Nintendo seems to have triggered some alarms at PETA with its latest Super Mario game, as one of the outfits of the famous Italian plumber is a tanuki fur.
Raccoon dogs are traditionally called tanuki in Japan, in case you wondered what was the animal whose skin made PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) blow its whistle. Super Mario World 3D, the latest Nintendo game to feature Mario, had its premiere last weekend. The Tanooki (not a typo, this is how it appears in the game) suit is a power-up it that cause the unprecedented reaction from PETA. What the organization claims is that the game suggests that it is OK to wear fur. What I think it is really disturbing is the fact that the Tanooki suit has been featured in the Nintendo games ever since Super Mario Bros. 3, which came out in 1988. Moreover, it also made an appearance in the 25th Anniversary Edition of Super Mario All-Stars in 2010, so this is definitely not the first time the suit is worn by Mario.
The above picture is taken from the Tanooki Kills Mario website, which was created by none other than PETA. In this game, the raccoon dogs are finally able to have their revenge, or at least one of them that is portrayed chasing a flying Mario who drips blood every now and then. On the website, PETA claims that “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.”
This reaction is certainly something no one expected, but I guess PETA focuses on any chance it gets to promote its position. So to them it does not really matter if it’s a game for kids that we are talking about or a movie character. As long as fur or any other animal by-product is visible on or off screen, PETA will stands its ground, something that seems absurd in some situations. What exactly made PETA ring the alarm 23 years after the first appearance of the Tanooki Suit? If you ask me, my answer is quite simple: free publicity.