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Episode 16: "Toad Warriors"

CARTOON SUMMARY

A horrible catastrophe has struck Carland: Koopa and his boys have ripped off all of the region's spaghetti sauce. And for some reason, everyone minds terribly (my guess is that this spaghetti sauce thing is really a cover for something severely drug-induced). But anyway, such is the amplitude of this calamity that even the UN army was too scared to come, so Mario and his gang have to head over there to clear up this mess. While they're driving to the "rebel fort", where the last independent spaghetti sauce plant is located (I'm convinced it's really a drug affair) using a bizarre sort of car, they're immediately attacked by a Koopa Troopa with a funky pink mohawk, who...uhm..."arrests" them. I suppose it's more original than to machine-gun them on the spot. The Troopa radios this happy news to Koopa, who reveals his cruel plot to completely trample the rebel fort and nab their last reserve of spaghetti sauce (on a side note: check out his kitto kakkoii outfit and huge wig). The Koopa Troopa then continues to harrass the Mario gang, but a sudden "Mushroom rebel chopper" (made, very fittingly, out of an old dustbin) comes to their rescue. Or rather, the Princess is rescued, while the others are left to die. And before Mario and co. remember about the Troopa, he has already set a Bob-Omb onto them. Toad then makes scandalous remarks about the Bob-omb's bra size, which causes the bomb bloke to, quite literally, blow a fuse. Using the panic this causes for cover, the Marios dart off. The Princess is then delivered to the rebel fort, where she is of no use whatsoever, as Koopa enacts his massive attack of the fort.

The mushroom rebels make some attempts at fighting back, but Koopa's heavy artillery (a bunch of eggs) proves to be too much for them. The Princess then radios Mario and co, who were loafing around in their car, and tells them to get a flamin' move on. They act upon this advice, since they have a horde of Koopa's freaks on their tails as well. They manage to shake them off with an intricate and extremely precise strategy: they crash their car into a parked truck, and are flung miles into the air (remember, the word "gravity" is unknown to the staff). Toad nabs a nearby star, and they all fall right into the rebel fort, onto a pile of very well-placed pillows. Koopa will have none of that, however, and sends out his answer to the Evangelion: the Thunderbirdo. Also known as the amazing color-changing Thunderbirdo, for his ability to miraculously switch from pink to green when the animators aren't looking. This Thunderbirdo then fires an egg of obliteration onto the rebel fort, thus blowing it to bits.

But the Mario gang still isn't dead (they were hiding in the loo to shield themselves from the blast), and decide to enact their counterattack. Step one is to divert Koopa's attention. To this end, one last truck full of XTC is used. Luigi will provide back-up with a dustbin-chopper. He doesn't want to be dumped into a dustbin, but everyone ignores his complaints. Finally, Toad uses the star he had gotten earlier on to transform into something almost as twisted as the Sailor Star Lights; "Fighter star power, Make Up!", and voila, he has transformed into the "Toad Warrior", complete with his own David Harleyson (but no leather gear and gender-swapping). Mario and the Princess then drive the desirable truck away, right in front of Koopa's nose, who sito presto sends his whole armada after them. Que a big highway chase / silly fight scene where several Koopa Troopas are blown to bits. Things get a bit tricky for Mario and the Princess when Mouser attacks them with the Eggvangelion (that would be the Thunderbirdo), but the Princess soon settles this problem. With a near-suicidical display of gravity-defiance, she clambers onto the roof of the speeding truck and lobs a bag of bob-ombs into the doomsday machine's mouth. The whole thing explodes, and while Mouser is being flung through the air, Luigi dumps a bomb onto him, just for good measure. That takes care of Koopa's little playmates, but Koopa himself has moved on to bigger things. He has signed a suicide pact with Toad, or something, and they both drive their vehicles into a gaping chasm. Toad manages to jump across to the other side, but Koopa doesn't (he's been putting on a few pounds lately), and plummets to his doom. Joy all round, as Mario starts to gulp down the entire contents of the LSD-truck. He had been yearning and burning for it.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Koopa's at the peak of his kinky glory, with one of his finest outfits in the whole series, complete with funky blue wig.
  • Some of the mecha and car designs are quite inventive
  • Lots of action to enjoy (even the Princess actually *does* something)
  • Some focus on Toad for a change, with a transformation and everything
  • Even Koopa's boys get to wear funky gear.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • Animation quality isn't exactly eye-popping.
  • A very limited color palette gives the whole thing a slightly drab and bleak look.
  • That spaghetti sauce excuse is a bit suspicious, if you ask me....
OVERALL
After a hefty amount of so-so episodes, this comes as a pleasant surprise. Good enough battle scenes, clever designs and quite a lot of fun all round. It's worth it just for Koopa's blue hair.

EPISODE RATING: 4.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
Mario has arranged himself a date with some woman. Every woman who agrees to date him must be a bit odd, really, and this one's no exception: she rips off her hands and walks in a freaky fashion. The reason: she's really an alien, which is revealed to the Marios in a flurry of hopeless special effects, dim excuses and stock-shots from other films.