Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Toad (Mario)

Toad – known in Japan as Kinopio (キノピオ?) – is a fictional, anthropomorphic mushroom in the Mario series, created by Shigeru Miyamoto. A citizen of the Mushroom Kingdom, Toad is one of Princess Peach's most loyal servants and is constantly working on her behalf. He is usually seen as a non-player character (NPC) who provides assistance to Mario and his friends in most games, but there are times when Toad takes center stage and appears as a protagonist, as seen in Super Mario Bros. 2 and Wario's Woods.
Toad's original role as a helper has been increasingly taken over by Toadsworth, causing Toad to appear less frequently than he once had in the main series; however, recently in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, two Toads (Yellow and Blue) appear as playable characters along with Mario and Luigi.

Concept and creation
Toad and the Toad species were first seen in the game Super Mario Bros. where the species was revealed to comprise the majority of the population of the Mushroom Kingdom. Toad's design was made directly from the power up, the Super Mushroom as well as the game's general association with mushrooms. In the game, the peaceful Toads of the Mushroom Kingdom had been turned into various objects such as bricks and pipes by the evil King Bowser; however, some of Princess Toadstool's loyal servants, known as the "Mushroom Retainers" were simply kidnapped.
During the development of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the developers at Nintendo decided between four characters to be playable in the game: Princess Peach, Toad, Wario and Waluigi (all suggestions made by fans). Two Toads (Yellow and Blue) were eventually included as playable characters in New Super Mario Bros. Wii due to their physical similarity to Mario and Luigi.

Toad bears a similar appearance to the rest of his species with his large mushroom cap and clothes. He is extremely small in size, and has no legs visible, with just his shoes showing. Unlike other Toads, he features red polka dots on his mushroom head and wears a blue waistcoat; however, his coloration will change if he gets a fire flower, as his cap's colors will be reversed while his clothes turn red. A yellow outline was added to his blue vest in the recent Mario games starting from Mario Kart Double Dash. Sometimes, Toad appears with a red vest, though he is most often seen with his blue vest.
In the Mario cartoons, Toad has on occasion removed his mushroom cap, revealing three strands of hair; however, the games have never confirmed or refuted this. Toad appears as a mix between a mushroom and a rather small human. However, Toad can grow to about a normal human's height if he consumes a Super Mushroom, as seen in Super Mario Bros. 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
At most times, Toad is portrayed as a rather cowardly character, but the fact that he actually knows about his cowardice makes him one of the more innocent and humbler characters in the series. Despite his fears, Toad is usually one of the few people that tries his best to support Mario when he is on his adventures, from providing items to actually going along with the hero on his quest. Despite the fact that Toad is usually seen as a cheerful character, he can get extremely distressed when a major event occurs, such as the kidnapping of the Princess.

Through the various games that Toad is playable in, he has been shown with different unique abilities that differ from the other characters in the series. In Super Mario Bros. 2, he has a combination of being the strongest and fastest character in the game with 5 out of 5 stars each. However, he has horrible jumping ability (rated at 2 out of 5 stars). In Wario's Woods, Toad has the unique ability to run up walls and give strong kicks as well. Toad is once again given superhuman strength in the game, as he was able to lift and throw enemies around; however, these abilities have not been seen since this game. In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Toad shares many of the moves and abilities that Mario and Luigi are able to use such as the ground pound and wall jumping. He has access to Mario's Power ups, but unlike the other games Toad has starred in, this game gives him all round stats (such as average jumps instead of weak ones) similar to the Mario Bros. His signature ability to pick up, carry and throw large items (such as barrels) and other characters via his superhuman strength also returns in the game.
In the Super Smash Bros. series, Toad is shown to emit spores like real mushrooms whenever he is attacked as shown when Peach uses her standard special move. However, this has never been actually seen in the main Mario series games.