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Idle animation

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Idle animation refers to any character animation in gameplay (as opposed to cutscenes or other non-playable events) that occurs when that character (typically a playable one) is not being moved around or otherwise controlled by the player. These can range from simple eye blink animations to exaggerated interactions, and mainly serve to impart a sense of life and personality onto the player character. Though exceptions exist across the board, idle animations for characters were generally not a feature in earlier sprite-based games, becoming more common with increasing graphical fidelity, particularly the advent of 3D model-based graphics.

The Kirby series is notable in its use and development of idle animations, and the progression of their use serves to highlight both the larger trend of increasing expressiveness for characters in video games over time, as well as Kirby's own development as a character since his debut in 1992. The scope of this article will include Kirby's idle animations by game, and will also touch on the idle animations of other playable characters (where they differ from Kirby's), as well as those of other characters and entities where applicable. This article will also place a stronger emphasis on occasional "special" animations, as opposed to the more regular idle stances.

Idle animations by game[edit]

The following is a list of games that feature notable idle animations or milestones relating to them. Games that do not feature noteworthy or unique idle animations will not be mentioned here:

Kirby's Dream Land[edit]

Kirby's Dream Land is notable in that it features no regular idle animations for Kirby whatsoever during normal gameplay. When not being moved by the player, Kirby stands perfectly still, and does not even blink. However, when the game is paused for long enough, Kirby will start to dance in place, breaking the fourth wall in the process. This action does not repeat, however, as once Kirby is done with his dance, he will freeze in place again until the game is resumed.

Kirby's Adventure[edit]

Kirby's Adventure is the first game in the series that gives Kirby a blink cycle when he is not moving. The cycle runs on a regular pattern of three successive blinks in a row, with no randomization at play. Aside from that, Kirby has no special idle animations in this game. Notably, this blink cycle does not occur when Kirby is using a Copy Ability, even if that ability only changes his color.

Kirby Super Star[edit]

Kirby Super Star features a more elaborate blink cycle for Kirby, though, like before, it is not randomized. Instead, it follows a fixed pattern where Kirby blinks three times in quick succession, with the third being slightly delayed, does this pattern a second time, then closes his eyes for an extended moment, and then finishes with one more pronounced blink before starting the whole loop again. Unlike with Kirby's Adventure, this blink cycle persists even if Kirby has a Copy Ability. Kirby's blink cycle will be reset when he performs most actions, but crouching does not affect the cycle.

None of Kirby's helpers have distinct idle animations.

Kirby's Dream Land 3[edit]

Kirby's Dream Land 3 is the first Kirby game to give Kirby an "active" idle stance, where he is constantly swaying back and forth as opposed to standing perfectly still. Despite this, he does not have a blink cycle in this game. The same applies to Gooey and when either is paired up with an Animal Friend.

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards[edit]

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is the first game in the series to introduce special incidental animations that may play at random when Kirby is holding still. There are three distinct animations that can play, as follows:

  1. Kirby puts his arms behind his back and kicks the ground with his feet.
  2. Kirby sits down and taps his feet on the ground, then hops back up to his feet after rolling on his back.
  3. Kirby looks from side to side, and then looks up and around a bit.

The second and third of these would return in various forms throughout nearly all of Kirby's subsequent 3D appearances.

Video collage of Kirby's idle animations in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.

Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble[edit]

Kirby looking dizzy with swirly eyes.
Kirby looking extremely sad and distraught.
Kirby jumping angrily at the player, as if to indicate decidedly un-jolly excitement.
Kirby circled by particle effects and with an open mouth, as if to indicate a stunned state.
Kirby jumping happily looking at the player, as if to indicate gleeful excitement.
Kirby falling asleep.
In-game idle animations in Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble.

One of six idle animations may play at random in the game if Kirby is left alone in a stage.

  1. Kirby sits in place with cartoonish swirling eyes.
  2. Kirby looks extremely sad and distraught.
  3. Kirby jumps angrily.
  4. Kirby sits in place with an open mouth and circled by particle effects, as if to indicate being stunned.
  5. Kirby jumps indefatigably with a happy smile.
  6. Kirby sleeps.

Kirby jumps into each of these, including the sleeping idle animation.

Kirby Air Ride[edit]

In Kirby Air Ride, when Kirby is on his Air Ride Machine, he will regularly look back toward the player and motion with his arm if the player waits too long to perform an action. When Kirby is off his machine in City Trial, he may occasionally look left and right.

Kirby: Squeak Squad[edit]

Kirby dreams of cake before inhaling the dream.
Kirby scratches his ear with his foot.
Kirby does a taunt.
Kirby yells and wipes his face after.
A door appears on his hat, with a mini Kirby entering, bouncing on the brim of the hat, and leaving through it.
Kirby stands still with an arm raised, looking to his right.
Kirby bounces around with a parasol.
Kirby stands readily with his arms up.
Kirby pulls down on his hat.
Idle animations in Kirby: Squeak Squad.

In Kirby: Squeak Squad, if he has no ability, Kirby will fall asleep if left alone for long enough, and will start to dream of his missing Strawberry Shortcake, then when he wakes up, he will inhale his dream. He has several unique idle animations for specific copy abilities as well, a trait unique to this game.

  • With Animal, Kirby will scratch his ear with his foot.
  • With Fighter, Kirby will assume a battle-ready stance, occasionally yelling then wiping his nose, or holding his arm out briefly.
  • With Magic, a smaller Kirby will pop out of his hat.
  • With Ninja, Kirby will assume a ninja pose with a stoic expression.
  • With Parasol, Kirby will bounce on his feet.
  • With Throw, Kirby will keep his arms raised, as if preparing to grapple.
  • With Wheel, Kirby will tug down on his hat.

Kirby Super Star Ultra[edit]

Kirby Super Star Ultra features a similar set of animations for Kirby himself. However, all of Kirby's helpers have been given more active idle stances, as opposed to holding completely still like they did in the original game.

Kirby's Epic Yarn[edit]

Kirby's incidental animations in Kirby's Epic Yarn are as follows:

  1. Kirby pulls out his Yarn Whip and starts to jump rope with it. He gets more ambitious after a while, but eventually trips and falls over, getting back on his feet a moment later.
  2. Kirby lets out a big exaggerated yawn, and then wipes the water from his eyes while quivering with his lips.
  3. If Kirby is made to sit down on certain furniture items or scenery, he falls asleep and slumps over on his belly. After a moment, he wakes back up with a startle and gets back into a sitting position.

These animations are also shared with Prince Fluff.

Kirby Mass Attack[edit]

In Kirby Mass Attack, each Kirby runs on his own set of the following idle animations, which can occur at random:

  1. Sitting down
  2. Waving while facing away from the screen
  3. Swaying back and forth
  4. Looking from side to side

After a while, if the player does nothing, the Kirbys will all fall asleep.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land / Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe[edit]

Kirby's Return to Dream Land introduced a set of three standard idle animations for Kirby that would persist through every subsequent game in the series that used its style and/or engine as a base, including all of the main-series games up until the present. These three main idle animations are as follows:

  1. Kirby sits down and taps his feet on the ground for a moment.
  2. Kirby raises his arms and stretches his body upward briefly.
  3. Kirby puts his arm over his eyes and looks from side to side.

Kirby's companions - King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Bandana Waddle Dee - also have a set of idle animations. Some are shared between characters, but the unique ones are as follows:

  • King Dedede may hold out his hammer and twirl it.
  • Meta Knight may hold out and examine his sword.
  • King Dedede may let out a big sneeze.
  • Meta Knight may stretch in a similar way to Kirby, though his eyes do not close, and flap his wings twice.
  • King Dedede may briefly fall asleep before popping back awake again.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land also features idle animations for when Kirby and his friends are waiting on the Warp Star on the title screen. These include the following:

  • King Dedede gets Kirby's attention, and then makes a childish face at him, causing Bandana Waddle Dee to chuckle and Meta Knight to shake his head in embarrassment, while Kirby just looks confused.
  • Kirby, King Dedede, and Bandana Waddle Dee all wave toward the player. Meta Knight initially remains stoic, but eventually joins in reluctantly.

Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition[edit]

Kirby has the same set of idle animations in New Challenge Stages as in Kirby's Return to Dream Land.

In the Kirby's History menu, Kirby has a number of unique animations. By default, he looks toward the player with a closed smile, but if left alone for a moment, he will perform one of the following actions at random:

  • Wave at the player with an open smile.
  • Look toward the item he is standing next to and admire it with an open smile.
  • Get tired and fall asleep for a moment before waking up with a startle.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe[edit]

Kirby has the same set of idle animations in Kirby: Triple Deluxe as in Kirby's Return to Dream Land.

In Dededetour!, King Dedede has the following unique animations:

  1. He may briefly fall asleep before popping back awake again.
  2. He twirls and tosses his hammer while giving a stern look toward the screen.
  3. He lets out a big sneeze.

Kirby: Planet Robobot[edit]

Kirby stretching.
Kirby sitting and tapping his feet.
Kirby looking around him.
Kirby's idle animations as seen in Kirby: Planet Robobot.

Kirby has the same set of idle animations in Kirby: Planet Robobot as in Kirby's Return to Dream Land. There are no special animations to note for when he is in the Robobot Armor.

In Meta Knightmare Returns, Meta Knight has the following unique animations:

  • He stretches in a similar way to Kirby, though his eyes do not close, and flaps his wings twice.
  • He puts his free hand up to his eyes and looks around, similar to Kirby.
  • He holds out and examines his sword.

Kirby Star Allies[edit]

Kirby Star Allies is notable in the sense that every playable ally and Dream Friend has unique idle animations. The following table lists all of the animations which pertain to each character:

Character Animations Notes  
  • Kirby sits down and taps his feet on the ground for a moment.
  • Kirby raises his arms and stretches his body upward briefly.
  • Kirby puts his arm over his eyes and looks from side to side.
These are the same as in Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
Blade Knight
  • Blade Knight lowers his sword and raises his free hand to his visor, then looks around briefly.
  • Blade Knight relaxes a bit, then plunges his sword into the ground to rest on its hilt for a moment.
Sir Kibble
  • Sir Kibble pauses briefly, and then works his shoulder by moving his arm in a circle.
  • Sir Kibble takes two quick sharp glances in different directions while raising his hand to his visor.
Poppy Bros. Jr.
  • Poppy Bros. Jr. puts his hands behind him, and then gently sways left and right while keeping his eyes closed.
  • Poppy Bros. Jr. hops down to a seated position and sways gently for a moment before getting back up.
  • Rocky takes two big side-steps rocking back and forth, similar to a sumo wrestler.
  • Rocky hops down to a seated position and sways gently for a moment before getting back up.
  • Wester grabs the brim of his hat and quickly looks from side to side with his feet raised.
  • Wester pauses for a moment and quickly scans the ground while raising his free hand.
  • Bonkers drops his hammer and yawns into his free hand.
  • Bonkers scratches his head with his free hand, looking confused.
Bio Spark
  • Bio Spark grabs the hilt of his sword and strikes a ready pose.
  • Bio Spark puts out his hand and beckons, as if to taunt his opponents.
  • Gim gets up on his feet, holds out his yo-yo, and plays with it a bit.
  • Gim strikes a bashful pose and kicks out his foot.
  • Jammerjab puts his staff in an upright position, leans on it a bit, and lowers his eyelids briefly.
  • Jammerjab quickly tosses and catches his staff.
Burning Leo
  • Burning Leo raises his arm while closing his eyes, striking a bit of a pose while doing so.
  • Burning Leo takes two quick sharp glances in different directions.
  • Chilly adjusts the bell on his collar with both hands.
  • Chilly brings his hands together and shivers briefly.
Waddle Doo
  • Waddle Doo slumps over briefly with his eye half-closed.
  • Waddle Doo gets up on his toes and waves forward with his wand-bearing hand.
  • Plugg hops around in a circle, giving the player a good look at the screw on his back.
  • Plugg kicks out one foot, and then the other, in an exaggerated manner.
  • Driblee jumps for joy with two swaying hops.
  • Driblee turns its head to the side and nods gently with its eyes closed.
  • NESP twirls around in a graceful floating spin.
  • NESP brings his hands to his mouth and chuckles while swaying back and forth.
  • Birdon flaps his wings to hover off the ground briefly.
  • Birdon pecks gently on his wing to clean it.
Broom Hatter
  • Broom Hatter hops down to a seated position and sways gently for a moment before getting back up.
  • Broom Hatter relaxes for a moment, and then frantically starts sweeping back and forth for a moment.
Knuckle Joe
  • Knuckle Joe gets into a hunched fighting stance, swaying his hands back and forth.
  • Knuckle Joe punches his fists together twice.
  • Bugzzy does a quick joyful pose by throwing out his arms and fluttering his wings.
  • Bugzzy raises his head while stretching his arms back in a triumphant pose.
  • Beetley taps his foot impatiently while turning toward the screen.
  • Beetley shakes his horn back and forth.
  • Como waves his arms while swaying back and forth.
  • Como stands on his hands, briefly assuming his pose when on a string.
Parasol Waddle Dee
  • Parasol Waddle Dee raises his parasol for a moment.
  • Parasol Waddle Dee nods and closes his eyes for a moment.
  • Vividria hops twice in place.
  • Vividria sways back and forth, tilting as she does so.
Chef Kawasaki
  • Chef Kawasaki adjusts his hat while wearing a proud grin.
  • Chef Kawasaki puts his hand to his chin and ponders to himself while tapping his foot.
King Dedede
  • King Dedede briefly falls asleep before popping back awake again.
  • King Dedede twirls and tosses his hammer while giving a stern look toward the screen.
  • King Dedede lets out a big sneeze.
Meta Knight
  • Meta Knight examines his sword at various angles.
  • Meta Knight turns toward the screen and flexes his wings while looking around suspiciously.
Bandana Waddle Dee
  • Bandana Waddle Dee raises his arms and stretches his body upward briefly.
  • Bandana Waddle Dee holds up his spear and admires it with sparkly eyes.
Rick & Kine & Coo
  • Rick closes his eyes, then lowers himself onto his belly and falls asleep. After a while, he shifts position a handful of times to get into a comfier sleeping pose. After many such shifts in position, he snaps awake and jumps back onto his feet.
  • Rick scratches his face with his foot, then Coo appears and pecks his wing for a moment, then Kine appears and falls over sideways before reverting back to Rick.
Rick's sleeping animation is by far the longest idle animation of any character in the series.
  • Marx hops on his feet, then does a backflip, then spins around on one foot, nearly losing his balance at the end.
  • Marx pulls out his radiant wings while revealing his scarier face for a brief moment, then shakes himself back to normal.
Marx does not have any incidental animations while on his ball.
  • Gooey starts to look around with his eyes pointing in different directions. After a while, he starts flexing from left to right, then does a backflip with his tongue, then a forward flip, then finishes with a higher spinning jump.
  • Gooey waves his tongue as he stretches it out of his mouth while he yawns. After this, he scratches the top of his head with his tongue.
Unlike other characters, Gooey will not repeat his idle animations unless he is moved and stopped again. This may be a glitch.
Adeleine & Ribbon
  • Ribbon appears and faces Adeleine. The two then give each-other three high-fives before Ribbon disappears again.
  • Adeleine sits down, and then Ribbon appears beside her. The two silently chat with each-other for a moment, finishing off with a spin from Ribbon and a chuckle from Adeleine before Ribbon disappears again and Adeleine gets up.
Dark Meta Knight
  • Dark Meta Knight examines his sword for a moment, then throws it back and shakes it a couple times, causing some sparkling dust to fall off it.
  • Dark Meta Knight points one of his wings forward while looking alertly in that direction. He then flaps his wings vigorously while briefly closing his eyes.
  • Daroach pulls out his cane with one hand while putting the other up to the brow of his hat. He then looks quickly forward, then backward.
  • Daroach pulls out his cane and taps the head of it against the palm of his other hand a couple times. He then dramatically sheathes his cane by throwing it under his cloak.
  • Magolor cheerily claps his hands while he closes his eyes and then nods his head a couple times.
  • Magolor closes his eyes and moves his hands in a spiraling motion in front of himself, as if to hypnotize whoever is facing him.
  • Taranza yawns in an exaggerated fashion, and then wipes his eye with one hand.
  • Taranza straightens his tie and combs his hair, as if to prepare for a romantic outing.
  • Susie ponders to herself for a moment, before appearing to have a sudden bolt of inspiration, whereupon she slams her fist into her palm.
  • Susie waves toward the screen, then out in front of her, and then brushes her hair briefly.
Susie has no additional animations while piloting her Business Suit.
The Three Mage-Sisters Each of the Mage-Sisters use the same animations. These are as follows:
  • The chosen sister puts her weapon away, and then brings her palms together in reverence, then she opens them in an arc above her head before throwing them to her sides.
  • The chosen sister puts her weapon away, waves toward the screen, then out in front of her, and then brushes her hair briefly.

In addition, the main menu features a large number of "skits" that play out between various characters. For a full list of those, see the Skit page.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land[edit]

In Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Kirby has the following idle animations:

  1. Kirby smiles and gently sways from side to side.
  2. Kirby looks around himself quickly.
  3. Kirby does a big stretch, raising his arms high while his eyes are closed.

Bandana Waddle Dee has the same set of idle animations as Kirby.

Kirby's sitting pose from previous games has been moved to one of his emotes. Additionally, the player can actively trigger Kirby's looking animation by pressing another of the emote buttons.


  • Generally speaking, incidental idle animations will not play when a character is holding an item, is standing on a sloped surface, or is at low health.