Bowser’s Bothersome Brood

What is there to say about Bowser’s offspring, the Koopalings, that hasn’t been said before? I could go on about their different portrayals in various media, but the Mario Wiki already covers that. If anyone really wants to discuss the birth order, whether Larry can speak, or whether Iggy or Ludwig is the inventor of the bunch, I’d be glad to do so, but it’s probably not necessary. There are still some questions about them, though. For instance, who is their mother? A response to a letter in the British version of Nintendo Power suggests the name Clawdia, but there is no canonical basis for this. (EDIT: The name actually isn’t mentioned in a magazine at all, but originated on a fansite.) For that matter, they don’t all necessarily have the same mother. If you accept the cartoons’ idea that Iggy and Lemmy are twins, then they would have the same mother, but this is never confirmed in the games. In fact, I get the impression that Iggy’s attack pattern is usually more similar to Larry’s than to Lemmy’s, if that counts for anything.

After their first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 3, the Koopalings showed up in a few more games, but they kind of took a hiatus for a while. Then, in Super Mario Sunshine, we were introduced to yet another child of Bowser’s, known simply as Bowser Jr.

He looked almost identical to his father, especially when we saw the original Bowser as a baby in Yoshi’s Island and other games.

From what I’ve seen on the Internet, I get the impression that Junior is down there with Waluigi in terms of popularity. I can’t really disagree, since he’s basically just a miniature version of his dad, rather than a character with a unique look like the other Koopa princes and princess. Speaking of which, if Bowser is a king, why would his son be “Bowser Jr.” instead of “Prince Bowser”? Well, maybe it’s a nickname. He’s not the first Junior of his generation, either, what with Morton Koopa, Jr. Obviously he bears this suffix to highlight his being named after Morton Downey Jr., but I think I’ve seen a fan explanation that Morton could have been Bowser’s own father’s name, which I kind of like.

For that matter, why is Ludwig the only one with “von” in his name, especially when he was obviously named after Ludwig VAN Beethoven?

Well, “van” and “von” do both mean “from,” but the latter is the German version. Although the composer was German, his paternal grandfather was Flemish, so he was a Van instead of a Von. I’ve also seen Bowser’s only daughter, Wendy, identified as having the last name “O’Koopa,” but she was actually named after Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics, whose middle name was Orlean.

What’s somewhat odd is that, up until the recent New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Bowser Jr. was never in any of the same games as his siblings. Also, with the exception of the very unpopular Mario Is Missing!, any game with the original Koopalings used all seven; they apparently weren’t allowed solo roles. Considering Junior’s more frequent appearances and even his role in NSMBW, King Koopa appears to favor him over his older children, possibly because of Junior’s greater resemblance to him. Sunshine has Bowser telling Junior that Princess Peach is his mother, but later reveals that this is a lie, hence avoiding the question as to how the two of them could possibly be genetically compatible. Junior’s real mother is never identified any more than that of the other seven, and the fact that he looks just like his father makes me wonder if he could be a clone. Regardless, I have to wonder if Junior’s being younger yet more favored by the reptilian patriarch leads to bad blood among the clan.

I grew up with the original Koopalings, and I hope they continue to appear in Mario games. I can see why the designers might not want to use them every time, though, as that limits the number of other bosses that can appear, and has the potential to get repetitive. In the original New Super Mario Bros., Junior is the boss of the towers, while a commanding version of one of the typical kinds of enemies is the final boss of each world. In NSMBW, each Koopaling is fought twice in each world. I would think a nice arrangement for a future game would be to have one Koopaling AND one other boss in each world, but I have a tendency to want to throw in everything including the kitchen sink. Actually, scratch that. The kitchen sink can be the boss of the fortress in World 3.

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21 Responses to Bowser’s Bothersome Brood

  1. vilajunkie says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but the Mario games seem to be getting way too many characters for the designers to handle, much like what happened with the Oz books. I’m sure someday there will be a Mario MMORPG (a M3ORPG, if you will) in which Nintendo can get away with including every character ever created so far–plus new ones–to please the fans of each character, however minor. However, that means they’d have to make Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach (if you count them as the only playable characters that are necessary as playable characters) non-playable characters, which goes against the formula and would possibly incite some fans to cry They Changed It, Now It Sucks.

    • Nathan says:

      There are a lot of characters by now, but I think most of them are so sketchily defined that they can be used in a lot of different situations. Not to mention that the RPGs in the series tend to introduce a lot of new characters who are only mentioned sparingly if at all in later games.

      • vilajunkie says:

        If the inclusion of Rosalina and the Lumas in Mario Kart Wii is anything to go by, then the characters of Super Mario Galaxy are canonical and will be used again. I definitely expect to see Petey Piranha back since he’s a Japanese favorite. I don’t mind him too much, but I hope Bass Boss goes away forever in the action-style games, since he’s invincible and more frustrating than any other obstacle in the games. Heck, at least Bowser can be defeated in the games!

      • Nathan says:

        Petey Piranha has already made several appearances, and I don’t expect him to stop showing up anytime soon. I’m not quite sure why the designers like him so much, but the idea of a walking Piranha Plant as a regular character is pretty cool.

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