Before The Super Mario Bros Super Show!, but after his run on Saturday Supercade, Mario starred in this obscure Japanese 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. by approximately seven years.
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
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:
- 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.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: The entire plot 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).
- Award-Bait Song: The ending theme, "Adieu, My Love", which also plays during a dream sequence where Mario dances with Peach.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Defeat Means Friendship: King Koopa works at the grocery store at the end.
- Did Not Get the Girl: One of the few times where Mario does not end up with Peach.
- 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.
- Foreshadowing: A blink-and-you'll miss example in the beginning where Luigi states the Brooch that Peach dropped has a twin.
- 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.
- 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.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: King Koopa tries to kill Mario towards the end, despite Peach's pleas for him to spare him.
- Precision F-Strike: King Koopa calls Luigi a bastard at one point.
- Product Placement: Besides Mario playing with his Famicom, we see the brothers smash some blocks later in the movie, and obtaining some Mario ramen cups out of 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 Mario grabbing Bowser by the tail. This was also the first Mario-related work whose portrayal of Peach is faithful to her concept artwork.
- Show Within a Show: Mario is first seen playing a Mario-esque platformer where the hero jumps and wields a bat.
- Stalker with a Crush: King Koopa claims that he loves Peach more than anyone else and spends the entire movie planning their wedding.
- The Stinger: One of Mario and Luigi's regular customers walks up to the counter and is shocked to find King Koopa working there.
- Terms of Endangerment: King Koopa refers to Peach as "Peachy-chan" (Peach Sweetie in Japanese), much to her disgust.
- 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".