In mid-November, Dorkly asked a very good question about the cranium of Toad, the mainstay character of the Mario-in-the-Mushroom Kingdom canon. Is he wearing a hat, or is his head, in fact, one big mushroom cranium?
We go live now to everyone answering:
On Nov. 15, 2017, Dorkly writers Julia Lepetit and Tristan Cooper presented evidence for both perspectives, including a screencap of a Super Mario Bros. cartoon showing Toad with a full head and the red-and-white mushroom apparently a head covering.
For those who prefer the video games, not cartoon adaptations of them, as canonical authority, games such as Super Mario 3D World and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door depict Toad (and Toads, as that is also the name of the Mushroom People as a whole) with interchangeable headgear and hair, suggesting that the mushroom is indeed a cap.
Lepetit and Cooper even went so far as to deliver the T-pose of an electrocuted Toad from Super Mario Strikers Charged, showing Toad with a normally proportioned skull, the rest of him looking like Afro Thunder.
The article winds up with a striking, immediate case that the mushroom is in fact part of Toad’s head, and it stems from Mario’s ability to posses— er, “capture” other living things and inanimate objects using Cappy in Super Mario Odyssey. But that’s shot through with spoilers, so take care if you’re going to read up on that.
Anyway, in the video at top, YouTuber Shesez takes matters into the games themselves and discovers some powerful evidence that Toad’s head is intentionally a mushroom, too.
Even allowing for the fact that, in earlier games, it would be more efficient to render Toad’s head and the putative cap as a single thing, to save processing, ever since — and across multiple developers, too — Toad’s head has never been fully rendered underneath the mushroom cap. Yet other characters in games where Toad has appeared have featured fully rendered heads underneath their headgear.
Advantage: Mushroom head. So there you have it. It’s so simple when you break things down scientifically.