You probably didn’t get to watch Nintendo’s first anime movie when it premiered in Japan in 1986, but you now have your chance — at quality you would never have experienced in theaters. Polygonnotes Femboy Films has released a 4K remaster of The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach on both YouTube (below) and the Internet Archive. You can not only expect clean, color-corrected visuals based on a rare 16mm print, but new English subtitles and a fresh two-channel Dolby Surround audio capture from the VHS release.
The story isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it’s an intriguing peek at the Super Mario Bros. franchise at a time when the canon was far from settled. Mario and Luigi travel from the ‘real’ world into the Mushroom Kingdom to rescue Princess Peach after briefly escapes into their realm and is captured by King Koopa (Bowser). You can expect many references to the original Super Mario Bros. game, but you’ll also find unusual deviations from the now-established premise. Mario and Luigi work at a grocery store, and they’re compelled to save Peach thanks to a Dumpling Dog character. And did we mention Luigi drinks sake?
Whatever you think of the plot, this is a significant film preservation project. Great Mission was only officially released in Japan, and there was just one run of VHS tapes. If it weren’t for the restoration, the anime might have been lost to modern audiences. The remaster should ensure that younger gamers have a glimpse of early Super Mario culture beyond emulated games or the not-so-stellar American movie from 1993.