This week we knew we wanted to talk about females in the Mario universe, but we couldn't decide on an angle. "Mario's Love Life"? Too scandalous. "Damsels in Distress"? Anti-feminist. It seems almost offensive to feature a gallery with such a generalized premise as female characters (as opposed to something as specific as Rare Koopa Kids and Underrated Mini-Bosses Golfing at E3). But then we realized, maybe the mere fact that there are hardly enough major female characters to populate a gallery substantiates the need for one. Women are criminally underrepresented in Mario games and in the industry at large, but today we'd like to call attention to some of the lovely ladies shining through an otherwise testosterone-fueled bachelor party.

Most female characters in Mario adventure games are ridiculously susceptible to kidnapping and all manner of perilous occasion. Today, though, let's look at them without the cliched rescue plot and inane stereotyping. Here's a gallery of females worth giving all of your lives for.
It's-a Mario World is a weekly feature in which the ubiquity of Nintendo's flagship character is celebrated: We'll incessantly ruminate about mustache wax, debate the curious whereabouts of the princess and covet the luminous power stars strewn about the galaxy. Check back here every Friday to find out what strange and wonderful thing has got us tipping our caps.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.