Ensemble Darkhorse / Super Mario Bros.

Given its status as a Long Runner, the Mario series was bound to get more than a handful of popular characters.

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    Main series characters 
  • Bowser's original seven children, the Koopalings, were a well loved Quirky Miniboss Squad that appeared before being replaced by Bowser Jr. Their surprise return in New Super Mario Bros. Wii made many nostalgic fans happy, even if some are annoyed that they appeared in so many games after that.
  • Waluigi started out as a character solely to mirror Mario & Wario's rivalry by giving Luigi an enemy and completely lacking a personality beyond being overconfident and narcissistic. Since then, Waluigi has steadily increased in popularity over the years, even earning himself an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an Assist Trophy. The biggest reason he's so popular is thanks to Brawl in the Family, where the fans of the series were able to see Waluigi in a different (crazier and funnier) look. He also became more of a mischievous trickster with some bits of Tragic Villain and Butt Monkey as more games came out, giving him an overall better characterization other than just being a "rival to Luigi", got awesome music and stages to his name (particularly Waluigi Pinball in Mario Kart DS), and got more hilarious animations and roles in the games he appeared in. All of this with the Mario series constantly pulling in new fans who didn't have to deal with his early Scrappy moments, have been responsible for his more positive reception, even if he still is a Base-Breaking Character.
  • Wart, the Big Bad from Super Mario Bros. 2 has many fans eagerly awaiting for him to make a return. The only other appearance he makes is a cameo in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and a mention in Paper Mario: Color Splash.
  • Rosalina was very popular among the fans of the series, mainly thanks to her being one of the only, if not the only female in the main series that is not a Damsel in Distress and has more character and personality to her. Since her debut, she has appeared in several spin-off titles, was an unlockable character in Super Mario 3D World, and even became playable in Super Smash Bros., possibly the highest honor for any Nintendo character. Nowadays, she's more along the lines of a Base-Breaking Character, thanks to overshadowing several longer standing characters.
  • In addition to being one in-universe, Luigi used to be one, and the best example at that. However, Nintendo caught on, and he's now presented as an equal partner to Mario, to the point that The Year of Luigi was celebrated in his honor. He's also been a perfect attendee in Super Smash Bros. as an unlockable character in the first three to prominently featuring in the fourth's advertising as a reflection of his huge popularity (The first game even states he's secretly popular in his biography).
  • Less a character and more a species, but Boos have been hugely popular for years with their Creepy Cute design. Notably, they're the first (and so far only) enemy to get an amiibo. Their leader King Boo is also very popular among fans, especially for his role as the Big Bad in the Luigi's Mansion series. He was playable in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart Wii, and appeared as a boss in Mario Kart DS. He returned to the series as a playable character in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, pleasing fans that were disappointed of his absence in Mario Kart 8.

    RPG characters 

    Yoshi characters 

    Donkey Kong characters 

    Wario characters 
  • Wario was one until he became a Breakout Character and got his own series. He's particularly well-liked due to his Awesome Ego and anti-heroic qualities, making him a rare gray character in the Marioverse.
  • Ashley the Cute Witch from the WarioWare series has only appeared in a few games to date, but she's easily one of the most popular characters in the franchise. As are 9-Volt and 18-Volt. Why? Because their mini games are all based on classic Nintendo franchises. How can anyone not like mini games/microgames based on Super Mario Bros., Zelda and Metroid?
  • Captain Syrup has a sizable fanbase for being the first female Big Bad in the Mario expanded universe.