It's one of the most contentious debates of our times, and one that has raged across the internet for years: is the mushroom on Toad's head a hat, or part of his head? The adorable "fictional humanoid mushroom" (thanks, Wikipedia) is a favourite from the Mario game franchise, but fans have butted heads over the contents of said mushroom to the point where Nintendo recently stepped in to clear things up (more on that below).
Mushroom-gate has led to many speculative illustrations from artistic fans, and now illustrator Alex Solis has given us perhaps the most nightmarish concept yet. The question is no longer whether the mushroom is a hat (it is, according to Solis' depiction), but whether Toad's eyes are actually... nostrils? (Check out our character design guide for some less terrifying examples.)
We're filing this one straight under 'wish we could unsee' (where it joins the likes of the glitch that applied Donkey Kong's mouth texture to his feet). Fortunately, Solis' terrifying (and apparently sleep-deprived) interpretation doesn't match up with Nintendo's explanation of the mushroom. "So that, as it turns out, is actually Toad’s head,” Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi recently revealed on the company's official YouTube channel (below). So, there we go.
The general reaction on Instagram matches our own ("YOU DID NOT HAVE TO DO THIS," comments anths.art). Perhaps he didn't, but then what's the internet for if not for sharing horrifying concept illustrations of fictional humanoid mushrooms? It got a reaction from us and for that, we take our hat off to him. Solis' Toad concept is part of a series of similar illustrations he calls #UnpopularCultureSeries, which also includes this depiction of an evolving Pikachu:
Head over to Solis' Instagram page to see more from the #UnpopularCultureSeries. We can't guarantee, though, that they won't reappear in your dreams tonight.