PETA vs. Mario: The Great Tanooki Controversy
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has gone after an unlikely target: Nintendo’s Mario. As many of you know, Mario dons a tanooki costume in Super Mario Bros. 3 and more recently in Super Mario 3D Land. PETA sees Nintendo’s use of the tanooki suit as encouraging animal cruelty. The organization even made a game called Super Tanooki Skin 2D that denounces Nintendo. Here’s more from the site:
When on a mission to rescue the princess, Mario has been known to use any means necessary to defeat his enemy — even wearing the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers.
Tanooki may be just a “suit” in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur.
I’m not a fan of fur by any means, but PETA’s campaign seems completely misguided to me. Nintendo is one of the most family-friendly developers and publishers in gaming. Mario is one of the most wholesome videogame characters in history. Legendary designer and Super Mario Bros. creator Shigeru Miyamoto is a known animal lover. Surely there are better companies for the organization to target, no?
Never for a second did I think that Nintendo had malicious intentions with the tanooki suit. It’s simply a cute costume that gives Mario silly powers. Does PETA honestly think that kids are going to be all, “Hey, know what would be awesome? Wearing fur!” after playing as Mario in the tanooki suit?
Naturally, I want to hear your opinion on this matter. While PETA certainly has a point in a literal sense, is it being misguided in going after Nintendo? Do kids get the message that wearing fur is okay from seeing Tanooki Mario in Super Mario Bros. 3?