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Nintendo Buys Animation Studio, Forming Nintendo Pictures and Making Me Way Too Excited

Please please please please PLEASE give us a good Zelda show

Mario, Link, Kirby, Samus, Olimar, and a Pikmin from a Smash Bros reveal trailer

Nintendo is rather infamous for keeping their IPs close to their chest. Sometimes obnoxiously so, especially when it comes to Switch hardware. Which is part of the reason why it’s so surprising Nintendo is working with Illumination (the Minions people) to bring us a Super Marios Bros. movie. Sure, the movie got delayed, which I’m fine with—the longer I have to live where Chris Pratt’s voice isn’t coming out of Mario’s lips, the better. But it seems Nintendo is not planning on getting off the movie train any time soon, because they’ve bought an animation studio. What’s more, they’ve renamed the studio Nintendo Pictures. And I’m losing my mind.

The animation studio in question was formally known as Dynamo Pictures, a Tokyo-based CG animation company. Dynamo has lent its hand to quite a few notable anime—including Yuri!! On Ice, Evangelion 2.0, and my favorite One Piece film, Baron Omatsuri—and games, like Death Stranding. Dynamo also has a long history with Nintendo, most notably in producing the Pikmin Short Films. So the decision for Nintendo to buy this particular company isn’t coming out of nowhere.

But why is the more intriguing question, isn’t it? Nintendo’s filing says the acquisition is “to strengthen the planning and production structure of visual content in the Nintendo group.” It’s also good to note here that Nintendo is infamous for making most of its biggest games in-house: Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing, etc. So what could this new Nintendo-owned “visual content” possibly be? I’m guessing more movies! Maybe some shows! In the immortal words of Mario: whoo-hoo!

Why Nintendo Took So Long To Jump Into Movies

You’d think that, given the success of films like Sonic The Hedgehog and shows like Arcane, Nintendo would’ve jumped into TV and films ages ago. And they did, back in the 80s and early 90s. Problem was, the results were unanimously disastrous. If these old Nintendo movies / shows have never been shown to you—oh boy, are you in for a treat. These are some of my favorite things. For example, please enjoy this mega-cut of every time Link used his infamous catchphrase in the mercifully short-lived Legend of Zelda cartoon. This catchphrase was in the games. Totally, totally straight from the game in which he never says a word.

The Legend of Zelda cartoon was actually a spin-off of another show, The Super Mario Super Show!. In case you are wondering if that was any better / less amazing, I hope you enjoy The Mario. The immortal dance we all know.

And then, there was the real cherry on top of the cake: the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie, starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi. The film takes way too many wild liberties with Mario lore to even start digging into—Bowser lives in “Dinohattan.” Everyone working on it knew it was horrible. So Hoskins and Leguizamo took shots between takes, eventually resulting in Leguizamo accelerating a van too quickly and breaking Hoskins’ finger. And the Goombas looked like this. Total shit show. Completely amazing.

My point is, even when you consider the Chris-Pratt-as-Mario conundrum, Nintendo’s record in the film industry can really go nowhere but up—even though I’m delighted Super Marios Bros. (1993) exists. But the series of flops from the 80s and 90s seemed to spook Nintendo out of the film industry for decades—outside from Pokémon, of course. I’m incredibly glad they’re reconsidering their stance on withholding their games from the realm TV and film. I would really, really love an actually good Legend of Zelda show. Please just don’t cast Chris Pratt as Link.

Image credit: Nintendo

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Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.