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The Super Leaf (also known as the Raccoon Leaf or Tanooki Leaf) is one of the many power-up items in the Mario series. Super Leaves originated in the game Super Mario Bros. 3, where they turn Mario or Luigi into Raccoon Mario or Raccoon Luigi, respectively. As such, they grow raccoon ears and a raccoon tail, the latter of which lets them glide, fly after a running start, and tail whip.

History

Super Mario series

Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Leaves first appear in the game Super Mario Bros. 3. The item transforms Mario or Luigi into Raccoon Mario or Raccoon Luigi, respectively. Mario or Luigi can descend slowly by wagging the tail (by tapping A); he can briefly fly instead if he fills the Power Meter (by running) beforehand. Mario or Luigi can also tail whip (by pressing B) to hit blocks and enemies.

In the same game, the rarer Tanooki Suit grants the same abilities as the Super Leaf, while also letting Mario and Luigi turn into a statue.

Super Mario World

The Super Leaf was going to appear in Super Mario World, but it was abandoned. The final game introduces a similar power-up, the Cape Feather.

Super Mario 3D Land

After a long absence, Super Leaves reappear in Super Mario 3D Land. However, they turn Mario and Luigi into their full-suited Tanooki forms, though Luigi's Tanooki form is now kitsune-themed and called Kitsune Luigi. Also, the Super Leaves were redesigned by being given stripes, eyes, and a "bite" mark. In spite of the changes, the Tanooki forms granted by Super Leaves still act as Raccoon Mario, but without flight. Gliding is executed by holding B or A, rather than tapping the buttons. The tail whip is still done by pressing Y or X.

Two new Leaf power-ups also debut in this game. The Invincibility Leaf, whose Assist Block only becomes available if the player has lost five lives in a (skipped) normal world level, turns Mario into White Tanooki Mario, making him invincible for the level. The Statue Leaf, which is exclusive to the Special Worlds, gives Mario the Super Leaf's abilities and lets him turn into a statue (by ground-pounding), replacing the Tanooki Suit; the statue now lasts for twelve seconds upon landing, rather than five seconds from activation, as in Super Mario Bros. 3.

The Super Leaves are also tied into the game's plot, rather than just being in-game power-ups. It is revealed in the game's opening that the Mushroom Kingdom's Super Leaves grow from a rare tree called the Tail Tree (which has a single tail-shaped branch). Bowser steals the tree's leaves after a storm blows them off; he uses them to power-up his minions, giving them "Tail" forms to attack and flutter around; two of them even become Tail Bowsers this way.

Unlike in Super Mario Bros. 3, in this game, all three Leaves have the normal power-up effects when grabbed, instead of the original "poof" effects.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Super Leaves also appear in New Super Mario Bros. 2, having the same design from Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. Unlike in Super Mario 3D Land, they retain their original form and abilities from Super Mario Bros. 3. However, like in Super Mario 3D Land, Luigi's Raccoon form is kitsune-themed and called Fox Luigi, and the gliding and tail whip controls are retained; the former is also used for flight. While in this form, the Power Meter appears in the bottom left corner of the top screen. In addition, if Mario loses five lives in a level, an Invincibility Leaf Assist Block appears, just like in Super Mario 3D Land. The only difference is that the leaf inside changes Mario or Luigi into White Raccoon Mario or White Fox Luigi, respectively. In this form, Mario is invincible for the level, he can run on water, and the Power Meter fills up much faster.

Super Mario 3D World

SM3DW Tanooki

Mario with the Super Leaf equipped in Super Mario 3D World.

Super Leaves make a return in Super Mario 3D World, albeit significantly less common than in its predecessor. They are used as they were in Super Mario 3D Land, still granting that game's basic Tanooki form. Tanooki Peach will use her floating ability before using the form's gliding ability. The Invincibility Leaf and its Assist Block also return, still granting the White Tanooki form, as in Super Mario 3D Land.

Super Mario Maker/Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS/Super Mario Maker 2

The Super Leaf appears in Super Mario Maker, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, and Super Mario Maker 2, where it is exclusive to the Super Mario Bros. 3 style, retaining its properties from that game. In Super Mario Maker 2, Super Leaves in the nighttime ground theme move upwards.

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Leaves themselves do not appear physically in Super Mario Odyssey. However, there are two references: the Tail Tree makes an appearance in the Mushroom Kingdom, and the Lost Kingdom's regional Coins look similar to Super Leaves. Additionally, a green Super Leaf was used in concept art for Princess Peach's mask worn in Bowser's Kingdom, but was instead replaced by a Boo design in the final game.[1]

Super Mario-Kun

A Super Leaf appears in volume 4 of Super Mario-Kun, although the arc deals primarily with Super Mario World. Luigi, who is apparently controlled by Boos, traps Mario and Yoshi with a rope. Mario hits a ? Block, and he grabs the Super Leaf that appears and transforms into Raccoon Mario. He then frees Yoshi and himself and knocks the Boos from Luigi, returning Luigi to normal.

Mario Kart series

The Super Leaf can be seen as the logo for the Leaf Cup in Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. As of Mario Kart 7, the Super Mario 3D Land redesign is used for the logo.

Mario Kart 7

Super Leaves appear as an actual item in Mario Kart 7. Here, they create a tanooki tail on the back of the kart which doubles as an offensive and defensive feature. Pressing L or X swings the tail which can hit other karts, collect coins and protect the player's kart from other items such as Green Shells. However, if the tail is hit by shells while idle, it disappears. When activated, the Super Leaf lasts for 10 seconds, or until the player spins out, tumbles over, or is hit by a Spiny Shell.

The tail replaces the kart's propeller when used underwater, and it lengthens air glides.

As this game was released just a month after Super Mario 3D Land, the Super Leaf's design comes from that game.

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

A single Super Leaf appears in the Mario version of the Dream Event, Figure Skating Spectacular, in Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. It appears after defeating the fake Bowser, similar to Super Mario 3D Land.

Super Smash Bros. series

The Super Leaf appears as an item in both the 3DS and Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It transforms characters into the Raccoon form and allows them to float in the air by holding the jump button.

Mario Party 10

In the Mario Party 10 minigame Shape Up, the shadow of a Super Leaf mobile can be seen in the background.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Although Super Leaves themselves do not appear physically in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, a rank based on the item does.

Profiles

Super Mario series

Super Mario Bros. 3

  • Wii Virtual Console manual: "Changes Mario into Raccoon Mario."
  • 3DS Virtual Console Manual Bio: "Turns Mario into Raccoon Mario."

Super Mario 3D Land

  • North American Website Bio: "Mario's classic power-up returns to put a spring in his step! Grab a Super Leaf and suit up as Tanooki Mario to add a powerful tail-spin, and the ability to gently float down from jumps for extra distance."
  • European Website Bio: "Grab one of these to turn Mario into Tanooki Mario!"

New Super Mario Bros. 2

  • North American Website Bio: "Grab this to turn into Raccoon Mario, and get a running start to fill up your P-Meter and fly for a short period of time. You can also whack blocks and enemies, or slow your descent with your tail."
  • European Website bio: "Whack bad guys with your tail, float down gently from a jump, or dash and then leap to fly as Raccoon Mario. It's amazing that such power can come from snatching up a simple Super Leaf."

Super Mario 3D World

  • Instruction manual description: "Transforms Mario into Tanooki Mario."
  • North American Website bio: "Turn into a Tanooki to float during long jumps and spin your tail at bad guys."

Mario Kart series

Mario Kart 7

  • Instruction Manual Description: "The Super Leaf gives your kart a tail, which you can swing to knock over opponents or deflect items such as shells. Press L or X to swing the tail."
  • North American Website bio: "This new item outfits your kart with a swinging Tanooki Tail, which you can use to swipe at your opponents and swipe away (pesky items/attacks/incoming items/incoming artillery)."

Trivia

  • In the NES version of Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Leaves are green while in the inventory or taken inside Toad Houses, and brown when found in a level. Possibly in reference to this, in Super Mario 3D Land, the Super Leaves fresh on the Tail Tree are a lively green.
  • What appear to be small, green Super Leaves can be seen on the head of the Tanoomba and Tashrooba enemies from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.
  • According to the comic book story It's Always Fair Weather, Super Leaves are grown on a plant labeled as "Magic Leaf Raccoonius".
  • In Sneaky Lying Cheating Giant Ninja Koopas, Mario and Luigi managed to find a huge Super Leaf hidden within an equally large Block in Giant Land. Due to the Super Leaf's size, Mario and Luigi were both seemingly able to obtain Raccoon Power by touching the single leaf at the same time.
  • Super Leaves were originally supposed to be in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, but were removed and likely replaced with Tail stickers.
  • In the Super Mario Mash-Up Pack in Minecraft, Lily Pads are replaced by green Super Leaves.

References

  1. https://twitter.com/mario_odysseyJP/status/1028770604294524929
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