1/08/2016

Super Mario Bros Z Reboot Episode 1: My Thoughts


Well, it's finally here. As I said in a previous post, the creator of the Mario/Sonic crossover series Super Mario Bros Z, AlvinEarthworm, has decided to redo this amazing series from the ground up, and this first episode doesn't disappoint! You could definitely say that an episode of this quality was worth waiting for, and I'm going to go over why!

In these posts, I'm going to be giving a summary of the events of the episode, comparing it to the original series (at least, until the reboot catches up to the original), and talking about specific note-worthy changes and gags. For those of you who haven't watched the original series, I'll try to keep possible spoilers to a minimum, and I recommend watching the original Super Mario Bros Z series (you can watch it on various Youtube accounts, or AlvinEarthworm's Newgrounds account). Any way, onto the episode.
This first episode of the reboot is pretty much the first two episodes of the original series combined into one full-length episode. There have been some graphical changes made to match, and even exceed, the quality of the later episodes of the original series, and similar to the original Episode 8, there's occasionally some original close-up art for especially intense scenes. There's even some new mid-episode bumpers, to emulate how Dragon Ball Z transitioned into commercials, which is pretty neat. Some old gags were lost from the original episodes, though overall, I'd say this rebooted version trumps the original episodes 1 and 2.

Just like the original episode, we start with Mecha Sonic (now in what was supposed to be his final form, dubbed 'Metallix' by AlvinEarthworm) appearing out of nowhere, killing a Goomba to get a Chaos Emerald. Unlike the original episode, however, we transition to a fighting tournament instead of a Mario Kart tournament. While this does make a bit more sense for the SMBZ universe, I can understand why some fans might be a bit peeved at the change. Even so, we get some brief cameos from this scene, including Link from Legend of Zelda, Prince Peasly from Superstar Saga, and even Rawk Hawk from Paper Mario has joined the announcers as the previous champion!

We drop in on the tournament in the final round, with Mario facing off against Wario, who have Luigi and Waluigi in their corners respectively. The fight is very slapsticky, but is still neck-and-neck, even after Wario gets an assist trophy to summon Waluigi. Eventually though. the Wario bros are blown away by a huge pink Bob-Omb, summoned by who else but Bowser himself!

Just like the original series, Bowser has crashed the tournament to kidnap Princess Peach and defeat Mario once and for all, with Luigi cowering away from the fight. This time around, the fight is a bit more even, with Bowser getting the drop on Mario a couple times until he uses the Fire Flower. Even after that, Bowser still manages to keep the fight from being entirely in Mario's favor. There's even a moment where Bowser deliberately attacks a downed Luigi, but Mario deflects the fireball. However, Bowser still has tricks up his sleeves, and just like the original series, has Kamek conjure up a Metal Mushroom to transform him into Metal Bowser.

Again, similar to the original series, Bowser is practically untouchable in this form, even after Mario uses his most powerful fireball, and eventually he has Mario down, seemingly for good. In this version, Luigi throws himself in front of Mario, in classic "You'll have to go through me" fashion, and I'll be honest, I actually teared up a little here. Considering how cowardly Luigi is, especially in this series, this really does show how much Luigi really cares for his bro.

Of course, Bowser doesn't get to land his coup de grace, because a huge capsule suddenly drops out of the sky and lands right on Bowser, shattering his Metal form. Luigi gives Mario a 1-Up, Mario uses a Cape Feather, and lays the smack-down on Bowser. There's one moment in particular that I really loved, as a newer fan of Fist of the North Star: At one point, Mario rapidly punches Bowser over and over, all while using Kenshiro's iconic ATATATATATATATATATATA shout, which is just perfect, especially since it already sounds quite a bit like Mario himself. At this point Kamek takes Peach hostage to keep Mario from beating Bowser, but is soon dispatched by a mysterious newcomer from the machine that busted Bowser. Mario throws Bowser away, and is greeted by the two that came from the capsule... Sonic and Shadow! That's where the episode ends.

As a minor aside, the end of the credits sequence show that this episode was dedicated to Monty Oum and Satoru Iwata, both of whom sadly passed away last year. Both of these men did amazing things and both of them have touched many lives with their work (coincidentally, I've only just recently started watching RWBY, which is an amazing series Monty created a few years ago). To see AlvinEarthworm dedicate this episode to these great men is a great thing, and shows that they've both inspired other people to do great things.

Overall, it's like AlvinEarthworm never stopped animating, because the animation in even better than the later episodes of the original Super Mario Bros Z. The humor, action, and intensity, all match, or exceed, that of the original series. I'm definitely looking forward to future installments of this series once more! If you want to keep up to date with the status of the series, you can follow AlvinEarthworm on Youtube, Twitter, Deviantart, and Newgrounds. If you want to support the series, you can donate to his Patreon account.

HBM, signing out.

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