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This article is about the character. For other uses of the name "Kirby", see here.


Kirby (カービィ, Kābī in Japan) is the main character of Nintendo's Kirby video game series created by Masahiro Sakurai and developed by HAL Laboratory. The Kirby series is one of Nintendo's many well-known game franchises, spanning nearly thirty games since 1992 [1]. His first appearance took place in the 1992 video game Kirby's Dream Land. Here he was portrayed by a two-dimensional sprite though he has also been conveyed by a three-dimensional computer-generated image in some games. He has been featured in video games from Nintendo, on Nintendo's merchandising, in manga, and even an anime series.

Concept and Creation

Earlykirby

Kirby in his earliest appearance.

His model was created as a blob placeholder sprite during the development of what would be the first Kirby game, originally titled Twinkle Popo instead of Hoshi no Kābī (translated as 'Kirby of the Stars') as it is called in Japan (or Kirby's Dream Land as it is called in the U.S.). After a while, creator Masahiro Sakurai started to prefer Kirby's placeholder design over the 'original conception'.

Sakurai always intended for Kirby to be pink. However, Shigeru Miyamoto had originally wanted him to be yellow. Because of this ambiguity, Nintendo of America was left with some confusion when the game was ported to the West. The American box art, cartridge label, instruction booklet, and even the television commercial for Kirby's Dream Land feature Kirby entirely white in color (based on the grey-scale visuals of the Game Boy game). The Japanese box art, however, correctly depicts Kirby as pink. A Yellow Kirby is however used for the second player in any Kirby game that features multiplayer(excluding Kirby Super Star, Kirby Super Star Ultra, and Kirby's Dream Land 3).

There is a good deal of debate on the origins of Kirby's name. A widespread myth is that Kirby adopted his Western name from the Kirby Corporation, which is a vacuum cleaner company and would suit Kirby and his inhalation abilities. The other explanation is that Kirby was named in honor of Nintendo's legal counsel, John Kirby of Latham & Watkins LLP, after John Kirby saved Nintendo during a copyright infringement lawsuit over Donkey Kong filed by Universal Studios. However, Masahiro Sakurai has been quoted as saying he does not remember how Kirby got his name.

Actor portrayal

In a 1994 educational video starring Kirby and Mario, called the Mario Kirby Masterpiece, Kirby was voiced by Mayumi Tanaka.

Kirby is today voiced by female seiyū (voice actor) Makiko Ohmoto in the Super Smash Bros. series, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land (when Kirby yells with his Mike ability), and in the anime, Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. She considered the time doing Kirby's voice and working with others on the games and show to be a great experience.

Characteristics

Kirby is a small, pink, spherical creature with large red shoes, blue oval shaped eyes with black pupils, stubby arms and pink cheek-blushes. His body is soft and flexible, allowing him to be flattened. He is said to be 20 centimetres (8 inches) tall, and his weight is unknown, although several parts of the anime and the Super Smash Bros. series suggest that he is light enough to be carried. He hails from Pop Star, where he lives in a dome-shaped house in Dream Land. His appearance has changed subtly over the years, becoming more rounded and defined, mainly in his face and larger eyes. The new design has been used in all subsequent games.

Personality

Kirby has a positive attitude, and helps to save Dream Land through the use of his unique powers. His age is never stated, although in the manual for Kirby's Dream Land he is called a "little boy", and in the television show he is called a 'baby' where he more or less acts like a child. All this, along with his high-pitched voice, suggests that Kirby is young. Kirby is referred to as male in the animated series and King Dedede in Kirby Super Star Ultra, when he says, "Can't anyone beat that guy?".

Kirby is cheerful and innocent. He loves to eat and sleep, especially during the day. His favorite food is tomatoes, hence the Maxim Tomatoes in the games which fully restore his health (although in the anime, his favorite food appears to be watermelon. possibly because Maxim Tomatoes don't exist in the anime). He is said to dislike caterpillars. His other hobbies include singing, although he is tone-deaf. He sometimes acts in an impulsive nature, such as when he accuses Dedede of interfering with the Fountain of Dreams in Kirby's Adventure, and then leaves to retrieve the pieces of the shattered Star Rod without even letting Dedede explain himself. His impulsiveness is also made an important plot point in Kirby: Squeak Squad where Kirby immediately blames King Dedede for the theft of his strawberry shortcake without any proof, then later on releases Dark Nebula from a Treasure Chest he thinks contains his cake.

The same personality and nature is presented in the Super Smash Bros. titles. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, his trophy profile states that he is an "extremely skilled technician". Kirby, Meta Knight and King Dedede play a large role in the Subspace Emissary mode as well.

Although (or perhaps because) he appears cute and innocent, many commercials and ads have showcased this as a contrast to his extreme fighting skills when he takes on the weaponry of an enemy.

Like many of Nintendo's protagonists, Kirby is a character of few words and rarely speaks in-game. His dialogue is largely limited to appearances in some games' instruction manuals, and brief comments such as 'Hi' in games including Super Smash Bros. and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. The only exception is in Kirby's Avalanche, where he is depicted as rude and smart-alecky. This game, however, is an American-made spin-off of the Puyo Puyo games (similar to the Sonic title Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine) and was never released in Japan. Despite his lack of dialogue, Kirby narrates the functions of certain Copy Abilities on the pause menu in Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, and Kirby: Squeak Squad. In Kirby no Kirakira Kizzu, Kirby gives short descriptions of various menu options when they are highlighted. Most of the in game talking Kirby does is in Kirby's Star Stacker, where Kirby explains the game's rules, along with brief gameplay descriptions (if it isn't done by Dedede). The concept of Kirby being mostly mute is supported by Masahiro Sakurai's insistence that Kirby not speak in the anime series. Though occasionally in the anime he does say the names of his special attacks, certain foods and sometimes does repeat other words that he hears such as yuki (snow) or suika (watermelon). In the Super Smash Bros. series, When Kirby copies a foe's ability, Kirby says the name of some attacks, such as Captain Falcon's "Falcon Punch" (See: Kirby Anime Development).

Kirby may have very little sense of taste. For example, every Cappy who has tasted Monsieur Goan's spicy food would breathe flames or catch fire, while Kirby was able to take the heat. Everything truly disgusting, like Belly Buster's pies or Mariels in Kirby's Dream Land 3, Kirby would hate or take damage from. Suprisingly, though, there is a food item in Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra that is a rotten pumpkin.

Abilities

Kirby's main attack is inhaling enemies (both his mouth and body expand to allow him to inhale things much larger than himself) and swallowing them. He can also attack others by spitting enemies out as stars. Certain enemies, when swallowed, grant Kirby new powers called Copy Abilities.

In the anime Kirby is an astonishingly fast runner. In one episode with Kracko he could run fast enough to skim across water and get over the horizon within seconds. It is also explained in episode "Beware: Whispy Woods!" that whatever Kirby consumes enters another dimension. In the same episode, it is hinted that Kirby is telepathic.

In Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby did not have copy abilities. He collected power ups, such as a sweet potato, which enabled him to shoot out endless air pellets for a limited amount of time, and curry and rice, which let Kirby shoot out fireballs from his mouth until the items effect wore off.

In most early games, an ability does not change Kirby's appearance drastically, aside from his color changing to orange or cyan in Kirby's Adventure, or wielding a weapon for abilities like Sword or Hammer. However, beginning with Kirby Super Star, Kirby gains a unique hat for each ability, such as a burning headdress for Fire, a frozen crown for Ice, or a backwards baseball cap for Yoyo and Wheel. While this would be overlooked in later games not designed by Masahiro Sakurai, such as Kirby's Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, the hats have become a staple of the series.

In Kirby Super Star, Kirby could sacrifice an ability to create a 'Helper', an allied version of the enemy he had devoured. The new Helper would be controlled by the game or a second player. This feature has not yet been included in later Kirby games, although it was included in Kirby Super Star's remake, Kirby Super Star Ultra.

Kirby also uses his powers to attain food or other special items like lollipops that grant him beneficial effects such as healing or temporary invincibility. Kirby Super Star and recent games contain a feature where Kirby can share his food with the second player in a motion that resembles kissing. It became a popular topic to parody in the Japanese manga series.The Kirby Super Star Ultra booklet refers to it as 'face-to-face food transfer.'

Kirby can suck in air and make himself more buoyant, flying slowly by flapping his arms. He can attack enemies by quickly exhaling a puff of air. This technique is known as the air gun. Whilst in most games he can float indefinitely, this ability is limited in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Super Smash Bros. (series), and Kirby Air Ride. Other games have developed his powers even further, such as allowing him to block attacks in Kirby Super Star. As a whole, however, his basic moves have remained the same, although more Copy Abilities are added in each new game. In a future game announced for the Wii, Kirby is again given the ability to release his absorbed enemy as an ally. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kirby displays an ability called "Cook Kirby", that was taken from Kirby Super Star, as his Final Smash. For this power, Kirby acquires a chef's hat, cooking utensils, and a boiling pot. All objects, including Assist Trophies, Pokémon, and Players within a limited range are sucked into the pot. Various items rain from above into the pot, and players fly out.

Kirby has a soft, flexible body. This allows him to be flattened or stretched, always returning to his original shape. This allows him to inflate himself, making himself more buoyant. When inflated, he can flap his arms to fly. In most games, he can do this as long as you like (though in Kirby 64, he will get tired after a while). He can exhale puffs of air as an attack, and also to deflate himself. In all the games after Kirby's Adventure, Kirby can do a move known as the "Slide Kick" while crouching as a basic attack. In Kirby and the Amazing Mirror and Kirby Squeak Squad, if Kirby uses a Slide Kick on a steep incline, he will roll down it and will roll over any enemies that get in his way.

Species

Kirby's species has been a common topic of debate in his fandom. Unlike many other video game mascots, such as Link being Hylian or Pikachu being a Pokémon, Kirby's kind has never been given an official name.(To fans, his species is refered to as "puffballs.") However, while Kirby is the one most often emphasized, he is not the only member of his kind. This is evidenced by similar looking characters seen in the ending of Kirby's Dream Land and the remake Spring Breeze in Kirby Super Star and potentially Meta Knight, who looks nearly identical to Kirby aside from color and facial differences. In Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land and Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, different colored Kirbies appear as other players in multi-player games. In the case of the latter, they are the result of Kirby being divided into four by Dark Meta Knight. In general, members of the species all look similar, but sometimes have different colored skin, eyes, and feet. As a name, however, 'Kirbies' refers to only one character. In the English manual of Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, the term Kirbies is used at points, to illustrate the feature of having four differently colored versions of Kirby active in the game simultaneously.

Another common term is Dream Landers, a term used in the instruction manual for Kirby's Adventure This term, however, also refers to anyone who lives in Dream Land, including characters like King Dedede. The Super Smash Bros. Brawl bio says Kirby is a citizen of Dream Land.

Kirby's race is not called Star Warrior, Warpstar Knight or any variation thereof. Star Warrior is a term used in the anime series to describe a group of legendary warriors from many races. The terms Warpstar Knight and Warpstar Warrior have only ever been used in advertisements, and have never appeared in any game or the anime. In the anime, Kirby's species is said to be created by N.M.E as monster species, but wouldn't obey commands and got sent in starships across the galaxy sleeping. Kirby's species can talk.

In Kirby's Dream Land 3, mysterious characters appear called Batamon. They resemble Kirby aside from a more flattened shape and different face, and are unique in that the player can never directly come in contact with them. They are always seen walking past walls or ceilings beyond Kirby's reach, with the exception of a single stage in Cloudy Park, where Kirby can continue past the exit and come into contact with one.

Appearances

Games

Kirby stars in all the games in the Kirby series games, most of which are platformers. Here he is the hero of Dream Land, a country on the star shaped planet of Pop Star and usually has to save his home from whatever evil that attacks it (sometimes traveling to other lands or planets to do so). Often at the climax of the game Kirby gains a mystical weapon that he must fight the main villain with.

He has also been in spinoffs revolving around racing, pinball, Breakout, golf, falling-blocks games, and among others. He also cameos in many other games.

Anime

Kirby1

Kirby in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!

In Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Kirby is a legendary Star Warrior, who crash lands on Pop Star after his space ship detects a monster bought by King Dedede there, because of this Kirby was awakened 200 years too early and is still in his infancy. Kirby only says "Poyo" similar to how Pokémon can only say their names, though he can sometimes say names too (examples: Fofa, Dedede and his own), as well as the names of his attacks (Kirby saying his attack names was removed from the English dub however). In Japan, he can also say "yuki" (snow) and "suika" (watermelon). In "The Meal Moocher", Kirby could say "kani" (crab). However, in the english dub, Kirby could say, "Name, Tiff", "Tuff", "Fololo and Falala", Chilly, and Dedede.

Kirby is also said to be the creation of the emperor of darkness, Nightmare, but disobeyed him. Meta Knight and Tiff start to help Kirby to become powerful enough, so one day, he could destroy Nightmare.

Manga and Comics

Kirby also stars in several manga series, none of which have been released outside Japan [2]. The longest running of these series is titled Kirby of the Stars: The Story of Dedede Who Lives In Pupupu, and was written by Hirokazu Hikawa (Japanese: ひかわ 博一, transliterating to Hikawa Hirokazu) [3]. Other Kirby manga are typically one-shot comedy 4koma (four-panel manga) based on the games, and have multiple artists. They usually have recurring themes and running gags, despite having different creators.

A few German comics released in the Nintendo Power magazines there feature Kirby as a detective and King Dedede as his friend. Kirby is also friends with a blue fish (not Kine but looks similar), an informant who works at the Blue Fish Bar with fellow blue fish. His animal friends; Rick, Coo, and Kine appear in the German comics as pets of a female Kirby look-alike with red glass slippers, ostensibly one of Kirby's girlfriends. In one comic, he meets Lolo, Lala, and Lulu, the stars of the Adventures of Lolo series. These comics were advertisements for Kirby games that would be released in Germany.

Recently Vizmedia has announced that Hikawa Hirokazu's series will be released in North America under the title Kirby[4]. 25 volumes are slated to be released with the first arriving on Sept. 7, 2010.

In the Super Smash Bros. Series

Kirby Colors SSB

Kirby's colors in Super Smash Bros.. Note that his green color is only available for Team Battles and can not be chosen for Free-For-Alls.

Kirby also appears in all three Super Smash Bros. Games. He retains many of his abilities from his own series, such as inhaling his enemies and can use many of his copy abilities from the Kirby series (like Fighter, Backdrop/Suplex, Hammer, Cutter/Sword, Stone, Ninja, Burning/Fire, and Yo-yo) without having to copy them from enemies. Kirby can also use his hovering ability in the form of six consecutive jumps. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, along with Jigglypuff and Mr. Game & Watch, Kirby is a character whose appearance hasn't changed from Super Smash Bros. Melee.

When Kirby inhales one of the other fighters, he can copy their standard B button technique and gains a hat that makes him look like that character, most of these abilities contain references to the copy abilities Kirby obtains in his games (for example: Bowser's Fire Breath works just like the Fire ability and R.O.B.'s Laser richochets off hills just like Laser ability.

Kirby appears as a sticker thrice, using his designs from Kirby 64, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror and Kirby Squeak Squad.

Role in the Subspace Emissary

In the beginning, a trophy of Mario and Kirby are thrown into an arena, come to life, and have a friendly match. The player chooses the one they want to play as. After the battle between the two, the victor revives the fallen loser, and the two fighters celebrate and wave to the crowd when suddenly, the Subspace Army attacks! Peach and Zelda, who were watching their match, both come to their aid. After the brief battle, the Ancient Minister shows up with a giant Subspace Bomb that is quickly armed by two R.O.B.s.
Subspace kirby

Kirby's introduction to the Subspace Emisarry.

When Mario attempts to stop the bomb, he is ambushed by a giant cannonball and is blasted away from the stadium. Meanwhile, the two princesses are captured by Petey Pirahna, and are thrown into separate cages. Kirby then faces off against Petey, but only one princess can be freed. After defeating Petey, Wario appears carrying a giant gun called the Dark Cannon, turns the princess Kirby didn't save into a trophy, and runs off with her. As Kirby and the remaining princess begin to leave, Kirby sees that the Subspace Bomb is about to explode! Fortunately, they flee the Midair Stadium via Warp Star. However, they are soon chased by the Halberd and are forced to land on it. Soon after, an Arwing gets shot down, blowing both Kirby and the princess off the Halberd and onto a series of ridges.

After climbing down from the ridges, Kirby sees something and runs ahead, leaving Peach/Zelda behind. She is then turned into a trophy from behind by Bowser's Dark Cannon, and is copied by a Shadowbug clone of Bowser. After a fight, Mario and Pit/Link and Yoshi are turned into trophies, and are captured by an arm from a cargo drove by King Dedede, which also has Zelda/Peach, Luigi, and Ness's trophies. Suddenly, Kirby appears from behind and uses Final Cutter to sever the arm, and revives the pair's trophies in the process. When Dedede attempts to escape, Pit/Link fires an arrow at his cargo, slowing it down a little, and the five pursue Dedede to save their friends.

Eventually, they find a cave that Dedede's cargo is parked by, and after getting through, they find Dedede's hideout. Upon exploring his hideout they see a hole in the wall, and decide to enter it. They then see Bowser, who escapes to the Halberd after avoiding Mario and Pit's attacks. After the scuffle however, Kirby finds a mysterious badge that fell off Zelda/Peach's trophy

Some time after that, Kirby and the others pursue the Ancient Minister in a desert, trying to stop him from detonating another Subspace Bomb. Despite their best efforts, the bomb still explodes, and they barely managed to escape it. Kirby and the others then aided Marth, Ike, Lucas, the Ice Climbers, and the Pokémon Trainer in warding off the Subspace Army troops that had come to face them.

After defeating them, the Falcon Flyer, and the Halberd (now under Meta Knight's control) land in front of them, and they all join forces to defeat the Subspace Army. The Subspace Gunship, commanded by Bowser and Ganondorf, appears out of a large sphere of Subspace, and after destroying the Halberd, tries to attack 4 smaller ships emerging from its wreckage. Fortunately, Kirby manages to save them by destroying the Gunship with Dragoon, and follows the others into Subspace.

When they confront Tabuu, Tabuu unleashes an attack that turns everyone, including Kirby, into trophies. However, Kirby is revived by himself, thanks to the badge he found at Dedede's hideout earlier, which he had swallowed prior to Tabuu's attack. After going through Subspace alone and reviving some of the fighters along the way, Kirby finds Ganondorf's trophy. Before he can do anything Bowser appears and attacks Ganondorf's trophy in revenge for turning him into a trophy earlier, before throwing it aside. King Dedede then runs over to Kirby and hugs him before pointing the staircase to Kirby, and dragging Kirby up it. Kirby then helps the others fight Tabuu.

Overall, Kirby has one of the most important roles in the story, mainly by saving everyone and being the first to explore the Subspace world. He's also the most-used character story wise.

Kirby's Special Attacks

Standard Special Move - Inhale

Up Special Move - Final Cutter

Side Special Move - Hammer

Down Special Move - Stone

Misc abilities

  • Kirby can lose an ability by taunting.
  • Some of Kirby's regular attacks (notably the Vulcan Jab and the Spin Kick) are based upon Fighter
  • Kirby's throws are based on moves used by Backdrop, Suplex and Ninja. Certain throws can also be used to Kirbycide.
  • Kirby enters by crashing his Warpstar onto the Stage. Similar to how he did when a new game is started in Kirby's Adventure and Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, or when he enters a new part of a level via Warp Star.

Final Smash

See Cook ability for more.

His Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl is Cook. It works in exactly the same way as it does in the Kirby series. Kirby puts on a chef's hat and "rings" a frying pan. Enemies and items are sucked into the pot and cooked. After adding salt, sugar, pepper, etc. into the pot, the opponents (and any Pokémon or characters from assist trophies) are thrown upwards out of the pot as random items fly out with them.

Trivia

  • Kirby's name could possibly also be a pun on the Kirby vacuum company .
  • In Kirby's earliest appearance, Kirby was actually black-and-white, as shown on the boxart of Kirby's Dream Land.
  • Kirby was originally going to be called Popopo but was later changed to Kirby.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, many of Jigglypuff's attacks and abilities are similar to Kirby's.

Artwork

Gallery

Sprites

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