If there was any doubt that Super Mario 3D Land is a high-profile game release, that has now been banished. It has emerged today that PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — has launched a campaign against Mario. The complaint revolves around the Tanooki suit, with the PETA website stating the following:
When on a mission to rescue the princess, Mario has been known to use any means necessary to defeat his enemy — even wearing the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers.
Tanooki may be just a "suit" in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur.
This isn't the first time that this organisation have targeted video games, but is probably the first occasion that a Mario suit is cited. The fact that Mario transforms into these powers by picking up a magical leaf seems to have passed PETA by, who have opted for a literal interpretation of the game. If you want to learn more about the history of the Tanooki suit and the animal that inspired it, check out our feature on the subject.