Ludwig von Koopa (known as Kooky von Koopa in the cartoons) is the oldest and self-appointed leader of the Koopalings, a clan of seven siblings that act as leaders of the Koopa Troop under Bowser (originally considered his children). As the other Koopalings, not much of Ludwig's personality has been revealed, though he is reported in the official bios as being intelligent, conceited and a show off. He was named after composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Role in the series
Ludwig is known to be the eldest of the Koopalings, he is said to be precocious and conceited. In Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, he gets enraged when ignored by Mario and Luigi, and performs an impressive display of flips and twirls when riding in bikes or karts in Mario Kart 8, which, along with Ludwig's trophy description in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, explicitly states that he is a show-off. In the New Super Mario Bros. series, Ludwig laughs off the threat posed by the Mario Bros. when they face him in his castle, suggesting he underestimates Mario, a trait he himself starts to acknowledge after being defeated in Paper Mario: Color Splash. In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, after Wendy and Roy's defeat on top of Neo Bowser Castle, Ludwig stated that he was not impressed by their battle. He then claims that he is a leader, to which the other Koopalings deny. He also stated himself to have been "dethroned" after losing to Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario. In the English version of Paper Mario: Color Splash he is the only Koopaling to be referred to by his minions as Your Evilness, a title similar to the ones given to Bowser; in the Japanese version, however, such title is absent. In his defeat in Paper Mario: Color Splash, he seems to have a knightly sense of honor when fighting and an admiration for Mario's fighting skills. The portrayal also says that he worked on his own motive rather than having him say he was fulfilling Bowser's plans (unlike the other Koopalings), and Ludwig shows a more humble and respectful attitude when suffering defeat, contradicting previous arrogant depictions.
On the other hand, he has also been portrayed as the most cynical of his siblings, as he expresses disbelief that Princess Peach would ever agree to marry his father in the Super Mario Adventures comic. In the DOS version of Mario is Missing!, he cracks a joke about light bulbs and darkness at Mario's expense after Bowser discovered the hero's fear of the dark. He also had a horror-themed hotel in Hotel Mario.
Another aspect of Ludwig, not found both in Japanese in-game text and Japanese bios, is his love of classical music and his interests in composing. He waves a conductor's baton in Mario is Missing! and his UK blurb in Mario Kart 8 calls him the "Conductor of Chaos". His US blurb in Mario Kart 8 calls him a "Showy Anti-Hero", stating that he is a show-off, but maybe he isn't all bad. His bio from the Mario Kart 8 Prima Guide says that he plans to compose his own victory theme should he win the race, and both the Nintendo Comics System and the English version of Super Mario World reveal that he enjoys composing "Koopa Symphonies", although the former goes on to state that they sound horrendous. The book Pipe Down! implied that he was at least partially deaf for a time, as he claims he can finally hear after an explosion "shook something loose in [his] brain". In the 3DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, his victory animation when he ends up in 2nd or 3rd place has him performing a stationary march, revealing his sense of rhythm. The first game that has lines of dialogue from him specifically related to classical music is the English version of Paper Mario: Color Splash, where he says that the first movement begins, as the battle begins, and calls the cannons of his warship Cannon in Sea Major. According to graffiti of his hair and the list of the points of interests in Super Bell Subway, Ludwig might also be into art, as there's a place called "Ludwig Painting", also mentioned in the graffiti.
In Ludwig's trophy description in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, he is considered the most intelligent of the Koopalings, in Paper Mario: Color Splash he even designs his own warship to fight Mario, that he doesn't manage to fully produce before the latter arrives. He has been given the role of an inventor also in other media, such as the Club Nintendo comic Super Mario: Erholung? Nein, danke!, where he works as the mechanic for the KoopAir airline service. In The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and the Super Mario World cartoon, Ludwig's name was changed into Kooky von Koopa, and was portrayed as a stereotypical mad scientist, whose main purpose was to invent new doomsday weapons and gadgets for his father. He would commonly burst out into maniacal laughter or raise his voice by shouting in the middle of talking and seemed to be very aggressive towards the Mario Bros. Kooky didn't also care much about his hygiene, never washing or combing his hair. By contrast, the comics give him a more refined personality and vocabulary.
Ludwig was given a stereotypical German accent in both the official Nintendo Power strategy guide for Super Mario Bros. 3 and the CD-ROM Deluxe edition of Mario is Missing!, along with maniacal laughter not indicated in the speech bubbles in the latter source. Interestingly, he seems to have a very laid-back tone in the original Japanese Super Mario Bros. 3 manual, having some eccentric "cool musician" mannerisms and even using the first-person pronoun 「おいら」 oira (highlighted in katakana as 「オイラ」), a version of 「おれ」 ore with rural connotations. In the Super Mario-Kun manga he uses plain 「オレ」 ore to refer to himself, or occasionally the highly arrogant derivative 「オレさま」 ore-sama. He usually uses as his second-person pronoun オマエ omae, however, in Paper Mario: Color Splash, he instead uses キミ kimi.