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"None of us are the heroes we're supposed to be..."

In short: Super Smash Bros. meets Sin City as well as Watchmen and The Silence of the Lambs. It has nothing to do with There Will Be Blood, other than borrowing much of its name.

There Will Be Brawl is a webseries that was eventually hosted by The Escapist and was directed by Matthew Mercer. Featuring live actors, it takes the most famous characters from Nintendo's library and puts them in a situation far removed from the bright and cheery childhood games we remember. The plot follows Luigi, who is now a jaded drug dealer trying to make ends meet in the seedy underworld of the Mushroom Kingdom for both himself and his brother. As the plot thickens and new dangers arise, Luigi searches for a reason to keep fighting for a city that seems beyond salvation.

The overall dark tone of the series is accompanied by an engaging plot, good writing and acting, as well as some clever Mythology Gags from all over the Nintendo universe. In addition, the sheer effort put into the costumes, make-up and production design impresses to no end, even though some costumes that required a little extra creativity involved (Kirby, Fox, Dedede etc) can be a tad distracting at first, you can generally get too immersed in the story to notice after a while. The series seemingly aims to be a Deconstruction of Nintendo franchises in general, but often ends up as more of an Affectionate Parody of the plots and mechanics from the respective games.


After the series ended they announced plans of a DVD, but that seems to have gone into Development Hell.

The website for the series has gone down in the years since it finished, but the complete series can still be found here.

This show provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: By way of Composite Character. Young Link and Toon Link were folded into the character of "regular" Link. A photo of Link in his earlier days was "played" by stock pictures of the world's most famous Young Link cosplayer, and a doodle Zelda apparently drew some years ago resembled his Toon incarnation.
  • Adaptational Villainy: At least half the cast, by design, are debased, broken and compromised versions of themselves. This version of the hero of dreams and innocence (Kirby) is especially jarring.
  • Annoying Arrows: Ganondorf gets shot with arrows twice in the shoulder, to no effect whatsoever.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • King Dedede. He may be a corrupt, hedonistic mafia don with his flippers in all kinds of illegal doings, but he really wants to end the violence and, of the four mob bosses, stands the best chance of doing so. Until the butcher gets him. Basically, he manages to be the closest to a Reasonable Authority Figure that Luigi and his friends have encountered during the series, as he genuinely wants to help find the Serial Killer and is the one person with powerful enough connections and resources to accomplish it.
    • Bowser — it turns out that he no longer cares about kidnapping princesses or conquering the kingdom now that the Mario Brothers aren't around to fight him. Now he's a Buddhist. A bit closer to Worthy Opponent than Anti-Villain, though — whereas Dedede genuinely wants peace, Bowser still seems to hunger for the "good old days" of honorable brawling between clearly defined heroes and villains. Dedede was willing to cut a deal with Link, whereas Bowser responded to the chaos by sending his soldiers into the streets to take the kingdom by force, leading to tremendous bloodshed — and, of course, his own death.
  • Anyone Can Die: In the end, there are more dead Brawl characters than there were characters in Super Smash Bros Melee. Let's run down the body count in roughly chronological order, shall we? Daisy, Roy, Pichu, Mewtwo, Peach, Wolf, possibly Donkey Kong, Dedede, Isaac, Saki, MetaKnight, Yoshi, Falco, Bowser, Red, potentially Ike, Link, Zelda, Telma, Rosalina, Jill Dozer, Fox, End of Days (Olimar), Mr. Game & Watch, Wario, Ganondorf, Ness, probably Lucas, Masahiro Sakurai, and possibly Shigeru Miyamoto and Kirby is AWOL... Phew!
  • As the Good Book Says...: Episode 1 starts off by quoting the Book of Genesis.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
  • When Link says "Let's rebuild Hyrule... together!" and Zelda instantly forgets that she stabbed him an hour ago and turns on Ganondorf with tears in her eyes. Doesn't last long, though.
  • In a platonic, brotherly sense, Mario's talk with Luigi when they break into Lakitu's house. "There are two Super Mario Brothers."
  • Marth when he hears that Ike's condition is worsening. When his help is required, he just decides he's off duty and takes off, obviously to the hospital.
  • Badass Longcoat: Luigi is never seen without his unbuttoned Greatcoat, until Red dies.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Never, ever, call Mario a plumber if you value your teeth at all.
    • Fox doesn't much appreciate being called "furry".
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Bowser would rather blow up himself and the attacking Game & Watches with a Bob-Omb than be trophyfied..
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Wario is done in by Red's cute little girlfriend, Leaf. Because she sics a Jigglypuff on him.
  • Big Bad: Kirby, with Lucas and Ness as his Dragons and Ganondorf as the Big Bad Wannabe.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Mario, after discovering Yoshi's remains in his bed.
    • Leaf after Red dies.
    • Zelda, right before Ganon kills Link
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Mushroom Kingdom is on the road to rebuilding, but so many have died, including Peach, the Kingdom's big source of hope, and Kirby is still out there doing...''something'' with Miyamoto.
  • Breather Episode: Between Episode 4 and 5, and again between 7 and 8, there are gag reels from the Mushroom Kingdom news station.
  • The Cameo: Out of the main brawlers, Pikachu, Lucario, ROB, and Young and Toon Link are relegated to walk-on roles. There are also the assist trophies, Issac and Cyborg Ninja. Lots of minor or lesser-known Nintendo characters make cameo appearances throughout the series, they can be seen in the characters page.
  • Canon Immigrant: Referenced in a running Mythology Gag: Snake, Cyborg Ninja and Sonic are cast as bums living in an immigrant slum.
  • Cardboard Box Home: Solid Snake of Metal Gear, Canon Immigrant, is an insane hobo living in a cardboard box. This is a Mythology Gag, in reference to both the games (where a silly mechanic allows you to hide in a box) and Escape from New York.
  • Casting Gag: Matthew Mercer (AKA Ganondorf) and Joellen Elam (AKA Zelda) were dating while There Will Be Brawl was filmed. This was most likely the basis for the Ganondorf and Zelda's romance subtext.
  • Cheerful Child: Red, the Pokémon trainer. He takes care of the Pokémon after Mewtwo is killed. Unique in that he's one of the only non-Gray characters, being simply Good. This makes his death all the more shocking, especially since Luigi was indirectly responsible.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Pikachu and Lucario end up showing up in a single fight early in the series and don't show up for the rest of it, though it's implied Red still takes care of them.
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: Kirby is re-imagined as an Expy of Hannibal Lecter, presenting him as an imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer that is consulted in the hope of solving other murders going on.
  • Creator Cameo: Zach Grafton and Matthew Mercer make several small cameos as Toads, policemen, and cultists.
  • Cryptic Conversation: When Luigi meets Olimar/End of Days, he seems to spout a bunch of nonsense and generic doomsday prophecies. When listened to again retrospectively, it turns out to be pretty clear cut Foreshadowing.
  • Cult: Olimar leads a cult centered around Master Hand.
    Fox: More like...Crazy Hand!
  • Da Chief: Link is in charge of the police force of the Mushroom Kingdom, and he's not afraid to remind you about it either. At the end of the series, Marth takes up this position.
  • Darker and Edgier: Kirby is probably the greatest example of this, while Red is pretty much the only one to be unchanged or otherwise untainted - if not even more innocent.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 8 focuses completely on, ironically, Mario. Luigi and his other allies don't even appear on screen, besides in flashbacks.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Ganondorf's motivation in Episode 10 appears to more or less boil down to "how can heroes possibly go on when evil like Ness and Lucas exists?" The same applies to villains.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Luigi, despite being The Stoic for most of the series, vents his frustration by chucking a glass against a wall in Episode 3, cutting out the background music.
  • Dramatic Unmask: In Episode 10 a figure that seems to be Meta Knight unmasks himself to show he is Kirby, who killed Meta Knight and stole his mask and sword.
  • Dual Wield: In the final episode, Marth wields Ike's old sword as well as his own, while Fox takes up Wolf's blaster. While facing both of the aforementioned, Nana beats down Popo and takes his hammer.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Bowser and Ganondorf make the endless hordes of Game & Watches out as these, the Oldest Ones, the demons that were forgotten by all. They eventually merge into their Final Smash Octopus form.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Zelda appears in a business suit, but Hyrule's been absorbed by the Mushroom Kingdom so she's not really a princess anymore. Princess Peach on the other hand is always wearing her classic pink dress and crown, even when having sex.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Kirby may be a murderer and cannibal, but he won't stand for another inmate attacking Peach when she visits the prison.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: You'd think that Ganondorf would be above this sort of thing but his attempt to use Ness and Lucas was never going to end well for him.
  • Eye Beams: As part of his cult's ritual sacrifice, Falco stares into ROB's eyes and gets lasered in his own.
  • Fallen Hero:
    • Mario was on the border for awhile, but after hospitalizing Donkey Kong in a bar fight, he crossed into outright Anti-Hero territory. That's not to say that most of the cast aren't Anti Heroes to begin with though.
    • Link is enormously bitter and depressed, and has resorted to heavy alcoholism.
  • The Ghost: Despite being an important business owner and Captain Falcon's boss, Tingle never shows up in person.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: Very few characters are clear-cut good or evil in TWBB. Red is the only completely Good characters, while only Kirby, Olimar, and the Ice Climbers are clear-cut Evil. Kirby himself is explicitly stated to be the reason everything fell apart—he taught the people to fear and it broke Mushroom Kingdom culture in half. Peach is the exact opposite—she's been explicitly stated to be the one thing holding the whole place together. The finale also reveals that Ness and Lucas are also VERY clear-cut evil. Of course, they've been completely broken by Kirby, so there's the question of how responsible they are for their own actions that makes their morality far more ambiguous.
  • Head Hat: Kirby reminisces about wearing Daisy’s head like a hat after killing her when talking to Luigi in Episode 7.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Zelda. Link gets better long enough to properly complete his Heel–Face Turn, but Zelda isn't so lucky.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • Lakitu, since Episode 6, finds terror in Mario's laughter after Mario runs him over with a Yoshi. (Ironic in that this happens while he is reporting that the kingdom is rid of the Mario Brothers.
    • The electronic chirps and beeps of the Game & Watches.
      • Fox: What is wrong? What is noises?
    • Absolutely, the off-screen sound of Ness' bat scraping on the ground.
  • Hijacked by Ganon:
    • Both in terms of Ensemble Dark Horse and its original intent.
    • At the end of episode 10, Kirby shows up and tells Ganondorf he did a good job of watching the butchers in his absence before lopping his head off with Meta Knight's sword.
    • It's amusing how much more often that trope is used when the man himself is in the work in question. Ganondorf just can't seem to help himself from hijacking plots. It's what he does.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Samus, of all people, but she uses her position (not that kind of position...) to gather information, and is a very handy source of connections for Luigi.
  • Hope Spot: In the final episode, the previously impaled Link shoots Ganondorf with his light arrows, reveals he's at full health, shoots Ganondorf some more with the Master Sword...and then Ganondorf simply grabs him and explodes his head.
  • Hotter and Sexier: There are at least two sex scenes in the first episode alone.
  • Howl of Sorrow: Wolf does this as he lay dying.
  • Human Sacrifice:
    • Olimar was about to take a knife to Falco for his cult when Mario showed up.
    • Olimar tries to sacrifice Mario for his cult. He ends up using himself when Mario shatters his helmet.
    • Bowser also implies that the reason for the specific M.O. for the killings was so that the trophies made from the victims could be used to control and empower the Game & Watches.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming:
    Captain Falcon: I may have held mercy for you... but there is only one fist that can bruise the face of my angel. FALCOOOOOON... PUNCH!
  • Hypocritical Humor: Saki speculates about whether Sheik is a woman or "one of those androgynous girlie dudes."
    Saki: (To Marth, who would eventually lose his partner Ike) That might be something you want to look into! You're gonna be single soon, anyway, right...!?
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Link in Episode 7. He doesn't bother with the line and has more than one source of ready alcohol on hand...
  • Karma Houdini: By the end of the series, Kirby is still on the loose. Given the overall tone of the series, it's not terribly surprising. Karma seems to have long since decided to take its business elsewhere.
  • Kent Brockman News: Channel 8 Lakitu News. Not so much in the main storyline (where it provides mainly background exposition), but the Breather Episode(s) play it for laughs.
  • Large Ham: Wario all the way, but also Ganondorf has some hammy antics. No wonder both of them stole the episodes they first appeared in.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • Ganondorf was manipulating both Zelda, Olimar and the butcher(s) the whole time.
    • The butcher(s) were manipulating Ganondorf back, on the orders of Kirby.
  • Mind Screw: The series leaves constant clues in reference to the identity of the butcher; in Episode 9 we're led to believe that it's Zelda. In Episode 10 the butchers turn out to be Ness and Lucas (two characters that had gotten no direct clues associated with them and have only had four seconds of total screentime in the entire series before Episode 10).
  • Mob War: Between Bowser, Ganondorf, King Dedede, and Mewtwo. By Episode 9, only Ganondorf is left standing, and then it comes full circle when he's killed by Kirby, the original cause of the chaos.
  • The Mole: Wario sells the main characters out to the corrupt police force.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Farthest towards the "Hero" side would be Luigi and Red, who genuinely want the best for the Mushroom Kingdom and its inhabitants, and work to solve the mysteries in the show without resorting to more extreme methods like Mario or Link. Characters closer to the "Villain" side are people like Wario, who's only out for his own self-interests, then Zelda who forcibly attempts to usurp the Kingdom's power, and finally Kirby at the most extreme, who just likes killing people and sowing fear among the populace.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Samus does justice to the reputation bestowed upon the Zero Suit; Becky Young (her actress) lampshades this in the pre-finale behind-the-scenes video.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • After Zelda murders Link at the end of episode 9, episode 10 opens with her crying in the bathroom.
    • Ganondorf pulls this while watching the Butchers in action. Then they turn on him...
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The identities of the serial killer's first victims: Pichu, Roy, and Mewtwo. (They were playable in Melee, but weren't included in Brawl.)
    • Dr. Mario is also brought up as Mario's failed medical practice. The pills Mario takes are from that game, and in the final episode, when Mario is suiting up, his doctor outfit is hanging next to his cape.
    • In episode 3, when Mario and Luigi are arguing, just after Luigi notices the pills Mario took, Mario pins Luigi against the wall, and you'll notice a poster for Super Mario Bros..
    • Luigi drinks from a Potion Flask from Super Mario Bros. 2.
    • Snake's ongoing love affair with his cardboard box.
    • When Luigi unlocks his apartment door in episode 1, he uses a key from Super Mario Bros. 2, a Phanto enemy from the same game appears behind him.
    • Blink-and-you'll-miss-it, there are two Zelda ones in a row: Link hurls his flask at Navi after one too many "Hey Listen"s In-Universe, and then in the next shot pulls another from his pocket. Multiple bottles, indeed.
    • Possibly unintentional, but in episode ten Link only gets two shots of his full health magic sword off at Ganondorf. The cartoon show had Link proudly announce that three shots of the sword would finish Ganon.
    • Luigi wasn't capable of saving Daisy from Kirby in the backstory; Luigi wasn't playable in the one title (Super Mario Land) where Daisy needed saving.
    • Waluigi references his actual appearances in games in the order he does things, starting with holding a tennis racket (his first appearance was in Mario Tennis) and then the Mario Party line (his next in-game appearance). A bit after that, Red then asks if Waluigi wants to go play go kart with him, which is the next game he appeared in. Finally, he says he has to go to play "Olympics" after giving Red a gift, another game in which he appears.
    • In a sinister vein, the titular Brawl had its basis laid down due to Kirby's reign as the cannibal, and was kicked into motion with Ness and Lucas' actions as the butchers. HAL Laboratories is responsible for the Kirby games, the Mother trilogy, and the Super Smash Bros. series. In fact, if you count Ness as different from Ninten, Kirby was created first, then Ness, then Lucas, and then Super Smash Bros..
    • The kids are from Earthbound, a game where everything starts looking childish and innocent, but ends up being full of Nightmare Fuel. Lucas and Ness look nice at first, but it turns out they are not what they seem.
    • "They've been here since the beginning" is said by Olimar when talking about Mr.G&W and R.O.B, two of Nintendo's first creations, which had practically dissapeared since The '80s. When did they decide to return? In Super Smash Bros., to kick asses! Hence the second part of the quote: "and they don't like what they see".
    • While taunting Luigi in Episode 9, Ganondorf tells him that "Captain [Falcon] and I, we're a lot more similar than you think." In the games, Captain Falcon and Ganondorf have the same moveset.
    • Olimar is referred to as End Of Days. This is a reference to the he stars in Pikmin where you have 30 in game days to complete his ship, as well as his Final Smash in Super Smash Brothers Brawl, "End of Day".
    • In episode 9, Captain Falcon mentions that Pit is Samus's younger brother. Kid Icarus and Metroid were designed by the same person, made on the same engine, released on the same day, and even share an enemy (the Metroids/Kometo).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mario goes to root out the corruption in the police department and save his brother. He even uses the Master Key to open up and rescue everyone unfairly imprisoned... but he also ends up freeing Kirby. Oops. Kirby also takes the the Fire Flower that Mario was carrying around and dropped in the confusion, and uses it to burn Meta Knight. If not for Kirby getting hold of the Fire Flower there's at least a decent chance Meta Knight would have beaten him again.
  • Old Shame:
    • Mario very nearly goes berserk In-Universe when the addled Waluigi says at his arrival, "It's Mario... It's a Mario party!"
    • Any mention of plumbers, for both Mario Brothers. Luigi is rather annoyed, but it's Mario's Berserk Button.
  • One Last Smoke: In a form; the last thing Red does is give Luigi a Jigglypuff so he could listen to her singing. One last random act of kindness.
  • The Oner: In the finale, the scene where Mario uses an Invincibility Star to pound his way through about twenty of Wario's goons for nearly a minute is shot without any breaks. A particularly impressive bit of work, considering the both the low-budget style of the series and the relatively complex fighting that ensues.
  • One-Woman Wail: Or in this case, One-Pokémon Trainer Wail. It provides the background for Peach's kidnapping. He does it again over his own funeral and Yoshi's murder.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
    • Meta Knight seems to be this way with Kirby, seemingly dedicating his life to keeping guard over him. And then when Kirby escapes, Meta Knight responds to it by saying to Luigi; "He's mine... At last." before proceeding to fight him.
    • Mario seemed pretty angry after learning that Bowser was already dead before he had a chance to fight him personally.
  • Pet the Dog: Wario looks after his mentally handicapped brother, Waluigi. Of course, he later has Waluigi assist in the murder of Red.
  • Police Brutality: Ike and Marth go from a recurring Those Two Guys duo to outright Jerkasses when they pick on a couple of homeless characters in Episode 4. The brutality gets worse from there.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Luigi's not a private eye, but his speeches narrate a good deal of the story in a similar fashion. Lampshaded by Bowser. "So you're a private dick now?"
  • Red Herring:
    • The characters don't notice or mention it at all, but there's one directed toward the viewers in the form of Jigglypuff. Red was seen conspicuously hiding her from the others a few times early on, which directly led to a few Wild Mass Guessing theories involving either Red or Jigglypuff being the murderer. Episode 9 reveals that both were innocent in every sense of the word, and Red was merely trying to keep Jigglypuff a surprise for Luigi until he finished training her to sing.
    • Bowser was innocent all along.
    • Meta Knight wasn't the butcher; he was killed by Kirby, who turned out to be the Big Bad, but not the butcher.
    • Luigi's entire profile of the butcher as being "fast, and good with a blade" was wrong! The actual butchers didn't have any particularly notable speed (but did have PK Teleport in the games, though it was never referenced in any of the ten episodes) or proficiency with a blade, like many of the other characters do. They had a snake and a baseball bat and they disembowel their victims using psychic powers. The baseball bat was used to cause blunt force trauma and the snake was used to poison victims. Brilliantly, Kirby actually chastises Luigi for this and hints that he’s on the wrong track. Near everyone ignored this as Kirby just playing mind games.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: Kirby likes to taunt Luigi by fondly recalling how he ate Daisy.
  • Scare Chord: The music playing when Olimar takes Luigi to his spaceship in Episode 5 sets the tone for what comes next. Once they enter the spaceship, the music gets creepier, and the violin screeches when Olimar kills and chops up the Pikmin, combined with their death screams.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Leaf plays a tape of Red singing a slower, almost melancholy rendition of the theme song for Pokémon: The Original Series ("Gotta Catch 'Em All") at Red's funeral. Considering the circumstances, it was almost an unintentional Video Will.
    Red: So, uh... was I any good?
  • Straight Gay: Fire Emblem Tellius Ike and Marth. Unlike Captain Falcon and Pit, they could easily pass for Heterosexual Life-Partners, if it wasn't for a few lines. The dancing together in a gay bar was sort of a hint too.
  • Take That!:
    • Sonic and Snake, the two non-Nintendo characters in the SSB series, are depicted as homeless and crippled, living in boxes in a back alley. The living arrangements, as noted above, are a reference to their Canon Immigrant status. The handicaps, on the other hand, are pure Take That!.
    • There's a Take That! in the first episode to nothing else but the Wii itself, with Luigi passing by a poster promoting Wii Fit while narrating: "Things aren't the same anymore."
    • In the final episode, the entire story is heavily implied to be be a Take That to Nintendo's policies in marketing and game development, when End of Days mentions how the Nintendo Building is a monument to those who had long abandoned them. The Neglectful Precursors themes, the abandonment of the old "heroes and villains" dichotomy... perhaps a statement about Nintendo's apparent abandonment of old fan-favorite game styles to push for the non-gamer market?
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Fox pushed Marth out of the way of one of G&W's tentacles.
    • Zelda tries to do this. It does not go well...
  • Taking You with Me: Bowser, who's already been poisoned and is dying, uses a Bob-omb against a horde of Game & Watches to let Luigi escape.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: How the plot eventually ties together.
    • Plot A: Luigi attempts to rescue Peach and salvage what's left of the kingdom, by finding and defeating the butcher.
    • Plot B: Mario is tired of how things have fallen after the glory days, and raises an army of allies to lash out at those he deems responsible.
    • Plot C: The chaos of the power void caused by the disintegrating mob balance, disappearance of the ruling princess, and power grabbing of the police force (Zelda, Link)
    • Plot D: The ever-present, yet seldom active, threat of the Butcher.
  • Verbal Tic: Samus uses her preferred term of endearment, "sugar," at such a preposterous frequency that it qualifies.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: The phrase is used explicitly by Link to Zelda. The trope also applies, although to a much more extreme extent.
  • Wham Episode: The final episode comes along... in which more than half of the remaining cast dies.