Super Mario Bros. Animated Movie from 1986 Gets Restored in 4K



The subject of video game movies has been a cursed topic for several years. With the Sonic the Hedgehog movies, audiences are buzzing about that curse being lifted and are looking towards Illumination for their upcoming Super Mario movie. While the details on that film are shrouded in mystery for now, Western audiences only have the live-action Mario Bros. movie to compare it to.

But what if you were told that wasn’t the first time the popular plumber starred in his own movie? Enter Super Mario Bros. – The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach! The film, once considered lost media, has been lovingly restored in 4K and released in its entirety online!

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You’re not seeing things, gamers! The Great Mission can now be viewed in the comfort of your own home! The film was initially released in 1986, when Mario was already a smash hit in Japan. The film was produced by the now-defunct Grouper Productions in a collaboration with Nintendo. Playing the iconic Mario Brothers were Tōru Furuya (Yamcha from Dragon Ball, Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon) as Mario and Yū Mizushima (Takeshi Hirokawa from Parasyte) as Luigi. The film was directed by Masami Hata, who previously directed Sea Prince and Fire Child as well as Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland.

The movie was heavily marketed in Japan with watches, ramen packets, a manga, and an original soundtrack. The film premiered theatrically on July 20th across Japan, with a single VHS and Betamax release shortly after. But as for the rest of the world, there was nothing. This Mario adventure was exclusive to its home country of Japan. For decades, the only chance of finding the movie outside of Japan were through unlicensed bootlegs with zero subtitles. But that’s where Femboy Films comes into the picture.

Related: The New Super Mario Bros.: What We Hope to See

Keeping the Spirit Alive

Super Mario Bros. The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach

Femboy Films is a small group dedicated to restoring old media and funded through Patreon. The project was lovingly crafted together from their team collaborating with Carnivol, who provided the original 16mm scan from the movie’s first official release. The film was lovingly restored, with scratches removed, colors matched with scans of the manga, and the VHS release being used as a source for restoring the soundtrack. Along with the sound and picture restoration, a brand new subtitle track has also been created from the ground up which also includes translations for the original songs and using the official lyrics from the film’s tie-in vinyl record booklet. The full credit list for this project can be viewed below.

Restored Version by: FemboyFilms

Project Managers: nemu, Tanks

Original 16mm Scan Courtesty of: Carnivol

Color Correction: Quazza

Film Restoration: nemu, Quazza

Video Encoding: nemu

Audio Capture/Sync: Japanese Hoarder, Tanks

Original Translation: m.3.3.w Fansubs

Subtitle Editing: nemu

Translation Check: bluesun, Japanese Hoarder, nemu

Title Typesets: SakoeraTyan

Quality Check: Azelf89, SakoeraTyan, Venny, ZeroCool

Special Thanks: Forest of Illusion, MartyMcflies, Our Supporters

While most of us in the Western World have our own fun memories of Mario cartoons, be they the infamously cheesy Super Mario Bros. Super Show, or the bizarre 1993 Super Mario Bros. live-action movie, there’s still parts of the plumber’s early fame that was kept locked away from us. It’s always a sad thing to see a movie get old and forgotten to time, but that’s when fans can step in and keep these little gems alive for new generations. While plenty of adults who grew up on Mario are re-visiting his earlier incarnations, as they eagerly wait for that first trailer to the new movie, now they have something new and fresh to add to that list!

The Great Mission can be viewed on YouTube as well as on Internet Archive. And if you’re curious about the restoration process, Femboy Films has also released a few fun comparison clips on their YouTube channel.

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About The Author

Caroline Miller
(130 Articles Published)

Caroline is a longtime admirer of film, music and the arts. She’s been giving movie opinions online (warranted or not) for over a decade, and putting those thoughts to Movieweb since early 2021.

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