I’m so pleased to present this Holy Grail for fans of the 1993 live action Super Mario Bros. movie: a 34-page one-shot manga adaptation, now scanlated into English!
This truncated retelling of the film’s story was published in Shogakukan’s Monthly Corocoro Comic Summer Holiday Special 1993. It was written and illustrated by Ikkei Kawai, who otherwise worked on Ninjaman Ippei, a Takahashi Meijin comic, and an adaptation of the Japanese film/game Tasmania Story among others. The one-shot comic was part of a marketing push for the film in Japan that included a behind-the-scenes book and a novelisation, both of which are promoted in a page after the comic, as well as tie-ins with the Super Scope, etc.
The comic heavily abridges the story of the film, removing pretty much the entire second act as well as various subplots and characters (no Lena, Daniella, Bertha, Toad, Yoshi, or Scapelli to be seen here, sadly) to keep things brief. It also takes liberties such as de-evolving Iggy and Spike into Goombas, or putting the focus more on to Mario and seemingly swapping some aspects of his and Luigi’s personalities. Still, many of the essentials and the biggest setpieces are here, and as always it’s fascinating seeing them reinterpreted into a different style.
Kawai’s art is clean and dynamic, and his character designs are fun. I’ve left the printed sound effects as-is on the page, as I prefer not to compromise the integrity of the art (the bigger reason is it’s just a lot harder removing them or matching the style with new English equivalents), although I have translated them with footnotes. I also tried to use some phrasing or terms from the movie (or script/novel/audio poster pack) at times while keeping the meaning of dialogue intact. The comic is to be read in its original right-to-left format.
I’d like to thank Ragey very much for importing, scanning, and uploading the raw pages. Horseypope translated the text, and I cleaned the scans, edited, typeset, and all that. Thanks also to Steven Applebaum and Ryan Hoss of the Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive for reference material and giving me a font that I didn’t end up using, and to Cathy for support.
You can view or download the comic from the Internet Archive page linked below. I also included as a bonus in the same archive the results of my previous project to gather various other manga depictions of the movie, so it’s all in one convenient place. Trust the fungus!