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In the Super Mario Odyssey video game, early on in the play time Mario is able to "capture" a frog with his new companion Cappy. This game mechanic works on various creatures throughout the game by simply throwing Cappy onto the creature which enables Mario (and the player) to gain the creatures' abilities.

After the first capture of the aforementioned frog a cut scene takes place. During this scene Mario is transported through what seems to be a liquid (we see air bubbles) but also seems to be some sort of space-time portal. Mario is seen to be aware of this travel aspect and is shown as a full body. Mario then wakes up and open his eyes as the frog.

Is there any explanation on to what "in-universe" is happening? Is Mario's whole body being transported into the creatures brain, is it a "mind meld", is there some form of transfiguration?

I'm ideally looking for something released from Nintendo, possibly a walkthrough manual or companion book/comic.

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    For some reasons, it reminds me of the Kong animated series in which the protagonist could merge his mind with the big monkey or the other way around, which also made his body disappear
    – Clockwork
    Sep 15, 2023 at 17:57
  • 2
    No help in the manual. It just says that Cappy helps you to capture them; i.stack.imgur.com/cqu1u.png
    – Valorum
    Sep 24, 2023 at 12:29
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    @Valorum Actually, that second image you linked from the Art book is super useful... I've gone on with a self-answer.
    – Skooba
    Sep 26, 2023 at 15:38

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According to the Prima Official Starter Guide - Super Mario Odyssey the "capture" is made possible through "ghostly Cap Kingdom magic"...

Page pull of starter guide with full text quoted below

Cappy the Bonneter

The biggest addition sits atop Mario’s head—his new friend Cappy replaces his trusty old red plumber’s cap, helping him out in many ways. Mario’s travel partner is on an adventure of his own, roused from Bonneton to track down his sister Tiara, who just happens to have been dragged into Bowser’s clutches on the same misadventure as Peach. Cappy the cap can do it all. He slices and dices with throw attacks, and he can become a hovering trampoline for Mario on the ground or in midair. Most startlingly, he allows Mario to “capture” certain other creatures, temporarily inhabiting their bodies through ghostly Cap Kingdom magic, giving Mario all kinds of unique and useful abilities

This magic allows Mario to become the creature himself by having his whole body sucked in, as described in The Art of Super Mario Odyssey

Page pull from art book with full text transcribed below

Mario's First Capture

Here's our first look at Cappy's forte, the capture technique. Landing on an object lets him take over and control it. He Captures a frog to utilize its jumping prowess and help Mario ascend the Top-Hat Tower.

Mario gets sucked into the frog's body when Cappy lands on its head. Next thing he knows, he's a frog himself!

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