Strip Talk #23: Animated Mario has wins, losses over the years

Lyndsey-2013-cutout-onlineCar­toons, to me, fall in the same sphere as anime and comic books. If you tell a good story, I don’t care what medium you choose to tell it in. If it hap­pens to be about some­thing I love, chances are I’m even more for it. So it goes with Mario. I have loved the portly plumber since 1988, the first time I played Super Mario Bros. and died on the first goomba on the first level.
With that love of Mario cemented, I started look­ing for other avenues in which to pur­sue my affec­tion. I found them in the only ani­mated Mario show out at the time: The Super Mario Bros. Super Show.
Super Show was fan­tas­tic in the fact that Cap­tain Lou Albano and Danny Wells really were Mario and Luigi for the live-action seg­ments, and the ani­mated por­tion of the show was really well done. Super Show got a lot of things Mario right, despite the com­bi­na­tion of the then-unheard of Japan­ese ver­sion of Mario 2, Mario 2 USA and the first game. But, while I loved Super Show, the fever pitch in Amer­ica for Super Mario Bros. 3 began and it was then that I truly fell in love with ani­mated Mario.
The Adven­tures of Super Mario Bros. 3 is one of my favorite Nintendo-themed prop­er­ties.
First of all, it was based on Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the great­est games ever made and one of the few The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 games that lived up to the hype that pre­ceded it. Sec­ond, the ani­ma­tion was great and really made you think about things from the per­spec­tive of the world Mario was in. Sure, I didn’t like the ref­er­ences to the real world because I asso­ciate Mario with fan­tasy and the Mush­room King­dom, but I could kind of look past all of that so long as it didn’t hap­pen that often. What Adven­tures did was take the con­cept of Mario the game to Mario the cash cow, mean­ing Mario was every­where at this point. It didn’t hurt that McDonald’s had toys based on the game and TV show in their Happy Meals at this point, either.
After the hype of Adven­tures died down, though, there wasn’t much ani­mated that I really cared for. Super Mario World’s car­toon didn’t do it for me and it didn’t seem to have the same magic that the pre­vi­ous car­toons cap­tured from the games.
The brief cor­nu­copia of Mario ani­mated bril­liance came to an end, and there haven’t been any replace­ments since. At least the game was fun while it lasted.

Lyn­d­sey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. She can be reached by email at

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