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Episode 34: "Mario Meets Koopzilla"

CARTOON SUMMARY

Mario and the others have traveled to the city of Sayonara (right next to the town of Konnichiwa). I'm guessing that this Sayonara thing is supposed to be a tacky parody on Tokyo. Only with no Tokyo Tower and no Pokémon centre boutiques, and everyone speaking English (with Yank accents) rather than Japanese, it's a funny kind of Tokyo. The Mario gang are looking for a formidable weapon called "Super Sushi" (I mean it). Apparently, eating it will double your size. Instead of taking the Yamanote line subway, Luigi is cruelly force to drag the others around in an Indian rickshaw carriage, while he wears a Chinese monk's hat on his bonce (can't the writers make up their mind which part of Asia they're stereotyping?). However, at that point, this very sluggishly-timed scene comes to an end as a violent earthquake shakes the city, and everyone crashes to the ground. Luigi's Chinese hat has mysteriously disappeared as well. The earth trembles and averagely-drawn figurants flee in terror. Is it a nuclear bomb? A rampaging scriptwriter? No, the full horror of a gigantic Koopa, or as Mario puts it: "Koop-zilla" then appears in front of them and employs naff witticisms against them. This frightens the Mario bunch terribly, and they leg it full pace. Mario reasons that the only one who can explain how Koopa has suddenly grown to skyscraper size is the scientist who created this "super sushi" thing. So, they head to a giant milk carton where the scientist in question, the dubiously-named Dr T. Garden (haw haw) lives. Mario and the good doctor promptly head-butt each other. Doc T then begins to explain about Koopa. Apparently, his laboratory's hidden camera has taped the whole event. This hidden camera, as it seems, also has it's hidden cameraman, as it's able to do zooms, pans, rapid cuts, and even film footage from -outside- the building, all by itself. I knew that the Japanese were clever with cameras, but this....Anyway, this mysterious camera footage reveals that Koopa has brashly stumbled in when the doc had just finished microwaving a large plate of this super sushi thing. Koopa then immediately ripped off this helping of super sushi and gulped it down (Toad's comment on Koopa's dodgy eating habits: "I didn't know he could be such a pig!". Toad doesn't know him very well). The result was that the effect of the super sushi has turned Koopa to giant size. Immediate action against his destruction of the city must be undertaken at once.

While Koopa easily brushes off attacks from badly-drawn planes and tanks, pausing to munch on a few buildings, Mario and Luigi drive around the streets on a motorcycle, with a painful "looping" background image. They locate Koopa, and Mario begins to insult him horribly. Now that Koopa's feelings are hurt, he begins to chase after the motorcycle-bound Marios. They lure him into an alley, where phase two of their complex strategy is enacted: Toad and the Princess dump a big net over him. Mario boasts that Koopa will never be able to escape this solid steel net (it looks strangely flimsy for solid steel, but oh well). However, Koopa, in a complete violation of the "one natty net can stop everything" rule easily breaks out of this net and in a fit of anger, chases the Marios again, who make tracks with their motorcycle. Mario tells Luigi to "run for your life!". What, drive a motorcycle -and- run at the same time, Mario? They manage to hide in a manhole with Toad and the Princess, but Koopa reaches into this manhole with his giant hand and tries to grab Mario and co, which frightens them. Mario finds a way out of this silly situation; he breaks off a part of a drainpipe with his bare hands, and painfully stabs Koopa's finger with this sharp-edged drainpipe fragment. Such is that agony of this that Koopa soars right into the air and crashes onto the ground. Note that the streets are so wide that not one building is injured. Not even when a supposedly huge monster is hurled around. Koopa then walks off, menacing that he'll reduce the entire studio to rubble (it's a good thing they hadn't stabbed his foot; it would've sent him into a murderous rage). But Mario and co have prepared a counter-offence. The good Doctor Garden has finished a new batch of super sushi with his tacky-looking machine, and Mario sito presto pigs out on this super sushi. And voila, Mario grows to huge size as well, and in the process destroys the doctor's building and kills all his companions. Probably. The giant Mario looks a bit naff; 80% of his body is made up of his bum and he's shaped like a giant aubergine. Whoa, twisted.

Koopa continues his destructive rampage, but Mario then interrupts him, and they begin to face off. The first thing they do is grab each other's arms and dance the tango. Mario then hurls Koopa to the ground, after which he picks him up by the tail, swings him around and flings him off into the distance, in Super Mario 64 fashion (but this is 10 years before SM64 ever happened). The big battle continues for a while, with Koopa using electric poles as weapons, and Mario defending himself with a pair of subway trains. They both throw half-arsed witticisms at each other, without anyone seemingly having the upper hand in this frenzied combat. Meanwhile, Doc T's building has mysteriously risen from the dead, even though it was smashed to bits when Mario grew huge 2 minutes ago. The doctor himself, as well as Mario's companions have also somehow survived the destruction of the building, and the intrepid doctor has finally managed to create the antidote to the super sushi. In order to halt the destruction of the set-pieces, Luigi and Toad immediately take this antidote with them in a giant injection needle. After Toad shares his experiences with injection needles with us, they rush towards the giant Koopa and stick the needle in the part of his body that he cares most about; his beloved feet (but it happens offscreen, so I can't be sure). An immensely badly-animated scene shows us how Koopa shrinks back to normal size, and the menacing giant Mario tells him he's finished. He doesn't care, he just pushes off via a warp zone, while everyone else just stands around and does nothing at all, as usual. Everyone then heads back to the good doctor, and Mario makes an idiot out of himself by eating a dodgy-looking XTC tablet that shrinks him. He doesn't care, he just wants to eat.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • I quite like kaiju films, so this sort of appeals to me.
  • Some "oriental" BGM remixes, which, although tacky, are pleasing enough.
  • Big fight scene between Mario and Koopa. Nice, nice.
  • Animation and artwork quality is decent enough in most shots....
WHAT'S BAD?
  • ...But it also gets quite loathsome in some other shots.
  • After us loveable Europeans, it's those ace Asians that get stereotyped. Grrrmbl....
  • The giant Mario and Koopa had bizarrely disproportioned bodies.
  • I don't quite understand how the doctor's building manages to resurrect itself from complete annihilation in a matter of minutes, several times in a row.
  • That bit with the hidden camera was just a bit too much.
  • Shame there's no Koopa minions in there.
OVERALL
Hmm, the concept of a kaiju spoof is attractive enough. And even though the subject matter is treated with the usual clumsiness and lack of genuine wit it works halfway well. I suppose it has novelty value going for it, and an actual confrontation between Mario and Koopa's a plus as well.

EPISODE RATING: 3.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
A profoundly naive Mario is convinced that he'll win a prize from a lottery that offers several bizarre dates with bizarre people as prizes. In order to discover -what- they'll win, Mario and Luigi enlist the help of Madame Agogo, an unconvincing fortune-teller with a tendency for ill-timed wisecracks (though she's quite entertaining, I'll admit as much). Turns out they win a date with her. Oh, whoopee.