Analysis: Super Paper Mario
This is a work in progress. Adding to it and editing it would be appreciated! The Power of Love Super Paper Mario is a love story. From the grand story of the Starcrossed Lovers that drives the plot, to the NPC in Flipside pining away for her lover who's addicted to gambling, nearly every character in the game discusses or shows love. The boss battles in the game are, with a few exceptions, symbols of love being corrupted in some fashion. The Wedding The game begins with the forced marriage of Bowser and Princess Peach, conducted by Count Bleck. While marriage is usually a pure and beautiful ceremony, an act of creation, this wedding is used only to begin the destruction of the universe. Neither of these characters truly love each other, (though it has been heavily implied that Bowser legitimately likes Peach, but not to the point of love, and it's definitely not true the other way around) so it becomes an abhorrent act. Conversely, Blumiere and Timpani love each other dearly, and their love saves the universe. Francis Francis is probably the most subtle example of a boss representing corrupted love. It's clear as you play through Bitlands that he's very lonely, and has directed his affection towards physical things (like anime and dolls) in the place of real people (and, as one of the questions to get into his room indicates, has lost the few friends he has over these physical things). When he finds Tippi, he's so lonely he captures the talking butterfly and treats it exactly like he would any of the other physical things he has. When Peach shows up, he mistakes the attraction he has to her for full-on romantic love, and tries to treat her (once again) like one of his physical things, in this case a Visual Novel. In the end, none of his physical things make him any happier, and Peach beats the crap out of him. Note that you can meet an ex-toy collector in Flipside - he says he gave up all that when he realized it didn't make him happy, and ended up getting married. He also still owns some of the cute stuff - this reinforces the idea that you can have fun things like that, and still be sane. The Pure Hearts As a device to drive the plot, it's suitable for Mario to be searching for "pure hearts."