Mod Aria’s back for another awesome installment of Top 5! Today I’d like to take a trip down memory lane to the golden age of Paper Mario. The first two games in the series were absolutely pivotal to my middle school and elementary school days. But something I’ve always appreciated about the original Paper Mario as well as The Thousand Year Door was that the games had a myriad of characters that tagged along with the mustachioed hero on those two grand adventures. And to say that there’s favorites of mine would definitely be an understatement.
So, for today, I’d like to share my Top 5 Best Paper Mario Companions. I hope you enjoy this list!
Watt is certainly one of the cutest of Mario’s companions, but finding the sweet baby in the Shy Guy’s toy box certainly makes you want to adopt the little lady, doesn’t it? Honestly, because of her name, I assumed as a child that Watt was actually a boy. I suppose because his name is technically a masculine one, it’s an easy assumption to make. That being said, I think it’s an interesting name for a female character.
Her abilities are also nothing to sneeze at. As Watt is a Lil’Spark, she can emit waves of electricity to shock your foes. She was always quiet useful in battle, and her ability to help you see in the dark made her even more useful.
And she has a pacifier in her mouth? I cannot contain myself over how cute she is!
4) Yoshi Baby
Coming in at number four is that spunky little Yoshi Mario can adopt in The Thousand Year Door. Having to chase that thing around the front of the Glitz Pit was a nightmare. But having a cute and excitable Yoshi come out of the egg after a spell made it all worthwhile. He’s so full of energy and emotion that I’m not sure whether to cuddle him or give him a high five.
I also loved that the game allowed you to name him (it really made him feel like your pet!), and that the time and steps you take to obtain the Yoshi actually affect what color he is. I will never forget constantly resetting the game in order to try to get a pink or white Yoshi kid.
And, of course, his abilities are great. They really save your life in the Glitz Pit, and it’s always hilarious to watch the little sweetheart try to swallow Rawk Hawk hole.
Third place is awarded to the regal yet sassy Lady Bow. In the first Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64, Bow is (essentially) the queen of all Boos. The Boos greatly respect her, and she is willing to do whatever it takes in order to save her people. Like use a Star Spirit as collateral to get Mario to defeat the Boo-Devourer, Tubba Blubba. This girl does not play, and I appreciate that so much more now than I did when I was younger. Bow is, without a doubt, a feminist character.
I’m also in love with Bow aesthetically. She has adorable bows in her hair and carries around a fluffy pink fan just like a gentle-lady should. It’s made even greater that her abilities also reflect her tough debutante attitude. She can slap the daylights out of her enemies with her hand and fan, and her ability to make Mario disappear is never not useful in the game. Don’t wanna fight enemies? Just disappear; no sweat.
Bow is also one of the few Paper Mario 64 characters to make a cameo in The Thousand Year Door. You can find her once you’ve beaten the game if you return to Poshley Heights. It made me miss her in the original game all the more!
2) Ms. Mowz
Second place goes to Ms. Mowz, the flirty and wild badge thief from The Thousand Year Door! Ms. Mowz tailed Mario throughout the majority of TTYD, though it was seemingly accidental. Her devil-may-care nature won over the hearts of many Paper Mario fans; so when the secret got out that you could get her as a party member, it’s no surprise that people were thrilled!
Ms. Mowz is the only party member in TTYD that you have to go out of your way to recruit instead of just waiting for the story to catch up. By accepting a job at the Trouble Center, the player can go on quest to find a badge for a mysterious patron. Upon completion, you discover that your patron was Ms. Mowz all along. And she’s so interested in Mario that she’s willing to join his cause!
Ms. Mowz’s abilities are also nothing to scoff at. She, like Bow, has a slap attack which can really hurt your enemies. She also has the ability to kiss Mario’s health back to him. Though this one is a bit much, it’s a very useful healing ability if Mario is in a pinch. Ms. Mowz also owns her own badge shop in the game!
Fiercely independent and a terrific thief, Ms. Mowz will always be one of my favorite Paper Mario characters of all time.
Is this really a surprise at all? My number one favorite Paper Mario companion is none other than the former Shadow Siren Vivian from The Thousand Year Door! Watching Vivian’s story for the first four chapters of TTYD made me so angry that I wished that I could help her. Luckily, we get our chance about half way through the mission in Twilight Town. Vivian’s had enough of her sister’s abuse and joins Mario’s cause. I was so happy!
It’s such an amazing feeling to see Vivian stand up to her sisters; it’s not an easy task to confront your abusers like that. Especially when they are supposed to be your family. But Vivian taught me that it’s okay to stand up for yourself no matter who it is; you deserve to be treated like a human being!
Another fun fact about Vivian is that she is possibly a transgender character. The original Japanese TTYD’s blurb about Vivian is is a boy but looks like a girl. This topic has been heavily debated amongst fans and Nintendo scholars, but it seems clear to me that Vivian is likely transgender. Whether or not that was intended, it’s a great thing to include LGBT characters into video games. I think it is something that should continue to happen!
Of course, Vivian’s abilities are definitely some of the most useful in the Paper Mario franchise. Like Bow, she can help Mario disappear when he’s in tough situations. This can help you in a fight to dodge enemies or to hide from potential encounters. Her attacks that shoot fire and fire punches are always fun to see. Vivian is also incredibly adorable in her character design.
Vivian is really a terrific character, and I implore you to reconsider if you don’t like her. She’s really an important character to LGBT gamers and female gamers, too.
That’s all for this week’s Top 5! Tune in next week to see another, and please continue to support NWG. Thank you!