The release of Super Smash Bros. Melee in November 2001 was an unquestioned highlight in the history of the late, and in some circles lamented, Nintendo GameCube. Here, in one action-packed game, were characters from all of Nintendo’s best-loved franchises, including Mario, Pokémon, and The Legend Of Zelda, alongside characters from cult favorites like Kid Icarus and even relative obscurities like EarthBound. The memorable intro to the game is now burned into the minds of a generation of gamers, some of whom grew up to be animators. Recently, 37 such animators contributed to a dazzling shot-for-shot reimagining of the intro, and their work has been posted to a Pokémon-themed YouTube account called The Reanimation Station. The resulting video is both a touching tribute to a beloved game and a rapid-fire assault on the senses. Since the animation itself lasts only 90 seconds, that means each animator only gets about two and a half seconds apiece to make an impression. The majestic score, imported directly from the original game, ties everything together, but the visual mismatches can be jarring.
Weird, right? But sweet, too. Everything flies by so quickly that first-time viewers may miss a few of the fleeting jokes, like the corpulent, goggle-eyed, Terry Gilliam-style rendition of Ness from EarthBound. And, wait, does Link turn into the dad from The Wild Thornberrys for a second there?
Yes, he does. And Mario gets his Sailor Moon cosplay on, too.
Looking good, Mario. Just for comparison’s sake, here’s the original intro from the 2001 game. It almost seems tame when juxtaposed with the bizarre 2016 remake.