First appearance: Donkey Kong (Nintendo, ARC, 1981)
Known crimes: Abduction; Battery; First-degree Toadslaughter; Arson; Grand theft kuribo’s shoe
Known accomplices: Luigi Mario; Assorted Toads; Assorted Yoshis; HRH Princess Peach Toadstool; Professor E. Gadd

Profile by Jeremy Parish? | April 8, 2011

Of the great injustices of our times, few are more heinous than the continued canonization of one of this age’s most abhorrent criminals, Mario Mario. The sheer cheek of the man is astounding: He feigns modesty for his supposed heroism, yet pompously calls himself “the man so good they named him twice”; he collects accolades and praise from those he’s hoodwinked even as he bears the guilt of having slaughtered countless of their numbers in his so-called “quests”; and he serves as the lackey of an effete and ineffectual government while habitually assaulting the royalty of neighboring kingdoms.

One could argue that heroism and villainy are perceptual, subjective matters colored by perspective and personal biases, which is a fair enough argument. In this case, however, it’s completely moot; Mario has proven himself an irredeemable reprobate by any measure of law or morality.

By this point, Mario’s history should be well-known: a humble Brooklyn plumber, his life underwent a massive change when his fiancée was kidnapped by an escaped ape. This turn of events seemed to unhinge the man, and he adopted a mantle of vigilantism. Rather than simply allowing the police and animal control to resolve the Donkey Kong incident, Mario himself recklessly pursued the beast, causing massive collateral damage: not only did he cause grievous physical harm to Kong, he also initiated the collapse of a massive construction project in uptown Manhattan. Miraculously, no one was injured, but the cost for clean-up and lost time, materiel, and labor amounted to tens of millions of dollars.

Incurring this massive public debt merely marked the beginning of Mario’s career as a criminal. He immediately took the stunned ape captive; rather than returning it to its home at the Bronx Zoo, he caged Kong and hijacked a small plane to South America to release the ape into the jungle -- apparently unconcerned by the fact that this was the wrong continent altogether. Miraculously, Kong’s son was able to pursue the two in a bizarre reversal of the previous day’s abduction; after evading Mario’s death traps, Kong Jr. was able to rescue his father, and the two lived peacefully thereafter in the Congo.

Mario was extradited to the U.S., but managed to parlay his freedom through an insanity plea and soon returned to a semblance of normal life. How he came to reside in the Mushroom Kingdom is a question that remains unanswered, but the record is clear on the fact that he appeared in our lands at a critical juncture in modern political history: right as talks regarding royal succession between Princess Toadstool and King Bowser broke down. While many feel Bowser was in the right, the princess wrung no end of sympathy from her subjects by presenting herself as a victim. Granted, Bowser’s decision to seize the throne directly was poorly considered, but one must recognize his use of non-violent measures: his takeover the kingdom employed magic to harmlessly render the citizenry into bricks and horsehair plants long enough for his troops to establish themselves at key control points and force the princess to relinquish her questionable claim to the crown.

In fact, until Mario arrived on the scene, this entire situation looked to resolve itself without a single casualty.

Unfortunately, upon his arrival, Mario became aware of the current political situation through a network of Toadstool loyalists who had evaded Bowser’s ensorcellment. Mario didn’t even stop to consider the full truth of the situation, taking the loyalist’s claims at face value -- the notion of a kidnapped damsel again triggered his chivalrous vigilante instinct and he plunged headlong into the fray. By his hands (and feet, of course, and fireballs), hundreds upon hundreds of Bowser’s troops were slaughtered. Worse yet, he shattered countless bricks littering the kingdom -- bricks which had until recently been innocent Toad civilians. Bowser had rendered them inert as a means to keep them out of harm’s way until the debate over succession had been resolved, yet this unwittingly resulted in hundreds of casualties as Mario crushed any and all bricks he encountered along the way. All told, more than one thousand citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom, Toad, Goomba, and Koopa alike, lost their lives that day. And all at the hand of Mario.

The kingdom’s peace was irrevocably shattered. Bowser declared all-out war on the Toadstool family, forced to retreat to the antipodes as Mario’s ruthless enforcement gave Toadstool the muscle she needed to hold the capitol and central regions of the land. The illusion of security and prosperity the princess has cultivated has made a hero of Mario to the feeble-minded citizenry and made their beloved “Peach” a beloved favorite. Bowser has since made multiple attempts to force Toadstool’s hand through military strength, but Mario’s preternatural skills and amoral willingness to kill at the slightest provocation has allowed the princess to hold the throne.

In recent years, Mario has even taken to training an elite task force of enforcers to ensure Toadstool’s silk gloves enrobe an iron grip on the monarchy. With the aid of his brother, Luigi?, and the princess Herself, Mario has assembled a squad of skilled Toads, gullible Yoshis, and even turncoat Koopas, Goombas, and other races that by all rights should swear their fealty to Bowser.

We of the Toads for Truth have no particular love for Lord Bowser, but given the questionable tactics employed by the Toadstool regime to maintain power over the Mushroom Kingdom, we find him to be the lesser of two evils. Mario is a wanton, reckless criminal, a single-minded force of destruction responsible for the deaths of thousands of our kind—including the loved ones of many of our members. individually, none of us can stand up to his high-jumping, fire-flinging, shoe-stealing ferocity. But together, we can bring this interloper to justice and force the princess to relinquish her power, bringing peace once again to our war-torn land.

Peace for the Mushroom Kingdom!

“Toads for Truth Decry Deceptive ‘Hero’”
From the op-ed page of the Koopa Chronicle
© Piranha Plant Press, 17 Feb. 2009
Reprinted with permission

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