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Pennington, the penguin detective
Species Bumpty
First appearance Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (2004)
Latest appearance Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Nintendo Switch) (2024)
“Now, Luigi! We will reduce this case to rudimentary facts and deduce the truth!”
Pennington, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Pennington (or, as he prefers to be called, The Penguin With the Improbably Large Brain) is a penguin detective from Poshley Heights in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Mario first meets Pennington on the Excess Express, where he takes Mario (whom he mistakenly refers to as Luigi) under his wing. Pennington and Mario must solve the many mysteries that occur on the train. Of course, Mario solves all the mysteries with no help from Pennington, who often takes the credit for solving them and treats Mario as an apprentice. Appearing on the Express, he assumes a role in Chapter 6 which parallels that of Hercule Poirot, a famous Belgian detective and main character from the English novel Murder on the Orient Express. His mannerisms, however, are more reflective of Sherlock Holmes. His catchphrase, "Rudimentary," is a nod to Holmes's "Elementary." Pennington is likely an amalgamation of the two.

He is similar to the penguin patrol from Paper Mario.


Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door[edit]

End scene of Pennington riding inside a passenger car of the Excess Express in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
End scene of Pennington riding the Excess Express

During the ride on the Excess Express, if Mario talks to Pennington before warning the conductor about the sticky yummy threat, he says that he is on his way back home. After the Stew Pot is stolen, Pennington gathers the train passangers to find the thief, and assumes that Mario was the suspect. Pennington then has Mario find the real thief to prove his innocence, which turns out to be Heff T. who stole it because he was hungry. Pennington congratulates Mario, and begins to work with him to find out who left the threat about a sticky yummy doom.

On the second day, the culprit is revealed to be a Zip Toad imposter, whom Pennington takes into custody. However, after escorting him off the train at Riverside Station, the imposter is revealed to be Doopliss who reverts back to his normal form and escapes from Pennington.

On the third day, Pennington is among the passengers who are absorbed into a hoard of Smorgs that attack the train. He is eventually freed when Mario defeats the Smorgs, causing them to blow away in the wind. After the Excess Express arrives in Poshley Heights, Mario heads to Poshley Sanctum for the Garnet Star. However, the sanctum curator is unavailable and the entrance is locked. Though this is to Mario's dismay, Pennington soon arrives and unlocks the door, revealing that his real profession is being the manager of the sanctum, and being a detective is just his hobby.

Although he is the curator of the sanctum, he does not know where the Garnet Star is located. The only item on display is a replica of the Garnet Star (which Pennington calls a "red herring"), probably to protect the real star from falling into the wrong hands. This red herring is taken by the Three Shadows, although after Mario retrieves the real Garnet Star, Pennington allows him to take it and puts another fake on display. Upon talking to him afterward, he privately says "so that's where it's located" and then promptly cover himself by saying he was doing thinking games, implying that while he knew the Garnet Star was hidden within the sanctum, even he was unaware of its precise location.

When Bowser and Kammy Koopa go to the Poshley Sanctum to steal the Garnet Star, Pennington catches them and informs them that what they have is a red herring, and that he gave the real one to "Luigi". After Bowser and Kammy depart to ambush Mario in the Palace of Shadow, Pennington commends Mario for his efforts.

When everybody is cheering Mario on when he is fighting the Shadow Queen, Goldbob, his family, and Toodles are shown cheering him on, and they call him both "Gonzales" (Mario's Glitz Pit pseudonym that some of them knew him exclusively by) and his actual name, which causes Pennington to be surprised and ask if it is Mario or Gonzales, and if it is not Luigi. When he cheers Mario on, he says, "Go Luigi...err...Mario?". Even after Mario beats the Shadow Queen and returns to Poshley Sanctum, he first calls Mario "Luigi" again but quickly corrects himself.


Excess Express
  • "That's Pennington, a train passenger. He SAYS he's a detective, but I don't know... I mean, why do detective types ALWAYS show up when something goes wrong, huh?"
Riverside Station
  • "That's Pennington, a train passenger. He SAYS he's a detective, but I don't know... Not to be, y'know, totally catty, but what kind of detective LOSES a suspect?"
Poshley Heights/Poshley Sanctum
  • "That's Pennington. I guess sleuthing is just his hobby. He's the sanctum-keeper. I knew that detective bit was fishy... but I guess a little sleuthing on the side is OK..." (GameCube)
  • "That's Pennington. I guess sleuthing is just his hobby. He's the sanctum keeper. I knew that detective bit was fishy... but I guess a little sleuthing on the side is OK..." (Switch)

Super Paper Mario[edit]

Pennington's plush from Super Paper Mario

In Super Paper Mario, a plush doll of Pennington appears inside Fort Francis.


Names in other languages[edit]


Language Name Meaning
Japanese ポワン[1]
Derived from "Hercule Poirot" and possibly "penguin"

French Pingrot
Comes from pingouin ("penguin") and "Poirot"
German Inspektor Ping
First syllable of pinguin ("penguin")
Italian Holmut
Pun on "Holmes" and possibly "Poirot" or "Helmut"
Spanish Holmot
Possibly a portmanteau of Holmes (from Sherlock Holmes) and Poirot (from Hercule Poirot)

The Penguin with The Improbably Large Brain[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ピンクいろのずのうを もつオトコ
Pinku-iro no Zunō o Motsu Otoko
The Man with the Pink Brain

French Pingouin à la cervelle rose
Penguin with a pink brain
German Mann mit dem Superhirn
Man with the Superbrain
Italian L'uomo dalle piccole cellule rosa
The man with the little pink brain cells; referencing Hercule Poirot's "little grey brain cells"
Spanish Detective de las pequeñas células rosas
Detective with the little pink brain cells; referencing Hercule Poirot's "little grey brain cells"


  • Whenever Pennington says the word "Luigi," it appears in green text, as previously seen in the Mario & Luigi series, where Luigi's and Baby Luigi's names and nicknames are almost always written in green.
  • A test enemy in the code of the game is named "Pennington," though its graphic is instead a Toad with a Nibbles placed in front of his head.[2]


  1. ^ Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door From Japanese to English. The Mushroom Kingdom. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  2. ^ PistonMiner (May 20, 2024). Paper Mario: TTYD - "Pennington". YouTube. Retrieved May 21, 2024.