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Super Mario Bros. Z (SMBZ) is an animated web series produced by Newgrounds artist Alvin-Earthworm as a fan-made crossover tribute to the Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog and Dragon Ball universes, which features a variety of character sprites and choreographic actions inspired by the aforementioned series, as well as a number of edited sprites from other video game franchises like Mega Man.
The Flash-based animation series by Alvin-Earthworm first debuted on the popular flash animators' community Newgrounds on April 22nd, 2006. The original series consists of eight episodes in total, many of which were released in varying intervals that range from two months to 16 months. The ninth episode was partially under production before it was placed on an indefinite hiatus by the series creator, Alvin Earthworm.
The story begins with a robotic creation from another dimension known as "Mecha Sonic" coming into Mario's Universe. hunting for gemstones known as Chaos Emeralds. Further away from this start, during an annual race between Mario and Luigi and the Wario brothers, Bowser intervenes and attempts to capture the princess and destroy Mario once and for all. Which he would have done, had not two more newcomers entered the field, Sonic and Shadow. As time went on, they revealed that their home world, Mobius, was razed from the ground up by Mecha Sonic, and that they had teleported the Chaos emeralds to Mario's universe, and now must find them before Mecha Sonic does and the same fate befalls the Mushroom Kingdom.
Since its debut in 2006, Super Mario Bros Z has gained a significant online following on Newgrounds and elsewhere among the fans of the three video games and anime franchises, with every episode in the series garnering over two million views, much thanks to its high 90s nostalgia factor and impressive quality of battle sequences.
With the massive amount of fan support from the series, more than a dozen of modern remakes and spinoffs in alternate universe (AU) continuations were proposed after the series went on hiatus, though only a few have ended up reaching the production phase:
- Mega Sonic Bros. AF
- Super Mario Bros. Kai Z
- Super Mario Bros. Z: Reign of Darkness
- Super Mario Bros. Z: resRXion
- Super Mario Bros. Z: Mecha Sonic's Defeat
- Super Mario Bros. GT: The Grand Adventure
- Super Mario Bros: Heroes of the Stars
- Mario and Sonic: Worlds in Danger
- Mario and Sonic: Dawn of the True Power
- Mario and Sonic: Super Rival Saga
- New Super Mario Bros. Z
Mario, Sonic and Megaman: Heroes United
On October 5th, 2013, Alvin stated that he had regained some interest in working on the series. The creator required flash, and as a test, remade the first scene of the first episode. However, Alvin subsequently stated that the scene was only an exercise and there were no plans to recreate the entire series, and if he were to return to working on the series, he envisioned the project as a complete reboot with significant alterations to the original storyline, as he felt dissatisfied with the quality of many of the original episodes. However, on September 4th, Alvin uploaded a video to his YouTube channel confirming that a reboot of the series was indeed in progress.