The Tanooki Suit is a fairly uncommon item found in Super Mario Bros. 3 and its subsequent remakes. It is based on tanukis, Japanese creatures who, according to mythology, can use leaves to shape-shift and cause chaos. According to Shigeru Miyamoto in the Super Mario Bros. 3 entry of the 25th Anniversary Super Mario History Booklet, he was aware that most players outside Japan would be overall confused with the Tanooki Suit and the transformation, but he left it in anyways because it was cool and he was too excited to remove it.
First found in World 4, the suit transforms Mario or Luigi into Tanooki Mario or Tanooki Luigi, respectively. The suit grants the same abilities as the Super Leaf, with the added ability of turning into a statue when the player holds and presses at the same time. This briefly lets Mario hide from enemies and hazards, or stomp even more of them than he can normally if he transforms above them. Mario retains the Magic Wing's infinite flight if he grabs a Tanooki Suit while using one. Also, 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).
While Tanooki Mario returns in Super Mario 3D Land, the Raccoon form and Tanooki Suit do not. Instead, Super and Statue Leaves turn Mario into Tanooki Mario, though he cannot fly; the latter Leaf mimics the function of the Tanooki Suit, as it grants the Super Leaf's abilities and the Statue ability (via ground pounding), but it is only available in the Special Worlds' levels and within Deluxe StreetPass Gifts.
In Super Mario 3D World, despite Tanooki Mario's return, the Statue form and Statue Leaf are absent. The Lucky Bell debuts in its place, acting as the Tanooki Suit/Statue Leaf compared to the also newly-introduced Super Bell, as it lets Mario become a lucky cat statue in addition to the latter Bell's abilities.
The Tanooki Suit was prominently featured in a Nintendo Comics System story titled "Tanooki Suits Me"; according to this story, the suit was one of many magical suits made by a tailor named Tanooki whose trademark was to sew a tail on the back of each one. It is revealed in this comic that Mario turns into a statue by pressing a button on the front of the suit, and changes back by wishing to return to human form.
Super Mario Bros. 3
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