The divide between Japan and the west is well known. It’s quite large and often brings pain to have something we’ve been looking forward to become locked forever “over there.” The divide also brings us little bits of joy as well, as things long forgotten there are rediscovered, with fans digging things up and bringing things to light, often with full translations in tow.
That’s the area where I’d like to contribute to, as I’ve come across and translated an old, old manga book from almost 30 years ago, that you can enjoy today. There was a weekly comic series from 1989 to 1998 based on the newest Mario games at the time that ran in BonBon magazine in Japan. These were later published into separate books, which I’ve come across, translated and narrated in full for a new audience to enjoy.
This time I took a look at Dr. Mario. It’s interesting to imagine what kind of adventure Mario would have, as the Dr. Mario is just a straight up puzzle game. In this manga book I’ve found a few interesting points that, if taken as canon, would surely shake up the Mario universe.
1- The battle that Mario has against the viruses takes place inside Luigi! That’s right, Luigi gets infected and Mario tries to save him!
2- The virus was created by Bowser, in yet another attempt to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom. No surprise that Bowser has the same M.O. but it’s a unique take that beats the same old tired “kidnap the princess” schemes he usually has.
3- Luigi has a crush on Peach. A little bit of back story gets revealed here, in that Luigi is often jealous of Mario for always saving the day.
4- It’s a sequel to Super Mario Land, in a way. In the adventure, Princess Daisy tags along for a while. Mario uses the Sky Pop and Marine Pop from Super Mario Land to fight the viruses. It does make sense as these two games were released i succession.
5- Some of the geography of the Mario universe is explained. A map of the whole Mushroom Kingdom is also shown.
6- It sets the stage for future events. This story also shows Peach’s castle in almost the same design as it is shown in Super Mario 64. Also the super sized Mario seen from New Super Mario Bros. makes an appearance here too!
It’s a quirky bit of history where, if taken from the time that it came from, makes it hard to tell if the books influenced the games, the games influenced books, or if it all just flows together.
Regardless of all the hard extra thinking, take a look, sit back an enjoy “The Micro Battle to Save Luigi!”