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Episode 2: "King Mario of Cramalot"

CARTOON SUMMARY

Mario and co. travel to the land of Cramalot to find the fabled magician Mervin, who will hopefully be a helpful ally against Koopa. No sooner have they arrived than they are attacked by a group of badly-animated Beezos. Panic all round, until they are saved by none other than the elusive Mervin, who takes them to his lofty three-piece apartment (complete with oooh, two pieces of furniture) and explains how Koopa has taken over the throne of Cramalot after the old king died. Actually, he doesn't explain, it just happened. My guess is that Koopa won the elections by making false promises about improved medical facilities and free Sailor Moon trading cards and that Mervin's too embarrassed to admit that the people fell for it.

Anyway, to become the legitimate king, one must pull a sacred golden plunger from a sink in the middle of the town (my knowledge of politics is strictly zero, but something tells me this is a bit far-fetched). Mario immediately pulls the plunger from the sink in front of the entire population of Cramalot (a measly three figurants), only to have it ripped off straight away by Koopa who then chucks him and the others into his prison. You'll notice, by the way, that Koopa absolutely always puts them into a prison instead of attempting to kill them on the spot. Maybe he's got a thing with handcuffs and bondage as well as with feet? Either that or he's very slow on the uptake. Or both. Inside the prison, the situation soon turns to disaster: the ceiling comes down, the room fills with water, and the release of the latest Ranma 1/2 videotape gets delayed. Mervin pops by and rescues them from these terrors (including the crap directing) by teleporting them to a swampy area, where Mario is given the saint plumbers' snake Excalibur (the Holy Handgrenades were temporarily out of stock), which gives him his transformation.

Time to storm Koopa's castle, then. After Luigi succeeds in jumping over the Trouter-infested moat (Luigi was chosen instead of the powered-up Mario for this task because he would very probably fall in, thus giving the others the chance to swim past while the Trouters were devouring Luigi. Probably.), the full-frontal attack against Koopa is launched. "To heck with believable attack tactics, let's just storm an entire castle with only five people!". Surprisingly, it works, and after a bit of dueling, the Plunger of Oblivion is knocked out of Koopa’s hands and he buggers off through a warp zone. As a little final scene, Mario is offered the title of king of Cramalot, but he refuses when he finds out about the inflation rate and the growing number of suicides in Cramalot. Actually, that's a lie. He declines the offer because a king must, apparently be in great shape and have a superbly sleek and sexy figure (it's a tough job...), and Mario hates the idea of dieting and exercising. Same here. Mervin is then crowned king, even though he has a figure like a disused coffee dispenser. I told you politics were freaky.....

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Mario gets to transform and have a bit of a duel with Koopa
  • Koopa gets to do a lot of shouting. His voice actor must have a set of humongous lungs to keep that up
  • Quite fast-moving storyline again.
  • Some of the dialog could have been quite funny....
WHAT'S BAD?
  • ...Unfortunately, all of the "witty" dialog seems hopelessly out of place due to very lame directing.
  • Animation quality has taken a bit of a plunge as well.
  • Toad still has his bogus color scheme.
  • The plot has some gaping holes in it here and there.
OVERALL
Some serious flaws. Lazy animation makes some scenes look simply ridiculous, most of the wisecracks seem quite clumsy as well. What really does this episode in, though, is the lame-arsed directing (example: the scene with the Beezos at the beginning has some very sluggish timing). A showcase of both shoddy directing and animation is the scene when the ceiling is lowered in the prison: the height and speed of the ceiling keeps switching around with zero logic. Shame, that, as it had some promise, with an occasionally witty script and big battle scene at the end, complete with a transformation for Mario, but that really can't save this episode.

EPISODE RATING: 2.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
A girl turns up on Mario and Luigi's doorstep, claiming to be "Patty, the sad-eyed orphan girl" (tm and c. 1989, Unlikely Productions). She immediately puts on a tremendous melodrama act. Suckered by this, Mario and Luigi agree to throw her a birthday party, which translates into dumping the brat in front of the TV with a load of fatmakers. She starts to act like a horrid pain as well, but then her real parents turn up and her devious little scheme is blown wide open. Her father grounds her "until the year 2000!". Just a few more months to go then, Pat.