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A celebration of Toad, for no real reason at all

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A look at why Toad is great, and why he shouldn’t be blamed for things he had nothing to do with

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - artwork of Captain Toad waving
Toad says, “Don’t use Twitter!”
Nintendo EAD/Nintendo

Imagine waking up one morning to find that one of your favorite Nintendo characters — say, Toad — is being discussed at length on social media. That would be a pretty good morning! It’s the sort of thing that can brighten your day, especially when the character is not generally well-known in mainstream society. It can feel like other people are finally catching onto a small thing that makes your world seem a bit more friendly.

It’s possible that, upon further review, the character (you may call him “Toad”) is being discussed for reasons that complicate your happiness about their newfound popularity — or maybe notoriety. That can happen! But it has nothing to do with why you loved that character to begin with, nor is it likely to lead to changes in how that character is portrayed in the future.

The good news: That character is still that character. And Toad is still our Toad, despite some efforts to take him from us. He’s a delightful, whimsical character who is known to have a high-pitched voice, is relatively unassuming and is generally portrayed with a lighthearted smile.

Toad does not worry. Toad is happy. And he is not wearing a hat — that’s just his head. Toad is pure joy.

Toad from Super Mario Kart GIF
A beautiful boy.
Nintendo

And Toad has grown up with us. He went from a character who delivers exposition in Super Mario Bros. to a character who takes part in the adventure — and pulls up turnips faster than anyone else — in Super Mario Bros. 2. Who can forget the first time we saw Toad as a literal three-dimensional character in Super Mario 64? He’s not just an attendant to Peach and a friend to Mario; he has also supported Luigi by saving his game in Luigi’s Mansion. He has a history of opening up his own home to provide Mario and Luigi with items in multiple games.

Toad has gone from a side character in Mario’s series to, yes, a competitor in Mario Kart (and many other activities) to the hero of his very own game. He may be the only Nintendo character with a military rank, despite his demeanor. Toad is both an individual and a species, and our collective history with the character reaches back 33 years.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - artwork of Captain Toad walking
O captain, my captain.
Nintendo EAD/Nintendo

Toad has done no wrong; he — nor any character — didn’t sign up to be part of the news cycle. Toad is bigger than that, and we will not let him be made small by any unwelcome associations.

Our hearts, like Toad’s, will stay strong.