Product Placement: Besides Mario playing with his Famicom, the brothers smash some blocks later in the movie, and obtaining some Mario ramen cups out of them. There's even some Mario rice seasoning that distracts Mario during a crucial moment in his fight with King Koopa.
  • Quaking with Fear: Mario gets shaken up when the Spinies start chasing them.
  • Ret-Canon: Despite the movie's status as non-canonical in relation to the video games, several ideas would make it back into the series proper, including Luigi being taller than Mario, an airship and larger Koopa Troop Minions, such as Big Cheep Cheeps, Big Koopa Troopas, and Big/Colossal Koopa Paratroopas, note  Mario grabbing Bowser by the tail, and Bowser desiring to marry Princess Peach/Toadstool. This was also the first Mario-related work whose portrayal of Peach is faithful to her concept artwork.
  • Screeching Stop: When running from the Spinies, Mario and Luigi stop in their tracks after getting surrounded by them.
  • "Setting Off" Song: "Doki Doki Do It"; that plays whenever Mario and Luigi and going on their journey.
  • Shipshape Shipwreck: Mario gets a sunken ship to rise out of the water by blowing on the mast.
  • Show Within a Show: Mario is first seen playing a Mario-esque platformer where the hero jumps and wields a bat.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: In-Universe. While traveling, Luigi makes a quick stop at a casino, winning loads of coin before carrying on.
  • Skewed Priorities: Before using the power of the star, Mario gets distracted to eat some ramen that inexplicably appeared in front of him.
  • Stalker with a Crush: King Koopa claims that he loves Peach more than anyone else and spends the entire movie planning their wedding.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Mario and Kibidango are able to speak underwater while retrieving the star.
  • Terms of Endangerment: King Koopa refers to Peach as "Peachy-chan" (Peach Sweetie in Japanese), much to her disgust.
  • The Stinger: One of Mario and Luigi's regular customers walks up to the counter and is shocked to find King Koopa working there.
  • The Worf Effect: In his first fight with Bowser, Mario gets plowed through the floor.
  • Trapped in Another World: The anime had Mario and Luigi being summoned to the world of a Famicom video game. This makes it the Ur-Example of the "trapped in a video game" isekai anime subgenre.
  • Tricking the Shapeshifter: Peach attempts this by asking King Koopa to transform into things to entertain her. When he turns into a teddy bear, she grabs him and locks him in a chest. Though it seems like this ploy worked, a few seconds later, he returns to his regular form and bursts out of the chest, telling her "nice try".
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Bowser has the ability to transform himself into different shapes when Peach attempts to trap him in a chest.
  • Weather Manipulation: The Lakitu uses his cloud to make it rain and thunder to awaken the Spinies.
  • White Flag: Bowser holds one up after getting beaten by Mario.


Video Example(s):


Luigi's Hungry

After a trek across the Mushroom Kingdom, Luigi becomes hungry enough to see Kibidango as a delicious dinner.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

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