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This page is for King Bowser Koopa, the Big Bad of the Super Mario Bros. franchise.


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bowser2.png
GWA-HA-HA! It's good to be king!
"Yo! I kidnapped the princess while you were running around. She's here in my castle if you dare to try and rescue her."

Voiced by (English): Harvey Atkin (The Super Mario Bros Super Show!, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World), Rob Wallace (Mario is Missing and Mario's Time Machine, CD-ROM versions), Mark Graue (Hotel Mario), Scott Burns (video games, 2002-2008, 2010), Eric Newsome (Super Paper Mario), Kenny James (2005, 2007-present)
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Voiced by (Japanese): Akiko Wada (The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach!), Masaharu Satō (original video animations), Takeshi Watabe (Super Mario World: Mario & Yoshi's Adventure Land), Naoki Tatsuta (Satellaview games), Takanobu Hozumi (Japanese DVD dub of the live-action film), Hiroshi Arikawa (Japanese TV dub of the live-action film)
Portrayed by: Christopher Collinsnote  (original), Patrick Pinney (second) (King Koopa's Kool Kartoons), Dennis Hopper (live-action film)

The Big Bad of the franchise, Bowser constantly comes up with various schemes and plots to either defeat the Mario Bros., capture Princess Peach, take over the Mushroom Kingdom (or the world or the universe), or all three at the same time. Unfortunately for him, almost all of his plans fail due to the interference of the Mario Bros.

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Bowser has varied a lot throughout the years, from a simple conqueror from another kingdom, a funny villain, a threat to the entire universe, or playing games with his supposed arch-enemy.


Tropes associated with Bowser:

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    Tropes #-E 
  • 100% Adoration Rating: Bowser's people follow him not out of fear, but out of respect and admiration, and they are just as loyal to him as the people of the Mushroom Kingdom are to Peach.
  • Absurdly Youthful Father: Bowser is old enough to be the father of a child as young a Bowser Jr, but if the Koopalings are also Bowser's children (such as during the Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World periods), it complicates things. Bowser is only a few years older than Mario (who is 24), and the Koopalings seem to be teenagers or young adults.
  • Achilles' Heel: Bowser is extremely tough and it seems nothing in the universe can stop him, except the Mario Brothers (or Princess Peach).
  • Acrofatic: In spite of his body build, he can jump as high as Mario, among other things. In fact, he often is able to jump higher than Mario. He can even run faster than Mario in Super Mario 64 (but only when charging) and Super Mario Galaxy. Of course, it helps that most of his bulk seems to be muscle instead of fat, not unlike how The Kingpin's built.
  • Actually a Doombot: He uses a decoy in Mario Party: Island Tour. Once you beat it, the real Bowser ambushes you and knocks you off the tower. Also used in his first appearance — if you defeat the Bowsers in the first seven kingdoms with fireballs, they transform into a different enemy, the implication being that it was one of Bowser's troops disguised as him.
    • There's also the one in Luigi's Mansion, except it's meant to throw the player for a loop as Bowser has absolutely nothing to do with King Boo's plans for the plumbers.
  • Adipose Rex: In both senses of the word, no less.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom:
    • In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, after defeating Bowser the first time, Kamek uses his magic to make Bowser bigger. Mario must avoid Bowser as he chases him through a lava filled level until he reaches a button and presses it to make Bowser fall into the lava.
    • In New Super Mario Bros. 2, after defeating Bowser (or Dry Bowser), the Koopalings us their magic to make him bigger. Mario must climb up platforms while avoiding Bowser's fire breath and claw swipes until he reaches a switch to make Bowser fall.
    • Most notably in Super Mario 3D World. The final battle is mainly Mario and co. attempting to climb the tower while avoiding Bowser (or Meowser), who constantly attacks them in an attempt to knock them off. And when he's been knocked off the tower the first time, he'll use a Double Cherry powerup to split into multiple copies of himself to continue the assault from practically every angle. The music also becomes faster and more intense as you near the top.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Bowser really ought to know better than to kidnap Princess Peach, but where's the fun in that?
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: This is his plan for Peach, since he both wants control over the Mushroom Kingdom and to be with his Villainous Crush. This is especially apparent in Super Mario Odyssey, where he outright intends on forcibly marrying her.
  • And This Is for...: When Bowser arrives with his fleet to bombard Peach's Castle in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, he says he does it as retaliation for the Mario Bros. beating his son.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Thinking he's alone, after being defeated by Smithy, he allows himself to get emotional thinking about the "good old days". He starts reminiscing when it was just him kidnapping Peach, and Mario always coming to her rescue. He gets teary-eyed, but pulls himself together when he realizes Mario and the gang are nearby.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: The original Bowser was this great hulking brute who lumbered around like a dinosaur and maneuvered like a drunken hippo... and then the Gamecube era began and Bowser was redesigned, now capable of walking erect and increasingly impressive athletic stunts. The original, hulking Bowser is never shown any more, so it's not uncommon to find people who think that Super Smash Bros. made him more monstrous in appearance rather than realizing it's actually maintaining his original character design. And even then, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U updated that Bowser to be more upright and athletic, in-line with his newer look.
  • Anti-Hero: When someone else is trying to take over the world, he will sometimes work with Mario. He makes it clear that his motives for doing so are entirely selfish.
  • Anti-Villain: Miyamoto believes the minimum story for a Mario game is fighting a villain, beating him, and then finding out the villain isn't so bad after all.
  • Arch-Enemy: He and Mario have been fighting since they were children, with no end in sight.
  • Art Evolution: Aside from his one-time only Bald of Evil, he went from having short limbs and mostly orange skin to having longer limbs and mostly yellow skin. Incidentally, the increase in limb-length coincided with his fighting style emphasizing more melee moves rather than solely fire-breathing.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Whenever he has grown to an enormous size.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The king of the Koopas and by far and away the most powerful.
  • Back from the Dead: His Dry Bowser form, which was created when he actually died in the first battle of New Super Mario Bros.
  • Badass Armfold: He does this pose in the artworks of Super Mario World, Super Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Super Mario 3D World. Also in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, just before he finishes off Dark Bowser.
  • Badass Army: The Koopa Troop has accomplished some impressive feats over the years. They've conquered the Mushroom Kingdom twice, assaulted the Star Spirits, and stolen from Rosalina, who has goddess-like powers. In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story Bowser can summon them to aid him in battle. If it weren't for the Mario Bros., Bowser would probably win.
  • Badass Boast: "Hear this! I will kidnap Peach OVER and OVER again until I pull it off! And no one can stop me! Losing is not an option! And neither is giving up! I'll be back! Mario! Green Sta- I mean... Luigi!"
  • Badass Cape:
    • In at least two pieces of Super Mario Bros. 3 promotional material, Bowser is portrayed as having a purple cape, along with a gem on his collar. This carried over, sans gem, to his appearance in the Super Mario Amada anime.
    • Concept art for Paper Mario: Color Splash reveals that The Black Paint would have initially disguised itself as a cape for Bowser
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Super Mario Odyssey has him sport a badass white suit with a matching top hat for his forced marriage to Peach.
  • Badass in Charge: He's the supreme ruler of Koopa Troop and capable of stomping anyone.
  • Badbutt: Typically, he can come across as this - being one of the more extreme characters in a saccharine franchise. He's also especially this in the RPGs, with his hammy commentary and incredulous feats.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In Mario Party: Island Tour, there's no way to beat him as he keeps knocking you off the top floor.
  • Balloon Belly: Gains a massive amount of weight after being forcefed a massive amount of food by Boos under the control of Fawful in Bowser's Inside Story. He loses the weight not long after, but he can gain it back if the player returns to the area and eats some of the leftovers and then put it off again by doing a few sit-ups at increasing speeds.
  • Benevolent Boss: His minions don't follow him out of fear; they follow him out of respect and admiration. In Super Mario RPG, he does not demand the defectors he finds to return to his command, but is happy for their new lives. Though that's not to say they aren't nervous about his reactions to their failure. Even his son, Bowser Jr., voiced his fear of angering his father for giving up another Grand Star. But then again, nobody in their right mind would want to piss off a giant turtle demon unless they were an ass-kicking plumber.
    • In Mario & Luigi Dream Team, he basically forgives the Elite Trio for screwing up so bad, and barely even gives his forgiveness of their actions a second chance, simply demanding they leave him alone and get back to work, a sign that they got their jobs back. Say what you will about him as a person, but Bowser is fairly forgiving.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Just mentioning Mario's name is enough to get him riled up.
    • Hearing about anyone else muscling in on his territory (mainly world domination and kidnapping Princess Peach) will make him steamed because that's his thing.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Bowser is almost always boisterous and hammy, but can be very competent or threatening in many of his appearances. He has attempted to, and nearly succeeded in, destroying and remaking all of reality in Super Mario Galaxy, and literally punches an Eldritch Abomination to death in Bowser's Inside Story. If he didn't have Mario as an opponent, he'd be unstoppable. Cracked even has a list of 5 Reasons Bowser Is The Most Successful Video Game Character.
  • Big Bad: Of the series and entire franchise. One of the most famous.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate:
    • With Antasma in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. Up until he betrays Antasma, having anticipated that Antasma was probably only going to use him, and leaves him at the mercy of the Mario Brothers.
    • He forms one with his own paper self in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. They both plan to betray each other late in the game, but it doesn't happen, and their alliance lasts until the very end, where they team up to fight the two Marios and Luigi.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: In the various RPGs, save the first Paper Mario, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, where he is often put into the hero position to stop the game's Big Bad. Averted in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, where he solidly outclasses Antasma for the role of the main antagonist, especially since M&L veterans have probably got used to him playing second-fiddle to the RPG villain of the week. He's also the Big Bad in Paper Mario: Color Splash, but is Not Himself due to being corrupted by the Black Paint.
  • Big Eater: Especially in Bowser's Inside Story, where he loves meat and drumsticks.
  • Big Entrance: Naturally, befitting his royal status, Bowser's arrival is always treated as magnificent.
  • Big Fun: The final stage of Super Mario 3D World is an amusement park built in his own image. In most of the spinoffs he's this, but it's taken up to eleven with Mario Party 10, where the giant Koopa is having a party, and everyone is forcibly invited.
  • The Big Guy: Serves as this when on Mario's team, as well as the Boisterous Bruiser.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Bowser has a pair of big, red and bushy eyebrows that contributes to his Obviously Evil Appearance by always curving downwards.
  • Bigger on the Inside: What friend and foe alike discover if he inhales them via his vacuum breath, that they're no bigger than microorganisms within Bowser's internal anatomy.
  • Book-Ends: In Super Smash Bros. Melee, the Event Matches lets him play this one. Event 1: Trouble King - one-on-one between Bowser and Mario. Event 51: The Showdown — Ganondorf, Mewtwo, and Giga Bowser gang up on a character of the player's choice.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: A notable offender, as almost every game where he's a boss have him getting defeated by axe switches, spiked bombs, destroyable floors, etc., that are all present in his arenas for no discernible reason.
  • Boss Remix: Averted in Sticker Star, where both of his battle themes are different from his Leitmotif, but played straight in Color Splash, where it is remixed for his first fight and can be heard in his second.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The black paint takes control of him in Paper Mario: Color Splash.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: He sometimes does this, ranging from telling Mario to "keep that control stick smokin'" to sometimes flying into the screen.
  • Breakout Villain: Mario fought with other villains such as Donkey Kong, Foreman Spike, and other assorted baddies before Bowser showed in the franchise's most popular game. After that, he became the series' main nemesis. Due to the series' success, he's become one of the most memorable and recognizable Nintendo villains in all of gaming. He's also got an increasing number of playable appearances; from being a party member in some of the RPGs, as the main character of Bowser's Inside Story and the Bowser-centric Bowser Party in Mario Party 10 and, finally, to being a playable Capture enemy in the last segment of Super Mario Odyssey, marking the first time he's playable in a main series title.
  • Breath Weapon: In almost all of his appearances — but, strangely, not once in Super Mario RPG.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Often in the RPGs, which play up his hamminess.
  • Butt-Monkey: While not having it nearly as bad as Luigi does, he does have some unfortunate moments. This was played straight with the RPGs as well, but it seems to have been subverted at this rate, at least in terms of the Mario & Luigi series.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: He loves being evil. This is especially prevalent in the cartoons, where he almost constantly gloats about what an evil villain he is.
  • Cartoon Creature: He's a Koopa, but he barely has any resemblance to his own species and isn't readily identifiable with any one other species. At a glance, he looks like a dragon mixed with an ox and turtle, while having features of crocodile and dinosaur sandwiched in.
  • Catch-Phrase:
    • In the first cartoon series: "Koopa Pack, ATTACK!"
    • "He who koops and runs away lives to koop another day!"
    • In the actual games (especially Mario Party), "I'll remember this!"
  • Cats Are Mean: As Meowser in Super Mario 3D World.
  • Chained by Fashion: More like cuffed by fashion.
  • Characterization Marches On: He didn't have much personality until the RPGs came along.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • The first Super Mario Bros. was very straightforward. Fighting your way through Bowser's forces until you faced him. He seemed to have learned his lesson in Super Mario Bros. 3 by sending in the Koopalings to capture the lesser kingdoms and kidnap Peach while Mario and Luigi were busy saving the kings. When the Mario Bros. enter his kingdom he had already prepared his arsenal of tanks and airships in an attempt to stop them.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, he's heavily implied to have been anticipating Antasma was just trying to use him to succeed from the very beginning, and was only waiting to get Peach, the Dream Stone, and his new castle so he could kick the Bat King to the curb the moment he showed signs of malcontent. And so he chucks Antasma to the ground to be left at the mercy of the Mario Bros. while he leaves to conquer the world with his new-found power.
    • And it also shows up prior to that. After Bowser and Antasma create Neo Bowser Castle, Mario and co. correctly deduce that Bowser will attempt to kidnap Peach, so they hide her in the Dream World. However, Bowser is one step ahead of them, kidnapping Peach offscreen and replacing her with a disguised Kamek so he could smuggle monsters into the Dream World.
    • And during his fight with Giant Luigi, after Luigi uses his Hammer Chop to send him into the lava, Bowser later has his minions erect a steel wall so he can't do it again. However, he doesn't defend against hammer uppercuts.
    • And he's still showing remarkable cunning in Super Mario 3D World. When he appears at the outset of the game, he opts to capture the Sprixie Princess and completely ignores Peach this time and on top of showing a little more competence in his minions and obstacles, during the final battle with him, he finally decides to use Mario's powerups against him.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, both the Bowsers and the Kameks attempt to kidnap Toadette so she won't interfere when they realise the danger she poses.
  • The Chosen One: Despite being the Big Bad of the series, he's one of the Heroes of Light foretold in the Light Prognoticus, as well as one of the seven Star Children.
  • Classic Villain: Represents Ambition, Lust, Pride and Wrath. He constantly attempts to take over the world and remake it in his image. Also, he always takes the opportunity to kidnap Princess Peach, even when doing so is detrimental to his plans. His enemy, Mario, is a Nice Guy who loves helping people, while Bowser is ultimately selfish and seeks control over others. Even when things are going his way, Bowser is always in a sour mood, and when his anger increases, his boss fights become more difficult and intense. He is always beaten because he fails to consider how dangerous Mario and his friends are.
  • Climax Boss: He frequently will battle Mario long before his final boss battle.
    • In Super Mario 64 he battles Mario at the end of the first and second sections of Peach's castle.
    • He forms half of the world bosses in the galaxy games with Bowser Jr. as the other half.
    • In Super Mario Odyssey he's fought right after the Wooded Kingdom and strands Mario in the Lost Kingdom afterwards.
  • Clown Car: His Clown Car in Super Mario World.
  • Cool Airship:
    • He has fleets of airships in his army. Of particular note is his flagship, introduced in the opening of Super Mario Galaxy: which is bigger than most of the other airships and has a bust of his head under the bowsprit. It gets a snazzy purple and white paintjob to match its owner's outfit in Super Mario Odyssey.
    • The first two Mario & Luigi games gave him the Koopa Cruiser, a different ship from his usual flying galleons.
  • Cool Car: Has one in Super Mario 3D World. that looks like a mix between a classic convertible and a Hummer Dinger, using it to try and run over Mario and friends. He's so proud of it that he even introduces it with gestures that seem to say "Check out the new wheels, chumps!"
  • Cool Chair:
    • He has numerous thrones throughout the series, particularly in the Mario Party series where he has a different one in almost every game. Mario Party 10 takes it to it's logical conclusion in the Bowser Challenge mode where the better Bowser's score is, the better the chair he gets.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 features a chair that's built like a fortress and practically the size of a small planet (mainly to accommodate Bowser's new size).
  • Cool Plane: He uses the Clown Cruiser in Skylanders SuperChargers.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Almost all of his fights against someone other than Mario, Luigi, or Yoshi are incredibly one-sided in his favor. (Rawk Hawk, anyone?) Most of these happen offscreen, though.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: a variation of this. Could be considered subverted but most of the time his majesty is more brawn than brains and typically doesn't always think things through except in certain cases And of course there's the fact that he has a tendancy to get caught in his own traps. But still underestimating this brute is the last thing you want. He may not be the brightest at times but he's still the king and he'll gladly remind you why.
  • Dark Is Evil: He uses dark magic and resides in dark, ominous castles. Dark is also his primary element in Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • He is the main character in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.
    • In Mario Party 10, playing as him and spoiling the progress for the other players is the main feature of the game.
  • Deader Than Dead:
    • In Super Smash Bros. Melee if you clear Adventure Mode fast enough. When Smashers go down, they turn into trophies. When you beat him in adventure mode, his trophy falls into the abyss, flies back up and then his trophy shatters into pieces and reveals Giga Bowser. After you beat Giga Bowser, his trophy explodes.
    • In New Super Mario Bros., after his Family-Unfriendly Death in World 1, he eventually returns as Dry Bowser for Revenge during World 8... only to be defeated once again. But this is ultimately subverted: Bowser Jr. manages to revive what's left of Dry Bowser into a suped-up version of his flesh-and-blood self.
  • Deadpan Snarker: On occasion, although the "deadpan" does throw this into question. His DiC version however, fits the bill more, with his raspier voice.
  • Deal with the Devil: With Antasma. While Antasma was expecting the other way around, the devil of the deal turned out to be Bowser.
  • Decomposite Character: Dry Bowser in various spinoffs and Paper Bowser In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam are their own character as opposed to originally being him undead and with an Art Shift, respectively.
  • Defeat Means Playable: If you defeat Bowser in Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, he will join your team.
  • Dem Bones: Dry Bowser.
  • Demonic Possession: Bowser is frequently on the receiving end of this, most notably in the RPGs where it happens to him nearly as frequently as it happens to King Dedede.
  • Demoted to Extra: Bowser is almost entirely absent in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle because he's on vacation. The only time he appears is indirectly through a phone call to Junior. While it is subverted as he returns home early, it's double subverted as the only time he is seen in person is right before (and right after) he's turned into MegaDragonBowser.
  • Depending on the Writer: ...or, more accurately, type of game.
    • The main platformer series portrays him as a legitimate threat to the Mushroom Kingdom and Princess Peach, especially in Super Mario Galaxy. Many of the spinoffs portray him as a Dumb Muscle who is often an Anti-Hero trying to work against the game's Big Bad, but Bowser's intelligence and competence has improved as of Dream Team. It's also a toss-up as to whether or not he has his Villainous Crush on Peach or not; it generally doesn't come up in her moments as a Player Character when he's trying to kill her.
    • His abilities also tend to vary depending on the game as well; in playable appearances he's typically a Mighty Glacier with fire breath, while in antagonistic appearances he's a Lightning Bruiser, Shapeshifter, and Evil Sorcerer capable of Teleport Spam and leaping upwards of fifty feet In a Single Bound. Super Mario 64 and the Super Mario Galaxy games imply that these abilities are actually from the Power Stars he stole from Peach's castle or the Comet Observatory.
    • In 64 and Galaxy, Bowser is several times the size of Mario. Playable appearances tend to downsize him quite a bit, making him about a head or two taller than Mario.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: His motivation for attacking the Mushroom Kingdom besides imposing his rule on the world, and eventually the entire universe (besides his Villainous Crush on Peach). New Super Mario Bros. U shows what he'll do with the Mushroom Kingdom once he has it: turn it into a classic World 8 Lethal Lava Land, just like his home kingdom.
  • Determinator:
    • He will never ever EVER stop until he's kidnapped Peach and taken over her kingdom.
    • He got melted to the bone once. When he returned, he was even harder to take out.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: In some of the places in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, nobody recognizes him until he tells them who he is, and only if he brings up the "evil king" part.
  • Didn't Think This Through: A lot of Bowser's failings are a direct result of him simply not paying attention to details, lack of savvy from sheer arrogance, or just grabbing the Villain Ball.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
  • Dishing Out Dirt: In Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario RPG he uses the power of the Earth.
  • Dracolich: Dry Bowser is a giant undead fire-breathing toothy reptile, so he's close enough.
  • Dragons Prefer Princesses: Bowser has some dragon-like features and constantly kidnaps, and is possibly in love with, Peach. In Super Mario Run, Bowser doubles down for a two-princesses-for-one deal, as he captures Princess Daisy for the first time.
  • The Dreaded: Anyone other than Mario, Luigi, or Yoshi (and Daisy and Waluigi, supposedly) is screwed if he attacks them. This is Played for Laughs in Super Mario Run where a mere statue of Bowser is enough for some Toads to cower in fear just by looking at it.
  • Dressed to Plunder: As Capt. Bowser in Mario Party 2's Pirate Land.
  • Drop the Hammer:
    • In Super Mario Bros., he had an unlimited supply that he'd hurl at Mario. He also throws hammers as an attack in some of the latter games.
    • And in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, one of his attacks is to conjure a giant hammer.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Shiny RoboBowser has a giant paper hammer much like the one that Paper Mario uses to initiate Trio Attacks. If you attempt to use any Trio Attacks while the head of Bowser's cardboard armor is still intact, he'll automatically block Paper Mario's giant hammer with his own and counter it with his own Trio Attack.
    • He uses a hammer as his weapon in Skylanders SuperChargers.
  • Dual Boss:
    • Him and Bowser Jr. in Super Mario Sunshine, New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. U.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, he teams up with his baby counterpart to fight the Mario Bros. and their own baby counterparts.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, he is fought alongside his paper self. For the first phase anyway; after that, they fuse together along with numerous paper mooks to form Shiny RoboBowser.
  • Dueling Player Characters: Bowser is fightable in Inside Story, and his second fight (the one in Dr. Toadley's clinic) has him use the Minion-based special attacks the player has acquired for him. Notably, if you haven't unlocked the Shy Guy Squad move, then Bowser doesn't use it in that fight.
  • Dub Name Change: From King Koopa to Bowser. Unlike with Toadstool, this change still endures to this day, and English-speakers will be hard-pressed to think of him as anything else. Interestingly, unlike most cases of this, his name wasn't always changed from the beginning, as older fans will remember knowing him as King Koopa because of the cartoons (despite being listed as "Bowser, King of the Koopas" in the original manual). His full name is occasionally given as "King Bowser Koopa" to make up for the discrepancy. Mario occasionally called him this in the cartoon as well.
  • Dumb Muscle: In the RPGs, where he doesn't show much common sense but is one of the strongest characters. Emphasis on muscle.
  • Easily Forgiven: At the end of Super Mario Sunshine, despite having every reason to be angry at him, Bowser Jr. never holds any animosity towards Bowser for lying about his mother and is more fixated on fighting Mario.
    • Being the Trope Namer for Go-Karting with Bowser is a sure sign of just how easily forgiven the big guy is. Despite all the trouble he causes, Mario and Friends don't begrudge the big guy and still invite him to their gatherings.
    • He seems to offer the same respect back to his own, such as allowing the Elite Trio back into his group, so it's possible there's a lot of respect between himself and others for his attitutde, kingdom-conquering notwithstanding.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Bowser's Japanese name, クッパ Kuppa, was named after the Japanese word for 국밥 gukbap, a Korean soup with rice. Creator Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to name him after a dish in Korean cuisine, and also had considered naming him ユッケ Yukke (after 육회 yukhoe) or ビビンバ Bibinba (after 비빔밥 bibimbap). This distinction is lost in English, where his primary name is Bowser, and even his surname is Koopa instead of Gukbap (or the pre-2000 transliteration Kukpap). The distinction is also lost in Korean itself, where he is instead localized as 쿠파 Kupa, a round-trip translation through the Japanese name. As a result of the character being named Kuppa, the word in the Japanese language is now probably better associated with Bowser than with the Korean dish, as hilariously evident in Google Translate's English translation of the Japanese Wikipedia article for gukbap.
  • The Emperor: While he's never referred to as such, Bowser is actually an emperor, as he has a massive empire that he is trying to expand and even has kings as minions.
  • Enemy Mine: In some of the spinoffs, mostly because he can't stand the notion of anyone else destroying the Mario Brothers and ruling over the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Expect this to happen whenever his underlings screw up or goof off. He then usually blames them for ALL of his schemes derailing.
  • Epic Flail:
    • He uses a few of these in Super Mario RPG including using a live Chain Chomp as one.
    • One of his attacks during the final phase of his first battle in Paper Mario Sticker Star is to throw his Chain Chomp at Mario like this.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Bowser is indeed a villain and he may not be a responsible father (or at least, for the most part), but he genuinely loves Bowser Jr. and constantly tells him how proud of him he is. And anyone who harms him will know his wrath, unfettered and raw.
    • This is best exemplified in the trailer for the Nintendo Switch's Parental Control App where Bowser acts every bit like a responsible, loving father, setting rules for Jr's playtime on the Switch, covering his eyes when he sees something inappropriate for kids, and protecting him from a group of Boos (a metaphor for online predators).
    • In contrast to Kammy Koopa, who at best he treats as just a lackey doing his bidding, Bowser actually shows genuine respect to Kamek. Considering their past together, this is no surprise.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He wants to rule over the Mushroom Kingdom, not destroy it - This is evident in a lot of his reactions to outright destruction, including the Dark Star in Bowser's Inside Story, and especially his single line if he's the character being played as upon entering the void left in place of the destroyed Sammer's Kingdom in Super Paper Mario:
    "I'm all for being evil, but this is overkill."
  • Everyone Owns A Mac: And everyone includes Bowser. Ensures he exerts his parental control authority over Jr. He even has a photo of Peach as a wallpaper.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: While not a true dinosaur, Bowser has some very dinosaurian features, and is even occasionally depicted as a deliberate homage to Godzilla, a famous movie monster frequently based on or mutated from a dinosaur. The live-action movie infamously depicted him as a human descendant of T. rex rather than a monstrous turtle.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: In his final fight in Super Mario 64, the lighting caused him to have rainbow colored skin, which earned him the Fan Nickname "Rainbow Bowser". This was omitted in the DS remake, however.
  • Evil Counterpart: Over the years he's become this to Mario and to Peach.
    • He and Mario both are associated with fire and wield numerous powerups, both are Acrofatic badasses that use their weight to injure their enemies (Mario through jumping, Bowser through stomping hard enough to break blocks, and both are interested in Peach. However, Mario is a Humble Hero and generous soul who fights for good often without asking for anything in return, and his affections for Peach are warmly returned. Bowser is a greedy king, bully and a tyrant who chases after Peach despite her obvious rejection of him.
    • Bowser and Peach both are beloved rulers of their respective kingdoms with enormous magical power. Peach however only uses her powers to heal and defend herself, while Bowser's very first assault against her kingdom involved turning her people into blocks. Peach's people love her because she's kind to them and generous to everyone. Bowser's people love him because he's a wicked tyrant who still looks out for his own.
    • He's also one to Donkey Kong in Mario Party from 5 to 9: Landing on a Donkey Kong Space summons DK who gives away coins or stars. Bowser, on the other hand, takes away coins or stars. This is best exemplified in Mario Party 6 and Mario Party 8, where their spaces are mutually exclusive (Depending on whether it's day or night in 6 or depending on whose space was landed on last in 8).
    • That being said, Bowser has also had an Eviler counterpart; that of Dark Bowser, the Dark Star's purest form and his Evil Knockoff. While Bowser seeks only to rule the Mushroom Kingdom, Dark Bowser is insistent on just simply making it "vanish" along with all its residents. Which is of course something that Bowser laughs off.
    Bowser: Listen up! You're saying this kingdom will vanish? NOT TODAY! THIS KINGDOM IS ALL MINE! SO YOU VANISH!
  • Evil Eyebrows: Bowser has a pair of Big Ol' Eyebrows that always curve downwards whether is in a good mood or not.
  • Evil Gloating: Bowser does a lot of this when things are going his way. A prime example is in Super Mario 3D Land, when he sends Mario a letter, with a photo showing he's recaptured the escapee, Princess Peach, caged her up with a bowtie, as a gift to himself, while he sits smugly in his throne room.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Regardless of his varying size, he's almost always bigger than Mario and the other protagonists, though some of his minions, like Petey Piranha, are even bigger than he is.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: He has fire breath and has a general association with fiery places like volcanoes and stars. Also, he is apparently fireproof, judging by the amount of times that he got dropped in lava.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Getting hammier with each game.
  • Evil Laugh: Players of Super Mario 64 will know it well.
  • Evil Makeover: He did this to Peach's castle in New Super Mario Bros. U.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: Bowser's plans are so destructive that Mario has to win every single time.
  • Evil Overlord: Fits this to a T. Though, as mentioned before, he's actually admired by his minions, and it's mainly the good guys that view him as this.
  • Evil Redhead: Originally just a scaly beast, Bowser gained an orange mohawk in time for Super Mario Bros. 3. He is the only redhead amongst the Koopa Clan.
  • Evil Sorceror: Bowser has showcased some magic tricks in a couple of games. In the original, he allegedly turned all the Toads into blocks. Despite his status as the dumb muscle, he gets the hang of any ancient magical artifact with ease. So far, he has wielded the Star Rod, the Vibe Scepter, the Power Stars, the Grand Stars, and many other magical items with finesse. Bowser seems to be able to use magical flames aside from regular fire breath, could turn invisible/teleport in Super Mario 64, and he shot lightning from his fingertips in the intro of Super Mario Galaxy. In Bowser's Inside Story, the Koopa King even assists his Magikoopas by throwing fireballs at their wands, amplifying their power during the Magikoopa Mob attack. Bowser seems to have at least some magical skill.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Especially since Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Evil vs. Evil: As evident from all the Enemy Mine situations he found himself in, Bowser never gets along with other villains out of sheer villainous ego and belief that only ''he'' should be the top dog bad guy who takes over the world, destroys Mario and kidnaps Peach (or vice versa). He dislikes Smithy, Fawful, Count Bleck, betrayed Antasma, and apparently even dislikes King K. Rool, as the two have bad chemistry in Mario Super Sluggers. You could even say the only thing Bowser absolutely despises more than Mario and absolutely will not stand for under any circumstances is actually being outdone by or sharing space with another villain. As seen in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Bowser doesn't even get along well with himself.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: A consistent trait — Bowser wants to Take Over the World, not destroy it. Since he can't rule a world that doesn't exist, villains that do want to destroy the world will invoke his wrath. However, this only applies to the world he's trying to conquer. He has no issue with destroying other worlds if it's beneficial to him; in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Bowser and his paper counterpart's plan to get rid of Luigi and the two Marios involves trapping them in the book that contains the "Paper" universe, then burning the book.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Frequently suffers from being on the receiving end of this trope in the RPGs from many of the RPG villains. However, he is this trope to Antasma, which was unexpected for both Antasma and a number of players.

    Tropes F-J 
  • Failed a Spot Check: Along with gravity, this is the biggest contributing factor to Bowser's defeats.
    • Placing switches that destroy his bridges in his debut, and again in Super Mario 3D Land.
    • Making the floor of his lair in Super Mario Bros. 3 out of fragile brick tiles that he can break by jumping on them.
    • Having a back door to his castle in Super Mario World that by-passes most of the Valley of Bowser.
    • Placing explosives around his arenas in Super Mario 64.
    • Placing a POW block on the top of his tower in Super Mario 3D World. Made worse by him standing on it.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Bowser will always succeed in stage one of his plans, but chances are he'll never actually come out on top in the end.
  • Fairy in a Bottle: This is how he captured the Sprixie Princesses in Super Mario 3D World.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • At the end of the SNES version of Mario is Missing!, after the player has defeated him, he gets shot out of a cannon and landed in the deep snow outside of his castle where he froze up and shattered.
    • In the original New Super Mario Bros., he was engulfed in lava, which melted off his flesh. His son tosses his remains in a cauldron and revives him later, though.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: His innards serve as major locations in the aptly-named Bowser's Inside Story.
  • Fat Bastard: Bowser's got quite a gut on him. But he's still plenty strong and depending on the game, he's still athletic as ever.
  • A Father to His Men: The degree to which he respects his minions varies with each story. Played the most straight in Bowser's Inside Story, and to a slightly lesser extent in Super Mario RPG and the Paper Mario series.
  • Feet-First Introduction: In the beginning of each of his Boss Battles in Super Mario 64.
  • Fiction 500: He has at least twenty Castles.
  • Fiery Redhead: He's got a fiery temper, breath, and hair to match.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: He is very attractive in his own eyes. To put things in perspective, if he said the same of any other male, Bi the Way would be the only reasonable conclusion. Ironically, he doesn't get along with himself that well; as shown in Paper Jam.
  • Final Boss: Bowser was one of the earliest final bosses, and he has played this role more times than the majority of VG villains.
  • Fisher King: New Super Mario Bros. U shows what would happen if Bowser successfully conquered the Mushroom Kingdom: He transforms Peach's Castle and the surrounding area into a World 8 Lethal Lava Land similar to his home kingdom.
  • Flipping Helpless:
    • Whenever Mario or his friends defeat him in Super Mario 64 (DS) by throwing him into a bomb, Bowser lands on his shell and groans in exhaustion in the original version, and helplessly flaps his arms and legs in the DS version. Bowser realizes there's nothing else he can do and promptly escapes while leaving behind a special key or the Giant Star.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, certain enemy attacks could knock Bowser on his back, costing him several turns.
    • In the ending cutscene of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, an unconscious Bowser is lying on his shell, with the Koopalings flipping him over. Their triumph is shortlived, as the Koopa King's own castle crumbles and crushes them.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • His first fight in Dream Team. As Dreamy Bowser, he can also summon Dreamy versions of his army.
    • In Paper Jam Shiny Robo Bowser can summon paper minions, who can also be fused/re-fused into the armor.
    • The entirety of his first fight in Sticker Star has Bowser using minions to either attack Mario, or to prevent Mario from attacking him (either by making it so Mario cannot target him or by shielding himself with a Whomp). Mario can either fight normally or use a Thing to counter/remove the mooks.
    • Taking a page from Huff N Puff, whenever Black Bowser takes damage, he creates Black Podoboos. If not taken out quickly, they'll re-merge with Bowser, restoring some of his paint.
  • For the Evulz:
    • In the cartoons, most of the crimes he commits are simply for the sake of being bad.
    • This is also his M.O. in Mario Party, especially the first one where he will usually be somewhere on the board, messing with anyone who passes him.
  • Galactic Conqueror: His goal in Yoshi's Island DS, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Mostly his early appearances before he got a personality. He also got hit by this trope in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, in which he had no dialogue and only made two appearances.
  • Genius Bruiser: Depending on the game. Some of the weapons that were created, if the Koopalings aren't involved, are implied to have been developed by him. Super Mario Galaxy has Bowser come up with an Evil Plan that requires the use and creation of a galactic-scale reactor to conquer the universe, which inherently requires him to be this.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The real Bowser's boss fight in Super Mario Run involves the player running after his Koopa Clown Car. Interestingly, Bowser is the only example of such a boss fight in Super Mario Run.
  • A God Am I: Bowser doesn't actually make this claim; however, his plan in both SMG and SMG2 is to take over the entire universe and rule it with Peach by his side forever, along with making his OWN galaxy in the center of the universe. SMG2, however, takes it to a whole new level when Bowser uses a few of the Grand Stars on HIMSELF, rather than use them to power up reactors, which seem to give him more power as he becomes gigantic (though he already had this power). He is also able to conjure up meteorites and apparently a BLACK HOLE in the final battle.
  • God-Emperor: In Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, as he builds a galactic empire that he intends on ruling forever with Peach at his side.
  • God of Evil:
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Bowser becomes this, or at least close to it, as the result of devouring the Grand Stars. He becomes powerful enough to conjure up meteorites and black holes as mentioned above and even begins to devour more of the universe to become even bigger and more powerful, even going as far as to try to devour Rosalina's spaceship towards the end of the game. Considering that Rosalina is implied to be a Physical God herself yet was unable to stop him, it's implied that Bowser had either become just as powerful as her or had become even more powerful.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Bowser becomes this again after swallowing the remains of the Dream Stone, becoming the omnipotent Dreamy Bowser.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Trope Namer. Despite all the trouble Bowser causes, Mario still invites him on his outings with his friends. Of course, given Bowser's personality, it's entirely possible that he's going golfing and go-karting with Mario because he wants to beat him at anything.
  • Graceful Loser: After the player beats him in Mario Party 5, he tells the player his wish, saying that he wished for a strong opponent, remarking that he lost and won at the same time, and that he tends to think positively. He then congratulates the player before he leaves.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Bowser has lost more times to gravity than to Mario himself.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: In Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle as, while Bowser Jr.'s desire to impress him is his driving motivation, Bowser is not involved with his son's plan at all and while he is the final boss, it's entirely because he didn't know what was happening and didn't know about the Megabug.
  • Greed: One of Bowser's primary motivations for conquering various kingdoms and the entire universe is his own lust for power.
  • Green and Mean: Bowser's primary color is green, and he's Mario's Arch-Enemy.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In Super Mario RPG, he can throw Mario at enemies once he equips the Hurly Gloves. Mario does not seem to expect this.
  • The Grinch: Both of the cartoons' Christmas episodes had him mimic the Trope Namer in some way.
  • Growing Wings:
    • In Super Mario Maker, level creators can insert wings onto any enemy, thus essentially creating a Mario platformer in which he could fly without the need of a Clown Car.
    • As MegaDragonBowser, he has large, phoenix-like wings.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It doesn't take much to make Bowser mad. It's even a gameplay mechanic in Mario Party 10's Bowser Party mode.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: In preparation for his wedding with Peach in Super Mario Odyssey, Bowser dons a white, stylish wedding suit and combs his hair sideways, making him royally stylish as a result.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: He and Antasma pulls this trope in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, in which Bowser defeated the Mario Bros. with his powered-up fire breath when they were about to win.
  • Healing Factor: Occasionally has this ability in the RPGs particularly in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (where, as Dreamy Bowser, he will occasionally go into the background and summon meat to devour while his minions fight for him.) and Paper Mario: Sticker Star (where, at the beginning of each phase of the final battle, Bowser will completely heal himself.)
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: No matter how many times he ends up working with Mario, he will always be evil.
  • Hell Hotel: His hotel in Hotel Mario.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: The Koopas and his minions adore him; the rest of the world however...
  • Hey, You!: Averted at first in the original Super Mario 64, since only Mario could be controlled, but when the DS remake added new characters to choose from, this trope is played straight to most people they talk to, including Bowser. As in the original, only Mario can enter Bowser in the Sky, but this trope still applies before the final fight, then averted after.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: He does this towards the end of Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix. To be fair, however, Waluigi's role in the plot had long since been finished. He's also behind Shadow Mario in Super Mario Sunshine and Foreman Spike in Wrecking Crew 98. It's teased, but ultimately doesn't happen in Luigi's Mansion, and while you fight Bowletta and Shrowser in the first two Mario & Luigi series, they don't really count because Bowser is actually possessed by the main villain in both cases. But Mario & Luigi: Dream Team DOES count, where he leaves Antasma at the mercy of the Mario Bros. near the end. This trope is taken Up to Eleven in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, where Bowser intends to inflict this trope upon his own Paper self. The reason this doesn't occur is because Paper Bowser is too valuable, and the Mario Bros. manage to defeat them before they can decide who is the best Bowser.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first fight with him in the first Paper Mario. He's invincible due to being powered up by the Star Rod, and Mario cannot do anything about this yet, so the fight is unwinnable.
  • Horns of Villainy: Bowser sports two small ox-like horns that help signify that he's the villain. Notably, Bowser (along with his son Bowser Jr.) is also one of the only koopas who has horns, which, in a sense, signifies his status as the King of the Koopas. In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Bowser can boost his Horn stat in order to improve his chances to earn critical hits and get a better scratch card, similar to the Mario Bros. Badass Mustaches.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: He does this all the time in the Mario Party series, with him even being playable in 10.
  • Hot-Blooded: Can get like this during his Boisterous Bruiser moments, particularly in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.
  • Humongous Mecha: Has had several of these built in his image but rarely actually piloted by him. His spaceship in Mario Party Star Rush, however, does turn into one during his boss battle.
  • Hypnotize the Princess:
    • In one of the comics for Nintendo Comics System (specifically Magic Carpet Madness), he had his pidget minions make a mess in Peach's castle, then take Peach up to the sky so they can do this. Unfortunately for him, this didn't help, because she wrecked his blimp in her state.
    • In Super Mario Adventures, when running out of ideas on how to win the already-kidnapped Peach over, he got a Magikoopa to do this. Of course, Mario and Co. stopped him.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Under NO circumstances is anyone else allowed to kidnap Peach, take over the Mushroom Kingdom, or defeat Mario, without his say-so.
  • Iconic Outfit: Played with in terms of Bowser's green, spiky shell, as it isn't really an outfit but nevertheless easily recognizable. Played straight with Bowser's spiked collars on his neck and arms, however.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: The big guy has quite a few of them and he wishes he didn't. He expects his minions to do their job with pride and without question. And then there's these followers whose overly-enthusiastic attitudes of adoration and devotion make him feel... uncomfortable.
  • I Have Many Names: In The Super Mario Bros Super Show!, Bowser had many alter-egos depending on the setting of the episode: Alley Koop, Robo-Koopa, Darth Koopa, Professor Koopiarty, Emperor Augustus Septemberus Octoberus Koopa, Count Koopula, Koopzilla, Kidd Koopa, King-of-the-Road Koopa, Blackbeard Koopa, Doctor Frankenkoopa and Frankenkoopa's Monster, Koopfinger, The Sheriff of Koopingham, Koopa Nemo, and a whole lot more.
  • Implacable Man: A few instances in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, namely when he plows through a literal army of baddies to get to their boss.
  • Improbable Weapon User: During the first two fights with him in Super Mario 3D World, he'll attack with exploding soccer balls.
  • Improbably High I.Q.: He claims that his IQ is 9800 in Mario Party Advance. This is par for the course with him, though.
  • Incoming Ham: He's quite fond of this, especially in Bowser's Inside Story. A Running Gag is whenever someone mentions his name out of context, he'll appear.
    Bowser: Did someone just page the King of Awesome?
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Mostly in the spinoffs. In general, he can dish it out just fine to anyone who isn't Mario, Luigi, or Peach. But he's a prototypical victim of The Good Guys Always Win, and everyone seems to know it. And even then, he has actually beaten Mario before.
  • Informed Attribute: Bowser is professionally trained to give massages, as revealed in Bowser's Inside Story.
  • Invincible Villain: Notable in that Bowser, even without any power-enhancing abilities, is virtually unstoppable against anyone who isn't Mario and Luigi. This comes to a head in Galaxy, where he creates his own galaxy - and it took the entire universe being destroyed and rebuilt to stop his plot.
  • Interpretative Character: While Bowser has several key character traits, the intricacies of his character and his motivations for kidnapping Peach vary from game to game. For example, he originally kidnapped her because she wielded the only magic that could oppose him. Nowadays it tends to vary between him kidnapping her because it's the best way to lure Mario into a trap, kidnapping her because she's the key to his evil plot of the day, or kidnapping her because of a Villainous Crush.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Very infrequently, but he does have some softer moments. Most of them are directed towards Bowser Jr., the Koopa Troop, and occasionally Princess Peach. One of the best examples is in the ending of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, where Bowser gruffly complements Corporal Paraplonk, Sergeant Guy, and Private Goomp for performing above the usual standard against Mario and Luigi, even if their actions ultimately ended in failure. There has to be SOME reason why his army regards him with genuine respect and admiration, after all.
  • Joker Immunity: He is just too popular and too integral to the Mario series to be killed off permanently, be it falling in lava, falling from a thousands of feet in the air, being thrown into a star, etc. It's even lampshaded in Super Paper Mario when he's left in a room and is apparently crushed by the ceiling, Mario, Peach, and Luigi already knew that didn't kill him and bring that he's "survived worse."
  • The Juggernaut: Generally a very good example. He survives everything that's thrown at him, keeps coming back for more, and only ever slows when the Mario Bros. step up to fight him. And even then, he nearly KILLED Mario in Paper Mario — this is something no Mario character had ever managed before, or ever would again.
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    Tropes K-O 
  • Kaiju: He even rampages through Tokyo in the SNES SimCity.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Paper Bowser in Paper Jam was sent back to his dimension without any consequences, but they make it clear he could cause trouble there.
    • No matter how many times you beat him in Mario Party: Island Tour, he'll always knock you back down to square one afterward.
  • King Koopa Copy: Bowser is a massive, spiky King Mook to the reptilian Koopas with bushy hair, a yellow, green, red and black color scheme, a brutish personality with pride and wrath to spare, a deep voice, plenty of lava-filled castles, fire breath, red eyes, and plenty of comedic traits. He's pretty strong and fairly agile for his build, tends to fight on bridges, has been associated with both pipe organs and metal music, and keeps kidnapping a princess who is also the main character's Implied Love Interest. In short, there's a reason it's called "King Koopa Copy."
  • King Mook: Although Shigeru Miyamoto initially envisioned him as an ox like King Gruesome from Alakazam the Great. This was changed when designer Takashi Tezuka pointed out the Fridge Logic in an ox ruling over turtles. Bowser became more turtle-like overall, but his face is more ox-like.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Primarily in the main series, especially in Super Mario Galaxy series. He's also this occasionally in the spin-offs, such as Paper Mario, where he actually defeats Mario in the beginning of the game. In fact, he damn near killed him.
  • Large and in Charge: He's the largest koopa in existence and is also the king of the Koopa Troop.
  • Large Ham: Simply put, when Bowser's on the scene, he makes damn well sure you know it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: At the end of Super Mario 3D World he's imprisoned in a bottle by the Sprixie Princesses as punishment.
  • Late to the Party: All the time in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. He shows up in places that Mario has already been to, but by the time he gets there, Mario has already left and everything important has already happened. Except for the end of the game when he shows up after Mario's fight with Grodus, that time he arrived in time for a fight before the finale.
  • Laughably Evil: This was Bowser's general personality in later spinoffs, such as in Paper Mario 64 and the Mario Party series. Later Mario RPGs toned down this aspect as time went on, although Mario Party keeps it.
  • Leitmotif: It goes without saying that he has a lot of these, but particularly noteworthy is the one introduced in Bowser's Inside Story, which has become his theme for the Mario & Luigi series as a whole, returning in Dream Team and Paper Jam.
  • Love Triangle: Expanded upon in Odyssey. The Koopa King considers himself caught in one with Mario for Peach's affection. Bowser views himself as superior to Mario in every way, yet blames the plumber for not winning the princess' hand in marriage. The way he sees it, if it weren't for Mario, she'd choose him. Then when Peach, tired of their constant fighting rejects both suitors, he bawls his eyes out, realizing Peach doesn't reciprocate the love he has for her.
  • Light Is Not Good: In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, he inhales the fragments of the Dream Stone and becomes Dreamy Bowser. In this form, his body glows with the colors of the Dream Stone.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In some games, usually ones where he only serves as a boss, Bowser is surprisingly nimble for his size. For instance, in Super Mario Galaxy, he backflips over Mario (and runs faster than him). He has surprising running speed in the Super Smash Bros. series, and he is one of the two fastest swimmers in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.
  • Magic Knight: While his minions are using magic more often than him, he himself is a quite capable user of dark magic. Though he prefers to rely on his brute strength and fire breath.
  • Make My Monster Grow:
    • Used on himself; Bowser's favorite One-Winged Angel trick is to grow even bigger, ranging from merely twice his normal size to Godzilla-class, and he's got myriad ways to do it, too, ranging from magical assistance to one hell of an adrenaline rush.
    • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team takes this trope Up to Eleven. When Mario and co. manage to catch up to him in his dream, Bowser, in desperation, starts gorging on meat to grow. When he runs out of meat, he starts inhaling his surroundings. When that doesn't work, he falls into the abyss below. Those who have played Bowser's Inside Story know what happens next. He manages to grow giant, but is defeated by Giant Luigi. Then Kamek appears and uses the last of his magic to make him even bigger than Giant Luigi. That's right. Giant Giant Bowser. At his new size, Giant Luigi is the same size as Bowser's knee. He could probably body-slam a city.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: He always plasters an emblem of his face on his properties.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He is this to Antasma in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
  • Manchild: Bowser shows obvious signs of immaturity on a regular basis; he has nasty mood swings that scare even his most loyal servants, he never feels responsible for his failures, always looking for someone else to blame, and is never satisfied with what he already has, always wanting more. The best showcase of this is when he meets his younger self in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time: barely anything differentiates them in personality, showing that Bowser has barely evolved mentally since infanthood.
  • Man in White: He wears a white wedding suit in Super Mario Odyssey.
  • Marathon Boss: In Super Mario World, the fight with him isn't too long compared to a lot of other examples of this trope, but compared to his kids, it's long enough that the timer is removed. Played straight in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, where he has truckloads more HP than anything fought before him, not even counting when he turns into a giant. The fight is so long that Mario can run out of stickers before beating him.
  • Meaningful Echo: In Dream Team, when Bowser meets Antasma for the first time, he's initially uninterested in an alliance between the two before the latter convinces him. At the climax of the story, Bowser betrays Antasma and proceeds to remind him that he doesn't work with others, taking the dreamstone, Neo Bowser Castle and Peach with him, essentially ruining Antasma's plans.
  • Me's a Crowd:
    • In the final battle of Super Mario 3D World, he is able to use the double cherry to clone himself.
    • In Super Mario Maker, you can insert up to six (three per sub-level) copies of Bowser in a level.
  • Mighty Glacier: When he's playable, this is often what he is instead. Though in Super Paper Mario, he can still jump as high as Mario and Peach.
  • Mirror Boss: In the final battle with him in Super Mario 3D World, he uses a Super Bell to turn into Meowser and later uses a Double Cherry to continue the assault when beaten the first time.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: As mentioned under some other tropes, Bowser is mostly turtle-like with some ox-like features retained from previous concepts, but also has some features of crocodile, dragon, and dinosaur.
  • Modest Royalty: Unlike most other rulers in the Mario games, he doesn't wear a crown or anything else that suggests he's a king. (Then again, does he really need to?)
  • Monster Lord: Bowser leads a kingdom with an army consisting of turtles, mushrooms, ghosts and many more creatures.
  • Monument of Humiliation and Defeat: In Mario Party: Island Tour, he built a huge tower as a monument to his power and locked all the fun of the other Party Islands away.
  • Mordor: His kingdom.
  • Morality Pet:
    • His son is one to him, usually being able to appeal to Bowser's softer side. Bowser himself is one to his son, who acts much more obediently and enthusiastically around him.
    • Depending on the incarnation, Princess Peach is also one, usually when he wants to marry to her.
  • Near-Villain Victory: In Super Mario Galaxy, he was minutes away from taking over the entire universe and creating his own galaxy, but Mario could stop him in time.
  • Never My Fault: In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. When he, Kamek, and the Elite Trio are seen retreating on the Koopa Clown Car, he blames his defeat on Antasma.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: He never seems to be (seriously) harmed when he gets thrown into lava (which happens very often, by the way). Outside of RPGs, he is typically immune to standard forms of attack. The only time he did get hurt by lava was in New Super Mario Bros., where his skin melted off! He actually put up a fight after that, even though at that point he was a skeleton! Super Mario Galaxy reveals that not even a red giant can permanently kill him, although the end of the universe can.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: He's a combination of an ox, a dragon and a turtle.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: He's a turtle-like creature with red hair tied in a ponytail.
  • No One Could Survive That!: In Super Paper Mario, his fight with O'Chunks in Count Bleck's castle, the ceiling comes down on them and he stays behind to hold it up, after everybody else gets out, it collapses. The trope isn't quite played straight since Mario, Luigi, and Peach knew better than to think that would kill him, not that it mattered since the floor collapsed underneath him as the ceiling came down. And by a stroke of luck, he landed where Peach later fell after her fight with Mimi and landing on him cushioned her fall somehow.
  • Not Me This Time: In Super Paper Mario, Mario and Luigi assumed he kidnapped Peach when it turns out he was still he the middle of planning to kidnap her.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Bowser has a kind of character arc in the Mario and Luigi series where this happens. He starts off in Superstar Saga as a Harmless Ineffectual Sympathetic Butt-Monkey before becoming a slightly better threat in Partners in Time but still minor compared to the true villains - the Shroobs. In Bowser's Inside Story, he is a Villain Protagonist who, with help from the Mario Bros., is capable of beating Fawful and the Dark Star. Dream Team makes him a true and credible threat after teaming up with Antasma and becomes the true main antagonist and final boss with reality warping powers thanks to a MacGuffin, which sets the stage for Paper Jam where he is the main antagonist (along with his paper counterpart) for the whole game and about as threatening as he is in the main Mario games.
  • Not Worth Killing: He could soundly defeat Mario and the Toads at the beginning of Super Mario Galaxy 2, but given his new gigantic size, considers wasting any more time on such insects beneath him. He simply wants to rule the universe. At the final fight, he's so fed up with Mario confronting him over and over, he tells him to go get lost in a warp pipe.
  • Not Zilla: Bowser's appearance after some of the early games bears some resemblance to Godzilla, and things such as his rampage through Tokyo in SimCity and the giant battles in Bowser's Inside Story may even pay homage to this.
  • Obviously Evil: Bowser wants to Take Over the World (sometimes the universe), has a penchant for laughing and gloating, is covered in spikes and resides in dark, ominous Castles. His horns, hair and perpetually scowling eyes help too. Being evil is something Bowser prides himself in.
  • Off-Model: In Super Mario 64, Bowser's head is very big compared to the rest of his body.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: In Paper Jam, the Bowsers' plan involved trapping the Mario Bros. within the book, then burning it, destroying the "Paper" universe.
  • One-Man Army: In Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, he takes on several of Fawful's minions, ranging from annoying Mooks to powerful bosses. All by himself. This is taken Up to Eleven whenever Bowser increases his size and literally turns into a giant that stomps everything in his way.
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: He begrudgingly admits that he loves Fawful's cooking.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • You would think that a giant turtle monster like Bowser wouldn't have this (other than just simply making himself larger, obviously), but in the Smash Bros. games, he turns into an even larger, more demonic-looking turtle monster named Giga Bowser.
    • He also goes One-Winged Angel in the final battle of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, where he uses the Dream Stone to transform into a giant, glowing, rainbow-colored version of himself adorned with Dream Stone-like shards on his head and stomach.
    • And again in Super Mario 3D World. He uses a Super Bell to transform himself into a tiger-like version of himself called Meowser.
    • An unintended example happens in Mario + Rabbids where the Megabug fuses with him. Unlike the other examples though, Bowser did not intend to get fused with the Megabug and most likely has no idea what's happening.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He wants to be the only one to defeat Mario. And the only one to kidnap Peach. (Or the only one to kidnap Mario and defeat Peach.) He also doesn't like the idea of someone more powerful than him taking over the Mushroom Kingdom before he does. This is what typically leads to the Enemy Mine situations when he teams up with the plumbers.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After being defeated by Mario the end of Super Mario Sunshine, Bowser is forced to admit to Jr. that he lied to him about his mother. It's the only time in the whole series where Bowser shows genuine regret for his actions.
  • Orcus on His Throne: In many of his games, he'll wait for Mario in his castle.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Bowser's so unlikeable he can't even get along with himself.
    • In Partners in Time, without even realizing it, he meets up with his past self and they really don't get along that well. However, they quickly resolve their differences and become friendly with one another, and they team up for a Dual Boss battle.
    • In Paper Jam, when Paper Bowser and regular Bowser meet each other, they quickly get into a fight. That doesn't stop them from eventually teaming up, though.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: While mostly based on a turtle with features of an ox, Bowser has some dragon-like features; he can breathe fire, and he has reptilian features from his turtle side along with sharp teeth and claws. Despite this, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U doesn't consider him to be a dragon, as he and his son are the only draconic charactersnote  not to be labeled as such.
  • Outlaw: As Bowser the Brash in Mario Party 2's Western Land.
  • Overarching Villain: Is always Mario’s Arch-Enemy and the Big Bad and the Final Boss in most games; more than any other video game villain, in fact. Still, even when he is not the Big Bad, he will attempt to turn the situation to his advantage. In other words, every bad thing that happens in the Mario series is Bowser’s fault, intentional or otherwise.

    Tropes P-T 
  • Papa Wolf: Despite his villainous antics, most early canon involving him as the father of the Koopalings presents him as a rather caring father (in his own twisted manner, anyway). However, nowadays, this is shown even stronger with Bowser Jr. - Notably, in New Super Mario Bros., it's even integrated into the gameplay within the final battle, with Bowser unleashing a maelstrom of fireballs at you and attacking with a greater quantity of them in general should you defeat Jr. first, and in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, the Bowsers destroy Princess Peach's castle in retaliation for Mario hurting their respective Juniors.
  • Parental Abandonment: As a child, he was referred to as "Prince Bowser", but no mention of his parents is made. The only parental figure he's shown to have is Kamek.
  • Parental Obliviousness: In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Bowser is often so wrapped up in his own plan that he doesn't listen to the important things his son tries to tell him.
  • Parents as People: Whilst most games portray him as a competent (if prone to spoiling his child) father, Bowser is portrayed in this light particularly in the Mario & Luigi games: In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Bowser and his paper counterpart constantly ignore their sons' attempts to tell them about the book, either due to being busy with their plot or too angry at the Marios for beating them up. Meanwhile, Bowser Jr. himself in Bowser Jr.'s Journey laments that he rarely knows where his father is and calls himself a "latchkey Koopa" though it leans more towards a Subversion as a late-game flashback reveals that Bowser specifically told the Koopalings to watch over Junior.
  • Perpetual Smiler. This is Bowser's default expression. Combined with his Evil Eyebrows, this trope turns Bowser's facial expression into a very evil one.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He generally prefers to let his minions handle most things, but he's every bit the One-Man Army Mario is and then some. When motivated, Bowser can smash through nearly anything and anyone in his path with very little resistance.
  • Pet the Dog: He's not a very nice guy, but he seems to genuinely care about his troops, his son, and Peach. Landing on Bowser Spaces in Mario Party is normally bad news as the Koopa King nearly always finds a way to screw over the player(s), but Bowser seems to have a charitable side, and takes pity on anyone without any coins or stars, and will give them some spare change.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Aside from Petey Piranha, Bowser is easily the biggest character in the entire franchise, and older than the short and portly plumber, yet is absolutely obsessed with beating Mario and stealing Peach from him.
  • Playing with Fire: Bowser always has at least one fire-based ability whenever he's playable, in which he often uses his fire breath.
  • Powered Armor:
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He does side with the Mario Bros. in the spinoffs, but only when the Mushroom Kingdom is not being taken over by him, or when his kingdom is taken over.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: He gives one to Dark Bowser in Bowser's Inside Story.
    "Listen up! You're saying that this kingdom will vanish? NOT TODAY! THIS KINGDOM IS ALL MINE! SO YOU VANISH!"
  • Pride: Bowser is not at all subtle with how proud he is of himself, his kingdom and the influence he has over others. This also helps him remain confident in eventually defeating Mario, even after so many losses.
  • Pretender Diss: In Bowser's Inside Story, Bowser gives one to Dark Bowser after defeating him.
    Bowser: Hey... You just ACTED like me. That doesn't mean you ARE me. You're no match for the real deal, original Bowser...
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • In Super Mario RPG, Bowser made his first playable appearance, in which he joined Mario's gang to oppose Smithy.
    • In the Paper Mario subseries, the Koopa King makes his first playable appearance in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door during his own short intermission segments between chapters. This is played more straight in Super Paper Mario, where Bowser is a core protagonist and properly allies himself with Mario, Peach, and Luigi in an Enemy Mine situation to oppose Count Bleck and prevent the world's destruction.
    • After serving as a minor antagonist in the first two games, Bowser finally makes his first playable appearance in the Mario & Luigi subseries as a Villain Protagonist in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, where he's the main character.
    • The King of the Koopas finally joins the party in Mario Party 10, and receives his own game mode called Bowser Party, where a player controlled Bowser harasses the other players, while also being playable in amiibo gamemodes. Super Mario Party is even more notable as he's now a standard playable character rather than being locked to specific game modes.
    • Bowser was originally supposed to be in the first game of the Super Smash Bros. series, but was cut due to time constraints, only to be added in the sequel, Melee. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the third game of the Super Smash Bros. series, Giga Bowser, a Bonus Boss in the adventure mode of Super Smash Bros. Melee makes his first playable appearance as Bowser's Final Smash.
    • In he Super Mario Strikers series, Bowser originally appeared as a regular stage hazard, but was added as a playable captain in the sequel, Mario Strikers Charged.
    • After beating the Final Boss in Super Mario Odyssey, Mario must use his Capture ability on the Koopa King, making this the first time Bowser is playable, at least physically, in a main series game.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He's a rich and powerful king, but still shows obvious signs of immaturity on a regular basis; he has nasty mood swings that scare even his most loyal servants, he never feels responsible for his failures, always looking for someone else to blame, and is never satisfied with what he already has, always wanting more. The best showcase of this is when he meets his younger self in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time: barely anything differentiates them in personality, showing that Bowser has barely evolved mentally since infancy.
  • Rated M for Manly: The guy's a huge, powerful fire-breathing turtle monster who's proud of his strength, size and stature. Even in his less competent and more comical appearances, Bowser always seems to think of himself this way.
  • Reality Warper:
    • In Super Mario 64, he uses the stolen Power Stars to warp the Pocket Dimension-like Painting Courses to his liking. Additionally, he rigs each Bowser Course entrance with a different spatial effect (a Trap Door into a literal Dark World, a mobile portal to an Under the Sea Course, and an infinitely respawning Absurdly Long Stairway, respectively).
    • In Paper Mario 64, he steals the wish-granting Star Rod, though he mostly just uses it as an Amplifier Artifact for both himself and his Elite Mooks.
    • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, he inhales the fragments of the Dream Stone after it was destroyed by Dreambert and Starlow and becomes Dreamy Bowser. In this form, he can do whatever he wants. He can conujre objects such as food, a hammer, or an airship. He can grow to tremendous size. He can create duplicates of himself. He can summon enemies. Nothing is sacred to him.
    • Downplayed compared to the previous entry, but his Shiny RoboBowser armor gives him his own version of the Bros.' Trio Attack.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: To his own minions, at least. While Bowser is quick to punish them for failure, he is shown to be capable of mercy and forgiveness. Best shown in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, where nearly every single one of his minions treat him like a personal idol.
  • Reclining Reigner: Occasionally, after certain Bowser events in Mario Party 3, Bowser will lie on the ground in this pose. There is also a random chance that he will already be like this when the Bowser event starts.
  • Recurring Boss:
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: His flags usually have his face colored red on a black background.
  • Redemption Promotion: In some of the RPGs, he really gets to show what he's capable of when he isn't fighting the Mario Bros.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Has red eyes and is not to be taken lightly.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bowser's always the red to Kamek, Fawful and Antasma's blue.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Koopa Troop, a kingdom of turtles, is the resident bad guy of the Mario franchise. And Bowser is the biggest, baddest of them all.
  • Riddling Sphinx: As the Bowser Sphinx in Mario Party 2's Mystery Land.
  • Roar Before Beating: He sometimes does this before his boss battles.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Despite having a massive army, he's not afraid of taking matters into his own hands.
  • Sadist: Played up in the Mario Party series where his minigames typically involve him putting the crew through "fun" minigames.
  • Sad Battle Music: He's a fan of this one. In Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Party 9, Yoshi's New Island, Paper Jam and Color Splash, the final boss themes are all either dark, melancholic or genuinely hopeless.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: Despite his arrogance, selfishness and hot temper; Bowser has one significant advantage over the other Mario villains: he’s not crazy. Mario constantly needs to sharpen his wits to beat him every time.
  • Satanic Archetype: Bowser is sometimes called Great Demon King and his kingdom, especially in Super Mario Bros. 3, resembles Hell. It's a case of In Name Only, though, in that he's just portrayed as simply an Evil Overlord. However, in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, he arguably becomes this, as he wants to not just take over the entire universe, but actually destroy it and recreate it as his own and rule it for eternity, starting with his own created galaxy and opposes Rosalina who is implied to be God or at least a Physical God in the former, and even arguably becomes a God of Evil in the latter, or at least as close to it as possible and tries to devour the universe to make himself more powerful. Both times, he even comes close to succeeding. And in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, he ultimately proves to be the devil in the deal between him and Antasma. It seems like he decided to live up to that title in those games.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In any of the Mario Party games where you land on a Bowser space, he'll offer his own demented versions of mini-games (read: most of them involve him taking coins from the players). Occasionally, the selector will land on 100-Star Present or 10,000-Coin Present. If this happens, Bowser will do nothing for a few seconds and then run off screen.
  • Secondary Color Nemesis: Bowser has a green face and shell as well as yellow-orange skin, which contrasts Mario's status as a Primary-Color Champion.
  • Shock and Awe: An attack in PaperMario, where he uses the Star Rod to call down lightning bolts, as well as summon a giant shockwave that can immobilize your partner.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Another favorite attack of his.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Bowser gives one to Dark Bowser in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, laughing off his promises to erase the Mushroom Kingdom from existence.
    Dark Bowser: Still here? Has the dark power not crushed your puny hopes? Soon, this kingdom will vanish along with all who dwell within. And you too will sleep eternally in the dark power's embrace!
    Bowser: GWAHAHA! Great dark hurricane! Seriously, perfect backdrop for an awesome final battle! You really sweat the details! Listen up! You're saying the kingdom will vanish? NOT TODAY! THIS KINGDOM IS ALL MINE! SO YOU VANISH! *SHOWTIME!*
  • Sigil Spam:
    • Ever since the Gamecube era solidified his Malevolent Mugshot logo, Bowser's loved to plaster it on anything that belongs to him, from his tanks to his castle.
    • His shell is similarly used in his decor, including as a domed roof for his castle from New Super Mario Brothers onward.
  • Signature Laugh: Whenever he laughs, he either goes "GWAHAHAHA!" or "BWAHAHAHA!"
  • Signature Roar: Bowser was given a series of shrill snarls, which were first heard during the N64 days and last heard in 2006's New Super Mario Bros. and Yoshi's Island DS — having been phased out in favor of giving him human-sounding vocalizations. Super Smash Bros. continues to use similar roars for him.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: To Peach, particularly in the Paper Mario games, where he's explicitly shown to have a Villainous Crush on her. He only has eyes for Peach, he wants Peach all to himself, and hates Mario for winning her affections.
  • Skewed Priorities: He has two main goals as a villain: To take over the universe, and to marry Princess Peach. He could probably accomplish the former pretty easily if he avoided getting Mario's attention by ALWAYS putting the kidnapping of Peach first.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Bowser sometimes does this in the Mario Party games (Mario Party 4 being pictured above). He also does this in Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Smarter Than You Look: In many of the RPGs, he is portrayed as a Dumb Muscle, but in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, he successfully betrayed Antasma and took the Dream Stone for himself.
  • Smug Super: He loves rubbing it in other's faces whenever he obtains a major power boost.
  • So Proud of You: He is very pleased when he hears Bowser Jr. saying he wants to keep fighting Mario.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Downplayed. In the original Super Mario Bros., he allegedly had all the Toads turned into objects like blocks. However, while he's mostly reliant on his physical strength, recent modern games do show that he indeed knows how to use magic and isn't afraid to use it to augment his abilities (or to make a quick getaway).
  • Sore Loser: Mario Party 10 showcases best how much he HATES to lose. Even once.
  • Space Pirate:
    • As Black Hole Bowser in the Space Land of Mario Party 2.
    • He and his army also take up this motif in Super Mario Galaxy, complete with flags modeled after The Jolly Roger's
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Twice within the Mario & Luigi series, naturally while launching another plan to kidnap the Princess. The problem comes from the Princess in question being a decoy in both instances, throwing off the plans of the heroes in Superstar Saga and then the villains in Partners in Time respectively.
    • As a result of returning from his vacation early, Bowser gets possessed and fused with the Megabug for the climax of Mario + Rabbids
  • Speaking Simlish: In Super Mario Odyssey, he speaks through mumbles with the occasional coherent word; In the opening sequence, for example, he can be heard clearly saying "Peach", "Mario" (during the dialogue which contains the words) and "adios" (as he walks off and his airship flies away).
  • Species Surname: His full localized name is sometimes given as "Bowser Koopa".
  • Spell My Name with a "The": At least, according to the instruction manual for the Game & Watch version of SMB.
  • Spikes of Villainy: His shell, horns, and bracelets.
  • Spike Shooter: He can fire the spikes that are on his shell as projectiles when you battle him at the beginning of Super Mario RPG. This is the only instance of him using them that way in the entire franchise, and you can't use the move yourself when he joins your party later in the game, making it a Secret AI Move.
  • The Starscream: He turns out to be this to Antasma in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and he succeeds.
  • Staying Alive: It seems almost nothing can kill this guy.
  • Stripped to the Bone: His first appearance as Dry Bowser.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: His Super Strength, and often what it takes to hurt him; sometimes Mario's regular attacks hurt him, and lots of the time, hitting him hurts Mario instead. This also applies to his speed and agility; when playable, he's usually a Mighty Glacier with poor jumping, but when he's a boss, he can outrun and outjump Mario.
  • Summon Magic: His fighting style in Super Mario RPG, and in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story; while not exactly magic, he can summon his troops.
  • Super Mode: When he had the Star Rod and used it to make himself invincible in Paper Mario. It wasn't truly invincible, though. Despite the plot saying that the Star Beam was needed to disable it, Mario could still hurt him despite the raised defense and win the fight before the damage of Bowser's attacks becomes too much, but in the final fight, it makes it impossible to hurt him.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: From the party guest's perspective in Mario Party 10. Absolutely nothing stops him as he chases after everyone else and comes stomping through the levels. From his point-of-view as party host, he's just having fun.
  • Super Strength: He never misses a chance to show off his great strength.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Typically blames his minions for any failures and incompetence. How justified he is for feeling this way varies between games
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: His constant use of this trope undoubtedly inspired his Dumb Muscle personality in the RPG's.
  • Take Over the World: Next to having Peach for himself and destroying his arch-enemy, this is Bowser's most consistent motivation. Most likely why he doesn't take it well when he comes across another villain who tries to steal his spotlight, or worse, destroy the world he wants to rule.
  • Taught by Experience: If it's an RPG, Bowser will usually be Worfed pretty hard so that the new villain can swing in and show how tough they are (half the time being forced to team up with Mario just to get some dignity back). In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, however, he's gotten so used to this that he's able to see this coming. After letting Antasma call the shots and manipulate the events of the entire game, Bowser suddenly betrays him in the eleventh hour, steals the game's power-granting Macguffin for himself, and hijacks the final boss fight.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Bowser's usual demeanor when he has to work alongside Mario to save the world.
  • Thememobile: The Koopa Clown Car.
  • This Cannot Be!: After Mario defeats him in Super Mario Galaxy, He can only watch in utter disbelief as his attempted conquest of the universe falls apart.
    "NOOOO! My galaxy! My empire! This can't be happening..."
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • At the end of Bowser's Inside Story, after receiving no credit for saving the day and being beaten up by the Mario Brothers (granted, it was after a fight that he started), he receives a gift from Peach for his part in saving the Mushroom Kingdom: A cake with his face on it.
    • What he genuinely thinks he was doing for Mario's sake, in Super Mario RPG. To protect his ego and pride, he convinced himself he allowed Mario to join the Koopa Troop out of compassion. In actuality, the complete opposite is true here.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Outside of the Tactical Suicide Boss above, he's also done things like set a bomb on fire that was three feet away from him to demonstrate how to detonate it Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, and in Super Paper Mario, need Mario to explain to him that there would be no world for him to rule if the world was destroyed.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • In Bowser's Inside Story. If squaring off against a train and one of his own castles isn't enough, then how about punching a Dark Star born copy of himself to the death!?
    • Were you expecting him to lose it for Dream Team? Prepare to be surprised, as he betrays the RPG villain towards the end, when it's usually the other way around, taking the Big Bad role from Antasma and establishing himself as a credible threat this time around!
    • And again in Super Mario 3D World, he becomes a little more competent, strategy-wise anyway. On top of generally showing a bit more competence in his minions and obstacles, somewhere along the line, Bowser finally took a good look at Mario's powerup arsenal, and asked himself "why haven't I ever tried to use these?".
    • If Bowser wasn't badass enough in Dream Team, in the sequel, he and his paper counterpart have become more evil and cemented themselves as competent, rather dark villains, more so than he was in Super Mario Galaxy, who will protect their sons, and willing to destroy a world.
    • In Super Mario Odyssey the game opens with Mario and Bowser in the middle of one of their climactic showdowns. Bowser wins.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The guy loves Peach's cake so much, he kidnaps her multiple times just so he can get some.
  • Training Boss: In first three Mario & Luigi games.
  • Troll: Mainly in the Mario Party series; where he uses a roulette to see which event he will cause. This is exceptionally noticeable when something along the lines of "Get 10,000 Stars" lands, at which point Bowser will either immediately run off, or outright con the players and give them nothing. This is even present in Super Mario Odyssey, where he jokingly invites Mario to his wedding with Peach.
  • Turtle Power: Bowser is the most powerful member of the Koopa species.

    Tropes U-Z 

Alternative Title(s): Bowser

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