Birdo: Under the Bow



Birdo (known as "Catherine" in Japan) has had a slightly confusing history. When the pink creature first appeared in Doki Doki Panic and Super Mario Bros. 2, Birdo was described as a guy who "thinks he is a girl." This concept didn't seem to last outside of Japan, however, and for nearly twenty years Birdo was presented as simply being female—at least in America and Europe.

While a minor bit of dialogue in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga suggested that Birdo's status as female might be questionable ("This, uh...dame passed my audition perfectly"), it was the 2008 release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl that really brought the question back into the spotlight. A character trophy in Brawl stated that Birdo was "[a] pink creature of indeterminate gender that some say would rather be called Birdetta." However, many of Birdo's appearances after Brawl have used very neutral language in describing Birdo, as though a localization editor were intentionally avoiding the use of pronouns.

Bird watching

Here's an overview of Birdo's appearances.

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Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic - FDS, 1987

  • Birdo first appeared in Doki Doki Panic with the name 「キャサリン」 (Catherine).
  • Manual profile: 「自分をメスと思いこんで口からタマゴなどをはくヤツ。キャシーと呼ぶときげんがいい。」 (Translation: "He thinks he is a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He'd rather be called 'Cathy.'") The Japanese word used here for "thinks" is omoikomu, which roughly means "wrongly believes."
  • Birdo became part of the Mario universe when Doki Doki Panic was converted to Super Mario Bros. 2 for a U.S. release.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (U.S. version) - NES, 1988

  • Manual profile: "He thinks he is a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He'd rather be called 'birdetta.'"
  • Note: The names "Birdo" and "Ostro" were switched in the SMB2 manual and game ending. These errors were fixed in Super Mario Advance.

Super Mario USA - Famicom, 1992

  • The U.S. version of SMB2 came to Japan four years later, titled Super Mario USA.
  • From the "Catherine" enemy entry in the manual: 「自分を女の子だと思いこんでいて、口からタマゴなどをはくヤツ。キャシーと呼ぶときげんがいい。」 (Translation: "He thinks he is a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He'd rather be called 'Cathy.'")
  • For Super Mario USA's release on the Wii Virtual Console, Nintendo's Japanese site has a similar description: 「口からタマゴなどをはく。自分を女の子だと思いこんでいて、キャシーと呼ぶときげんがよくなる。」 ("He spits eggs from his mouth. He thinks he is a girl and would rather be called 'Cathy.'")

Wario's Woods - NES/SNES, 1994

  • The U.S. manual uses the Japanese name "Catherine" for Birdo, most likely due to lazy localization.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars - SNES, 1996

  • No reference to Birdo as being male or female.

BS Super Mario USA Power Challenge - SNES, 1996

  • The three voice actors who portrayed the pink, red, and green Birdos were a part of the transsexual cast of Shiroi Heya ("White Room"), a night club in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Shiroi Heya is also given special thanks in the game credits. As of February 2013, Shiroi Heya's website still lists Rika (red Birdo) and Madam Akemi (green Birdo) as cast members.

Mario Tennis - N64, 2000

  • U.S. manual: "Her speed lets her move around the court with ease."
  • Birdo has a female voice in all versions of Mario Tennis.

Super Mario Advance - GBA, 2001

  • Birdo has a female voice in all regional versions of this game, which is a remake of SMB2(USA).
  • SMA also introduces Robirdo, a giant robot version of Birdo that replaces Mouser in World 3-3.

Super Smash Bros. Melee - GCN, 2001

  • Part of the U.S. trophy description: "First seen in Super Mario Bros. 2, Birdo is known for shooting eggs and fireballs from her mouth."
  • Part of the Japanese trophy description: 「自分を女の子だと『思いこんど』おり、゛キャシー゛と呼ばれるとごきげんになる。」 (Rough translation: "Catherine 'erroneously' thinks he's a girl and likes to be called 'Cathy.'")

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour - GCN, 2003

  • In the U.S. manual, all the female characters have a pink dot behind them, including Birdo.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - GCN, 2003

  • Birdo's description on the Japanese website starts with 「ヨッシーの彼女に見えて実は彼氏!?」 (Rough translation: "[Catherine] appears to be Yoshi's girlfriend, but is actually his boyfriend!?")
  • U.S. manual: "Birdo's decked out in her favorite bow and ready to race!"

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga - GBA, 2003

  • Popple pauses before calling Birdo a dame: "This, uh...dame passed my audition perfectly, see? She's my all-new, bigger and better rookie, Birdo!"

Mario Superstar Baseball - GCN, 2005

  • U.S. game profile: "A dinosaur that spits eggs from her huge mouth. Birdo is very particular when it comes to fashion, though her reliance on the color pink is a bit limiting. Her bow and ring are her pride and joy. Birdo's mouth has massive suction that can even catch a ball by sucking it in."

Mario Party 7 - GCN, 2005

  • No reference to Birdo as being male or female.

Super Mario Strikers - GCN, 2005

  • The Spanish manual adds a small twist to her description: "Cuando tiene el balón y está atacando, Birdo siempre supone una seria amenaza. Si buscas un compañero capaz de meter goles, Birdo es tu hombre... bueno, o mujer." (Translation: "When in possession of the ball and on the attack, Birdo always poses a serious threat. If you're looking for a sidekick who can score goals, Birdo is your man... well, or woman.") The Spanish website uses the same description.
  • The U.S. manual and game make no explicit reference to Birdo as being either male or female.

Mario Hoops 3-on-3 - NDS, 2006

  • No reference to Birdo as being male or female.

Mario Strikers Charged - Wii, 2007

  • The official European web site says, "Birdo's shooting is also feared by most goalkeepers, as he can score at will. His Extreme Egg can beat any goalie, resulting in quick goals."
  • Game and manual: No reference to Birdo as being male or female.

Itadaki Street DS - NDS, 2007

  • Birdo's character profile in this Japan-only game says, 「自分のことを 女の子だと思っている 心はオトメなピンクのきょうりゅう。 クチから タマゴをはくのがとくぎ。 勝ち負けよりも たのしみたいので あまり高度なわざは つかわない。」 (Translation: "A pink dinosaur who's convinced he's a woman, and is a young maiden at heart. His specialty is shooting eggs from his mouth. He's more into enjoying himself than winning or losing, so he doesn't have any particularly highly-skilled moves."

Mario Party 8 - Wii, 2007

  • No reference to Birdo as being male or female.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Wii, 2008

  • U.S. Birdo trophy description: "A pink creature of indeterminate gender that some say would rather be called Birdetta. A big ribbon on its head is its most distinguishing feature. In Super Mario Bros. 2, you can return fire on Birdo by jumping on the eggs shot from its mouth. Be careful not to get psyched out by fake-egg fireballs!"
  • Japanese trophy description: 「自分を女の子と"思いこんで"いるピンく色の恐竜(?)。 "キャシー"と呼ばれるとご機嫌になる。大きく開いた口と、頭につけた赤いリボンがトレードマーク。 『スーパーマリオUSA』では、吐いて攻撃してくるタマゴにジャンプで乗ることができ、投げ返すことで攻撃できる。 たまに、タマゴではなく、たまに、タマゴではなく、火炎弾を吐くフェイントも使う。」 (Translation: "He's a pink dinosaur(?) who firmly believes he's a woman. He gets extremely happy when people call him 'Cathy.' His trademarks are his widely gaping open mouth and the red ribbon on his head. In 'Super Mario USA' you attack him by jumping on the eggs he shoots out of his mouth and throw them back at him. Although sometimes instead of an egg, he feints with a fireball.")

Mario Kart Wii - Wii, 2008

  • No reference to Birdo as being male or female.

Mario Super Sluggers - Wii, 2008

  • Manual: No reference to Birdo as being male or female.
  • [?]Game: No information available.

Captain Rainbow - Wii, 2008

  • As heard in the first trailer, Birdo has a male voice. One of the subtitles says Atashi wa Kyasarin ("I am Catherine") -- the pronoun atashi is primarily used by females.
  • Early on in the game, you find "proof" that Birdo is female, but the item is censored with a large question mark.

Fortune Street - Wii, 2011

  • [?]No information available.

Mario Party 9 - Wii, 2012

  • Birdo's constellation, named "Egg Thrower," has this description: "A constellation resembling a strange creature that launches eggs from her mouth. But how adorable is that ribbon?!"
Thanks: Sayunu (SSBM), The Chef (Mario Party 7), Gonçal (Super Mario Strikers), Wadldee (SSBB JP trophy), Matt W. (SSBB and Itadaki Street translations), Emilio L. (Mario Party 9)