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Super Mario Mystery!

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VHS

The OVA's VHS cover

Super Mario Mystery! is a 1993 OVA that was part of a promotion/joint venture with Nintendo, Fujitsu, Sharp , Pony Canyon and McDonald's Japan.

The video, which cost 890 JPY each, was released in video stores on April 28, 1993 and became one of the top selling Japanese videos in the 1990's. The OVA was available on VHS and Laserdisc.

Summary

The 30-minute OVA begins with Mario attending a party at Peach's castle, but during a limbo competition, the power shuts off but goes back on a few seconds later.

Princess Peach, Toad, Bowser, the record player and some of the refreshments at the party have disappeared and it seems there is no way.

However, a trail of cake crumbs, the viewer's first clue, is discovered. Mario and Luigi spend a short period of time contemplating the possible culprit. There are 4 suspects, including the three who have disappeared, as well as Yoshi.

Mario and Luigi find the next clue, which is that a trail of melted ice cream is nearby.

Examining the trails, Mario and Luigi declare that there are also cake-encrusted footprints, but are unusually small.

The next clue, which is a big cake with a huge bite taken out of it, is found in a nearby room. Mario and Luigi wonder if perhaps it is the work of a Sumo Brother.

The next clue, which Mario and Luigi nearly get to before being cut off by a horde of Hammer Bros., is a knife covered in frosting and bits of fruit.

The next clue, which Mario finds in the castle's basement, is a napkin covered with frosting wiped off a mouth. It is a strangely big marking, Bowser is a possible guess for the viewer at this point.

Next, the two find two pairs of footprints. One is a huge pair of footprints, and the other is a pair of footprints shaped like those of Toad's. Since they lead into a room and go out, Mario and Luigi spend time deducing their final guess. This scene is the cue for some viewers to scratch a possible answer on the card given in each video.

There they enter the room where the footprints lead, where it turns out Bowser was the culprit. It also turns out that Bowser was trying on Toad's shoes to try to make his theft less suspicious.

He is quickly kicked out of the castle, literally, and the party then turns to Mario and Luigi's honor. But the lights go out again, but thankfully, a Boo was having lighting trouble.

How the promotion worked

A viewer would buy a copy of the OVA at a local store that stocks videos, and they would be informed by the cashier that if they lose on their first try they could return their card to the retailer and get a new one free, allowing them to try again, this also applied to further tries.

Each copy contained a scratch card containing four options. A name was marked under each scratch circle in order for the viewer to choose the culprit correctly. If Bowser's circle was scratched, it would reveal a green circle with "RIGHT!" on it. The other circles had a red circle with an X on it.

If the viewer managed to solve the mystery correctly, the viewer had the option to answer a 5-question trivia sheet involving general knowledge of Super Mario Bros and its predecessors.

The questions as listed below

  • What is the item that makes Mario become invincible for a short period of time?
  • What character does Mario have to rescue in the original Super Mario Bros?
  • What game introduced the POW Block?
  • What was Mario's (then known as Jumpman in Japan) original occupation in Donkey Kong?
  • How many times does Mario have to hit the bottom of a ledge to knock out a Koopa in Mario Bros.?

If the viewer answered all questions correctly, they could also answer a choice-question riddle regarding SMB powerups. Four possible answers were given.

The riddle was "I am small, I am white and red, I make Mario big and I make him strong. What am I?"

If the mystery and/or sheets were correctly completed, the viewer could then take his/her cards/sheets to the cashier they had purchased the video from. The cashier would then give the viewer a choice of what prize(s) they wanted.

If the viewer only solved the mystery, they could choose only one prize.

If the viewer got either both the mystery and trivia or riddle answered correctly, they could choose three out of various prizes. See the prize list below for a full list. Once the prize(s) were chosen by the viewer, they would get coupons to redeem the prizes at given locations.

Prizes

  1. An FM Towns Marty
  2. An SF-1 SNES TV
  3. A McDonald's large or medium fries.
  4. A McDonald's medium soft drink.
  5. A Super Game Boy Famicom cartridge
  6. An SNES Mouse

Popularity

The video promotion was so popular with pre-teens and younger teenagers that the promotion, which was slated to end in early-October 1993, ran until early-December of that year and the promotion repeated in 1994 and various other times afterward.

The original VHS and Laserdisc have become collector's items, the laserdisc version in particular as this format is popular with some collectors.

Cast

  • Toru Furuya - Mario
  • Masashi Ebara - Luigi
  • Noriko Hidaka - Peach
  • Junpei Takiguchi - Bowser/Koopa
  • Kappei Yamaguchi - Toad

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