“Are those big spots his... ears?”
December 3, 2017 4:27 PM   Subscribe

The Investigation Into Toad's Head Continues [Kotaku] “In case you didn't know Toad is at the center of a heated, ongoing debate. On one side are the people who think the mushroom on his head sits there like a hat. On the other side are people who think the mushroom is part of his head. Thanks to the latest Boundary Break video [YouTube], we have some new evidence to consider. While the debate has been raging for aeons, it was recently brought back to the fore thanks to Super Mario Odyssey. There are a bunch of toads in the game and some of them are wearing hats. Like, real ones. On top of their mushroom part. This seemed to suggest the pro-head people have been right all along. A post over at Dorkly [Dorkly] that laid out the debate in detail earlier this month also explained that Toad's mushroom can't be a hat because Cappy, Mario's companion in the game, can only possess creatures who aren't already wearing hats. Mario can possess toads in the game, ergo the mushroom must not be a hat.”
posted by Fizz (51 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is the Super Mario Bros. Super Show considered canonical? Because, in the first episode, Toad removes his mushroom top in order to use it as a parachute. I mean, that's pretty weird, but it's a lot weirder if that top is part of his head and not just a hat...

See for yourself. It's a hat.
posted by Skwirl at 4:53 PM on December 3 [7 favorites]


This night be covered in the links above but I am positive that in one of the cartoons toad off his hat and scratched his head or something like that.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 4:54 PM on December 3


I always thought it was supposed to be a turban. Is it not a goofy stylized turban?
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 4:54 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


The Beastcast consensus on this one is that it is a Flesh Hat and I'm inclined to agree.
posted by selfnoise at 4:55 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


something something Mojo Nixon.
posted by duffell at 4:58 PM on December 3


Team Head
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:01 PM on December 3 [7 favorites]


I always thought it was supposed to be a turban. Is it not a goofy stylized turban?

That depends. Do mushrooms wear goofy stylized turbans?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:02 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Is the Super Mario Bros. Super Show considered canonical?

I believe at least one of the articles in this series brings it up. There's no official Mario canon, though, so YMMV.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:03 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


(Canon in the sense of an official list of canonical works, that is.)
posted by tobascodagama at 5:04 PM on December 3


Mario said, “Toad, here is what you must do. Tonight when you go to bed you must think some very big thoughts. Those big thoughts will make your head grow larger. In the morning your mushroom may fit.”

“What a good idea,” said Toad.

That night when Toad went to bed he thought the biggest thoughts that he could think.

Toad thought about giant sunflowers. He thought about tall oak trees. He thought about high mountains covered with snow.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:05 PM on December 3 [31 favorites]


This is going to be like that time when a lot of you actually argued that Ralph Wiggum was capable of intentional metaphor and I got really angry, isn’t it.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:09 PM on December 3 [55 favorites]


If Toad removes his mushroom cap, turns it around twice and presses a hidden button on the back, it triggers a chain reaction that makes every Koopa Troopa in the kingdom take a shit at once.

That's why he doesn't do that.
posted by delfin at 5:12 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


There's no official Mario canon, though, so YMMV.

The last year or two have really undercut what canon there was. See this previously where we discuss the fact that Mario is now not defined solely as by his job as a plumber, as well as the fact that Wario and Mario are maybe related.
posted by Fizz at 5:16 PM on December 3


Mario's companion in the game, can only possess creatures who aren't already wearing hats. Mario can possess toads in the game, ergo the mushroom must not be a hat.”

i am eagerly awaiting the academic articles attempting to assemble a coherent metaphysics from super mario odyssey because damn is this game fertile soil for madness
posted by murphy slaw at 5:17 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


i am eagerly awaiting the academic articles attempting to assemble a coherent metaphysics from super mario odyssey because damn is this game fertile soil for madness

Maybe Mario has been the one that has been possessed all along. By an alien race of super intelligent sentient talking hats. It would explain Mario's struggle with the English language as well as how badly he is at plumbing. All the alien hat species understands is violence.
posted by Fizz at 5:20 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


wtf. It's obviously part of his head. Is a mushroom cap a hat that fungus wears? No. It's more fungus. Just because Toad is a sentient myconid doesn't mean he's free to just redefine biological laws willy nilly.
posted by xyzzy at 5:21 PM on December 3 [21 favorites]


Cordyceps infestation?
posted by tavella at 5:21 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


also is toad a fungus or an animal or some sick hybrid
and if his hat is made of meat does that mean that toadette's pigtails are likewise meat
and if you wanted to eat Toad would you barbecue him or just sauté him with a little garlic butter
posted by murphy slaw at 5:22 PM on December 3 [8 favorites]


I think it's more important what Toad is wearing on his lower half, but maybe that's just because I want Nintendo to retweet a very good Toad.
posted by supercres at 5:28 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


Is a mushroom cap a hat that fungus wears?

Would it bother you if it were?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:32 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Cordyceps infestation?

Oh shit! Is Cappy just an internal manifestation of the fungus/headcrab finally, once and for all taking over Mario's mind and driving him mad before he too, becomes nothing more than a simple, compliant, sheep-like Toad? I mean, we saw evidence that Toad's have skeletons. Where did those come from if they are only fungus?

Perhaps all Toads are just the previous Princess "savior", and they have a co-evolutionary social relationship with the Koopas, allowing them to capture new "Mario's" all the time, slowly turning them into Toads. The "rescuing" the Princess all being a ruse to slowly infect "Mario" as he lives and works amongst the Toads. Perhaps Mario itself is just a ceremonial name.

This would help explain his vastly different skills sets over time, and why initially he seemed like he was just a regular guy who held down a bunch of different blue collar jobs in Brooklyn in the 80's, and lately he just seems more like a dosed out weirdo who is always chasing the dragon.
posted by deadaluspark at 5:33 PM on December 3 [12 favorites]


Is a mushroom cap a hat that fungus wears?

Would it bother you if it were?


And now I'm just thinking about that scene where Hannibal Lecter puts on the face of the policeman he just killed.
posted by Fizz at 5:33 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


toadette's pigtails

Maybe they're spores, and toadettes carry their young on their turbans* like some mama spiders.

(*Spiders carry their young on their abdomens. Spiders do not wear turbans. That would be nonsense.)
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 5:37 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


I think we can rule out turban. This artwork from Super Mario Bros 2. proves that turbans exist in the Mario universe. If Toad were wearing a hat/turban, it would be stylized as such. #TeamHead
posted by Fizz at 5:48 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


Colored afro. It only looks solid because he has really thick hair.
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:55 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Mario can possess toads in the game, ergo the mushroom must not be a hat

This is untrue. Mario cannot possess Toads in Odyssey.
posted by painquale at 5:57 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Umm...yeah, this only complicates things further.
posted by Fizz at 6:33 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


My theory is that most Toads have mushroom heads, but the Super Mario Bros. Super Show Toad has the mushroom equivalent of baldness and wears a toupee.
posted by bigge at 8:08 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


I always assumed Toad was an anthropomorphic sentient mushroom, like a variant species of Goomba, so #teamhead I guess. Which is extra weird that he would pal around with Mario and Luigi, who are obviously predator species that regularly feed on Toad's brethren.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:45 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


I always thought it was supposed to be a turban. Is it not a goofy stylized turban?

Yes ...ish. The first game in which Toad appears is Super Mario Bros. 2, which was originally released in Japan as the totally Mario-free — and totally sultan-filled — Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic. It absolutely was a turban in the original. They changed it to a mushroom to make something in that game remotely Mario-ish. Toad is practically the only mushroom in the whole frigging game.

(It seems like the official story on this has changed, and now they’re saying the game was originally a Mario game that got converted to something else for some TV festival and then back to a Mario game afterwards, but, like, come on. No. Mario 2 is so obviously a non-Mario game with Mario and Luigi hastily thrown in that it’s not even funny. To say nothing of the fact that there was already another much more Mario-like Super Mario Bros. 2, which they deemed too difficult for North American audiences and needed a quick replacement for.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:48 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Whether goombas are mushrooms is another contestable proposition. In the original NES game they were meant to be sentient chestnuts.
posted by painquale at 8:49 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


You mean acorns? Goombas look nothing at all like chestnuts.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:51 PM on December 3


Nah, chestnuts, not acorns. The Japanese name for a goomba is a kuribo: little chestnut. They look kinda like chestnuts in the NES game, with the meat spilling out where their feet are. And they've got the classic chestnut coloration.

I'm still Team Evil Mushroom, but it's surprising that the games themselves never really do anything to establish that they're mushrooms.
posted by painquale at 9:46 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


I happen to know for a fact that Goombas are dinosaurs
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:29 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


This is beginning to sound like a tie-in to LidsVille.
posted by Graygorey at 11:05 PM on December 3


Goombas have to be mushrooms. The way they flatten when stomped on proves that they are made of a spongy, MUSHROOMLIKE material and not a chestnut like material which would be a brittle shell surrounding a mealy center.

And I was also always of the impression that toad actually was a mushroom, and the mushroom cap was his actual head.
posted by Literaryhero at 11:23 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Mario is still a plumber, right ?
posted by Pendragon at 12:04 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Mario is still a plumber, right ?

Retired.
posted by jklaiho at 2:44 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


That night when Toad went to bed he thought the biggest thoughts that he could think. Toad thought about giant sunflowers. He thought about tall oak trees. He thought about high mountains covered with snow.

That'd be from an unreleased Keita Takahashi collaboration, right?
posted by acb at 2:54 AM on December 4


He’s Toad S. Mushrooms. Any questions?

(The S stands for Stool)
posted by nubs at 6:27 AM on December 4 [7 favorites]


I don't think that Toads wearing hats in Odyssey represents any kind of evidence. Toads are simple people who do as they please. They're everywhere. They're always doing their thing. They won't be told what to do. And I choose to believe that their mushroom caps / turbans are so deeply ingrained in their self identity that they don't even perceive them as headgear. If you handed a hat to a Toad, he'd be delighted to participate briefly in the hat wearing fad and he would simple-mindedly plop it right on top of his standard accoutrement without a moment's thought.
posted by rlk at 6:28 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


This is untrue. Mario cannot possess Toads in Odyssey.
Just to clarify this point, it does appear that there is no opportunity for Mario to cap a Toad in Odyssey. However, that's not was being trotted out as evidence. The following is a minor spoiler.

After the threat of Bowser is eliminated, the people of the various kingdoms are free to travel the world. One of the challenges thus introduced is the identification of Bonneters (Cappy's species) disguising themselves as ordinary hats in other kingdoms. One of these is found on a Toad. Is he controlling that Toad, or is that Toad willingly wearing him as a hat? Because of this ambiguity, no inference as to the nature of Toad's head can be made based on this observation.
posted by rlk at 6:35 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


Is the Super Mario Bros. Super Show considered canonical? Because, in the first episode, Toad removes his mushroom top in order to use it as a parachute. I mean, that's pretty weird, but it's a lot weirder if that top is part of his head and not just a hat...

But if you shoot Daffy Duck in the face, and it blows his bill off, and that bill can still talk while it's lying on the ground, that's different than saying Daffy Duck has a removable, talking bill, right? Cartoons have 'wiggle room' for things that move the plot forward vs actual 'features' of a character.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:04 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


Yes ...ish. The first game in which Toad appears is Super Mario Bros. 2

Thank you, Mario! But our first appearance is in a different castle game.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:09 AM on December 4 [6 favorites]


I am in favor of virtually any MeFi post that leads to increasingly specific and asinine instances of beanplating toadhatting.
posted by duffell at 7:25 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]




I'm with dephlogisticated. I think the best explanation is the one that splits the difference between hat and head -- it's hair. Consider all of the given anomalous situations:
  • Cappy can surely work through hair.
  • Hair doesn't appear on x-rays.
  • When you can see hair strands peeking out from under the bulb and Toadette's braided pigtails are just unconventional hairstyles.
  • The instances from the (possibly non-canonical) cartoon show where he's removed it? Toupee.
  • As for the headphones, consider that Toad has no visible ears. I posit that the hair itself provides sound-sensing function, like a head full of the cilia in the human inner ear.
posted by mhum at 9:17 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


*sigh* It's obviously a parasitic organism feeding on his negative emotions and fear.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:15 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


Thank you, Mario! But our first appearance is in a different castle game.

Yeah, that's right. Toad as a named character might first appear in SMB2, but Toads as a species clearly appear in the first SMB.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:53 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm on team "what the hell, it's not a turban?!" Mind blown. This whole thread is hilarious.
posted by polly_dactyl at 2:44 PM on December 4


This is the perfect place to leave a link to my favorite MeFi comment ever.

Damn I remember that post, and that's a great comment! But older Mefi was super rough.

Fizz, great post.
posted by kittensofthenight at 3:33 PM on December 4


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