Kirby 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 twenty games since 1992. His first appearance took place in the 1992 video game Kirby's Dream Land, where he was portrayed by a two-dimensional sprite; since Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards for the Nintendo 64, he has made several appearances in 3-D. He has been featured in other video games from Nintendo, on Nintendo's merchandising, on comic books, and even on a television show about the series. Kirby also appears in the Super Smash Bros. series.
Kirby is described in his games as a young male pink ball, who is a denizen of Dream Land on the planet Pop Star. In the main game, he almost always has the same abilities; he can walk, run, jump, float, slide, and inhale, spit out or devour his enemies. Most of Kirby's games adhere to the same basic idea; that this is a series for beginners and children. As such, his games can be beaten by a player of nearly any age, but offer deeper challenges for more experienced gamers.
Kirby often journeys across the planet Pop Star, defeating antagonistic forces such as the greedy King Dedede or the ominous Dark Matter. On other occasions, he encounters the enigmatic Meta Knight. To defeat his foes, he uses his signature ability of inhaling large objects and spitting them out with great force. From Kirby's Adventure onward, Kirby was able to gain the abilities of the enemies he swallowed,better known as known his Copy Abilities. In several games in the series, he obtains a mystical weapon during the climax of the battle against his enemy; this weapon is usually required to defeat the final boss.
Kirby is a small, pink, spherical creature with large red feet (or shoes), stubby arms and trademark pink cheek-blushes. His body is soft and flexible, allowing him to be flattened. He is said to be 8 inches tall, and his weight is unknown, although several parts of the anime, the game Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, and the Super Smash Bros. series suggest that he is light enough to be carried. He hails from the planet 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.
Kirby has a negative attitude, and helps to save Dream Land through the use of his unique powers. His age is never stated, although he is called a "little boy" in the manual for Kirby's Dream Land, literally acts like a baby in the anime, and is referred to as being a "pretty jolly guy" in Kirby Super Star Ultra game. This, along with his high-pitched voice, suggests that Kirby is young. Kirby is referred to as male/boy in the animated series.
Kirby is cheerful and innocent. He loves to eat, sleep, color and play, 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). 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 King 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.
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 has been seen to have made the biggest, and most playable role in Subspace Emissary. Meta Knight and King Dedede also play a perminent role in the Subspace Emissary mode as well, which is the story mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
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 abilities of an enemy.
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. 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. Kirby gives short descriptions of various menu options when they are highlighted. The most talking Kirby does is in the anime. The concept of Kirby being mostly mute is supported by Masahiro Sakurai's insistence that Kirby does not speak in the anime series, although he does occasionally say the names of his special attacks and certain foods and sometimes repeats other words that he hears. 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'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 projectiles. Certain enemies, when swallowed, it grants Kirby a new power called Copy Abilities.
In Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby did not have copy abilities. He collected power ups, such as a mint leaf, which enabled him to shoot out endless air pellets for a limited amount of time, and curry and rice (which makes a reappearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as Superspicy curry), which let Kirby shoot out fireballs from his mouth until the item's effect wore off.
In most early games, an ability does not change Kirby's appearance drastically, aside from his color changing to orange or snow white in Kirby's Adventure, or wielding a weapon for abilities like Sword or Hammer. However, 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 his copied 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. The 'Helper' would fight enemies along beside Kirby. 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.
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 and Super Smash Bros. 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 and other recent games, as his Final Smash Attack. 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's species has been a common topic of debate in his fandom. Unlike many other video game mascots, such as Link being Hylian, Kirby's kind has never been given an official name. 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, the remake Spring Breeze in Kirby Super Star, and potentially Meta Knight along with the final boss of Meta Knightmare Ultra, Galacta Knight, in Kirby Super Star Ultra, 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 shoes. They are commonly referred to as Kirbys, just as 'Yoshi' in the Mario series is the name of both the species and character. As a name, however, 'Kirby' refers to only one character. Terms like creampuffs or puffballs are also used to describe the species, referring to their soft, round appearance. In the English manual of Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, the term Kirbys 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 biography of Kirby in Super Smash Bros. Brawl says Kirby is a citizen of Dream Land.
Kirby has also been called a Star Warrior, along with Meta Knight and other characters that have appeared in the Kirby animated series. Some question if Star Warrior is a race or just a title given to an elite group. Many agree that it is a race due to the fact that the other Star Warriors look like Kirby just with different color eyes, skin and shoes and the fact that they wear mask. Meta Knight for example has the same body shape as Kirby, only that he is bigger which can be a result from him being older then Kirby. In "Kirby, Nightmare in Dreamland" and other Kirby games, once you defeat Meta Knight in a sword fight his mask would come off, his face and eyes looking similar to Kirby's only blue and in and in the final episode of Kirby, "right back at ya" fright to the finish they showed a scene of Meta Knight talking to other Star Warriors, also being round and wearing mask and having eyes and feet like Meta Knight just in different colors. It is said that Kirby is just a young Star Warrior or a under developed one. In the first episode of the animated series Kirby was in his space ship and he put it on auto pilot to dream land, the trip was suppose to take him several years and in that time he was suppose to be dormant, but his ship drifted into a space rift causing it to warp to dream land and making his trip shorter, not allowing him to develop into the Star Warrior he was going to become. At other times Kirby was also called a Warpstar Knight or a Warpstar warrior but this was only in advertisements, never in the anime or games.
In Kirby's Dream Land 3, mysterious characters appear called Batamon. They resemble Kirby aside from a more flattened shape and different face. 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.
In the original Japanese anime Kirby of the Stars, he is revealed to be both a baby Star Warrior, and, although this was unclear, perhaps one of Holy Nightmare's (NME or Nightmare Enterprises in the English dub) monsters that turned against him. In the American production produced by 4Kids TV, he is clearly said to be one of Nightmare's (eNeMeE in the English dub) monsters that turned against him.