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Web Animation / Mario Brothers

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This is not your typical Mario story...

Mario Brothers is an epic five-part Adobe Flash video series featuring the Super Mario Bros. series and characters. It was created by Alxlen between 2003 and 2006. The story is a tragedy, using 8-bit sprites and orchestral music to cinematic, intense effect.

One day, King Koopa declares war on the Mushroom Kingdom, with plans to storm the castle and kill the Princess. Mario and Luigi try to stop him, but during the battle, Luigi is hit by a fireball and dies, while Koopa escapes to carry out his invasion.

After a period of mourning, Mario sets off to try and save the Mushroom Kingdom and the Princess, and bring his brother back to life... but it may already be too late.

The series can be viewed here on Newgrounds or here on YouTube.

This series contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Koopa here is miles worse than his game counterpart, being willing to commit mass murder with no remorse at all and lacking any noble traits.
  • Almost Dead Guy: The one remaining Toad that tells Mario of Koopa's attack on the castle is barely alive. Subverted as Mario is able to heal him with a mushroom first.
  • Back from the Dead: Subverted with Luigi, as Mario is unable to revive him with a 1-Up since he'd been dead for too long.
  • Big Bad: King Koopa causes the plot and rules the Koopa Troop. He personally kills Luigi and plans to kill the Princess and Mario.
  • Big Good: The Princess is the non-action type. She rules over the Mushroom people and can produce life-giving mushrooms from nothing, but cannot fight on her own.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the high body count, there isn't a drop of blood to be seen. In fact, most of the onscreen deaths are done in the same manner as the game.
  • Book Ends: The series starts and ends with the same scene of Mario running from something.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Initially, a contingent of Toads are reluctant to take the fight to Koopa and stay behind, but arrive later on to back up their brethren and apologize for refusing to fight before.
  • Collapsing Lair: Koopa's castle in Part V. A group of Mushroom Retainers brings the ceiling down in one area to grant Mario access across a large lava pit. This causes a chain reaction that brings the whole castle down. This ends up backfiring on Mario and the Toads horrifically.
  • Dark Fic: The story takes the concept of the first game—Koopa kidnapping the Princess—and plays it deadly serious, giving the events epic scope and a tragic scale, especially by the ending where everyone is dead.
  • Darker and Edgier: Koopa is a completely serious and terrifying villain here, and deaths are treated with the seriousness death entails. The cartoony powerups are treated more seriously here as well, with the Fire Flower being a sacred weapon and the Mushrooms a life-giving magic. Oh, and Luigi's death is made irreversible by the halfway point of the series, and he's eventually joined by the entire rest of the cast.
  • Disaster Dominoes: A group of Toads make a ceiling collapse to enable Mario to cross a lava lake, but in doing so start the collapse of Koopa's castle as a whole. Mario, realising that time is against him, rushes through the fight with Koopa and quickly destroys the bridge, but the collapsing castle makes it so that the Princess can't make it across the bridge before she falls into the lava. A huge eruption then occurs, killing everyone but Mario in the immediate vicinity. Mario does quickly get caught by the lava, however, ending the series with no survivors.
  • Downer Ending: Koopa is dead...but so are the Princess and the battling armies. Mario, left alone, loses all hope and lets himself be overtaken by a giant wave of lava.
  • The Dreaded: King Koopa, who is portrayed as a terrifying, nigh-unstoppable villain. Justified, given his Hero Killer status and that seemingly neither the Mario Bros. working together or apart can take him down.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the ending, Mario stops running and lets the lava overtake him.
  • Due to the Dead: After failing to revive Luigi, the scene cuts to Mario putting a small cross on his brother's grave.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: The series ends with all of its characters dead, including Mario himself.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Princess is only referred to by her title, and whether she's named Toadstool or Peach is unknown.
    • The same could be said about King Koopa, who is only ever called that or just "Koopa". A confusing case, as even in 1985, there was canonical material naming the character as "Bowser".
  • Excessive Mourning: Mario mourns Luigi's death for too long, which not only gives Koopa time to carry out his plan, but also causes the 1-Up used on him later to fail.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Shortly before retrieving the 1-Up Mushroom to revive Luigi, Mario is warned that the mushroom won't work if he's been dead for too long. Sure enough, it doesn't.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The very first scene shows Mario running from something, and stating that everyone's dead. Alxlen regrets having done that first scene, as it made the Downer Ending inevitable.
  • The Hero Dies: Along with everyone else.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Mario finds the 1-Up Mushroom to revive Luigi... but he's been dead too long for it to work, making his death permanent.
    • Part V has a triumphant feeling up until the very end, as Mario wields a Fire Flower, the Toads successfully siege Koopa's castle, and despite losing the power-up Mario traps Koopa under some rubble and pulls the axe. Then the Princess falls in the lava with him.[[Cue the "Everybody Dies" Ending.]]
  • How We Got Here: The series starts with Mario running from something while lamenting his failures, and flashes back to show what occurred. Alxlen later said he regretted doing this because it locked the story into a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Insistent Terminology: Everyone uses their names from the media circa 1985, this includes King Koopa, who was always known as Bowser even in the manual of the original game. Princess Toadstool gets a pass due to her full name not being revealed yet.
  • Medium Blending: Koopa's fireballs are 16-bit, and the 8-bit armies are seen in layers with Flash animation.
  • Mood Whiplash: The dark, serious movies end with the cheery underwater theme for the credits.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Princess dies because Mario destroys the bridge before she can make it safely across, and causes the lava pit to erupt from the resulting Yin-Yang Bomb. As Mario retreats from the castle, the few words he can muster in his horrified state include "What have I done?!"
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: After Luigi's death, the Princess comments she feels a part of her has just died.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Happens a few times.
    • Mario mourns Luigi's death for too long, which not only gives Koopa time to carry out his plan (and the Mushroom Retainers no time to prepare), but also causes the 1-Up used on him later to fail.
    • A group of Mushroom Retainers bring down a portion of the ceiling in Koopa's castle for Mario to cross an otherwise impassible lava pit. This causes the rest of the ceiling to gradually give way, injuring and killing fighters on both sides and providing too many obstructions for the Princess to make it across the bridge safely before its collapse. Koopa ends up pinned under some of the rubble beforehand and dragged into the lava, but because he and the Princess fell in at the same time, their combined magic causes the lava pit they fell into to erupt, which kills ''everyone'', including Mario. This is Mario's fault as well, because he failed to make sure the Princess was safely across the bridge before destroying it.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: All character sprites are from the original Super Mario Bros with the exception of the Toads, whose sprites are from Super Mario Bros. 2 and have a slightly different artstyle (most notably, being outlined in blue while no other sprites have outlines). This is likely due to Toad's only sprite in the original game not exactly lending itself well to all the action required by the Toads in this series.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: This music underscores most of the series, driving the feel of the epic tragedy home
  • Once More, with Clarity: In the beginning scene, Mario is running and crying about how "everyone is dead" while an ominous red glow appears behind him. By the end, we know not only why everyone's dead, but that that red glow is the result of an oncoming lava wave that will soon take Mario's own life.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: King Koopa and his army are defeated once and for all... at the cost of the lives of Princess Toadstool, the Toads, and even the Mario Brothers themselves. The Mushroom Kingdom itself may even be doomed to destruction, since the last we see is the land being overtaken by the lava erupting from Koopa's castle.
  • Relative Button: In their final confrontation, Koopa taunts Mario by saying he'd meet the same fate as Luigi. This angers Mario even more and causes him to fight recklessly, ultimately leading to the deaths of the Princess and everyone else.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Luigi. His almost immediate death helps drive home the grittier nature of this series.
  • Single Tear: Mario as he prepares to let the lava wave consume him at the end.
  • Storming the Castle: Koopa's army in part II to kidnap the Princess, and Mario and the Toads in part V to kill him and rescue her.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In the first episode, Koopa spews a fireball that mortally wounds Luigi.
    • In the final episode, while the Princess is trying to escape across the bridge, a chunk of debris from the collapsing fortress knocks her back into the lava pit.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Alxlen confirmed that the lava unnaturally erupting from Koopa's castle was the devastating result of Koopa's dark magic and Toadstool's own magic mixing when they both fell into the lava.