The Ugly Mermaid

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The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode
"The Ugly Mermaid"
A scene from "The Ugly Mermaid" showing Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool in Frog Suits
Production number 122
Airdate November 3, 1990 (English)
November 15, 1991 (French)
Writer(s) Perry Martin
Sean Roche
Opening curtain Water Land
Featured song "Never Kiss a Mermaid"
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"The Ugly Mermaid" is the eighteenth episode of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3; it aired alongside another episode of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 entitled "Mush-Rumors". The episode's name parodies The Little Mermaid.

Plot synopsis[edit]

The episode begins as King Koopa swiftly pilots his Doom Sub through the ocean, planning to conquer the underwater world of Mertropolis, which he plans to turn into Kooptropolis. Already aware of his plans, Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and Toad pursue the sub, aided by Frog Suits.

Hip and Hop Koopa notice them and inform Koopa, who orders his Rocky Wrenches to attack. The Mario Bros. manage to catch some of the wrenches that are thrown at them, and throw them back, damaging the Doom Sub's propellers. The submarine spins out of control, firing strange beams in all directions. As Mario tries to protect the Princess from the blasts, he is hit by one of them himself. His body is encased in a block of cement, which causes him to begin sinking.

When all seems lost, a mermaid named Holly Mackerel comes out of a Warp Pipe and swims over to save Mario. She introduces herself as the mermaid princess of Mertropolis and brings Mario to the submerged city, which is covered by a dome. Luigi and the others follow, and try their best to revive the now-unconscious Mario. When he regains consciousness, Holly tells him that her fortune teller claimed a frog prince would "come hopping into my life". Believing Mario to be that prince, she falls in love with him and tries to get him to marry her. After some brief dodging and running away, Mario directly confronts her and tells her that they just are not compatible. Leaving her in tears, he and the rest of the team head back to the pipe leading to the ocean.

Frog Mario in the water, unable to swim.

However, before entering the pipe, Mario cannot bring himself to go back. His near-death experience has made him dreadfully afraid of the water, and he refuses to leave. The others try to convince him to go, but he makes it clear that he will not go into the water ever again. Suddenly, the Doom Sub appears over the city, and Koopa shouts his demands through a loudspeaker, declaring that if the city is not surrendered in seventeen minutes, he will destroy it. King Mackerel shows up, and worries about Mertropolis being destroyed.

The Ugly Mermaid
Mario and friends looking towards the Doom Sub.

Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and Toad jump into the exit pipe, but Mario is still too afraid. Toadstool tries to convince him that everything will be okay, but it does not do any good. Suddenly, two Boomerang Brothers enter through the pipe and start attacking the city. Mario defeats them, but just as soon as they are gone, more arrive. After Mario's group battles the small troop of Boomerang Brothers, Koopa announces that he has more to come. As before, Mario is too scared to leave the city. Princess Toadstool tells him to stay behind, while she, Luigi, and Toad stop the Doom Sub.

Holly grabbing Mario, proclaiming preparations for her wedding.

Holly sees that Mario is still there, and misinterprets his staying as a sign of love for her. King Mackerel still sees Mario hanging around, and warns Mario about King Koopa's threat. Holly, who was mistaking a Warp Pipe for Mario's "solid build", notices and introduces Mario to her father, and plans to prepare a wedding ceremony, much to Mario's dismay.

Onboard the Doom Sub, Hip and Hop spot Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and Toad returning, and Koopa responds by firing Nasty Nets at his three foes, capturing all of them. Back in Metropolis, Holly tells Mario about how she is inviting all of the citizens to their wedding. However, Holly's plans are cut short when Koopa announces that he is going to throw them a wedding shower.

Mario fixing the hole.

Koopa then drops a Bob-omb onto the city's protective dome, blasting a hole in it, which causes water to pour in and start flooding the city. Mario regains his courage, realizing he is the only one who can rescue his friends and the city—that, and he wants to get away from Holly. He swims up the advancing flood of water, and fixes the hole in the ceiling on his way out with a manhole cover.

The Doom Sub fires a Chain Chomp at Mario, but Mario grabs ahold of the chain and uses the Chomp to cut open the Nasty Nets that are holding his friends. Mario and Luigi then take one of the nets to capture a school of Jelectros, and hurl the net at the Doom Sub. The Jelectros electrocute the Doom Sub, forcing the Koopa Troopas to retreat.

Later on, back in Mertropolis, King Mackerel presents Mario with a medal for his heroic deeds. Holly, still infatuated with Mario, arrives and puts a wedding-day helmet on him. The helmet, however, distorts his facial appearance, and she shrieks in shock, saying that she cannot marry him because he is "the ugliest-looking frog [she's] ever seen". With that resolved, the heroes cheerfully leave before Holly has a chance to get over her fear.


Animation and continuity errors[edit]

  • In the first scene where Mario almost drowns, his sideburns are seen (as in Frog Mario's artwork from the original game and the Nintendo Comics System story "Love Flounders"), but elsewhere in the episode they are not. Also, at one point they are black instead of brown.
  • The citizens of Mertropolis are unable to breathe the air, but they live in an air-filled city and panic when Koopa floods the place.
  • King Mackerel's head is colored like that of a human instead of fish in some scenes of this episode.
  • When King Koopa tells Mertropolis that they have ten minutes to surrender, a red screen can be seen for a split-second.
  • When Mario hops away from Holly Mackerel for the second time, Toad's arms are not covered by his Frog Suit. This happens again when Koopa has them hooked on the Doom Sub.
  • In the scene where Mario holds on to a Boomerang and comes back with it, he has Princess Toadstool's voice when he attacks a Boomerang Brother.
  • When Toadstool tells Mario to calm down, one of her arms is missing when she holds him.
  • Hop's hair turns pink in the next scene when he catches Luigi, Toad, and Toadstool approaching the Doom Sub.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
French La vilaine petite sirène The Naughty Little Mermaid
German Die Meerjungfrau The Mermaid
Italian La principessa sgombro The Princess Mackerel
Portuguese A Sereia Feia The Ugly Mermaid
Romanian Sirena cea urâtă[1] The ugly mermaid
Spanish La Sirena Fea The Ugly Mermaid


  • The opening music is different from normal, using the water level theme instead of the standard Water Land theme.
  • This is the only episode where Mario and the others are in the same powered up form during the entire episode.


  1. ^ May 20, 2015. "The Ugly Mermaid", dubbed in Romanian by KidsCo. Odnoklassniki ( Retrieved January 4, 2016.