Hello everyone and welcome back to Spooptober! We’re all psyched to be bringing it back for Halloween this year since, frankly, it’s a perfect year for it. There’s been plenty of truly scary stuff in 2022 already, so why not take some time to focus on our favorite spooks who turned out to not be so bad after all. So to start things off, let’s take a look back at Unagi the Eel from Super Mario 64!
First off, yes, the eel from Jolly Roger Bay does indeed have a name: Unagi the Eel! It sounds cool at first, but it’s actually kind of funny since “unagi” is just “eel” in Japanese. So it’s actually Eel the eel. At least it’s better than “that big, scary, red eel,” right? Actually, it’s a lot better since Unagi isn’t actually as scary as he first appears.
Those who didn’t play Super Mario 64 until they were already adults might not get this, but encountering Unagi for the first time as a kid was actually kind of terrifying. First, he’s menacingly occupying the porthole we need to swim through in order to enter the ship. Then later he’s doing the same in his own little cave. The first time, he’s just a big, ominous presence, and the second time he’s practically a jump-scare!
It’s not until you get close to his den that he decides to come out and play, and he always manages to rush towards the camera as he exits. I absolutely hated this mission as a kid because of how Unagi pops out of his tunnel, and I hated it even more because I could never catch him without bouncing off his tail and losing a bunch of health! He was my Mario 64 nemesis! More so than even Bowser himself!
However, after running through the game several times, Unagi lost his intimidating presence. I’m sure part of the reason why is that I got so used to the game, and I certain another part was that I grew up. I think the biggest reason why he stopped being scary though is that I noticed his behavior. See, Unagi isn’t an enemy. He doesn’t chase Mario or make any attempt to stop his progress. He really is just a big fish chilling in his home.
Both the ship and the tunnel make for good burrows, and the deep is nice big place to swim around in. That’s all he does: chill and swim and chill some more. The developers even went so far as to have Unagi behave somewhat like real Moray Eels in their dens. They just chill until it’s time to grab some dinner too.
Unagi, you’re not so bad after all. You’re just a big ol’ eel hanging out in his favorite spots. You keep on doing you, dude! I look forward to hanging with you again next time I’m back in Super Mario 64! As for you all, stay turned for more Spooptober fun!
How did you first react to Ungai the Eel? Have your feelings changed at all? Are there any other not-so-spooke characters you can think of?
Image by the Duck of Indeed