Super Mario World (television series)
Super Mario World was the third and final of DIC Entertainment’s animated Super Mario trilogy, loosely based on the game of the same name, premiering a month after its North American release. The cartoon chronicles the adventures of Mario, Luigi and Princess Toadstool in Dinosaur Land. Yoshi and several new characters, such as Oogtar the caveboy, make an appearance as well. Super Mario World was the last of DIC's Super Mario cartoons and originally aired from September 14th, 1991 to December 7th, 1991. The series lasted for only 13 episodes.
Sometime after the events of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, having banished King Bowser Koopa, the Koopalings, and their minions from the Mushroom Kingdom for good, Princess Toadstool, Mario, and Luigi decide to take a vacation to the Dinosaur World. However, King Koopa and his minions manage to follow them there and kidnap the princess yet again. After adventuring and befriending Yoshi, Mario and Luigi managed to rescue Princess Toadstool from King Koopa's Neon Castle and subsequently decided to stay in Dinosaur Land's Dome City with the cave-people.
Several episodes of Super Mario World often had Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Princess Toadstool, and occasionally Oogtar, a show-exclusive character, trying to stop the schemes of King Koopa and the Koopalings, as well as other villains such as Wizenheimer or the Dino Riders. Toad, who appeared in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, does not appear in the series (nor did he appear in the game it was based on), making it the only Mario cartoon where he does not appear. Because of his absence in the show, he is replaced by Yoshi. Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, King Koopa, and the Koopalings retain their designs from The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, although the "L" on Luigi's cap is black instead of green in early episodes, Princess Toadstool has lighter skin and blue eyes instead of black eyes, and Cheatsy's hair is yellow/white instead of dark blue. Also, Mario and Luigi's fire forms in the show are based on their fire from sprites from the game. Walker Boone, Tony Rosato, Tracey Moore, and Harvey Atkin reprised their roles as Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and King Koopa respectively in the show.
Some episodes of Super Mario World can also be seen as social commentary for controversial issues, such as street gangs ("Born to Ride"), addiction ("Rock TV"), bullying in school ("A Little Learning"), obesity and capitalism ("King Scoopa Koopa").
The show also had several episodes, such as "The Wheel Thing" and "Party Line", dealing with the introduction and consequences of introducing new concepts and technologies to others without thinking ahead, in this case, the cave-people of Dome City.
Differences from the game
Super Mario World, though based on the video game of the same name, included several creative licenses. The cave people and Dome City are both introduced in the television series. Characters retained their color differences from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! King Koopa was only once referred to as "Bowser" and the Koopalings retained their alternate names from The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. Many locations and enemies were referred to by different names:
Super Mario World originally aired alongside Captain N: The Game Master on NBC, where it was referred to as Super Mario Bros. 4 in end credit promos and Super Mario Bros. World in commercial bumpers. Super Mario World was also the only Mario cartoon to air in Australia on Network Ten and Cheez TV, though only on Mondays to Wednesdays on the latter. Oddly, in both the United Kingdom and Australia, the episode "King Scoopa Koopa" aired before "The Night Before Cave Christmas", due to a mishap involving the show's production order and the production order of Captain N: The Game Master.
Along with Captain N, Super Mario World was one of the last cartoons to air on NBC as that network began to gradually phase out cartoons on Saturdays. Both were canceled by the fall of 1992 and replaced with a Saturday version of Today, along with their TNBC block, which included such shows as Saved by the Bell and California Dreams. In the mid-nineties, the Super Mario World episodes aired on USA Network, without the Captain N episodes. The adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, another cartoon based on a video game franchise by DIC, and Street Fighter, based on the popular fighting game, were also aired on USA Network around the same time.
Due to the nature of its production, Super Mario World is actually one half of a series entitled Captain N and the New Super Mario World, which also consists of the third season of Captain N: The Game Master. Although the "New" suffix was used to promote the Super Mario World game when the show first aired, it is part of the series' proper title, and was never dropped. An episode of this half hour series consists of a Super Mario World cartoon and either a Captain N cartoon, or a second Super Mario World cartoon. Due to legal issues, the third season episodes of Captain N and the Super Mario World episodes are inseparable, and have to be released on DVD in the same set. This also explains why the first two seasons of Captain N: The Game Master were released in a "complete series" set; the third season is part of a separate show. The show can also be seen on Starz Encore’s Kids and Family channel on weekday afternoons since 2019 as well as on its WildBrain YouTube channels and Paramount+.
In the Middle East, Super Mario World aired on Spacetoon along with Earthworm Jim starting in 2005, but in 2007, both it and Earthworm Jim were replaced by The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. Super Mario World also aired on the Middle East version of Nickelodeon but is no longer on that channel's schedule. It was also still airing on Spacetoon as of January 1, 2011, along with Earthworm Jim, The Land Before Time, Make Way for Noddy, and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! after Spacetoon English shut down.
Currently, DVDs of every single Super Mario World episode are available in Australia; the episode "A Little Learning" was also available on a VHS tape for a time in the UK.
Due to complications involving the use of Yoshi, it was originally thought that DVD box sets of Super Mario World weren't going to be made. However, those issues were resolved, and Shout! Factory has released a box set containing the complete series, along with the third season of Captain N: The Game Master. The DVD was discontinued in 2012, along with The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3: The Complete Series and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show Volume 1 and 2, when Cookie Jar Entertainment merged with DHX Media.
The voice acting was done in Canada.
As with the previous show, Super Mario World was produced and directed by John Grusd, with DiC president Andy Heyward acting as the executive producer and creative supervisor. Animation was done by the Chinese studio Pacific Rim Productions, Inc. rather than Sei Young Animation Co., Ltd., except for the opening which was done by Canvas. Inc. The series is coproduced by Reteitalia S.P.A. and Telecinco.
Unlike previous Super Mario cartoons where scripts were produced in a three-steps fashion (starting with the writer submitting an episode premise to the show's story editors, then a multi-page outline, then the full script), all of the episode premises for Super Mario World were written by the show's story editor Phil Harnage and then assigned to various writers of the previous series for the full script, skipping the outline stage - something that writer Perry Martin noted was "never a good idea".
Names in other languages