Bowser facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsBowser
3D character artwork
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
|Designed by||Shigeru Miyamoto
|Portrayed by||Christopher Collins/Patrick Pinney (King Koopa's Kool Kartoons)
Christopher Hewett (Mario Ice Capades)
Dennis Hopper (Super Mario Bros.)
|Title||King of the Koopas|
|Children||Bowser Jr. (son)|
Bowser (クッパ, Kuppa, "Koopa") or King Koopa, is a fictional character and the main antagonist in Nintendo's Mario franchise. In Japan, the character bears the title of Daimaō (大魔王, "Great Demon King"). Depicted as the arch-nemesis of the portly plumber Mario, Bowser is the leader of the turtle-like Koopa race. His ultimate goals are to kidnap Princess Peach and conquer the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser's defining traits are his monstrous appearance with dragon-like elements, full-throated roar, fire-breathing abilities, and tyrannical personality.
Bowser initially appears as Mario's opponent in the 1985 video game Super Mario Bros. He was originally envisioned as an ox based on the Ox-King from the Toei Animation film Alakazam the Great, but Nintendo Designer Takashi Tezuka remarked that the character looked a lot more like a turtle than an ox, and the two collaborated to define Bowser's appearance, leading to the character becoming the leader of the turtle-like Koopas.
Bowser's current voice actor is Kenneth W. James. His previous voice actors include Scott Burns, who gave Bowser his first spoken dialogue in a video game; Eric Newsome, who voiced him in Super Paper Mario; and Charles Martinet, who provided vocal effects for Bowser in Super Mario 64 and the Nintendo DS remake of the game.
After Super Mario Bros., Bowser also began to branch off to different genres. These include role-playing games such as Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi, and sports games such as Mario Kart and Mario Tennis. He has appeared in other Nintendo properties, such as in the Super Smash Bros. series of crossover fighting games. Bowser has also appeared in various animations, including three series produced by DIC Entertainment (all voiced by the late Harvey Atkin), and was portrayed by the late Dennis Hopper in the 1993 Super Mario Bros. film. He was voiced by Jack Black in the 2023 film adaptation.
Bowser has received a mostly positive reception, with several critics noting that he is one of the most iconic and most recognizable video game villains ever.
Concept and creation
Bowser was created by Nintendo designer and producer Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto had first envisioned Bowser as an ox, basing him on the Ox-King from the Toei Animation film Alakazam the Great. However, Nintendo designer Takashi Tezuka pointed out that the character looked a lot more like a turtle than an ox. Miyamoto and Tezuka then began to work together to define Bowser's appearance. Since the character was the leader of the turtle-like Koopa Troopas the two began to base his new appearance on them, creating a new illustration. In his final design, Miyamoto commented that he could make Bowser "look cool now".
Miyamoto named him 大 魔王 クッパ Daimaō Kuppa. Kuppa came from the Japanese name for 국밥, gukbap, a Korean dish. Miyamoto had also considered the names ユッケ Yukke and ビビンバ Bibinba, also Japanese names of Korean dishes (육회 yukhoe and 비빔밥 bibimbap respectively). For the later North American release of the game, which also introduced the anglicized spelling Koopa, the character was named "Bowser". The Korean name for the character Bowser/Kuppa is not Gukbap, but 쿠파 Kupa, which is essentially a phonetic round-trip translation. The name was anglicized to Kuppa rather than Koopa in the Japanese versions up until the release of Super Mario World.
Bowser was once imagined as an upright Koopa Troopa with spines on his back and fangs, according to the oldest known design. During the development of Super Mario Bros., Miyamoto contemplated commissioning the game's art to a manga artist or illustrator. However, due to a lack of time, he created the game's original box art himself. Bowser is depicted in this artwork in a way that differs from later renditions, with the most noticeable differences being his gray-blue complexion and lack of horns. Miyamoto received inspiration for the character's appearance from an anime film version of the Chinese novel Journey to the West, which was renamed Alakazam the Great during the film's Ameri period. Yōichi Kotabe based Bowser's final design on the Chinese softshell turtle, which he recognized to be a highly aggressive kind of turtle, reflecting Bowser's short temper.
Bowser is portrayed as the "King of the Koopas", anthropomorphic turtles that inhabit the world of the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser differs greatly from the rest of the Koopa clan, which consists mainly of bipedal tortoises. He is characterized by a large, spiked turtle shell, horns, a draconic muzzle with fangs, taloned fingers, three clawed toes on each foot, red eyes and a shock of red hair. He is physically endowed with immense strength, is nearly indestructible, can breathe fire, and can jump very high for his large size. He is accomplished in black magic, thanks to which, depending on the game, he can teleport himself, summon objects, fly, generate a huge amount of electricity, use telekinesis, or metamorphose.
Bowser's physical size tends to vary from game to game. In most games, he towers over the majority of characters, but there are exceptions. In Super Mario RPG, he stands only slightly taller than Mario. He is shown changing his size at will or through others' sorcery in games including Yoshi's Island, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Bowser aspires to take over the Mushroom Kingdom and merge it with his own realm. He is infatuated with Princess Peach, and routinely kidnaps her as part of his plans for domination. Sometimes, he kidnaps Peach simply to lure Mario into a trap, but occasionally he hopes to marry her, such as in Super Mario Odyssey. The character's role in the franchise varies. He is typically the central antagonist in the main series, but in the RPG series, he sometimes works with the heroes to defeat a greater evil. His personality is generally menacing and sinister, but he sometimes displays a more comical side as a blustering, buffoonish bully with some emotional vulnerability. He also cares for his minions.
Bowser has a son, Bowser Jr., who helps his father kidnap Princess Peach. Bowser Jr.'s mother is unknown, as Bowser isn't yet officially confirmed as having a previous marriage. Originally in Super Mario Bros. 3, Bowser was stated to be the father of the Koopalings with subsequent official sources adding that he was their biological father, but since their return in New Super Mario Bros. Wii they have been referred to as Bowser's minions. In a 2012 interview, Shigeru Miyamoto stated, "Our current story is that the seven Koopalings are not Bowser's children. Bowser's only child is Bowser Jr., and we do not know who the mother is."
Bowser makes his debut appearance in the video game Super Mario Bros.. He then appeared through all Super Mario games (with the exception of games such as Super Mario Land), as well as the Paper Mario series, the Yoshi series and the Mario & Luigi series.
Other Mario games
Bowser has appeared in nearly all of the Mario spin-off games, including in Mario Kart series, and every Mario Party game to date. Bowser has made appearances in multiple Mario sports games, such as Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Super Mario Strikers, and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.
He appeared in Mario's Time Machine, Hotel Mario, and Mario Pinball Land. Bowser also appears as a playable character in the game Itadaki Street DS. Bowser is also a Dark attribute character who appears as the main opponent in Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition.
Bowser also appears in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. In Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Bowser makes a cameo. He also reappears in the sequel Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.
In other media
Outside of Super Mario series, Bowser has appeared as a playable character in every installment of the Super Smash Bros. series since 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee. Bowser can be found in Tetris Attack, a game inspired by the Japanese Panel de Pon. All of the original cast members are replaced, with the exception of Mr. Time, with characters from the Mario and Yoshi series, with Bowser taking on the role of Corderia as the game's final boss. Under the name Hammer Slam Bowser, Bowser debuts as a playable character in Skylanders: SuperChargers. He appears alongside Donkey Kong and comes with a Skylanders: Skylanders unique figurine. Bowser also appears as a playable character in Dr. Mario World under the name Dr. Bowser.
The late Dennis Hopper portrayed King Koopa in the 1993 live-action film Super Mario Bros. In the film, Koopa is the usurper ruler of Dinohattan, a city in a parallel universe in which humans evolved directly from dinosaurs. He abducts Princess Daisy but is eventually defeated by Mario and Luigi. This incarnation is almost entirely human in appearance, with blonde hair he gels in a crown-like shape, and he frequently wears a black business suit and necktie. However, after brief exposure to his own evolution-reversing technology by the Mario Bros., he starts occasionally possessing some reptilian traits. The climax of the film sees Koopa devolve into an enormous green Tyrannosaurus rex to battle the Mario Bros., who further devolve him into primordial ooze.
Bowser is one of the gaming villains attending a "Bad-Anon" support group in the 2012 animated film Wreck-It Ralph. The writers had early on envisioned the Bad-anon meeting with Bowser as a major character within the scene; according to film director Rich Moore, Nintendo was very positive towards this use, stating in Moore's own words, "If there is a group that is dedicated to helping the bad guy characters in video games then Bowser must be in that group!"
Bowser was voiced by Jack Black in the 2023 film adaptation. In the film, Bowser successfully captures the Super Star from the Penguin Kingdom and plots to destroy the Mushroom Kingdom unless Princess Peach agrees to marry him. His plans are ultimately foiled by Mario and Luigi, who retrieve the Super Star from Bowser, and defeat him in a final battle taking place in Brooklyn. Bowser is then shrunk with a Mini Mushroom and imprisoned in a bottle. In a mid-credit scene, Bowser is singing his song from earlier in the film, but he is scolded by a guard. This has also made Bowser a subject for an internet meme with his song "Peaches".
He appeared in Nintendo gamebooks. Bowser appears as the primary antagonist in Nintendo Power's comic series Super Mario Adventures. Bowser reappears in the Mario comics of Valiant Comics' Nintendo Comics System as the principal antagonist of the Mushroom Kingdom.
In Spanish: Bowser para niños
Bowser Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.