Promotional artwork for New Super Mario Bros. U showing the seven Koopalings. From left to right: Lemmy, Wendy, Morton, Larry, Iggy, Ludwig, and Roy.
|First game||Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)|
The Koopalings (コクッパ Kokuppa) (also known as Bowser's minions (クッパの手下 Kuppa no Teshita) in Japan and Europe) or 7 Bowser Team (クッパ7人衆 Kuppa Shichi Ninshū) in Japan) are a fictional group of seven childlike characters in the Mario video game franchise by Nintendo. Their individual names are Iggy, Larry, Lemmy, Ludwig von, Morton Jr., Roy, and Wendy O. Koopa. Originally depicted as the children of the series antagonist Bowser, they first appeared as boss characters in the 1988 game Super Mario Bros. 3. They have since appeared in subsequent Super Mario games and spin-off Mario titles.
They have made several appearances in other media, most notably in the cartoon The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, which featured entirely different names for the Koopalings due to them not having official names at the time of its production phase.
Concept and creation
The Koopalings first appeared on a sketch by Yoichi Kotabe and Takashi Tezuka whose aim was finding a definitive redesign of Bowser for the Family Computer Disk System version of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Most of the Koopalings are distinguished by their wild punk hairstyles. The first names of the Koopalings would later be adapted for the Japanese version of Super Mario World, which was released a few months after the North American release of Super Mario Bros. 3. However, the Koopalings received a set of different names in the DiC-produced The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 animated series, as they were still unnamed when the show was in production.
The Koopalings were originally created to be Bowser's children, as it was mentioned in Japanese Super Mario Bros. 3 instruction books as well as early materials. Subsequent official sources also confirmed that they were his offspring. This portrayal was generally accepted by both Japanese and western gamers and media for a long time. Since Bowser Jr. was introduced and the Koopalings went on a six-year hiatus after Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga only to return referred to as Bowser's minions in the Japanese and European versions of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there has been confusion on whether the Koopalings were still considered Bowser's children or not, with Shigeru Miyamoto confirming during an interview in 2012 that "Our current story is that the seven Koopalings are not Bowser's children. Bowser's only child is Bowser Jr., and we do not know who the mother is." According to the North American website for New Super Mario Bros. U, the Koopalings are also siblings.
Super Mario series
The Koopalings appear in five games in the Super Mario series. In each game, the Koopalings each serve as the main boss character fought by the player at the end of each individual region in the game's setting. Their first appearance was Super Mario Bros. 3, released in 1988 for the NES, where they each conquer one of seven kingdoms in the Mushroom World by stealing its king's magical wand and using it to transform him into an animal, or in one case, plant.:5 The Koopalings then appeared in the 1990 Super NES game Super Mario World, which immediately follows the events of Super Mario Bros. 3, holding Yoshis captive in eggs at each of their respective castles in Dinosaur Land.:19
The Koopalings were absent from subsequent Super Mario games until the release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii for the Wii in 2009, which marks their 3D debut, and most of them having slight design changes from their original appearances. They then appeared in New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS and New Super Mario Bros. U for the Wii U along with its DLC New Super Luigi U, both released in 2012.
The Koopalings have appeared as boss characters in the spin-off Mario games Yoshi's Safari, Mario Is Missing!, and Hotel Mario, released from 1992 to 1994 on various platforms. They then appeared in the 2003 Game Boy Advance video game Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, where they served as bosses in Bowser's Castle, the last area of the game. They were supposed to be included in the Nintendo DS game Super Princess Peach but were cut for unknown reason, and only leftover sprites remain in the game. In Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U in 2014, the Koopalings made their debut as playable characters for the first time. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros Ultimate, each of Bowser Jr.'s seven alternate costumes replaces him with one of the Koopalings, with each one fighting from atop the Junior Clown Car. They appear once again in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, released in 2015 for the Nintendo 3DS, in which they all once again carry out roles as bosses. In Paper Mario: Color Splash, the Koopalings appear as bosses for the first time in a Paper Mario game.
In other media
The Koopalings made their first animated appearance in the Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros. OVA series, released in 1989. In the animated cartoon series The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 produced by DIC Entertainment, the Koopa Kids were given different names based on their given personalities. Their ages are also changed. From oldest to youngest, they are Bully Koopa (Roy), Big Mouth Koopa (Morton), Kooky Von Koopa (Ludwig), Cheatsy Koopa (Larry), Kootie Pie Koopa (Wendy), and Hip and Hop Koopa (Lemmy and Iggy respectively). After this, they appear in another animated cartoon series Super Mario World with the same names, though they more closely resemble their portrayals in the video games. Aside from their names and personalities, they look slightly different and serve their father King Koopa (as Bowser was called in the series) differently compared to their video game counterparts. Instead of their subordinate role, they act directly as his children, and do things such as seek his attention, and even plot against him. They also appear in the Nintendo Adventure Books and comic books.
|Amada Anime Series (1989)||DiC cartoons (1990–91)||Games (2009–present)||Named after|
|Larry Koopa||Masaharu Satō||James Rankin (as Cheatsy)||Michelle Hippe (2014–present)||Larry Mullen Jr|
|Morton Koopa Jr.||Miyako Endō||Dan Hennessey (as Big Mouth)||David Cooke (2014–present)||Morton Downey Jr.|
|Wendy O. Koopa||Paulina Gillis (as Kootie Pie)||Ashley Flannegan (2014–present)||Wendy O. Williams|
|Iggy Koopa||Masaharu Satō||Tara Charendoff (as Hop)||Mike Vaughn (New Super Mario Bros. games voice clips) / unknown portrayal (2014–present)||Iggy Pop|
|Roy Koopa||Naoki Tatsuta||Gordon Masten (as Bully)||Dan Falcone||Roy Orbison|
|Lemmy Koopa||Tara Charendoff (as Hip)||Lani Minella (New Super Mario Bros. games voice clips) / unknown portrayal (2014–present)||Lemmy Kilmister|
|Ludwig von Koopa||Michael Stark (as Kooky Von)||David J. Goldfarb (2014–present)||Ludwig van Beethoven|
Since their appearance in Super Mario Bros. 3, the Koopalings have had mostly positive reception, being referred to by Nintendo as common knowledge of the Mario series due to their appearance in Super Mario Bros. 3. Their popularity amongst fans led to them being reused for the Super NES sequel, Super Mario World. Nintendo Power listed each Koopaling as one of the reasons to love Nintendo, describing them as some of Nintendo's most beloved villains. They cited their eccentric designs for the quality of their personalities. The Koopalings were named the 19th best Mario villains by GameDaily. GamesRadar editor Henry Gilbert described the battle at the end of each world in Super Mario Bros. 3 as a "special affair"; he also praised them for adding variety to the series compared to Super Mario Bros., which featured Bowser as the last boss of each castle. IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas echoed these sentiments, stating that the Koopalings brought their own looks, mannerisms, and methods of attack. Specifically, he described the battle with Lemmy Koopa in Super Mario Bros. 3 as unique and memorable, while also describing Ludwig von Koopa's battle in Super Mario World as distinct from the others. In another article he listed the Koopalings as one of the characters he wants in Mario Kart 7, especially Wendy O. Koopa. Fellow IGN editor Jesse Schedeen featured the Koopalings in the "Big Boss of the Day" feature, describing them as popular bosses in video games.
Joystiq editor James Ransom-Wiley called their reappearance in New Super Mario Bros. Wii a welcome addition, stating that it should boost the quality of the bosses. Fellow Joystiq editor JC Fletcher described them as a draw for New Super Mario Bros. Wii for some fans, also praising the three-dimensional designs of the Koopalings. During an interview with Super Mario Galaxy director Yoshiaki Koizumi, Electronic Gaming Monthly noted that they were hoping for the Koopalings to return in it. Destructoid editor Conrad Zimmerman stated that the Koopalings were his favorite characters from Super Mario Bros. 3, and added that with regard to the musical references in the Koopalings' names, he doubted that anything similar would be seen in this day and age. GameSpy editor Ryan Scott listed the Koopalings as one of the reasons why Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World were quality video games. He also praised New Super Mario Bros. Wii for the inclusion of the Koopalings. The GameSpy staff listed the Koopalings as some of their favorite bosses, stating that they have much more charm than their "dopey successor", Bowser Jr.
- As noted in the caption of the sketch found on page 65 of the Official Nintendo Guidebook of Super Mario Collection. The text says:At first Bowser's appearance was not entirely settled. In order to get to this version of the sketch, Kotabe and Tezuka collaborated multiple times. The page of the guide itself is dedicated to Super Mario Bros. 2, the Japanese name of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.
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