Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 

Episode 18: "Count Koopula"

CARTOON SUMMARY

For absolutely no reason at all, the Mario crew find themselves in the region of Turtlevania, and it is a most unpleasant place indeed. Moody lighting, depressing scenery and rotten weather all round. The rainy weather in particular causes them grief, as they have been soaked for hours. Should've thought of a brolly, then. Still, Mario assumes, in his naive optimism, that they'll soon enough find a deluxe hotel for the night.

There's a ring of truth about this, as Koopa is at that moment spying on them from his lovely penthouse, and he's got a night that they'll never forget in store for them. I'm not sure what he's up to exactly, but he employs the phrase "I'll make them regret that they ever came to Turtlevania!". Whatever this translates into, they -really- are in mortal peril this time. Koopa then dispatches a bizarre Tweeter bat to lure the Mario gang into his palace o' pleasures. The fiendish bat strikes just when Mario was about to stuff his face with a helping of spare extra back-up spaghetti, and scandalously, the bat attempts to rip off Mario's carton of spaghetti. Mario, Toad and the Princess bravely cling onto the carton of spaghetti, while Luigi shamelessly peeks up the Princess' dress. Note that the spaghetti carton is extremely sturdy and can actually support the weight of three people (including tubby old Mario) hanging from it. Great, titanium alloy spaghetti packaging, just what our modern society needs. Still, despite their valiant efforts, the defenseless spaghetti is abducted and taken to Koopa's funhouse, while it screams in mortal terror. Allright, so it doesn't scream, but Mario is still compelled to head over there and rescue his spaghetti.

Once they arrive at the bizarre castle, they somehow presume that it's a hotel, and after some debating at the front door (Luigi suspects that something indecent is going on in there. He's a man of the world, see), Mario rings the doorbell. The door is sito presto answered by Mouser, who has draped a Tati scarf around his mug (he can't afford a proper Hermes). Mario, who is a very impulsive person, promptly tells Mouser that he wants to spend the night at his place. The spooky bit is that Mouser actually responds to this rather unsophisticated flirtation technique of Mario by telling him that they have "rooms you'll never forget". Funny, I didn't know that Mouser went for the Latin type. Anyway, while Mouser leads them to their rooms, it strikes Luigi that the paintings hanging on the walls are very badly drawn, and that a scandalously cheap special effect has been used to make it looks as if they have moving eyes (the paintings, not the Mario crew). He tries to alert the others of this, but nobody cares. The Princess is then lead into deluxe suite number 1, Mario and Luigi are plonked into room number 2, and Toad is roughly shoved into room number 3. Alerted by this sudden outbreak of non-mannerism, Toad finally sees through Mouser's semi-disguise, and realizes, a little too late, that they are in danger of falling prey to Koopa's perverse practices. Alas, Mouser has already locked the door, and Toad is now imprisoned.

Mario and Luigi are still blissfully unaware of the horrors that await them, but they are soon enough alerted by the second entrance of that Tweeter bat, who rips off Mario's second spare extra back-up pasta ration. Terrified by this shockingly dumb plot element, the Marios try to flee, but they find that their door is locked as well. Toad, meanwhile has engaged a conversation with a badly-drawn gargoyle who actually talks back to Toad. It tells him to get bent, and Toad, angered by this, hurls himself at the insolent gargoyle. Through sheer coincidence and extreme dumb luck, this unlocks a secret passageway, which allows Toad to escape. He then heads over to the Mario Bros. room and sets them free as well. Then, it's on to the Princess' room to free her, but it's at that point that things get a bit hairy. Almost as soon as they've set foot into the Princess' room, Koopa and Mouser make their entrance, and throw horrifying verbal menaces at them. Luckily, the director is stoned again, so they manage to rapidly slam the doors shut right into Koopa's face, who seems to have been paralyzed on the spot. They then flush themselves down the drain as an alternate escape route. This leads to some kind of storage chamber where they're assaulted by a bunch of bizarre spiders. The Princess saves the situation by roasting the spiders with a potted piranha flower. No, seriously, the Princess actually does something remotely useful. Mario then takes a moment to contemplate the stash of tomato sauce (again with the tomato sauce obsession), but nobody cares about this. Instead, they watch from a window as Koopa evolves his Pokémon (actually, he turns some of his Troopas into "wereturtles") and then sends the growling beasts after the Mario crew. The Princess doesn't like Pokémon, but luckily, some tomato sauce smeared over the bottom of the stairs causes the aggressive beasts to slide around in salto mortale, thus allowing the Mario gang to quickly escape via a trap door. One of Koopa's boys didn't get the message and tries to harass them once more, but an empty bottle, flung with gusto by Toad soon sees him off. The four weirdoes then tumble down a set of stairs, which leads them to an even more bizarre room where a bunch of zombie Goombas (very kawaii! ^^), are being cruel to defenseless tomatoes. This, then would be the castle's spaghetti sauce plant. Everyone tries to discreetly sneak past the Goombas, but Mario ruins the whole thing by slurping up some tomato sauce and commenting that it could use some XTC. The Goombas are now well aware of our heroes' presence, and so is Koopa, who has popped by for the occasion.

This is where things really get twisted. Toad, Luigi and Mario are taken to Koopa's S&M dungeon where Mouser subjects them to twisted tortures (it's too horrendously sick to describe. Let's just say that Koopa's foot-fetish shines through once again). Toad rapidly finds a way out of this sticky situation. He begs mistress Mouser to make the pain stop. Mouser does exactly the opposite of that and decides to give Toad another go on the rack. Alas, Mouser gets so excited that he over-winds the torture rack's mechanism. The whole thing flies to pieces, and Mouser is sent crashing into a wall. The Marios then head after Koopa, who has taken the Princess to his private room, where he intends to "initiate her into the brotherhood of LSD vampires". The Princess then hits him with a particularly fulgurating argument: "Brotherhood? But I'm a girl". I'll leave you to figure out what exactly Koopa is going to do to her in response of that (whatever it is, the ELSPA won't like it), it was too sick to show on-screen as it is. Instead, we get to see the Marios coming up with a complex and intricate battle strategy. They stuff their faces with garlic, seeing as how vampires hate that, and Koopa is posing as a vampire. Then they blindly rush in, and violently destroy Koopa's Laura Ashley curtains. A ray of obstructive sunlight then falls upon Koopa, who is devastated over the loss of his Laura Ashley curtains. As a finishing blow, Mario hits Koopa with his murderous garlic breath (didn't they use that same gimmick in Sailor Moon R?). Before such horrors, Koopa can only run off quickly. Or rather, turn himself into a bat and fly off. Flop, down comes his entire castle (he should stop hiring such cheap builders, it's beginning to resemble a Fawlty Towers trend), and to commemorate the happy event, Mario then stuffs his face with some more spare leftover extra back-up pasta, and Luigi calls him a monster.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Look! Real, genuine lightning effects! (Here and there)
  • Fast-moving, action-packed storyline
  • The horror movie motif works quite well
  • The background paintings are done quite nicely.
  • The cuddly zombie Goombas ^o^
WHAT'S BAD?
  • At some points, the plot hangs together like a soggy potato crisp.
  • Will somebody please wake up the director?
  • There is something profoundly sick and twisted going on behind the scenes in this episode. Handle with care if you're easily repulsed by perverse overtones.
OVERALL
Sure, it has it's plot flaws, but there's enough good stuff and silly fun to make up for that. And the gothic setting adds a little extra, so it's good enough in the end. The slightly better than average animation quality is a nice plus as well.

EPISODE RATING: 4.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
A bizarre, and extremely boring magician bloke pops by and teaches Luigi how to make things vanish. Luigi makes a basketball, a bunch of oranges, a huge telephone bill, and the incriminating photos of him and the janitor vanish. And then, in his infinite idiocy, he makes Mario vanish. He minds terribly (Mario still owes him money), so he ends up calling upon the yawnerific magician bloke to bring his bro back.