The Evils of Mario, and My Thoughts on Final Fantasy and Anime (WARNING: LONG)

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_IronManDude_

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#1 _IronManDude_
Member since 2008 • 1595 Posts

So, I was talking to the voices in my head the other day, and I asked them what their favorite Final Fantasy game was. Skippy the Cyborg Leprechaun said his favorite was FFVI. Vampire Abraham Lincoln (four-score and seven Twilight sequels ago...) claimed that, because of Emo Git, his favorite was FFVIII. Compilation Superman (that is to say, a compilation of George Reeves' chin, Christopher Reeve's face, Dean Cain's physique, Tom Welling's hair, Shaw from Chuck's suit, and Supergirl's breasts) said that the best was, without question, FFVII -- due to the protagonist being a transsexual. After all, Superman does have serious sexual confusion, obvious because he never gave Chloe the ol' "Hulk Smash", if you know what I mean. Yeah, make her feel like a "Wonder Woman", then give her the ol' "Rampage" -- finishing off with a "Spiderman Deadshot" across the "Wonder Twins". Yeah! Hiring Spiderman and the Wonder Twins to fight Deadshot! What else would I have meant?

Anyway. So, when the question was turned back to me, I had to really consider my answer. My favorite was and will always be Crystal Chronicles, so I didn't have much credibility to begin with. But how could I possibly LOSE credibility? That was my dilemma.

I thought about what the BEST Final Fantasy had to be. Definitively. I had the last word. What, you didn't get the memo? Everybody else in the world already voted; it's between VII and XIV. Anyway, I seriously considered the merits of each game in the series -- well, the series from VII on, because... cheese.

VII had possibly the best story of them all, though it was still pretty flimsy for a game that everybody claims to have an amazing (or amaxing if you're a warrior princess) story. VIII was just crap, boasting the worst gameplay of them all, and a bad story that's only held up by "fantasy". Yeah. Final Fantasy VIII has a concept of fantasy that's suspiciously similar to "movie magic": just saying "it's called Final FANTASY" does not make half the crap in that game acceptable storytelling. Seriously, people! Just because you whip the word "fantasy" out of your ass, doesn't mean you can just come up with any thin plot device and it'll be okay. "Oh, well, he has amnesia because of the *COUGHCOUGHfleninCOUGH* virus that was spread by the bad guy in Universe 1, and brought back here, to Universe A!" Right, no. I'm rating the Final Fantasy games on story because, aside from one or two small changes in each game, the gameplay is always relatively the same. The story is what makes or breaks a game like Final Fantasy for me.

So, considering I have never played beyond X (which had the best gameplay, but an even worse story), I would have to say the best was IX -- it didn't have the greatest story, but it didn't TRY to have the best story. It knew, on some small level, that the story was relatively weak, and because of that, it had more time to work out a better setting and good characters.

And that's the biggest thing for me -- the characters. While IX may not have had the best story, its characters really "charried" it for me. Rather than having the incredibly stereotypical, cookie-cutter, fill-in-the-names sort of characters that VII and VIII had, it had slightly less stereotypical characters. Like Steiner, the awesome Knight who swears to guard the princess (who's still a bit of a Mary-Sue) and always thinks Zidane is responsible for everything bad that happens. I never did trust those soccer hooligans.

But even the most basic of the character in the game, Zidane, was still a major step up from anybody featured in either previous game. Let's make a checklist.

STANDARD ANIME CHARACTER/JRPG CHARACTER CHECKLIST. 

  • BROODING HERO -- Cloud and Squall.
  • MARY-SUE FEMALE HERO -- Tifa and Rinoa.
  • LOLITA -- Yuffie and Selphie.
  • PRETTY-BOY VILLAIN -- Seiferoth.
  • MONSTER VILLAIN -- Sephiroth and Ultimecia.
  • BONUS POINTS FOR ABSURDLY CLEAVAGED FEMALE VILLAIN -- Edea. Also, Sephiroth (her sword counts).


Right. Well, I realized quickly that what I was describing weren't Final Fantasy characters, but Anime characters in general. I can't understand how anybody watches Anime. More than that, I can't understand how anybody looks at something like Neon Genesis Evangelion and thinks it's high drama, or how people (tween girls, mostly) can look at Naruto and think Sakura and Sasuke share a timeless romance. Yeah, just like Edward and Bella.

But maybe I'm being a little too hard on Anime. After all, as you might be able to tell, I'm a superhero fan. I read comics, and I watch the animated movies. But the difference is that when I'm watching Spiderman, or Smallville, or Lois & Clark, or something like that -- I realize that I'm enjoying the height of cheesy entertainment. Seeing the Joker shoot down the Bat-plane with his giant pistol makes me grin. But something tells me that's not why most people watch Anime. So, either I'm missing the legendary Sopranos' of Anime, or a lot of people can't understand good drama. And of course, nobody will ever tell you that you're right about a thing like this. Everyone will just go all hipster on you, saying, "NGE is so mainstream. I'm watching this series, made entirely by a Red Chinese inmate, written in olde Pigeone Englishe. It's amazinge."  

But wasn't I talking about Final Fantasy? Well, Jimmy, I still am. The thing is, Final Fantasy is essentially an Anime video game. The characters are the same, the stories are the same, even the subject matter (killing monsters with humorously designed weapons) is often the same. The sad part is that fewer games are even vaguely trying to attempt an original plot these days, so the lackluster stories of JRPGs seem like Paradise Lost when compared to Bulletstorm.

Another thing that bothers me about both Anime and JRPGs is that they ALWAYS seem to involve a group of people way too young to be saving the world, or doing anything outside of listening to Katy Perry and thinking it's good music (FAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHYA-WAAAAAAAAAAAAARK!!!). Take a look at FFX, where the oldest character, the "grizzled old veteran", Auron, is estimated to be in his thirties. And the "master black mage" with the foot-long jugs (a necessary requirement for all good black mages), Lulu, is (I think) 23. Jeezus! Or what about these Anime like Sailor Moon, where the great protector of the world (or something) is still in high-school. NO! THAT'S NOT OKAY! This is why Old Snake could pwn any Anime/JRPG character -- he's experienced, they are not. Even regular Solid Snake could easily wipe his ass with Cloud Strife. I daresay Otacon could even beat at least Tidus in a fist-fight. And Gordon Freeman? That nerd would annihilate the entire "Ninja" school from Naruto. Yeah, "Ninja" in quotes, because if you are a girl with pink hair, who wears a red dress, YOU ARE NOT A ****ING NINJA! RYU HAYABUSA FACE-PALMS IN SHAME! 

*ahem*. Anyways, what's even worse than stories that don't even try? Stories that sort of do. I am, of course, talking about our favorite superhero in red and blue: Mario. Now, Nintendo has proven with the Metroid Prime series that they can write compelling stories (a fact which they hautly disputed by releasing Other M). They even proved that in a ZELDA game, for God's sake: Majora's Mask. I don't ever recall seeing a story about a scarecrow-like creature accompanied by a little fairy, wearing a magical mask, trying to collapse the moon into the Earth. The grimacing moon. That moon always confused me -- if it has a mouth and a nose and eyes, can we assume that it is both alive and that it has internal organs? Geez. Never thought I'd say that the plot in a Zelda game made me think.

But, if they can make interesting stories in Metroid Prime and Frigging Zelda, why has Mario been left in the dark? Now, I'm just going by the 3D Mario games, main series. The 2D ones all had essentially the same story, and the RPGs actually have interesting stories (like SPM, that one was really cool) and can actually be quite funny. WHY AREN'T THE WRITERS OF THOSE GAMES WRITING THE MAIN SERIES?!

Let's start with Mario 64: rescue the princess who's being held inside her own castle (somehow -- I refer you to "movie magic"). Just to get off track for a moment, what was wrong with Mario 64? Not that it wasn't a great game, it was, but why did it have almost nothing to do with the rest of the series? Where were the question blocks? Where were the super mushrooms, fire-flowers and star-men? Why were the Bowser stages so strange and unfamiliar? What was with the general lack of pipes, Yoshi (that Easter-egg afterthought didn't count) and Koopas? It's not that it's a bad game, it's just that it didn't really seem like a Mario game.

Thing is, Mario 64 had a good Mario plot. If you want to just have a game about saving the princess, just do that. But if the best they can come up with is some crap about cleaning off the island (let Jacob clean his own damn island), don't bother. You probably know by now, I'm talking about Sunshine. Sunshine is my favorite Mario game, and I stand by that like I stand by Crystal Chronicles; no matter how many people question my sanity because of it. But Sunshine had a really assy plot. First they load you with this environmental message. "Hey, kids, Mario says NO to graffiti!" Then they bring in Shadow Mario. And be honest. Did you ever think, for even one second, that Shadow Mario was anything other than Bowser, or something related to Bowser? I think they just made Shadow Mario for the trailer, but then when players actually learned that he was (oh, big ****in' spoilers) Bowser Jr., it gave us all "horrible plot twist syndrome". That is, a plot twist so obvious that you see it coming from a mile away, only to think, "no, wait, that's TOO obvious", and then it turns out that it WAS, in fact, that horrible twist. And the worst part of all this was that the plot didn't even make sense. What? Peach was BJ's mom? How did that work? After all, Bowser, in this game, was about 30 feet tall. How could she... forget a thing like that? Or the birth?

Now, I don't actually know all that much about Galaxy, but I do know quite a bit about its sequel, after having watched NintendoCapriSun's LP. And wow. What's the point of the Luma things? Really, why do they exist? And why have they never been an issue before? Where was the Luma powerup from Super Mario World? Why couldn't I play as Grimace the Fat-ass Purple Luma in Mario Tennis? I'll tell you why: because the Mario series needed another anthropomorphic character/object.

I want you to think about all we know from the Mario series. What does Mario do? He collects mushrooms, fire-flowers and stars, and rescues the princess from Bowser. The only problem?

THEY ALL HAVE EYES.

THE MUSHROOMS HAVE EYES. THE FIRE-FLOWERS HAVE EYES. THE STARS HAVE EYES. THE SHINES HAVE EYES.

THEY ALL HAVE EYES.

That means they're living things, with EYES, and Mario just ****ing eats them. At least, I sure HOPE he eats them -- it would be a much worse fate to get stuffed in his ass. But consider the character of Toad. There is an entire mushroom society in the Mario world -- the MUSHROOM Kingdom. Why do you think Peach named it the Mushroom Kingdom? Because she just loved stuffed Portabello mushrooms? No. Because of the mushroom people. And what are the super mushrooms, and 1up mushrooms? Babies.

MARIO EATS MUSHROOM BABIES.

Yeah. But that's not even the worst part, is it? Nope, because cruelty knows no bounds in the Mario Kingdom. These baby mushrooms are stuffed into boxes, placed there by God-knows-who, only to be cruelly thrown out of the box. And when they try to run, Mario ****ing catches them. Yeah, he likes it when they work up a sweat. And then he bites their assing heads off. ****.

But the MUSHROOM CHILDREN (!!!) are not the only victims. What about the fire-flowers? See, there used to be a whole race -- a prosperous, lively, jovial race -- of flower people. They had great relations with the Mushroom Kingdom, and they were always hanging out there. Ho-ho. But that was before Mario showed up. He came, and the Great-Malevolent-Force-That-Stuffs-Things-in-Boxes followed. Oh, yeah. You didn't know about the GMFTSTB? It follows Mario wherever he goes. Ever noticed that anywhere Mario goes, there are mysterious ? blocks? GMFTSTB. Probably works with PeaCE. Probably works with Fred Fuchs.

Flower babies were boxed-up, and when Mario came along, they were freed. But these babies can't move, and they just sit there, helpless, begging Mario not to hurt them. 

"Please, Mr. Mario! I never did anything to you!"

"It's Dr. Mario, *****."

And that would be that. He rips the flower from the ground, laughs wickedly, and bites its head off. The younger, the better.

But what about the stars? Why is it that if I got one of those things back in the old games, I would go invincible, but if I get 120 of them in Mario 64, I'm given the ability to get fired to the top of a castle, bounce off the invisible wall, and then talk to some fat guy in a Yoshi costume? What changed?

Well, maybe it was that the stars knew who they were dealing with. See, back in the day, Mario would treat these stars with the same cruelty as the other citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom (that is, those who weren't white humans) -- he would eat them. But these stars (who were for some reason capable of granting Mario absolute and God-like invincibility, but could only bounce away themselves) decided they weren't having any of Mario's shenanigans, and instead became less of an immediate power, and more an abstract thing like the Chaos Emeralds. "Oh, yeah, uh... collect all of us and, uh... and we'll keep you in our thoughts."

And after all of this, it becomes obvious that you were never the HERO of the Mario games, but rather the VILLAIN. Think about it: did Bowser ever eat a mushroom baby? No. Do any of his guards eat mushroom babies? No. Princess Peach just has Stockholm Syndrome -- Bowser keeps rescuing her from the evil Mario, and she screams for Mario's help.

So, why don't any of the mushroom people do anything to stop Mario the Tyrant? Because if they say anything against him, he steals a mega mushroom and stomps all over their city. Yeah, just like Godzilla. Sometimes he brings Yoshi -- the Toads call him Tyrannosaurus X.

"IT'S-A-ME, MARIO'S TOWN, YOU BUNCH OF PUNJABI PORCINI PUNT-RUNNERS! YOU ****IN' FUNGI! KNEEL BEFORE ME, YOU *****AKE ****HEADS!"

--

So, I just told them my favorite was Crystal Chronicles, and they were cool with it. Yep.

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waZelda

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#2 waZelda
Member since 2006 • 2956 Posts
Didn't quite finish it because I need to go to practice, but about SM sunshine, I really loved in the finishing cut-scene when Bowser says "I have something... difficult to tell you about Mama Peach". I loled at that.
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waZelda

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#3 waZelda
Member since 2006 • 2956 Posts

Oh, man, really funny blog. I love the ending.

By the way the Lunas become planets when they grow up, Mario didn't meet them before the Galaxy games because he hadn't been out in space before.

Also, they're there because they are cute.