Classic 1986 Super Mario Bros. animation has a new 4K restoration

Super Mario Bros 4K animation

The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach is now in 4K

A little piece of Nintendo history is being preserved thanks to the efforts of dedicated fans. Super Mario Bros. – The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach is available right now, in a 4K restoration of the original 1986 animation.

Originally released in 1986, the animation predates shows like Captain N or even the Super Mario Bros. live-action movie. It’s been easy enough to track down a fan-dub or other version on YouTube. But this restoration takes some significant steps to be the go-to version for classic Mario.

The upload from FemboyFilms has both a 4K UHD and 1080p restoration, which you can find on YouTube or here on the Internet Archive, as spotted by Polygon. The restoration comes from a 16mm reduction print, likely used for local screenings when the animation was first released.

One fan, Carnivol, managed to acquire a reel, believed to be one of, “if not THE only surviving print” in the world. They scanned it, and set out restoring it. After years working on the project, Carnivol entered an agreement with FemboyFilms to restore the film based on the existing scan.

A clearer picture

Two team members spent months removing thousands of individual pieces of debris manually for the restoration. The latter color-corrected the entire film, using manga and promo materials for the movie as reference. Forest of Illusion contributed additional reference materials too, which helped with deciding what colors should look like.

Then, using the original VHS as a source, the crew created a brand-new audio capture. Alongside all of this, there’s also a new subtitle track. It sounds like a titanic undertaking, even for a whole team like this.

The result is the bizarre, offbeat Super Mario Bros. animation in a great resolution. The actual movie of The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach is fairly strange and different from modern Mario. Yet without this effort, this piece of Mario’s history might just be lost to time. In the great legacy of video game adaptations, it’s good to have this so well-preserved moving forward.

Eric Van Allen