Uniqlo, a popular clothing brand based in Japan, is celebrating Super Mario's 35th anniversary with a line of Mario-themed T-shirts. There's a wide variety of styles available primarily for men and kids. Uniqlo is known for paying tribute to video games and anime through clothing that celebrates each series with style, but the Mario series is disappointingly bland compared to past game-related efforts.
You can peek at what's available for Mario's anniversary via Uniqlo's UK site. (The US iteration of Uniqlo doesn't seem to have the line-up posted yet.) There are undeniably some clever designs there—I dig the "Welcome to Warp Zone!" shirt, and may pick it up—but most of the designs aren't much more exciting than what you'd pick up off the rack at Walmart.
I'm a little let down. I admit I wear a lot of video game shirts, though there have been a lot of arguments back and forth about whether it's a juvenile thing to do. I don't know what to say about that; video game shirts just make me happy, and they seem to make other people happy, so I enjoy wearing them. That said, I at least try to be a video game shirt connoisseur, as ridiculous as that sounds. I like clever, well-designed shirts that are unique and maybe feature a visual joke that's not opaque to the average cashier I encounter in my day-to-day.
I'm also extremely picky about shirts with text on them. I allow a few words at most, large, bold, and easy to read. (The aforementioned "Welcome to Warp Zone!" is a great example: it's a term that's so ingrained in pop culture, you can practically understand the words without even having to read them.) That means Uniqlo's Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet shirt is out, as it literally contains the entire story of Mario's first journey through the Mushroom Kingdom. I admit I like the idea in general, but it works out poorly on a shirt—especially if you're a woman who doesn't want to give strangers a reason to stare at your chest for longer than necessary.
Uniqlo's lackluster Super Mario offerings are especially gaunt next to last year's excellent Pokemon line-up. There was some controversy over a stolen design, but otherwise the fan submissions are lively, colorful, and creative. Many of them pay clever tribute to the Pokemon series, like the pile of Ditto-faced Pokemon, the Pikachu ice cream pop, and the Gengar glaring up from its shirt's hem.
It's a shame Uniqlo didn't host another contest for the Super Mario Anniversary collection, because I believe fans would've delivered another cascade of epic shirts. Hopefully next time Uniqlo lets us put Mario on our bodies, it'll come up with better designs or let fans take the helm.
And if Mario shirts aren't your jam at all, here's another way to celebrate Mario's 35 years of adventuring: Strong rumors indicate remakes of Mario's 3D games are on the way to the Switch. That should fulfill you if you skip out on rubbing Mario against your torso.