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Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Remake Restores A Party Member's Trans Identity

Vivian’s transgender identity was taken out of the English localization on the GameCube

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Mario holds a trans pride flag.
Image: Nintendo / Kotaku

The Switch remake of Nintendo’s classic 2004 role-playing game Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is out this week, and according to the reviews, it’s a banger. But that’s not too surprising, given that the GameCube original was always the best Paper Mario game. What is surprising is finding out the remake undoes one of the noteworthy localization changes from the original that erased a character’s transgender identity.

Vivian is a villain-turned-party-member in The Thousand-Year Door. When Mario first meets the witch, she’s a member of the antagonistic Shadow Sirens group alongside her sisters Beldam and Marilyn. It’s clear she doesn’t get along with her sisters and that they bully her, but the specifics of how and why were slightly different in the English and German localizations on the GameCube than they were in the original Japanese version.


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In that version, Vivian was often referred to with male pronouns as an insult, despite her asserting that the Shadow Sirens were made up of three sisters. The group’s introduction in Japanese and several other localizations had Vivian introduce the group as sisters, which led to her sisters insulting her and referring to her as a man. The English localization, however, rewrote the scene to make her misstate the group’s name as the “Shadow Beauties,” which prompted angry, but non-gendered insults regarding her appearance from her sisters.


In the Switch remake, Vivian explicitly discusses her gender identity and her sisters’ transphobia with Mario. She says she realized she “was their sister...not their brother,” and that her sisters’ bullying has gotten worse since. The constant berating from her sisters is what prompts Vivian to join Mario’s party, and now new and old players can see the original context in 2024.


Nintendo Life’s video review has the full exchange at about the five-minute mark. Vivian’s story only takes up a few scenes, but now you get the satisfaction of taking down transphobic assholes on the Switch.

Nintendo Life / Nintendo

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door remake comes to Switch on Thursday, May 23.