The Mushroom Kingdom is a warm, welcoming place. Toads frolic. Goombas menace its corners but largely keep to their own. Princess Peach does whatever she does to govern the land, and Mario sometimes stops in for cake.
But there is one Mushroom Kingdom resident who doesn’t fit into this mold. He seemingly has no family. His only friend, he fights with constantly. And no one knows where he came from — or where he belongs. That person is Waluigi, the sometimes-rival of Mario and occasion partner to the bombastic, sometimes gross Wario.
And Suddenly, Waluigi
Unlike Wario, his frequent associate, Waluigi didn’t get his start in a mainline Mario title. Whereas Wario showed up as an anti-hero-mostly-villain of sorts in Super Mario Land 2 and went on to star in his own WarioWare series, Waluigi’s debut was smaller. He made his first appearance as a playable character in 2000’s Mario Tennis on Nintendo 64.
Waluigi’s introduction was sudden and unceremonious. Who was he? Where did he come from? Given the upside-down letter “L” on his clothing and his tall, skinny appearance, he was immediately compared to Mario’s brother Luigi and labeled as his rival or his evil counterpart. We have proof of Waluigi’s tense rivalry with Luigi: in Mario Tennis, when he first appears, Luigi’s first reaction is to mock Waluigi for wanting to play. This set the stage for a long series of beefs and teasing that Waluigi would orchestrate against Luigi.
Stuck In Spin-Offs
Waluigi feels like he’s been around forever, playing tennis and racing karts with the Mario brothers and their friends. But that’s literally all he’s been doing — hitting balls, driving cars, and competing in infuriating mini-games. Waluigi has never appeared in a mainline Mario title and instead has been a regular in Mario Tennis, Mario Kart, Mario Party, and other sports games including Mario Super Sluggers.
He also doesn’t appear to be Wario’s direct associate. Sometimes the two work together, as seen in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Super Sluggers. And sometimes they compete directly, each man for himself. Either way, unlike Wario, Waluigi has never gotten to test his mettle as a villain or even an anti-hero, having been regulated to the spin-off sports series for his entire existence.
But why? It’s clear that fans love Waluigi, so why hasn’t he gotten his own break-out game yet? Is he doomed to just race go-karts that are too small for him forever?
The Mushroom Kingdom’s Weirdest Orphan
Waluigi has no background and no family. Many assume Wario is his brother, but it seems that is incorrect. The Mario Party 5 manual clearly states that Wario and Waluigi aren’t brothers. So what are they then? And why are their names similar? And why do they dress alike?
Although Mario Party 5’s manual throws cold water on the family theory, there is no explicit evidence for Waluigi being or not being Wario’s brother. Waluigi isn’t bound to Wario — in Mario Tennis: Power Tour Waluigi is there without Wario, unattached to his “brother.” To this day there is no definitive answer from Nintendo on whether or not these two lumbering cads are brothers. We may never get an answer.
We do know that Waluigi, like any normal human man, has desires and feelings. He has a crush on Princess Daisy, monarch of the forgotten Sarasaland from 1989’s Super Mario Land. She, like Waluigi, has her appearances now relegated to spin-offs, so you’d think they’d get along. But they don’t, and Daisy does not return his feelings. Poor Waluigi.
In the end, we are left with more questions about the purple-clad “wah”-er than we are answers. Where did he come from? Who is his family? What does he want out of life, and what is his job? What is he doing in the Mushroom Kingdom at all? Will he ever find love?
With Super Mario Odyssey around the corner, however, we still cling to some hope that Waluigi will appear. We’ll find out when the game launches on October 27.