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Episode 22: "The Adventures of Sherlock Mario"

CARTOON SUMMARY

This time, Mario and his partners in crime find themselves in the city of Victoria, where dodgy things go on in the night. Their aim is to track down the fabled master-detective Herlock Solmes, who will hopefully be of precious aid to them in their crusade against Koopa. As they drive around the nightly streets in a horse and carriage, they exchange a few lame witticisms. However, they're alerted by a sudden spine-chilling howl of terror. Well, actually, it's just a muffled and unconvincing voice saying "Help..." in a not so very urgent tone, but this still impresses Luigi a lot.

While the director takes a quick nap, they decide to go see where the screams of despair are coming from. Once they reach the crime scene, it is already too late and bleeding corpses litter the pavement. Allright, there are no bleeding corpses, instead, all they find is the hat and magnifying glass of Herlock Solmes. Toad: "But where's Solmsie-wolmsie?" (Pet nicknames already? I didn't know Toad was such a fast mover). Well, he appears to have been kidnapped. And the one behind this hair-raising crime is none other than the resident king of kink, our very own Koopa.

He has set up his secret HQ in the sewers (rent's cheaper there), where he has shockingly tied Solmes-san (who always has an enormous ice cream cone stuck between his lips for no reason whatsoever) to a chair. He cruelly mocks the imprisoned detective and bets a fortune that Solmes will fail to guess what Koopa's next evil scenario will be. However, Solmes has read this episode's script (he had to be hospitalized for a month afterwards), so he knows perfectly well that Koopa's next move will be to rip off the "Retro Rooter". What on earth is the "Retro Rooter"? An extremely sought-after CD compilation of the greatest hits from the sixties? A hyper-effective anti-aging skin cream? It remains shrouded in mystery, and the pointless little scene where Mouser, Triclyde and Koopa Troopa fly at each other's throats doesn't help to clear it up either.

Mario and the others, meanwhile, have scandalously broken into Solmes' apartment, located, very appropriately, on "Bonkers Street". Inside, they find garishly-colored tapestries, inflated furniture, and Solmes' Philips deluxe 2000 answering machine (with battery-saving system and 15 memory slots), on which a message is recorded revealing Koopa's horrendous intention to make the still-mysterious Retro Rooter his own. Even though nobody has any idea whatsoever as to what this Retro Rooter thing is supposed to -be- exactly, it is still unanimously decided that Koopa's twisted scheme must be halted.

Next scene: Koopa and his boys have found a surprisingly inventive method of breaking into the building where the object of their desires is located. By wearing Afro wigs and stuffing their bras with bowling balls, they've managed to bypass the building's security system (they're supposed to be dressed up as royal guards, I presume, but it's not very convincing). With some help from a magic potion flask, the Retro Rooter is soon enough in their grasp. The mysterious engine looks like an unfortunate hybrid of a tape recorder and a Saint Seiya action figure, and I still can't sort out what it's use is supposed to be, but the Koopa clan seem happy enough to possess this oddball engine. However, they find that the Mario group was one step ahead of them, as they were awaiting Koopa and his boys, while hiding inside medieval armors. Que battle scene. The Mario gang bravely try to kill their foes by slapping at their noses with plungers and employing painstakingly lame witticisms. It's of no use at all, as the Koopa team fight back with heavy metal weaponry, and Mario and co soon find themselves outclassed by this. Koopa delivers the finishing blow by capturing them with a large magnet. After their defeat, they are tied to a wooden slab, while an extremely badly-animated giant automatic axe menacingly swings ever closer to them. Predicting that they will soon enough be gorily murdered by this axe, Koopa leaves the scene, but Mario has one more unlikely trick up his sleeve; by gobbling up a meatball sandwich, he manages a belly-power boost which destroys the ropes that were keeping him imprisoned. He rapidly liberates the others, and all is well with the world. Only not quite, as Koopa's devoted slaves are as of now tinkering with the Retro Rooter so that they can eventually harness it's awe-inspiring power to "flood all of Victoria with sewer water". Well, why didn't you blummin' say so sooner? The honk-nosed Solmes is not too impressed, however, and he reveals profoundly shocking details about Koopa's past.

Mario and the others, meanwhile, are seeking for a way to locate Koopa's secret HQ. Like a bolt out of the blue, they suddenly notice a set of strikingly obvious "Koopa paw prints". Question: how could Koopa possibly leave prints so obvious that they look as if they were painted onto the pavement with pitch-black Bison Tex extra resistant paint? It's very well possible that he hasn't washed his feet in twenty years, I know, but he -was- wearing shoes. Discarding this slightly illogical plot element, the Mario group follow these prints through some streets, up an electric pole (why did Koopa climb an electric pole, then?), and finally, into the sewers. They perform a dramatic entrance just when Koopa's about to activate his doomsday machine, but he's not impressed. Even the fact that the animators forgot to draw the Retro Rooter's activation lever (look closely) can't stop him now: he goes ahead and turns on the terrifying device. This results in a horrendously cheap and unconvincing special effect that is supposed to give the impression that the entire city is being flooded (it doesn't work too well, however). Mario is determined to stop this display of dodgy animation, and so, they once again engage in terrifying mortal combat with Koopa and co. Only this time, the Mario bunch fight dirty. Toad, the Princess and Luigi rapidly defeat Mouser, Triclyde and the Troopa by kicking them right where it hurts. Mario then elegantly soars through the air (-not!-) and delivers a fulgurating effective flying drop kick to Koopa's beer-belly. The stunning impact of this offense sends Koopa flying, and he crashes into the Retro Rooter, thus completely knackering this delicate piece of machinery. The sewer water is drained away from the city streets (animation quality is yet again strictly hopeless) and Solmes is untied from his chair. The genial detective then states the obvious by informing Koopa that his bloodthirsty plot has become a flop. But that doesn't bother Koopa, he just hops off through a warp zone. Aw, nuts. Rounding off, the Mario bunch head over to Solmes' deluxe suite, where Mario gets bitten by a rabid lab rat. Ooh, painful.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Not one, but two pretty good outfits for both Koopa and his back-up boys. What a deal.
  • Oh joy, a decent amount of big fight scenes.
  • Some nice enough background paintings.
  • It's pleasing to see Mouser and co in action again.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • Solmes' shockingly overdone attempt at hiding the fact that his voice actor is American is a simply intolerable display of us brill Europeans getting stereotyped. It cannot go unpunished.
  • Solmes is also a useless and irritating (and not to mention rather badly drawn) character.
  • In some places, the animation leaves a lot to be desired.
  • The part with the paw prints is just desperate.
  • Once again, this follows the "typical" SMBSS plotline formula just a little too closely.
  • A good dose of hopelessly clumsy attempts at verbal humor.
OVERALL
Well, we're back to this again. Another not very inventive episode that follows the established SMBSS plot pattern almost to the letter. The participation of Koopa's boys and the decent amount of action make it bearable, but there's better out there.

EPISODE RATING: 3.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
The supreme god of plumbers, who goes by the name of "the Imperial Poogah" (no, seriously) pays a visit to Mario and Luigi's home, and boy is he annoying. He brings good tiding, however; Mario and Luigi have been chosen for the "plumbers of the year award". To receive it, they must first pass a bit of a test. They almost fail to do so, but just when all seems lost, they manage to impress the hell out of Poogah-sama by creatively employing a leftover pizza as a plumbing tool. They are then entitled to the award plus a set of deluxe steak knives to slash their wrists with. Be warned: the overdone canned laughter and the extremely irritating tendencies of the unfortunately-named Poogah will give you strong urges to embed a shotgun shell into your TV set. Temper, temper..