Nintendo’s Paper Mario remake restores character’s original trans identity

Paper Mario trans character Vivian in front of a trans flag.

A Nintendo Switch remake of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has confirmed that one of its characters, Vivian, is trans.

The re-release of the GameCube classic restores dialogue confirming that ghostly Vivian is transgender, with her saying it took her a while to realise she was trans.

The key line had previously been removed from the 2002 English translation of the game, although it could be found in the Japanese version.

The dialogue also includes Vivian talking to Mario about her siblings. “Truth is, it took me a while to realise I was their sister… not their brother. Now their usual bullying feels heavier,” she now says.

Who is Paper Mario’s trans character Vivian?

Vivian is first encountered in Paper Mario as one-third of an enemy group known as the Shadow Sirens which, in the original translation, was made up of three sisters.

The original Japanese translation also had the trans character’s fellow Shadow Siren sisters routinely misgender her.

You may like to watch

The English translation changed this scene, with the sisters using non-gendered insults, such as labelling her “plug-ugly” after she mistakenly called the group the Shadow Beauties.

A screenshot from the game Paper-Mario: The Thousand Year Door.
Vivian’s original dialogue has been restored. (Nintendo)

Vivian is also misgendered constantly in the original translation, including by Beldam, Goombella, and even in her in-game character description, while the 2002 English translation removed all gendered references.

In the new remake, however, much of the dialogue is restored and Vivian’s correct pronouns are used.

Goombella now says: “That’s Vivian. She’s the youngest of the three Shadow Sirens… she doesn’t seem all that noteworthy. Uh… she is kinda cute, I guess… she might even be cuter than I am… what am I thinking?”

The updated Japanese translation also removes or alters dialogue that misgenders Vivian, while adding various lines that affirm her identity.

Nintendo has a strangely compelling history with LGBTQ+ representation: Super Mario Bros 2‘ recurring boss Birdo has had a trans identity since the character’s debut in 1988, while Luigi has long been claimed as a trans mascot by queer fans.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is re-released on Nintendo Switch on Thursday (23 May).

Please login or register to comment on this story.