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Kirby (Japanese: カービィ, Hepburn: Kābī, Japanese pronunciation: [kaːbiː]) is the titular protagonist of the Kirby series of video games owned by Nintendo and HAL Laboratory. As one of Nintendo's most popular and familiar major mascots, Kirby's round appearance and ability to copy his foes' powers has made him a well-known figure in video games, consistently ranked as one of the most iconic video game characters. He first appeared in 1992 in Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy. Originally a placeholder, created by Masahiro Sakurai, at the age of 19, for the game's early development, he has since then starred in over 20 games, ranging from action platformers to puzzle, racing, and even pinball, and has been featured as a playable fighter in all Super Smash Bros. games. He has also starred in his own anime and manga series. Since 1999, he has been voiced by Makiko Ohmoto.
|Kirby series character|
|First appearance||Kirby's Dream Land (1992)|
|Last appearance||Kirby Fighters 2 (2020)|
|Created by||Masahiro Sakurai|
|Designed by||Masahiro Sakurai|
|Voiced by||Makiko Ohmoto (1999–present)|
Taeko Kawata (Kirby and the Story of the Dream Spring) (1994)
|Gender||Male (in English)|
Unknown (in Japanese)
Kirby is well known for his ability to inhale objects and creatures to gain their powers, as well as his ability to float by expanding his body. He uses these abilities to rescue various lands, including his homeworld of Planet Popstar, from evil forces and antagonists, such as Dark Matter or Nightmare. On these adventures, he often crosses paths with his rivals, King Dedede and Meta Knight, though Meta Knight can be seen as a hero, depending on the game. Kirby has been described as one of the most legendary video game characters of all time by PC World. In virtually all his appearances, Kirby is depicted as cheerful, innocent and food-loving; however, he becomes fearless, bold and clever in the face of danger.
Concept and creationEdit
Kirby was created by Masahiro Sakurai as the player character of the 1992 game Kirby's Dream Land. The character's design was intended to serve as placeholder graphics for the game's original protagonist in early development and thus was given a simplistic ball-like appearance. Sakurai switched to the placeholder design for the final character design when he believed that it served the character better. The character was known as Popopo (ポポポ) during development until the name "Kirby" was chosen from a draft list of potential names. Shigeru Miyamoto stated that "Kirby" was chosen in honor of American lawyer John Kirby, who defended Nintendo in the Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. case in 1984 and that the guttural-sounding name contrasted amusingly with the character's cute appearance. Kirby appears white in Kirby's Dream Land due to the grayscale palette of the Game Boy system. Sakurai intended the character to be pink, though Miyamoto had originally thought the character to be yellow. Kirby does appear white in the game's North American promotional materials and artwork to reflect the character's in-game appearance.
In North America, Kirby consistently appears in artwork with a more striking, bolder expression than in Japan, where his expression is more relaxed. Nintendo has said that the more battle-ready appearance appeals to a wider audience in North America.
Kirby has a pink, spherical, body with small stubby arms and large red feet. His eyes are a distinctive oval shape and are white (eye shine) at the top, black in the center and dark blue on the bottom (all black in early games) with rosy cheek-blushes near his eyes. His body is soft and flexible, allowing him to stretch or flatten and adopt different shapes, open his mouth really wide to inhale foes, or inflate himself with air and fly. He is 20 cm (about 8 in) tall, In Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, Kirby's Return to Dream Land and Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, different colored Kirbys 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.
Kirby hails from the distant Planet Popstar, where he lives in a dome-shaped house in the country of Dream Land. He has a positive attitude, and frequently helps to save Dream Land through the use of his unique powers. His age is never directly stated, although he is referred to as a "little boy" in the English manual for Kirby's Dream Land, described as a baby in the anime, and was referred to as being a "jolly fellow" in Kirby Super Star.
Kirby's main ability is inhaling enemies and objects and spitting them out with incredible force. Both his mouth and body expand to allow him to inhale things much larger than himself. However, there is a limit to what he can inhale; excessively large or heavy foes like bosses can resist Kirby's inhale. Against these opponents Kirby must find smaller characters to use as ammo or intercept his opponent's attacks and send them back at them.
Kirby Super Star greatly expanded on the concept of Copy Abilities from Kirby's Adventure. Originally Kirby just obtained one move from a Copy Ability which replaced his Inhale but Kirby Super Star introduced multiple fighting techniques for each ability with their own controls. Additionally while Kirby's Adventure didn't have Kirby's appearance drastically change when he had a Copy Ability, aside from his color changing to orange or snow white, or wielding a weapon for abilities like Sword or Hammer. Kirby Super Star gave each Copy Ability its own costume, such as a fiery crown for Fire Kirby or a floppy green cap that resembles Link's for Sword Kirby.
In Kirby Super Star, Kirby could sacrifice his current Copy Ability to create a 'Helper', an allied version of the enemy Kirby typically gets that ability from. The new Helper could 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 and was intended to return in the cancelled GameCube Kirby game which would have had Kirby able to make up to four helpers at once. In the game Kirby Star Allies, the game's main mechanic is similar to this, but with now up to 3 helpers.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kirby's Final Smash is his Cook ability from Kirby Super Star, which cook opponents, items and more. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Kirby's Final Smash is an Ultra Sword attack.
This section needs to be updated.(October 2021)
Kirby's main media form are games, as he is the star and protagonist of the Nintendo owned series named after him. Most Kirby games are platform games in which Kirby fights enemies, solves puzzles, and challenges bosses. Each game typically adds a new twist or change to Kirby's abilities that the levels of the game emphasize, such as combining power ups in Kirby 64 or Super Abilities in Return to Dream Land. Most games involve Kirby saving a world or even universe from a dark, evil force of some kind. Typical Kirby games have a powerful being, such as Dark Matter or Nightmare, controlling or corrupting a secondary villain.
The series has 34 games currently, with the first being Kirby's Dream Land in 1992 and the latest being Kirby Fighters 2 in 2020. Although most are platform games, some spin offs have included pinball, racing, and puzzle games. A new game titled Kirby and the Forgotten Land will be released in Spring 2022.
Super Smash Bros. seriesEdit
Kirby appears in the Super Smash Bros. series of games as a playable character, which is also created by Masahiro Sakurai. He is the sole Kirby series representative in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, and has been one of three (the others being Meta Knight and King Dedede) as of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He reprises his role as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the latter of which features him playing a starring role in the "World of Light" story mode in which he survives Galeem's massacre on all the fighters.
Kirby appears in his own anime titled Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, (Japanese: 星のカービィ Hoshi no Kaabii) in Japan. The series was licensed in North America by 4Kids Entertainment and the Canadian company Nelvana, and produced by Warpstar Inc., a company formed between a joint investment between Nintendo and HAL Laboratory. It aired on 4Kids TV, via Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting (since 2001 which has done 100 episodes).
The anime series is set in its own universe independent of the games and offers its own take on the setting and characters, however, Kirby's creator, Masahiro Sakurai, was greatly involved in its creation, so it did not stray far from his vision of how Kirby should be. The anime contains darker themes such as war, and death while still maintaining the cheerful and surreal themes the games are known for.
In the anime Kirby's origin and backstory are explored much more deeply than in the games. Kirby is a legendary Star Warrior who, according to legend, is fated to save Pop Star from destruction, but he was awoken from his slumber 200 years too early by mistake and as such has many baby or childlike qualities. Because of his age, he is still getting the hang of his powers and depends even more on the help of his friends to pull through tough situations. It is also implied that Kirby was originally a creation of the ancient evil entity called Nightmare but refused to follow his evil orders and was discarded into the depths of space.
Kirby's Warpstar is also expanded upon, as in the games it is a mode of transportation, but here the Warpstar is also the source of his power but as he's too young to keep it safe for himself the character Tiff takes it upon herself to keep the Warpstar safe.
Though Sakurai instructed that Kirby not speak in full sentences (citing the Peanuts character Snoopy) he did allow him to use a small vocabulary including a catch phrase "Poyo" and the names of various attacks and characters.
Prior to this Kirby was also in a short educational video that was released exclusively in Japan in 1994, designed to teach Kanji to young children. The feature was not animated, but contained illustrations and was bundled with a similar video featuring Mario and Wario.
Manga and comicsEdit
Kirby also stars in several manga adaptations, which have been drawn by over 20 manga artists. The longest running series, Kirby of the Stars: The Story of Dedede Who Lives in Pupupu, was serialized in CoroCoro Comic from 1994 to 2006, which has been compiled into 25 tankōbon volumes, with over 10 million copies being printed. It continued serialization in CoroCoro Aniki in 2017. Viz Media originally planned to release the manga in English in September 2010, but it was pushed back and eventually cancelled. The series was later published as a "best-of" collection, which also features new chapters from its continued serialization, and was published in English as Kirby Manga Mania by Viz Media.
The German Club Nintendo magazine often featured comics starring various Nintendo characters, including Kirby. In his comics, Kirby is reimagined as a detective and King Dedede as his sidekick. These comics were promotions for Kirby games that were released in Germany at the time including Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Avalanche, and Kirby's Dream Course.
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Since he first appeared in Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby has received positive reception. Nintendo Power listed Kirby as their 19th favourite hero, commenting that he doesn't get the respect that he deserves. Kirby ranked second on GameDaily's Top 10 Super Smash Bros. characters list. They also included him in their "Pretty in Pink Video Game Characters" article. GamesRadar listed Kirby as one of the most lovable blobs, calling him one of the cutest things to appear in a Nintendo game, yet also describing the way he defeats his enemies as "horrific." He ranked sixth on IGN's top 10 veteran Super Smash Bros. characters, described as the "pinkest badass ever made." An issue of the webcomic VG Cats depicts Kirby in 100 forms from both video games and other forms of media, such as characters from The Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear and Gundam. In 2011, Cheat Code Central ranked Ninja Kirby as the ninth top ninja in video games.
UGO Networks listed Kirby on their list of "The Cutest Video Game Characters" stating "It's easy to get on board with someone who will eat anything." In 2009, GameSpot chose him as one of the characters to compete in their poll for the title of "All Time Greatest Game Hero". In a 2010 Famitsu poll, Kirby was voted by readers as the 12th most popular video game character. The 2011 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition lists Kirby as the 18th most popular video game character. In 2012, GamesRadar ranked him as the 40th "most memorable, influential, and badass" protagonist in games, saying "[i]f you don’t think a pink blob can be tough, then you clearly haven’t seen Kirby in action". Jeremy Parish of Polygon ranked 73 fighters from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate "from garbage to glorious", listing Kirby third and stated that "He’s probably the single most consistent character in the Nintendo mascot lineup; unlike Link and Mario, And his “copy power” makes him unpredictably fun to play as in Smash." Gavin Jasper of Den of Geek ranked Kirby as first of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate characters, and stating that "Kirby is the glue holding Smash together."
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