Top 50 Best Mario Characters & Enemies Of All Time, Ranked (From All Games)

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No matter where you are in the world, you’ll always find someone who knows Mario.

He’s everywhere from games to films, toys, and apparel.

Ever since the release of Super Mario Bros. in 1985, he’s been Nintendo’s face, starring in most of their games and promotional material. In a way, Mario is Nintendo. And Nintendo is Mario.

But Mario is not alone in his adventures.

And it’s fair to say he owes his immense popularity to the cast of friends, enemies, and rivals that come together to make his games so memorable.

Whether you’re seeking to reminisce a bit, or to educate yourself about Mario’s social circle, you’ve come to the right place.


50. Thwomp

Thwomp Mario Character in game

First seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)

Where most Mario characters are colorful and cutesy, Thwomps seem to lead a hard life – no pun intended.

Their face is always grumpy, and their only purpose in life is to crush people and their dreams.

That said, there have been several variations of these spikey, angry-faced gentlemen.

And some of them seem to have it easier – like the ones that serve as elevators.


49. Wingo

Wingo Mario Character game screenshot

First seen in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (2014)

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was one of the best Marioverse titles on the Wii U.

And its main villain Wingo was part of the reason.

This giant black bird is meant to resemble Roc, a magical bird mentioned in The Thousand and One Nights, as you can probably tell by his jeweled turban.


48. Toadsworth

Toadsworth Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario Sunshine (2002)

Originally thought to be Princess Peach’s father, we now know the elderly Toadsworth is part of her diplomatic attaché.

Still, that doesn’t make him any less protective of the princess, who he’s taken care of since her infancy.

He’s kind, helpful, and a fatherly figure for her and the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom’s Toads.


47. Wart

Wart Mario Character game screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988)

He’s green, round, and wears a crown – and we don’t know much more about him.

Still, Wart holds a special place in the hearts of fans as one of the first Mario villains they ever fought.

While Wart held the prominent position of main antagonist in the Western version of Super Mario Bros. 2, he’s had a tougher time staying relevant than most characters in newer games.


46. Baby Luma

Baby Luma Mario Character screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Galaxy (2007)

Lumas are a race of whimsical living starlets that play a major role in Super Mario Galaxy’s story.

And this specific baby star is their best representative.

It’s probably Rosalina’s best and closest friend, as they’ve been scouring the galaxy in search of Baby Luma’s mom since times immemorial.

With time, Rosalina became friends with the rest of the Lumas, becoming a sort of adopted mother.

But she’ll always remember this adorable cosmic body.


45. Blooper

Blooper Mario Character

First seen in Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Bloopers first acquired their flying skill due to a bug in the original SMB, which spawned them outside of water in some underground levels.

It seems Nintendo liked it, so they’re mostly seen floating on air nowadays. They can even play tennis!

These mask-wearing creatures love spitting ink at people’s faces.

Which has made them an important ally for struggling drivers trying to get ahead in Mario Kart, where they’re featured as a power-up.


44. Count Bleck

Count Bleck Mario Character

First seen in Super Paper Mario (2007)

Super Paper Mario wasn’t precisely the franchise’s highest point, but its main villain is one of its best parts.

This monocle-wearing individual is obsessed with opening The Void.

To achieve this, he brings forth the Chaos Heart by forcefully marrying Princess Peach to Bowser – and kick-starts the game’s events.

Fun Fact: While he’s almost always referred to as Count Bleck, his real name is Lord Blumiere.


43. Cackletta

Cackletta Mario Character game screenshot

First seen in Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga (2003)

Another somewhat overlooked villain from Mario’s RPG exploits is Cackletta, a mighty and evil witch from the Beanbean Kingdom.

To achieve her ambitions of conquering the realm, she steals Princess Peach’s voice and uses Peach-like robots to call forth the Beanstar and use its power – which grants wishes to those with beautiful voices.

In the end, Mario & Luigi manage to stop this selfish, sadistic green witch – but she got pretty far.

She gets an A for effort from me.


42. Chain Chomp

Chain Chomp Mario Bros game screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)

Whenever I hear a dog barking, I’m transported to my childhood of playing Super Mario 64.

I always seemed to fail at getting the Power Star protected by a Chain Chomp in Bob-omb’s Battlefield, and I tried for so long that the sound was perfectly recorded in my long-term memory.

While vicious, this canine ball-and-chain is also kind of adorable – though getting bit by one of these would be a terrifying experience.


41. Bullet Bill

Bullet Bill Mario Bros game screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Another creative twist on an inanimate object are Bullet Bills.

These sentient projectiles have only one objective – to reach their target, and some of them can even home in on them.

While they’ve appeared as enemies in almost every single Mario game, they’re also popular as power-ups in the Mario Kart and Mario Party franchises.


40. Hammer Bros

Hammer Bros Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. (1985)

You know someone is good at something when they’re named after their craft.

And nobody is as good at juggling and hurling hammers at their opponents as the Hammer Bros.

There’s nothing stopping a regular Koopa from picking up a hammer and throwing it, but the Hammer Bros. are trained professionals and deadly beyond compare in the Koopa Troop.


39. Captain Toad

Captain Toad with Mario in Mario Galaxy 2007 game screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Galaxy (2007)

There’s nothing quite like an adventurous, intrepid explorer to get me excited for a character.

This red-capped Toad with an oversized backpack began his journey to stardom as part of the Toad Brigade in Super Mario Galaxy.

Nintendo noticed his noble actions, and he got to star in his own game – Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.


38. Vivian

Vivian Mario Character in Paper Mario game screenshot

First seen in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (2004)

The Paper Mario franchise occurs in a pretty self-contained universe. Which explains why we don’t see most of its characters make a comeback in other games.

Still, that doesn’t stop us from remembering them fondly.

Vivian is one of the most well-loved characters, both by regular fans and the patrons of certain unsavory places on the Internet.

That’s in part because of her appealing design, but also because of her excellent character development. Nice going Viv!


37. Birdo

Birdo Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988)

Also known as Birdetta, or “Yoshi’s girlfriend” if you ask my nephew, Birdo is one of the biggest success stories in the entire Mushroom Kingdom.

Despite starting as a mere enemy boss in SMB2, Birdo has re-invented herself to become one of the most beloved supporting characters in the Marioverse.


36. Professor E. Gadd

Professor E. Gadd Mario Character Luigi's Mansion game

First seen in Luigi’s Mansion (2001)

Professor Elvin Gadd was first introduced as a supporting character in Luigi’s first solo adventure. And he’s since become a popular returning character.

He even got a Mario Party stage named after him!

This small, stereotypical mad scientist with swirly glasses cares more about his inventions and advancing science than he does mundane matters like “saving Mario.”

Fun Fact: Professor E. Gadd’s name is a play on an outdated expression of surprise – egad!


35. Bob-omb

Bob-omb Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988)

Bob-ombs are among the most easily recognizable Mario enemies, and they manage to make their way into almost every single Mario game in one way or another.

While the wind-up key on their back might suggest they’re just robots instead of living beings, they’re capable of complex thought.

Plus, nobody ever winds them up.


34. Admiral Bobbery

Admiral Bobbery Paper Mario game screenshot

First seen in Paper Mario (2004)

Not all Bob-ombs are made the same.

They have agency over how they live their lives, and sometimes, that means becoming a sailor.

Admiral Bobbery is one of the last party members to join Paper Mario on the GameCube.

This sea-dog is a bit grumpy, but he’s a good bomb deep inside.


33. King Bob-omb

King Bob-omb Mario Bros 2 Character screenshot

First seen in Super Mario 64 (1996)

The King of the Bob-ombs is the first real boss fight in Super Mario 64.

Personally, it was my first boss fight in a Mario game as a whole – and I’m not alone.

Something that made the experience especially charming is that he accepts defeat in a gentlemanly manner after throwing him off the cliff three times.

If that’s not a good role model for our times, I don’t know what is.


32. Motos

Motos Character Mario 64 screenshot

Cut from Super Mario 64 (1996)

Motos is a pretty unique character to include. After all, they aren’t featured in any official Mario game.

This round robot-like enemy was found deep within Super Mario 64’s files almost 25 years after it was first released.

Considering he can pick you up and throw you around easily, maybe that’s for the best.


31. Koopa-Troopa

Koopa-Troopa Mario Character 3D artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Koopa-Troopas are the most common operatives in Bowser’s Koopa Troop. And they’re one of the first enemies you’ll get a chance to stomp onto in the original NES title.

Since then, this happy-go-lucky character has appeared in nigh every Mario game: be it as an enemy, a playable character, or an item.

Green, red, and blue Koopa shells are among the most common power-ups in Mario Kart – and they’re present in most other Marioverse sporting events.

You see a Koopa, you instantly think “Mario”.


30. Kamek

Kamek Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995)

Not all Koopas remain at the bottom of the food chain for their whole lives.

Some even have a talent for magic, and Bowser’s regime seems to be a sort of meritocracy.

Kamek is a perfect example of a Magikoopa rising above their station thanks to their great power and intellect.

He’s an old and powerful wizard at Bowser’s service, and the main villain in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island.


29. Kammy Koopa

Kammy Koopa Mario Character artwork

First seen in Paper Mario (2000)

Kammy Koopa is Kamek’s older female counterpart from the Paper Mario franchise.

Like Kamek, this ancient and powerful Magikoopa is a high-ranking member of the Koopa Troop, as shown by her regal dark purple robes.

She has taken care of Bowser since he was a child. And despite his disrespectful behavior towards her, she remains devoted to King Koopa to an almost motherly extent.


28. Dry Bones

Dry Bones Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)

Koopa-Troopas are far from menacing.

At best, they’re minor inconveniences – and sometimes, they’re even beneficial to the heroic Mario.

That said, there’s a sinister Koopa that even Mario knows to avoid – Dry Bones.

This skeletal Koopa can be found patrolling towers and castles in traditional side-scrolling Mario games, and they’re a hassle to deal with thanks to their ability to put themselves back together a while after Mario stomps them flat.


27. Goomba

Goomba Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Almost anybody that recognizes Mario will also recognize Goombas, the living shiitake mushrooms that seem to exist only to be stomped by the Italian plumber.

They’re the first enemy you’ll meet in Level 1-1 of the original Super Mario Bros., which earns them a historical figure status in the Marioverse.

While most of them seem to aimlessly wander around in service of Bowser (or whoever the current villain is), there are all kinds of Goombas.

There’s even a small community living peacefully in the Mushroom Kingdom!


26. Goombella

Goombella Mario Character artwork

First seen in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (2004)

One of the most notorious variations on the typical Goomba is the stylish and smart Goombella, an archaeology student from the University of Goom.

This charming Goomba is Mario’s first ally in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.

After the plumber saves her from Lord Crump, she joins his party and serves as a sort of navigator, providing useful tidbits of information throughout the game.


25. Lakitu

Lakitu Mario Character official artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Lakitus are a sub-species of Koopa serving as part of Bowser’s airforce.

They drop bombs and other dangerous objects on Mario to make him lose a few lives.

That said, they’ve been known to engage in other activities, whether that means fishing from their cloud or following Mario around to film his adventures.

Fun Fact: Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto has said that, among all Mario characters, he feels most similar to a Lakitu.


24. Koopalings

Koopalings Mario Characters artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)

If there’s a dastardly group of people in the Marioverse – it’s the Koopalings.

They just love being mean!

These seven heralds of Bowser’s conquest love to rain on Mario’s parade.

They’ll use warp pipes to surprise the Italian Plumber whenever he lets his guard down, only to be repelled time and time again.

Still, they stay together and keep trying, showing us the value of companionship and perseverance despite their evil intentions.


23. Piranha Plant

Piranha Plant Mario Bros game screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Bros. (1985)

I adore Piranha Plants.

Their design is simple, appealing, and after so many years of biting Mario’s bottom, they’ve become an icon of gaming.

I mean, there’s even DIY projects to make your own Piranha plants at home!

While most of them used to be seen growing inside the green pipes that litter the Mushroom Kingdom, they can also thrive in fields and other biomes.

They’re so popular that they even managed to become a part of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s playable character roster, despite that making absolutely no sense.


22. Petey Piranha

Petey Piranha Character Mario Sunshine 2002 screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Sunshine (2002)

The Piranha Plant in SSBU isn’t the first of these famous enemies to move around freely.

That would be Petey Piranha, the first boss in Super Mario Sunshine.

This giant, mutant Piranha Plant has a thick set of lips and a bad attitude.

It also has several unique abilities it’ll use to try and end Mario’s heroic stride.

The fight against Petey Piranha in Super Mario Sunshine taught me the meaning of “rage quitting”. It took me years to come back and finish the game!


21. Shy Guy

Shy Guy Mario Character - official artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988)

Few things are as misleading as the Shy Guy, one of the many bizarre enemies in Super Mario Bros. 2.

These weird creatures may look like serial killers in a slasher flick with those ghastly masks, but they’re just too timid to show their faces in public.

They’re not dangerous, they’re just terrified.

Once you understand that, they start looking adorable – especially when you consider they come in all the rainbow’s colors.


20. Toad

Toad Mario Bros 2 screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Bros 2. (1988)

One of the Mushroom Kingdom’s most famous faces has to be Toad, a charming and spontaneous fungus that’s been a staple of the Mario franchise since the release of SMB2.

The Toads are the most familiar face seen around the Mushroom Kingdom, and they’ve served Princess Toadstool since times immemorial.

While indistinguishable from any other member of his species, this is actually a single, specific Toad – just like Captain Toad and Toadette.


19. Toadette

Toadette Mario Kart game screenshot

First seen in Mario Kart: Double Dash (2003)

Toadette has been a mainstay in Mario spin-offs ever since her first appearance in Mario Kart: Double Dash.

It’s unsurprising, considering her adorable design.

Who can resist those bright pink colors and her fungus braids?

She’s also cheerful, energetic, and brave – as seen in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, where she’s one of the main characters.

Fun Fact: While some fans believe Toadette to be Toad’s girlfriend, she’s his sister according to official records.


18. Bowsette

Bowsette Mario Character game screenshot

First seen in this comic

Just like Motos several spots back, Bowsette isn’t in any official Mario game.

She only exists in the minds and hearts of Mario fans around the world.

This memetastic character was born from the mind of Twitter user @Ayyk92, who posted a comic where Bowser puts on the Super Crown power-up and becomes this bombastic female version of himself.

It may seem weird to include an unofficial character… but her popularity speaks for itself.


17. Daisy

Daisy Mario Land game screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Land (1989)

Also known as “Peach with different colors,” Daisy was first introduced in Super Mario Land as the princess of Sarasaland, where the game takes place.

While Sarasaland hasn’t made an appearance for a long, long while, Daisy stuck thanks to her bright personality. She’s probably more fun to be around than Peach.

After a while she became a resident of the Mushroom Kingdom permanently.

And one of the main characters in Mario’s many sporty spin-offs.


16. King Boo

King Boo Luigi's Mansion screenshot

First seen in Luigi’s Mansion (2001)

Most enemy species in the Mushroom Kingdom seem to have a monarch of their own.

And King Boo is one of the most powerful and terrifying of the bunch.

This ghostly regent is the main antagonist of Luigi’s Mansion. But he’s made several appearances in other Mario titles, including Mario Party and Super Princess Peach.

His power grows the more supporting boos are around him. Like kings in real-life history, King Boo is nothing without the support of his people.


15. Lady Bow

Lady Bow Mario Character artwork

First seen in Paper Mario (2000)

My favorite special Boo in so many years of Mario has to be Lady Bow, a girly ghost that’s as strong-headed as she’s kind-hearted.

We meet her as the potentially evil leader of a gang of Boos in Boo’s Mansion, but she joins Mario on his quest as an influential party member.

Her design is simple – a Boo with ribbons.

Still, her facial expressions and excellent character development make her one of the most charming and memorable characters of the game.


14. Boo

Boo Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)

No matter their size, gender, or social standing, Boos all have the same basic traits.

They’re round, floaty, and they’ll generally vanish whenever someone looks directly at them.

You might think this is some kind of scare tactic. But they’re just very timid – almost as much as they’re mischievous and, sometimes, sadistic.

Weird for a ghost, right?

You’ll find Boos anywhere there are people. They’re incredibly common in most Mario games.

Not even the Mushroom Kingdom’s royal palace is exempt, as anyone who visited the basement in SM64 can attest to.


13. Pauline

Pauline with band in Super Mario Odyssey screenshot

First seen in Donkey Kong (1981)

Pauline was the original damsel-in-distress kidnapped by Donkey Kong in the 1981 arcade classic.

Despite dropping off the face of the earth for several years after being forcefully replaced by Princess Peach, Pauline was able to slowly come back into relevancy with appearances in games like Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem and Super Mario Odyssey.

This classy lady seems to be here to stay.


12. Diddy Kong

Diddy Kong in Donkey Kong Country

First seen in Donkey Kong Country (1994)

Despite originally being created by Rare Ltd., the success of games like Donkey Kong Country and Diddy Kong Racing have cemented DK’s nephew as one of the most popular and recognizable monkeys in the Marioverse.

He’s the epitome of youthful energy, always looking for the next adventure and willing to take the lead when needed.

It was probably these valiant tendencies that got him a girlfriend – Dixie Kong.

In a way, you could say Donkey Kong Country is more Diddy’s game than it is DK’s.

After all, Diddy is playable in every game, while DK is only there half the time.

Also if you’ve ever played DKC1, I think you know Diddy cleans up.


11. Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong Mario Character game screenshot

First seen in Donkey Kong (1981)

Nowadays we know DK as a friendly, strong-willed gorilla hanging out with the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom’s heroes.

But that wasn’t always the case.

The original DK was as bad as Bowser, kidnapping ladies and generally disturbing the peace.

Luckily he turned over a new leaf to become one of the franchise’s main heroes.

This Kong is always ready to use his colossal strength to protect his friends – and his banana hoard – from any wrongdoers.


10. Wario

Wario in Super Mario Land screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992)

Mario has had many rivals over the years.

But none as interesting as the crass and rude Wario.

This cunning businessman and his dignified zig-zag mustache is not to be trifled with, as he always has a trick up his sleeve – and if that fails, he can resort to his herculean strength to get his way.

Despite his lack of respect for other people and poor hygiene, Wario has proven to be very industrious – managing a microgame-making company, a mining operation, and hunting for treasure in his free time.


9. Baby Mario & Luigi

Baby Mario & Baby Luigi Mario World 2 screenshot

First seen in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995)

The younger incarnations of Mario & Luigi seemed like a bit of a gimmick when Nintendo started including them in spin-offs like Mario Kart… but they went on to become critical parts of the cast.

While the brunt of their appearances has been in sports and party games, they have also had some leading roles – such as in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.

They’re adorable. And they show how Nintendo tries to reach as many age ranges as they can with their colorful games.


8. Bowser

Bowser Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario Bros. (1985)

Closing in towards the top of the list now, I’m sure you saw this big guy coming.

Here we have King Koopa himself. A towering beast that looks like the middle point between a dragon and a biped turtle.

Considering his giant size and multiple spikes all over his body, it’s no wonder he could unite the Koopas under his rule.

It’s a shame he only uses these leadership skills to try and kidnap Peach.

Despite his many dastardly deeds and bad intentions, Bowser is always willing to cease hostilities to settle his differences with the Mario bros. in fair sporting matches.


7. Bowser Jr.

Bowser Jr. Mario Character screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Sunshine (2002)

Like any smart King, Bowser knew he had to extend the royal bloodline early in his career.

Enter Bowser Jr., the heir to the Koopa throne.

Unlike his father, Bowser Jr. doesn’t have any interest in evil for the sake of evil.

That said, he’s still spoiled, aggressive, and arrogant – so he ends up coming off as a total villain regardless.

In the end, he always helps his father in his attempts to kidnap Princess Peach. Deep inside, he must really want a mom (and some fatherly approval).


6. Peach

Peach Mario Character game screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Bros (1985)

Mario may be the protagonist of his games.

But he’d be doing regular plumber work without a princess to save.

Also known as Princess Toadstool, this gentle and regal lady is Mario’s love interest and the fuel behind his heroic actions.

To be fair, even if he didn’t rescue her, we know she has a fierce attitude and could save herself if she wanted – as seen in Super Princess Peach.

Fun Fact: Despite being called a princess, Peach is the Mushroom Kingdom’s ruler, which would make her Queen Peach under most monarchic systems.


5. Rosalina

Rosalina Mario Character game screenshot

First seen in Super Mario Galaxy (2007)

Now Peach may be the Mario franchise’s main female protagonist.

But she’s not necessarily the best, or the most popular.

That would be Rosalina, the adoptive mother of the Lumas and a bit of a tragic character.

Despite her outward strength and composed nature, this front hides the pain of a girl who lost her family at a young age.

Throughout the game she comes to understand some things about herself and accepts the world’s harsh realities. Making her the individual with the most character development in Mario history.


4. Yoshi

Yoshi Mario Character artwork

First seen in Super Mario World (1990)

This dinosaur-like creature has been fighting alongside Mario ever since the original Super Mario World came out, going on to get his own franchise after the release of Yoshi’s Island.

And it’s only fair he got his own spinoff, considering the number of Yoshis that have fallen into bottomless pits just to help Mario reach higher platforms.

The Yoshi race has made the most sacrifices for the Mushroom Kingdom than anyone else.

They deserve some recognition here!


3. Luigi

Luigi Character

First seen in Mario Bros. (1983)

Being brave isn’t about having no fear.

Instead it’s about overcoming this fear to do what needs to be done and achieve great things.

By this standard, Luigi is the bravest character in the entire Marioverse.

Despite his cowardly nature, he’s always willing to tag along on his bro’s crazy adventures. And he’ll put his life on the line to protect him – as seen on Luigi’s Mansion.

Plus, he’s always gets the best memes.


2. Waluigi

Waluigi Character

First seen in Mario Tennis (2000)

Speaking of memes, why is Waluigi still not in Super Smash Bros.?

There is a Piranha Plant, in a clay pot, flailing around as a full-fledged character… but there was no room for Waluigi.

It’s no wonder he’s evil when he’s treated like this!

He may be lanky, ill-mannered, and an all-around terrible person – but he still has feelings.

Don’t worry, dude. At least you’re high on my ranking.


1. Mario

Mario Character

First seen in Donkey Kong (1981)

But the best character in the entire Marioverse has to be the one that ties it all together.

The one and only face of gaming: Mario.

Sure, he’s overpowered.

And yeah, this pick is a bit obvious.

But it’s fair to say this guy’s red outfit and mustache have permanently changed the entire industry of video games.

He’s good at everything he does. He can spit fire, fly, be a frog, and is virtually invincible… and yet, he remains a fun and compelling character.

Say all you want about Luigi being taller or Rosalina having more depth.

Mario is a worldwide phenomenon.

He’s a symbol of an era, and Nintendo wouldn’t exist as we know it without this Italian plumber.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.