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Our favorite Mario characters

There are so many Mario characters, more than six hundred in fact, so we’ve whittled them down to the best and most interesting of Nintendo’s creations.

Mario character Birdo, a dinousaur in pink with a bow for hair and a big wide snout like a pipe.

Mario characters are ten a penny in these parts. By ten a penny, I mean there are a lot of them. And by these parts, I mean a Nintendo Switch and mobile gaming website. We spend our time subsumed in a pile of Mario-adjacent folks, and we sure do love it. So, while buried under a pile of more than six hundred Mario characters, we’ve sifted through the bunch and chosen our favorites.

For more, check out our Mario Kart characters and Sonic characters to keep up to date with more famous friends, and grab some of the greatest Mario toys on the market to show your love for Luigi, or appreciation of Peach.

Okay, Mario characters. Let’s-a go!

Mario character Luigi, stood in a straight pose looking happy.He is a man with a green hat and shirt, white gloves, and blue dungarees. He has a bushy moustache and a big round nose.


Okay, let’s start with an apology. There’s a list of Mario characters and the first name is Luigi – it seems like a joke, right? But, hear me out. Luigi is an underappreciated gem in the Mario series, with his anxious personality combined with excellent spin-off games.

Considering he started as a plain old palette swap of Mario just so we could have a second player option, for Luigi to blossom into a unique part of the Mushroom Kingdom is wonderful to see. He deserves more love.

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Funky Kong

Check out that video above. Listen to that excellent, jittery music. Look at Funky Kong. Look at his sunglass-covered eyes. Hear what he has to say. Do you love him? Do you want to love him? Do you want to want to love him? Or, have you always loved him?

Well, if a monkey with a surfboard saying the word “bodacious” doesn’t make your heart burn with love, then I have no interest in being friends with you. This fella’s chill vibes pushed beyond just the classic DKC games, into a wonderful easy mode in Tropical Freeze. He’s a beautiful Mario character, simply for the chill vibes.

Mario character Toadsworth, an old man with small glasses a stick, a white moustache over his mouth, and a fancy purple outfit, also with a mushroom for hair.


Another Mario character chosen based on voice-line vibes alone, Toadsworth is the 60-year-old steward of Princess Peach and overseer of all the other Toads. With appearances in over a dozen Mario games, he’s an underappreciated gem.

Why? Well, he says stuff like “pip pip” and “great hoogly-boogly”, just like my grandpappy and his grandpappy before him. He’s an ancient British gentleman – a long-lost beauty with a mushroom for a head.

Mario character Birdo, a dinousaur in pink with a bow for hair and a big wide snout like a pipe.


Okay, so Birdo is amazing whether you like it or not. One: her name is Birdo but she’s a dinosaur, which is excellent nonsense. Two: check out this unbelievable cursed depiction of her in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and tell me you’re not obsessed.

But, most importantly, she is one of the first transgender videogame characters. You can read all about it in our article on Birdo’s gender, but either way, she’s a gosh darn icon. A true top-tier Mario character.

Mario character Ludwig, a tortoise with spiky blue hair, next to a picture of Ludwig van Beethoven, the famous composer.

Ludwig von Koopa

My gift for you today, kind friends, is knowledge. And one of my favorite bits of the Mario universe is Ludwig von Koopa’s resemblance to Ludwig van Beethoven. Check it out above. It’s silly and beautiful.

But, what’s more, the eldest of the Koopa kids is an excellent Mario character in Mario Kart 8, and for some reason has become my main. I use them for every race, and I win most of them, so I’ve become very attached and couldn’t not include them.

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Kamek is one of Bowser’s many lackeys, but I find love for him easily due to his meek nature. He often doesn’t really want to do Bowser’s bidding, and he gives off a wonderfully confused vibe.

Also, look at him. His pointy hat, ridiculous face, and broom-riding brilliance endear him to me. I don’t need to explain myself anymore. I just like him. A huggable Mario character to say the least.

Mario character Bowser Jr, a small tortoise with a fierce look in hovercraft with a smily face on it. Also he is wearing a bib with teeth drawn on it

Bowser Jr.

Okay, it’s time to clear something up. First up – Bowser Jr. is Bowser’s son. As in, if Bowser Jr. had a child and named them Bowser, they would be Bowser the Third. He’s childish, boisterous, and indignant, and that’s pretty endearing among Mario characters.

Also, he flies around in a clown shoe of a hovercraft with a big paintbrush just going bonkers and having a good time, while stomping his tiny feet like he’s actually a big bad villain. It’s adorable.

Mario character Baby Bowser, a small tortoise with a white scarf and fierce eyebrows looking all angry.

Baby Bowser

Part two of our clear-up is examining who Baby Bowser is. While he looks identical to Bowser Jr., Baby Bowser is in fact just a child version of Bowser Jr.’s daddy. What I mean is, that Baby Bowser is the OG, just much younger.

First appearing in Super Mario World 2, Baby Bowser gives us an excellent bit of lore that he was raised by Kamek. So, while Kamek may seem like an underling, Bowser owes a lot to him. The funniest thing is that Kamek still doesn’t really seem to like his boss – maybe he raised him just because he is, deep down, a good, broom-riding Mario character?

Mario character Koopa Kid, a dinousaur type tortoise with a finger in the air, all yellow and green, looking like a cartoon character.

Koopa Kid

For the third and final part of our clear-up, we’ve got another lookalike – Koopa Kid. While a doppelganger for Baby Bowser and Bowser Jr., Koopa Kids are not a single entity. They are many, and they’re here to ruin your day in Mario Party.

To make things even more confusing, Koopa Kids were originally known as Baby Bowsers in the first three Mario Party games. If you think trying to pick apart the Zelda timeline is hard, Nintendo’s upping the ante with this Mario character nonsense.

Mario character Mollosque Launcher - a jellyfish with big blond sideburns in a curl, fluffy eyebrows, and white bands around their neck.

Brigadier Mollusque-Lanceur III, Dauphin of Bubblaine

Okay, I have a task for you dear reader. Put on some glasses, or pretend you own some, push them up by the bridge on the nose, and say in your fanciest voice: “Brigadier Mollusque-Lanceur the Third, Dauphin of Bubblaine”, before bowing before your screen.

What a name. Not only is the Super Mario Odyssey boss a beauty, but it also has the best name in the world. But, what the heck does Mollusque-Lanceur even mean? Well, it’s French, and you don’t need a dictionary to work it out. (It means mollusk launcher…). I didn’t know we had any French Mario characters.

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Grandma Mario

This one’s a doozy, folks. A deep cut for the ages. In the Super Mario Bros. Show, there’s a strange live-action segment in the episode The Great Hereafter. The real-life Mario Bros. meets The Old Psychic Lady with the Evil Eye Who Reads Fortunes and Knows Everything Before it Happens, before hearing Grandma Mario from the afterlife. Wild stuff.

Not only that but according to Charles Martinet, her full name is Grandmama Mia Mario, which is just an excellent joke. Believe it or not, she is a Mario character, though this is the only appearance she has in any Mario media, and I love it.

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Il Piantissimo

Il Piantissimo is an interesting Mario character from an etymological perspective. Sure, they feature in Mario Sunshine which is chill, but that’s not what interests me. What interests me is the word ‘piantissimo’. What is it meant to be a riff on? It’s obviously Italian, but what word?

Is it ‘pianissimo’, the music notation denoting that something should be played extra softly? Is it ‘piantassimo’, the first-person plural imperfect subjunctive of the Latin ‘piantare’, which can occasionally mean ‘to maroon’ (‘cause, you know, they’re on an island)? Or is it ‘piatissimo’, the first-person plural imperfect subjunctive of ‘piatire’, meaning ‘to complain’, ‘beg’, or ‘nag’? Well, it’s probably none of them. It’s probably just meant to mean ‘very Pianta’. But still… maybe there’s a deeper mystery.

Mario characters on the cover art for Mario Tennis on the GameBoy Colour. Mario is swinging, with Peach behind doing the same.


Brian sits here as a microcosm of a larger point. He’s a character from the Mario Tennis game on GameBoy Color. This game has a load of people you need to defeat to rise up the ranks, and my favorite thing about it is that all their names are just so plain.

There’s Allie, Brian, Alex, Harry, Nina, and Kate, just to name a few. For a series that has so many absurd names (look above if you don’t believe me), it’s wonderfully odd to have such a plain crew of Mario characters. I love it.

There you have it, friends, far too many words on many far too strange Mario characters. For more, check out our picks for the best Mario Lego and Mario toys for some IRL fun.