|“||So many Kirbys to talk to!||”|
— Waddle Dee in Kirby Battle Royale
Kirby is not the only one of his kind in his universe. Many Kirbys have appeared throughout the Kirby franchise, and outside of the series too. The following will list other examples of Kirby's species (referred to as 'Kirbys' for the sake of simplicity), both confirmed and suspected:
- Main article: Kirby
Naturally, Kirby himself is the most notable of his species, and is typically seen as its representative. Despite all of the examples of Kirby clones illustrated below, Kirby is often depicted as the only one of his kind in games that he appears in, with most examples of additional Kirbys being directly derived from him in some way. Given that Kirby did not originate from Dream Land itself, but made his home there after he "blew into Dream Land one day on a spring breeze", it is possible that there are others like him elsewhere on Planet Popstar or the galaxy at large, but these have yet to be seen/confirmed.
Unnamed Kirby clones
The Kirby series has a habit of cloning Kirby regularly in various ways. The most basic example is when Kirby splits into multiple copies of himself in order to perform his victory dance at the end of levels and stages. This trope goes all the way back to the original Kirby's Dream Land, though it is not clear if these dance clones are meant to be distinct entities or if they are just a visual effect as part of the dance. These clones are produced just ahead of the dance and do not persist after the level or stage fades out. Other examples of such ephemeral Kirby clones include the Kirbys operating the Goal Game cannon in Dyna Blade from Kirby Super Star, the Kirbys that come pouring out of the cloud in the opening cutscene for Bubbly Clouds from Kirby's Dream Land, and instances of splitting Kirby into multiple copies for gameplay purposes, such as in Kirby's Block Ball, Kirby Mass Attack, and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.
There are, of course, examples of more persistent and distinct clones of Kirby who operate separately from him and are often distinguished by body color. The first canonical instance of this (i.e. not counting simple palette swaps for multiplayer modes, detailed below) is in Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, where Dark Meta Knight strikes Kirby with his sword and splits him into four different Kirbys, each with a different color. Aside from this superficial difference, each Kirby has the same abilities and presumably the same motives. Differently-colored clones of Kirby also appear in the Kirby Clash games as part of Team Kirby. In Kirby Battle Royale, King Dedede is in possession of a Kirby Printer which is capable of mass-producing Kirby clones (which come in every color except for pink). These clones come pre-equipped with a Copy Ability, and never discard them. When the Kirby Printer is eventually destroyed, all the clones it created vanish.
- Main article: Keeby
The player 2 character in Kirby's Dream Course is a yellow version of Kirby called Keeby. In the game, he serves as player 2, competing against Kirby. Like Kirby, he is able to copy abilities from enemies, though it is unknown whether he can float or inhale. As he has never properly appeared again in the series, and he is never acknowledged in the story of the game or in any cutscene, it is likely that this Kirby is not canon and only serves a multiplayer purpose, as other colored Kirbys would often do in future games, though he is notable as the first example of a differently-colored clone of Kirby to appear in the series' history.
- Main article: Shadow Kirby
Shadow Kirby is a gray/black and/or purple version of Kirby from the Mirror World that appears in Kirby & The Amazing Mirror and the Kirby Fighters games. He appears to share the ability to copy and hover, and his motives are not entirely clear. Unlike the other clones of Kirby, his personality differs notably: he is mischievous, reclusive, and somewhat cowardly, though he does not appear to be evil at heart.
- Main article: Colors
In most Kirby spinoff games and Sub-Game that involve multiplayer, players 2-4 can play as alternately colored Kirbys. Notable standalone games that include the ability to play as such include Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, Kirby Air Ride, Kirby: Squeak Squad, Kirby Super Star Ultra, Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Deluxe), Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Kirby Fighters Deluxe, Kirby: Planet Robobot, Kirby Star Allies, Kirby Fighters 2, and Kirby's Dream Buffet. These Kirbys, however, are not officially canon to their respective games' storylines (if there are storylines in the first place), as they are never acknowledged in said stories and only serve a gameplay purpose.
At the end of Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby can be seen returning stolen food to a crowd of other round creatures that look a lot like him. In Spring Breeze, however, this crowd was retconned into one made mainly of Waddle Dees.
- Main article: Meta Knight
It is popularly speculated and widely believed that Meta Knight and Kirby are the same species. Evidence pointing in favor of this conclusion includes their similar shape, body structure, and face (when unmasked). Additionally, the anime explains that both Kirby and Meta Knight are part of an order of Star Warriors who tend to share a similar origin (though even if taken into consideration, this reasoning is imprecise, as Star Warriors themselves also tend to come in different types), although the anime is a different canon from the games.
However, a number of key differences exist between Kirby and Meta Knight, many of which were established in later titles. Meta Knight is often depicted with wings, which is a feature that Kirby cannot obtain without the use of the Wing ability. However, in the Super Smash Bros. games, these wings are shown to be a transformation of his cape, which eventually was demonstrated in the Kirby series proper in the opening cutscene of Kirby: Planet Robobot. Meta Knight also has glowing yellow (but otherwise featureless) eyes, which is another trait that Kirby lacks. As a final note, Meta Knight has never been shown to be able to inhale, which is something that Kirby and all of his clones are capable of doing.
Ultimately, there is no conclusive proof in either direction, but the fan consensus still tends to tip toward Meta Knight and Kirby being the same species. This is augmented by the way Meta Knight is often compared to Kirby in the games and in descriptions, with examples including both the eighth palette swap of Kirby and his description in Palutena's Guidance starting with Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U.
Dark Meta Knight
- Main article: Dark Meta Knight
Only seen for a brief moment after he is defeated at Radish Ruins in Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, Dark Meta Knight's unmasked form resembles a black Kirby, darker than even Shadow Kirby. However, it is unknown whether he is an actual evil Kirby working for Dark Mind or merely a replica of Meta Knight created by Dark Mind.
- Main article: Galacta Knight
Galacta Knight in many ways resembles Meta Knight and therefore Kirby in shape and size. However, Galacta Knight's maskless form is never seen, even when he is defeated. In addition, his wings appear to be a natural fixture, rather than the cloak that comprises Meta Knight's.
- Main article: Morpho Knight
Similarly to Galacta Knight, Morpho Knight is an entity that bears a similar appearance to that of the Kirby species, although notably lacking a mouth. Unlike other characters like Kirby, Meta Knight and Galacta Knight, Morpho Knight doesn't always display the likeness of the Kirby species, as it normally has the body of a butterfly, only gaining the Kirby-like appearance after absorbing the soul of a powerful being, like that of Galacta Knight or Soul Forgo.
- Main article: Prince Fluff
In Kirby's Epic Yarn and Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn, Kirby's primary helper is Prince Fluff, who, like Kirby in his yarn state, is unable to inhale or hover, but is capable of transforming himself into other shapes. It is unclear if Fluff is the same species as Kirby, or if they just happened to look similar when Kirby was transformed into a yarn outline like him. However, one notable difference between the two is that Prince Fluff has large, wide eyes, whereas Kirby's eyes are beady.
- Main article: Batamon
In Kirby's Dream Land 3, mysterious enemies known as "Batamon" are often seen in locations impossible for Kirby to access. These enemies look very similar to Kirby, but bear a slightly different body shape and face structure.
In the Kirby novel series
In the Kirby novel series, Kirby himself is implied to be the only member of his species. However, in some occasions copies or clones of him have appeared, with each case having their own explanations for their existance.
In Kirby Clash Team Unite! and Kirby: Super Team Kirby's Big Battle!, Kirby gets sent to the Dream Kingdom, where he meets three other Kirbys: one yellow, one blue, and another green, and, much like him, are all named "Kirby" as well. Their personalities are vastly the same as Kirby's own (in particular, the other three Kirbys share the same appetite as Kirby himself), with minor differences. Due to the lack of Copy Abilities in the Dream Kingdom (instead, the Kirbys rely on Gear and their Roles for battle), it's unclear if these Kirbys can copy abilities as well.
In Kirby's Decisive Battle! Battle Royale!!, Kirby Fighters: The Destined Rivals!! and Kirby: Full Stomach, Perfect Circle, Dream Buffet!, Kirby copies appear as well, and, unlike their Dream Kingdom counterparts, they do not speak and mostly lack emotions, being purely motivated by battles. In Kirby's Decisive Battle! Battle Royale!!, Kirby copies pre-equipped with Copy Abilities are created by the Kirby Printer to compete in Dedede's Cake Royale, and eventually disappear at the end of the novel when the Kirby Printer is destroyed. In Kirby Fighters: The Destined Rivals!!, Kirby copies also pre-equipped with Copy Abilities appear after King Dedede wishes for Kirby to have strong opponents in the Buddy Fighters Tower. These copies presumably disappear after the tower collapses at the end of the novel. Finally, in Kirby: Full Stomach, Perfect Circle, Dream Buffet!, three Kirby copies appear at the end of the novel, when the Server Hands wish for the Dream Fork to give them "the strongest power" after those in the gourmet fest decide to go against them. Much like Kirby, they can use the Copy Foods to get Copy Food Abilities. Kirby eventually manages to beat them by knocking them out of the field in a Battle Royale.
- There is some confusion as to whether the proper pluralization for Kirby is 'Kirbys' or 'Kirbies'. While 'Kirbys' is more common, both are used at some point in the series, so technically both are correct.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and its subsequent remakes, there are enemies called Anti-Kirbys who can attack Link by inhaling him, and then spitting him out. These Kirby-like foes are immune to standard sword swipes, and must be defeated using bombs or another item. Interestingly, these enemies are referred to as "Kirby" in Japanese and sometimes in English material as well. The Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition booklet says that the reason why so many treasures are references to other Nintendo franchises was to "return the favor" for Kirby's appearance in that game. This text also seems to imply that Anti-Kirby and Kirby are the same entity, but it can also be interpreted as appearance in physical sense. The official The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Player's Guide calls them "Kirby's evil twins".
- Kirby's Figurine caption from Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
- Nakago: "And it wasn't just Mario and Luigi, but something like Kirby, too."
Tezuka: "Um... Kirby was in there, too. I think we asked for permission, but..."
Iwata: "Oh." (laughs)
Tezuka: "But some people at HAL Laboratory might say they never heard anything."
Iwata: "I suppose so. Oh well. I'm not sure how many people at that time recognized it was Kirby."
Aonuma: "But that character appeared as one of Link's enemies, and if you got close, he would suck you up!" (laughs)
Iwata: "About that time, Kirby was still just a fledgling character, so I think people thought that it was an honor to have him appear in a The Legend of Zelda game."
Aonuma: "And the Chomps who appear in the Mario games were also enemies. Partway through you could have them walk along with you."
Conversation from "Iwata Asks": The History of Handheld The Legend of Zelda Games (Volume 2)
- "In The Great Cave Offensive, Kirby can find treasures based on classic Nintendo games like Super Mario Bros.™, EarthBound™, and The Legend of Zelda™. We thought it was only right to return the favor, since Kirby got to make a guest appearance in The Legend of Zelda™: Link's Awakening™!" –Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition booklet
- "These must be Kirby's evil twins. Their vacuum-like attack sucks up heroes and everything, but you can fight your way out into fresh air." –The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening — Nintendo Player's Guide (Nintendo, Tokuma Shoten), pg. 100