Yoshi’s Island was released by Nintendo in 1995 and was pretty much immediately adored. You play as the titular Yoshis as they try to reunited Baby Mario and his kidnapped twin brother Baby Luigi. Yoshi’s Island seems to be a part of the Mushroom Kingdom, but it is unclear if the island can make its own laws or if the law of the Kingdom also rules here.

When I discussed Super Mario Bros. I stated that all the killing Mario did of Bowser’s minions was legal because the kidnapping of Princess Peach started a war. Mario was allowed to kill members of the opposing army because he was sort of in the army of the Mushroom Kingdom. In Yoshi’s Island we have another kidnapping, but this time it is little Baby Luigi. Like Liam Neeson in Taken, the Yoshis that live on the island decide to take the fight to the kidnappers.


Yoshi's Island
Yoshi ready to throw eggs at enemies

There are a few ways to look at the kidnapping. The first is that kidnapping is legal in the Mushroom Kingdom when it is not a member of the royal family. No Toads ever show up to try to stop the kidnappers. The only opposition the kidnappers face is the Yoshis on the island. Another option is that Yoshi’s Island is its own sovereign and Princess Peach and her Toads do not have jurisdiction there. It could be that the Yoshis are in charge and that is why the island is named after them. If this is the case then they could just be the police that are trying to stop the bad guys that did a crime. A third option is that kidnapping is still illegal, but no one called the police. The Yoshis just decided to take the law into their own hands. This last option makes the most sense to me. Kidnapping is still a crime; the problem is that the proper authorities have not been notified.


Now that the Yoshis are on a mission to reunite the baby twins they travel across their island and encounter many dangers along the way. The Yoshis are able to take enemies in the game into their mouth and turn them into eggs. They can then use the eggs to attack other enemies if they want. It seems like this shouldn’t be fully allowed. First of all, vigilante justice is not legal in America. Just because someone kidnaps someone does not mean that you can go after them and attack everything in your path. Don’t get me wrong, when a Yoshi is attacked by something he can use an equal amount of force to protect himself. When Yoshi is attacked we can start the self-defense analysis. But often times as a Yoshi, you will attack before your enemy is close to attacking you. Your eggs can reach quite a distance and are a valuable weapon. So either these attacks are allowed, or, like the kidnapping, there just is not a legal presence on the island and the Yoshis are just getting away with murder.


Yoshi's Island2
Purple Yoshi getting ready to jump

Another option is that this is all moot. Generally, the State has title to all wild animals, and they decide how the animals will be protected. They create hunting and fishing regulations and decide which animals are not considered game animals. But on Yoshi’s Island there does not seem to be a governing body. It is possible that what rules here is the unwritten law of the jungle. Animals are just interacting with other animals with the exception of the Magikoopa that kidnaps Baby Luigi. It is possible there is no law about what Yoshis, Boos, Flutters, and many more animals are allowed to do until they start interacting with humans or toads.


Yoshi’s Island gives us a different and interesting view of the Mushroom Kingdom. It seems that kidnapping is still a crime, but the actions after the kidnapping give us two options for how the rest of the legal system works. Either there are laws similar to ours and many crimes are still illegal, or it is also possible that when you are slighted in the Mushroom Kingdom you are allowed to do whatever you want to correct the ledger. It is also possible that all of this is just the actions of some well meaning animals that want to reunite lost twin brothers. That would make this whole discussion pointless, but you read it, so there’s that.


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