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Episode 46: "Quest for Pizza"

CARTOON SUMMARY

Mario and his gang have traveled to Caveman land, but they forgot to bring a decent scenario. For the initial plot set-up is that they're looking for a fabled medicine woman called Mugga (who mugs people, presumably). The exact same storyline has been used several times before, with episode 13 almost being a carbon copy of this one (except that they were looking for a medicine -man- there). So, the outlook is bleak for us viewers. For the Mario bunch as well, as they have unwisely bumped into a giant red dinosaur with Mouser's head. Everyone runs away, except for Toad, who begins to leaf through a ridiculously simplistic book, which allows him to identify the Mouser-lookalike dinosaur as a "Mousersaurus Rex", which is rather an unpleasant creature. Toad is then dragged away as well, and a klutzy-looking chase scene ensues. Take a moment to contemplate the poorness of the animation; everyone slugs around at a sloth's pace, with a rather badly-drawn animation loop for the running. Zero dynamism, full embarrassment.

This pitifully lame scene ends when Koopa arrives on the scene, riding a flying Birdo-ish dinosaur. Koopa, for some reason, calls himself Alley-Koop in this episode. He has also draped the bearskin rug of his fireplace over his broad, manly chest, and belts out unarticulated noises (from his mouth, I precise). After some run-of-the-mill gloating, a hilarious dubbing error causes Koopa to talk with Mario's voice. Koopa is not amused by this and throws an strangely rigid-looking Cobrat snake at the Mario bunch. Mario and Luigi run away in terror, but for some reason, you hear Toad screaming (grotesque dubbing error number 2). The plumbers eventually trip over a badly-drawn bone, and Mario's leg gets bitten by Koopa's snake-projectile. Mario still finds the time to jumps around in a badly-animated fashion and to make a crap pun before dying from the snake-bite's effect.

The Princess hesitates for a few long seconds before taking the decision to run away with Mario's dead body. Koopa then hesitates for a few long seconds (actually, it's due to bad animation), before deciding to mellowly stroll after the fleeing group. An amazing -two- coloring errors then occur; in one shot, the Mouser-dinosaur's nose in miscouloured briefly, and in the next shot, Luigi's brown backpack has somehow turned an attractive shade of spinach green (the same as his trousers, actually). We're definitely on a rubbish animation all-time high here.

The shoddiness doesn't stop there, though. When Luigi and co find themselves in front of a waterfall and a calm, placid lake, they stop dead in their tracks, without even thinking of wading through the harmless lake. At that point, an absolute imbecile shows up, who is actually a Mushroom caveman sort of thing, and he blurbs out some unintelligible gibberish (it sounds like R2-D2 on reverse). The animators then mess up again, and a third dubbing error causes Luigi to talk with the Princess' voice. Tsch, you'd think they'd -notice- they were doing things so dreadfully wrong. Anyway, the moronic newcomer then shows the brave fugitives an inventive escape route; they just walk through the celluloid. Okay, so they really escape by walking behind the waterfall, but it looks hopelessly clumsy (water usually behaves as if it's liquid, my dear animators. I know it's hard to remember with all that LSD you've had, but please do try). Koopa and co then make their tardy arrival on the scene, only to discover that the until recently Mario gang (Mario's dead now, gotta call them something else) has mysteriously vanished. Frustrated, Koopa takes out his aggressions by smacking the Mouser-dino's foot with a big club; a subtle nod to both his foot-mania, and his S&M tendencies here.

Meanwhile, behind the waterfall, Luigi and the others are greeted by a bunch of buck-toothed Mushroom cave cretins, while a dodgy song slugs around in the background. The cave-boy who brought them here then takes them to a room where they find the one and only medicine woman Mugga. Surprisingly, she doesn't mug them. Note that she wears a Tati pearl necklace, a pink plush fur rug, and light blue Gemey Paris eye shadow. Never knew they had eye shadow in the stone age, but oh well. The old bat gets a terrible shock when she sees Mario's dead body, and Toad agrees with her that Mario is frighteningly ugly. But, the old bag o'wrinkles then points to a dreadfully simplistic cave painting, which shows, indeed, a dead Mario. Luigi then tries to resurrect his brother by showing him several badly-drawn foodstuffs, but it doesn't work (dead is dead, after all), and Luigi cries cheap tears over this. But then, the manic medicine woman reveals that Mario is not quite dead; her tacky cave paintings show that Mario can be revived if Luigi brings him a pizza (and alas, "there are no pizza parlors in Caveland". Yeah, but they do have Gemey Paris eye shadow). After a few rubbish puns, everyone agrees to go and make a pizza of their own to resurrect Mario.

Step one is to collect ingredients. Milk for the cheese is needed, so Luigi goes to a gigantic cow-dinosaur, who wears lipstick and -yet again- eyeshadow. After climbing up a ladder to fondle the dino-cow's udders, the giant cow takes an unusual fancy to Luigi (because she likes to be treated rough), and begins to chase after him. Toad and the Princess save Luigi with some inventive vine-swinging maneuvers. Everyone has forgotten about the milk. Next up, Luigi collects some kind of acorns to use in the pizza's crust, which angers a giant squirrel-monster, that begins to chase after them once Luigi has stuffed the acorns down his slip. The only thing left to collect, according to Toad, are the tomatoes for the sauce, which should be easy to gather, he hopes. He's wrong, however, as Koopa attacks them while they're nicking tomatoes. Everyone legs it and escapes into the cave-village hidden by the waterfall. Only, they've left a trail of some tomatoes, which enables even the rather dense Koopa to figure out where they're hiding.

Even though there are no cooking utensils whatsoever in Caveland, the ingredients for the pizza have been miraculously jumbled together into a pizza of sorts. All that's left to do is to cook it, so that Mario can be revived. But just then, things get a little hairy. Koopa's Mouser-dinosaur pounds against the walls of the cave village with a tree trunk until the walls collapse, and the torrents of the waterfall flood the hidden village completely. The pizza, and the fire needed to cook it are now knackered, so Koopa optimistically assumes that Mario is as good as dead and pushes off. All hope is not quite lost yet, however. The annoying cave-boy has managed to save the pizza from drowning in the flood, and the nutty medicine woman reveals, via some tedious cave-scribbling and unarticulated mumbling (the same dull gag where Toad translates the cave-warbling is re-used time and time again until it makes your brain bleed) that there may be a way to get fire as well; Koopa has a fire flower, which they will need to rip off.

However, Koopa himself can muster enough common sense to figure out that they'll come for his fire flower, so he makes his troops guard it severely, and inflicts more footsie-torture on the clumsily-animated Mouser-saurus, which causes him to jump around in agony in a dreadfully clumsy way. Luigi and co are as of now on their way to Koopa's place in a Flintstones-ish stone car (I hate the Flintstones), with square wheels. More dull cave-talk jokes ensue, and Luigi, who is by now really sick and tired of it miraculously transforms the car's square wheels into round ones with a few mere touches of his Magical Chisel-thingie (or maybe it's rubbish plotting once again). The car then speeds off, almost leaving Luigi behind. But, while they're rushing through a big structure of dinosaur bones, Luigi-tachi bump into the frightening Mouser-saurus, who's nose has been miscoloured yet again. Luigi is flung onto the beast's nose (not miscoloured anymore), and is blown away sito presto. The Mouser-saurus then picks up the car, which still contains Toad and the Princess (and that caveboy, though nobody probably cares about him), but Luigi enacts a cunning counter-attack. He drops a big piece of the bone structure onto poor Mouser's foot. The stone-car then falls onto his other foot (wasn't Koopa supposed to be the main footsie man here?). The Mouser-dino dies in gruesome agony, and Luigi's group rushes off quickly.

They are now nearing Koopa's fire flower, but Koopa then shows up with his posse of butch cave-troopas, who menace our semi-heros with their spears. The Mouser-dino is also back from the grave. Koopa then chucks a bone at them, but he misses and injures Mouser's foot yet again (well, his knee, but it probably makes no difference to Koopa). Luigi bravely begins to clamber up the hill where the fire flower is located. The troopas chuck spears and arrows a-plenty at him, but they're such terribly bad aims that they all miss hopelessly. Luigi ends up reaching the fire flower and transforms. He then fires a barrage of fireballs at the Koopa nasties. The troopas and the Mouser-saurus have mysteriously vanished, and Koopa himself prefers to just run away in cowardly panic from the burning fireballs. He hops into a pool of Orangina, which provides him infinite pleasure. The Princess congratulates Luigi's efforts, and with a look at his bizarre cave-watch, Luigi then concludes that it's high time they go and resurrect Mario, which is just what they do. Note that drawing a wrist watch seems to have been quite a problem for the poor staff, as Luigi's wrist switches colours several times.

Back at the cave-village (which is no longer flooded), the cooked pizza is presented to Mario's dead body. And somehow, this manages to bring him back to life; he takes a nibble of the pizza and then fully awakens, to Luigi's great joy. Mario gulps up the pizza in one rapid slurp and then complains that there's only one pizza. This causes Luigi to go bonkers, and he warbles out some bizarre blurbings. Nurse, the tranquilizer shots, quickly!

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • The storyline, surprisingly, is much better than you might expect, with Luigi as the big star for a change (and very little for Mario to do seeing as he's dead for most of the episode), and many shifts in the plot.
  • Mouser as a big dinosaur is a remarkable addition.
  • Some amusing dino-designs throughout, and nifty enough backgrounds as well establish an enjoyable stone-age flavor.
  • A transformation, for Luigi at that.
  • One of the more packed, rapidly shifting plots.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • Animation quality is utterly deplorable; mediocre designs and some annoying colouring mistakes throughout.
  • A few truly shocking voicing mistakes stick out painfully.
  • The terribly un-witty gag of Toad translating the cave-slang is used to death without being funny -once-, and the cave-characters themselves are equally irritating.
  • Some bits feel rushed and a little too flat (such as the final showdown with Koopa).
  • Luigi's working on the stone-car's wheels makes no sense at all.
  • Koopa's costume is rather poor.
OVERALL
The done-to-death initial plot set-up gave a grim outlook, but -surprise-, this episode innovates nicely on some points. Mario gets killed (but doesn't stay dead, natch), leaving Luigi as the lead for most of this episode. The pleasingly fresh scenario is a welcome relief from the tiresome "let's free so-and-so land from Koopa" set-ups, and makes this episode enjoyable enough to watch. However, major colouring mistakes, some simply dreadful voicing errors (okay, they add comical value, but are still not supposed to be a good thing), and some -very- lame jokes hamper this quite severely. In the end, the bad bits don't quite ruin it, but hinder the episode considerably. It's still one of the more enjoyable episodes, but could have used some more polish

EPISODE RATING: 3.5/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
During their much-needed big spring cleaning, Maz and Lui discover a slab of cardboard, and Luigi reckons it might be worth quite a lot, so he calls on an expert to evaluate the cardboard's price. The expert in question turns out to be an annoying freak in a tuxedo, with a flipped voice, who thinks he's running a gameshow of sorts. He reckons that the Mario bros "fall into the poor category" (actually, that goes for this whole show). He then reveals, via a set of imbecilic puns, that the piece of cardboard is really worth an immense fortune (like we didn't see that coming from the first minute onward). But he then changes his mind and tells them that the painting (for it's really a painting) is really worth nothing at all because there's a blokey with tacky Ray Ban's in there. He still pays them seven dollars (approx. 700 yen) for the list, though. Although this bit is as crappy as usual, Mario's dense remarks are sometimes mildly amusing. Only sometimes.