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The Dark Matter (referred to as !? in Kirby's Dream Land 2’s bad ending) and related characters are a major antagonistic force in Kirby series that debuted in Kirby's Dream Land 2. The Dark Matter typically take the form of a shadowy sphere with a single eye in the center, and is usually shown to have a ring of smaller orange (originally purple) spheres. The Dark Matter can possess someone to achieve its own purposes, and King Dedede almost always ends up being the victim.
Dark Matter is often depicted as a single entity, but has later shown to have the capability of splitting into smaller, seemingly sentient black orbs; thus, the term "Dark Matter" may not necessarily refer to an individual, but rather any number of alike shadowy cloud figures. In the Kirby's Dream Land 3 instruction booklet, Gooey is mentioned to be "made from the same stuff as Dark Matter," which is suggested in the Japanese exclusive 20th Anniversary Hoshi no Kirby Pupupu Taizen to mean that he was a docile member of its species. This source also considers Dark Matter to be the name of said species. Some generic enemies (such as Nidoo, Mariel and N-Z) also appear Dark Matter-like and may have similar origins, but these similarities do not confirm the suggested relation.
Dark Matter made its last major appearance in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards in the form of Dark Rimuru, Dark Rimura, and Dark Rimuro. Since then, it has had cameo appearances across the Kirby series, but it returned in Kirby: Planet Robobot as a clone to fight.
Dark Matter first terrorized Planet Popstar in Kirby's Dream Land 2 by stealing the Rainbow Bridges that connect the Rainbow Islands of Dream Land. Taking control of King Dedede, the sinister being hid itself away in Dark Castle, plotting a future of darkness for Dream Land. The only way Kirby can fight Dark Matter is to collect all of the Rainbow Drops and defeat King Dedede, who has fallen into an unnatural sleep. Once this is completed, the Rainbow Drops form the Rainbow Sword. Dark Matter leaves Dedede's body and flies high into the sky, and Kirby uses the Rainbow Sword to pursue it.
Dark Matter first confronts Kirby as a swordsman-like being. It attacks by dashing forward trying to stab Kirby, firing energy beams from its sword, and by kindling and launching dark energy orbs. Although Kirby can deal minor damage to Dark Matter by slicing its body with the Rainbow Sword itself, Kirby can also significantly deplete its health by reflecting the energy orbs back at it. When defeated, Dark Matter turns into its true form, and Kirby must fight it again while slowly sinking earthward. This time it attacks in a pattern, first releasing four of its purple orbs at Kirby twice in a row, then shooting dark beams in a circular motion twice more, then launching itself forward three times, and finally shooting two thunderbolts from its eye three times. To ultimately defeat Dark Matter, Kirby has to repeatedly slash its spherical linings back at it during its first attack, similar to the swordsman battle, and then damage it directly during the rest of its attacks. If Dark Matter is not dispatched quickly enough, Kirby will reenter the atmosphere and begin taking a single point of damage at regular intervals, eventually resulting in a life lost similar to the battle with Nightmare's orb form in Kirby's Adventure and its remake. If Kirby loses a life against Dark Matter in its true form, but has lives to spare, he will have to fight Dark Matter's first form again.
After its defeat, Dark Matter was obliterated. Kirby's Animal Friends and even an awakened King Dedede celebrated as their benefactor rode his Rainbow Sword through the air. With one last wave of the sword, Kirby restored the islands' rainbows and reversed Dark Matter's plans.
In Kirby's Dream Land 3, a mysterious giant cloud breaks through the rings of Planet Popstar to get to the surface, and its long reaches possess King Dedede as well as Whispy Woods, Acro, Pon & Con and Adeleine far of the land. Dedede is once again bound to an unnatural sleep. Obtaining all the Heart Stars of an area will relieve that level's boss of possession upon defeat. If Kirby collects all the Heart Stars and saves all the boss characters, he will use the Love-Love Stick to reach the black cloud (optionally accompanied with Gooey), where Dark Matter will re-form and attack. Dark Matter retains its orb attack, which is modified to have the orange orbs home in on Kirby (though the hero can destroy them with the Love-Love Stick). Like the previous encounter, Dark Matter can also blast black lightning out of its eye — it will shoot a bolt of lightning in one direction, then another, then a third, and finally a fourth.
After defeating Dark Matter, it is once again banished and Kirby comes face to face with Zero, a force much greater than it. During the battle, miniature Dark Matter-lookalikes are spawned from its eye as projectiles, implying the nature of the hostile creature as a higher presence, and possibly showing Dark Matter is an underling of Zero. After Kirby defeats Zero's eye, the threat ends and everything returns to normal as the Love-Love Stick emits a light which eradicates the alien cloud. It explodes with blue, yellow and red streaks, presumably shooting into the atmosphere and forming as the planet's new rings.
A collective amount of Dark Matter appears as a massive fuzzy black mass that almost entirely envelops Ripple Star, invading it and its population. Knowing that there would be a danger should the Dark Matter race claim the planet's Crystal, Ribbon flies away on it. This catches the interest of Dark Rimuru, Dark Rimura, and Dark Rimuro, three Dark Matter who emerge from the mass and begin chasing Ribbon and the Crystal. The trio then shatters the Crystal, the pieces of which fall across several different planets across the galaxy. Dark Rimuru, Dark Rimura, and Dark Rimuro then head to Planet Popstar. While there, they each encounter an inhabitant of the planet who each have a Crystal Shard, and possess them. Dark Rimuru possesses a Waddle Dee, turning it into a Waddle Doo, Dark Rimura possesses Adeleine, and Dark Rimuro possesses King Dedede. During the battle against Adeleine, a representation of the original Dark Matter from previous games will appear as one of the artist's paintings. After the three inhabitants are freed from possession by Kirby, the Dark Matter trio fly away into the sky and are never seen again, making it ambiguous as to whether they were destroyed or not.
The gang eventually reform the Crystal by defeating Miracle Matter. The cloud of darkness is lifted off Ripple Star and their adventure is seemingly over. However, the Crystal apparently still senses the power of Dark Matter nearby, and it reacts by shooting a blast of light at the Fairy Queen (which only occurs when all the shards have been collected). It is revealed that she was possessed all along (which can be deciphered somewhat during the bad ending, in which she turns and gives Ribbon a malevolent smirk while she isn’t looking), and the remaining energy of Dark Matter escapes to amass a gargantuan sphere known as the Dark Star. Kirby travels to the core with his friends and encounters 0². Once it is defeated, the Dark Star threat is destroyed.
While Dark Matter does not return as a primary antagonist, the game revolves around a mysterious Treasure Chest that was originally in King Dedede's possession. Kirby believes it is his Strawberry Shortcake stolen by the Squeaks, so he chases it throughout most of his journey. After defeating the defense presented by Daroach and Meta Knight, the contents of the chest are unsealed and possess the leader of the Squeaks, becoming Dark Daroach and escaping into Gamble Galaxy. After Kirby defeats Dark Daroach, the villain takes the form of a small star-shaped object and flees Kirby until it is cornered and shows its true form - Dark Nebula. While this is not stated in the game itself, a possible connection between Dark Nebula and Dark Matter is suggested in the 20th Anniversary Hoshi no Kirby Pupupu Taizen.
Additionally, Dark Matter in its first form from Kirby's Dream Land 2 makes a cameo along with other final bosses in a graphic, which Kirby can assemble by collecting Graphic Pieces from Treasure Chests.
|This section contains information that does not coincide with the main series canon.|
Years later, Dark Matter would suddenly appear in Kirby Mass Attack (albeit not in the story mode). It is the final boss of the Kirby Quest mode, and has two forms based on its initial appearance from Kirby's Dream Land 2. The designs have been updated slightly to be larger (the latter now possibly being bigger than Zero) and more intimidating than ever. If Kirby picked up Galaxia, it is super effective to both forms in reference to its original weakness to the Rainbow Sword.
While Dark Matter does not make a personal appearance, its swordsman form from Kirby's Dream Land 2 and its sprite from Kirby's Dream Land 3 are still present as rare keychains for the player to unlock.
|This section contains information that does not coincide with the main series canon.|
The real Dark Matter does not appear in the game, however, a clone created by Star Dream appears to do battle against Meta Knight to test him. The clone takes the appearance of Dark Matter's swordsman form from Kirby's Dream Land 2; due to Star Dream's inability to analyze the alien lifeform correctly, its true form only appears inside Dark Matter's cloak and the last moment of its demise.
It will initially fight like in its first form of the original fight, staying at a side of the arena, and shooting dark energy at Kirby or Meta Knight. Soon, it will move to the background to fire larger energy balls, which can be launched back at it. It will occasionally also dash towards the screen with a dive attack. Once it is at half health, Dark Matter's "eyes" will temporarily withdraw to the main body to let out a roar before changing color to red. At this stage, Dark Matter will first move to a side of the screen while the eye fires dark lasers around the arena. Afterwards, it will summon four orange spheres around itself which Kirby can swallow to get the Fire ability, and it will circle the arena briefly before ordering the spheres to attack Kirby or Meta Knight. Dark Matter will then head to the background before performing three multi-slash attacks.
In addition to its clone, Dark Matter appears as two stickers, one representing his swordsman form from Kirby's Dream Land 2 and the other representing his true form from Kirby's Dream Land 3.
Dark Matter does not physically appear in this game, but there is an armor and weapon set based off of the Swordsman form from Kirby's Dream Land 2. Its shield is designed around Dark Matter's true form.
In the final confrontation with Hyness, Hyness notes that those of his clan were masters of a “matter most dark.” The god of the Jambastion Religion, Void Termina, has many references to other members of the Dark Matter race, and even uses a form resembling Dark Matter in the final battle. Additionally, one of Void Termina's attacks is internally called "Dark Matter Laser."
Dark Matter appears in the Kirby of the Stars Pilot as one of the enemies created out of the plumes of smokes when the sky went dark. It looks like the form Kirby fights in Kirby's Dream Land 3. Kirby freezes it with the Ice ability after he inhales the Ice Dragon.
Dark Matter is drawn in Paint Panic in Kirby: Canvas Curse. Dark Matter's swordsman form from Kirby's Dream Land 2 also appears in a collectible painting depicting various Kirby villains in Kirby: Squeak Squad. It is also one of the cards in Kirby Super Star Ultra’s Card Swipe sub-game, again in its swordsman form.
Dark Matter Invaders
Dark Matter has been revealed to be the name of a specific species, and not just of the individual invader. The 20th Anniversary Hoshi no Kirby Pupupu Taizen refers to them as "space invaders", and notes Zero to be their leader. Gooey is also pointed out as a non-hostile member of their species who fought Zero instead. Other notable members include Dark Rimuru, Dark Rimura, and Dark Rimuro.
Dark Nebula and 0² are brought up due to their similar names and nature, but their true relation to the Dark Matter race is stated to be unclear.
In Kirby Star Allies, Void Termina is heavily implied to be a member of the Dark Matter race, having many references to other members, and even transforming into a form nearly identical to Dark Matter and Void having the background of Hyper Zone in the Boss Butch as his splash screen.
In the Super Smash Bros. series
Dark Matter in its Swordsman form appears as a primary, Legend-class attack Spirit, occupying three slots for Support Spirits in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It sports no effect when applied to a fighter, but also has one of the highest power levels in the game.
Its Spirit Battle in the World of Light mode is a stamina battle against King Dedede in his black and white coloration, before fighting Meta Knight in his black alt, referencing the battle with Dedede followed by Dark Matter Blade in Kirby's Dream Land 2. 0²'s battle theme plays, and the battle is fought on the Halberd stage's Ω form, while Nightmare frequently appears to cloud the player's vision, both likely referencing the darkness theme. King Dedede and Meta Knight can also randomly get critical hits, and their weapons have increased strength.
|“||Creating this dark swordsman pushed Star Dream to the limits of its abilities. The cloning process was a success, but only a partial data analysis was possible, and its true form has not yet emerged.”|
|— Vs. Dark Matter Clone • Kirby: Planet Robobot|
|“||A blade said to be wielded by a dark swordsman who, lurking in shadow, plots to shroud the world in darkness.”|
|— Weapon Description • Team Kirby Clash Deluxe|
|“||Armor that borrows its appearance from the dark swordsman with a single eye. It is said that isn't hair but part of his body.”|
|— Armor Description • Team Kirby Clash Deluxe|
Dark Matter's (the individual, not the species as a whole) appearances in Kirby's Dream Land 2, and Kirby's Dream Land 3, as well as the appearance of Dark Rimuru, Dark Rimura, and Dark Rimuro in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, are canon. Its appearance in Kirby Mass Attack’s Kirby Quest sub-game is non-canon, as it is not part of the main story. Meta Knight's battle against its clone in Meta Knightmare Returns is also non-canon, however, Star Dream's data analysis of it is ambiguous; it is possible that it just wasn't used to fight anyone, and as Star Dream was defeated, that information that would be used to create the clone would probably disappear with it. Star Dream's data on Dark Matter may indicate there are still traces of the entity left somewhere out there, as evidenced by Void Termina. However, it is unclear if the data originated from said being, as his vessel was trapped in a seal at the time.
Its appearance in the pilot is also non-canon, as the pilot is not directly connected to the anime series, Kirby: Right Back at Ya!
- Japanese media refers to the second form in Kirby's Dream Land 2 as Real Dark Matter (リアルダークマター).
- The amount of appendages Dark Matter has is inconsistent with its appearances. Its Kirby's Dream Land 2 sprite has ten (only eight are shown in its Kirby's Dream Land 2 artwork due to the side view); its Kirby's Dream Land 3 sprite always has eight (even in side view), as does Ado's artwork, however, the official artwork for its Kirby's Dream Land 3 appearance gives it ten; in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, it lacks any appendages, however, Adeleine's drawing gives it eight; its appearance in Kirby of the Stars Pilot gives it twelve appendages; its appearance in Kirby Mass Attack also has twelve appendages, but in different positions than they were in the pilot; its appearance in Kirby: Planet Robobot has eight appendages; its appearance in Team Kirby Clash Deluxe as the shield when wearing the Dark Matter gear depicts it with eight appendages; in Kirby Star Allies, when Void Termina shows its true form, it has ten appendages.
- A Japanese Kirby encyclopedia by the name of 最新星のカービィ大百科 Saishin Hoshi no Kābyi Ōhyakka ("The Latest Kirby of the Stars Large Encyclopedia") states that Dark Matter targeted Planet Popstar because it grew jealous of Dream Land's lifestyle and suffered from loneliness due to the fact no one wanted to be its friend.
- This information has since been repeated in the January 2019 issue of the Nintendo Dream magazine.
- The swordsman form of Dark Matter has a laser attack with the same sound as Laser Ball from Kirby's Adventure.
- Dark Matter appears capable of altering its form so it is suited to whatever task it must carry out. This is first seen when Kirby first confronts Dark Matter in Kirby's Dream Land 2, where it assumed the form of a masked swordsman, presumably to combat against the overwhelming strength of the Rainbow Sword. In subsequent appearances except Kirby Mass Attack and cameos of the swordsman form, it would only possess others to combat Kirby or fight in its natural state.
- In Kirby's Dream Land 3, Dark Matter was a simple circle with a white eye with a red iris and pupil, and orange circles lining it. The Dark Matter orbs in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, however, do not have orange circles and appear more like a fuzzy cloud than a solid sphere. The eye is still white with a red iris, but with a black pupil and orange spike-like marks extending from the iris, making for a more frightening appearance. It is possible that the reason for this redesign was to separate it from the more singular incarnation seen in previous games, though it is also likely to have been due to the difficulties of making 3D models of the original design.
- Despite being its last major appearance so far, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is the only game in which Dark Matter, as a main villain, does not directly fight Kirby.
- Dark Mind's second and final forms resemble Dark Matter.
- Also, for a split second during its transformation (and during its attacks) in Kirby Mass Attack, its orbs are purple like its debut appearance, and this is one of only two games (the other being Kirby: Squeak Squad) where Dark Matter (as a final boss) can be attacked without using a final weapon (excluding Miracle Matter, who is not a final boss per se).
- Concept artwork seems to suggest that Dark Matter's true form was considered as a playable character in Kirby: Canvas Curse.
- A heavily remixed version of Dark Matter's theme from Kirby's Dream Land 3 is used as one of the tunes during the first phase of Magolor's theme in Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
- "Reproduction of Darkness", the theme that plays during the battle against Dark Matter Clone in Kirby: Planet Robobot, is a remix of Dark Matter's theme in Kirby's Dream Land 2, followed by a remix of the theme for the swordsman form.
- The Dark Matter Clone in Kirby: Planet Robobot can turn its sword into something similar to the Rainbow Sword to attack, ironically, as the Rainbow Sword is the original Dark Matter's weakness.
- According to a HAL Laboratory Miiverse post, this is because the Dark Matter can materialize its memories.
- The cutscene before the battle against Dark Matter Clone is also called "The Dark Rainbow Thief".
- In Kirby: Planet Robobot, Dark Matter Clone is referred to as Dark Matter Blade in The True Arena's rest area. In Japanese, both its name in battle and in the rest area is クローン剣士ダークマター, meaning Clone Swordsman Dark Matter.
- Additionally, in the European English version, its name remains "Dark Matter Clone" both in battle and in the True Arena's rest area.
- In light of this, the official English name of this form of Dark Matter itself is likely to be Dark Matter Blade.
- When activating the portal for the Dark Matter Clone, Star Dream reveals the clone is filed as Sword_Master.exe.
- Dark Matter's unused model in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is similar to the animation that plays when Dark Matter is defeated in Kirby's Dream Land 3.
- The official strategy guide for Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards by Prima Games, Adeleine's Dark Matter painting is erroneously called mutant Mumbies.
- The clone fight in Kirby: Planet Robobot reveals that the Rainbow Sword is not the only weapon capable of reflecting the dark energy balls Dark Matter Swordsman fires, as Meta Knight's sword, Galaxia can also do so. Additionally, in The True Arena, any of Kirby's attacks, even the basic slide kick and Air Gun, can reflect the dark energy. This is likely because the clone was imperfect.
- Dark Matter is the sixth-strongest Kirby series Spirit usable by the player in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with 10,089 power at max level. It is only beaten by Nightmare Wizard's 12,671, Dyna Blade's 11,203, Marx (True Form)'s 10,886, Dark Daroach's 10,897, and Galacta Knight's 13,345.
- Dark Matter has the second highest power when fought as a Spirit Battle, only after the Dragoon.