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Kirby's voice

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Throughout the Kirby series, Kirby's voice has undergone many changes and adjustments. In the early games in the series, Kirby was not properly voiced, only vocalizing using chirping noises when getting hit or using the Mike ability. Early spin-off media occasionally gave him full voice acting. Kirby was first voiced in-game by Makiko Ohmoto in Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64, and has been voiced by her ever since. Despite his vocalizations, Kirby is classified as a silent protagonist, since he does not speak in audible full sentences or in text boxes to any other characters (barring Kirby's Avalanche).


As portrayed by Ohmoto, Kirby's voice is high-pitched with inflections similar to that of a toddler first learning to speak. This reflects his youth and his often infantile nature, an idea that is exemplified in the anime. As such, Kirby does not use very many words in his vocalizations, though it is implied that — much like Mario and Link — Kirby is indeed capable of complex speech, though the player is not privy to what Kirby says to other characters. All the player hears instead are Kirby's grunts, cheers, and inflections, peppered only with occasional words such as his signature elongated "Hi!" In the anime, Kirby is known for spouting the babble-word "poyo" repeatedly in place of speech which, unlike the games, is what other characters hear instead of actual speech. He also occasionally repeats words that he hears other characters say, which is more apparent in the Japanese version. When Kirby gains a Copy Ability, he will also gain the ability to shout whichever words may be associated with the move he has copied, which is evident in both the anime and in the Super Smash Bros. series when he copies his opponents.

Early history[edit]

Prior to the series giving Kirby a consistent voice actress, Kirby was voiced in various spin-off media by a variety of voice artists. The earliest examples in any media are in VHS tapes distributed to stores in Japan for advertising specific games in-store, in particular 1993 promotional videos for Kirby's Adventure (for which Kirby appears throughout the tape and is fully voiced whenever on screen) and Kirby's Pinball Land (for which Kirby voices the entire tape and makes a voiced appearance at the end of the included TV commercial).[1]

The earliest example of Kirby being given a proper voice in a work for public sale is a 1994 mini-CD/manga set released by Shogakukan (based on Yoshiko Sakuma's 1992–2009 manga series), with his voice provided by Taeko Kawata.[2][3] Another early work where Kirby is given a voice is the Mario Kirby Masterpiece Video, an educational VHS from 1995 also released by Shogakukan, where he is voiced by Mayumi Tanaka. From the beginning, Kirby's Japanese voice was consistently portrayed as childlike with immature speech patterns. Makiko Ohmoto's performance as Kirby starting in Super Smash Bros. follows the model of these examples, though with a more limited capacity for speech. Outside of Japan, however, Kirby was rarely given voice acting in this early period. At most, international promotional material opted for simple grunts and vocalizations, such as in the American commercials for Kirby's Pinball Land and Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble, before adopting Ohmoto's voice worldwide.

History of Kirby's voice[edit]

Though iconic to his character, Kirby did not initially have a voice, nor was he properly voiced in every game after its introduction. The following table illustrates notable games (and other media) which Kirby was voiced in, including notes when appropriate discussing how his voice was changed or updated.

Notable examples of Kirby's voice  
Appearance Year(s) Audio clip Notes
Kirby's Dream Land 1992 The only vocalization Kirby makes in his debut game is the iconic screech when he uses the Mike. This screech is shared by King Dedede when he is defeated.
Kirby Super Star 1996 Kirby is given a "voice" of sorts in this title, as every time he is hit, he makes a chirping sound. Additionally, the Mike ability uses — in addition to the iconic screech — a couple other vocal oddities, the last of which was done by Kirby series creator Masahiro Sakurai himself. A chirping sound would also be used for Kirby when he is hit in Kirby's Dream Land 3, Kirby: Canvas Curse and Kirby Super Star Ultra.
Super Smash Bros. 1999 Makiko Ohmoto debuts as the voice of Kirby in this game. This performance set the initial standard for Kirby's voice, with its high pitch, elongated "Hi!" as a taunt, and shouting other moves where appropriate.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards 2000 While largely carrying over from Super Smash Bros., this marks Kirby's first voiced iteration in an actual Kirby game.
Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble 2000 Kirby is voiced via sampled 8-bit clips of Makiko Ohmoto's performance from Super Smash Bros., similarly to Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow. Notably, when he collects a Red Star, he shouts "Yatta!", which is a Japanese exclamation of joy. The Mike sound effect is reused from previous 8-bit entries.
Super Smash Bros. Melee 2001 Kirby's voice is redone in this game, becoming even more infantile and high-pitched.
Kirby: Right Back at Ya! 2001–2003 The anime series has Kirby speaking only in babble consisting mainly of the word "poyo". It follows a similar inflection to Melee Kirby, but is often exaggerated further.
Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land 2002 Though uncredited, Makiko Ohmoto voiced Kirby in this title, providing three Mike shouts (sound test numbers 60–62) and two damage sounds (sound test numbers 11 and 12). The damage cries are also reused in Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (sound test numbers 7 and 8; Mike is not present). In an interview with Nintendo DREAM magazine, Masahiro Sakurai stated that he limited the amount of voice clips Kirby had in Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land because he felt that having a pixelated Kirby speaking clearly would be "unnatural", and because he felt that having Kirby speak too much would "typecast Kirby as a certain type of character"[4]
Super Smash Bros. Brawl 2008 This game would see Kirby fully voiced again after a long period of titles without full voice-work for him. While largely the same as in Melee, Kirby gains a number of new voice clips in this title.
Kirby's Epic Yarn 2010 This was the first Kirby game in nearly 10 years to have Kirby fully voiced, though he only uses a small number of shouts. These clips would carry over — and be expanded upon — in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and start to shape the current standard of Kirby's inflection used in modern titles.
Kirby Mass Attack 2011 While otherwise a minor entry in the Kirby series, this is notably the only handheld title between Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble and Kirby: Triple Deluxe to feature a fully-voiced Kirby. These voice clips feature the same "poyo" speech as Kirby's depiction in the anime, with some clips appearing to have been reused directly from the show.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe 2014 Kirby can be said to have gained his modern inflection style in this game, as his voice became noticeably clearer and human-like than in previous titles, while still retaining its high pitch and infantile nature. The developers noted that they added a variety of voice clips for Kirby getting damaged in various ways, such as getting burned or squashed, giving him more character than before.[5] These voice clips were reused, and expanded upon, in all later Kirby games up to Kirby Fighters 2. A similar style of voice is also featured in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land 2022 Kirby's voice was completely redone for Kirby and the Forgotten Land; no previous clips were reused. Reflecting the 8 years that have passed since Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Kirby's voice has become slightly deeper, and more voice clips feature a "guttural" quality that was not present before. This style of voice continues to be featured in recent titles, such as Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe, which likewise features entirely new voice clips.[6]

Chronological list of games where Kirby is fully voiced[edit]



  • Kirby's Epic Yarn, Kirby Mass Attack and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse are the only games in the Kirby series where Kirby can be heard unambiguously shouting "poyo".
  • Because of Kirby's ability to copy his opponents in the Super Smash Bros. games, Kirby always has more voice clips in these games than any other individual fighter, and often rivals the announcer for number of voice clips.
  • Despite seeing release well after the debut of Makiko Ohmoto as Kirby's voice and being on a high-fidelity console, Kirby Air Ride is the only 3D game in the series which features a silent Kirby.
  • Mike Kirby's "chesto" bellow was originally voiced by Masahiro Sakurai in Kirby Super Star, but since Kirby Super Star Ultra has been performed by Shinya Kumazaki.[7]


  1. Niconico uploads exist of the tapes for Kirby's Adventure and Kirby's Pinball Land. Kirby's voice actor in both tapes is uncredited, and does not resemble any later credited voice work for Kirby.
  2. "アニメより先にCDデビューしていた / 1994年に発売された「星のカービィおしゃべCDコミック」は、漫画に8センチCDがついたもので、漫画に関するカービィのおしゃべりなとを聞くことができた。 (Before the anime came the CD debut / In the 1994 Kirby of the Stars Talking CD Comic, a 8 cm CD was included with the manga, so that you could listen to Kirby chattering about the manga.)" –20th Anniversary Kirby Pupupu Encyclopedia (Shogakukan), pg. 211
  3. Twitter link featuring a scan of the CD/manga credits Twitter favicon.png (Wayback Machine snapshot) showing Taeko Kawata's birth name (Taeko Yamada)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Did you know, there's actual real voice acting in Nightmare? We even went down to see Makiko Ohmoto to record her. [...] The clips we actually used in the game are few and far between, though. Kirby speaks when he takes damage, but otherwise the voicework is all kept to the subliminal level. As you can imagine, when pixelated sprite characters like Kirby start speaking clearly it feels really unnatural. That's not the only reason either. I also think that by having a voice, it will end up typecasting Kirby as a certain type of character. So for those reasons we only used his voice in five places... three for the Mike copy ability, and two instances for when he takes damage." –Masahiro Sakurai (Nintendo DREAM interview, translated by
  5. "Now, did you notice that Kirby's voice is a lot more varied in Kirby: Triple Deluxe? There's more to hear besides his usual happy “hi!” or his regular yells when he takes damage. For example, he yelps like he's been scorched when he comes into contact with flames, and when squashed flat he sounds suitably deflated." –Shinya Kumazaki (Kirby: Triple Deluxe Behind the Scenes on Miiverse)
  6. Translation of the Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe interview from the May 2023 edition of Nintendo Dream
  7. "By the way, in recent titles, the bellow you hear when Kirby hits full volume using the Mike ability is voiced be[sic] me. Well, when I say "recent", I mean ever since Kirby Super Star Ultra, eight years ago. Time really flies, doesn't it? Ah...that takes me back!" –Shinya Kumazaki (Kirby: Planet Robobot Behind the Scenes on Miiverse)