Editorial: Villain Spotlight — Bowser

He is a-gonna clobba dat dere- wait, wrong villain.
Bowser in New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Lusipoids, for my final Villain Spotlight entry, it is…Kef-er, Bowser! Yes, that is right, Bowser! By popular demand, nobody wanted Kefka because that would have required me to play Final Fantasy VI along with everything else I have to do! Bowser is a Koopa, a turtle-like creature. He is the most powerful of the Koopas in the Mario franchise, with the ability to breathe fire, a back covered in spikes, and a foul temper. He is the bane of the existence of the Mushroom Kingdom’s good guys and a great deal of its bad guys. He is known for spending most of his time taunting Mario and kidnapping Peach. Theories abound as to why Bowser chooses to kidnap Peach over and over again. Some say that it is because he wants to marry her, others say that it is because he likes to mess with Mario, and still others say that he just wants some company. I believe that he does want to marry Peach. Bowser’s ultimate goal is usually conquest of the Mushroom Kingdom, and as a king of another land, if he marries the princess, he will also become king of Mushroom Kingdom. To that end, he would marry Peach against her will, and perhaps do other nefarious things as well.

Later in the series, he aspires even higher. Not content with the Mushroom Kingdom, Bowser harnesses the power of the stars in order to try to take over the entire universe. After he is defeated and the universe is recreated, Bowser decides that he should again attempt to take the Grand Stars to rule the universe. He sets up elaborate traps and swarms his minions on different worlds in different galaxies to slow Mario down and buy himself time to get more Grand Stars. He believes himself to be invincible and laughs when Mario comes to face him. He is very persistent as well. When he is defeated by Mario and the Grand Star is ejected from his body, he takes it back and begins fighting Mario all over again. However, after a long fight with Mario, the star is once again ejected from his body. He reaches out to it to avoid falling away, and in what I believe to be one of the most disturbing moments in a Mario game, he gives up. He sighs, drops his hands to his sides, and resigns himself to the abyss. Apparently even Bowser has limits on how much punishment he can take before he loses his will to fight.

It will eat you, THEN kill you!
Bowser and his son have a big, scary kart as well.

Bowser is arrogant. He firmly believes that he cannot be beaten at anything he attempts, even though he has failed in his endeavors countless times. No matter how many times he fails, he is too proud to ask others for help, instead relying on incompetent minions and once even manipulating his own youngest son into thinking Peach was his mother. He shuns and attacks Mario’s other antagonists in the series, Wario and Waluigi. It is implied that he relies on himself even for his gadgets. While Bowser’s Castle was probably constructed on the backs of Koopas and Goombas, Bowser constructs his airships, floating clown cars, cannons, and more gadgets and vehicles on his own. He shows great technological understanding, which he passes down to his son Bowser Jr., who creates an enormous mech in his father’s image in his first appearance in the series. Though Bowser is shown to be rather indifferent toward most of his sons the Koopalings, Bowser Jr. is his favorite son, and he shows a lot of love for little Junior. Junior helps Bowser with many of his kidnapping attempts and other plans, but the two are rarely seen in the same place at the same time. Bowser has one other major ally in the series: the dark wizard Kamek. Kamek obeys Bowser faithfully, using a magic wand to try to thwart Mario and to power up Bowser and his minions. He even saves Bowser from a gruesome, magma-related end in New Super Mario Bros. Wii by turning him into a Godzilla-sized monster. There are not many interactions between Bowser and Kamek in the series, so the way he treats Kamek is unknown.

Bowser is definitely an interesting villain, and undoubtedly evil. He may not be as evil as other villains in other series, but he is definitely evil. He is a medieval warlord bent on conquest by defiling an innocent young woman. He rules his people through fear and intimidation, and provides them with no incentives to fight for him other than allowing them to live, which would explain why his minions are so incompetent. In my opinion, Bowser would be a lot better off if he were to improve the living conditions within his own country before attempting a takeover of the Mushroom Kingdom. If he could bolster his country’s economy, he could outfit his soldiers with better equipment, train them better, and give them a good reason to fight for him. He could amass enough strength that Princess Peach would marry him willingly, if only to avoid the Mushroom Kingdom’s destruction. Mario would be forced to accept the union and offer fealty to Bowser. Unfortunately, Bowser is too short-sighted to recognize the benefits of strengthening his economy, and so he will continue to fail.


  1. Also, there’s that part where Peach is human-y, and Bowser is a giant spiky turtle.

  2. The best known video game villain of all time, I think. Long may he provide a foil for Mario.

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