Was Peach's third letter in SMB3 really about the white fall-thru platforms?



  • In the original Super Mario Bros 3 game, the third Peach's letter reads:

    Greetings, The White Block contains magic powers that will enable you to defeat your enemies. I have enclosed a jewel that helps protect you. Princess Toadstool.

    Most players assume this to be a reference to the https://www.mariowiki.com/Semisolid_Platform#Super_Mario_Bros._3 that allow the player to drop behind the scenery when the down/crouch button is kept pressed for a few seconds. https://gaming.stackexchange.com/a/230964/263019 even goes as far as claiming that the mail is an hint for finding the hidden whistle hidden behind the scenery at the end of level 1-3.

    Yet, apparently the original Japanese message reads:

    しろいぶろっくは てきを けちらす まほうの ちからが あるそうよ

    which based on multiple source and comments on this question roughly translate to

    "White blocks" seems to have a magical power to kick/rout enemies

    While both version do indeed mentions that the block can be used to "defeat/kick enemies" the translated Japanese version specifically looks like it would fit the "white block" that Buster Beetles throw at Mario in some levels and can also be used in the same way by the player. Because of that it would seem that it makes more sense for the letter to be about those throwable blocks instead since the fall-thru platform can't really be used to "defeat your enemies" like Peach suggests in her letter.

    game screenshot

    ... Yet again the Mario Wiki seem to imply that those blocks https://www.mariowiki.com/Ice_Block#Super_Mario_Bros._3 , never calling them anything close to "White Blocks". And at the same time the old Nes Game Atlas (should be official) does indeed use the name "White Block" for the white fall-thru platforms.

    Drop down behind the background by kneeling on the White Block for five seconds. If you can make it down the next pipe while you're still in the background, you'll become invisible!

    So... can anyone with a better understanding of Japanese find any confirmation about the original meaning of the message? Is this just another misstranlation that by pure chance ended up to fit another, actual gimmick in the game or was the message really about the white fall-thru platforms?



  • I think both the English and Japanese are referring to the blocks that you can kick at enemies. The English seems to be a fairly literal translation - the Japanese used literally means kick around, scatter (imagine kicking through a pile of leaves and scattering them everywhere), but metaphorically has the sense of overwhelming an enemy by force, according to https://www.weblio.jp/content/%E8%B9%B4%E6%95%A3%E3%82%89%E3%81%99 .

    足でもって蹴り、その場にあったものを見出し、周囲に散らすさま。蹴って散り散りにするさま。圧倒的な力で撃退するさまなども意味する。

    The state of kicking with one's feet, finding what was there, and scattering it around. The act of kicking and scattering. It also means to repel with overwhelming force. (DeepL Translation)

    So the English text is basically saying what the Japanese does - White Blocks contain a magic power that lets them defeat enemies.

    The game manual never mentions these white blocks by name, but does make a point of saying that "(There are several other types of blocks too!)". They are however referred to as Ice Blocks in the Nintendo Power strategy guide, and even drawn as such:

    enter image description here

    Despite this, most Japanese websites (including https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%B9%E3%83%BC%E3%83%91%E3%83%BC%E3%83%9E%E3%83%AA%E3%82%AA%E3%83%96%E3%83%A9%E3%82%B6%E3%83%BC%E3%82%BA3#%E5%9C%B0%E5%BD%A2%E6%A7%8B%E6%88%90%E8%A6%81%E7%B4%A0 ) refer to these kickable blocks as "White Blocks", the same term Peach uses in her letter.

    白ブロック
    白いレンガブロックで、甲羅と同様、持ち運び可能。持って一定時間が経過すると消える。投げて敵にぶつけて倒すことができるが、壁や土管などに当たると甲羅のように跳ね返らず砕けて消滅する。これを武器にするメットもいる。

    White block
    It is a white brick block and, like the shell, is portable. It disappears after a certain amount of time has passed. It can be thrown at an enemy to knock it down, but if it hits a wall or an earthen pipe, it will not bounce back like the shell, but will shatter and disappear. Some Buzzy Beetles use it as a weapon. (DeepL Translation)

    I've also found several Japanese sites https://cour89.com/mario3/tips/letters.php that expound upon the letter, and confirm they believe it's talking about the white kickable blocks:

    WORLD 2 の手紙
    白いブロックとは、WORLD 3 以降に登場する、青白く光るレンガブロックのこと。これを持って投げると敵を倒せるということです。魔法の力がこもっていたんですね。

    Letter from WORLD 2
    White blocks are the blue-white glowing brick blocks that appear in WORLD 3 and later. It means that if you hold it and throw it, you can defeat the enemy. So it was filled with magic power. (DeepL Translation)


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