Since his creation over 35 years ago, our old pal Mario has had his likeness plastered on a truly staggering amount of stuff, particularly in Japan, where he’s been used to promote literally everything. Unsurprisingly, some of the bits and pieces of ephemera have been lost over the years, but Mario isn’t one to stay missing.
Gaming historian and YouTuber Gaijillionaire recently stumbled across a long-lost Super Mario anime short pretty much by accident. The Sonic City film and animation center in Omiya, Japan was holding a special screening of various kid-friendly anime shorts, and one of them happened to star Mario. Curious, Gaijillionaire decided to check the show out, and discovered the Mario cartoon was a rather odd 10-minute educational short called “Super Mario’s Traffic Safety.” This short was made in 1989, and sent to schools along with other Mario shorts on fire safety and similar subjects.
Since these shorts were only sent to schools, they’re not well documented, and Mario Teaches Traffic Safety has never popped up online, which is surprising, because there are some pretty dedicated Mario historians out there. You can check out a few clips of the Super Mario short in the video above. Here’s how Gaijillionaire describes the full 10-minute cartoon:
“The story focuses on a young boy and his little sister who get separated from their mother because he was playing Super Mario Bros. 3 when he shouldn't have been. The boy almost gets hit by a car, which Mario was driving. Mario tells the boy about the dangers of running out into the street and together they try to find the boy’s sister and mother. Bowser is also in the town and tries to kidnap the lost girl after running into her; when the family finds each other Mario then spots Bowser, who runs away right into traffic. Mario then kicks him out of the way and reviews safety points with the boy and a police officer.”