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Episode 32: "20,000 Koopas Under the Sea"

CARTOON SUMMARY

Mario and the others have traveled to the ocean world, seeking for help against Koopa (but quite what they hoped to find there is a mystery to me). However, as soon as they have arrived in the suspiciously-named town of "Happy Harbor" (no doubt full of sinister "hey, sailor!"-style goings-on), disaster strikes. From the depths of the halfway convincingly-drawn ocean emerges a terrifying robot. The Mario bunch, who are very quick on the uptake, mistake the robot for a sea monster and watch in horror as the metallic beast violently destroys ships made out of rice crackers, and the sound mixer gets the timing for the "jump and run away" sound effect totally wrong. They then begin to run at a pensioner's pace, and are hurled into the air by a shoddily-drawn tidal wave, generated by the robot monster's violent rampage. While they recover from this rough welcoming, and Toad dries his wig, they suddenly spot Koopa, who is giving a speech to the inhabitants of Happy Harbor (all six of them). Koopa makes the Happy Harborians an offer they can't possibly resist: "Kiss Koopa's feet and I'll gladly get rid of the sea monster for you". Again with the foot fixation. Doesn't he ever lay off? The population of Happy Harbor replies by saying "zwurglegurglegleebledee", which means nothing at all. The Princess then enters the conversation and tells them that under no circumstance they should trust Koopa, and slurping his feet is also an action she advises against. The Happy Harborians: "morglegworglewubbledabblebaa". Mario: "Yeah, that's right". Koopa retaliates against these fulguratingly strong arguments by asking them how exactly they plan on murdering the sea monster, if they think they're that bright. This places them in a tricky position, especially since Mario and the Princess have forgotten their script. However, another person then enters the conversation; the fearsome captain Abbadab, and her hairstyle like two dried carrots, her chin bigger than her legs, her physique like a steroid-pumped clothes iron and her gorilla-like arms. The sort of thing that makes Sailor Uranus look petite. Actually, she'd make the Frankenstein's monster look petite. And her intention is to go out there on her ship and punch the sea monster robot's face in. A disgruntled Koopa then pushes off, and captain Abbadab asks who will volunteer to be her crew to hunt down the monster. All of the Happy Harbor people run away in terror, which is quite a natural course of action to take. Except for the Mario bunch, who're not that bright and prefer to just stand around, which just leaves them as the "volunteers". They are then taken to Abbadab's ship, "The Mighty Peepot". Or maybe that's supposed to be "Peapod". It's difficult to tell (and it looks like a giant shoe).

As soon as they've boarded the ship, Mario, Luigi and Toad injure themselves by committing acts of extreme clumsiness, which doesn't lift Abbadab's spirits. Then it's out to the sea, but the monster is nowhere to be seen. So captain Abbadab decides to stick her head in a tea kettle and jump into the water. The Mario bunch follow her, and the monster hunt is continued under water. Mysteriously, everyone is able to breathe and speak underwater without suffocating. Maybe Mario and co have got gills in unexpected places. Or maybe the scriptwriter just doesn't have a brain. However, as Luigi feared, they are then attacked by the famous sea monster. A fearless Mario fires a plunger-lasso gun at the monster's mug, thus attaching a plunger on a rope to the beast's nose. This is of no use at all, however, as the monster can easily swim away and drag Mario, Luigi and the Princess behind itself. Before long, the rope snaps and the monster comes after them. They run in panic, but alas, they're unable to escape and the monster swallows all three of them alive. Toad and captain Abbadab are mildly concerned, and when the monster comes after them, a rapid intervention of Abbadab is enough to stay out of harm's way. The monster then swims off, Toad and Abbadab return to the surface, and Toad laments the tragic death of Mario, Luigi and the Princess. Only they're not dead (oh, drat), they're still alive and well, and walking around in the dark belly of the robot (aptly simulated with a black layer of celluloid). At that moment, Koopa arrives and switches on the lights, thus revealing that they're not inside a monster's entrails, but that this creature is really a submarine, which greatly mystifies the Princess. Koopa then explains that this is his sub, "the Koopaliss". For those who still hadn't guessed, this means that Koopa was behind the "monster attacks" on Happy Harbor, whose people he tried to trick into making him their ruler. Oh, the despicable swine. But now he's had a change of heart; instead of becoming Happy Harbor's king (which isn't worth bothering with, really), he decides to be sensible and go trash the entire town of Happy Harbor with his deadly robot instead. And in the meantime, he makes Mario and co into his "galley slaves" (uh oh...). This translates into forcing them to peel grapefruits. Well, they're supposed to be onions, but it's hard to tell. The tragic idiocy of this plot element makes them cry their eyes out, but Mario decides to warn Toad and captain Abbadab (that is, warn them of the crap scripting), by sending them messages. They've got no fax, but they can use empty bottles of tequila instead. Exactly 7.63 seconds later, a floating bottle with a message is found by Toad and Abbadab (who needs e-mail?), who have gotten back on board Abby's ship.

The message reveals to them that, not only can Mario write, but also, he and the others are still alive and Koopa is planning to wreck the town with his robot beast. Abbadab decides to take swift action to counter this. She "takes a shortcut home" (a shortcut on the open sea? Mr. scriptwriter? Hello?), and once Koopa's fearsome machine surfaces, she uses a bizarre spoon-catapult to launch Toad into the robot's snapping jaws. Once inside the robot, Toad rapidly frees Mario and co from their onion-peeling chamber. Que little reunition scene, after which they're off to put a halt to the destruction of Happy Harbor. Only they'll have to hurry, as Koopa is getting dangerously close. The situation is drastic; the seven inhabitants of the town are menaced. Alas, Mario and co aren't getting anywhere, as Koopa has noticed their escape and sends his Bloobers after them. Everyone runs in terror and hops out of the robot's gaping maw (which suddenly features a funky big pink tongue), into the sea. But the Bloobers continue to follow them underwater, and end up trapping them in a "dead end" (no-one thinks of just swimming upwards). But it's allright, as Luigi discovers a few Starmen on a nearby wall. Mario and Luigi then transform, and an odd song begins to play. Immediately, a bunch of Bloober tentacles seize the Princess (who's been watching hentai videos, then?), and the Mario bros engage in a thrilling fireball fight with the freaky jellyfish. The four Bloobers are rapidly killed off with some precise fireballing, after which it's Koopa's turn to go down. The Marios hop out of the water and land on the head of Koopa's robot. Koopa catches sight of them through his funky-looking periscope (with Mss Slocombe-style visor), and is most displeased. In an attempt to shake them off from his robot, he begins to steer around like mad, and ends up losing control of his robot and crashing it to pieces on the Happy Harbor coastline. The menacing robot is destroyed, everyone cheers for the Marios, and Koopa (in a bizarrely kawaii pose) sulks a bit.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • The Bloobers as the main flunkies are a refreshing addition.
  • A double transformation always adds a little something.
  • Nice underwater scenes.
  • The battle against the Bloobers is actually quite well done.
  • Abbadab, although ridiculously ugly, was quite likeable for her no-nonsense bravery. Besides, androgynous characters are just too cool.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • It's a bit mysterious how everyone can just breathe and speak underwater. Drowning seems to be impossible.
  • Some of the script and storyline was slightly dim.
  • The way Koopa's robot was finished off was terribly rushed.
OVERALL
Ah, this is like a breath of fresh air. There may be a few pretty dumb plot elements in here, but overall, this episode is very well done, with lots to enjoy. The appearance of the Bloobers and the double transformation alone make this worth the while. Certainly one of the better eps.

EPISODE RATING: 4.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
Mario and Luigi are being terrorized by a very cheap-looking rubber bat on an string. They hire an exterminator, and the vampire blokey from episode 8 shows up (it really is the same bloke, you can tell immediately). Que lots of painstaking jokes that serve to explain that the rubber bat and the vampire are really one and the same. When the Marios finally do cotton on, the vampire does a little melodramatic speech, and that's the end of it. Tsch, they already used the vampire gimmick in the 8th episode (with the same actor), and it wasn't funny back then. Incredibly, it's even more lame and boring this time.