While Nintendo and most of the nation may be swept away by the adorable Tanooki mania, count animal rights group PETA as among those not so enchanted. With their new campaign “Mario Kills Tanooki”, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claims:
“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.”
Visitors to their website can get in on this disturbing interpretation of activism by playing a flash game of a bloodied Tanooki retrieving his fur from Mario.
What an unreasonable but entirely predictable turn of events. PETA loves to do this right around the holidays (see: Cooking Mama). It’s a pretty good PR move, really: get the most innocuous and well beloved target you can find and attack without valid provocation. If you’re not concerned with constant alienating your target audience, it works exactly as planned.