Toad is a humanoid mushroom in games of Nintendo's Mario series. Toad is the general collective name of the "Mushroom People" found in the Mushroom Kingdom, who are a sapient, anthropomorphic mushroom race, with a peaceful, human-following monarchistic culture. It is believed that the English name originated from the word " toadstool" (just as the original Japanese name comes from kinoko , meaning "mushroom"), though the English name may also be construed as a variant of the word "toady," a loyal follower. Like other characters in the Mario games such as Yoshi, Toad is both a unique character called "Toad" and a specimen of an entire, homonymous race. The Toad species first appeared in Super Mario Bros., in which they were called merely "Mushroom Retainers". In later games prior to Paper Mario, which featured an entire race of Toads inhabiting Toad Town, the capital of the Mushroom Kingdom, manuals referred to them as "Mushroom People".
Toad — or rather the Toads — play a rather minimal role in the original Super Mario Bros. They appear at the end of every fourth stage — level 1-4, level 2-4, and the rest in that fashion, excluding level 8-4 — after Mario or Luigi defeats Bowser. Instead of meeting Princess Toadstool (known today as Peach), however, these earlier levels reward the heroes with a mushroom retainer and the message: “THANK YOU MARIO (or LUIGI), BUT OUR PRINCESS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE!” (This line has become a very popular in-joke for the Mario series.) In Super Mario All-Stars, at the end of each fourth stage, there is a corresponding number of Toads to the world number Mario has just ventured through (i.e. World 5-4 will have five Toads).
In Super Mario Bros. 2, Toad was first referred to as Toad. Toad is the smallest but strongest of the four selectable characters. He can pluck vegetables from the ground more quickly than anyone else. Toad can also carry heavy loads without having to walk slowly, unlike Mario, Luigi and Princess Toadstool. His weakness in the game is that his jumping ability is strikingly limited compared to the others.
Apart from Super Mario Bros. 2 and the Mario Kart series, where he is a light, high acceleration driver, Toad is seldom a playable character or protagonist - more often officiating, such as in the earlier Mario Party games, or helping other characters (i.e. Mario). He has become a playable character in later Mario Party games, starting with Mario Party 5.
Toad was, however, the main character and star in Wario's Woods, in which he had to line up then blow up strange creatures in a Nintendo puzzle game, though the game is essentially a block-style puzzle, somewhat akin to Tetris or Panel de Pon. Toad is fully controllable as he trots around the bottom of the screen. This is a unique feature for a puzzle game — and remarkable in that this is the only game in which Toad is the central character. Toad's partners in this adventure were Birdo and Wanda, but his connection to them is unknown.
Toad is also playable in the following games:
- Mario Excite Bike - 1980s
- Super Mario Bros. 2 - 1988
- Super Mario Kart - 1992
- Super Mario All Stars - 1993
- Mario's Tennis - 1995
- Mario Kart 64 - 1996
- Mario Tennis (N64) - 2000
- Mario Kart: Super Circuit - 2001
- Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - 2003
- Mario Party 5 - 2003
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (only in the beginning) - 2003
- Super Mario Fushigi no Korokoro Party (Mario Party Arcade out of Japan ) - 2004
- Mario Party 6 - 2004
- Mario Superstar Baseball - 2005
- Mario Party 7 - 2005
- Mario Kart DS - 2005
- Mario Kart Arcade GP - 2005
- Super Mario Strikers - 2005
- Super Princess Peach (mini-games only) - 2006
- Mario Strikers Charged - 2007
- Mario Party 8 - 2007
- Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 - 2007
Cameo and Non-Playable Appearances
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Toad makes several cameo appearances. He is both a trophy, and a living shield held out as part of Princess Peach's B button attack. As a shield, Toad reflects damage back to the attacker. He also appears in the background of Mario's Adventure level multiple times. There was a common rumor that spread throughout the Internet that Toad is a secret playable character, but this was disproved and deemed a hoax.
Some games that Toad also has cameo appearances in are as follows:
- Super Mario Bros. - 1985
- Super Mario Bros. 3 - 1990
- Kirby Super Star - 1996
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars - 1996
- Super Mario 64 - 1996
- Mario Golf (N64) - 1999
- Paper Mario - 2001
- Luigi's Mansion - 2001
- Super Smash Bros. Melee - 2001
- Super Mario Sunshine - 2002
- Mario Golf Toadstool Tour - 2003
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong - 2004
- Mario Power Tennis - 2004
- Super Mario 64 DS - 2004
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - 2004
- Mario Party Advance - 2005
- Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix - 2005
- Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - 2005
- New Super Mario Bros. - 2006
- Mario Hoops 3-on-3 - 2006
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis - 2006
- Super Mario Galaxy - 2007
Most video game players probably assumed Toad was male until Mario Kart 64 , which featured actor Issac Marshall as Toad's voice. Toad sounded particularly chipper and spoke with a high-pitched voice. Subsequently, Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine even ran a feature inquiring about the character's gender — even using his possession of a rainbow -decorated racquet in the Nintendo 64 installment of Mario Tennis as proof of his ambiguous gender. By the advent of the GameCube, Jen Taylor has continued to provide the voice of Toad until 2005, when Kelsey Hutchison took over for games such as Super Mario Strikers . Although female voice actors are often used, Toad is generally considered to be male, while Toadette is his female counterpart.
Toad in Other Media
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
As with the games, Toad played a major supporting character in other forms of media starring Mario, starting with the animated series The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, in 1989. Although he usually tagged along with Mario and Luigi in cases where King Koopa had kidnapped Princess Toadstool, he sometimes got captured as well. An interesting quirk about the cartoon version of Toad was his voice, provided by John Stocker. Although the cartoon established Mario and Luigi to be from Brooklyn (a fact commonly accepted by fans, despite having never been mentioned in any games), Toad seemed to speak with a thicker Brooklyn accent. He also had a habit of making a squeaking noise whenever he jumped, and his mushroom head was revealed to indeed be a hat, as he occasionally took it off to reveal three strands of hair on his head.
Another quirk came in the form of his design, based slightly off of his sprites from the first game (red vest and white hat with red spots, but with light blue pants and purple shoes in the cartoon). However, the first three episodes of the show featured Toad in a somewhat reversed color scheme (red hat with white spots, white vest, red pants, and white shoes). DiC Entertainment, the company which produced the show, has never given an official explanation for this apparent mistake, although it is quite possible that the first three episodes were animated before the introduction segments (which had Toad in his regular color scheme). However, a later episode, "The Fire of Hercufleas", featured Toad with this alternate color scheme, this time explaining that it was how he looked when using a Fire Flower.
Toad remained a regular on the show when it spun off into The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. As with the previous series, he accompanied the Mario Bros. on their adventures, and apparently was allowing them to live in his house. This time, though, he usually stayed behind with Princess Toadstool. Ironically, despite having always come along for previous adventures, in the last episode for this series, "Super Koopa," he complains about always having to stay behind. Just as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show had done, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 had Toad (and the Princess) using the Marios' Power-Ups, mainly the Raccoon Suit and Frog Suit. Despite being such a regular character, Toad did not appear in the Super Mario World cartoon (as he was not in the game itself); his character was filled in by Yoshi and the new character Oogtar the Caveboy (who shared Toad's voice actor).
The Super Mario Bros. Comic Books
Toad also regularly appeared in the Super Mario Bros. comic books published by Valiant. The comic Toad, who was featured the same way in other Mario print media published in the early 1990s was seemingly based more towards his game counterpart, as he did not have the Brooklyn accent of his cartoon counterpart, and he had the color scheme depicted in official Nintendo artwork. In these comics, Toad often followed Mario on some of his adventures, seemingly replacing Luigi as the hero's sidekick. He was also a regular companion for King Toadstool (Peach's father, created just for the comic), and even indulged in some of the King's activities. Toad the character is the only Mushroom Retainer whose look is directly from the game artwork - the other Mushroom People were depicted as anthropomorphic toadstools with orange hats. Other print media and the cartoons, however, had all the Mushroom People looking and/or dressing just like Toad himself.
The Super Mario Adventures manga comic printed by Nintendo Power during 1992 featured several Mushroom Retainers who looked as Toad did elsewhere, but Toad himself spent most of the story wearing an army outfit, as he was among Peach's troops (whom she signalled by whistling).
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Toad in the Super Mario Bros. Movie
Played by Mojo Nixon, Toad appeared as a street musician in the non-canon Super Mario Bros. movie. In the film, Toad is arrested for singing a song that badmouths Koopa, who punishes him by having him turned into a Goomba. Despite his transformation, the Goomba-fied Toad (portrayed by John Fifer) still manages to serve as a good guy by helping Princess Daisy escape and distracting the other Goombas by playing his harmonica. After Koopa's defeat, though, it is not shown if he ever returns to normal.