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The Master is a Toad who is a powerful martial artist and the resident teacher of the Toad Town Dojo in Paper Mario. If Mario defeats his students Lee and Chan, Mario can fight The Master. The Master is fought up to three times, and Mario can earn (in order) the Third-Degree, Fourth-Degree, and Diploma cards. However, each time Mario wins a battle, the next fight with the Master is more difficult. The Master's appearance in the third battle is the same, except he becomes surrounded by a golden aura.
In his final form, the Master is actually stronger than the final boss, Bowser (in his powered-up state); while both have 99 HP, The Master has more powerful attacks than Bowser. Much like Bonetail in the sequel, the Master is the strongest opponent in the game and is completely optional.
The Master is also similar in many ways to the character Jinx from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Both Jinx and the Master are expert martial artists who train disciples in schools. Additionally, Mario has to fight both Jinx and the Master three times each, with every battle getting progressively harder in each case.
The Master is noted for having delicate health, causing him to cough and wheeze often.
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