Bowser, Bowser Sr., or King Koopa, is the main antagonist of the Mario series, and the archenemy of Mario and Luigi. He is one of the most recognizable video game villains ever, having been in the original Super Mario Bros., and in most Mario games ever since. He frequently kidnaps Princess Peach, whom he has feelings for and even has attempted to marry her, in an attempt to rule the entire world, along with the Mushroom Kingdom.

He is the king of the Koopas and has one child named Bowser Jr.. While no longer related to him in the current story, older games depict Ludwig von Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Iggy Koopa, Wendy O. Koopa, Morton Koopa Jr., and Larry Koopa, also known as the Koopalings, as Bowser's seven children. The Koopalings are now his underlings.

In unusual circumstances, Bowser is known to help Mario against a greater evil if he must. Notable examples would be in Super Mario RPG: the Legend of the Seven Stars, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and Super Paper Mario.

Bowser is portrayed as a large, fire-breathing reptilian beast in turtle-like appearance with a turtle-esque carapace and a deep, rumbling roar. While an intelligent being and often warlock-like in behavior, Bowser seemingly suffers from an inability to learn from his mistakes, in particular when it comes to his repeated battles with Mario.

Of particular note is Bowser's ever-varying size — starting as tall as Super Mario in Super Mario Bros., he has since varied from about twice Mario's size to positively gargantuan, as seen in Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy 2.


Super Mario Bros./Super Mario Bros. 3/Super Mario World[]

Bowser's first appearance was in Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Bowser stole the Princess, turned most of the Toads into blocks and mushrooms, and planned to take over the peaceful Mushroom Kingdom. Peach's ability to nullify Bowser's black magic is apparently the reason behind her kidnapping in this game; in some later games Bowser's motivation is less clear. In this game, Bowser is the final boss, and has many other followers be disguised as him to fool Mario so that Mario would not be able to stop him (though this would fail). When Mario faces the real Bowser, Mario has to just hit the switch at the end to make him drop into a pit of lava, like with the others.


Bowser (Super Mario Bros. 3)

Bowser (Super Mario Bros 3)

Bowser in Super Mario Bros. 3.

His next appearance was in Super Mario Bros. 3, which introduced seven of his children, known as the Koopalings. In this game, he sends out the Koopalings to take over all the lands of the Mushroom Kingdom, and he also gives each one a special airship. In the final world, Bowser has army tanks and traps placed all over, and puts the castle where he waits for Mario in the middle. Other than planning to take over the Kingdom, he also has the seven kings turned into animals by their own stolen Magic Wands.

1991npawards bowser

Bowser, as seen in Super Mario World.

Soon after his defeat at the hands of Mario in the events that took place in Super Mario Bros. 3, he decides to place his next stronghold in Dinosaur Land, which he targeted specifically for its abundant natural resources. He captures all of the peaceful Yoshis, and makes sure that his army is spread throughout the land. While Bowser is causing havoc across the land, Mario, Luigi, and Peach go to Dinosaur Land for a vacation totally unaware of what is happening. Once they arrive, Peach is suddenly kidnapped by Bowser, and Mario goes out to save her, saving Yoshi and his friends in the process.

Super Mario 64/Super Mario 64 DS/Super Mario Sunshine[]

Bowser's 3D debut was in Super Mario 64, in which he captures Peach, traps her in a painting, and steals her castle's Power Stars. Bowser returns in Super Mario 64 DS, though this time, Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi help Mario save the princess.

Bowser only makes a short appearance in Super Mario Sunshine as the final boss, although his son, Bowser Jr., is the main antagonist. It is made clear, however, that Bowser has been orchestrating events from behind the scenes and guiding his son's actions; he even tells his son that Peach is his mother and Mario the serial kidnapper. (Bowser Jr. was apparently only briefly fooled if at all, the desire to capture Peach seemingly innate in the Koopa lineage.) However, it is possible that Bowser Jr. knew lying that Peach is his mother just to go through with the plan as he once stated Peach is not his mother when Bowser tries to explain that he lied to Bowser Jr as a part of his plan.

New Super Mario Bros./New Super Mario Bros. Wii/Super Mario Galaxy/Super Mario Galaxy 2[]

With the lack of new mainline Mario games for a time, Bowser was not the main villain, as several other characters stole his thunder, especially in the RPG games. Bowser becomes the overarching antagonist again in New Super Mario Bros. Death does not stop him here with Dry Bowser rising from the lava to get his revenge, and eventually is revived to his living form by Bowser Jr.

In Super Mario Galaxy, he aims to conquer the entire universe by creating his own galaxy at the center of everything. In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the game concludes with an epic battle against the beast who became enlarged with the help of Kamek's magic.

In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Bowser grows to new heights as he towers over Princess Peach's Castle, once again kidnapping her and taking her into space. The fights against the Koopa King have Mario jumping on spheres that emerge from the ground and float in the air and ground pounding them, delivering enough force to send the planetoid crashing into Bowser. Bowser's attacks consist of punching the planet Mario is on, generating shock waves and breathing fire.

Super Mario 3D Land/New Super Mario Bros. U/Super Mario 3D World[]

Bowser's ambitions are scaled back after the adventures of the Galaxy games with a straight forward kidnapping of Princess Peach in the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario 3D Land. In this game, he learns to use the power-ups primarily the Super Leaf. He gets trounced again, but he revives his Dry Bowser form for some of the post-game.

In New Super Mario Bros. U, Bowser gets devious and traps Princess Peach in her own castle. Meanwhile, Mario and crew are tossed all the way to Acorn Plains. He sorts to Kamek's magic again to make himself big for the fight on top of Peach's Castle.

In Super Mario 3D World, Bowser decides to change the focus of his ambitions from the Mushroom Kingdom to the Sprixie Kingdom. He is just as tricky as before, spreading around his army using trains and flying circus tents. He also gets a cool ride of his own, the Bowser Mobile. He makes good use of the game's new power-ups in the final fight, becoming Meowser with the Super Bell and making clones with the Double Cherry.

Bowser reprises his main game role in the expanded Nintendo Switch port, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, but he also returns as the main antagonist in the exclusive Bowser's Fury mode. In this campaign, he has become corrupted by some unknown force, becoming Fury Bowser in the process, which not only makes him more powerful and imposing, but also comes at the cost of his self-control. As such, he not only has to face Mario again, but his own son as well. It was later revealed that Bowser Jr. was the reason he became Fury Bowser, as he had decided to paint Bowser while the latter was asleep as a prank, with Bowser becoming deeply furious over the result of the prank.

Super Mario Odyssey and Super Mario Wonder[]

In the game Super Mario Odyssey, Bowser once again kidnapped Princess Peach, this time with the plan to marry her in an elaborate wedding that would take place on the moon and would steal the moons from numerous items. He hired the Broodals as his wedding planners, who aided him in stealing goods and treasures from multiple kingdoms across the globe to be used in the wedding, in addition to kidnapping Cappy’s sister Tiara for Peach to wear.

Bowser confronts and battles Mario first in the Cloud Kingdom, and then serves as the final boss later in the game after Mario busts open the doors of the chapel on the moon and interrupts the wedding. The boss battle takes place in a cavern underneath the chapel, where Mario steals Bowser’s hat and uses its equipped boxing gloves to attack him.

The battle concludes by Bowser being knocked unconscious and the cavern begins to collapse. Mario uses Cappy to take control of Bowser, using his fire balls and brute strength to escape and save everyone in the cavern.

Bowser appears as the main antagonist of Super Mario Bros. Wonder. He arrives at the Flower Kingdom to steal a Wonder Flower, ultimately managing to succeed in front of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, the two Toads, Toadette, and Prince Florian. As a result, he merges with Prince Florian’s castle and his Koopa Clown Car to transform into a floating fortress modeled in his own likeness.

Super Smash Bros. series[]

Super Smash Bros

Bowser, as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Bowser has appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a playable character. He is an extremely heavy fighter and attacks by blowing fire, ground pounding, punching with his fists and using his spikes on his shell. Bowser is the worst character in Melee, according to the current Tier list of the game. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, his Final Smash turns him into the colossal Giga Bowser. Bowser plays a prominent role in the Subspace Emissary in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and eventually joins forces with Mario, Link, and others in taking down the antagonist Tabuu after being an enemy to the group for so long. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, Bowser was completely revamped, making him much faster and agile as well as standing upright.

Bowser also appears as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where he is very close to his Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U incarnation. One of the major changes from his Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U incarnation is his Final Smash, which now involves him floating in the background as Giga Bowser instead of remaining on the stage. He aims for his opponents before finally throwing one massive punch and then returns back to the stage and is once again in his normal form and size. He will challenge a person to a match with the player controlling him to try to win the match or the CPU trying to win the match (based on the CPU's settings).


Mario Kart series[]

In all games of the Mario Kart series, Bowser is classified as a heavyweight character with great weight and poor speed. Four versions of Bowser appear in Mario Kart Tour, them being regular Bowser, who is the only Super tier version of Bowser, and who uses Bowser's Shell as a special item, as he does in Mario Kart: Double Dash‼. Bowser (Santa) is a high-end tier character, like all of the Bowser variants. His special item is the Coin Box. Meowser is also in Mario Kart Tour, and his special item is the Coin Box. Dr. Bowser, the doctor version of Bowser that is from Dr. Mario World, is also in the game and uses the Capsule as his special item. He will try to win as a CPU against other players like the other CPU do and would use power-ups to do so. He isn't cruel in this game but does try to beat the other characters (with the player trying to beat all the other characters and CPU) when controlling him.

Mario Party series[]

In Bowser's relation to the Mario Party series, he is usually the main antagonist. Bowser even has his own minigames to challenge Mario and his friends. Also he is the final boss most of the time. On the game boards Bowser spaces exist. As a result of landing on a Bowser space, Bowser can take coins and stars from players, or challenge the players to a minigame. In Mario Party 10, however, one of the player can control him and challenge the four other player in various minigames. Bowser appears as a playable character in Super Mario Party, making his first fully playable appearance in the Mario Party series, leaving his role of causing misfortune to player to Kamek whenever players land on the Bad Luck Spaces, which have replaced Bowser Spaces. Unlike other characters, Bowser is allowed to use multiple dice in the game (which could be considered cheating despite the fact it isn't against the rules for the player to do so).

The Super Mario Bros. Movie[]

Mario movie trailer screenshot 4

Bowser in the film.

Bowser appears as the main antagonist of the 2023 animated film The Super Mario Bros. Movie. His goal is marrying Princess Peach through coercion, using Super Star that he stole from the Snow Kingdom as a bartering chip, while he and his army conquer the entire world, the Mushroom Kingdom and the other surrounding lands, including the Jungle Kingdom. Kamek is his assistant, who helps Bowser with his wedding speech and other plans. Throughout the film, he also captures Luigi, who is lost in the Dark Lands. He also tries to stop Mario, who arrives with Princess Peach to save the world and rescue Luigi.

He is voiced by Jack Black in the English version of the film, who provides a slightly deepened voice to portray the character. His voice actors in the film's dubs in other languages include Kenta Miyake in the Japanese version. In the film, Bowser is shown to be a pianist, performing the song Peaches which is about his obsession with Peach. Upon its initial release, Peaches appeared at #61 on the iTunes streaming chart, and broke into the top 15 the next day. IGN's Tom Jorgensen commended Black's performance as Bowser for being a "standout" and fitting to the character. At the 2024 Kids Choice Awards, Black's performance as Bowser won "Favorite Villain".

On voicing Bowser, Black states that he sought to portray him as hiding an insecurity or vulnerability under his threatening, "fire-breathing monster" facade. He states that his rage and fury stem from his inability to communicate and build relationships, and describes Bowser as a "jealous creature of sort of a petty sadness". He compares the character of Bowser to a "flaming Guy Fieri".

During an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show alongside cast members Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, and Keegan-Michael Key, Black wore a Bowser costume while talking about the film. He would later wear a Bowser-inspired suit to the film's premiere, featuring flames on the blazer sleeves and faux spikes on the back.

Black has said in an interview that he came up with Bowser's voice, using inspiration from Star Wars' Darth Vader, as well as testing with British and Southern accents.


Bowser apparently has a rather unrelenting obsession with Peach which causes him to kidnap her (or try to), try to force her to marry and become evil. He would also do evil things such as stealing stars (moons in Super Mario Odyssey) (in order to take over the Mushroom Kingdom with Peach) and trying to kill Mario in order to do so. In Super Mario Odyssey, he would also steal other items to do so and would kidnap Tiara as well. In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars it was shown that Bowser has made wishes such as "I wish Princess Peach would like me." In Super Paper Mario and Super Mario Odyssey, Bowser attempted to marry Peach. In the The Super Mario Bros. Movie in 2023, he also tried to destroy the Mushroom Kingdom after the attempted marriage fails which probably means he will attempt or even plan to do so if his first plan fails.

Bowser is an evil king and a stereotypical villain who usually annexes and dominates kingdoms and lands, especially the Mushroom Kingdom. As king of the Koopas, Bowser aims to dominate the world and get what he wants. Furthermore, Bowser's evil actions place him close to being a purely evil character, although he is considered a legally evil villain.

Although Bowser hates Mario and tries to destroy him so that he never ruins his evil plans, Bowser would never situationally try to destroy Mario, as said in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions where Captain Goomba says that even though Bowser hates Mario , it would be very difficult for Bowser to try to destroy Mario. Another example is in Paper Mario: The Origami King where Bowser tells Mario that they will be nothing without each other.

In Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, while in Bowser's brain, Mario, Luigi, and Starlow discover that Peach is Bowser's most well-preserved thought.

One of Bowser's signature abilities is the ability to breathe fire, seen since his first appearance. He can both shoot fireballs or fire constant stream of fire that can reach great distances.


As Bowser appeared in Super Mario Galaxy, a trading card was made. It reads:

"Mario's archnemesis returns to the Mushroom Kingdom with a dastardly plan in hand. He surprise-attacks during the Star Festival, descending in his air fleet, and kidnaps Princess Peach! He takes her and her entire castle away into the far reaches of the universe, where Mario must travel to rescue her and restore order to the Mushroom Kingdom."

List of appearances[]


Other media[]


  Main article: Bowser/gallery


Main article: Bowser/quotes


Language Name Meaning Origin
Japanese Kuppa Kuppa (Korean dish) A play on Gukbap (a spicy Korean rice and soup dish known in Japanese as Kuppa) and Kappa, the humanoid turtle Yōkai.
Spanish Rey Bowser Koopa

Genitive: Regus Bowserus Koopes

King Bowser Koopa The name is a borrowing from his English name, King Bowser.
Portuguese O Rei Bowser Koopa

Genitive: Regos Bowseros Koopes

King Bowser Koopa The name is a borrowing from his English name, King Bowser.
Italian Il Re Bowser Koópa

Genitive: Regus Bowsérus Koópes

King Bowser Koopa The name comes from his English name, King Bowser.



Yoshi's Island DS bosses
Big Burt Bros. | Gilbert the Gooey | Hector the Reflector | Big Bungee Piranha | Bessie Bass | Priscilla the Peckish | Six-Face Sal | Big Guy the Stilted | Moltz the Very Goonie | Baby Bowser | Bowser