- Despite his flaws and questionable actions, Bowser is portrayed as a caring parent who deeply loves and trusts his son, Bowser Jr. A wholesome parent-child relationship is showcased.
- Bowser’s love for Peach is genuine, as he goes to great lengths to pursue her and even sees her as an ideal mother for Bowser Jr. His affection is boundless and he appreciates Peach’s attractiveness, even when she tries to fight him.
- Bowser’s character is complex and ever-changing, ranging from comically evil to a more sympathetic anti-hero. He possesses economic and political power, a loyal workforce, and a taste for romance. He believes he can have it all, even if it means subjugating others.
Sure, Bowser may be spiky and have a face only a mother could love…and he committed war crimes several times…and can’t take no for an answer…but under that spiny outer shell lies a romantic, caring ruler. Probably. For all of his bluster, the Koopa King’s minions genuinely respect and admire him and he’s a good father to his son. Even the main Super Mario cast seems to recognize this: why else would they bother inviting the neighboring warlord to go-kart races and tennis? Peach might be missing out because as far as players can tell, the tyrannic turtle has a lot of stuff to offer that Mario doesn’t…as long as she’s willing to look past the kidnapping and attempted murder and not being human.
Bowser’s character is whatever the current writer wants it to be, so he ranges from a silly oaf who’s too immature to express his feelings in any way besides violence (Paper Mario) to a sour anti-hero who’s willing to team up with his nemeses when the stakes are high enough (Super Mario RPG) to an unrepentant warlord who causes the implied death of the universe, causing it to be reborn (Super Mario Galaxy). Still, his most common characterization is “comically evil” — he wears his final boss status on his sleeve, even when he and Mario are on the same team or when he’s trying to protect his son’s innocent eyes from the horrors of the Internet. He’s bad and he loves it, and who doesn’t love a man with confidence?
Father Of The Year
It’s practically a law of nature that straight women find it incredibly attractive when a man is good with kids. The entirety of Super Mario Sunshine happened because Bowser wanted his son to have a mother in his life, so it’s fair to say that parenting is a priority for him. He loves Bowser Jr. and Bowser Jr. loves him back; the plot of Bowser’s Fury even sees Jr. teaming up with Mario to save his dad! One of the most wholesome parent-child dynamics in gaming, Nintendo even used Bowser and Bowser Jr. as an example of how parents should treat their children: the Switch Parental Controls video shows Bowser using the titular controls to keep Jr.’s gaming experience as safe and healthy as possible. He loves his son but still treats him responsibly? That’s a gem of a trait in any parent!
Sure, he lets this child fight on the battlefield and face the same plumbers that a grown Koopa like himself can’t defeat, but isn’t that more of a sign of faith and trust in his son? The family that slays together stays together, and considering that Bowser Jr. has yet to be melted into a skeleton unlike his father, Bowser’s trust might actually be valid. He cares about and trusts his boy, which is the hallmark sign of a good parent. Sure, Bowser Jr. may admit to having “Daddy issues to repress” in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and calls himself a “latchkey Koopa” in Bowser Jr.’s Journey, but that can’t possibly be related to his father being a warmonger who obsesses over someone who isn’t interested at the cost of ignoring his son too much. Totally a coincidence. Probably.
A Reptilian Romeo
Bowser may be merciless in his pursuit of Peach, but whenever she’s the object of his mission, he doesn’t lay a hand on her once he’s got her captured. Sure, he’ll attack Peach if she’s the player, but considering he goes golfing with the whole Mario crew on the regular, the attempted murder is probably just a formality at this point. His love for Peach, however, is very real. If all he wanted her for was political power over the Mushroom Kingdom, why would he bother setting up such a lavish wedding in Super Mario Odyssey? He also sees Peach as the ideal mother for Bowser Jr., which is part of why he lied to Jr. in the first place about Peach being his mom. With how much he loves his son, he’d want him to have the best mother possible!
The movie is in a different continuity than the games, but it’d be such a missed opportunity not to mention his iconic “Peaches” ballad. If being good with kids is female kryptonite, then singing and playing an instrument is a tactical nuke to a woman’s heart. With such deep lyrics like “I love you,” which no other love song has ever dared to say, it’s clear that Bowser’s affection is boundless. Going back to the games, he loves Peach no matter what she looks like — a short advertisement for Super Mario Bros. Wonder had him offer Peach a flower, only for her to turn into Elephant Peach. Bowser’s response? Switch out the single flower for an entire bouquet. If he’s that happy to see her with a power-up, maybe the reason he’s willing to fight her as a boss is because he thinks she’s just really attractive when she’s trying to kill him…which, at the very least, means he’s not sexist about women trying to fight.
Bowser’s got a lot going for him. Economic and political power, a workforce who adores him, a loving relationship with his son, and a taste for the romantic are only the beginning. Mario hasn’t spoken a whole sentence in a game since Fortune Street, so what does that portly plumber have over reptilian royalty…besides being a human, being willing to put himself in incredible danger to save people, an unfailing kindness that attracts people to him, more jobs than Barbie, and a magnificent mustache?
The Koopa King might seem a little rough on the outside, but that’s an understatement — he’s a spiky turtle-dragon, and he’s very rough on the outside. But between the monarch abductions and galaxy destruction and blue shells on the racetrack, there’s a testudine who just wants love…and to rule the world with an iron fist. But still, isn’t there something to admire about a man who truly believes he can have it all, even if “all” includes the subjugation of all peoples and a wife who doesn’t love him?
Finally, there’s the bit where Super Paper Mario revealed that Peach and Bowser’s marriage would be the catalyst to start the end of the world. Since that erases Peach from the picture, Bowser is eligible by necessity for the earth’s survival. If any ladies want him, it’s the perfect time to pursue him. Get him while he’s hot.
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