Q&A: Do Mario and Friends Wear Goomba Corpses in Mario 3D World?!

Alec asked a question about the newly-released Super Mario 3D World. I’ve yet to play it, but the question sounds really interesting, so let’s take a look!

Hello, I was wondering if I could trouble you for a quick translation request. It is regarding a new item in the Super Mario series that appears in Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U.

The item in question is shaped exactly like a Goomba’s body and wearing it will cause enemies to ignore you. The item can be found when you defeat certain Goomba’s in specific levels. A fun little concept.

Unfortunately, a small controversy has been stirred up on a number of gaming forums that I frequently visit. A number of people have expressed concern that Mario and friends could very well be wearing the deceased corpse of the Goomba they just stomped on.

Some people argued that the item is some kind of mask or costume, but couldn’t back up their claim with an proof. The item doesn’t have an official name in the digital manual. It isn’t even listed in the power-up and item page on the game’s official website.

One user did some digging around and found an interview with a few of the game’s developers conducted by Satoru Iwata. During the interview, some of the new items and power-ups were discussed. When one of the developers mentioned the Goomba item, he referred to it as a mask.

When this was presented to the users on the forum, most people were convinced it was merely a harmless mask. One user, however, still wasn’t too sure. He said that the interview could have been localized for western audiences and wouldn’t change his mind unless he saw the original Japanese interview translated.

Here’s where my request comes in. I would like to ask you to translate these lines of text taken directly from the interview in question:

The lines in question are the five lines on the very bottom of the page.

If you could let us know how the Japanese developers referred to the item, I would greatly appreciate it.

No problem at all! Here’s a basic translation of the text in question, but keep in mind that since I haven’t played the game or even looked at the text for either version of the game, I might be missing context or extra info that might be relevant. But here goes:

Motokura: Also, as a little extra, you can wear a Kuribo (Goomba) too.

Iwata: A… Kuribo?

Kuramoto: Yes. Sometimes a Kuribo will drop a paper-maché Kuribo when defeated. If you put it on, Kuribos won’t spot you.

Iwata: Ha-ha-ha (laughter).

Motokura: The concept for a Kuribo one always came up each time we made a 3D Mario, so after 5 or 6 years, it’s finally been made reality. So it’s a really special one.

So it looks like this Kuribo/Goomba thing is intended to be a paper-maché version of a Goomba, not an actual Goomba that you’ve killed or anything like that.

For reference, the word used in the interview is “haribote”, which is indeed the word used in Japanese to refer to paper-maché creations.

Again, since I haven’t played the game yet I can’t really speak as a total authority, but from the interview text alone, it appears they’re just paper-maché Goombas.

Hopefully that helps answer fans’ questions!

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  1. Man, why’s everyone gotta assume the Japanese version is automatically more violent? Especially a game like Mario, I’m pretty sure your average Japanese parent would prefer their kids playing this over watching Naruto, lol.

    1. “Man, why’s everyone gotta assume the Japanese version is automatically more violent?”
      Nowadays it’s the other way around ever since the CERO rating system was established. I remember the last few Resident Evil games were censored in Japan.

  2. Maybe he expected the Japanese interview to have this?

    Kuramoto: Yes, you can wear the hollowed corpses of the Kuribos you killed.
    Iwata: Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! (evil laugh)

  3. Heh, I don’t know why anyone would think this is the corpse of a Goomba. This IS a Nintendo game after all. Reminds me of that weird (and sickening, to me) thing Peta did around the time of Super Mario 3D Land coming out, where in order to get people talking about them, they made this awful picture (and a game) of Tanooki Mario wearing the bloody skin of a Tanooki.

  4. Let’s be fair here…look at those screenshots. Does that LOOK like paper-maché to you? No, it looks EXACTLY like the living Goombas. And this wouldn’t be the first time Nintendo had something surprisingly dark hiding in plain sight in a game, after all.

    1. Particularly when it comes to the Pokedex descriptions of some of the dark/ghost Pokemon. A few of them are just flat-out creepy, and not even remotely subtle.

      1. This is true. Freaking Litwick. Have you SEEN that thing’s pokedex text? Here, look: “Litwick shines a light that absorbs the life energy of people and Pokémon, which becomes the fuel that it burns.”
        “While shining a light and pretending to be a guide, it leeches off the life force of any who follow it.”
        “Its flame is usually out, but it starts shining when it absorbs life force from people or Pokémon.”


    2. My thought is that they just had the idea of having Mario imitate Goombas in one way or another. Game mechanic first, justification later. The thought of the Goombas being dead husks might not even have entered their mind in the first place.

        1. On the Japanese description for Kirby’s Final Smash, there’s a part at the end where he comments on the “Shaberu! DS Cooking Navi” song. This part was removed from the translated versions of the site, yet the song appears in all versions of the game.

          I’ve sent Mato a request to translate it a while back, and he still hasn’t covered it on this site.

          1. Here’s what Google Translate says. I know it’s an automatic translation, but you can probably get the gist:

            “But it’s that. Is this not a mon such darkness pan like so-called?
            Anything good? Whether good.

            By the way. Although I do not much to do with the relationship it,
            This song is wonderful now available.

            [Shovel! DS Cooking Navi]
            (56 seconds 0 minutes)

            [Composition & Arrangement Supervisor: Sud Toshiyuki]
            ※ copyright of this music are the property of Corporation Nintendo.
            ※ Please be careful about the volume.

            Hee. Funny!
            This skill can Nantes, the original developer expected.

            I will want to make Nikujaga [Japanese meat and potato stew] somehow.”

          2. You don’t need to Google Translate the part that resulted in “But it’s that. Is this not a mon such darkness pan like so-called? Anything good? Whether good.” It’s already (and officially) translated as “But is that a real dish? Something like stone soup, maybe? Can you put just anything in there? Are you sure?” Anyway, I’d rather have a more intelligble translation and thoughts from Mato.

      1. There are times that the Iwata Asks interviews have been localised, for example Pokémon XY’s:

        Iwata: By the way, what does the “Amie” in Pokémon-Amie mean?
        Masuda: “Amie” means “friend” in French.
        Iwata: You enjoy getting friendly with your Pokémon.
        Masuda: Yes.

        compared to (own translation):

        Iwata: By the way, what does the ‘Parler’ part of ‘Poké-Parler’ mean?
        Masuda: ‘Parler’ means ‘to speak’ in French.
        Iwata: So in other words, it has the nuance of being able to enjoy almost being able to speak with your Pokémon, correct?
        Masuda: Yes.

        1. I understand changing a game’s text in localization, and I don’t have a problem with it, but rewriting the interview seems a bit orwellian.

  5. Can you do a comparison of this line in FF5 Advance. “Enough expository banter! Now, we fight like men! And ladies! And ladies who dress like men! For Gilgamesh…It’s morphing time!”

    1. Final Fantasy V Advance deserves its own special section due to how full of memes and in-jokes it is. There is a weapon where the descriptor reads “Attacks the weak point for massive damage.” for crying out lout! I’m guessing the translators were either bored or just didn’t care.

        1. In one of the Japanese FF4 strategy guides released when FF4 came out on the Playstation we got this nice translation of the Mysiadian Legend

          Born of a dragon’s mouth,
          he whom soars high in the heavens,
          carrying the darkness & the light,
          brings new promises to the sleeping earth.
          Sheathed in neverending light,
          the moon bestows blessings and favor
          upon the mother land.

  6. Oh my, I wasn’t expecting a reply back the day after I sent my request. Thank you again for your trouble!

    I had a good feeling that there wouldn’t be any drastic changes between the original and the translation, but it is nice to see a definitive answer nonetheless.

  7. I think this sort of thing comes from the whole notion that Americans have, in the past, received censored stuff. Young people read about those things and start eying EVERYTHING coming out of Japan with suspicion. I can understand that to some extent, because there’s still some rather obvious censorship going on, but Mario is not going to require something like that. Even Banjo Kazooie isn’t as “tame” as Mario games.

    If a Mario game did anything worth censoring, it wouldn’t be the violence but rather any cross dressing characters. Well, we’ve seen that before haven’t we?

    Along those lines, younger crowds get all up in arms about “censored” modern versions of fairy tales. It takes a few years before they realize that, perhaps, Little Mermaid is a better story when Ariel doesn’t dissolve into seafoam and die. Most of those old fairy tales were originally written to teach old world values, ones which we rightfully view as entirely horrible. Perhaps it isn’t wise to teach kids that vengeance is a virtue, or that naughty children are eaten by fish and die, or that it is actually okay to strand your children in the woods to die if you are low on food. So, sometimes it isn’t really censorship, it’s just making things better than the original. (As another example, compare the original Ren and Stimpy to “Adult Party Cartoon”. The original had to get really creative to work around Nick’s censorship, whereas the new series was actually ordered to be as crass as possible to compete with South Park. The end result is that the original series ended up vastly superior to the new one.)


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