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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 and Wario's rivalry by giving Luigi an enemy, completely lacking a personality beyond being overconfident and narcissistic. Since then, Waluigi has steadily increased in popularity over the years, even earning himself several appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series 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 (and crazier, and funnier) light. He also became more of a mischievous trickster with flairs of Tragic Villain and Butt-Monkey thrown in as more games came out to give him a better degree of characterization than just "rival to Luigi", got some awesome music and stages to his name (particularly Waluigi Pinball in Mario Kart DS), and was given increasingly hilarious mannerisms and roles in the games he appeared in (even serving as the Big Bad in Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix). All of this combined with his early years as The Scrappy fading steadily into the realm of distant memory have earned him so much more positive reception in recent years that demand for him to be included as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. or even given his own game to star in is prevalent across the internet.
  • 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 is 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 (especially given the inclusion of her Tear Jerker backstory as an unlockable in the first Mario Galaxy). 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.
  • In addition to being one in-universe, Luigi used to be one, and probably the best example in all of video gaming 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 (to say nothing of that of Mario Kart 8) 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 enemy to get an amiibo, quite a while before the more prominent Goomba and Koopa did. Their leader King Boo is also very popular among fans, especially for his role as the Big Bad in the Luigi's Mansion series, to the point where he's one of the most well-known antagonists in the entire franchise—after all, when you become the archnemesis of the only guy who can hold a candle to Mario, you know you're doing something right. 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.
  • Pauline has historically been a bit character in the Mario series, despite being important in a meta sense. She has, however, long sported a small but loyal fanbase who want her to appear in more games such as Mario Kart. Her reappearance in Super Mario Odyssey not only pleased many of her old fans, but earned her plenty of new ones thanks to her newfound independent streak compared to her previous appearances and dazzling stage presence and singing voice, leading many to predict (and desire) for her to effectively become "the new Rosalina" by becoming a staple in the Mario spinoff titles or even staying a recurring character in the main series. So far, Pauline will be making her playable debut in Mario Tennis Aces as a post-release playable character.
  • Blue Toad managed to prove himself as this when New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe was announced. When the game showed that its default roster included Mario, Luigi, Yellow Toad, Toadette, and Nabbit, tons of people voiced their concern over what happened to the blue-capped retainer. Fortunately for them, he would later be shown to still be in the game, albeit under the same spot as Yellow Toad.
  • Piranha Plants, specifically the standard "moves-up-down-in-a-pipe" Piranha Plant, saw a rapid increase in popularity after a Piranha Plant was added as an Unexpected Character to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Since then, likely thanks to its endearing Ugly Cute depiction in Ultimate, the Piranha Plant has quickly shot up the ranks to become one of the Mario series' most popular mooks and its amiibo sold out across the board.
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    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.
  • 9-Volt and 18-Volt because their mini games/microgames are all based on classic Nintendo franchises like Super Mario Bros., Zelda and Metroid.
    • 5-Volt has become quite popular as well, not only due to her surprisingly creepy behavior in the "Gamer" segment of Game & Wario, but outside of that segment, she is a pretty lady who's just as much into Nintendo as her son is, if not more so. She finally got her own scenario in WarioWare Gold, and even "Gamer" itself was adapted into a gameplay mode.
  • Mona has a lot of fans thanks to her quirky minigames.
  • Captain Syrup has a sizable fanbase for being the first female Big Bad in the Mario expanded universe.
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