Tanooki Mario is a form of Mario or Luigi that first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 3. In its debut, it was attained by donning a Tanooki Suit, and gave the abilities of Raccoon Mario (which it is often confused with) with an added statue transformation.
This form's name comes from the tanuki, an animal found in Japan and often depicted in folklore. As of Super Mario 3D Land, Luigi's version of the form is mostly called Kitsune Luigi, referring to the kitsune. Additionally, in Super Mario Bros. 3, Statue Mario resembles Kshitigarbha, the protector of travelers and the guardian of souls, who is known as Daigan Jizō Bosatsu in Japan.
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros. 3
The first appearance of Tanooki Mario is in Super Mario Bros. 3, when Mario obtains a Tanooki Suit. In this form, he can turn into an invulnerable statue by holding Paddown and pressing B at the same time, in addition to using Raccoon Mario's moves, making it an improved version of Raccoon Mario. Additionally, if Mario dons a Tanooki Suit while using a Magic Wing, he will retain the infinite flight and gain the Statue ability.
As a statue, Tanooki Mario cannot be hurt, and if he uses this ability in the air, he can slam down like a Thwomp. This can destroy many enemies, instantly destroying all Goombas and enemies with throwable shells (like Koopa Troopas, Buzzy Beetles, and Spinies). It can also stomp previously unstompable enemies like Piranha Plants, Piranhacus Giganticuses, Venus Fire Traps, Spiny Eggs, Thwomps, Podoboos, Firesnakes, and Chain Chomps.
The Statue form is also the only way to destroy Roto-discs and Rocket Engine flames. Statue Mario will sink rapidly underwater, and can even oppose some pipes' upward currents. This allows Mario to stomp Lava Lotuses, Bloobers and fish enemies underwater. Boss Bass is the only fish that Mario can't stomp on, and the only enemy that can defeat him in that form by eating him. In Super Mario All-Stars, the tornado can turn Statue Mario back into Tanooki Mario on contact. He can still turn into the statue while in the tornado, but it will not free him or have any desirable effect. Statue Mario will also automatically revert to Tanooki form in five seconds.
In the NES version's ending, a Koopa Troopa can be seen comically praying before Statue Mario as if he was a religious idol.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 adds new utilities to this form that are seen in several World-e levels: its Statue form can reveal Vanishing Blocks (found in A Sky-High Adventure) and break Gray Brick Blocks (found in A Sky-High Adventure and Puzzling Pipe Maze). This version of the game also makes Luigi's Statue form as tall as he usually is, rather than copying Mario's.
Super Mario 3D Land
Tanooki Mario makes a reappearance in Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS as the main form. In this game, Mario becomes Tanooki Mario when he obtains a Super Leaf (since neither Raccoon Mario nor the Tanooki Suit appear in the game); the form is also slightly redesigned, as its ears, the fronts of which are lighter-colored, are on the front of the hood, facing forward (rather than on the sides facing outward), and Mario's cap brim was added. However, the form's mechanics are different from Super Mario Bros. 3, as while Mario can still tail whip (by pressing X or Y) and glide (now done by holding A or B, as with Cape Mario, rather than tapping the buttons), he cannot fly during gameplay. His slow descent also speeds up back to normal as A or B is held, rather than his acceleration decreasing only when those buttons are pressed. The tail whip is usable underwater, and able to hit more enemies. Mario also gains a new tail spin move in this form (done by X or Y while crouching) which replaces the Roll and Rolling Leap, letting him tail whip continuously, even while moving; this move can also be used to spin Tail Wheels, which can help him ascend quickly.
Statue Mario also reappears in this game (making this form closer to its original depiction), but it can only be used once a Statue Leaf is found in the Special Worlds. The statue now wears a red scarf and depicts Tanooki Mario holding out his right hand. It replaces the ground-pound, and lasts for twelve seconds upon landing, unlike in Super Mario Bros. 3. A new variation of Tanooki Mario also appears in this game, called White Tanooki Mario. Mario or Luigi can only obtain this form by collecting an Invincibility Leaf after losing five lives in a (skipped) normal world level, and it makes him completely invincible for the duration of the level.
Luigi's Tanooki Suit and Statue form are now Kitsune-themed, rather than Tanooki-themed, unlike in Super Mario Bros. 3, and most languages (including the original Japanese) call his Tanooki form Kitsune Luigi. Additionally, Statue Luigi has a green scarf and is shown holding out his left hand, unlike his brother.
In the game's ending, Mario and the three Toads that had joined him on his journey become Tanooki Mario and Tanooki Toads by using Super Leaves. Mario carries Princess Peach and the Toads flutter around as they fly all the way back to Peach's Castle during the credits (despite the lack of flight in-game). Despite using Super Leaves, the Toads are seen sporting scarves that match their vest and cap colors, much like Statue Mario.
In the Special Worlds, Toad himself sports a Tanooki Suit in the Toad Houses and pre-airship level cutscenes; in the former, he often gives a Super Leaf to either Mario or Luigi in representation of his get-up. Tanooki Toad (much like the other Toads sporting Tanooki Suits) also wears a colored scarf (red in Toad's instance) around his neck.
When the player completes all the levels, a picture appears after the credits are finished. It shows two Tanooki Toads and Tanooki Peach (wearing a Tanooki Suit version of her normal dress).
Super Mario 3D World
The normal and White Tanooki forms also appear in Super Mario 3D World, functioning just as they do in Super Mario 3D Land. Mario, Toad, and Peach's Tanooki Suits look almost the same: their ears' fronts are the same color as their belly areas; additionally, Peach's is darker-colored and has puffy shorts and darker legs, rather than its Super Mario 3D Land design, and Toad's lacks a scarf. Luigi's Kitsune Suit remains the same. Rosalina's Tanooki Suit in this game is the same as Peach's, though with darker arms and shorter gloves. When Peach is wearing the suit, she will float before using the suit's scuttle, and can gain even more horizontal distance this way.
Super Mario Maker series
Mario Tennis Open
In Mario Tennis Open, Tanooki Mario is a costume for the player's Mii. It is unlocked by turning 15 characters into star characters. The racket for this costume costs 1550 coins to buy at the Clubhouse for Miis to be able to use.
Mario Golf: World Tour
In Mario Golf: World Tour, a Tanooki Mario costume is awarded to the Mii upon completion of 50 Moon Coin challenges. A golf ball and club set made with the theme of this costume are available as well for the Mii to buy and use.
Nintendo Comics System
Tanooki Mario appears in the Nintendo Comics System story "Tanooki Suits Me". In the comic, Mario is forced to wear the Tanooki Suit due to Luigi accidentally ordering a single tuxedo, and the Tanooki Suit was the only one available at the rental shop. An old man informs Mario that that the suit is a genuine one created by Mushroomland's first tailor, Tanooki, who sewed a tail on the back of every suit he created as his trademark; he also informs Mario that Tanooki's suits possess magical powers, and that genuine suits are very rare. Mario transforms himself into Statue Mario by curiously pressing a button on the front of the suit, and it isn't until he wishes that he could turn back to normal that he turns back into Tanooki Mario.
Mario Kart series
Mario Kart 8/Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Tanooki Mario appears as a character available in the first downloadable content pack in Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda × Mario Kart 8, appearing as a character separate from Mario. Tanooki Mario has a different set of animations and quotes from Mario, as well as having different vehicle colors (for instance, the Sport Bike he rides has the orange/yellow coloration rather than Mario's red and blue one). Tanooki Mario's signature vehicle is the Tanooki Kart.
Although Tanooki Mario is a middleweight character like Mario, he has slightly more acceleration at the cost of his weight stat; a trait that he shares with the male Villager. Tanooki Mario's anti-gravity-specific trick animation involves him briefly turning into Statue Mario. One of his trick animations is a reference to one of Raccoon Mario's artworks from Super Mario Bros. 3, and, if he is on a bike or an ATV, one of his trick animations replicates his ability to fall slowly. Also, the sound his horn makes is Cape Mario's spinning sound from Super Mario World.
Tanooki Mario is the staff ghost for Ice Ice Outpost.
Tanooki Mario uses various voice clips taken from other games, with several voice file prefixes seemingly indicating the source game. File prefixes include GBAGolf Mario, GC SunshineMario, GCTennis, SuperMarioAdvance, and WiiBseball Mario.
Like with every character playable in Mario Kart 8, Tanooki Mario appears as a playable character in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch. Unlike the Wii U game, he is included within the base game and is available from the start. He shares stats with the male Villager as well as the Inkling Boy.
Mario Kart Arcade GP DX
Tanooki Mario reappears in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX as a second downloadable alternate color scheme for Mario. Tanooki Mario has an exclusive item, which appears to function similarly to the Super Leaf from Mario Kart 7.
Other appearances and references
In the Nintendo Power player's guide for Super Mario 64, the Tanooki Suit is mentioned in the guide section on Snowman's Land, suggesting it could keep Mario warm in the frigid climate if it was still available.
Although it never appeared on the actual show, concept artwork of Tanooki Mario can be seen on the bonus disc of Shout! Factory's The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 DVD set.
Tanooki Mario is also a playable Character in Monopoly Gamer. He is sold separately as a "Power Pack" expansion figure.
In the Super Mario Mash-Up Pack in Minecraft, Tanooki Mario and Kitsune Luigi appear as playable skins. Chain Armor is replaced by the Tanooki Suit.
Super Mario 3D Land
- Instruction Manual description: "Grab a Super Leaf to turn into Tanooki Mario. Press Y or X) to do a tail attack, and hold B or A) when in midair to float down gently."
- European Website Bio: "Picking up a Super Leaf turns Mario into Tanooki Mario! Tanooki Mario can use his tail to attack enemies and float down gently through the air."
Super Mario 3D World
- Instruction manual description: "Attack enemies with your tail, and float down gently when in midair."
- The sound effect for transforming into Tanooki Mario (and to a greater extent Raccoon Mario) was taken from The Mysterious Murasame Castle. In Super Mario 3D Land, however, the sound and visual effects for becoming this form are the same as the game's other power-ups.