Please remember that WiKirby contains spoilers, which you read at your own risk! See our general disclaimer for details.

Continuity

From WiKirby, your independent source of Kirby knowledge.
Jump to navigationJump to search
"Canon" redirects here. For information about the object that fires characters to different places, see Cannon.

Continuity is a term that refers to the order in which events of a narrative occur, the consistency between them, and whether events are connected to one another or unrelated. It is also often called canon, although canon usually implies that there are canon events and non-canon events; this cannot be said for the Kirby series as a whole, as it has been confirmed that the series has no single timeline, and there are no official statements regarding any single "canon" of the series. HAL Laboratory has explained they do not consider the Kirby series to have one definitive continuity, and that they instead focus on "...providing new surprises while avoiding the establishment of immutable facts and settings that would constrain Kirby," but still retain basic unchanging ideas like Kirby and King Dedede's rivalry to keep the story grounded in familiarity.[1][2]

Continuity within a title[edit]

Merry Magoland being visible in the background of the first stage of Nutty Noon, despite the Story Mode of Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe being set in a different universe, is a good example of how the continuity within each title of the Kirby series can be pretty ambigious.

Games of the Kirby series usually feature various modes, such as Story Modes, sub-games, and Extra Modes, but these modes rarely interact with each other. As such, it's often unclear in what order these events happen, or even whether they are connected to each other. There are some exceptions; in particular, some extra modes do directly acknowledge events of Story Mode, namely Heroes in Another Dimension, Isolated Isles: Forgo Dreams, the Colosseum, and Magolor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveler. Even in those cases, however, some connections can be unclear (for example, Magolor Epilogue's opening cutscene shows Magolor Soul, giving the impression that it follows Kirby's Return to Dream Land's Extra Mode rather than its Story Mode, but this is never properly explained). In addition, Meta Knightmare Returns and The True Arena of Kirby: Planet Robobot have been confirmed to be "what-if scenarios" that are not connected to the main story.[3] The opening text of Meta Knightmare Returns states that the mode occurs while Kirby is taking a nap, thus implying that it diverges from the opening cutscene of Story Mode; in the case of The True Arena, the Japanese and Korean text indicates that it is a program merely simulating battles to determine the strongest fighter. However, similar modes in other games are left ambiguous as to whether they are connected to the main story or not. Moreover, many of the elements that are revealed exclusively in these Extra Modes (typically in Special Pages, such as Queen Sectonia being corrupted by the Dimension Mirror) are referenced in subsequent installments. The developers often leave the lines blurry in those cases; in particular, for Merry Magoland, it was directly mentioned in-game that it exists in another time and space, yet Kirby and friends are able to travel freely between it and the main story, demonstrating that the flow of time in the Kirby universe is fluid.[2]

Continuity in games usually relies on a concept referred to as diegesis, which distinguishes elements that exist within the setting the characters inhabit from elements that exist outside of the universe for the audience's benefit. For example, music that exists in the story (such as a song playing on a radio that the characters interact with) is "diegetic" sound, while background music that the audience hears but the characters do not is "non-diegetic" sound. It should be noted, however, that in the context of the Kirby series, the lines for this concept are often blurry or ambiguous. As an example, while a cutscene in Kirby and the Forgotten Land shows a radio play "Welcome to the New World!" and Kirby dances to it, implying that it is "diegetic", afterwards he goes much further from the radio and the song continues playing regardless. In the same game, various pieces of background music from the game can be played by the Deedly Dees, despite the notion that background music is "non-diegetic" and thus not known by the characters.

Continuity between titles[edit]

The sunken Halberd found in the Secret Sea in Kirby: Squeak Squad is an example of how, while the Kirby series has no set timeline, the events of previous games are often hinted at. In this case, this is a nod to the Halberd sinking at the end of Revenge of Meta Knight of Kirby Super Star.[4]

As stated by current series director Shinya Kumazaki, there is no single timeline of events in the Kirby series, but there are loose connections. This is done so that characters and settings do not have to be introduced from the ground-up in every game, while also lacking a clear chronology so that that new players do not need to play all prior titles to understand the story or setting of a new game. In particular, certain character relationships often carry over from previous titles, such as Magolor's redemption after the end of Kirby's Return to Dream Land, or Kirby and King Dedede consistently recognizing each other.[1][2] The developers prefer to keep the specific timeline vague; for example, the beginning of Kirby: Triple Deluxe is designed to imply that it could continue from the ending of Kirby Super Star, but does not directly acknowledge that game's events.[5]

Remakes usually contain the same story as the original game. Because it is highly unlikely the same events would happen twice in the same continuity, it is usually understood that remakes are parts of different continuities, at least regarding the narratives they share with the original. With regards to Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe, it is seen as a "parallel" (universe) to the original Wii game, since there is not a single timeline in the Kirby series.[2] The Dream Kingdom has also been stated to be in a "parallel",[6] and Shinya Kumazaki has implied that travel between "parallels" is possible via Another Dimension (as it transcends time and space);[2] this was eventually shown in-game at the end of Magolor Epilogue, when Magolor goes through a dimensional rift and arrives at the Dream Kingdom. Fittingly, the name of the credits theme of said mode is "Crossing into the Parallel with You", directly acknowledging that Magolor is "crossing between parallels". The Japanese version of HR-D3's Special Page in Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe also says it has crossed many "parallels".[7]

While references to previous titles do exist plenty in the series, they are often done in ways of cameos, or content that is either complementary or not directly acknowledged by the characters. This is true to the goal of the developers, which is to avoid focusing too much on the story or continuity of the series. As an example, when choosing characters to be Dream Friends in Kirby Star Allies, at first the developers found it difficult to include certain characters due to past stories, but ultimately let go of such rigid thinking, and decided that summoning characters through the Dream Rod would allow them to add the ones they wanted regardless of the story implications.[8]

Continuity of adaptations[edit]

The final illustration of the novel Kirby and the Great Planet Robobot Adventure!, showcasing how Kirby adaptations often differ from the game's continuities in various ways. For this work in particular, despite being an adaptation of Kirby: Planet Robobot, President Haltmann survives at the end, and there is a character not present in the games at all, Director Kane.

Usually, adaptations are implied to be separate from each other, and separate from the games as well. For instance, the anime series, Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, is considered a different continuity, while the Kirby novel series is another, because they each have content that either directly contradicts the continuity of the games or is otherwise drastically different from it. For example, in the anime, Escargoon is King Dedede's primary servant, but he has only appeared in the games once as a cameo, and hasn't appeared in other adaptations. As another example, in the novel series, there used to be only one Waddle Dee at first, a fact that was never true in the games, anime, and other adaptations. While there aren't many direct official statements of the games and adaptations being different continuities, Shinya Kumazaki has at least explicitly confirmed that is the case for the anime compared to the games.[9]

Within each adaptation series, the continuity between works varies, usually based on how story-heavy they are. Most manga based on the games, for instance, are focused primarily on humor, and as such only have basic continuity between works. As the Kirby series has countless different adaptation series, this section will focus on two of the most known ones: the anime series Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, and the Kirby novel series.

Continuity within Kirby: Right Back at Ya![edit]

Kirby: Right Back at Ya! can be said to have at least two main continuities, due to how the episode order in Japan is different than in North America. Generally speaking, the series follows a linear continuity where episodes occur in chronological order; while the series is largely episodic, the story has a definite beginning and ending, and there are cases of story arcs occurring in multiple parts, as well as significant continuity changes — for example, King Dedede establishing a television channel in Un-Reality TV that appears in multiple later episodes, or obtaining the Royal Racecar in The Kirby Derby - Part I to replace his Armored Vehicle.

Furthermore, standalone episodes sometimes directly call back to the events of previous episodes, but usually only in a passing manner — for example, Mabel Turns the Tables references the events of Prediction Predicament - Part II as one of the times where Mabel made a successful prediction, and Tooned Out references the events of Cartoon Buffoon when explaining that King Dedede had previously made a cartoon. That said, the episode order in the anime is overall fluid, as most are self-contained stories that do not build from previous events, and some episodes end with significant continuity changes that are not resolved in the next episode (such as everybody forgetting about Kirby at the end of Escar-Gone).

The anime also appears to be completely disconnected when it comes to events from games, as none are ever implied to have happened in any form. True to that, most characters from the anime are not game characters, and the few that are have often drastic differences to their game counterparts.

Continuity within the Kirby novel series[edit]

Most volumes of the novel series are written in a way that implies that previous volumes happened linearly (for example, Waddle Dee obtains a bandana in Kirby's Decisive Battle! Battle Royale!!, and this trait is carried over and sometimes even directly referenced in later volumes). Some volumes, however, are explicitly mentioned to occur in alternate continuities from the main novels (such as Kirby and the Search for the Dreamy Gears! and Kirby: Sever Evil with a Slash in a Flash!). One notable exception to both rules is Kirby: Lor Starcutter and a Magician of Falsehood, which is not mentioned to be in a different continuity but contradicts many settings and events from the main continuity. For instance, that novel features Bandana Waddle Dee, despite Kirby's Labyrinth Rescue! referencing the events of Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and Waddle Dee not having his signature bandana in that volume. Since Lor Starcutter and a Magician of Falsehood is not considered part of the Tsubasa Bunko series like the rest of the novels, it likely was written without the main novel continuity in mind.

Unlike the anime, many novels are direct adaptations of the games, and beyond that, the original stories often reference the events of the games or imply that they have occurred in the past. Examples include Kirby already knowing the Squeaks in Kirby Meets the Squeak Squad! (implying that the events of Kirby: Squeak Squad already happened), and Queen Sectonia's fate being mentioned by Taranza in Kirby's Labyrinth Rescue! (implying that the events of Kirby: Triple Deluxe already happened).

Continuity of miscellaneous content[edit]

The real life Kirby Café features short and simple stories that do not contradict or complement any major events of Kirby games. This is just one of the many examples of how continuity of miscellaneous content is often overall disconnected from others.

It is often left unclear if miscellaneous content, often called "complementary" or "supplementary" material, is meant to be an extension of the various continuities of the series. This includes, but is not limited to, posts on the Kirby JP Twitter, Kirby Café content, game manuals, promotional videos, and merchandise. This is often due to the fact that said content often does not directly contradict facts present in continuities, but instead is mostly disconnected from it. An example is the story of Kirby Café, which is very isolated and could be either a completely different continuity of the series, or part of an existing one. Sometimes, however, this kind of content does contradict the continuity of the games; for example, a Kirby JP Twitter Valentine's Day illustration from 2017 features various friends and enemies interacting together, and it could be argued that this is unrealistic or even impossible given the stories of some characters featured.

It is important to note that only officially sanctioned content is considered part of this category. This obviously means that fan created content and parodies cannot be considered as part of any official Kirby continuity, as well as outside references to the series, unless otherwise stated by the developers. In particular, unofficial content can and often will conflict with official content. A known example is a depiction of Kirby with a skeleton, that once circulated on the internet with claims that it came from an official Kirby book, even though official Kirby content makes it clear that Kirby has no skeleton. As it turns out, the book was not officially sanctioned by HAL or Nintendo, and was simply an author's speculation of what Kirby's anatomy could look like.[10][11] In a similar vein, canceled games and beta content cannot be considered part of this category, either.

Retroactive continuity[edit]

An example of how certain details can be changed retroactively: unmasked Meta Knight with white eyes in Kirby Super Star Ultra (top) and with yellow eyes in Kirby Star Allies (bottom).

In some cases, details that were prominent in earlier entries of the Kirby series do not match up with newer titles, as changes are made either to the main narrative itself, or to details of certain characters, objects, events, and so on. In cases where this happens (referred to as retroactive continuity, or retcon for short), if confirmed by the developers, the newer change is assumed to be applied retroactively to the story as the way it always was.

An example of this is the color of Meta Knight's eyes. In earlier games, his eyes were white under the mask, but since Kirby: Planet Robobot, they have been shown to be yellow, just like when the mask is on. Shinya Kumazaki believes that Meta Knight's eyes were originally white because technical limitations on sprite colors in Kirby's Adventure may have made yellow eyes harder to distinguish. Much later, when modeling an unmasked Meta Knight for Kirby: Planet Robobot, the team felt that giving him white eyes did not look quite right.

Now for a question about the main character Meta Knight - specifically, about the color of his eyes. In the moment that Mecha Knight+'s mask cracks, the player gets a glimpse of Meta Knight's eyes, which appear to be yellow. Were they always this way? I was sure they were white before...

That's quite a thing to spot. In Kirby's Adventure on the Famicom (NES), Meta Knight's eyes are indeed white. At the time, there was a limit to the number of colors you could use, so I think that white was chosen because it stood out more.
They were also white in Kirby Super Star (EU: Kirby's Fun Pak), but when we created the 3D model for this game, giving him white eyes somehow didn't feel right. And besides, his eyes have always shone with a yellow glow from behind his mask. We were worried about how old-school fans might react to this, but for the purposes of the design, we settled on yellow eyes.

— Miiverse posts made during Kirby: Planet Robobot Ask-a-thon Round 3 regarding the color of Meta Knight's eyes; exchange between Satoshi Ishida and Shinya Kumazaki


It should be noted, however, that not every change to a certain element in the series is considered a retcon. In particular, King Dedede is redesigned in almost every game he appears, but there is no indication that said redesigns are applied retroactively. Moreover, since there is not a single timeline in the series, many changes are implied to just be the reality of a different continuity, rather than a retcon of an existing one. Unless it is officially confirmed by developers, the lines are often blurry.

Continuity of localizations[edit]

Due to changes in localization, often minor, each translation of each media can be considered a different continuity. A major example of how story and events can change during localization is in the story of New Challenge Stages in Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition: in English, Magolor directly acknowledges the events of Kirby's Return to Dream Land and explains he made the theme park to make up for his actions. However, in Japanese, Magolor doesn't mention any past events, and instead simply explains he came to Popstar by chance and wanted to build a theme park there. Another major example, though not from the games, is the English dub of the anime; it makes drastic changes to many elements of the show's original airing in Japanese, including (but not limited to) episode order and character dialogue.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Washington Post interview with the developers of Kirby and the Forgotten Land
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Nintendo DREAM May 2023 interview (translation)
  3. Kirby: Planet Robobot Ask-a-thon - Round 2
  4. 熊崎 メタナイトの持つ戦艦ハルバードがありますけど、『星のカービィ スーパーデラックス』の「メタナイトの逆襲」で一度水没しているんですよね。ただ、その後に出た『星のカービィ 参上!ドロッチェ団』では戦艦ハルバードは過去に水没したという事実を活かし、海底に存在しています。(Kumazaki: Meta Knight’s battleship Halberd was once submerged in Revenge of Meta Knight of “Kirby Super Star”. However, later in “Kirby: Squeak Squad”, the battleship Halberd is found at the bottom of the sea, taking advantage of the fact that it has been submerged in the past.), Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe interview from the June 2023 edition of Nintendo Dream, translation source
  5. Archive of a Miiverse post about Kirby: Triple Deluxe
  6. "ー 今作では、よろずやの店主として『星のカービィ Wii』のマホロアも登場していますよね。服の色がもともとの青ではなく緑になったのはなぜですか?
    熊崎 まず、マホロアの色自体がプププ王国の世界観に合わないのがひとつです。消して正体を隠してカービィの前に現れているわけではありません(笑)。「ボクの名前はマホロア!」っていう所も含めてパラレルですね。『星のカービィ Wii』の物語に大きく関わったマホロアは人気が高いキャラクターですし、今作のマホロアと関係性が気になっていた方も多いかなと思いますが、パラレルではあるもののあくまでも本人としての登場になります。
    Interviewer: Magolor from Kirby's Return to Dream Land also makes an appearance, doesn't he? Why were his clothes changed to green, instead of the original blue?
    Kumazaki: For one thing, Magolor's original color scheme doesn't quite match the style of the Dream Kingdom. And it's not like he just disappeared and disguised his identity so he could appear in front of Kirby again (laughs). This is a parallel [universe], and the part where he says "My name is Magolor!" is also parallel [meaning, he has no reason to hide because this isn't the same Kirby he met before]. Magolor is a very popular character who was crucial to the story of Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and I'm sure many of you have wondered about his relationship to the Magolor of this game; even though it's a parallel [universe], he is the same person [lit. "he is appearing as himself"]." –Nintendo DREAM (July 2017)
  7. 数多のジゲンや パラレルをこえ ついに今、未知なる鋼の巨兵との… 夢のバトルが はじまる!(It has crossed many dimensions and parallels, and now, finally, a battle of dreams begins…with an unfamiliar giant iron soldier!), HR-D3's Japanese Special Page, translation source
  8. Kotaku interview with Shinya Kumazaki, about Kirby Star Allies (archive)
  9. アニメとゲームの『星のカービィ』は設定面で住み分けがされてきました。(The Kirby anime and Kirby games are separated in terms of setting.), from a January 2019 Nintendo Dream interview, Twitter link Twitter favicon.png (Wayback Machine snapshot)
  10. Nintendo Life article that claimed this was official, later corrected to claim it is not
  11. Archived article from 空想科学読本, the origin of the image