You'll never look at this Super Mario character the same way again

Toad from the Super Mario series
(Image credit: Nintendo)

We've seen some pretty horrifying things over the past couple of years, from design crimes to, well, pretty much everything in the news. But despite everything, this shocking revelation from the world of Super Mario is still haunting our nightmares.

It's one of the most pressing questions of our time: is Toad's head a hat, or is it just his head? The conundrum has led several illustrators to create their own Toad-themed concept art (naturally), and back in March 2020, Alex Solis gave us perhaps the most nightmarish example yet. Who cares if said head is a hat – what matters now is whether those eyes are... nostrils? If you've snapped up one of the best Nintendo Switch deals, you're probably very familiar with Toad. But prepare to question everything you thought you knew.

Toad without his hat on

Our eyes! (Image credit: Alex Solis on Instagram)

And there we have it. Not content with our own haunted dreams, we've decided to haunt yours too. Much like the world's most offensive logo, and the PlayStation logo viewed from behind, this is one you'll never be able to unsee. 

But there's good news! Solis' terrifying (and apparently sleep-deprived – or intoxicated – or both) version doesn't match up with Nintendo's explanation of everyone's favourite 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. We can all sleep easy now. 

The general reaction on Instagram matches our own ("YOU DID NOT HAVE TO DO THIS," one user comments). 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 well into 2022 and beyond. Fancy designing your own abominable creation? Check out today's best Adobe Creative Cloud deals below.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.