Saturday, January 10, 2009

Super Mario Bros.: The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach VHS

While technically not a toy, this item is a real treasure and a great piece of history. Super Mario Bros.:The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach was a theatrical film produced by Grouper Productions (of Hello Kitty fame) and released in Japan on July 20, 1986. It very loosely follows the story of the original Super Mario Bros. game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, but due to the fact that the movie and game were in development simultaneously yet separately, there are quite a few differences in the way the familiar characters are portrayed.

What makes this tape special is the fact that it is currently one of the only examples known to exist. For reasons unknown, this film was never commercially available. It was released in Japan by Vap Video as a rental only, and in very limited quantities at that.

For many years, this film was a thing of legend, with debate on whether or not it actually existed. Little by little, information about it began to appear on the internet, presumably from one of the film's other owners. For a while, the image to the right (from the back of the VHS case) was the only shred of proof we had of it. Interestingly enough, the common belief for quite some time was that the film was not official, but actually an X-rated parody! This may be due to the fact that thus far in the United States, Nintendo has yet to acknowledge its existence.

A while back, I set out on a personal quest to track this video down, and as of now, I know of only a very small handful of collectors who own a legitimate copy. Three of those copies have appeared on auction sites, once in Japan for $180, then on eBay twice, fetching $600 and $350.

How can a film based on one of its home country's largest cultural phenomenons and released only twenty-some years ago be so easily lost to obscurity? That's only part of the mystery surrounding this unusual movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment