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Bowser Jr.

World of Nintendo
by yo go re

Isn't it every father's dream that his son may one day surpass him?

Bowser's son, who appears in Super Mario Sunshine calling Princess Peach his mother - he feels so strongly about her that he kidnaps her. Somewhat spoiled by his father, Bowser Jr. comes off as being on the selfish side. His bib is decorated with drawn-on fangs and worn like a mask - it's most likely an effort to appear more menacing.

He doesn't just "call" Peach his mom, she confirms it. Not in so many words, maybe, but you'd think that after being accused of repto-maternity, her reaction might have been something along the lines of "no" or "eww" or "I've never had a baby," but instead what she said was "you're Bowser's son?" By the end of Sunshine it's clear that Junior knows she isn't really his mother, but that still doesn't explain why she thought she was. What other Koopaling is runnning around out there with half-Toadstool DNA?

Bowser Jr. should not be comfused with Baby Bowser - BB is King Koopa when he was just a tyke, BJ is the next generation. Though honestly, they do look kind of identical. Beady black eyes, a single tiny fang, bushy red eyebrows, a ponytail/top knot... the Koopas have about as strong a familial resemblance as the Blackadders or the Tannens.

The only substantial difference between father and child is the bandana Junior wears - these days it looks more like a bib, but Super Mario Sunshine had a total "urban grafitti artist" feel, suggesting it was meant to be the sort of identity-concealing device many real taggers would wear while out practicing their art. It's a separate piece on the figure, so if you cut or pry it off him (it's rubbery, so that would be easy enough), you could pretend this toy is Baby Bowser. The cute thing is you can tell he did the design himself: it's not a pattern on the cloth, but rather something he drew with crayons.

Fittingly, Junior's body looks like a smaller version of his dad's - stumpy yellow limbs, a pale belly, pokey little tail, chelonian shell, spikes, black cuffs, etc. If you do decide to turn this into Baby Boswer by taking the bib off, his chest is completely sculpted, but you'll be left with a notch in the rim of his shell (where the knot rests). His hands are thinner and more dainty than expected, and his bracelets are just black bands with no spikes on them.

Since this figure is so much smaller than King Koopa, you wouldn't be at all surprised to hear his articulation is just as disappointing, right? Well, it's not. Not only are there more joints here than on the big figure, the ones that are the same don't feel as badly made. Part of it is that we're more forgiving of a 3½" figure than a 6" one, but things honestly are better. He moves at the head, shoulders, wrists, hips, ankles and tail - all swivel/hinges. The head would move farther without the bib, but the range on the feet is amazing, and the fact that his wrists can turn puts him one up on his old man. No, he doesn't have elbows, but his arms are so short anyway!

The World of Nintendo figures come with a bonus accessory. Bowser Jr.'s may count as a separate character, depending on how you think of it: he comes with a Bob-Omb! First appearing in Super Mario Bros. 2, Bob-Ombs were originally just items in Mario's dream, but have made the jump to the real world. It's just a little blue ball with a gold key in the back, blank white eyes, and tiny yellow feet, but it's a nice inclusion. Even better than coins!

Bowser Jr. is nice, but if Jakks really wants to impress us, they'll do his bigger brothers (and sister): all seven Koopalings.

-- 06/11/16

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