Tanooki Mario is a form of Mario or Luigi that first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 3. In its debut, the Mario Bros. used a Tanooki costume with a tail that allows them to fly or attack by whipping it. It was essentially an advanced version of Raccoon Mario, with the addition of a temporary transformation into a stone statue. The Tanooki Mario form's name comes from the tanuki, an animal found in Japan and is often depicted in folklore. The form that Statue Mario takes while wearing the Tanooki Suit 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 he obtains a Tanooki Suit. When Mario and Luigi this form, they will look like Tanookis and turn into a statue when pressing and Down on the at the same time, in addition to temporarily flying like Raccoon Mario. When Mario or Luigi is in a statue form, they are invincible. This makes it an improved version of Raccoon Mario.
When Tanooki Mario is a statue, he cannot be hurt and if he uses this ability in the air, he can slam down like a Thwomp. This can destroy certain enemies and trigger switches. It will instantly destroy all Goombas and enemies with throwable shells (Koopas, Buzzy Beetles, and Spinies). It can also stomp enemies that cannot be stomped before, like Piranha Plants, Piranhacus Giganticus, Venus Fire Traps, Spiny Eggs, Thwomps, Podoboos, Fire Snakes, and Chain Chomps. It is also the only way to destroy Roto-Discs and Rocket Engine flames. The statue form will sink rapidly underwater and can even oppose the upward currents coming from pipes. This allows Mario to stomp Lava Lotuses, Bloopers and fish enemies underwater. Boss Bass is the only fish that the statue can't stomp on and the only enemy that can harm him in that form by eating him. In Super Mario All-Stars, Tweester can turn the statue back into regular Tanooki Mario on contact but he can still turn into the statue while in the Tweester, though it will not free him or have any desirable effect. One setback is that while Mario is a statue, he cannot move. In the ending, a Koopa Troopa can be seen comically praying before Mario as a statue as if it were a religious idol.
Super Mario 3D Land
Tanooki Mario makes a reappearance in Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS as the main power-up. In game, Mario becomes Tanooki Mario when he obtains a Super Leaf (since neither Raccoon Mario nor the Tanooki Suit appear in the game). In his Tanooki form, Mario can spin and use his tail to defeat enemies and destroy blocks lying over the ground. He can also glide by shaking his tail and so fall slowly. In Super Mario 3D Land, however, Tanooki Mario does not fly during gameplay. In this form, Mario can wall jump using only a corner. Although such a move is not referenced in the instructions (written or in-game), it is useful for speed-running courses and can be used to obtain items normally deemed available only by use of a Propeller Box. Statue Mario appears in this game and is closer to the original Tanooki Suit, but it still lacks flight and can only be used once a Statue Leaf is found in the Special Worlds. Mario wears a red handkerchief around his neck over his costume as Statue Mario while Luigi wears a green one. Also, the duration that Mario can stay in stone form is limited, like in Super Mario Bros. 3. Another variation of Tanooki Mario also appears in this game, called White Tanooki Mario. Mario can only obtain this form by collecting an Invincibility Leaf after losing five lives in a level, and is completely invincible for the duration of the level.
Luigi is given a different Tanooki costume in this game, the costume more resembling a kitsune (a Japanese fox) rather than a Tanooki. While most languages, including the original Japanese, call this form Kitsune Luigi, the English translation still refers to it as Tanooki Luigi.
In the ending of the game, the three Toads that had accompanied Mario on his journey become Tanooki Toads by using the powers of the Super Leaf. While in their Tanooki forms, the Toads accompany Tanooki Mario and Princess Peach (who is being held in Mario's hands) by flying all the way back to the Princess Peach's Castle from Bowser's Castle. The Tanooki Toads are seen to be fluttering around Mario and Peach while flying during the credits. They are seen sporting scarfs that match their vest and cap colors.
In the special worlds, Toad himself sports a Tanooki Suit in the Toad Houses and often gives a Super Leaf to either Mario or Luigi in representation of his get-up. Toad also appears in a Tanooki suit prior to the airship levels when he launches either one of the Mario Bros. from a cannon to reach the airship. Despite having gained the powers from a Super Leaf, Tanooki Toad (much like the other Toads sporting Tanooki suits) appears to be wearing a colored handkerchief (red in Toad's instance) around his neck much like Statue Mario.
When the player completes all the levels, a picture appears after the credits are finished. It shows two Tanooki Toads and Tanooki Peach.
Super Mario 3D World
Tanooki Mario also appears in Super Mario 3D World. The form functions similarly to the way it does in the game's predecessor. Tanooki Mario looks nearly identical to his appearance in Super Mario 3D Land, but his ears are a slightly lighter color and his fur is slightly more detailed. When in a Tanooki costume, Tanooki Luigi will remain in his Kitsune/fox appearance from Super Mario 3D Land. Both Tanooki Peach and Toad look the same as in Super Mario 3D Land, but Peach's has a different dress design, and Toad no longer sports a scarf. Also, when Peach is wearing the suit, she can pull off her unique glide, but also scuttle afterward to gain even more horizontal distance. Rosalina's Tanooki suit in this game looks similar to that of Peach's.
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 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.
Names in Other Languages