Few Nintendo characters are as obscure as Foreman Spike, the fellow from Wrecking Crew who hasn’t made another appearance in the sprawling multiverse of Mario crossovers in the past three-plus decades – but he’s returning at last on a very big stage, with a small role in the Super Mario Bros. movie. And shortly before the debut of said movie, Nintendo has announced that his Japanese name is going to be changing… to Foreman Spike.
— 任天堂株式会社 (@Nintendo) April 20, 2023
Why wasn’t it that before? Well it turns out his original name in Japanese was “Blackie,” which is a term obviously loaded with racial implications outside of Japan. Nintendo is a big multinational company now, so it makes sense that a) they would want to keep things as consistent between regions as possible and b) want to avoid anything that might be offensive. This isn’t even the only Nintendo character in this particular boat, as Blackie is also the JP name for the Pokémon Umbreon.
The tweet announcing the name change technically doesn’t explain explicitly why it’s happening, meaning the answer is up for speculation, but it’s not hard to guess why they’d want to change it. In the end, it’s an obscure character from a game almost 40 years old, so we can’t imagine it causing too many waves. The Super Mario Bros. Movie launches in Japan on April 28th.
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