Kirby: Right Back at Ya!
Kirby: Right Back at Ya! is an anime television program which is based on the Kirby series. It was produced jointly by Nintendo and HAL Laboratory through a subsidiary company called "Warpstar, Inc." and was directed by Sōji Yoshikawa and Mitsuo Kusakabe, with supervision and the original draft coming from Masahiro Sakurai. The show originally aired on October 6, 2001 in Japan through CBC Broadcasting and consisted of one hundred episodes aired in the morning on a weekly basis, concluding in September 27, 2003. The show would later be dubbed into English by 4Kids Entertainment, and aired on Fox Box from September 14, 2002 to December 9, 2006 with intermittent pauses and changes in episode ordering. An HD remaster on Blu-ray was also released in Japan on March 14, 2023.
The show follows Kirby, taking the role of a space-faring hero who has a child-like demeanor and is incapable of regular speech. He crashes his starship into the kingdom of Dream Land, where he stays in order to battle monsters summoned by the land's greedy and tyrannical King Dedede from the evil intergalactic corporation Night Mare Enterprises. Over the course of the show, Kirby gradually becomes stronger and more experienced - aided by his close friends Tiff, Tuff, and Meta Knight - while consistently foiling the plans of King Dedede, his assistant Escargoon, and the main villain eNeMeE, who has largely conquered the universe and is trying to destroy the remaining Star Warriors who oppose him. Eventually, Kirby and his allies launch an attack on eNeMeE's space fortress in the final episode, thus putting an end to Night Mare Enterprises, liberating the universe, and depriving King Dedede of his main means of harassing his subjects.
The story and universe of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! are distinct from that of the main video game series, with only minor overlap in terms of design choices and character attributes. Most of the story takes place in the kingdom of Dream Land, which is portrayed as an Earth-like peninsular landmass surrounded by open sea and situated in a tropical climate. The planet which Dream Land is situated on is never explicitly named in the 4Kids dub of the show, but supplementary material confirms it is Planet Popstar; in the Japanese version, it is specifically referred to as Popstar by Sword Knight in Episode 98: Takeoff! Battleship Halberd. Despite this, the planet is never seen as a whole like it is in the games, so it is not clear if it has the same shape and characteristics. Other planets and locations in outer space are sometimes seen in the show, most notably eNeMeE's Fortress in the final episodes.
The main story of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! revolves around the intergalactic struggle between the Star Warriors and eNeMeE and his horde of monsters. Despite a valiant effort from the Star Warriors which saw the defeat of many monsters and the securing of the sacred blade Galaxia from eNeMeE's clutches, they were ultimately routed and most of their number killed or turned to evil by eNeMeE. Among the surviving veterans was Meta Knight, who personally held Galaxia and established himself in Dream Land (where one of the Star Warriors' sanctuaries in the form of Kabu is located) with his newfound apprentices Sword Knight and Blade Knight. In doing so, they pledged themselves (albeit insincerely) to King Dedede in order to buy some cover and defend the kingdom from whatever monsters the King may order while they worked out a plan to exact revenge on eNeMeE and liberate the universe from his clutches.
For many years, Meta Knight and his allies worked in secret while waiting for the next generation of Star Warriors to be dispersed throughout the cosmos and continue the fight. Eventually, one of the new generation comes crashing into Dream Land, and reveals himself to be the small and harmless-looking but eminently powerful Kirby. Despite his abilities, Kirby is still immature and child-like, and requires assistance from the child characters Tiff and Tuff, who live at court in Castle Dedede and also work to stop King Dedede and his assistant Escargoon from harming the Dream Landers. With Kirby's help, they are able to repel the monsters that King Dedede sends their way and later convince the people of Cappy Town to accept Kirby as one of theirs and build him a home in the countryside.
Over the course of the show, King Dedede frequently attempts to drive Kirby out of Dream Land using various schemes, but is consistently thwarted due to the efforts of Kirby and his friends, as well as his own buffoonish nature. Meanwhile, Kirby uses his experience fighting the monsters sent to him by Night Mare Enterprises to improve his skills as a fighter, while Tiff and Tuff in turn become more adept at assisting him under the tutelage of Meta Knight and Kabu. Tiff and Kirby in particular form a close bond, which allows Tiff to summon the Warp Star to help Kirby whenever he is in trouble. In addition, the people of Cappy Town - initially complacent and helpless against King Dedede - gradually learn to stand up for themselves with the help of Kirby and Tiff.
In the series finale, eNeMeE decides to launch an all-out attack on Dream Land in order to finally dispose of Kirby and his friends, sending an armada of giant flying saucers to carpet-bomb the kingdom, wrecking every man-made structure in the process. To counter this attack, Meta Knight and his apprentices reveal the secret weapon they had been working on all this time in the form of a space-faring battleship and recruit Kirby, his friends, and a handful of the bravest Cappy villagers to engage in a direct attack on eNeMeE's Fortress. Despite the fortress's considerable defenses, the invaders manage to get in and destroy the fortress from the inside while Kirby personally defeats eNeMeE, finally liberating the universe from N.M.E.'s clutches.
Focus and details
Although the overall story revolves around Kirby's struggle to defeat eNeMeE, the majority of the episodes have a separate focus on more mundane events which take place in Dream Land, and the show takes a largely comedic and goofy tone most of the time. In particular, the dynamic between King Dedede, his subjects, and the surrounding countryside offer room for a great deal of social commentary relating to the real world. The most notable examples of this are the environmental messages often tied in to the stories of particular episodes, with a prime example being King Dedede's repeated attempts to cut down a sentient forest near the town in order to build a country club. Many of King Dedede's other schemes also end up damaging the local environment, such as causing severe acid rain from factory pollution in Labor Daze, shifting the climate to an unnatural winter in Dedede's Snow Job, and creating a hole in the planet's ozone layer in A Sunsational Puzzle.
In addition, the people of Cappy Town act as an analogue to human civilization, and commentary on wider societal issues are often expressed through their collective behavior and attitudes. Notable examples of this are the effects of mass media propaganda in Un-Reality TV, tendencies toward superstition and mob mentality as shown in Mabel Turns the Tables, and lack of accountability toward the common good as seen in Junk Jam and A Trashy Tale. Individual characters also have a chance in these episodes to gain character development as they struggle with the problems the episodes throw at them, as well as relating to each-other. Even the perennial villains King Dedede and Escargoon have opportunities to gain sympathy through certain redeeming actions, though the formula that keeps them as Kirby's antagonists is never interrupted by such moments.
Notably, Kirby: Right Back at Ya! takes several opportunities to make references to other popular media outside of the Kirby franchise and Nintendo as a whole. As a few examples, many of the show names cited in the in-universe broadcasting service Channel DDD are references to real-world movies and TV shows. In addition, several episodes are directly inspired by other media, including A Novel Approach (based on the Harry Potter franchise), One Crazy Knight (based on Don Quixote), and Caterpillar Thriller (based on the Mothra franchise). Smaller references to media such as Ikiru, Gone With the Wind, and Steppenwolf are peppered throughout the show through character dialogue, episode names, and visual representations.
Lastly, the show focuses heavily on food and cuisine, which ties in to Kirby's characteristic bottomless appetite. A large handful of episodes focus almost exclusively on food culture, which makes the supporting character Chef Kawasaki more prominent than most. A great amount of focus is taken by the show's illustrators to make close-up shots of food dishes incredibly detailed and life-like, and such dishes are often commented on with specific reference to their names and ingredients. The most prominent examples of this can be found in episodes such as A Recipe for Disaster, The Meal Moocher, and Hunger Struck.
Differences from the main Kirby series
The scenario, events, and character portrayals in Kirby: Right Back at Ya! differ greatly from the main video game series, and as such, are considered to be separate in terms of canon. The following list goes over the more notable differences between the anime and the video games up to that point, though there are many more smaller differences that are not mentioned here:
- Portrayals of characters common to both series differ in various respects:
- Kirby is portrayed as more helpless and immature, requiring proper direction in order to defeat his foes and help his friends. Inversely, he is portrayed as much more powerful than his video game counterpart, particularly when using Copy Abilities.
- King Dedede is portrayed as much more villainous, haughty, and ignorant. While his characterization is true to how he was depicted in early games, by the time of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, he is most often depicted as a well-intentioned friendly rival, with their conflicts usually coming as a result of outside influence or a misunderstanding. In the anime, his intense jealousy of Kirby and his selfishness lead him to be the source of most of the problems in the show, and causes everyone else to despise him to varying degrees.
- Meta Knight is portrayed as unambiguously heroic and a mentor to Kirby. In games prior to his appearance in the anime, he was often seen as a mysterious character with unclear motives, sometimes aiding Kirby and sometimes antagonizing him. In later games, he would become an ally to Kirby, however he often still has his own motives and sees Kirby as more of a sparring partner to train with.
- Several other characters from the video games, such as common enemies, Mid-Bosses, and Bosses, are portrayed differently to varying degrees in the anime, with some having their appearances modified, some having different abilities, and some having different characterizations which make them not necessarily hostile to Kirby. Some notable examples of these are the depictions of the Cappies, Knuckle Joe, Lololo & Lalala, Chef Kawasaki, and Sword Knight & Blade Knight.
- Dream Land itself is portrayed much more realistically when compared to its video game counterpart, having less fantastical terrain (particularly the lack of cloud and energy-based structures).
- The main recurring characters Tiff, Tuff, Escargoon, the N.M.E. Sales Guy, Tokkori, Doctor Yabui, and the named Cappies, among others, are exclusive to the anime (barring a few cameo appearances).
- Several of the monsters and guest characters that feature in the anime are exclusive to it.
- Night Mare Enterprises and the Star Warriors are exclusive to the anime.
- The Warp Star does not function the same way in the anime as it does in the games.
|Kirby||The star of the show. Kirby is a small alien creature who crashed into Dream Land in order to defeat the monsters that plague it time and time again. Kirby has the mind of a small child and a bottomless appetite, but has limitless potential as a hero and Star Warrior, especially when he gains a Copy Ability.|
|Tiff||Kirby's closest friend and supervisor. Tiff is a young and intelligent girl who resides with her family in Castle Dedede. She helps Kirby by working to foil King Dedede's plans and calls the Warp Star for Kirby when he is in trouble.|
|Tuff||Tiff's little brother. He is immature and headstrong, but very brave. He assists Tiff and Kirby whenever he can, but his foolhardiness sometimes causes trouble for them.|
|Meta Knight||A veteran Star Warrior who feigns to serve King Dedede in order to protect and guide Kirby as he learns to be a hero. He has two apprentices named Sword Knight and Blade Knight and can also be seen assisting and mentoring Tiff and Tuff.|
|King Dedede||The self-proclaimed king of Dream Land who often spends loads of money contracting monsters from Night Mare Enterprises to either defeat Kirby or drive him out of Dream Land. His greed and vanity often cause problems for his subjects, leading them to resent him.|
|Escargoon||King Dedede's right-hand man and personal assistant. Escargoon often behaves cruelly toward King Dedede's enemies, but he is not quite as vain and selfish as the King, and can sometimes be seen cooperating with them instead.|
|N.M.E. Sales Guy||The front man of Night Mare Enterprises who sells N.M.E.'s questionable products to gullible buyers such as King Dedede. His professional demeanor masks a cruel and exploitative personality.|
|eNeMeE||The main villain who runs Night Mare Enterprises. He is usually only seen in the shadows, and is responsible for creating many of the monsters he sells.|
Side & guest characters
|Side & guest characters in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!|
|Acore||War of the Woods||An ancient oak tree who resides in the Eastern Forest, and is home to many animals, including Rick and Coo.|
|Air Riders||Air-Ride-in-Style - Part I||Soldiers deployed by Night Mare Enterprises who ride Air Ride Machines and are battled by Kirby.|
|Benikage||Ninja Binge||An unskilled ninja who comes to Dream Land to reclaim his ninja scroll.|
|Biblio||Watermelon Felon||A spectacle-wearing Cappy who runs the local bookstore.|
|Biggy, Boney, and Sleepy||Tooned Out||Three animators on contract from Night Mare Enterprises who become overly obsessed with Tiff.|
|Blade Knight||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||One of Meta Knight's apprentices, the other being Sword Knight. The two were once roadside bandits until they met Meta Knight, who saved their lives from WolfWrath. Since then, they have become fiercely loyal to Meta Knight and will often be seen by his side.|
|Bonkers||Goin' Bonkers||A renegade hammer-wielding simian who idolizes Kirby and hopes to be a Star Warrior himself. He was once transformed into a monster by Night Mare Enterprises, but was able to recover.|
|Buttercup||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||The wife of Chief Bookem. Despite having little dialogue, she is often portrayed as kind and sincere.|
|Captain Waddle Doo||Un-Reality TV||Commander of the Waddle Dees in Castle Dedede.|
|Chef Kawasaki||A Blockbuster Battle||A notoriously unskilled chef who runs the only restaurant in Cappy Town.|
|Chef Nagoya||A Chow Challenge||A wandering chef who once attended culinary school with Chef Kawasaki. He is much more skilled than Kawasaki is, but lacks his own restaurant.|
|Chef Shiitake||A Recipe for Disaster||Number one food critic and Kawasaki's teacher. A false version of him appears in The Big Taste Test.|
|Chief Bookem||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||Chief of police in Cappy Town and Tuff's role model.|
|Coo||A Blockbuster Battle||A wise owl capable of speech who lives in the Eastern Forest and can be seen about Dream Land.|
|Doctor Yabui||A Fish Called Kine||Cappy Town's only physician. Notorious for his effective but painful dentistry.|
|Doron||A Blockbuster Battle||A silent thief who spends most of his time in Cappy Town's jail cell.|
|Dyna Blade||Kirby's Egg-Cellent Adventure||An ancient bird who returns to Dream Land every one hundred years to lay a single egg. She is very protective of her chick and will attack whoever has caused it distress.|
|Dyna Chick||Kirby's Egg-Cellent Adventure||Dyna Blade's chick that newly hatched from her egg. Dyna Chick is known to run into trouble be it King Dedede and Escargoon, or at its own cause.|
|Escargoon's mother||Escargoon Rules||A kindly elder snail who lives in a country far away from Dream Land. She visits her son who pretends to be the King of Dream Land to please her.|
|Fang||Born to Be Mild - Part I||A vicious motorcyclist who leads a biker gang and antagonizes Cappy Town. He later transforms into Wheelie.|
|Fololo & Falala||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||Two small flying servants of Castle Dedede. They are allies of Kirby and Tiff's family, and despise King Dedede.|
|Gangu||Un-Reality TV||The kind-hearted but simple-minded Cappy who runs the local toy store.|
|Gus||A Blockbuster Battle||A rough-hewn Cappy who runs the local gas station.|
|Hana||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||Mayor Len's somewhat reserved but kindly and loving wife.|
|Honey||A Blockbuster Battle||One of the three main Cappy children. Honey is kind and reserved, but very inexperienced.|
|Iro||A Blockbuster Battle||One of the three main Cappy children. Iro is brave, but often foolhardy and selfish.|
|Island Sisters||Caterpillar Thriller||Twin fairies who live with Mosugaba on Embrya Island and can calm the monster with their singing.|
|Kabu||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||Dream Land's great idol and sage who the Cappies revere. Kabu has the ability to see the future, and also houses Kirby's Warp Star.|
|Kine||A Blockbuster Battle||One of the intelligent animals of Dream Land. Kine has a crush on Tiff and tries to earn her affection in A Fish Called Kine.|
|Kit Cosmos||Island of the Lost Warrior||A retired Star Warrior who resides on a deserted island. He is extremely paranoid, and initially believes Kirby to be a monster.|
|Knuckle Joe||Here Comes the Son||A young monster hunter and the son of a legendary Star Warrior who fell during the war with N.M.E. He is extremely headstrong, but also a very skilled and cunning fighter.|
|Lady Like||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||A ditsy noblewoman who lives in Castle Dedede. She is Tiff and Tuff's mother and the wife of Sir Ebrum.|
|Mabel||Dark and Stormy Knight||A Cappy Town resident who counsels the villagers in the guise of reading their fortune. She has a close relationship with Samo.|
|Mayor Len Blustergas||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||The mayor of Cappy Town who represents the villagers and looks after a flock of sheep.|
|Melman||Kirby's Duel Role||The town mailman; often seen asleep.|
|Mr. Chip||Teacher's Threat||A passionate contract teacher who is sent by Night Mare Enterprises to harass the students at Dedede Academy, but cannot bring himself to harm them.|
|Pengy||The Chill Factor||The leader of the Pengy tribe. He has the ability to breathe ice and attempts to take over Dream Land by turning it into a permanent tundra.|
|Princess Rona||A Princess in Dis-Dress||An alien princess who visits Dream Land disguised as her personal bodyguard. She identifies with the commoners and is skilled with a sword.|
|Professor Curio||A Blockbuster Battle||Cappy Town's resident archaeologist. While knowledgeable, he is very meek and insecure.|
|Rick||A Blockbuster Battle||One of Dream Land's intelligent animals. He can be seen wandering Dream Land and conversing with the villagers, and lives in the Eastern Forest in Acore.|
|Rowlin||A Novel Approach||A famous author who wrote the best-selling book "Pappy Pottey and the Fool's Stone". She is impersonated by a monster in A Novel Approach.|
|Samo||A Blockbuster Battle (Japanese version)||The bartender of Cappy Town. He gathers gossip from his customers and delivers it to Mabel to help with her fortune telling.|
|Sir Ebrum||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||King Dedede's cabinet minister, the father of Tiff and Tuff and husband of Lady Like. He is a very timid and nervous man.|
|Sir Gallant||One Crazy Knight||A wandering quixotic knight who believes himself to be a comic book hero.|
|Sirica||Crusade for the Blade||A young alien warrior who once battled Meta Knight for the Galaxia over a misunderstanding. She is a potent fighter who wields a weapon stolen from N.M.E.|
|Spikehead||A Blockbuster Battle||One of the three main Cappy children. He loves to play games and can be very impatient.|
|Sword Knight||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||One of Meta Knight's apprentices, the other being Blade Knight. The two were once roadside bandits until they met Meta Knight, who saved their lives from WolfWrath. Since then, they have become fiercely loyal to Meta Knight and are often seen by his side.|
|Tokkori||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||A cantankerous little talking bird who lives with Kirby in his house. He often rubs other characters the wrong way, but is not bad at heart.|
|Tuggle||Dark and Stormy Knight||A cranky Cappy who runs the grocery store.|
|Waddle Dees||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||The tireless servants of Castle Dedede, who number in the thousands. They are usually silent, and obey King Dedede and his subordinates in exchange for living in the castle.|
|Whales||A Whale of a Tale||A giant sperm whale and calf who visit Dream Land and are harassed by King Dedede.|
|Whispy Woods||Beware: Whispy Woods!||A sentient tree who resides over Whispy Woods Forest. King Dedede often tries to chop him down in order to destroy the forest and build a golf course.|
|Yamikage||Ninja Binge||A treacherous ninja warrior who used to be a Star Warrior. He is prideful and cruel.|
|JP||EN||Episode title||Copy Abilit(y/ies)||Monster(s)||Japanese airdate||English airdate|
|0||-||Kirby of the Stars Pilot||Ice, Spark||Various||N/A||N/A|
|1||1||Kirby Comes to Cappy Town||Fire||Octacon||October 6, 2001||September 14, 2002|
|2||2||A Blockbuster Battle||Stone||Blocky||October 13, 2001||September 14, 2002|
|3||3||Kirby's Duel Role||Sword||Bugzzy||October 20, 2001||September 21, 2002|
|4||4||Dark and Stormy Knight||Sword||Kracko||October 27, 2001||September 21, 2002|
|5||5||Beware: Whispy Woods!||-||-||November 3, 2001||September 28, 2002|
|6||6||Un-Reality TV||-||Great Sea Slug Monster||November 10, 2001||September 28, 2002|
|7||7||Kirby's Egg-Cellent Adventure||-||-||November 17, 2001||October 5, 2002|
|8||8||Curio's Curious Discovery||Stone||Dedede Stone||November 24, 2001||October 5, 2002|
|9||9||The Fofa Factor||Cutter||Slice n' Splice, Fofa||December 1, 2001||October 12, 2002|
|10||10||Hail to the Chief||-||-||December 8, 2001||October 12, 2002|
|11||11||The Big Taste Test||Cook||Popon||December 15, 2001||October 19, 2002|
|12||13||Escargoon Squad||-||Ghost Monster||December 22, 2001||October 26, 2002|
|13||29||Cappy New Year||Fire, Parasol||Sasuke||December 29, 2001||December 28, 2002|
|14||14||The Pillow Case||-||Noddy||January 5, 2002||October 26, 2002|
|15||12||Kirby's Pet Peeve||-||Electronic Pet||January 12, 2002||October 19, 2002|
|16||15||A Fish Called Kine||Tornado||-||January 19, 2002||November 2, 2002|
|17||94||The Thing About the Ring||-||Honker Stomper||January 26, 2002||September 16, 2006|
|18||16||Flower Power||Needle||Noddy, Pukey Flower||February 2, 2002||November 2, 2002|
|19||17||Here Comes the Son||Fighter, Needle||Needle Knuckle Joe||February 9, 2002||November 9, 2002|
|20||18||Dedede's Snow Job||Ice||Chilly, Ice Dragon||February 16, 2002||November 9, 2002|
|21||19||A Princess in Dis-Dress||Sword||Susshi||February 23, 2002||November 16, 2002|
|22||20||Island of the Lost Warrior||Tornado||Tornadon||March 2, 2002||November 16, 2002|
|23||21||The Empty Nest Mess||-||Green Caterpillar Monster||March 9, 2002||November 23, 2002|
|24||22||Ninja Binge||Ninja||Yamikage||March 16, 2002||November 23, 2002|
|25||23||Escargoon Rules||Parasol||Drifters||March 23, 2002||November 30, 2002|
|26||24||Hour of the WolfWrath||Galaxia||WolfWrath||March 30, 2002||November 30, 2002|
|27||25||The Flower Plot||Cutter||Lovely||April 6, 2002||December 7, 2002|
|28||26||Labor Daze||Ice||Ice Dragon Robot||April 20, 2002||December 7, 2002|
|29||27||A Spice Odyssey||Cook||Monsieur Goan||April 27, 2002||December 14, 2002|
|30||28||Hatch Me If You Can||Fire||Galbo||May 4, 2002||December 14, 2002|
|31||30||Abusement Park||Mike||Walky||May 11, 2002||February 1, 2003|
|32||95||A Dental Dilemma||Tornado||Hardy||May 18, 2002||September 23, 2006|
|33||31||Junk Jam||Fire||Fire Lion||May 25, 2002||February 1, 2003|
|34||34||A Recipe for Disaster||Cook||Cobgoblin||June 1, 2002||February 15, 2003|
|35||32||The Kirby Derby - Part I||-||-||June 8, 2002||February 8, 2003|
|36||33||The Kirby Derby - Part II||Wheel||-||June 15, 2002||February 8, 2003|
|37||35||Watermelon Felon||-||-||June 22, 2002||March 1, 2003|
|38||44||A Novel Approach||Cleaning||Broom King||June 29, 2002||June 21, 2003|
|39||36||Escar-Gone||-||Erasem||July 6, 2002||March 8, 2003|
|40||37||Monster Management||Fighter||Masher, Mini-monster horde||July 13, 2002||March 15, 2003|
|41||38||Prediction Predicament - Part I||Fire||Fridgy||July 20, 2002||March 22, 2003|
|42||39||Prediction Predicament - Part II||-||-||July 27, 2002||March 29, 2003|
|43||40||Sheepwrecked||Needle||Amon||August 3, 2002||April 5, 2003|
|44||41||War of the Woods||Cutter||-||August 10, 2002||April 12, 2003|
|45||52||Scare Tactics - Part I||-||Particle ghost||August 17, 2002||October 25, 2003|
|46||53||Scare Tactics - Part II||Fire||Particle ghost, Shaabon, Gabon||August 24, 2002||November 1, 2003|
|47||42||Pink-Collar Blues||Stone||Domestic Servant Robot||August 31, 2002||April 19, 2003|
|48||43||Tourist Trap||Fire, Ice||Flame Feeder||September 14, 2002||April 26, 2003|
|49||47||Cartoon Buffoon||-||-||September 21, 2002||September 20, 2003|
|50||48||Don't Bank on It||-||Dedede Doll||September 28, 2002||September 27, 2003|
|51||49||Kirby Takes the Cake||Bomb||Danger||October 5, 2002||October 4, 2003|
|52||45||Snack Attack - Part I||-||Figure Monsters, Martial Arts All-Stars||October 12, 2002||September 6, 2003|
|53||46||Snack Attack - Part II||Fighter||Figure Monsters, Martial Arts All-Stars||October 19, 2002||September 13, 2003|
|54||54||One Crazy Knight||Mirror||Windwhipper||October 26, 2002||November 8, 2003|
|55||55||Sweet and Sour Puss||Needle||Togeira||November 2, 2002||November 15, 2003|
|56||56||Dedede's Pet Threat||Hammer||Scarfy||November 9, 2002||November 22, 2003|
|57||57||A Half-Baked Battle||Bomb||Belly Buster||November 16, 2002||November 29, 2003|
|58||58||eNeMeE Elementary||Fighter||Teacher Creature||November 23, 2002||December 6, 2003|
|59||59||The Meal Moocher||Cook||Garnie||November 30, 2002||December 13, 2003|
|60||60||Crusade for the Blade||Sword, Galaxia||Kirisakin||December 7, 2002||February 7, 2004|
|61||61||Fitness Fiend||Mike||Max Flexer||December 14, 2002||February 14, 2004|
|62||62||Mabel Turns the Tables||Tornado||-||December 21, 2002||February 21, 2004|
|63||63||Something to Sneeze At||-||Head Cold Monsters||December 28, 2002||February 28, 2004|
|64||64||The Kirby Quiz||-||-||January 4, 2003||March 6, 2004|
|65||65||Masher 2.0||Fighter||Masher 2.0||January 11, 2003||March 13, 2004|
|66||66||The Chill Factor||Ice||-||January 18, 2003||March 20, 2004|
|67||67||The School Scam||Fighter||Dirk, Kirk, and Smirk||January 25, 2003||March 27, 2004|
|68||68||Delivery Dilemma||Jet||Delivery Man||February 1, 2003||April 3, 2004|
|69||69||Trick or Trek||Tornado||-||February 8, 2003||April 10, 2004|
|70||70||Buccaneer Birdy||Mirror||Moggy||February 15, 2003||April 17, 2004|
|71||71||A Whale of a Tale||-||-||February 22, 2003||April 24, 2004|
|72||72||Waddle While You Work||-||-||March 1, 2003||September 18, 2004|
|73||73||Dedede's Raw Deal||Spark||Squishy||March 8, 2003||September 25, 2004|
|74||74||Caterpillar Thriller||-||Mosugaba||March 15, 2003||October 2, 2004|
|75||75||Fossil Fools - Part I||-||Doctor Moro, D-Rex||March 22, 2003||October 9, 2004|
|76||76||Fossil Fools - Part II||Crash||Doctor Moro, Chimera Dinosaurs, Syringe Mosquitoes||March 29, 2003||October 16, 2004|
|77||77||Dedede's Monsterpiece||Paint||Paint Roller||April 5, 2003||October 23, 2004|
|78||78||Right Hand Robot||Bomb||Escar-droid||April 19, 2003||October 30, 2004|
|79||79||Goin' Bonkers||Hammer||Monster Bonkers||April 26, 2003||November 6, 2004|
|80||80||Power Ploy||Stone||Red Viper||May 3, 2003||November 13, 2004|
|81||81||A Trashy Tale||Cleaning||Trash Basher||May 10, 2003||November 20, 2004|
|82||82||Cooking Up Trouble||Spark||SlicerDicer||May 17, 2003||November 27, 2004|
|83||83||Teacher's Threat||Sword||Rekketsu||May 24, 2003||December 4, 2004|
|84||84||Mumbies Madness||Bomb||Mumbies||May 31, 2003||December 11, 2004|
|85||85||A Sunsational Puzzle||Jet, Bomb||Ozomashii||June 7, 2003||December 18, 2004|
|86||86||A Chow Challenge||Cook||Ebifryer||June 14, 2003||May 28, 2005|
|87||87||Waste Management||Wing||Crowemon||June 21, 2003||June 4, 2005|
|88||88||Shell-Shocked||Hammer||Maimaigon||June 28, 2003||June 11, 2005|
|89||89||Tooned Out||Spark||Anige||July 5, 2003||June 18, 2005|
|90||90||Born to Be Mild - Part I||-||-||July 12, 2003||June 25, 2005|
|91||91||Born to Be Mild - Part II||Wheel||Wheelie||July 19, 2003||July 2, 2005|
|92||92||Hunger Struck||Cook||Fryclops||July 26, 2003||July 30, 2005|
|93||93||D'Preciation Day||Parasol||Chuckie||August 2, 2003||August 6, 2005|
|94||96||Cowardly Creature||Throw||Phan Phan, Young Monsters of the Future, Whippy||August 9, 2003||October 28, 2006|
|95||97||Frog Wild||Fire||Demon Frog, Heavy Anaconda||August 16, 2003||November 4, 2006|
|96||50||Air-Ride-in-Style - Part I||-||-||August 23, 2003||October 11, 2003|
|97||51||Air-Ride-in-Style - Part II||Baton, Water, Iron, Top, Crash||-||August 30, 2003||October 18, 2003|
|98||98||Cappy Town Down||Crash||-||September 13, 2003||November 25, 2006|
|99||99||Combat Kirby||Cook, Ice||Heavy Lobster||September 20, 2003||December 2, 2006|
|100||100||Fright to the Finish||Bomb, Fire, Star Rod||eNeMeE||September 27, 2003||December 9, 2006|
|101||101||Kirby 3D||Fire, Kabuki||Lobzilla||August 9, 2009||January 14, 2012 (Volume 1)|
January 24, 2012 (Volume 2)
As the Kirby series was still struggling in the west, it was decided that a Kirby animated series would be a good way to bring in new fans. Kirby: Right Back at Ya! was made as a joint project between HAL and Nintendo, using a newly-created company named "Warpstar, Inc." (which still exists and manages the Kirby brand in the present day). The main director and head writer was a veteran of animation, Sōji Yoshikawa. Kirby's creator Masahiro Sakurai drafted the original proposal and set many of the guidelines for the show. Many of the difficulties in creating an anime for Kirby were detailed in early interviews with Nintendo.
Sakurai had a few things he wanted and didn't want for the show. Firstly, he didn't want Kirby to speak, and secondly, he didn't want there to be any humans. Nearly everyone involved, including Sakurai, admitted that not having Kirby speak was quite a challenge. In addition, without humans they had to come up with unique species and characters. Yoshikawa found the series unique in Japanese anime in this aspect, comparing it to works like "The Moomins", a Finnish children's book series whose fantasy setting and characters gained great popularity in Japan following a Dutch–Japanese anime adaptation that ran from 1990 to 1991.
Another of Sakurai's intentions was that Kirby would seem "like a pet", until he gains a Copy Ability and can battle, whereupon not only do his powers change, but his personality does as well. His view for Kirby seems to be one of "hidden strength". Yoshikawa, meanwhile, had great visions for making the series widely accessible, using not only facets of the games, but references to culture and events from outside of the Kirby series.
A particular emphasis was placed on the show's animation. Yoshikawa spoke of how the Japanese animation industry had reduced itself to shortcuts and cutting corners. He wanted to have animation where things could "be moved as much as we pleased". As such, they made the decision to use a mixture of traditional hand-drawn animation and 3D computer-generated animation. The use of 3D animation allowed the staff to save time and budget when animating complex designs, and in particular allowed them to give Kirby a smooth and "squishy" feeling to his movements and expressions, tying in to his appearance in the video games and increasing his cutesy appeal.
Because of this, they were able to focus far more on creating lively, smooth animation for the characters. The frame rate of the show is two to three times greater than most contemporary anime (about 10,000 frames are used in each episode, compared to the 4,000–5,000 used by most anime on TV). Even with the length of the series, the animation improves noticeably as it goes on, likely as the animators refine their techniques. Cost-cutting 3D renders of characters like King Dedede and Escargoon are gradually used less often, while other renders of characters such as Dyna Blade become more detailed and fluid.
Notably, certain episodes serve to satirize the animation industry, and resort to fourth wall-breaking jokes and references in order to do so. In Cartoon Buffoon, the main cast of the show are essentially tasked with re-creating the first episode with limited time and experience, lampooning the often cutthroat nature of the industry; in Tooned Out, issues relating to the use of CGI to supplant traditional animation techniques as well as moe and otaku culture are explored.
The music used for the anime in the Japanese version was largely composed and arranged by Akira Miyagawa, with help from Kirby series regulars Jun Ishikawa, Hirokazu Ando, and Shogo Sakai. Most of the soundtrack was recorded with a live orchestra, though there are synthesized pieces as well. Select tracks from the anime's soundtrack can be heard on the album releases TV Anime Kirby of the Stars Original Soundtrack and Kirby & The Amazing Mirror Sound Plus. Many of the songs Miyagawa composed are original to the anime, while Ishikawa, Ando, and Sakai contributed tracks based on earlier Kirby games, such as Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Adventure, and Kirby Super Star. Because the anime was still airing during the development of Kirby Air Ride, many songs composed for the game are also used in the anime, and vice versa. Later games still occasionally use songs from the anime, with an example being Mosugaba's theme appearing in Kirby Mass Attack and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.
In addition, there were several distinct theme songs composed for the anime. In the Japanese version, the songs "Kirby ★ March" and "Kihon wa Maru" were used as the opening and closing theme for episodes 1-71, and the songs "Kirby!" and "Kirby ☆ Step!" were used as the opening and closing themes for episodes 72-100. In the English 4Kids version, the "Kirby: Right Back at Ya!" song is used throughout the whole series for the intro and outro, which is also the case in most other foreign dubs of the series. The Chinese dub used the same songs as the Japanese version, while the Italian dub had its own theme song during the first half of its broadcast.
The English dub of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! was produced by 4Kids Entertainment.
Some edits were made to the English version, including changing the background music and the color of King Dedede's Armored Vehicle, the removal of Japanese and many English letters from signs and other objects, turning King Dedede's chainsaw into a laser chainsaw, and removing scenes where guns are fired. Dialogue changes include rewording and altering the Japanese script, and changing the names of several characters and meanings, such as "Fumu" to "Tiff". Notably, Kirby's lines are often left unaltered, but much of his dialogue where he says real words are replaced with more utterances of "poyo". This is particularly notable during battles, as he no longer shouts the names of Copy Ability attacks as he uses them. Additionally, scenes featuring references to alcohol consumption would commonly be cut from the English airing, as well as many scenes where the child characters are subjected to harm. Lastly, several otherwise non-notable scenes are often cut presumably to shorten the run-time, which tends to cut some incidental characters out of episodes altogether.
Almost all further dubs of the show, such as the Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese dubs, use the 4Kids English dub as the base for both visuals and audio, and as such feature the same changes from said dub. The sole exception to this is the Chinese dub, which uses the Japanese visuals and audio as the base.
Kirby: Right Back at Ya! was initially aired on CBC TV in Japan from 2001 to 2003. The English 4Kids version was aired in North America on Fox Box from 2002 to 2006. Over the course of its initial run-time in Japan, the United States and Canada, several collections of episodes were released on VHS and/or DVD. In Japan, all 100 episodes were released on VHS across 34 volumes, with the first 36 and episode 49 also available on DVD. In the US and Canada, only 23 select episodes were released on DVD with 14 of them seeing VHS releases. The most notable North American home video release is that of Kirby: Fright to the Finish, which combines the last five episodes of the show into a feature-length production and includes Hour of the WolfWrath as a bonus feature.
Other North American DVDs released include Kirby's Adventures in Cappy Town (episodes 1-7), Cappy New Year & Other Adventures (episodes 8-14), Cook Kirby (episodes 29 and 11) and Ice Kirby (episodes 66 and 20).
The official 4Kids Entertainment website at 4kids.tv (formerly at foxbox.tv) and the official North American Kirby series website at kirbykirbykirby.com both featured Kirby: Right Back at Ya! content prominently during the show's run. Kirby content appears to have been removed from 4kids.tv in 2010. The official Kirby website remained at kirbykirbykirby.com, from the lyrics to the dub's theme song, even after the show ended and the website rebranded to promote other games in the series (i.e. Kirby Super Star Ultra and Kirby's Epic Yarn). kirbykirbykirby.com became a redirect to kirby.nintendo.com in 2011, and Nintendo let the original domain lapse in 2022; kirbykirbykirby.com currently redirects to an unofficial website featuring Kirby wallpapers.
After the show's initial airing, a special Wii channel was made for Europe and Australia called the Kirby TV Channel, which streamed episodes of the show on a weekly rotation. Through the channel's English run, 50 of the show's 100 episodes were made available up to Kirby Takes the Cake, while A Novel Approach was left out. From Summer 2009 to April 2012, the Japanese Wii no Ma channel aired all 100 episodes in addition to the bonus Kirby 3D episode, each available for 100 Wii Points.
Three episodes from the show are available to watch in the extra features of Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition. These episodes are Kirby Comes to Cappy Town, Crusade for the Blade, and Waddle While You Work, which prominently feature Kirby, Meta Knight, King Dedede and his Waddle Dees.
The Kirby of the Stars HD Remastered Edition All-Round Complete Box, an HD remaster box set of the series on Blu-ray, was announced at the Kirby 30th Anniversary Music Festival, and released on March 14th, 2023. All episodes have been remastered in HD for the box set, but have not been modified otherwise (i.e. they are still presented in full screen). Pre-orders opened on December 15th and ended on January 23rd, 2023. The first print run sold out so quickly that a second print run began during the pre-order period, set to ship in late April 2023. The box set includes all 100 episodes spread across 10 Blu-ray discs, a 100-page booklet filled with anecdotes about the anime's production, all of the storyboards for episode 1, the English version of episode 1, the original Kirby of the Stars Pilot, textless versions of both sets of opening and closing animations, the Kirby 3D episode, 17 of the "Pupupu Tsushin" segments aired during the original broadcast, and an acrylic Kirby series calendar as a purchase bonus.
Main box from the Kirby of the Stars HD Remastered Edition All-Round Complete Box, which holds the smaller disc boxes
Storyboard book from the Kirby of the Stars HD Remastered Edition All-Round Complete Box, containing all the storyboards for Kirby Comes to Cappy Town
Elements from the anime series would go on to influence the main video game series, in addition to some smaller references. The more notable of these are as follows:
- Music from the anime would later be used in Kirby Air Ride, and would appear more sparingly in later games, particularly Kirby Mass Attack and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.
- Kirby's modern design is heavily influenced by the anime, and he has also been heard saying "poyo" in Kirby's Epic Yarn, Kirby Mass Attack and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.
- Meta Knight's signature sword, Galaxia, was introduced in the anime, though it has been re-designed somewhat since then.
- Castle Dedede would appear with its anime design in Kirby: Squeak Squad, Kirby's Epic Yarn, and Kirby Mass Attack.
- The Monster Delivery System appears in the background during the fight with King Dedede in Kirby: Squeak Squad.
- Escargoon, the N.M.E. Sales Guy, Chef Shiitake, Captain Waddle Doo, and Max Flexer cameo in some of the Kirby Mass Attack Sub-Games.
- The Halberd owes some of its modern look to its portrayal in the anime.
- King Dedede acts similarly to his anime incarnation in Kirby Battle Royale.
- Octacon would cameo as a painting drawn by Adeleine in Kirby Star Allies.
- Devil Kirby makes a cameo appearance in Kirby Star Allies if the Soul Melter difficulty is selected in The Ultimate Choice.
- Banjō Ginga, who voices eNeMeE in the Japanese version of the anime, would go on to voice Parallel Nightmare in Super Kirby Clash. Likewise, Meta Knight and Knuckle Joe retain their Japanese voice actors from the anime in the Super Smash Bros. series.
- Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land and Kirby Air Ride were released during the time the anime was originally on the air. As such, the two games share many aspects with the anime.
- Much of the official artwork for Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land is inspired by the anime, including the game's box art, as well as a commercial animated in the same style.
- Kirby Air Ride uses some music tracks from the Japanese version of the anime (such as the theme for Checker Knights), and in return, three of the episodes from the anime's series finale include Air Ride Machines from the game.
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya! was planned for release on Game Boy Advance through Game Boy Advance Video, but it never materialized, with press releases being the only evidence of its existence.
- A trailer for Kirby: Right Back at Ya! was included on the bonus disc that came with preorders for Mario Kart: Double Dash!! The trailer starts off with Kirby: Right Back at Ya! before transitioning to footage of Kirby Air Ride.
- Of the main cast of the show, there are only five characters who have perfect attendance through every episode (not counting the Pilot). These characters are Kirby, Tiff, Tuff, King Dedede, and Escargoon.
- Over the course of the show, many characters and enemies from the main Kirby games show up in the anime to varying degrees. Notably, despite the game's release prior to the show's production, no characters or enemies specific to Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards show up in the anime.
- Main article: Kirby: Right Back at Ya!/gallery
Names in other languages
Hoshi no Kābyi
|Kirby of the Stars|
|Kirby of the Stars|
|Kirby of the Stars|
- Official CBC website (Japanese)
- Official 4KidsTV webpage (archived)
- Nintendo Online Magazine - Issue 039, October 2001, production report
- Nintendo JP page containing the Staff list for the anime
- May 2003 licensing flier
- Nintendo JP page containing the interview with Sōji Yoshikawa
- CBC page discussing Sakurai's vision of Kirby in the anime
- Nintendo JP page discussing Kirby's animation and rendering in the anime
- Nintendo JP page discussing the animation techniques and software
- Nintendo JP page discussing the animation discussing the frame count
- Twilight Sparkle's Retro Media Library (FANDOM). Retrieved 21 November 2023.
- The earliest Wayback Machine screenshots of kirbykirbykirby.com, foxbox.tv, and 4kids.tv prominently use the show's branding. The Fox Box's Kirby subpage redirected to kirbykirbykirby.com until it moved to 4kids.tv in 2005.
- While captures from 2008 are more complete, 4kids.tv retained Kirby content as late as 2009. The site was redesigned in 2010 according to Wayback Machine screenshots, and captures of its Kirby section from this period lead to a 404 page; the redesigned home page no longer lists Kirby: Right Back at Ya! as one of its shows.
- For example, the official Flash site for Kirby Super Star Ultra remains on the Wayback Machine archive as kirbykirbykirby.com.
- According to the Wayback Machine, kirbykirbykirby.com became a redirect in August of 2011, which aligns with the creation of the official Kirby Mass Attack website. The Wayback Machine's timeline of kirbykirbykirby.com in 2022 shows a lapse in activity between May (where the site redirects to the official Kirby and the Rainbow Curse website) and September (where the site redirects to wallpapers.com/kirby), suggesting that the domain expired by June and was subsequently purchased by wallpapers.com by September.
- Nintendo Anime Channel page on Nintendo of Europe website
- Kirby JP Twitter announcement
- 4Kids press release for GBA-TV; Licensing Show 2003 promotional flyer