Things Only Adults Notice About Birdo From The Mario Games

The "Mario" series may have begun with just a few core characters but, over time, the cast has dramatically expanded beyond the pair of brothers, their nemesis Bowser, and Princess Peach. Allies and enemies have joined the team through the years, and now it's difficult for all but the most hardcore fans to keep them all straight. Among this expanded list of secondary characters is the mysterious Birdo.


The sometimes villain of unknown origin and species has been a part of "Mario" games since "Super Mario Bros. 2" in 1988. Younger gamers are unlikely to remember Birdo's early appearances, and they're also unlikely to pick up on many aspects of the character. Kids can enjoy facing off against Birdo or playing as her in "Mario Kart" and "Mario Party," but there are lots of details they just won't grab. While she may appear in family-friendly games, there are more than a few things about Birdo that only adults will notice.

Birdo's first appearance was just a dream

Kids today probably never saw Birdo's original appearance. "Super Mario Bros. 2" is now over thirty years old, and only older fans are likely to have any memories of it. Further, children that do get to check out the old title probably aren't paying too much attention to the plot and are more focused on the bizarre gameplay that makes the sequel unique and earns it a ranking in the middle of the games in the "Mario" series. Adults, however, will probably remember that the events of the game technically didn't happen at all.


"Super Mario Bros. 2" makes no secret of the fact that the entire plot is a dream Mario has one night. Thus, none of the events or characters introduced are truly canon in the series. This includes the introduction of Birdo.

Of course, Birdo and plenty of other elements from the game eventually made it into later games in the series and became official parts of the universe. Still, it remains a bit strange that her first appearance was a dream — and it raises some interesting questions. Did Mario know Birdo before his dream? Did Mario's dream of Birdo conjure her into existence? How accurate is Dream Birdo compared to the real thing? Children may be able to gloss over these mysteries, but some adults will likely find themselves kept up at night over them.


Birdo's gender remains a mystery

Birdo appears to be female and, in English versions of "Mario" games, she's consistently grouped with other female characters, so kids are likely to simply take Birdo's gender for granted. Grownups may pick up on some obscure pieces of the lore that bring this into question.


Anyone who has read the original manual for "Super Mario Bros. 2" may remember that Birdo (then called Ostro) is described as a boy who "thinks he is a girl." This description, using phrasing that would likely be considered offensive today, would seem to indicate that Birdo is, in fact, a transwoman. This is supported by other elements and descriptions that have appeared in Japanese versions of various games with Birdo, at one point, being referred to as "Yoshi's boyfriend."

There continues to be a degree of intentional ambiguity surrounding Birdo on this point and the confusion is, perhaps, exacerbated by the fact that her original appearance happened at a time when society generally lacked the language to describe trans individuals. One thing appears settled, however. Birdo definitely identifies as a woman, and so she's referred to as such here.


Birdo may be using her children in combat

There may be a dark side to Birdo that kids probably won't notice. In "Super Mario Bros. 2" as well as in "Super Mario RPG," Birdo will fight Mario and his friends by hurling eggs at them. It's unclear where these eggs are coming from, but the implication is that Birdo is producing them herself. If this is the case, she may essentially be hurling her own children into combat.


It's not clear if that's what's going on here. Indeed, in "Super Mario RPG," the eggs explode on impact — which would indicate that they aren't real eggs. Still, there's really no telling how biology works in the world of "Mario." Yoshi is a male who seems to have no problem laying eggs at will and sometimes using them in combat, like in "Yoshi's Island." So, it's definitely plausible that Birdo is doing something similar.

It's not exactly pleasant to imagine that Birdo is hurling her own eggs at her foes, and children are likely to miss this entirely. We adults, on the other hand, are left to ponder the implications.

Birdo's affiliation is unclear

Currently, Birdo is probably most well known for her appearances in the "Mario Party" and "Mario Kart" games. Kids who mostly know her for these titles likely see her as just another character without any particular affiliation. In these games, all the characters are simply competitors with no real heroes or villains. Older generations will remember that Birdo seemingly likes to flip sides regularly.


Of course, Birdo appears as a boss multiple times in "Super Mario Bros. 2" and also takes on the Mario brothers in "Super Mario RPG." While the first instance of villainy can be dismissed as a dream, the second is undoubtedly a true case of villainy. On the other hand, Birdo can sometimes be on the side of the heroes, helping Princess Peach at the beginning of "Superstar Saga" before flipping sides halfway through the game.

With Birdo regularly switching teams, the general consensus is that she's more interested in being a star and getting her share of the spotlight. As such, she'll join whichever side is getting the most attention at the moment. So, she may not be the most loyal ally, but she's not exactly a villain either.


She may be dating Yoshi

Her loyalties are certainly in question, but, apparently, love knows no affiliation, and Birdo may have an ongoing romance with Yoshi. This is made much more explicit in Japan where some games have officially labeled her as Yoshi's "boyfriend," but some fans have noted that there's some evidence to support this in some of the games themselves.


It's not uncommon to see the pair appearing together. In multiple "Mario" sports games, they are teamed up or set as partners. This extends to "Mario Kart: Double Dash!!" where they are both partners and use the same special item (an egg, of course) but with different colors.

It's hard to argue that the two don't make a cute pair, and, even if Birdo is sometimes on the bad guy's team, opposites do tend to attract. There's no indication of how Mario, Bowser, or the rest of the gang feel about this union, but — surely — adult fans will be wishing the duo all the best.