Bowser

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Not to be confused with Bowyer.
This article is about King Bowser Koopa, the main antagonist of the Super Mario franchise. For the character that represents Bowser in the Super Mario Bros. film, see President Koopa. For Bowser as a baby, see Baby Bowser. For the president of Nintendo of America, see Doug Bowser.
"King Koopa" redirects here. For information about the kart from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! with a similar name, see Koopa King.
"Lord Bowser" redirects here. For information about the sponsor and team of the same name, see Lord Bowser (team).
Bowser
Artwork of Bowser from Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Artwork of Bowser from Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Full name King Bowser Koopa[1]
Species Koopa
First appearance Super Mario Bros. (1985)
Latest appearance Super Mario RPG (Nintendo Switch) (2023)
Latest portrayal Kenneth W. James (2005, 2007–present)
“Hear this! I will kidnap Peach OVER and OVER until I pull it off! And no one can stop me! Losing is not an option! And neither is giving up!”
Bowser, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

Bowser, sometimes known as King Koopa or King Bowser, is the main antagonist of the Super Mario franchise. He is a large, powerful, fire-breathing Koopa who leads a large army of minions, and has been the arch-nemesis of Mario since his debut in Super Mario Bros. He has repeatedly kidnapped or attempted to kidnap Princess Peach with the ultimate goal of defeating Mario and taking over the Mushroom Kingdom and the world.

Creation

Very early concept artwork for Bowser.
Earliest known concept artwork for "Boss Creeper"
Bowser with captured Princess Toadstool, as they were originally depicted. A Koopa Paratroopa and two mushroom retainers are also seen.
Bowser as drawn by Shigeru Miyamoto for the box art of Super Mario Bros.

Bowser was created by Shigeru Miyamoto as the villain of Super Mario Bros. In concept art, he tentatively had the name 「ボス クリーパー」 (Bosu Kurīpā, Boss Creeper), based on Shellcreeper.[2] Miyamoto stated that they considered naming him either kuppa (국밥) (soup with rice), yukke (육회) (raw meat marinated with raw egg), or bibinba (비빔밥) (mixed rice), which are all Korean dishes as they are known in Japanese. In the end, "Kuppa" was chosen.[3] Miyamoto mistakenly thought kuppa was grilled meat, or bulgogi (불고기), and that made it sound powerful and cool, but later learned that it was a rice soup.[4] For the later North American release of the game, which also introduced the anglicized spelling Koopa, the character was named "Bowser".

The earliest known design for what would become Bowser depicted him as resembling an upright Koopa Troopa with spines on his back, and fangs.[5] During the development of Super Mario Bros., Miyamoto considered asking a manga artist or illustrator to do the art for the game. However, time was running short, so he drew the game's original box art himself. This artwork included a depiction of Bowser that is significantly different than later designs, the most obvious anomalies being his gray-blue skin and lack of horns. For the character's appearance, Miyamoto drew inspiration from an anime film adaptation of the Chinese novel Journey to the West, renamed Alakazam the Great during the film's American localization. He liked the film's main antagonist Gyū-Maō (lit. "Ox Demon King," King Gruesome in the dub), so he loosely based Bowser on an ox as a homage.[6]

Yoichi Kotabe, an animation artist, later joined Nintendo and was asked to do new illustrations for the Super Mario franchise. His only reference was the package illustration for Super Mario Bros., so Kotabe asked Miyamoto many questions on how to draw the characters. However, designing Bowser caused problems, since Miyamoto had not drawn him often. He brought up that he liked the Ox King from the film, and this was how he imagined Bowser, but Kotabe thought Bowser's original design looked like a hippo[7] and Nintendo designer Takashi Tezuka pointed out that Bowser should be a turtle. Through their discussions, Bowser's appearance gradually came together. Since he was in the same turtle family as the Koopa Troopas, they partly based Bowser's new appearance on them. Finally, the new design was created, and Miyamoto congratulated himself by saying "Wow, I can really make Bowser look cool now!"[6]

For Bowser's finalized design, Yoichi Kotabe took inspiration from the Chinese softshell turtle, which he knew to be a particularly aggressive species of turtles, fitting of Bowser's fearsome nature.[7]

History

Main article: History of Bowser

As he is the main antagonist of the franchise, Bowser's appearances spans decades of Super Mario-related media, including television series and publications. Chronologically, his first appearance is in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island as a baby, where his caretaker, Kamek, kidnaps the infant Luigi, along with his bringer. This baby version of Bowser has encountered his older self in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and Yoshi's Island DS. In his major appearances, he frequently kidnaps Princess Peach, and in a few instances even forces her to marry him. However, in the sports and racing games, he is usually a playable character along with the Super Mario allies. He has also played a part in the Mario Party series as a host of the Bowser Spaces, in an antagonistic role.

General information

Personality

Artwork of Bowser, from Mario Party: Island Tour.
Bowser's most visible trait is his aggressive, imposing nature.

Bowser in most portrayals is a persistent, threatening, and commanding villain who kidnaps Princess Peach, desires to defeat Mario and his friends, and runs an army to invade and take over the Mushroom Kingdom. In most games, he also revels in causing disorder and intimidating his enemies, such as in Mario Party and in various sports games. His portrayals in the RPGs range from starring villain to a minor comic relief villain who gets sidelined by the starring villain to a playable anti-hero.

Bowser is arrogant and selfish, being boastful when he is successful and focuses only on self-preservation when he fails. In Super Mario Galaxy, his only regret is his failure to create his own realm, and in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, he is dismayed at having to damage his own captured castle while he trying to reclaim it from Fawful. In Mario Party 4, Bowser grudgingly giving the player a present and wishing them a happy birthday as he leaves in shame, moving one of the Koopa Kids to wonder if there might be more to Bowser than he leads others to believe, as Bowser claimed to be somewhat happy. In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, he resents having to ask nicely for help from Starlow. Though he believes himself superior, Bowser can be acknowledging of his foes for their tenacity against him in fierce battles or competitive events, even engaging in casual banter. In Super Mario Odyssey, along with planning his forced wedding with Peach extensively, he even comments on Mario's costume before their final battle, prompting anything from a humorously scared response to a genuine compliment on his dress sense depending on the clothing before noting that Mario was not invited regardless.

Despite Bowser's role as an intimidating authority figure in the Koopa Troop, he can be quite amiable sometimes, especially to Bowser Jr., where he is depicted as a loving father figure. His harsh and raging demeanor sometimes softens somewhat towards his loyal minions, with his constellation in Mario Party 9 stating he is considerate of their well-being. He shows genuine affection and pride for his son and can be protective of him when Mario defeats him in battle. In games like Mario Tennis and Super Mario Party, he crashes the events but only for friendly competitions to let him and his minions participate.

While Bowser is regarded as a respected leader from his troops and as a feared invader from his enemies, Bowser's usual brashness and short-temper can often lead him to not think his actions through or be willing to compromise, such as in Bowser's Inside Story when he flies into a rage upon discovering that Mario and Luigi had been aiding him inside his body the entire time (believing they were partying around inside him) and attacks them mere moments after the three of them had saved the world.

For all his pleasure in villainy, Bowser sometimes remarks there are lines he would not cross. He appears to be as horrified as the rest of the party when witnessing the Sammer's Kingdom's destruction by the Void (deeming such an evil act as "overkill"), and when King Olly revealed his endgame to be wishing eradication of all Toads, Bowser vehemently called such a plan mad and made clear that, while he has done his fair share of evil, even he would never attempt to outright exterminate the Toads.

In Japanese material from Super Mario RPG onward, such as Super Mario 64 and his message in Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge in Super Nintendo World, Bowser refers to himself using the honorific "wagahai" (ワガハイ), which is used to indicate self-importance.

Physical appearance

Bowser with captured Princess Toadstool, as they were originally depicted. A Koopa Paratroopa and two mushroom retainers are also seen.Early artwork of Bowser for Super Mario Bros. 3.Artwork of Bowser from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost LevelsBowser artwork02.png
The two main color patterns during the development of Bowser's design. Top: Bowser with yellow hair, black eyebrows in Super Mario Bros. (left) and Super Mario Bros. 3 (right); bottom: Bowser with red hair and eyebrows in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (left) and Encyclopedia Super Mario Bros. (right).

Bowser is a huge, burly, green-shelled Koopa with spikes, horns, and hair. His bushy eyebrows and mane are fittingly a bright, fiery red-orange and has bright red eyes. He sports two small horns, many spikes on his shell (similar to a Spiny) with brown-orange spike-rings, as well as along his tail (minus the spike-rings). He wears several spiked collars around his neck and arms. His neck collar in some games such as Mario Kart Tour is also implied to be part of his shell. He has three claws on each of his massive padded feet, four claw-tipped fingers including a thumb on each hand, and his arms are noticeably burly, indicating his vast physical strength. While his face and his shell are green, his plastron and muzzle are beige colored (occasionally depicted as being closer to tan or even yellow), and his tail and limbs are an orange-tinged yellow. In his artwork for Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit and the Paper Mario games, his limbs and tail are bright orange. The exact coloration of Bowser's head varies depending on the media: while official 2D artwork and most of his in-game appearances have his head and shell match in color, the majority of the official 3D artwork, trailers, merchandise as well as Mario & Luigi games show him with a light green head, similar to Bowser Jr.'s appearance. In his various appearances, his red/orange hair is depicted in a loose cockscomb, the only exception to this being in Super Mario Odyssey, where he instead has his hair groomed in a perm-like fashion for the wedding until he is defeated for the second time. Super Mario World reveals that his eyes present the tapetum lucidum, as eyeshine can be seen when he is in the dark flying around the Valley of Bowser (excluding the occasional thunderclap briefly showing him in silhouette); this trait is also applied to his baby self in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, as seen when he is shown in the darkness before beating up Kamek and then confronting Yoshi and Baby Mario. According to Koopa Capers, Bowser has 264 teeth.[8]

According to Prima's Super Mario Galaxy guide, the appearance of Bowser and the Koopas are also based on kappa of Japanese mythology, although this has not been officially stated by Shigeru Miyamoto.[9]

Bowser's appearance has evolved over time. In the box artwork for Super Mario Bros. he has an appearance similar to that of an ox in homage to Journey to the West antagonist Gyū-Maō ("Ox Demon King"), with bluish face and scales, yellow hair and black eyebrows, as well as a less reptilian face. With the contribution of Yoichi Kotabe, Bowser is redesigned between the release of Super Mario Bros. and the release of the Famicom version of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. During this redesign he is given blue eyes, as well as red hair and red eyebrows. Despite that, some artwork for Super Mario Bros. 3, while featuring Bowser's redesigned appearance as well as the blue eyes, retains the yellow hair and black eyebrows while also showing him wearing a cape. His eyes are changed to red again in Super Mario World. The brown rings around the spikes and horns are first seen in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and are seen again in Super Mario 64, though in the latter game the horns and spikes are yellow. In Super Mario Sunshine, Bowser's appearance is very similar to the current appearance, with a few minor inconsistencies, such as his plastron traveling all the way up his neck.

Bowser's appearance does not always follow the design of the time, and the same illustrations were often modified when used in subsequently released material. Two illustrations made by Yoichi Kotabe[10] were slightly modified and colored with different colors. The first image is used in the manual of Super Mario Bros. 3, with Bowser having red hair and eyebrows and closed eyes, but also in the Super Mario Bros. pinball machine, with him having blue eyes, and in Super Mario Bros. Mushroom World, with him having blue eyes and holding a wand. There is even a version of it in which he has red eyes. The second image is used in the promotional pamphlet of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, in which Bowser has yellow hair, yellow eyebrows and blue eyes, without rings around the spikes, and in other artwork related to that game, in which he has red eyes, hair and eyebrows, orange claws on the feet and with white rings around the spikes. Similarly, graphical limitations in the original Super Mario Bros. lead to Bowser not having hair. His in-game model in Super Mario 64 has feet which are not padded, although in artwork for that game, he has padded feet. Similarly, in Super Smash Bros. Melee, his feet are not padded, although in his Classic mode trophy he has padded feet. Furthermore, in the Paper Mario series and in artwork for the Mario & Luigi series, he has black eyes like the other characters, in the first three Mario & Luigi games he lacks foot pads and Paper Bowser's spike rings are absent until Paper Mario: Sticker Star.

In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Bowser's appearance has been revamped, with a more detailed and stylized appearance. He has a slightly more muscular stature, a thicker, shorter snout, more teeth, a longer tail, a bigger shell, thinner armbands, and a smaller head. His yellow scaling gains a more greenish color in the upper part of his arms and torso. His eyes also glow whenever he is enraged.

King Koopa in the Super Mario DIC cartoons.
Bowser from the DiC cartoons. This design is also used in other media such as Nintendo Comics System and Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up.

The DiC cartoons' portrayal of King Koopa had him almost completely green in color and lacking hair, with a crown atop his head instead. His stomach was a deeper yellow than in later game depictions, and the whites of his eyes were also yellow; he also had a more crocodile/dinosaur-like snout, which was also colored green. He was also given a single pair of spiked bands on his wrists, which now match his shell's coloration.

Nintendo Comics System used the same design as the cartoons for the Super Mario comics, and different installations in the Nintendo Adventure Books series used either it or Bowser's game depiction, interchangeably. The cartoon, Nintendo Comics System, and Nintendo Adventure Books designs were later reused to a certain extent for Bowser's green palette swap in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U (as well as being based on a palette swap for him in Mario Golf). By comparison, the two Super Mario anime (the three OVAs and Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyūshutsu Dai Sakusen!) are relatively true to the games' depiction of Bowser. Here, his eyes are blue instead of red, as in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and Super Mario Bros. 3. Similarly, in the three OVAs he also frequently wears a cape, like he did in artwork for Super Mario Bros. 3. On the other hand, in Super Mario World: Mario to Yoshi no Bōken Land he has red eyes, and his appearance on overall is similar to the appearance of Bowser in artwork for Super Mario World.

In the Super Smash Bros. series, he had various palette swaps (4 in Super Smash Bros. Melee, 6 in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and 8 in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate). His red palette swap in Melee and Brawl, and to a certain extent Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, was based on one of his palette swaps in Mario Golf (although the latter two games also had it resembling Bowser's in-game sprite from the NES version of Mario is Missing!), while his blue palette swap was based on how he appeared on the Japanese box art for Super Mario Bros. His white appearance in Brawl and gray appearance in Nintendo 3DS / Wii U was likewise based on Morton Koopa Jr. prior to his New Super Mario Bros. Wii redesign. His green appearance was based on one of his palette swaps from Mario Golf, his in-game sprite for Super Mario World, and to a certain extent his appearance in the DiC cartoons and Nintendo Comics System and his in-game sprite from the original Super Mario Bros. game. His blue palette swap in Nintendo 3DS / Wii U was primarily based on the bluish Bowser's Brother from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, although it also to a certain extent resembles a palette swap of his from Mario Golf.

As another trait exclusive to the Super Smash Bros. series, Bowser's body has better defined scales and muscles; in Super Smash Bros. Melee, he has defined biceps, and his limbs and tail are a gold-brown color. Starting from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Bowser is less bulky and slightly scalier, better resembling his appearance in contemporary Super Mario games. Starting from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, Bowser is also upright and even less detailed than before. In Ultimate, Bowser retains his upright posture, though his color scheme is darker and more monotone (traits taken from Melee), while his horns, spikes, hair, and scales feature simple detailing (traits taken from Brawl).

Although Bowser does not generally wear clothing, there are a few instances where he does: The Japanese artwork for Super Mario Bros. 3 depicts Bowser wearing a purple cape. In addition, Bowser, or, rather, King Koopa, frequently uses disguises in the DiC cartoons (mostly based on pop-culture icons), and in Mario Party 2, similar to how the playable characters wore themed outfits befitting the various boards (i.e., a Pirate for Pirate Land, a Cowboy in Western Land, a Space Cadet in Space Land, an archaeologist in Mystery Land, and a Witch/Wizard in Horror Land), Bowser wore various outfits and adopted aliases befitting the themes of all the game boards except for Space Land (as he instead just pilots a space vehicle without wearing an actual costume). In addition, in a few cases when he is about to marry Peach, such as Super Mario Adventures, Super Paper Mario, and Super Mario Odyssey, he wears white Groom's outfits having each time different features such as the shoes, or lack thereof, and the bowtie. In Mario Tennis Aces, Bowser receives his own tennis outfit, which is a black T-shirt with orange flame designs on it, accompanied by red kneepads. In Mario Kart Tour, Bowser received a Bowser (Santa) variant as a High-End driver in the 2020 Winter Tour. For this variant, Bowser wears a Santa hat, a red and white collar, and has Christmas lights on his shell. He also carries a red and green present and a white sack for this variant.

Speech

In the NES and SNES Super Mario games, Bowser did not have voice acting, with the manual of Super Mario Bros. 3 nonetheless showing that he was able to speak. The 1986 Japanese Super Mario Bros. film gave Bowser voice acting for the first time in history, with the Amada Anime Mario Series (1987-1989) following in suite. Neither the movie nor the series were officially subtitled nor dubbed in English, thus the first time Bowser was heard speaking in English was in the 1989 DIC Entertainment Super Mario cartoon titled The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, in which he was portrayed by Harvey Atkin, giving him a Brooklyn accent. This trait was carried over in DIC's 1990 and 1991 cartoons titled The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. He utilizes tiger-like growls in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and also has a screech that he utters when hit by one of the Mechakoopas in Super Mario World. He eventually received voice acting in the PC version of Mario is Missing!, although he would not receive full-fledged voice acting until a decade later. Afterwards, he received a limited degree of voice acting in the games starting with Super Mario 64, although it was for the most part limited to roars and occasional laughter, with in-game text describing what he is saying to Mario. He later received full-fledged voice acting in Super Mario Sunshine, where he was given a gruff, yet slightly goofy-sounding voice. In games released after this, his voice clips are generally the same mixture of both, recently being more frequently growling and roars with in-game text indicating what he is actually saying. A notable exception is the localizations of The Cat Mario Show, where Bowser speaks full sentences that were localized and dubbed in all the main European languages as well. Overall, Bowser has a bass voice.

Powers and abilities

Bowser is strongly associated with fire.

Bowser's most prominent ability is breathing fire. He can produce continuous flares or flurries of individual fireballs, and as seen in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Super Paper Mario, he can even use his fire breath underwater. He has been shown to cause fiery rain in Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U, while in Super Mario 64 and New Super Mario Bros., he can produce blue flames that home in on Mario. Bowser is very proud of his fire breath, and is immensely displeased to find himself temporarily unable to use his flames in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. In the PC version of Mario is Missing!, Bowser is said to be immune to fireballs, however this is not the case in most other games. Similarly, while lava defeats Bowser in many games, including the original Super Mario Bros., or New Super Mario Bros. (in which it transforms him into Dry Bowser), in other titles, he appears to be resistant to it, such as New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Artwork of Bowser from Mario Pinball Land
Bowser pounding the ground

Bowser is also portrayed with significant physical strength. Bowser is often the most powerful character in sports games, and in Super Paper Mario, his attack stat as twice that of the other heroes. He can easily break through boulders and topple enemies many times his own size, and in Mario & Luigi Bowser's Inside Story, when Mario and Luigi stimulate his muscles with minigames, Bowser can move islands and lift giant stone statues, among other things. Like his fire breath, Bowser takes pride in his strength, and is quick to use punches, claw swipes, tackles, stomps, body slams, ground pounding, and other physical attacks in battle. In Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Bowser can attack his enemies using bites, with the latter game giving him the ability to poison others with his fangs, while the former gives him a poisonous claw attack.

Unlike his strength, Bowser's speed and agility is less consistent between games. Bowser is usually slower than Mario, like in Super Paper Mario, some Super Smash Bros. games and most sports titles, although despite being the slowest runner in the Mario & Sonic summer Olympics, with a 2/10 stat, in the winter games, he has an 8/10 stat. In Super Mario 64 Bowser can jump incredible heights and make short charges at Mario, and while he cannot climb ladders in Super Paper Mario, both this game and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door show him to be a good swimmer, although the latter reveals that he dislikes the activity. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Bowser has sluggish mobility and low jumps, but his dashing speed is exceptionally quick. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Bowser's mobility is faster, though still sluggish compared to the rest of the cast. Starting from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, Bowser is a speedy powerhouse fighter.

Bowser using electricity in Super Mario Galaxy

In the original Super Mario Bros., Bowser throws hammers at Mario, like a Hammer Bro, and this ability reappears in various games, including Super Princess Peach, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and New Super Mario Bros. 2. and he can also duck into his spiked shell and spin or roll around to attack. Another uncommonly seen skill is Bowser's lightning power, which only appears in Hotel Mario and the opening cutscene of Super Mario Galaxy. Both games also make use of Bowser's teleporting ability, as he uses it to bring Peach to his hotel in Hotel Mario and teleports away after his first two defeats in Super Mario Galaxy; he also teleports across the battlefield if the player comes near him in Super Mario 64.

According to the Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet, Bowser is a skilled user in dark magic, using it turn the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom into blocks and other items. While this aspect of Bowser's abilities is not seen in many other games, he makes use of similar magic, with a wand, to shrink players in Mario Party 4 and turn a Koopa Troopa into a frog in Mario Party 2. In Mario Party: Island Tour, he uses magic to create a 30-floor tower. He also teleports himself away after being beaten at the Bowser's Star Reactor and Bowser's Dark Matter Plant in Super Mario Galaxy. Bowser is also shown to be capable of flight, as seen in Super Mario 3D Land, where he flies away after being defeated in World 8-Bowser: Part 1. Finally, Bowser can transform himself, such as turning into a giant boulder during his final fights with Mario in Super Mario Galaxy, or changing into Giga Bowser in the Super Smash Bros. games, which grants him numerous new powers, such as the ability to freeze opponents. In the anime film, Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyūshutsu Dai Sakusen! he has the ability to shapeshift into anything he desires, and he can drastically change his size in various games.

Size

Bowser is usually larger than most other main characters.

Like his speed, Bowser's size changes between games, and often varies between or during battles in single titles. In Super Princess Peach, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and various Mario Party titles, Bowser uses an assortment of magical artifacts and items to turn himself temporarily giant for his final showdowns with Mario, and starts out giant in Super Mario Sunshine, shrinking back down to regular proportions after his defeat. Kamek makes Baby Bowser giant in Yoshi's Island, and he and the Koopalings use spells to turn Bowser gigantic in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. 2, respectively. In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Mario and Luigi can make Bowser temporarily giant by supercharging him with adrenaline; Bowser X and Dark Bowser can become giant for a short while as well. Other games also show him to have modest increases in size from one boss battle to another, such as New Super Mario Bros. and Paper Mario. In the playable Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door intermissions, eating Meat gradually increases Bowser's size. He also grows via meat in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, though this was only shown to be possible in the Dream World. Like other Super Smash Bros. characters, Bowser can grow with the aid of Super Mushrooms and there are also Super Smash Bros. Events that feature Bowser as being larger than normal. While his "normal" size varies from game to game (ranging from slightly taller than Mario in Super Mario Bros., to being roughly five times his height in Super Mario Odyssey), usually he is about twice Mario's height, or a head taller than Peach, and is always much bulkier than the other characters. The only instances of any of his giant forms being officially named are in the Prima guides for New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U, where he is called Super Bowser, as well as Baby Bowser's giant form, named Mega Baby Bowser in Yoshi's Woolly World and Yoshi's Crafted World. Within the Super Smash Bros. series, Bowser's size changes.

In Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Bowser is only slightly taller than Mario, rivaling the heights of Peach and Samus. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, Bowser is the tallest and largest character in the game, due to both his new upright posture, as well as the general proportional differences between the characters. Bowser's height carries over in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, although he is now the second tallest fighter, as Ridley is currently the largest playable character.

Relationships

Although technically a younger version of himself, Bowser has interacted with Baby Bowser during two occasions of time travel. In Yoshi's Island DS, Baby Bowser insults his future self, who then rashly blasts him out of the castle; later, however, Bowser becomes outraged when he discovers his younger self being bested by the Yoshis. In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, the two Bowsers do not recognize each other and argue about the ownership of Thwomp Volcano, eventually putting their differences aside to work together to try and defeat Mario, Luigi and their own baby selves. After their defeat, Bowser's parting advice to Baby Bowser is to "Get stronger and more evil". In Yoshi's New Island, he also ambushes Yoshi and Baby Mario just as they were to save the Stork and Baby Luigi again in order to avenge his younger self's defeat.

Bowser's minions all hold Bowser in high regards and loyally serve him out of respect rather than fear, although many are mindful of his fiery temper. Bowser does not take betrayal well nor will he hesitate to attack deserters as enemies, although he has been shown to be forgiving at times, such as letting the trio of Corporal Paraplonk, Private Goomp and Sergeant Guy return to service after they betrayed him for Fawful in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Bowser, despite repeatedly downgrading their competence and intellect, has high faith and pride in his minions. While he is harsh, he does reciprocate their loyalty, notably shown in Super Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. The latter game's remake, or more specifically the tie-in story Bowser Jr.'s Journey, further reinforces his care for his troops, as it was revealed that a large part of the reason he was outraged at not being invited to the emergency seminar over the Blorbs virus outbreak at Peach's Castle was because his own kingdom was also suffering from the outbreak. In Paper Mario, while labeling the Koopa Bros. and Tutankoopa as weaklings, he acknowledged they were still loyal followers and takes their defeats as disrespect from Mario. Bowser has also been shown to treat minions in a fatherly fashion, namely towards the Koopa Kids in the Mario Party series (who, despite their similar appearances are not related to Bowser), although they treat him as a boss only. One minion who treats Bowser fairly informally at times is Kammy Koopa, who loyally and tirelessly puts up with his constant stream of derision when working together during the first two Paper Mario games. In her tattle, Goombella wonders whether it is harder for Bowser to put up with Kammy or vice-versa, but despite his verbal abuse, Bowser often takes Kammy's advice to heart.

Bowser often works together with Dr. Eggman during the Mario & Sonic series, often causing trouble to disrupt the Olympics or defeat their nemeses, Mario and Sonic. Bowser and Eggman mutually treat each other as equals in their partnerships as well as friends, which is prominently shown in London. In Tokyo, Bowser trusts Eggman's comprehension of Tokyo '64 when they end up trapped in the game so they can outwit Mario and Sonic and escape.

Family

Bowser and the Koopalings introducing themselves to Mario and Yoshi in Super Mario Story Quiz Picture Book 2: Mario's Sports Day (「スーパーマリオおはなしクイズえほん 2 マリオの うんどうかい」).
Bowser with the Koopalings
Bowser and Bowser Jr. playing with the Nintendo Switch.
Bowser with Bowser Jr.
“All right, son... Let's see if you can stand up to your old man!”
Bowser, Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey

Both the original Japanese and English versions of the game Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced Bowser's seven children, the Koopalings.[11][12] They were also depicted as his children in Super Mario World,[13][14] Yoshi's Safari,[15] the first trophy of Bowser in Super Smash Bros. Melee[16], the DIC cartoons, and various comics released shortly after Super Mario Bros. 3. However, after Hotel Mario, the Koopalings went on a nine-year hiatus, and many years later, in 2002, Super Mario Sunshine introduced Bowser Jr., Bowser's youngest child who resembles Bowser greatly. Since the Koopalings have made a return to the series following New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Bowser Jr. is considered the heir to the throne and the only child in the current story. While the Japanese Nintendo Direct announcement for Mario Kart 8 referred to them as Bowser's kobun (which can mean either underlings or adopted children), subsequent games used less ambiguous wording referring to them as minions, with Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U and Ultimate having the Palutena's Guidance in which the Koopalings' similarity to Bowser Jr. is noted and in which it is stated that the Koopalings have a mysterious relationship to Bowser, although the Japanese version adds that it has been heard that they are minions. Something similar happened to Bowser's Brother from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, who was later considered to be something akin to a fake Bowser and eventually a character of unknown identity.

The emblems of Bowser, Bowser Jr., and the Koopalings.
The emblems of Bowser, Bowser Jr., and the Koopalings

Before the introduction of Bowser Jr., Ludwig von Koopa was once said to be Bowser's second in command in the Super Mario Bros. 3 Nintendo Power Strategy Guide,[17] leader of the Koopalings in the Official Nintendo Guidebook of Super Mario Collection (the Japanese version of Super Mario All-Stars)[18] and Bowser's comrade in the Perfect Edition of the Great Mario Character Encyclopedia.[19] Bowser has always been very proud of the Koopalings' close loyalty to him, and while the dynamics between them was openly familial in the cartoons and comics, in the games the Koopalings were just main bosses and had no dialogue nor interaction with Bowser. On the other hand, in Super Mario Sunshine, he first tried to use Bowser Jr. as a pawn in his schemes, even going so far as to lying that Peach was the child's mother to give him extra incentive to defeat Mario for taking her away from their "family". However, after his plan failed, in a rare moment of humility and remorse, Bowser eventually decides to tell his son the truth about Peach, but Bowser Jr. had figured it out by then, and simply wanted to fight Mario to be like his father. Bowser does indeed care about his son, who often brings out his softer side, and at times obsesses over his well-being, such as in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, where he becomes infuriated after learning that the Mario Bros. had injured him. The two currently share closer ties than he and his Koopalings, with Bowser Jr. often acting as Bowser's default partner in sports and spin-off games. On a similar note, in the NES library portion of the Nintendo Switch Online service trailer, Bowser, while playing Ghosts 'n Goblins, is shown to be ignoring his son, who has been asking to play with him, much to his disappointment. Feeling guilty seeing Bowser Jr.'s dejection, Bowser promptly offers a second Joy-Con so they can play together, and they proceed to play Ice Climbers. Although genuinely caring for his son, even he has found Bowser Jr. difficult to raise largely due to the latter's hyperactivity as well as having access to his own army and flying car, admitting as much to Olivia when explaining how King Olly is trivial to him before the final battle, implying that Bowser Jr. was more difficult than King Olly ever was. As a result, he states that he tends to raise Junior with a free-range parenting style, letting him take risks and even insisting that he can handle himself while he's being overwhelmed by Paper Macho Goombas. On the Koopalings' end, the Koopalings were also shown to be extremely devoted to Bowser, with their loyalty to the Koopa King being immense enough that they are willing to serve Bowser even when the latter is not actually himself, as evidenced by their servitude to "Bowser" in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Paper Mario: Color Splash (who had actually been Bowletta and Black Bowser, forms taken when Bowser was possessed by Cackletta and corrupted by the black paint, respectively). Additionally, the side story of the former game's remake shows their loyalty was immense enough that they were resistant to Fawful's mind control spray before the Beanish added a stronger dose. Nonetheless, in a flashback the Koopalings had nearing the climax of the Bowser Jr.'s Journey story arc of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey, Iggy is seen speaking out of line with the other Koopalings by denying that Bowser was at all smart or wise (and even implying that Bowser was even crazier than Iggy for thinking he was such), resulting in Bowser being implied to have hit him across the room. Bowser, Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings all have personal emblems with silhouettes of their faces, the silhouette of Bowser's face used in his emblem is also present in many buldings, machines and devices that he controls.

Kamek artwork
Kamek, Bowser's caretaker in the Yoshi franchise

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island introduced Kamek, the Magikoopa who raised Bowser from infancy and who has been seen interacting with him the most throughout the series. As seen in subsequent Yoshi series games and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Kamek takes great care of Baby Bowser and worries for his safety, with his devout loyalty continuing into Bowser's adulthood where he is often seen as Bowser's right-hand. Kamek's thought in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars even implies that he considers Bowser to be like a son to him, as despite his brain-washing by the enemies, he thinks, "That's... my child?" when faced with Bowser in battle. The only time a rift has been shown between the two is in Mario Party Advance; after winning a minigame Kamek explains that he took leave of Koopa Troop when Bowser disappointed him by taking the title of "Game Master", rather than earning it, although the ending states that the two reconciled. Aside from that incident, the two get along well, and Bowser seems to show much more respect to his elderly guardian than to any other of his subordinates.

Various other relatives of Bowser's have been mentioned or shown in a minor capacity throughout the franchise. Bowser mentions a father in few issues of the Nintendo Comics System Super Mario Bros. series, with the implication being that he is a wanted criminal on the run. Bowser is first shown to have a mother in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode "Do You Princess Toadstool Take this Koopa...?", which depicts her to be a bossy and bullying woman who resented her son for remaining a bachelor. Mario's Time Machine Deluxe for MS-DOS, however, shows another version of Bowser's mother, who is an elderly librarian, in the included Library program. Bowser also mentions a grandfather named Poopa La Koopa in the Super Show episode "Butch Mario & The Luigi Kid", saying his motto was "Cheat, beat, and be merry!". In the "Raiders of the Lost Mushroom", Bowser claims that his "great-great grandkoop" built the Temple of Koopa to hide the Lost Mushroom, which he left to Bowser. In an episode of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, Morton brings up one of the Koopalings' great grandmothers. Bowser and the Koopalings are shown to have a pet rabbit named Pookie in the Nintendo Comics System series, which was often abused until its eventual escape in the comic "Bowser Knows Best". In the Nintendo Adventure Book Flown the Koopa, a Magikoopa stated to be Bowser's third cousin twice removed is featured as the main antagonist; this character also appears in the later books Unjust Desserts and Brain Drain, though he has only minor roles in both. Finally, in both an episode of the Super Show and the song "Ignorance is Bliss", Bowser mentions a younger sister who is, according to him, a bookworm.

Love interests

Bowser holding Peach captive in Super Mario 3D Land
A self-defensive Princess Peach slapping Bowser, stopping one of his attempts to kidnap her
LINE sticker showcasing Peach's feelings for Bowser.

Bowser is typically shown as attracted to Princess Peach despite kidnapping her and showing open hostility to her kingdom and her friends. According to the manual of Super Mario Bros., Bowser initially started abducting Peach to prevent her from restoring the transformed Toads back to normal. Various media depict Bowser as wanting to marry Princess Peach, being central plot points in Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyūshutsu Dai Sakusen!, Super Paper Mario, Super Mario Odyssey, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the last in which Bowser expresses his love for Peach in a song called Peaches. In the same The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode that featured his mother, Bowser has tried and failed to marry Peach, and his unrequited crush on her recurs in various games, starting with a diary entry he wrote in Paper Mario expressing his hopes that Peach would like him. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story revealed that Bowser's most carefully preserved memory was of Peach. Paper Mario: The Origami King further hints at his crush on Peach, as when he and Mario encounter Origami Peach for the first time, he quietly expresses embarrassment at her seeing him folded up, and when confronting King Olly just before the final battle against him, Bowser inquires of Peach's status and asks if she is safe, comfortable, and has something to read before claiming he was merely asking for a friend. In Super Mario Sunshine, he told Bowser Jr. that Peach is his mother to manipulate him into helping with the fight against Mario. In few cases, he can forgo abducting Princess Peach, usually if he is aiming for a more important objective. This bit is especially evident in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, as when Peach discovers Bowser's presence with Mario, she initially fears that he is going to abduct her again, only for Bowser to explicitly state he has no interest that time in doing so due to having "bigger fish to fry" (with his reluctantly explaining what he meant by that after returning her to the Mushroom Kingdom).

Despite his feelings for her, Princess Peach dislikes Bowser and has resisted him, most often by helping his nemeses including, but not limited to Super Mario World, Paper Mario, and Super Mario Galaxy, and she has fought him directly in some instances such as in Super Princess Peach, Super Mario 3D World, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie. She is still willing to work with Bowser, however, only to help the protagonists, and will even sweet-talk, flatter or show him genuine goodwill or concern when they are acting as allies.

Cropped scan of the Koopa's High School Yearbook comic highlighting the unnamed female Koopa. It was shared on the Internet as an image of Clawdia Koopa.
The female Koopa from Koopa's High School Yearbook

The Nintendo Comics System single-panel comic "Koopa's High School Yearbook" shows Bowser to have had an admirer in high school: after he asked for her sandwich, the unnamed Koopa developed a crush on Bowser, forming the one-member "Koopa Fan Club" and joining the "Future Wives of Tyrants Club". In a September 2012 interview, Miyamoto simply stated that Bowser Jr.'s mother is unknown,[20] which is supported by a question from the Snifit or Whiffit quiz show in Paper Mario: Sticker Star.

Foes

Artwork of Mario swinging Bowser by the tail in Super Mario 64.
Mario and Bowser's battle in Super Mario 64

As Bowser's arch-nemesis and greatest adversary, Mario constantly defeats him, preventing him from holding Princess Peach hostage and taking over Mushroom Kingdom and other worlds. Despite the open hostility between the two, Bowser has occasionally been seen to hold a grudging respect for Mario, such as his statement in Super Mario Galaxy that he "chose the right guy to be his archenemy" for how he puts up a good fight. Defeating Mario is Bowser's greatest wish along with kidnapping Peach and taking over the Mushroom Kingdom, enough that he intervenes when other villains threaten Mario, such as in Mario Super Sluggers, where Bowser stopped an attack launched by Wario and Waluigi. Many of the RPGs involve Bowser teaming up with Mario to stop an emergent foe that poses a threat to both of them, such as Smithy, who took over Bowser's castle in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, or Count Bleck in Super Paper Mario, whose plot to destroy all worlds ran counter to Bowser's dreams of global domination. In the case of the former game, he even went as far as to name Mario, Mallow, and Geno "honorary members" of the Koopa Troop (although it was heavily implied that he did this solely as an excuse to "join" them to avoid the humiliation of having to ask for their help). While Bowser makes a show of his reluctance to team up, Mario seems more complacent with working with Bowser despite their history, and occasionally shows him some leniency, such as letting him go after his actions in Mario Party DS merely gave Mario and the others a fun experience. Additionally, there is a brief moment in the ending for Super Mario Odyssey shows Mario patting a devastated Bowser on the back after Peach rejects both of their proposals, before Mario jumps on Bowser to get on board the Odyssey, leaving him stuck on the moon.

In addition, it is implied that, despite his animosity to Mario, he would never attempt to actually have him destroyed and actually just wants the satisfaction of defeating him; as when Bowletta, while disguised as Bowser, ordered for the Koopa Troop to "destroy" Mario, Captain Goomba was suspicious of him since he knows that that kind of talk was extremely harsh even with Bowser's characteristic hatred towards Mario. Paper Mario: The Origami King further cements this, as in that game, Bowser insists that he and Mario would be nothing without each other. However, in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team he attempts to use the Dream Stone to make the Mario Bros. disappear, and in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, he plans to trap Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario in the empty book, throw the book in the garbage, and then light the garbage on fire.

Luigi and Bowser in ending credits.
Bowser fighting Luigi at the end of Bowser's Inside Story

Luigi often fights Bowser alongside Mario, and so Bowser also sees Luigi as another significant adversary. Like many other characters in the Super Mario franchise, Bowser is often depicted as holding Luigi in lower esteem than his brother, frequently forgetting his name and referring him as "Green Stache" in the first four instalments of the Mario & Luigi series. After his defeat in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, which Luigi had played a significant part in, Bowser now sees Luigi as a more legitimate foe, at least remembering his name. Baby Bowser and Kamek have also collaborated to kidnap Baby Mario and Baby Luigi throughout the Yoshi's Island games, succeeding with Baby Luigi, and they have also tried and failed to stop the Yoshis from foiling their plans. Bowser and Yoshi also have a mutual dislike; as Baby Bowser, he enjoyed stealing cookies from the Yoshis and even stole their Super Happy Tree and Sundream Stone in certain games.

Generally speaking, Bowser's enemies usually include Mario's allies, although Bowser has come into conflict with other villains, including the aforementioned Smithy, Count Bleck, Fawful, and King Olly (most of whom he collaborated with Mario to defeat). One of Bowser's few victories actually came out of his conflict with Fawful during Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, when the Beanish took over both Bowser and Peach's castles, brainwashed the former's minions, and kidnapped the latter. In that same game, Bowser also had an arch-rivalry with Fawful's minion Midbus. While Mario and Luigi were aiding Bowser against Fawful, he was unaware of this, instead communicating exclusively with their ally Starlow, who used the alias "Chippy". Despite their common goal, Bowser and Starlow spent the whole adventure trading barbs and occasionally refusing to cooperate, although Starlow sometimes expressed concern and sympathy for him and he eventually came to think of her as a loyal minion, and even complied to her demand to ask for her help politely at one point, only to become enraged when he learned the truth of who she really was. As of the game's two sequels, Starlow and Bowser are now complete enemies. Another "frenemy" situation is the one between Bowser and Wario, who have joined forces (along with Waluigi) against Mario in Mario Power Tennis, and worked together (albeit fractiously) as babies in Yoshi's Island DS. The ending of Mario Superstar Baseball shows Wario and Waluigi on Bowser's team. Most of the time they are on opposing sides, as in Super Mario 64 DS and the Mario Party series when Wario was on Mario's side. In Mario Super Sluggers, Wario helps in stopping Bowser's invasion of Baseball Kingdom, and in the ending, he and Waluigi are thwarted in their sneak attack on Mario by Bowser due to the latter's desire to be the one who defeats their shared adversary. In Paper Mario: The Origami King, Bowser also held a grudge against King Olly for reducing him to a folded face and turning his minions into Folded Soldiers, mocking the latter's hairstyle.

Impersonators

In several instances throughout the series, there have been characters who have imitated Bowser's appearance, generally for their own gain. There have been many impostors in some games who have tried to replicate or manifest him in varying ways, albeit perfectly or imperfectly:

Impersonation Impersonator/Creator Appearance
Fake Bowser Various Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. Special, Super Mario Run
Mechakoopas Super Mario World, Yoshi's Safari, Hotel Mario, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mario Party 5, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Mario Power Tennis, Mario Party Advance, Mario Party 7, Super Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mario Party 9, New Super Mario Bros. U, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, Super Mario Maker 2, Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Iggy Koopa Hotel Mario
Bowser clone Belome Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Bowser Suit Mario and company Mario Party, Mario Party 2, Mario Party 3, Mario Party 4, Mario Party 8
Bowser??? Koopa Bros. Paper Mario
Koopa Kid Mario Party 3
King Boo Luigi's Mansion
Mecha-Bowser Bowser Jr. Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Party 5, Mario Power Tennis, Mario Kart Arcade GP, Mario Party 7, Mario Kart Arcade GP 2, Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Party 9
Dark Bowser Shadoo Super Paper Mario
False Bowser Shadow Bugs Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Dark Bowser Dark Star Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Bowser X Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Tail Bowser Fake Bowser Super Mario 3D Land, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Nicknames and aliases

See also: King Koopa's alter egos

In several of his appearances, Bowser has been known to use aliases, or is referred to through a self-given nickname or a nickname given by others. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and Mario Party 2 mostly show him under an alias matching the theme of each location explored.

  • King of the Koopa / King of the Koopas / Koopa King (various)
  • King Koopa (Japanese name and other media such as cartoons)
  • Koopa (Japanese name and other media such as cartoons)
  • King Bowser (various)
  • Lord Bowser (Paper Mario series, Super Mario Bros. Virtual Console digital manual, Mario Kart 8, and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games)
  • Master Bowser (Mario Party 4 and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam)
  • Big dude (Baby Bowser)
  • Cap'n Bowser
  • Bowser the Brash
  • Wizard Bowser
  • Bowser Sphinx
  • Black Hole Bowser
  • The King of Awesome
  • Mr. Bowser (Merlon, Koopa Kid, Wendy O. Koopa)
  • The Boss of Bwahaha (Nintendo)
  • King Dad (Koopalings)
  • Pop (Koopalings, Bowser Jr.)
  • Big B (Iggy Koopa)
  • Daddykins (Kootie Pie)
  • Large Bowser (Morton Koopa Jr.)
  • Papa (Bowser Jr.)
  • Dad (Bowser Jr., Koopalings)
  • Koopums (His mother)
  • Rookie (Popple)
  • Monsieur Turtle Bits (Broque Monsieur)
  • Monster (Lubba, Rosalina, Lumas)
  • Sire (Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games)
  • Father of Name Withheld (Super Mario Maker 2, as evidenced by the adversity against Mario and speech manner present in his Story Mode level descriptions; "Name Withheld" refers to Bowser Jr.)

Profiles and statistics

Main article: List of Bowser profiles and statistics

Bowser's profiles usually discuss his antagonistic history with Mario, Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom, with his evilness, bad temper and impressive strength and power often being mentioned. In Mario Kart games, he is always among the heaviest players and in other sports games, he is a power player. His speed is highly variable, although when the stat is applicable, his acceleration is usually low. His HP and attack skills vary depending on when he is battled in the RPGs, and as a playable character, he is the powerhouse of the roster.

Portrayals

Over the years, Bowser has been voiced by several people, both in the games and in other media. They include:

Actor Appearance
Akiko Wada Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyūshutsu Dai Sakusen!
Masaharu Satō Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros.
Christopher Hewett Mario Ice Capades
Harvey Atkin The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World
Christopher Collins King Koopa's Kool Kartoons
Patrick Pinney
Rob Wallace Mario is Missing!
Marc Graue Hotel Mario
Scott Burns Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Mario Golf: Advance Tour, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Mario Party 6 (uncredited), Yakuman DS, Mario Power Tennis, Mario Party 7 (uncredited), Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, Mario Tennis: Power Tour, Mario Kart DS, Mario Super Sluggers, Mario Party 8, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mario Tennis Open, Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, Mario Sports Superstars, Mario Tennis Aces
Eric Newsome Super Paper Mario
Kenny James Super Mario Strikers; Super Mario Galaxy onwards
Jack Black The Super Mario Bros. Movie

In addition, a number of stock sounds and voices have been used for Bowser:

Sound Notes
HUMAN, LAUGH - COMICAL LAUGH: MALE Pitched down for Bowser. Originated from The General Series 6000 Sound Effects Library and performed by Charles Martinet.[21] First used in Super Mario 64 as Bowser's laugh.
ANIMAL, CREATURE - LARGE ANIMAL GROWL 04 Originated from The General Series 6000 Sound Effects Library. First used in Super Mario 64 for Bowser's fire breath.
COUGAR - GROWL, ANIMAL, MOUNTAIN LION, CAT 01 Originated from Major Records - Sound Effects Volume 14. First used in Super Mario 64 as one of Bowser's roars. Also used for the Koopa Kids in Mario Party 1-7.
ANIMAL, CREATURE - LARGE ANIMAL DEATH SCREAM Originated from The General Series 6000 Sound Effects Library. First used in Super Mario 64 as Bowser's defeat roar. Used for others in Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (Iggy Koopa, Larry Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, Wendy O. Koopa (when defeated)).
MONSTER - ROAR, ANIMAL 03 Originated from the film The Land Unknown (1957). First used in Mario Kart 64 as one of Bowser's roars. Used for others in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (Bowletta, Cackletta, Chuckolator, Dragohoho, Queen Bean).
MONSTER - ROAR, ANIMAL 05 Originated from the film The Land Unknown (1957). First used in Mario Kart 64 as one of Bowser's roars. Used for others in Yoshi's Story (Baby Bowser, Blargg, Bone Dragon, and Dragon).

List of appearances by date

Title Description Year System
Super Mario Bros. Main antagonist, final boss 1985 NES
VS. Super Mario Bros. Main antagonist, final boss 1986 Arcade
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Main antagonist, final boss 1986 Famicom Disk System
Super Mario Bros. Special Main antagonist, final boss 1986 PC-88, X1
All Night Nippon: Super Mario Bros. Main antagonist, final boss 1986 Famicom Disk System
Super Mario Bros. Main antagonist, Boss 1986 Game & Watch
I am a teacher: Super Mario Sweater Cameo on graphics 1986 Famicom Disk System
Super Mario Bros. 3 Main antagonist, final boss 1988 NES
Super Mario Bros. Boss 1989 Nelsonic Game Watch
Super Mario World Main antagonist, final boss 1990 SNES
Super Mario Bros. 3 Boss 1990 Nelsonic Game Watch
Super Mario World Boss 1991 Nelsonic Game Watch
Mario Roulette Cameo as icon 1991 Arcade
Mario Teaches Typing Cameo in images 1991 MS-DOS
Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up Cameo in images 1991 MS-DOS
Super Mario Kart Playable character 1991 SNES
Mario is Missing! Main antagonist, final boss 1992, 1993 MS-DOS, SNES, NES
Mario Undōkai Opponent 1993 Arcade
Super Mario All-Stars Main antagonist and Final boss in all games 1993 SNES
Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World Main antagonist and final boss in all games 1993 SNES
Yoshi's Safari Main antagonist, final boss 1993 SNES
Mario's Time Machine Main antagonist, final boss 1993, 1994, 1996 MS-DOS, SNES, NES
Mario's Early Years! Fun with Numbers Cameo on images 1994 SNES, MS-DOS
Mario's Early Years! Fun with Letters Cameo on images 1994 SNES, MS-DOS
Mario's Early Years! Preschool Fun Cameo on images 1994 SNES, MS-DOS
Hotel Mario Main antagonist, final boss 1994 Philips CD-i
Mario's Game Gallery Cameo on card designs 1995 MS-DOS
Mario Clash Cameo as a border design 1995 Virtual Boy
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Playable character/boss 1996 SNES
Super Mario 64 Main antagonist, final boss 1996 Nintendo 64
Mario Teaches Typing 2 Cameo in graphics 1996 MS-DOS
Mario Kart 64 Playable character 1996 Nintendo 64
Wrecking Crew '98 Main antagonist, final boss 1998 Super Famicom
Mario's FUNdamentals Cameo in card designs 1998 MS-DOS
Mario Party Non-playable character 1998 Nintendo 64
Super Mario Bros. Deluxe Main antagonist, final boss 1999 Game Boy Color
Mario Golf Playable Character 1999 Nintendo 64
Mario Golf Non-playable character 1999 Game Boy Color
Mario Party 2 Non-playable character 1999 Nintendo 64
Mario Artist: Paint Studio Cameo as stamp design 1999 Nintendo 64DD
Paper Mario Main antagonist, final boss 2000 Nintendo 64
Mario Tennis Playable character 2000 Nintendo 64
Mario Tennis Unlockable playable character 2000 Game Boy Color
Mario Party 3 Non-playable character 2000 Nintendo 64
Mario Kart: Super Circuit Playable character 2001 Game Boy Advance
Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 Main antagonist, final boss 2000 Game Boy Advance
Super Mario Sunshine Overarching antagonist, final boss 2002 Nintendo GameCube
Mario Party 4 Main antagonist, non-playable character, final boss 2002 Nintendo GameCube
Mario Party-e Cameo on card designs and minigames 2003 e-Reader
Super Mario Fushigi no Janjan Land 2003 Arcade
Nintendo Puzzle Collection Main antagonist/Final boss in Yoshi's Cookie remake 2003 Nintendo GameCube
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 Main antagonist, final boss 2003 Game Boy Advance
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour Playable character 2003 Nintendo GameCube
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Playable character 2003 Nintendo GameCube
Mario Party 5 Main antagonist, non-playable character, final boss 2003 Nintendo GameCube
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Boss 2003 Game Boy Advance
Mario Golf: Advance Tour Unlockable playable character 2004 Nintendo GameCube
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Minor antagonist, Playable character, boss 2004 Nintendo GameCube
Mario Pinball Land Main antagonist, final boss 2004 Game Boy Advance
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 Final boss 2003 Game Boy Advance
Super Mario Fushigi no Korokoro Party 2004 Arcade
Mario Power Tennis Playable character 2004 Nintendo GameCube
Mario Party 6 Non-playable character 2004 Nintendo GameCube
Super Mario 64 DS Main antagonist, final boss 2004 Nintendo DS
Mario Party Advance Main antagonist, non-playable character 2005 Game Boy Advance
Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix Final boss/opponent 2005 Nintendo GameCube
Mario Tennis: Power Tour Playable character 2005 Game Boy Advance
Super Mario Fushigi no Korokoro Party 2 2005 Arcade
Mario Kart Arcade GP Playable character/boss 2005 Arcade
Super Princess Peach Main antagonist, final boss 2005 Nintendo DS
Mario Party 7 Main antagonist, non-playable character, final boss 2005 Nintendo GameCube
Mario Superstar Baseball Playable character 2005 Nintendo GameCube
Mario Kart DS Playable character 2005 Nintendo DS
Super Mario Strikers Non-playable character 2005 Nintendo GameCube
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Boss 2005 Nintendo DS
New Super Mario Bros. Overaching antagonist, final boss 2006 Nintendo DS
Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 Playable character/boss 2007 Arcade
Super Paper Mario Playable character/boss 2007 Wii
Mario Strikers Charged Playable character 2007 Wii
Mario Party 8 Non-playable character, final boss 2007 Wii
Super Mario Galaxy Main antagonist, final boss 2007 Wii
Mario Party DS Main antagonist, non-playable character, final boss 2007 Nintendo DS
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Playable character 2007 Wii
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Playable character 2008 Nintendo DS
Mario Kart Wii Playable character 2008 Wii
Mario Super Sluggers Playable character 2008 Wii
New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis Playable character 2009 Wii
Mario Party Fushigi no Korokoro Catcher 2009 Arcade
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story Playable character/boss 2009 Nintendo DS
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Playable character 2009 Wii, Nintendo DS
New Super Mario Bros. Wii Final boss 2009 Wii
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Main antagonist/final boss 2010 Wii
Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition Main antagonist and final boss in all games 2010 Wii
Super Mario 3D Land Main antagonist, final boss 2011 Nintendo 3DS
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Playable character 2011 Wii
Mario Kart 7 Playable character 2011 Nintendo 3DS
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Playable character 2012 Nintendo 3DS
Mario Party 9 Main antagonist, non-playable character, final boss 2012 Wii
Mario Tennis Open Playable character 2012 Nintendo 3DS
New Super Mario Bros. 2 Final boss 2012 Nintendo 3DS
Paper Mario: Sticker Star Main antagonist, final boss 2012 Nintendo 3DS
New Super Mario Bros. U Main antagonist, final boss 2012 Wii U
New Super Luigi U Main antagonist, final boss 2013 Wii U
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team True main antagonist, final boss 2013 Nintendo 3DS
Mario Kart Arcade GP DX Playable character 2013 Arcade
New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U Main antagonist and final boss in both games 2013 Wii U
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Playable character 2013 Wii U
Super Mario 3D World Main antagonist, final boss 2013 Wii U
Mario Party: Island Tour Main antagonist, Non-playable character, final boss 2013 Nintendo 3DS
Yoshi's New Island Hidden final boss 2014 Nintendo 3DS
Mario Golf: World Tour Playable character 2014 Nintendo 3DS
Mario Kart 8 Playable character 2014 Wii U
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Playable character 2014 Nintendo 3DS
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Playable character 2014 Wii U
Mario Party 10 Playable character in Bowser Party mode, final boss in Mario Party mode 2015 Wii U
Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition Main antagonist, final boss 2015 Nintendo 3DS
Super Mario Maker Enemy 2015 Wii U
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Playable character 2015 Wii U
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Co-main antagonist, final boss 2015 Nintendo 3DS
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Playable character 2016 Nintendo 3DS, Arcade, Wii U
Minecraft: Wii U Edition Skin 2016 Wii U
Paper Mario: Color Splash Main antagonist, final boss 2016 Wii U
Mario Party: Star Rush Main antagonist, non-playable character, boss 2016 Nintendo 3DS
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS Enemy 2016 Nintendo 3DS
Super Mario Run Main antagonist, final boss 2016 iOS, Android
Mario Sports Superstars Playable character 2017 Nintendo 3DS
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Playable character 2017 Nintendo Switch
Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition Skin 2017 Nintendo Switch
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Final boss 2017 Nintendo Switch
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions Boss 2017 Nintendo 3DS
Super Mario Odyssey Main antagonist, final boss 2017 Nintendo Switch
Mario Party: The Top 100 Non-playable character 2017 Nintendo 3DS
Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition Skin 2018 New Nintendo 3DS
Minecraft (Bedrock version) Skin 2018 Nintendo Switch
Mario Tennis Aces Playable character 2018 Nintendo Switch
Super Mario Party Playable character 2018 Nintendo Switch
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Playable character 2018 Nintendo Switch
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey Playable character/boss 2018 Nintendo 3DS
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Main antagonist, final boss 2019 Nintendo Switch
Super Mario Maker 2 Enemy 2019 Nintendo Switch
Dr. Mario World Playable character 2019 iOS, Android
Mario Kart Tour Playable character 2019 iOS, Android
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Playable character 2019 Nintendo Switch
Paper Mario: The Origami King Ally 2020 Nintendo Switch
Tetris 99 Cameo 2020 (15th Maximus Cup) Nintendo Switch
Super Mario 3D All-Stars Main antagonist and final boss in all games 2020 Nintendo Switch
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury Main antagonist, final boss 2021 Nintendo Switch
Mario Golf: Super Rush Playable character 2021 Nintendo Switch
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope Playable character 2022 Nintendo Switch
Super Mario Bros. Wonder Main antagonist, final boss 2023 Nintendo Switch
Super Mario RPG Playable character, boss 2023 Nintendo Switch

Quotes

Main article: List of Bowser quotes

Gallery

For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Bowser.

Audio samples

Voice

Audio.svg Super Mario 64 / Super Mario 64 DS - Bowser's laugh ("Comical Laugh" stock sound by Charles Martinet, pitched-down)[21]
File infoMedia:SM64 Bowser's Laugh.oga
Audio.svg Super Mario Sunshine - "MARIO! How dare you disturb my family vacation!? (roars)" (Scott Burns, stock roar)
File infoMedia:Bowser Scott Burns and King Kong Roar 2002.oga
Audio.svg Mario Party 8 - Bowser's laugh (Scott Burns)
File infoMedia:Mparty8 bowser 01.oga
Audio.svg Super Mario Galaxy - Bowser's laugh (Kenny James)
File infoMedia:SMG Bowser Laugh.oga
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Themes

Audio.svg King Bowser - Bowser's battle theme in Super Mario Bros. 3
File infoMedia:Bowser Battle Theme Super Mario Bros 3.oga
Audio.svg The Evil King Bowser - Bowser's battle theme in Super Mario World
File infoMedia:SMW The Evil King Koopa BGM.oga
Audio.svg Last King Koopa - Bowser's battle theme in Super Mario All-Stars (Super Mario Bros.)
File infoMedia:SMAS SMB Last King Koopa.oga
Audio.svg King Bowser - Bowser's battle theme in Super Mario All-Stars (Super Mario Bros. 3)
File infoMedia:SMAS SMB3 The Evil King Koopa.oga
Audio.svg Fight against Koopa - Bowser's battle theme in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
File infoMedia:SMRPG Fight against Koopa.oga
Audio.svg Koopa Castle (Second Time) - Bowser's Castle's second theme in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, which is an arrangement of "King Bowser" from Super Mario Bros. 3
File infoMedia:SMRPG Koopa Castle Theme 2.oga
Audio.svg King Bowser - Bowser's battle theme in Super Mario Galaxy
File infoMedia:King Bowser Super Mario Galaxy.oga
Audio.svg Final Battle with Bowser - Bowser's final battle theme in Super Mario Galaxy
File infoMedia:Final Battle with Bowser Super Mario Galaxy.oga
Audio.svg The Evil King Bowser - An arrangement of "The Evil King Bowser" from Super Mario World, used in Fortune Street
File infoMedia:Fortune Street- The Evil King Bowser.oga
Audio.svg Bowser Battle 1 - Bowser's battle theme in Super Mario Odyssey
File infoMedia:OST Bowser Battle 1 Super Mario Odyssey.oga
Audio.svg King Bowser - An arrangement of "King Bowser" from Super Mario Bros. 3, used in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
File infoMedia:Bowser Theme (SSBU).oga
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Names in other languages

Main article: List of Bowser names in other languages
Language Name Meaning
Japanese クッパ
Kuppa
"Koopa", a reference to the Korean dish gukbap, called "kuppa" in Japanese. In older media, Bowser had the alternative titles 「クッパ大王」 Kuppa-daiō and 「魔王クッパ」 Maō Kuppa, meaning "Great King Koopa" and "Demon King Koopa", respectively. In the games, his title is usually 「大魔王クッパ」 Daimaō Kuppa, meaning "Great Demon King Koopa".
The English name "Bowser" is occasionally transcribed as バウザー (Bauzā).

Chinese (simplified) 酷霸王
Kùbàwáng
酷霸 (since The Super Mario Bros. Movie)
Kùbà

From "酷" (, "cool"/"cruel") and "霸王" (bàwáng, "tyrant"/"despot"/"overlord"). "酷霸" (Kùbà) is also transliterated from the Japanese name, and used for the surname of the Koopalings.[22]

Chinese (traditional) 庫巴
Kùbā
Transliteration of the Japanese name

Dutch Bowser
-
French Bowser
-
German Bowser
-
Greek Μπάουζερ
Báouzer
Transliteration of the international name

Hebrew המלך קופה (The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!)
באוזר
HaMelekh Kupa
Bauzer

King Koopa
Transliteration of the international name

Italian Bowser
Re Attila (cartoon series)
-
From Attila the Hun
Korean 쿠파
Kupa
Transliteration of the Japanese name, although the name originates from a Korean food's name, Gukbap (국밥).

Portuguese Bowser
-
Romanian Regele Koopa (The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, most episodes)
Regele Kooper (KidsCo promo for the DiC Super Mario cartoons. Accessed July 27, 2018.)
Bowser Koopa (The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, episode "Princess Toadstool for President")
Bowser (McDonald's Romania 2016 Happy Meal promotionMedia:McDonaldsRomania2016Banner.jpg, The Super Mario Bros. Movie)
King Koopa

King Kooper

-

-
Russian Боузер
Bouzer
Transliteration of the international name

Slovenian Kralj Koopa
King Koopa
Spanish Bowser
-
Swedish Kung Koopa (cartoon series)
King Koopa
Thai บาวเซอร์[23]
Bao-soe
Bowser

Trivia

A screenshot from the E3 2019: Nintendo Direct presentation, depicting a confused Bowser questioning Yoshiaki Koizumi how Nintendo of America president, Doug Bowser, is the "right Bowser".
Bowser's appearance in the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct
  • In the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct coverage, Bowser briefly appears only to be told he is "not the right Bowser", which was a pun on Nintendo of America's newly-made CEO Doug Bowser. The Japanese, Korean, and Chinese versions included on-screen text explaining the joke, due to Bowser having different names in those languages and thus the joke being untranslatable otherwise.
  • An officially licensed 3D magnet of Bowser from 1997 erroneously refers to him as "Bouser".[24]

References

  1. ^ The Legend, Nintendo Comics System
  2. ^ Nintendo (September 14, 2015). Nintendo Digital Event @ E3 2015. YouTube. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  3. ^ The Legend of Zelda interview with Shigeru Miyamoto from 2000 at Famitsu.com (Japanese)
  4. ^ "Shigeru Miyamoto on the origin of the names of Mario and his friends". Nintendo DREAM. February 2010 volume. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  5. ^ Supper Mario Broth (April 21, 2017). Concept art of Bowser for Super Mario Bros., drawn by Shigeru Miyamoto. This is the earliest known drawing of Bowser, possibly the first ever made. SupperMarioBroth.
  6. ^ a b Nintendo.com. Iwata Asks: Nintendo DSi, Volume 8 - Flipnote Studio - An Animation Class (part 4). Retrieved April 30, 2023.
  7. ^ a b William Andureau (December 06, 2018). "Les confidences du dessinateur historique des personnages Nintendo". Le Monde. Retrieved December 14, 2018 (English translation available here)
  8. ^ "Bowser smiles at Wendy O., showing all 264 of his teeth."Koopa Capers, pg. 97
  9. ^ Black, Fletcher. 2007. Super Mario Galaxy Prima Official Game Guide. Page 7.
  10. ^ Bowser's illustrations made by Yoichi Kotabe. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  11. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 Japanese instruction booklet transcription on GeoCities. In the story section (pg. 4), they are called「自分子供コクッパ7兄弟」, and King Koopa's line (pg. 2) reads 「ワッハハ。これから俺様息子達がこのゲームの説明をするぜ。息子達うことをよーくいてせいぜいガンバルことだな。ワッハハ。」 Note Koopa's use of 「俺様息子たち」 (ore-sama no musuko-tachi), which equates to "my children" (or, literally, "my sons") while at the same time referring to himself in an extremely arrogant manner. The children are introduced with the phrase 「そして、これがコクッパ7兄弟だ!!」 (pg. 3). Larry (pg. 4), Morton (pg. 8) and Lemmy (pg. 34) refer to King Koopa as 「オヤジ」 (oyaji), which is both a Japanese word for "father" as well as a term of endearment.
  12. ^ Super Mario Bros. 3 English instruction booklet. In the story section (pg. 5), they are called "Bowser's 7 kids" and "his 7 children", and Bowser's line (pg. 3) reads "Ha Ha Ha! These are my 7 children that are going to help me take over the Mushroom World!" The children are introduced with the phrase "These are Bowser's kids!!" (pg. 4). Larry (pg. 5), Morton (pg. 9) and Lemmy (pg. 34) refer to Bowser as their father or dad.
  13. ^ Super Mario World English instruction booklet, page 20Media:SMW NA Manual Pages 19 20.png (Mysterious Sunken Ship description).
  14. ^ Japanese card about the Koopalings in Super Mario World, in which they are referred to as 「クッパ大魔王の7息子たち。」, meaning "The seven children of the (demon/sorcerer) king Bowser."Media:Kokuppa SMB4 Card.jpg. Note that their name is written with 「7兄弟」 instead of 「7人衆」.
  15. ^ Back of the North American box of Yoshi's SafariMedia:SnesyoshissafariBack.jpg.
  16. ^ In Super Smash Bros. Melee, the first trophy of Bowser in Japanese refers to him as having 「7人のこども」Media:JSSBM Bowser Trophy.jpg.
  17. ^ "Bowser’s oldest Koopaling and second in command, he’s a real monster!" - Nintendo Power Volume 13, page 9.
  18. ^ 「長いたて髮をふり乱して襲ってくる、コクッパー族のリーダー・ルドウィッグ。」Super Mario Collection Nintendo Official Guidebook, page 267, Shogakukan.
  19. ^ 「クッパの仲間だ」. Perfect Ban Mario Character Daijiten (Perfect Edition of the Great Mario Character Encycloepdia), page 232, Shogakukan.
  20. ^ Screw Attack reports that "The koopalings are NOT related to Bowser!!!" and provide a scan of a Game Informer interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, in which he states that the Koopalings are not "currently" considered to be Bowser's children, unlike Bowser Jr., whose mother is "unknown" (only English translation is available). Posted September 12, 2012. (Retrieved September 15, 2012.)
  21. ^ a b File:Charles Martinet and the Comical Laugh Pt 2.pngMedia:Charles Martinet and the Comical Laugh Pt 2.png
  22. ^ iQue's localization of Super Mario Advance 2
  23. ^ Thai version of the official trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie (November 30, 2022), YouTube. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  24. ^ wholesale_gaming_store (April 25, 2023). Official Nintendo 64 3D Magnet Bouser Vintage (1997) New Sealed Look 👀. eBay. Retrieved May 21, 2023. (Archived May 21, 2023, 21:14:38 UTC via Wayback Machine.)