Mario franchise strategy guide/Items/Tanooki Suit

The Tanooki suit is a special power up originating from the video game Super Mario Bros. 3, and was only found in a few special locations, such as the treasure chests inside Toad's House. It had the same powers as Raccoon Mario plus the added benefit of being able to temporarily change into an invincible (but immobile) statue by pressing "DOWN" and "B" on the controller. Mario can do this at a height to land on and destroy certain enemies in the game that were originally thought to be indestructible, though it can be very difficult to time such attacks correctly.

A statue of a mythological Tanuki.

"Tanooki" actually refers to a Japanese animal (both real and mythical) called a Tanuki—the mythical version known for its mischievous and jolly nature and being a master of disguise and shape-shifting. The Tanooki suit itself resembles popular Tanuki statues in Japan, and its ability to transform into a smiling statue to avoid or defeat enemies is no doubt a direct reference to the mythical animal's abilities. Because Nintendo games are targeted at children, the Tanuki suit does not feature the traditional huge testicles typical of most real tanuki statues. The fact that Raccoon Mario is powered up by a leaf is also a bit of a joke—a Tanuki looks somewhat similar to a Raccoon, their name is often mistranslated as Raccoon in other languages, and the mythical version of the creature was known for using leaves as part of its mischievous magic.

As an interesting side note, the programmers made a small mistake involving the Tanooki Suit — when he is shown about to play a 'slider' or 'memory' game, Mario is still depicted as Super Mario.

Strangely, the Tanooki suit was never featured in The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. It did, however, receive a comic book story of its own, titled "Tanooki Suits Me" (printed in the trade paperback Mario's Special Powers).