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Episode 36: "Koopa Klaus"

CARTOON SUMMARY

The set-up for this episode is absolutely hallucinating: Mario meets Santa Claus. Aah, ya can't-a fool me, there is-a no Santy Claus. We now have definite proof that the scenario writer is merely five years old. Either that or he's hooked on paint stripper (or both?). Anyway, the episode opens with a scene of Koopa, in a snowy hideout, where he does some truly horrifying things: he orders his men to smash up badly-drawn toys with a dodgy machine. The terror of it. He then reveals his latest cruel scenario; he intends to "freeze the North Pole". But it's already made of ice, Koopa. Anyway, he reasons that freezing the North Pole will somehow ruin everyone's Christmas, which gives him a major sadist kick. He then scolds Triclyde for making crap puns, and adds: "leave the cool lines to me". What, there are cool lines on this show? Where?

Next, Mario and co arrive at the North Pole after a hefty session of underground travel. Only they were intending to go to "Hawaiiland" (hence Mario's groovy luau shirt and straw hat). Thing is, Toad, who was in charge of transporting them to sun and fun in Hawaiiland has selfishly decided to lead them to the North Pole instead, so they could pop by at Santa's workshop "while they're here". Oh well, why not? While they wander towards the Santa place, Toad spills out his present-nabbing greed all over the celluloid, and the princess tells him: "after all your hints, I decided to give you just what you wanted". The mind wanders...What she means is, she gives him a snowboard as a chrimbo pressie. The snowboard looks like a squashed Burger King carton, but Toad is overjoyed and begins to rush around on this snowboard pronto. However, at that point, Koopa flies past in a floating sleigh, and everyone is terrified to see him. It gets worse when he hurls a few Bob-Ombs at them, who hit Toad dead-on. But Toad doesn't care, he is unharmed and so is his beloved snowboard. Everyone then gets cheesed off at Toad's emotional attachment to this snowboard (they're jealous?). They then reason that Koopa must be on his way to Santa's factory to do something unspeakably horrible there, so they head there as fast as they can. Alas, once they arrive, it is already too late; all of Santa's office complex is frozen in thick ice, and the man himself has been kidnapped by Koopa, who carries him away on his flying vehicle, laughing evilly. The Mario bunch are profoundly horrified at the debility of this scenario, especially Toad. Mario then points out an "elves' playground". Whatever that is, now is probably not the right time for that sort of thing, Mario. In a very slowly-timed scene, Luigi carries a block of ice onto a teeter-totter, then jumps onto this very same teeter-totter (it wasn't my idea, okay), thus propulsing the block of ice into the air, and through sheer dumb luck (funny how that always works out), it hits Koopa's chrimbomobile dead on, thus causing Koopa and Santa-san to fall down in salto mortale. Koopa breaks their fall by using some bizarre orange balloon. He then begins to run off with Santa still in his clutches, so the Mario gang begin to chase him.

Mario and Luigi try to kill Koopa by throwing snowballs at him, but it doesn't work. Instead, Koopa counter-attacks by hurling a snowball-filled balloon at their faces. Due to the sluggish timing, they are hit dead-on, and Koopa gains a slight lead. Koopa then slides down a snowy slope using the Santaman as a human snowboard (no, really). The Mario gang follow him down this hill, and over a large frozen lake (Luigi whines about how this could be thin ice, but nobody cares). Resourceful Koopa then summons a gang of Flurries with ice-skates, who attack the Mario clan by kicking an ice block in their direction. But luckily, the Flurries then decide to just stand around and do nothing at all, which allows Mario to kill them by sliding a badly-drawn ice block into their faces. Koopa then hops down into a creepy cave, and after some dull debating about how it's imperative that they save the Santy one, Mario and the others jump into this cave as well. Que very strangely-drawn scene of them hurtling down this cave tunnel. They pop out at the other end and fall face-forward into the snow. Koopa then announces: "I've got the jolly man, one false move and he goes over the cliff". Translation: he's menacing to hurl Santa down a cliff and into the icy water (complete with sharp ice spikes) if they try anything funny. The princess tries to reason with him, but it's no good. But then, the crap scripting gets the better of Koopa. See, in a victorious mood, he begins to repeatedly yell out how much he hates Christmas. And yelling like a lunatic's not a good idea in a snowy region, especially with drunken scriptwriters around. For Koopa's shouting triggers off a major avalanche (mysteriously, large chunks of snow appear -out of nowhere- and then roll down then mountain), which worries everyone. Luigi, Toad and the princess escape into the cave of a few moments back, while Mario takes a funky black whip out of his pocket (no, really, he carries black whips in his pockets), and uses this kinky tool to snatch Santa away from Koopa. Koopa is cruelly left to die, and his only option is to hop into the icy waters below. He ends up on a drifting ice platform with a silly-looking polar bear roaring at him.

However, not everything is quite back to peachy keen status, as Santa's buildings are still frozen in Koopa's ice, and they won't thaw out in time to organize chrimbo. That doesn't bother us, we'll just go down to the mall or go E-bay shopping. The Mario gang mind terribly, however, and an ill-timed comment from Toad about how he still has his adored snowboard only serves to rub in the drastic situation more. The profound horror of this is then explained to Toad, who is slow on the uptake. However, once he's grasped it, he decides to sacrifice his snowboard and hand it to Santa. Santa's a big snowboarding fan, so he's moved to tears (literally) by this token of affection. The next bit is a little funky: Toad and Santa begin to emit a strange glow (it's supposed to be the "true spirit of X-mas" or something. It looks dead drug-induced to me) , and something amazing happens; decent lighting effects are employed! Oh, and Koopa's ugly ice melts as well. So everything is peachy keen after all, and the Mario gang take ride with Santa on his yearly pressie-delivering round. Aww, innit adooorable? No? Thought not.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Koopa and the boys get to cosplay in groovy chrimbo duds (with Triclyde as the amusing red-nosed snake), while Mario wears a neat (but slightly out-of-place) beach-style costume for the whole episode.
  • The Flurries make an appearance.
  • A bit with some genuine, sort-of convincing light effects at the end.
  • Nice enough background paintings.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • The plot premise is seriously pushing it; nobody's going to buy this.
  • Even if the "touching" scene at the end wasn't so terribly rushed and clumsy, it would've seemed badly out of place.
  • A lot of the chase scenes between Koopa and the Mario clan are too rushed and flimsy.
  • The scripting is so clumsy it's agonizing.
  • That bit with Mario's whip is truly disturbing.
  • So, Santa Claus lives in the Mushroom World? It's news to me....
OVERALL
Hmmm, if you can look past the severely idiotic plot, there's one or two things to enjoy here, such as the Koopa clan's costumes and the return of the Flurries (they don't get to play with Koopa's feet this time), only it's not much. It's allright, in the end, but there's hardly anything commendable in here. And the sheer debility of the scenario gets embarrassing. Especially the "sentimental" scene at the end; it was done so clumsily it missed any kind of impact (and this comes from the person who was shedding real tears at the end of Wedding Peach).

EPISODE RATING: 2.5/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
An ugly kid pops by the Mario's residence and tells them he ran away from home. They mind terribly and try to convince him that he'd better go back home (on account of, they want to get rid of the brat). Mario even recalls a time from his troubled youth where he tried to run away from home himself. This results in some flashback bits with Mario and Luigi posing as young children that are just painful to watch. Quick, the fast-forward button is your only hope now. The bottom line is pleasingly inventive, however; running away from home is no good, as your bastards of parents will only be too happy to have you out of the way. Better just threaten them with a shotgun.