Recently a friend of mine commented that the Koopalings are not, in fact, Bowser’s children. I was shocked. Of course they are!
I put up a poll on Facebook. Overwhelmingly, people are on my side. A few agree with my friend that the Koopalings are just other koopa baddies. I know I’m right… so I went digging.
First stop: my Super Mario Bros Encyclopedia. Unfortunately, this is mostly just a very detailed guide to every game, with only brief descriptions of the characters within. The Koopalings are listed by name, but no real background information given.
That said, in the information for characters encountered in Super Mario Bros 3, Morton is listed as “Morton Koopa Jr.” (Everywhere else in the book, he drops the “Jr.”)
I’m not the first one to wonder if that means Bowser’s real name is Morton Koopa Sr. — my friend Jeff Brown actually wrote in to Nintendo Power Magazine back in 2000 to ask about this. Sadly, the editors gave one of the lamest cop-out responses ever. Bah! Well… at least Jeff got published in NP, so that’s cool.
It is interesting that they said “the Bowsers,” considering Bowser Jr. didn’t exist for another 2 years… so who are these other Bowsers? Wouldn’t it be the Koopas? Did they even TRY with this answer??
Despite what those lazy editors said, I did some Googling and found this on Wikipedia:
In the Japanese instruction booklet of Super Mario Bros. 3, they are called 「自分の子供コクッパ7兄弟」 in the story section (pg. 4), and King Koopa’s line (pg. 2) reads 「ワッハハ。これから俺様の息子達がこのゲームの説明をするぜ。息子達の言うことをよーく聞いてせいぜいガンバルことだな。ワッハハ。」 Note Koopa’s use of 「俺様の息子たち」 (ore-sama no musuko-tachi), which equates to “my children” (or, literally, “my sons”) while at the same time referring to himself in an arrogant manner.https://www.mariowiki.com/koopalings citation 4
Lucky me, I have an old high school friend who can read Japanese, and confirmed this for me! He said:
So he’s saying “my children will explain the game instructions from here on out. Heed them well! And good freakin’ luck! Muhahaha.” 自分の子供 is a weird way to say literally “my kids.” And 7兄弟 means “seven brothers or siblings.”-Tony Vander Heyden, awesome dude friend
But here’s the problem… in 2012 in an interview for GameInformer magazine, Mario’s creator Miyamoto himself said that the Koopalings are not Bowser’s kids. “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.” Come on, man. You can’t just go changing things around.
Then again, if you read the whole interview here, you can see that he doesn’t appear to have the greatest memory — when asked about Chargin’ Chuck being dressed as a football player but throwing baseballs, he seems surprised. “He didn’t throw a football?” So clearly the dude just can’t be trusted to know his own history and we should listen to Bowser, who called the Koopalings his kids. REALLY.
Bowser does at some point tell Bowser Jr. that Princess Peach is his mother, but that was just to get Jr. to help him fight Mario. He eventually tells him the truth, that Peach isn’t his mom, but it seems nobody knows who it really is… some random koopa lady who disappeared after giving birth (or laying eggs?) I guess. He pretty much just has the Koopalings and Kamek raise the kid, though. OMG WHAT IF KAMEK IS HIS MOM?!
Kamek is a male koopa. I don’t know why but I always think of him as a lady koopa. Nintendo has had trans characters before (Birdo), but I’m pretty sure Kamek isn’t one of them, despite what my brain has always assumed. There are other Magikoopas, though, so maybe one of them is Jr.’s mom and Kamek is his uncle. I could buy that.
So, where do you stand? Old-school Super Mario Bros 3 lore where Bowser has a bunch of kids (possibly adopted?), or the newer story saying the Koopalings are just his faithful minions?