While traipsing about the internet this morning I stumbled upon a rather interesting article on Racked.com regarding  a subject I didn’t expect to see written about there: Super Mario, a popular video game character. Apparently the animal welfare organization PETA has decided to set their sights on the audacious plumber’s latest game release titled Super Mario Land 3D in which Mario dons a magicial Tanooki Tail Power-Suit. PETA claims that the use of the Tanooki Tail Power-Suit is an endorsement of animal cruelty with a statement on their site that reads “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.”

They even go so far as to create a maniacal caricature of Mario holding a deceased tanuki head while shrouded in its former skin. The image is featured with a 16-bit style Flash based game in which a skinned tanuki attempts to reclaim its lost fur from a flying Mario. But Nintendo, the creator of the Mario franchise, is not without words in regards to this stating that “Mario often takes the appearance of certain animals and objects in his games. These have included a frog, a penguin, a balloon and even a metallic version of himself. These lighthearted and whimsical transformations give Mario different abilities and make his games fun to play. The different forms Mario takes make no statement beyond the games themselves.”

This however isn’t the first time PETA has launched a controversial campaign against You can add this campaign to the slew of previous campaigns like these or more recently a .xxx site that PETA has developed over the years to garner attention towards their cause.

Now as a fashion lover and long time video game enthusiast, I have to say that playing Mario has never sent a barrage of electrical impulses to my brain reprogramming and compelling me to go out and hunt one of these animals down to claim their fur as my own. As Nintendo said, Mario has taken many forms some of which were animal based. If one were to follow this logic, Mario also sends the message that killing frogs, penguins and robots is OK, all for the sake of bolstering their wardrobe.

Essentially what Nintendo is doing is innocent, playful and imaginative mimicry at most and mimicry is a part of life. That’s why there are so many synthetic fabrics made to imitate animal fur and skin, like Pleather and Faux Fur. Perhaps those manufacturers should be ousted for creating something that pretends to be a real animal too.  But wait, didn’t PETA endorse Pleather? Hmmm…

What do you think of PETA’s claims? Is Nintendo actually endorsing animal cruelty or is this all just an attempt to stay relevant?

Photos courtesy of Nintendo