Monday, June 17, 2024

Is The Super Mario Bros Series Isekai?

December 8, 2020 by  
Filed under Gaming, News, Nintendo Switch/SNES/N64

( Even though it’s been around since the 1980s, there are still mysteries with the Super Mario franchise. His canonical origin has recently raised a question from this fan: is the Super Mario Bros series a pioneer in isekai.

What Is Isekai?

In manga, anime, and Japanese games, isekai is a subgenre of fantasy where the main character ends up in another world. Their arrival in the world can be either because they were summoned or teleported there or they died and were reincarnated elsewhere.

From these focuses, isekai started out as a literary device to set the scene and introduce the world. Over time, as more artists began creating isekai series it became subgenre. An anime/manga example would be InuYasha by Rumiko Takahashi.

Nore modern examples that are unapologetically isekai include Shield Hero and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.

Is Super Mario Isekai?

I’m really leaning towards “Yes.” Mario and Luigi were originally mentioned as Italian plumbers from New York. Even the Saturday morning cartoon show The Super Mario Bros. Super Show nodded to this. I mean, unless New York City is located in the Mushroom Kingdom. If that’s the case there are even more questions!

The world they come from is nothing like the Mushroom Kingdom. There are large mushrooms, humanoid mushrooms, hostile mushrooms with feet, turtles with shells, plants spitting fire. Now, I know Nintendo is the wholesome video game company but I think the running joke that Shigeru Miyamoto most have tried psychedelics at least once is probably true.

Just look at this assortment of enemies he created for Super Mario Bros. Then look at the stuff he did for Legend of Zelda. There have been sci-fi and fantasy writers who when on a trip and created wild worlds. Metroid?!

I mean Donkey Kong is probably the squarest game he developed during the 1980s. Anyway, let’s get away from that. Mario and Luigi aren’t from this place. However, in other media they’re kind of depicted has having been born there.

Origin Theory

So, Mario and Luigi end up in the Mushroom Kingdom. I’m guessing they were teleported but it sounds like Princess Peach lied and actually summoned them. Imagine if one of Nintendo’s–no, gaming’s–greatest character friendships/relationships was based on a lie.

Imagine the backlash. It would uproot a lot of the little canonical back story the Super Mario franchise has. I mean most of it is very loosely tied together—kind of like when you hear the explanation for Zelda’s timelines.

Personally, I think Mario was sent to the Mushroom Kingdom in an accident where he failed to save Pauline from Donkey Kong. However, there is one game that breaks that theory entirely: 1995’s Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island on the Super Nintendo.

This game is prequel to Super Mario World and includes Baby Mario and Baby Luigi. Yes, the young Super Mario Brothers. Their parents are in the Mushroom Kingdom. That means unless the family ended up there on some Tarzan ish, they were born and raised in the Mushroom Kingdom.

On that note, maybe Donkey Kong took place a couple of years earlier, Mario and Luigi died and were reincarnated in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island.

The Super Mario Series Is Vague

You have to remember Super Mario was created at a time when storytelling was better than it was but it still wasn’t that detailed. These games were created for people to have fun and some simply managed to become franchises.

Of course, heading into other decades and continuing to have games made means that storytelling is going to be more and more important. Some stuff needs to be explained the more games there are in a series. Like, Sonic the Hedgehog has even explained its world over the years.

In Super Mario’s case, I just hope the behind the scenes real story isn’t as dark as my suggestion.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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