|“||Want me to check'em in for a two week stay in the dungeon, sweet kingey?”|
|— Escargoon • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!|
Escargoon (Escargon in the Japanese version) is one of the main characters in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. He is the sidekick and right-hand man of King Dedede and one of the characters that was added to the series that had not previously been in any Kirby media. Several episodes are centered around him and he was given a good deal of character development. He is voiced by Naoki Tatsuta in Japan and by Ted Lewis in the dub.
Escargoon is an anthropomorphic snail who is Dedede's right hand man. His skin is lavender, and his shell is dark green. His eyes are green as well, and rise over the rest of his head on a stalk. He has short, light green hair and a goatee of the same color, and only four teeth. When he moves, he often makes a whirling noise.
Escargoon grew up in a small house on a farm with his mother somewhere on Planet Popstar. When he grew up, he left home, promising his mother that he'd make her proud. Unfortunately, the real world was harsh, and he ended up working for King Dedede in Dream Land.
In the original Japanese version, Escargoon is given the title Dr. Escargon, but only for the first few episodes. He has a verbal tick like King Dedede, ending most of his sentences with "-degesu". While it carries no meaning, it is an altered pronunciation of です (desu), which is Japanese for “is”, “am”, or "to be".
Escargoon has two distinct sides to his personality. There's the part of him that helps Dedede with his schemes and tricks, but he seems to have a genuinely nice side to him that only appears in extreme situations. Unlike most of the other residents of Cappy Town he does not dislike King Dedede, though the latter often whacks him with a mallet.
Escargoon's mannerism gives the impression of someone past his youth, and tends to get grumpy with the children of the village. He can be mean and naughty towards people in general, using his status as the King's assistant to lend him the right to boss people around or threaten them with the death penalty (in the Japanese version only). It is not clear whether he really is mean and only acts nice when he needs something, or if he has a good side of him that does not show because he is perpetually helping Dedede with his schemes in order to gain his approval. Since his mother says Escargoon is cowardly and would never hurt anyone, it would seem that the latter situation is more likely.
Escargoon can be cheerful and animated at times, and often does effeminate things such as wearing frilly aprons with hearts. (Other than that he rarely wears any articles of clothing, except an occasional bow tie, sun hat, or scarf in cold weather.) He is the usual host of Channel DDD for newscasts and special programs.
Escargoon is intelligent with a wide range of knowledge in botany (he wrote an encyclopedia on the subject called The Encyclopedia of Botanica), chemistry and electronics/robotics and even tried to decode anche ancient scroll. When Dedede doesn't order something from Nightmare Enterprises, he tends to use one of Escargoon's inventions instead, such as a formula that turns things into monsters. He builds various machines such as a robotic grasshopper , submarine , missiles , and even a robotic version of himself . However in Fossil Fools - Part I when he and King Dedede were asked questions from Doctor Moro, they both were unable to give concise answers. Unlike King Dedede, he does not trust NME Salesman, and rarely orders things from him.
He has a tendency to make comparisons and similes, as well as using higher vocabulary words and alliteration in his dialogue--for example, in Pink-Collar Blues, he compares asking the Waddle Dees a question to "interrogating a mime troupe."
Escargoon is most often in the company of King Dedede as his assistant and he tries to ensure the King's well-being and happiness in any way he can, sometimes to the detriment of his own. His duties are numerous, from cooking to cleaning to giving back rubs to being Dedede's personal punching bag when the King is angry. Sometimes Dedede pulls pranks on him and scare him just because he can.
He does care about Dedede but understandably hates his treatment of him, and tries to get even when he can, throwing subtle insults right in Dedede's face which the King isn't nearly bright enough to catch on to - though on the rare occasion he still gets hit anyway just for talking when Dedede is mad.
Escargoon's true feelings became clear in Sweet & Sour Puss, where he sings a song saying how Dedede is always mean to him. This song gives an interesting insight on Escargoon's feelings (as a joke, the creators put the song to the tune of the anime's theme song). The lyrics in the Japanese version are: "He's always a thorn in my side, that demon Dedede; but it's really hard for Escargon, laughing off failed schemes, and blaming it all on me; He's truly selfish, but I love His Majesty." However, in the English dub, the words Escargoon says are not only said in chant rather than in song, but the lyrics are also different: "Dedede's a rotten boss to work for. That I can't deny. He yells and screams and criticizes, no matter how I try. I deserve a raise, but the king refuses. All I ever get are bumps and bruises! He's a grouch. He's a grump. But I stay. Maybe I'll be king one day."
This perhaps explains why he is content to continue working for Dedede, when he could conceivably get a job elsewhere with his skills. (In the English dub, he doesn't actually care about him, but only sticks around for the pay or waiting for the chance to becoming King himself.) He's even shown sleeping with a plush toy of Dedede in a later episode, and puts up with some of his more bizarre plans - one of which involves him dressing in drag so Dedede could practice his marriage proposal techniques.
Since Dedede's always treating Escargoon like a punching bag, there are a few episodes in which Escargoon gets his revenge. He hires a ghost squad to scare Dedede in Escargoon Squad and cries near the ending as he explains, to show that he has a very soft side. In A Dental Dilemma, when Dedede got a toothache, Escargoon goes to great lengths such as dragging him along with the Waddle Dee army and using a metal claw to stuff him into the limousine. Later that night, Dedede hammers a taunting Escargoon on the head, causing him to retaliate by hitting the king on the foot and chasing him around. In Prediction Predicament - Part II, Escargoon sees Dedede hanging from his robe and burnt on top of the castle. He cries for a few seconds, but quickly laughs at him, giving a possibility that he likes it when Dedede is hurt. In Don't Bank On It, he punches Dedede's doll a few times, as well as throwing it and grabbing the neck, for those actions happening to Dedede. Finally, in Sweet & Sour Puss, he whacks Dedede a few times with the hammer, to which Dedede refused to get angry and wave it off. Escargoon soon learns of Dedede's new leaf and charges at him, giving him a giant whack to his head. He then gives him a few more whacks in revenge, but quickly reverts into his old self when Dedede realized the abuse and pursued him while trying to hit him.
Escargoon's Mother is the most important person to him, possibly even more so than Dedede. He is very attached to her and will do anything to make her proud - even pretending to be the king of Dream Land. His mother loves her only son dearly, but she can be rather harsh with him and will tease him - though affectionately. His father was never mentioned.
Unlike Dedede, Escargoon does not harbor any spite towards Kirby himself. He helps Dedede just for the sake of helping him, but, on his own, he doesn't have a problem with the pink puffball. Once Escargoon even asks Kirby to forgive him and start a "new life." Kirby likes Escargoon - but then again, Kirby likes just about everyone.
His name is a combination of the French word escargot, meaning snail, and the word goon, usually meaning underling or minion.
- He makes a surprise appearance in the Kirby Quest sub-game of Kirby Mass Attack, alongside King Dedede in one of his attacks, where Dedede is carried by several Waddle Dees and tramples over Kirby. This is his only video game appearance to date.
- His English voice has a strong resemblance to late comedian Paul Lynde.
- He and Dedede are the characters shown animated in CG the most after Kirby.
- Despite being a snail, he can run fast, even though he once said that he's "not built for speed."
- At the start of Kirby 3D, NME Salesman refers to Escargoon as "Lord Escargoon."
- Technically, Escargoon is the first character in the anime to visit Nightmare Enterprises since the NME Salesman sent him there for a demonstration in Abusement Park.
- In the Japanese version of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Escargoon has a verbal tic in which he frequently says "Degesu" when he is talking.
- Additionally, in the Japanese version, Escargoon has a habit of referring to himself with watakushi (an overly formal pronoun) when flustered or embarrassed.
- Much like King Dedede, Escargoon tends to incorporate many literary elements into his speech. Frequent alliteration and a larger vocabulary than usually heard in a children's show (such as referencing the philosophical theory of existentialism to Tiff from the episode Hatch Me if You Can) are noticeable through his diction, though his word choice is not noted by others besides Dedede.