With Super Mario Odyssey being out for just over a week, the world has had the chance to experience first hand the wonder of its varied and eclectic kingdoms. New Donk City is a literal urban playground packed so densely with surprises you practically trip over them. Shiveria is a winter wonderland complete with underground yeti races. Then there’s the wackier Mount Volbano, with its gourmet aesthetic and eye-popping color scheme. The list goes on and on.
Many of these kingdoms are grounded in reality but have some sort of fantastical spin put on them. What else is grounded in reality with a fantastical spin? Anime. Anime is full of amazing worlds that pop with style and pizazz, and that’s exactly the kind of flare every single one of the kingdoms in Odyssey exude from all aspects of their being.
In this fun little exercise, we fantasize about some anime worlds that would make for great Super Mario Odyssey kingdoms, or at least the base for one. If we can have Mario running around with the likes of realistically proportioned human beings, then there’s no reason he couldn’t fit right at home in these worlds.
Kyoto Through the Looking Glass (from Kyousougiga)
New Donk City already demonstrates how well Mario’s mechanics work in an urban setting. Translating that to the bastardization of Japan’s old capital featured in Kyousougiga isn’t much of a stretch.
As the name suggests, Kyoto Through the Looking Glass is very much inspired by Lewis Caroll’s famous novel, while also being deeply steeped in Buddhist, Shinto, and Hindu traditions. While we do have a kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey that is distinctly Japanese, it’s not the kind of town environment Kyoto Through the Looking Glass could provide.
Rustic rickshaws running to-and-fro, denizens of all shapes and forms going about their business, the various districts that could provide varied terrain while remaining consistent with the theme. A cornerstone capture target could be the Bishamaru giant robot that Koto activates during her adventures. It could tear through anything in its path, much like the T-Rex capture but with a kung-fu spin to it.
Neo Venice (from ARIA)
Now this one may be a little difficult considering the Neo Venice featured in the highly acclaimed slice-of-life, ARIA, is technically on Mars. If we could look past that little detail, though, then the water-bound city is a perfect fit for a Super Mario Odyssey kingdom.
The narrow canals combined with tall buildings would provide excellent opportunities for discovery. Mario could take on the role of a gondolier by capturing one of the floating vessels and ferry customers about in an aquatic version of Crazy Taxi. Not to mention the Venetian architecture would provide some simply stunning views.
While we already have two aquatic based kingdoms in the game, Lake Lamode and Bubblaine, both are kingdoms that very much require you to take a dip and explore underwater. Much like its real-life counterpart, though, it’s not as if we see people swimming around in the canals of Neo Venice, and that mentality could translate to a Mario kingdom.
The gondolas and tight architecture would encourage the player to explore primarily above water. It would be a rare exception for a Mario game to include a water-themed level that lacks any necessity to actually swim.
Amagi Brilliant Park (from Amagi Brilliant Park)
It’s a little surprising that there isn’t a theme park inspired kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey. Perhaps this is because Pinna Park was already featured heavily in Super Mario Sunshine, but that game came out a whole 15 years ago. It’s not too unreasonable to expect a potential refinement of the idea in Odyssey, and Amagi Brilliant Park could bring just that.
High flying action on the rollercoaster and high altitude views from the Ferris wheel are a given. Capture a roving Sherm enemy and blast away at the rats in Moffle’s Candy House or collect Note Pieces to put on musical performances in Macaron’s Music Theater. Another possibility is that Mario could put on an acrobatic stunt show to wow the visitors, increasing the park’s popularity and bringing more patrons in turn, which is exactly the purpose of the show. Throw in a mascot suit bought with regional coins and Mario would fit in perfectly.
Pure Illusion (from Flip Flappers)
It’s funny just how similar the plot of Flip Flappers is to that of Super Mario Odyssey. The protagonist duo, Cocona and Papika, travel through the various dimensions of the mysterious space known as Pure Illusion. There they search for that dimension’s “fragment” that will help go towards granting their wishes. Sound familiar? Replace a few words here and there and you have Super Mario Odyssey’s progression.
Each and every one of the Pure Illusion’s dimensions is straight out of the fever dream of a brilliant abstract artist. From the vibrant, bunny rabbit themed dimension of the second episode, to the eerie boarding house of the fifth episode, no two dimensions are similar in the slightest. In this regard, Pure Illusion is a veritable treasure trove of potential Super Mario Odyssey kingdoms. Take any one of these dimensions and you have a kingdom ready-made for Mario to leap into.
Maybe take the dimension-hopping one step further and have portals that connect each space to another, creating microcosms of playgrounds clustered together as a single kingdom. This could potentially result in a confusing labyrinth of portals if handled improperly but if there’s one thing Nintendo has demonstrated over the years with all their iterations of Mario, it’s that they know how to design damn good levels.
The Abyss (from Made in Abyss)
Now this selection may seem a bit extreme at first glance. After all, The Abyss is a horrific hole the ground filled with terrors both tangible and intangible. Certainly, this isn’t a place Mario would find himself in, yes?
Take a moment to recall the Deep Woods from the Steam Gardens. This is a location that can only be reached by falling off the edge of the regular map. Once down there Mario finds himself in the dark, oppressive maws of the forest where light hardly reaches. To make matter worse there’s a T-rex that will relentlessly pursue you if you tread too close. It is a legitimately unsettling atmosphere.
The Abyss takes that unsettling atmosphere and amplifies it to the nth degree. The sheer verticality of The Abyss offers plenty of opportunities for the player to put their platforming skills to the test. The various creatures that haunt the terrifying expanse could be captured not just as a means of travel and puzzle solving, but also to circumvent the potentially deadly effects the Curse of the Abyss brings to those who ascend from its depths (think “the bends” that results from scuba divers ascending too quickly).
Not to mention the entire society of the Cave Raiders is built around prospecting for long-lost treasures found within The Abyss. These artifacts could easily be used as the kingdom’s regional coins while the higher artifacts, Rank B or above, could act as the kingdom’s Power Moons. The setting of The Abyss is simply too well suited for Odyssey… if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s also a hellish death trap for all who enter.
And that’s that, five anime worlds that would adapt wonderfully as a Super Mario Odyssey kingdom. Some of them are straight-forward, some abstract, some dark, but all of them would provide that sense of wonder and awe necessary in any 3D Mario game. Do you have any ideas for anime worlds we missed here? Let us know in the comments what wacky environments you think Mario could star in!