If you’re in the Nintendo fan space or animation space on TikTok, you may have noticed a strange pattern emerging on your ‘for you/discovery page’. TikTok and Twitter have been flooded with Bowser x Luigi fan art, stories, animations, cosplays and edits. What makes it even stranger, is that this Bowser x Luigi content seems to have come completely out of nowhere in the last 20 days. But did it come out of nowhere? No. In fact, the Bowuigi ship has been active for a while. Let’s cover the origin of this ship and why it has been gaining popularity this month.
The Origin Story
Ships aren’t really something you can normally pinpoint to one spot of origin. As long as two fictional characters exist, there is likely a middle schooler drawing ship art of them on the back of their intro to algebra quiz. One point in history sticks out for this ship, however, and the Super Mario Adventures comic was published in 1992.
These were short comics featured in the Nintendo Power magazine and would have been lost to time if it weren’t for dedicated fans of the franchise sharing pictures of it via the web. Thanks to those dedicated fans, we are able to know where it all started for this ship. Issue five of the series starts with Luigi separating from his brother and he is left to take care of Princess Peach. Soon, a makeup salesperson approaches. After seeing the makeup, Luigi cracks a plot to dress and pose as Peach. While doing so, he intentionally gets captured by Bowser.
While captured by Bowser, Luigi puts on a convincing act. Claiming he has a cold and insisting that he, as the princess, has fallen in love with Bowser. This completely solidifies the Bowuigi ship and is a great origin point.
Bowuigi Between Then and Now
Over time, the Bowuigi ship has gained popularity. Before 2023 and long after the release of that Mario comic, Bowser x Luigi, or Bowuigi, shippers have still been very active in the community. Though in smaller numbers and fewer sightings. While most shipping content in the past was based on the 1992 comic, as stated in the Shipping Wiki, there is other, though sparse, canon material that helped fan the flames of this ship.
Canon material mainly consists of Bowser forgetting Luigi’s name, kidnapping him and trying to enlist him in the Koopa army on one occasion. The scarcity of canon material would drive fans to make fanon content, such as this Bowuigi love confession posted by The Gamer. It wouldn’t be until April 2023 that these shippers would finally get the new canon material they desperately needed.
Gaining Traction in 2023
While Bowuigi has been a ship in the past, why is it just now going wild? What could be the culprit? I’ll tell you. The Super Mario Bros Movie. With the recent release of the Mario movie, we have seen an unprecedented uptick in Bowuigi content. The famous scene where Bowser intimidates a captive Luigi. Though brief, and with minimal dialogue, that scene was enough to spark a lot of TikTok edits that elude to a spark of love and attraction.
I have to say, while I don’t see a lot of logic in this ship, it is hard to deny those edits don’t make the scene look romantic. Complete with close-up shots of their eyes gazing into one another’s while music plays, a naive viewer might get the wrong idea about that movie scene completely.
The Hamilton Animatics
Many people were expecting a Hamilton fandom revival, but not like this. When the Bowuigi movie edits started appearing everywhere, we were reminded of the comic that started it all, and that comic would go on to inspire retired Hamilton fans. At this point, it is physically impossible for a large part of the population to listen to “Say No To This” from the musical without thinking of Bowuigi. Once one appeared, it was no stopping the rest of the Bowuigi shippers.
To really understand how much this has taken over, you have to understand just how many videos there are to this song. TikTok sounds and soundbites of videos or songs that people can use when recording a video. If someone uploads a video with sound already in it, then they create a NEW sound. At the time of writing this, there are over 60 Bowuigi animatics to that song on one version of the sound. Meaning that not only are there more that I couldn’t count but there are more on other sounds of this same song.
The affair between Hamilton and Maria Reynolds proves to be the perfect mood for the Bowuigi ship. Bowser is depicted as Hamilton, who feels like he has been lied to and betrayed by the charming Luigi. The song sets the perfect mood
What Comes Next?
Once the Hamilton edits broke the ship into the mainstream, we have been getting a consistent stream of content with little signs of slowing for weeks. From Simpsons edits to cosplays, this ship is here to stay. Many fans are left wondering if Nintendo will hear the cries for more content of the two characters together, but that is uncertain. Maybe in the sequel?
Do you think that Bowuigi will withstand the test of time? Sound off in the comments below!