"Wow! You're THE Mario! I know all about you! You've got more JUMP in you than a box of frogs!"
The Hero of the Mushroom Kingdom leaps into action once again to save the world. He's, unsurprisingly, the Jack of All Stats of the game and he specializes in jump and fire magic.
Abnormal Ammo: One of his weapons in the classic Mario technique of kicking a Koopa shell at the enemy. His "hidden" ultimate weapon, the Lazy Shell, has him kick a shell bigger than him.
Badass: Well, it's Mario, after all. He was beating up monsters three times his size long before this game; now he just gets to do it with a wider variety of weapons.
Badass Mustache: Mario's mustache earns admiration from his fans and scorn from his enemies at various points in the game.
Drop the Hammer: The Hammer, Masher, Super Hammer and Ultra Hammer. The first is even the first weapon you find for him.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: An almost pointed aversion. Almost everyone you meet knows who Mario is, and while they're informal since he's a known Nice Guy, they treat him with the respect and admiration deserved by one who saves the world for a day job. He's so famous in fact, his trademark Jump serves to confirm his identity on a few occasions - a Snifit in Seaside Town considers a jump from him as accurate identification, and Booster's Snifits assume he just looks like Mario until he jumps and they realize it's actually him.
Equippable Ally: One of Bowser's weapons allows him to throw Mario at the enemy.
Evolving Attack: Though he learns six magic attacks, they're basically just powered up versions of the two base attacks: Jump, Super Jump, Ultra Jump, and Fire Orb, Super Flame, Ultra Flame.
His basic jump attack also gets more powerful as you use it more.
Good Old Fisticuffs: His base unarmed attack and Punch Glove have him do two and three-hit punch combos.
The Hero: Your main character, the all-around good guy, and the one everyone follows and pins their hopes on.
Heroic Mime: He pantomimes, even to the point of shapeshifting into other characters to act out what he would otherwise be saying.
Lampshaded at the beginning by Toad asking Mario "what's with the silent treatment".
It even extends to his clone during the second battle with Belome, as his Psychopath thought is "..."
Lightning Bruiser: With his exclusive best equipment, the Lazy Shell and Attack Scarf, he becomes bar-none the most powerful character in the game.
Kleptomaniac Hero: You can get called out on it - after assisting a man to his house in Rose Town, he asks if the treasure chests in his house are safe. If you tell them someone took them he's Genre Savvy enough to realize only Mario could jump high enough to get them, and you have the option to come clean about it.
Megaton Punch: Mega Glove has him throw his basic one-two combo with gigantic fists instead.
"Iím Mallow from Tadpole Pond. Iím a frog, but can you believe it? I canít jump. Embarrassing huh?"
A "tadpole" from Tadpole Pond who came to the Mushroom Kingdom on an errand, to his utter shock and horror he's told he isn't a tadpole, and joins Mario to find his real family. He's the resident Squishy Wizard who has lots of magical abilities deriving from the weather.
An Ice Person: Snowy creates a blizzard, then drops a snowman on enemies.
Badass Adorable: He looks like a walking marshmallow with a cheery smile and a childlike disposition. He's also a magic slinging badass whose weakest attack is summoning lighting storms from cloudless skies!
Black Mage: Awful physical stats but powerful offensive magic. Being a Squaresoft/Square Enix project, this is an intentional decision — note his striped pants that many Black Mages of Final Fantasy wear.
Boring, but Practical: Thunderbolt is the only Herd Hitting Attack you have access to until around Land's End when other people begin to learn them, and with a timed hit and good training to Mallow's magic it's pretty effective. The only other attack up to then that can hit all enemies is Bowser's Terrorize, but his magic attacks are nowhere near as strong as Mallow's.
Colony Drop: His ultimate attack, Star Rain, drops a giant star on enemies.
Crutch Character: He's useful early on since he has the only magic attack that hits all enemies and he has a healing spell, but later on, his usefulness takes a hit due to Geno's more powerful magic attacks that hit all enemies as well as Geno's magic being Non-Elemental, which ignores the risk of any enemy strengths (tough the enemies can also be weak to those elements).
As for healing, Peach is vastly better at it, being capable of healing the entire party at once, as well as bringing characters back from the dead.
Informed Flaw: Everyone, including Mallow himself, says he's sort of a crybaby, but he only cries three times in the entire game, and all for pretty understandable reasons. Granted, that's three more times than any other character, so he may have a point.
Interspecies Adoption: Mallow was adopted by Frogfucius, and grew up believing he was a "frog that can't jump".
Oblivious Adoption: He doesn't realize he's not a frog. No one else in his hometown seemed to notice either, since even the tadpoles rush to hear when Frogfucious reveals the truth.
Happily Adopted: Until he found out the truth and was sent with Mario to learn his true origins and help him on his quest, it's implied he had a perfectly happy life in Tadpole Pond, and for sure he and Frogfucious were as close as any blood relatives. Even after finding out who his real parents are, he still refers to Frogfucious as "Grandpa".
Kid Hero: He's very young but is Mario's first ally.
The Klutz: There are occasions throughout the game where he trips and falls flat on his face.
Moses in the Bullrushes: How Frogfucious adopted him. The old frog found a basket with a baby Mallow going down the river.
White Mage: He's a temporary one before Toadstool joins the party, as until then he's the only one with any healing spells.
"I serve... a higher authority... That Star Piece belongs to everyone. You can't keep it."
A representative spirit from Star Road sent to find the Star Pieces, he takes up residence in the body of a doll and makes it grow to life size to use as a body. He's a reliable and trustworthy ally, and provides plenty of exposition.
Wave Motion Gun: Geno Flash fires a projectile so large it almost fills the screen.
"I'm gonna do something I may regret later...! But I'm gonna let you join the Koopa Troop. You can thank me later..."
The leader of the Koopa Troop and Mario's archnemesis got booted out of his home when Exor crashed into it. Now he's decided to let Mario join the Koopa Troop to work together to smash Smithy. He's primarily a physical attacker and Mighty Glacier. His magic is weak compared to Mallow's or Geno's, but it can cause Standard Status Effects.
Badass: He's Bowser, after all. His comic relief and Pet the Dog moments do nothing to hide the fact he's a dinosaur-turtle covered in spikes who rips enemies apart with his claws.
Benevolent Boss: Yes, Bowser of all people is shown as this. The handful of his former henchmen you meet up with over the course of the game apologize for abandoning him, but Bowser is universally forgiving of them, wishes them well in their new lives, and they're very willing to help him out.
Fastball Special: The Hurly Gloves involves chucking Mario at an enemy. Judging from the way Mario is flailing his arms around when Bowser throws him, he's never expecting it either.
Goomba Stomp: Taking a page from his rival's book, his ultimate magic "Bowser Crush" calls a giant Mecha-Koopa to bounce across the battlefield stomping enemies.
Hidden Depths: One scene shows him reciting poetry (a haiku he wrote himself, in fact). It's not good poetry, but...
Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: He's prone to crying in his more vulnerable moments, his troops gradually desert him, and his attempts to command respect from others as he insists he's the realBig Bad of the land are always Played for Laughs. The beginning of the game is practically an Affectionate Parody of how ineffective he is, with Mario foiling his latest kidnapping scheme and saving Toadstool in the span of five minutes from when he leaves his home.
Slave to PR: Though he's been ousted from power, he still goes through great lengths to put on an air of power and intimidation. Several points in the game we see his inner musings on how to go about helping Mario and/or asking Mario for help while still saving face as a villain.
"I'm the biggest, baddest brute around, and don't you forget it. But if Mario hears that I've been kicked out of my own castle... My reputation will be ruined! Even I have an image to keep up you know!"
The Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom has been kidnapped again, but this time she isn't content to sit back and let Mario do the heroism once he rescues her. She's the White Mage of the group, thus, your primary healer.
Action Girl: Believe it or not, Princess Toadstool becomes surprisingly competent in this game!
Adaptational Badass: She's not up to the level of Mario or Bowser, but Toadstool in this game is still a lot more badass than her constant kidnappings in prior games would have you expect.
Level-grind her, and you'll quickly forget she's supposed to be your cleric.
Rebellious Princess: She's not very confrontational about it, though; she just has her grandmother agree to impersonate her and sneaks out of her bedroom window, floating down with her parasol to join Mario's group.
The loyal retainer to the Mushroom crown, he pops up periodically to help Mario out with advice.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He somehow makes his way through Bowser's Castle and to the final hallway of Smithy's Factory on his own to sell Mario items to help him in the final battles.
Distressed Dude: In Mushroom Way at the start of the game, after that he mostly stays home.
Took a Shortcut: ...Except during those times he inexplicably shows up to give you items no matter where you are. He even shows up at Smithy's factory, which is an area rife with powerful enemies. In another dimension.
A master martial artist living in Monstro Town. He's found as the mentor to one of Bowser's old-minions and will allow Mario to challenge him, giving up his title as master of the dojo if defeated three times.
Bonus Boss: Fighting or even entering his dojo is entirely optional.
Flash Step: Quicksilver has him warp behind party members to attack.
I Let You Win: The first two times you fight him, he holds back to avoid hurting you too badly. After the second time he recognizes your power is greater than he thought and goes all-out in the third round.
Old Master: He's a bit on in years, but he hasn't lost any of his skills.
One-Hit KO: Silver Bullet. Additionally many of his normal attacks are strong enough to do this if you don't block them.
Pintsized Power House: He's not much bigger than Gaz's dolls. Doesn't stop him from kicking your ass around the dojo.
"What're YOU lookin' at? If you wanna challenge me, you have to bring Cookies!"
A blue Yoshi on Yo'ster Isle, he's the current champion of the Mushroom Derby, so he sets the rules about competing. Unfortunately he only accepts one-on-one races, so the other Yoshis can't compete like they love until someone beats him.
Recurring Boss: You face him twice, and can encounter him twice more after.
Wake-Up Call Boss: He's the second mini-boss in the game, and following the first you naturally wouldn't expect much. This line of thinking proves fatal if you thought to just breeze though Bandit's Way without leveling up Mario and Mallow.
Villainous Friendship: In the ending sequence, he apparently bonds with Boshi after Yoshi beats Croco in a race.
"Ooh! Room service has been kind to me! Where's my bib?"
Another monster of ambiguous design who guards the Kero Sewers, he has a huge tongue and an appetite to match.
Enemy Summoner: In the second battle he can clone party members by tasting them.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: His appearance in the Kero Sewers is foreshadowed, with Mallow saying Frogfucious warned him about Belome. However, his reappearance in Land's End in a golden underground temple dedicated to him was a bit out of left field, and has no bearing on the plot except to provide a boss fight at the end of the area.
Load-Bearing Boss: Defeating him in the Kero Sewers causes the sewers to flood as the floodgate opens. Justified as he was standing on the switch keeping it shut.
"Good day. The name's Nello...PUNCHINELLO!"
A bomb-happy... thing lurking in the Moleville mines, he attacks Mario to try and get some recognition.
Enemy Summoner: Throughout the fight he summons Bob-ombs to aid him, summoning ever larger ones as he gets lower on HP. Unlike other bosses of this type though, his bombs will charge you and self-destruct if left alone, so if you try to leave one alive after killing the others so he doesn't summon more, it won't work.
Mad Bomber: When you encounter him he's randomly throwing bombs around his chamber, and it's possible the other Bob-ombs in the mine were his doing since they're also in the chamber.
Sixth Ranger: In essence, to the Smithy Gang. He is not a member (signified by lack of a Machine Made copy in their factory), but he's the only non-member to guard a Star Piece, and like the other members is closely associated with a particular type of weapon and resembles that weapon in appearance — obviously, bombs.
Snifit 1: Booster really, really, REALLY likes beetles! But he can't catch his own. Snifit 2: That's right, he's busy keeping the princess from the sky entertained. Snifit 3: So we're catching beetles for him.
Cloudcuckoolander: He lives in a giant tower full of toys, rides around on an electric train set, believes that Toadstool's tears are signs she's "sprung a leak", and he has to have his Snifits explain to him what a party is (and judging from their description, they're not entirely sure themselves).
"My bride-to-be is chanting 'MARIOHELPMEMARIOHELPME'. Is she showing her happiness?"
"I wonder when my next bride will fall from the sky?" This happens.When Valentina flies off, she has to land somewhere eventually...
Cool Train: Consider the unseen rail system he must have to be able to ride it up and down the tower.
Train Fu: If you mess up the final minigame in his tower you face him and all his Snifits together, and his strongest attack is to jump on his train and ram it into a party member.
Anti-Villain: He's a shark and a pirate, but has an obvious sense of honor and nobility — he can challenge Mario to a one-on-one duel, when defeated allows him to take the Star Piece and leaves peacefully, and when he hears Yaridovich has snatched it from you he arrives to stop him from running so you can beat him up and take it back.
Duel Boss: Optional. He challenges Mario to a one-on-one fight, but only if the player kills off all his Mook henchmen.
Flunky Boss: He enters battle alongside four of his pirates, but unlike other enemies there's a reason he doesn't bother to call in more, as the next trope explains.
Honor Before Reason: He manages to reverse it on the party — he challenges Mario to a one-on-one duel but only after your party of three take out his four Mooks that accompany him, and when he himself has taken enough damage. Essentially, by the time he becomes a Duel Boss, it's clear to the player and him that continuing the three-on-one fight will end with his defeat, but he has a better chance in a fair one-on-one bout. The player is furthermore never given the chance to refuse, Mario always accepts.
Shark Man: It's hinted by journals you find in the ship that he was the captain of the sunken ship before it went down, and he and his men were transformed somehow.
Threatening Shark: Subverted. He isn't a bad guy at all really—he hands you the Star Piece after defeat and helps prevent Yaridovich's escape so that the party can fight him and get the Star Piece back. Also, Mario invaded his ship to find the Star, so when you think about it he was just defending himself and his prize rather than being openly hostile.
Sequential Boss: In a sense. She summons Dodo to whisk your center party member away for a one-on-one fight, then when Dodo is beaten he runs off. Then your two remaining party members fight Valentina for a while, until Dodo and your other party member return to join the fight on their respective sides.
"Will you accept my challenge? You will enter combat against me?"
A Dark Knight from the alternate dimension of Vanda in servitude to a Dark Mage, he planned to conquer Mario's world but found it isn't suitable to his kind, so he departs, but first asks Mario for a battle. He attacks with four elemental Crystals.
Affably Evil: His entire demeanor is friendly and polite even as he casually tells you he was planning to conquer your world but has decided to call it off.
Art Shift: A big clue that he's not of this world is that he uses the traditional Final Fantasy style 2-D walking sprite in the field, with a more detailed static sprite in battle. By contrast, the other characters of the game use 2.5-D isometric sprites that walk in place in-battle, and most of them look the same in or out of battle.
I am matter. I am antimatter. I can see your past. I can see your future. I consume time...and I will consume YOU!
Bigger Bad: He and his master were planning to conquer Mario's world, and if the rest of his world is full of people like him, they'd do it. But it's uninhabitable for their kind, so they're leaving it alone.
An animated giant bow who set up base in the Forest Maze, he terrorizes Rose Town by firing paralyzing arrows at the helpless citizens.
Annoying Arrows: In a nice case of Gameplay and Story Integration, the player can routinely see arrows fired into Rose Town and the Forest Maze, and if hit with one, like the NPCs Mario will be stunned, though only momentarily.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Unlike most of his cohorts, Bowyer doesn't find it fair that the party gangs up on him three-on-one. He fixes the problem by locking the button command the player's used most, often preventing them from using healing items or attacking, depending on which command he uses.
Evil Redhead: He has a shock of red hair and is completely nuts.
For the Evulz: Unlike Mack and Yaridovich, Bowyer had no real reason for attacking Rose Town except for the fun of target practice.
Interface Screw: Whichever button you use most gets locked down for two or three turns at a time.
Cowardly Boss: It takes Johnny Jones and his men cornering him to get him to hold still and fight.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: He's the first of the gang to realize that letting Mario and co. gather the Star Pieces might be detrimental to their places. He catches onto Mario's pattern of visiting towns and thus impersonates the people of Seaside Town and gets Mario to retrieve the next Star Piece for him. If not for Johnny's intervention, he might've actually gotten away scot-free too.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Besides the Musical Spoiler of the "troubled town" theme playing when you first visit, it's quite obvious there's something more than a bit strange about Seaside Town when Yaridovich is playing as its citizens.
Professional Butt-Kisser: While disguised as Seaside Town's elder, he claims that "pleasing his superiors" is something he does well. He later says that if he brings the star to Smithy he'll get "brownie points", which are the way to get ahead.
Wake-Up Call Boss: Which is saying something if you fought Johnny the hard way; Yaridovich even comes right after him. If you haven't brushed up on your healing and buffing moves/items and how their timed hits work (or have grinded your levels heavily), he will end you.
The Axem Rangers
"We fight for evil!" "We live for disorder!" "We like what we do!" "We struggle for chaos!" "We are..." "THE AXEM RANGERS!"
— In order; Axem Red, Axem Black, Axem Green, Axem Pink, Axem Yellow, the entire group
Commanding Smithy's airship Blade, they attack Mario in Barrel Volcano to steal the sixth Star Piece from him.
All Your Colors Combined: They're a color coded team, but their attacks do not reflect this. But after the team is individually, they pour their power into the Blade so it can fire the white Breaker Beam
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Whenever a Star Piece is located it rises up, spins around Mario's head for several seconds and then drops into his hands. The Axem Rangers snatch the star during the process, leaving Mario to look around wondering what happened before he notices them.
Flash Step: Axem Black moves so fast he leaves multiple images as he sweeps in to attack. Of course, given that the game is a turn-based battle system, this is mostly just Rule of Cool, although it can help illustrate why he's able to attack in-between your turns...
Shoot the Medic First: Axem Pink heals her allies, she has the lowest HP, and she can turn the party into Mushrooms. Invoking this trope is highly advised. The official strategy guide for the game even advises this.
Their Japanese name, Kajio Sentai Onoranger, uses the same naming scheme as almost every Super Sentai seasons (there are onlyfourexceptionstotal): Blank Sentai Blank, the second Blank usually ending in -nger or -man.
Wolf Pack Boss: If you faced any of them alone they'd probably die in one round. But together...
This is reflected with the Machine Made copies of the gang in Smithy's Factory. The Axem Rangers come in two groups, one consisting of Red, Pink and Green, the other of two Blacks and two Yellows, and their copies are more numerous than Mack, Bowyer or Yaridovich.
"HALT! Who goes there!? A Tresspasser!"
A giant sword that crashed into Bowser's castle and shattered the Star Road, its mouth acts as a gateway between the Mushroom Kingdom and Smithy's world.
BFS: If you don't understand that this is his weapon motif, you haven't been getting enough sleep.
Climax Boss: Though all the gang members are fought at the end of the respective worlds, Exor is notable for being the final boss of the Mushroom Kingdom before The Reveal that he's just a gateway to Smithy's world and the game continues on there.
Cognizant Limbs: "Exor" is actually the tip of the sword's handle, the other targets in the battle are the two eyes and mouth, the latter of which is named "Neosquid" for some reason.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: He collapses the bridge to Bowser's Keep right after claiming it in the name of the Smithy Gang to keep "nosy" Mario out of their new stronghold.
Fascinating Eyebrow: A rather odd instance, this is the animation used for the eyes when they attack.
Non-Lethal K.O.: Its eyes and mouth can't be permanently killed, they sit out a few turns then regenerate.
One-Hit KO: A perfectly timed Geno Whirl can kill Exor in one hit, the only boss vulnerable to this.
Red Herring: You never learn his name until you actually fight him near the end of the game. Thinking that he is Smithy is an understandable mistake. This is not helped by commercials for the game directly referring to "Smithy the Sword."
Drop the Hammer: His weapon motif. Yep, even the creator of the gang has one.
Enemy Summoner: Smelter spits out a blob of goo, Smithy pounds it into a Mook to assist him. Rinse, repeat. And, if the conveyor belts running out of his lair are an indicator, Smithy also personally created every other member of the Smithy Gang himself. Thankfully, those Machine Made copies of the gang's elite members aren't called in to help him during the final battles.
Fire, Ice, Lightning: The Mask Head is weak against ice, the Tank Head is weak against electricity, and the Treasure Head is weak against fire.
Flat Character: He's given very little backstory and personality besides being a distant Evil Overlord who wants to conquer the world. He says his desire is to fill the world with his weapons, and he actively hopes the Star Road is not repaired and that wishes will continue to go ungranted, but aside from The Evulz he doesn't express much reason for doing what he does.
Smithy On His Assembly Line: Played with. On the one hand, Smithy himself does little. On the other hand, he's actively sending out minions to conquer the world, and once he finds out about the Star Pieces he turns his attention to snatching them before Mario can. And since it's implied Smithy is the one creating all of his minions one at a time, he clearly has his hands full at home and doesn't have time to go about business personally.
Unstoppable Rage: The main reason he goes One-Winged Angel is that he's so utterly pissed off that Mario and co defeated him in the first round. The fact that he also unwittingly broke his own factory in his rage and forced him into what seems to be a boiler room also doesn't help quell his temper either.
Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The Mushroom Kingdom and outlying regions are, as you'd expect, colorful and lively with all manner of cartoonish creatures, and even the members of the Smithy Gang fit with this atmosphere...then you get to Smithy's Factory◊.
Villainous Breakdown: He loses it when Mario and his allies beat him in the first round, sending him in an Unstoppable Rage and causing him to slam his hammer down so hard it destroys the floor.
Worthy Opponent: Smithy possibly sees Mario and co. as this, as his psychopath thought is "Eh? Not bad!".