The lovable, adorable little Toad has been a Mario series mainstay for as long as I can remember. Toad first appeared in 1988 in Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES - which means Toad's actually at least 28 years old!
But dear god, Toad doesn't look like 28. Especially not without that hat on.
None of us ever really questioned that Toad's hat wasn't a hat, but just a part of his body. But without that hat... well, look for yourself.
*Shiver* I don't even want to know what the hell is happening in that uncanny valley. And why isn't Toad wearing pants??
And here's a clip from the 1989 Super Mario Bros Super Show, to back this up! Apparently, that cap also can double as a parachute? Who would have thought.
Now, of course, the Super Mario Bros Super Show is not considered to actually be canon in the official Mario game universe, so take this with a grain of salt. But, as best as I've found, Nintendo has never explicitly confirmed or denied that Toad's cap isn't just a sweet beanie.
Also, that parachute gif is taken from the below clip of the Super Mario Bros Super Show, which is one of the most ridiculous shows I've ever seen. It's so bizarre and charming and so totally late '80s Saturday morning cartoon. Skip to 5:50 to see Toad in all of his bald glory.
Also, if Toad's surprising voice sounds familiar, that's because his voice actor John Stocker did loads of early '90s cartoon voice work. You might have heard his voice in cartoon TV shows like:
- The Adventures of Tintin
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
- The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin
- and more