Laughter is the Best Medicine

Bowser’s military hierarchy | Unraveled

Bowser. King Koopa. The authoritarian turtle with a penchant for
princess-napping. His very name strikes fear into the heart
of man and mushroom alike. And he’s also pretty good at figure skating. But when you focus on Bowser’s many attempts
to put the Mushroom Kingdom under his rule, you might forget that to order fuel his violent
vanity projects, he must put hundreds of henchmen into harm’s way. And by harm’s way, I mean in front of Mario. But me? I never forget the troops. And today I’m honoring those who have put
their lives on the line for a megalomaniacal turtle. Today, I’m presenting you with Bowser’s
military hierarchy. I can’t go any further than that, I’m
sorry. “But Brian,” I hear you ask, “Why does
Bowser need a military hierarchy?” And folks, I hear you. I hear your questions constantly. They come to me in my dreams like a prophet
receiving visions from an angry god. Bowser needs a military hierarchy because
of the Geneva Conventions. Y’all remember those things? Those little rules that keep you from committing
war crimes? Look, I know Bowser is a bad dude, but I don’t
think that Nintendo would actively create a war criminal and then allow him to sit in
the backseat of a go-kart with a baby. This is thanks to how we define armed conflict. I read through the entirety of the Geneva
Conventions in order to find this information, which turned out to be unnecessary because
there is a far more succinct definition in a far shorter paper. But do I regret reading the Geneva Conventions? Of course not. Knowledge is its own reward. And could I really call this an Unraveled
if I didn’t spend a whole day reading 224 pages of dense legalese for no good reason? Of course I couldn’t. Of course I couldn’t… If Bowser wants to keep his armed conflict
above board, we need to codify his aggressions. So this means his henchmen need to follow
a command structure. One that is not at all clear cut in the games. All we need is a list of Bowser’s troops. That’s where this book comes in! It’s The Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia. The official listing of everything you could
ever want to know about the 17 games in the main series of Super Mario Bros. The main series are just the platformers,
none of the RPGs or spin offs. But the silver lining to this means that I can spend a different Unraveled talking about those games. Because God has cursed me for my hubris, and
my work is never finished. Of the 17 in the main series, I’m gonna
cut these three games, because they don’t have Bowser as the main antagonist. And I’m also gonna include Super Mario Odyssey,
because that came out after this book was published. That leaves us with 15 games and 226 enemies. I came to this number because I cut out the
variants. I cut out all of the shadow versions of Mario,
the minigame enemies, the enemies that are just machines, and Bowser’s fursonas. Because those should never be exposed to the
horrors of war. Now I need to figure out how to structure
this hierarchy. I asked myself, is there an analogous military
that is somewhat bloated, often antagonistic, and seems to be the only thing that the leadership
cares about funding? Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any real
life examples of this. So I’m loosely basing it on the US military. That means Bowser’s military **SMACK***
will be split up into branches based on which henchmen work best together, and I’m also
going to try to fit them alongside commissioned officers and enlisted troops. The standard command structure that’s found
in most militaries. Let’s start with the heads of state: Obviously,
we have Bowser up at the top, the commander in chief. His secretary of defense is gonna be Kamek, with Kamella standing by as
the National Security Council. We’ve also got Bowser Jr. up here, but he’s
not in a military role. He’s actually Secretary of Transportation. But that’s just pure nepotism. The rest of Bowser’s henchmen are going
to fit into this hierarchy, and I’m just gonna say one henchman per rank, the one that
epitomizes what that rank means. And I’m gonna list the rest of the enemies
on the screen. Because I do want to save at least a little
bit of paper. Uh. Obviously I don’t want to save paper that
much. *paper guilt* Starting with our infantry,
we have our enlisted ranks with Private Goomba. This makes sense. It is the basic troop. Moving up a step to the corporal, we’ve
got the Galoomba. It’s more mature than the Goomba. And also, its name has an extra syllable and
is way more fun to yell. Pat: Look at this Galoomba! Brian: LOOK AT THIS GALOOMBA! Chargin’ Chuck is a great pick for sergeant
class, because this troop obviously enlisted right after being their high school star quarterback
and moved up through the ranks quickly. And now that we’re up at warrant officer,
the top of the enlisted ranks. We’ve got, it’s just a tower of Goombas. Kind of like the Naval Academy’s Herndon
Monument, Goombas become stronger and work together better when they’re standing on
top of one another. Moving our way up to the commissioned officers,
we start out with officer cadet. And that’s gonna be Twirlip. It’s got the round, soft body of a day one
ROTC recruit, but there’s ambition in those eyes. Second lieutenant, we’ve got the Snailicorn. It’s the natural evolution from the officer
cadet, but a bit more dangerous. By the time you’ve reached First Lieutenant,
you’ve really proved your mettle and are ready to show your dedication to the cause. And what better way to show your dedication
than to be literally shot from a cannon. By the time you reach captain, you need to
have a top-down perspective. And that’s why the Pokey’s height is great
for this rank. Also, the Pokey understands how to take calculated
losses in stride, like having literally all of their torso punched out from under them
and still maintaining a smile. Next we have Major Squizzard, and I’m gonna
gloss over him, ’cause his name makes me uncomfortable. For lieutenant colonel, I chose Wiggler, because
they’re able to maintain composure and only release their aggression when it’s absolutely
necessary. But quick shout out to Stairface Ogre, who
is also a lieutenant colonel and sounds like he could be a member of the Wu Tang Clan. Next, we have Colonel Spike. At the colonel rank, you’re not only dealing
with wartime issues, but also the internal politics of the military, which is why Spike makes time to have a few rounds of tennis with the boss. A Brigadier General needs an eye for detail
and a strong guiding hand. And that’s literally all Knucklotec is. Major Burrows really deserves the rank of
major general because he has demonstrated a powerful understanding of many strategies
in many different battle arenas. But more than that, he has this tender leadership
quality that makes him not only respected, but loved by his peers. And then above him is a fucking T-Rex. Unfortunately, even the military hierarchy
is not insulated from nepotism. And though no one would describe Petey Piranha
as capable in literally any circumstance, his father took a bullet for Bowser back in
the Korean War, so now he’s a general. And finally, we have our field marshall, the
five-star general. Obviously, this person is going to oversee
every aspect of Bowser’s infantry, and it has to be filled with the most overpowered
troop. So it’s Ukiki. This shitheel of a monkey plays dumb, but
he’s the Sun Tzu of Bowser’s army. Listen to these quotes: And that is the basic structure of Bowser’s
infantry, though there are also three special divisions of infantry units that are trained
to fight in different conditions. The Lava and the Ice divisions are still found
under Field Marshal Ukiki and they don’t have any enlisted troops. I won’t talk too much about these two, but
I think they are epitomized by the Bully for the Lava group, and the Chill Bully for the
ice group, who is exactly like the Bully, except he’ll kind of go easy on you if he
can tell you’re having a rough day. And the third special unit in the infantry
is the spectral unit, or the Dry Corps, because not even death can excuse you from service
in Bowser’s army. I do want to talk about the implications of
this unit for a moment. Specifically Dry Bones and Dry Bowser, whose
naming conventions confuse and frighten me. When I die, will I become Dry Brian? Is a living Bowser… Wet Bowser? Why do Piranha Plant have bone in it? Next we have our aquatic troops. Where can you find pleasure, search the world
for treasure, learn science technology? Um. Where can you begin to make your dreams all
come true, on the land or on the sea? *SINGING* IN THE NAVY! I won’t overstay my welcome on the naval
forces because we already understand what each of the ranks in the hierarchy entail. But I did just want to point out one troop. The Gushen. Because its name is the Gushen. And I had to learn that its name was the Gushen. And now you need to know that it’s called
a Gushen as well. And of course, the admiral of the fleet is
going to be Unagi. Because Unagi is the most terrifying character
ever rendered. Get fucked, Mr. X. Now on to the Air Force, we start with the
Paragoomba at our lowest rank. And honestly, we’re gonna skip ahead to wing
commander, because most of the Air Force is just infantry but with wings attached. Lakitu is our wing commander. You might remember him as that helpful guy
who picks you up in Mario Kart. But he actually got his start in carpet bombing. And it might seem redundant to have Klepto
as the marshal of the Air Force. But if there’s one strategy that Bowser’s
military understands better than anything else, it’s stealing hats. And these are the branches of Bowser’s military. Of course, there are also Special Forces. Units that Bowser can send in when he needs
something to be done quietly and cleanly. Like when the he sent the Broodals to perform
the extrajudicial killing of Professor E. Gadd. Next we’ve got the Bros. I’m talking the Hammer Bro, the Fire Bro,
every bro in between. You can learn more about them in the HBO series,
Band of Brothers. I assume. I’ve never watched the show. It’s time for the special forces called
The Funny Parade! It’s the Funny Parade! You know about Thwomps, but did you know that
there are Thwimps? And the Whomps have Whimps? Thwimps and Thwomps and Whimps and Whomps
and Grindels and Spindels and Grrrols. There’s Tox Box and Flomps and Rhomps and
Bomps and Walleyes and Wallops and they’re all pretty much invincible and they will crush
you without hesitation like a cartoonish Sherman’s March to the Sea. Next, we’ve got the Koopalings. They’re sort of like the Seal Team 6 of Bowser’s
army. Iggy, Larry, Lemmy, Roy, Wendy O., Ludwig
Von. Notice that I did not include Morton Koopa
Jr., because despite what he has written in his memoirs, he’s never actually been active
duty, and he’s a valor stealing bastard. And the final special forces team. It’s the Stus. Strollin’ Stu (strollin’ stu). Soarin’ Stu (soarin’ stu). Swipin’ Stu (swipin’ stu). Smolderin’ Stu (smolderin’ stu). *Pat laughs offscreen.* I don’t know if
they’re good at fighting but they are good at being
the best fucking characters in Mario. And that is every troop in Bowser’s military. Except for these six specific ones. They didn’t really fit in the military structure. They don’t act like military. The Koopa Troopas from Super Mario 64, they
don’t even antagonize you. Like, they go about their business unless
you go out of your way to attack them. So, again, they don’t even, like, feel like
military. Uh, they act more like civilians, to be honest. *realizing an unfortunate truth* Oh my god, they’re civilians. Okay, so maybe reading the full Geneva Conventions
wasn’t such an unnecessary thing after all. There’s this thing called the Rome Statute
of the International Criminal Court, and in Article 8 Subsection 2, it states that grave
breaches of the Geneva Conventions count as war crimes. And if these Koopa Troopas are in fact not
Troopas, but civilians, and Mario kills them, then that is a direct violation of Article
8 Part 2, subsection B, 1: (i) Intentionally directing attacks at the civilian population… Mario is a war criminal. But that’s not the only breach, God no. Subsection A 4: Extensive destruction and
appropriation of property. Destroying a brick to gain a coin. Subsection A 5, Compelling a prisoner of war…
to serve in the forces of a hostile Power. What else could you call using Cappy to possess enemies and then forcing them to fire on their own friends? Subsection A 8, Taking of hostages. What was Mario doing with that penguin child? You might think, hey, maybe Mario’s just become
hardened after years of onslaught by Bowser, but LOOK BACK TO MARIO’S YOUTH! I know I didn’t include Yoshi’s Island
in these lists of games, but Subsection B, 21: Committing outrages upon personal dignity,
in particular humiliating and degrading treatment. Yoshi made Burt the Bashful’s pants fall
down! But Baby Mario gave the order. He already feels bashful! You didn’t need to pants the man! Mario has committed at least 5 war crimes, and I’m not even including the child soldiers he has enlisted in the RPGs. But luckily, I’ve already compiled an extensive
PDF that I have just emailed to the Hague, outlining Mario’s crimes. Still, it’s important to note that Bowser
is also at fault. The great loss of Goomba life is a tragedy,
no matter which side you are on. The true enemy is war itself. And to fix that, we have to turn to the only
thing that’s worked in the past. Song. One more time everyone! We are the Toads. We are the goombas. So please stop jumping on each other, ya big
Galoombas! Why do we fight to take each others’ space,
when there’s so mushroom to spare. We could all have extra lives if we just share.

100 thoughts on “Bowser’s military hierarchy | Unraveled

  1. Ok, but can we just take a moment to acknowledge how fucking flawless that harmony at about 14:49 is? Seriously, I’m kinda jealous, I have to admit.

  2. "Yoshi made Bert the Bashful's pants fall down… but baby Mario gave the order" wtf xD
    Then followed by "He already feels bashful" I died.

  3. I was hoping the 6 golden coins would make the cut. Wario seemed like a good prospect to join bowsers army, like a guy from the inside

  4. Ooo wow, watching this for the first time damn, high quality video.
    I mean, the mario war crime stuff was kinda weak, since most of that stuff is optional, but other than that, yeah, good freaking job

  5. I'd like to add that the bricks were transformed toadstools. Mario is killing the civilians he's supposed to be protecting and looting their corpses for coins. Corpse looting is also a war crime.

  6. Not going to lie, when I saw "ICE" on the board, I was like "What the fuck does 'Immigration and Custom Enforcement' have to do with the Mushroom Kingdom?"
    I'm a dumbass….

    But this is an awesome vid! Thumbs Up!

  7. "Oh my god, they're civilians"

    I came to the same conclusion seconds after you said that line and I just stared as blankfaced as you

  8. Some random video game commented reads the Geneva convention, damn, I’m a soldier of 12 years, and I haven’t even done that, and it actually applies to me…

  9. Can I just say, the effort it took to put that song together, props to Polygon Team, also Brain has some pipes to hit that high note.

  10. I swear to god, when you got through the basic units and hadn't mentioned a single Stu, I was about to be very upset. I'm glad you gave them the attention they so richly deserve.

  11. Also, bowser would be a communist leader, as in many Mario party games, he has a event in his bowser spaces called “bowser revolution” where he says “I represent equality for all, then he makes everyone have the same coin count there, now everyone has equal coins” (or something like that, depending it on the game)

  12. You know what Polygon? You may be a TERRIBLE gaming news outlet, but at least these videos are really creative and funny.

  13. Now go my minions. Go forth and provide progressively more difficult obstacles. Walk forward until you hit a wall or something then go the other way. Mwa ha ha!

  14. I’m not sure if I’m right but I’m pretty sure the T. rex from Mario odyssey isn’t working with bowsers:Edit or do you just mean any enemy in Mario

  15. "Lakitu. You may remember him as this helpfull guy who picks you up in mario cart…

  16. So are there more Koopas than mushrooms in the Mushroom Kingdom? Maybe Bowser SHOULD have a say in how things are run instead of everyone being ruled over by a human princess.

  17. Hey! Were no civilians! Were the people fighting in the front lines! We are the KOOPA troopas, and he is also called king KOOPA, in fact, everyone in bowser’s wonderful kingdom works in the military!

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