Toad (Nintendo)

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Mario character
Toad, as depicted in promotional artwork for Super Mario 3D Land
First appearanceSuper Mario Bros. (1985)
Created byShigeru Miyamoto
Portrayed byMojo Nixon and John Fifer (film)
Voiced bySamantha Kelly (2007–present)

Toad, known in Japan as Kinopio,[a] is a character from the Mario franchise. The character was created by Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and is portrayed as a citizen of the Mushroom Kingdom and one of Princess Peach's attendants. Toad is typically a non-player character who assists Mario and his friends, but he occasionally appears as a protagonist.

While Toad is the name of an individual, it also refers to their entire species. The series also includes other named individual Toads, such as Toadette and Toadsworth. The most prominent trait of the Toads is their large, mushroom-like head.

The Toads typically have assisting roles in the Mario franchise, but are occasionally featured as protagonists. An example includes Yellow Toad and Blue Toad, who were featured as playable characters along with Mario and Luigi in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U. Toad himself returns as one of the playable characters in Super Mario 3D World. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker featured Captain Toad as the main character, and was the first game to have a Toad as the titular character.

Concept and creation

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).[6] 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.[7]

In February 2018, Yoshiaki Koizumi confirmed that the mushroom on Toad's head is part of his body, and not a hat. It had previously been a common topic of debate among fans.[8]


Toad and his race of mushroom people made their debut appearance in Super Mario Bros. where they play a minimal role in the game. They appear at the end of every world as the Mushroom Retainers (who serve the princess) once Mario or Luigi defeats Bowser, rewarding the heroes with the message: "Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!",[9] and in the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 they maintain this role. In the American Super Mario Bros. 2, Toad got his first individual appearance and was given a bigger role as one of the four playable characters. In Super Mario Bros. 3, Toad appears in the Toad houses where he provides items and extra lives for Mario to take on his journey. He is the sole playable character in the puzzle game Wario's Woods, where he tries to prevent Wario from taking over the woods with the help of Birdo and a fairy named Wanda.[10][11]

The 3D Mario games introduced Toad's role as a helper who would provide assistance to Mario if he needed it, thus making him a major allies. In Super Mario 64, Toad explains the backstory as well as explaining what Mario has to do to proceed. In the remake Super Mario 64 DS, he is given character-specific remarks, such as mistaking Luigi for Mario in green clothes or thinking that Wario would betray the rest of the group. In Luigi's Mansion, he appears in various parts of the mansion as a save point. Different colored Toads appear in Super Mario Sunshine as Peach's attendants.

In New Super Mario Bros. Wii and U, there are two playable Toads (multi-player only), one blue and one yellow. The blue Toad has a similar appearance to the original Toad and shares the same voices as Toad in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The yellow Toad has a higher pitched voice.[12] In New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, both Toads are playable in single player, with Blue Toad being unlocked by pressing ZL while Yellow Toad is chosen on the character select screen.[13] Red spotted Toads are non-playable hosts of Toad houses and are strewn throughout levels that Mario must bring to the finish to save.

Toad plays a role in the 2011 3DS title Super Mario 3D Land in which he, upon his rescue at the end of World One, assists Mario throughout the rest of the adventure through the availability of Toad Houses, where he provides items and uncovering secrets in various levels.[14] Toad appears as a prominent character in New Super Mario Bros. 2 again running the Toad Houses to assist both Mario and Luigi.[15] In Super Mario 3D World, a blue Toad is a playable character.[16]

In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Toad and four others (yellow, blue, green and purple) act as assistants to Professor E. Gadd, who had sent them to investigate the mansions before Luigi had arrived. Throughout the game, Luigi meets up with the Toads, who help him uncover secrets in the mansions.

Throughout the Mario RPG series, Toad is featured as more of a minor character due to the large amounts of generic Toads which appear in the games who seem to replace his role as a helper. In the times he does appear, Toad is once again a minor character who provides backstory to Mario and the others. In Super Mario RPG, he appears as a major NPC character who teaches Mario about the different skills to use in battles in the beginning as the duo heads to the Mushroom Kingdom (though Toad had to be saved by Mario along the way as he is kidnapped frequently by enemies). He appears more throughout the game, for example as part of Mario's nightmare. Toad appears as a playable character in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for a short time when the player is exploring around Mario and Luigi's house. In Super Princess Peach, Toad is kidnapped earlier in the game along with Mario and Luigi by the Hammer Bros. However, Toad appears as a playable character in two of the minigames in the game. Toad appears in Super Paper Mario in 3 aspects of the game. He appears in the intro, telling Mario and Luigi that Princess Peach has been kidnapped, and later appears in the Arcade mini-game Mansion Patrol. Additionally, Toad is one of the 256 Catch Cards in the game. In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, a mysterious infection called "The Blorbs" causes the Toads to inflate to many times their normal size and roll around uncontrollably.[17] Recent games in the Paper Mario series, starting from Paper Mario: Sticker Star in 2012, have prominently featured Toads as the most common non-playable character (NPC) that Mario can interact with. This is due to the fact that Nintendo's intellectual property (IP) team refrains them from creating new characters that could possibly interfere with the Mario universe.[18][19]

In Super Mario Bros. Wonder the Yellow and Blue Toads return as playable characters, in both single and multiplayer.[20]

Toad has both playable and non-playable appearances in many Mario spin-off games, including the Mario Kart series and in most Mario sports games.

Captain Toad

Captain Toad is a Toad that serves as the leader of the a group of Toad explorers known as the Toad Brigade. In an interview with Polygon, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker director Shinya Hiratake said "I think honestly Captain Toad is someone that doesn't really care what's going on, but when he sees treasure he's like, 'I want it!'".[21] He is described by IGN as an "unlikely protagonist who's weighed down by a heavy backpack and a desire for treasure".[22]

He first appeared in Super Mario Galaxy, where he helped Mario or Luigi retrieve Power Stars.[23][24] Captain Toad also appeared in the game's sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, with his brigade to again help Mario retrieve the Power Stars in order to save Princess Peach.[25]

In Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad appears in his own levels "The Adventures of Captain Toad" separate from the main playable characters.[16] In "The Adventures of Captain Toad", Captain Toad must collect five Green Stars without jumping, and two hits will result in a life loss, but he can use his headlight to destroy any ghosts in his levels.

Captain Toad later starred in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, a year after Super Mario 3D World was released.[26]

A Mystery Mushroom costume based on Captain Toad from Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was made available through an update to Super Mario Maker.[27] Captain Toad appears in all but three of Super Mario Odyssey's Kingdoms, rewarding the player with a Power Moon after they find him in each location.[28]

When reviewing Treasure Tracker, IGN's Marty Sliva called Captain Toad and Toadette "a pair of sweet, endearing characters that [they] genuinely wanted to root for", saying that personality details like Captain Toad and Toadette "cower[ing] in fear when they see a ghost, add a nice dollop of charm to the whole package".[29]

Appearances in other media

Toad appeared in the animated series The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! produced by DIC Entertainment in 1989.[30] Although he usually tagged along with Mario and Luigi in cases where King Koopa had kidnapped Princess Peach, he sometimes got captured as well. Toad's role in the show was to be the 3rd main character to the Mario Bros. (as Luigi was also a major character rather than a sidekick). He remained on the show when it spun off into The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, allowing them to live in his house. During the 2 shows, he got alternate forms such as The Toad Warrior, Baby Toad, Raccoon Toad, Frog Toad and even Super Toad; however, these forms of Toad have not made an appearance outside of the shows. Due to his & many other characters' absences in the Super Mario World game, Toad did not make an appearance in the TV show of Super Mario World with Yoshi and Oogtar (the latter having the same voice actor as Toad) instead taking his place. Toad appeared in the Super Mario Bros. comic books published by Valiant as well. In these comics, Toad often followed Mario on his adventures, seemingly as the hero's sidekick. He was a regular companion for King Toadstool, and even indulged in the King's activities. Played by Mojo Nixon, Toad appeared as a street musician in the non-canon Super Mario Bros. film.[31] In the film, Toad is arrested for singing a song that badmouths Koopa, who punishes him by having him turned into a Goomba. Despite this, the Goomba-fied Toad (portrayed by John Fifer) remains hating Koopa and still manages to help Princess Daisy escape and distract the other Goombas by playing his harmonica.

Toad also makes a cameo appearance in the Wii U version of Scribblenauts Unlimited, as a guest character from Nintendo's Super Mario series.[32] A costume of Toad is also one of the exclusive Nintendo character costumes available to be equipped to various characters in the Wii U version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2.[33]

Toad was voiced by Keegan-Michael Key in the 2023 film adaptation.[3] He retains his loyalty to Princess Peach, but he now carries attire relating to Captain Toad including a backpack and walking stick. He is the first one to meet Mario when he arrives in Mushroom Kingdom and helps him find his brother, Luigi.

Promotion and reception

As a character who appears frequently in the series, Toad is considered to be one of the major characters in the Mario franchise.[34] He has appeared in much of the Mario merchandise in products ranging from toys to plushies and keychains,[citation needed] and is featured in Nintendo's board games such as being on the protagonist side in a Mario themed chess set[35] and being a purchasable character in a Nintendo-themed Monopoly game. In Animal Crossing: City Folk, Toad's hat is available after getting 3000 points in Tom Nook's Point Tracking system.[36] The American Club Nintendo website, which is now closed, offered a special reward featuring Toad and some other major Mario characters in a folder set reward named as the "Toad & Friends Set with Bookmarks".[37] The quote repeated by the Toads in Super Mario Bros., "Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!", was ranked one of the most repeated video game quotes,[38] and inspired a 2008 song by The Mountain Goats and Kaki King.[39][40]

Toad ranked in the seventh slot on GameDaily's top 10 Nintendo characters that deserve their own games list; the site explained that he has a strong appeal that Nintendo has yet to tap into.[41] Toad is listed in The Most Neglected Mario Bros. Characters list as a character whom Nintendo has ignored for quite a while due to his lack of starring roles in more recent games.[42] IGN also listed Toad as one of the top ten characters needing a spin-off.[43] In an Oricon poll conducted in Japan from 2008, Toad was voted as the eighth most popular video game character in Japan.[44] Another poll (of over 1000 votes) conducted in Japan by NintendoWorldReport in concern to Japan's favorite Mario Kart racers listed Toad as the second most favorite Mario Kart racer in the country (only being beaten by Yoshi).[45] Toad has been credited for being one of the celebrated characters in the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Super Mario Bros. games.[46] MTV, when commenting on the wackiness of Super Mario 2 (Super Mario Bros. 2), called Toad "so awesome".[47] listed Toad on their list of "The Cutest Video Game Characters," stating "Once you get over his misleading name, you'll find Toad to be quite the adorable mushroom."[48]

IGN editor Matt Casamassina criticized Nintendo for including the two generic Toads over more notable characters (including the red-spotted Toad himself) in the Mario series for New Super Mario Bros. Wii, arguing that the developers were being lazy to not include other characters because the Toads were easier to make.[7] The Toads in the Paper Mario series following the release of Paper Mario: Sticker Star have been heavily criticized for lacking their diverse characteristics found in previous entries and for replacing the cast of original fictional races the series previously had.[49][50][51]



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