Preservationist "Ruka" has discovered a television drama based on the Famicom Disc System game Nazo no Murasamejou / The Mysterious Murasame Castle, and has uploaded it to YouTube.
Produced by Fuji Television as a part of its Monday night one-shot drama series Getsuyou Drama Land, the one-hour live-action special was broadcast in Japan only once back in 1986. It was re-released as part of a DVD box set based on the show 20 years ago, but this has now become hard to find.
"The special features members of the all-girl pop idol group Onyanko Club, which was popular in Japan during the 1980s and spawned many big-name celebrities like Shizuka Kudo," says Ruka, via the video upload on Haruko Please. "The special aired on Fuji Television a single time on December 08, 1986 and for many years, it was believed to be lost media. It was released on DVD in 2005 as part of the Onyanko Club in Getsuyou Drama Land DVD Box 2, which flew under the radar of the English-speaking Famicom community. As far as we are aware, this is the first-ever live-action adaptation based on a video game. Additionally, I'm in talks with a group who may be able to produce English subtitles for it."
Interestingly, this could be the production which led to Super Mario Bros. 2. Doki Doki Panic – the game upon which the Western version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was based – was produced in partnership with Fuji TV as part of their Dream Factory event in 1987. "It seems that Nintendo's relationship with Fuji TV began with the production of this special in 1986, but it's possible that it goes back even earlier," says Ruka.
Released exclusively in Japan on April 14th, 1986, The Mysterious Murasame Castle was directed by Minoru Maeda and features music by the legendary Koji Kondo (Super Mario, Zelda).
"Although a blood relative of The Legend of Zelda, The Mysterious Murasame Castle isn't quite like any other Nintendo game of the era, with incredibly fast-paced gameplay and a high degree of difficulty which, thankfully, feels completely fair," said Nintendo Life in its review of the game. "With all of the nods and references this game has had over the years in other Nintendo games which did release outside Japan, it's great to be able to see what the fuss is all about. And as an action-oriented 'sister' game to the original Zelda, it's absolutely worth checking out."