In 2002, Nintendo released Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube. The game was set on the tropical Isle Delfino, where Mario and Princess Peach are planning to take a vacation, whilst accompanied by her steward Toadsworth and five unnamed Toads on the Toad Express.
Luigi is notably absent, but considering the release date and the to references to Professor Elvin Gadd, we can assume that Luigi is comfortably relaxing at his new and now un-haunted mansion.
Of course the vacation is halted whilst Mario must deal with Shadow Mario (Bowser Jr.) with the assistant of Professor Gadd’s artificial intelligence and multipurpose water pack F.L.U.D.D. (Flash Liquidiser Ultra Dousing Device), whilst collecting all 120 Shine Sprites.
Of course Mario is successful and in the end gets to enjoy his much deserved vacation.
Simple enough really.
However, perhaps we should look more towards the political state of the tropical Isle Delfino, as something is rather amiss.
“Welcome to the sun-drenched tropical paradise of Isle Delfino! We’re so pleased to welcome you to our beautiful home! Come enjoy a natural wonderland to which we’ve added the world’s finest resort facilities, a spectacular amusement park, and succulent seafood! This and more await you on Isle Delfino! Come relax and let us refresh your body and spirit.” – Unnamed Pianta
On the surface the tropical Isle Delfino looks like the perfect tourist destination as the above quote so states, it has “a spectacular amusement park” with “succulent seafood”, it is a self confessed “tropical paradise”.
However, once Mario arrives at the Delfino Airstrip he is promptly arrested by two Pianta police officers who accuse him of vandalising Isle Delfino with goo-like paint graffiti. This is despite the obvious fact that he has just arrived (he isn’t even on the mainland as the airstrip is located on a separate islet) and that this graffiti has been happening long before his arrival, as one can see Shadow Mario’s graffitiing during the islands introduction tourist video.
This is also foregoing the simple fact that Shadow Mario, the known criminal of these acts is for one both blue and transparent and openly wielding a magic paintbrush, whilst the loveable plumber is opaque, wears red clothes with blue overalls, is carrying a technologically advanced fire extinguisher (for the lack of a better summary) on his back and…Just Got There!
There was even several witnesses that could vouch that Mario only just arrived at the Delfino Airstrip.
Thus we can question the police corruption on the island already as they arrest an innocent man with no evidence, and the manner in which they seize him is akin to some secret police belonging to a totalitarian state. No questions, no evidence, just seizer. There is no transparency, accountability or oversight to this police force.
These two Pianta police officers take Mario to what is one of the worst examples of a trail/court case in video game history, this kangaroo court is a mockery of any legal system and solidifies the island nation’s systematic corruption as prosecutor states the sun has stopped shining due to the graffiti and since Mario looks like the criminal he is to blame.
That is not a fair case and rightfully so, Princess Peach tries to object, but the corrupt judge overrules her without even allowing her to argue her case. Mario literally is denied a defence, not counting the diplomatic insult the judge performs in his abrupt and rude manner to the Mushroom Kingdom’s reigning monarch who is a guest to the island nation.
There is no jury, no defence, no evidence. The Isle Delfino legal system is a horrific joke. A vile show for the masses of this oppressed authoritarian state.
Honestly, this“tropical paradise” is sounding more like a banana republic akin to Fulgencio Batista’s Cuba or Rafael Trujillo’s Dominican Republic.
So the innocent Mario is forced into servitude to the dictational government of the island, to effectively fix their failing nation’s problems, such as the graffiti, the missing 120 Shine Sprites and the vast infestation of aggressive wildlife and individuals, such as the: Pokeys, Bob-ombs, Piranha Plants, Chain Chomps, and Boos, etc.
So if the tropical Isle Delfino is a cruel and oppressive police state, why did Princess Peach organise a vacation there?
Was it out a sense of wilful ignorance like so many tourists who freely go to countries that exist under totalitarian rule, just for a break in the sun?
I do not think this is the case, Princess Peach had an ulterior motive. To suggest ignorance on her part regarding the island’s political situation would undermine her role as a fairly respected and competent absolute monarch and noted world leader. Yes her kingdom is invaded on a regular basis, usually by King Boswer of the Koopa Troop, but overall she appears to govern rather well.
So what is her motive then? Why did she wilfully choose to come to this pariah state?
Its simple…she came to conquer.
Princess Peach plans to take advantage of the political and economical instability of the island for her own ends. By utilising the guidable Mario as a unwitting pawn in her realpolitik Machiavellian scheme, Peach crafts Mario as a Mushroom Kingdom sent saviour whilst also obtaining enough political blackmail material to use on the Isle Delfino government, from their use of a secret police force and their illegal detainment of the Mushroom Kingdom delegation which included Mario and Peach herself. Giving herself great political leverage for any future negations with the island and also idolising herself among the island’s populace as a benevolent saviour.
Further, although Mario saves the people of Isle Delfino from Bowser Jr., the island nation is still suffering from the various after affects of this conflict, which has included the complete flooding of the island, volcanic eruption and the near devastation of their tourist based economy. The island no longer has the capability to maintain control over its populace or even support itself following this effective guerrilla insurgency.
Arguably, Isle Delfino can be considered a failed state, in that it has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of its sovereign government no longer function properly.
Thus the island is ripe for the taking.
Peach wisely doesn’t invade the island and risk international condemnation nor any bad publicity, rather she allows the island to fall to such a level of disfunction that she can quite easily place it under her rule as a either a puppet state or a protectorate. Peach has expanded the Mushroom Kingdom’s territory through no negative cost to herself or her principality.
She has annexed Isle Delfino into her growing empire, and no one is aware of this, she appears only as the wise and caring monarch, who offers a helping hand to the troubled and struggling nation.
Peach shows herself as a Machiavellian genius and an absolute monarch with great publicity, her imperialist colonial expansion far exceeds that of King Bowser’s repeated invasion attempts of the Mushroom Kingdom in terms of success.
Peach is arguable the greatest villain in the Super Mario Universe and no one is aware of this.
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