Kirby of the Stars: New Ability Contest
Kirby of the Stars: New Ability Contest (「星のカービィ」新能力コンテスト)[Japanese title] or Kirby's New Copy Ability Contest was a Japan-only Copy Ability design contest for Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. This contest encouraged viewers of the show to design their own Copy Ability concepts for the show, with the winning abilities being featured as part of the episode Air-Ride-in-Style - Part II.
CBC (Chubu-nippon Broadcasting Corporation), the primary Japanese broadcaster of the show, ran the contest in collaboration with ten Shogakukan comics and educational magazines:
- CoroCoro Comic (コロコロコミック), a monthly manga magazine featuring series such as Doraemon, Pokémon, and even Kirby of the Stars: The Story of Dedede Who Lives in Pupupu;
- Televi-Kun (てれびくん), a similar monthly manga magazine;
- Youchien (幼稚園, "Kindergarten"), a magazine aimed at toddlers;
- Hakushuu Youchien (学習幼稚園, "Learning Kindergarten"), a magazine also aimed at toddlers but with (at least nominally) a more educational bent;
- and Shougaku 1st Grade through Shougaku 6th Grade (小学一年生〜小学六年生), a series of educational magazines for first- through sixth-grade children (which nonetheless carried manga series and other non-educational content).
The contest was first announced in the "Pupupu Tsushin" (プププつうしん) segment at the end of the original Japanese broadcast for Caterpillar Thriller, and entries were solicited from March 15, 2003 (the day of said broadcast) to April 25, 2003.
The CBC website for the show instructed the viewer on how to submit their Copy Ability idea to the contest through a standard postcard. The viewer was to list the following information about themselves on the front of the postcard:
- Age (grade level).
- Telephone number.
Contest organisers may have used the viewer's grade level to sort a portion of incoming submissions for consideration by different Shogakukan magazines.
On the back of the postcard, the viewer would detail the following:
- The name of the submitted ability, alongside a drawing of Kirby with that ability.
- The object/enemy that Kirby would inhale to obtain this ability.
- Any special skills/moves associated with this ability.
The viewer would fill in and mail the postcard to postal code 〒460-8405 with the recipient name being "ＣＢＣテレビ 「星のカービィ」新能力コンテスト係" ("CBC Television, c/o 'Kirby of the Stars: New Ability Contest'"). (In Japan, contest entry postcards often do not require the sender to write the full destination address.)
The New Ability Contest announced its prize winners in the Pupupu Tsushin segment that corresponds to the original Japanese airing for D'Preciation Day, as well as in the individual participating magazines. The winners selected to feature in the show were shown again in the "Pupupu Tsushin" segment at the end of the original Japanese broadcast for Air-Ride-in-Style - Part I, the week before their debut in the anime, this time with the original drawings shown alongside their official renders. In the original TV airing of Air-Ride-in-Style - Part II in Japan, a prompt would appear whenever Kirby obtained one of the winning Copy Abilities, which displayed the names of the winning abilities and their creators. This particular detail would be removed in the subsequent video releases of the Japanese version, but the long shots they used to be in remain uncut.
The following table lists all named Grand Prize winners in the New Ability Contest, grouped by whether they feature in Air-Ride-in-Style - Part II but otherwise arranged in the order shown on the CBC website.
|List of winners in Kirby of the Stars: New Ability Contest
Winners featured in Air-Ride-in-Style - Part II
Top Kirby (ベイゴマカービィ, by Masanobu Maeda from Nara prefecture)
|CBC Grand Prize
|The final ability showcased in the episode. Kirby gains this ability after inhaling one of the explosive tops from the Air Riders. He uses these explosive tops to hit his enemies and cut through metallic surfaces.
|As this won the CBC Grand Prize, the winner received a Nintendo GameCube and a copy of Kirby Air Ride as prizes. The ability as submitted was named "Beigoma Kirby", which was changed to the English word "Top" for the show.
Tutankirby (ツタンカービィ, by Yoichi Muramoto from Tokyo prefecture)
|CoroCoro Comic Grand Prize (tied with Metal)
|Tutankirby is named after Tutankhamun and features a yellow metal suit adorned with a headband featuring a golden cobra head. Kirby also wields a short staff featuring a cobra head. The original submission also suggested Tutankirby should be capable of telekinesis, although the actual episode only shows Kirby reflecting attacks using the staff.
|This was selected as the CoroCoro Comic Grand Prize winner, tying with Metal, leading the two abilities to merge into Iron for the show.
Metal Kirby (メタルカービィ, by Yuki Oishi from Shimane prefecture)
|CoroCoro Comic Grand Prize (tied with Tutankirby)
|Kirby obtains this ability after inhaling a flail from one of the Air Riders, and can transform into a giant metallic statue. The merged Iron ability is the third to be showcased in the episode.
|This was selected as the CoroCoro Comic Grand Prize winner, tying with Tutankirby, hence merging with it into Iron.
Without the Tutankirby component to it, the ability is functionally similar to the Metal ability featured in Kirby: Squeak Squad.
Water Kirby (ウォーターカービィ, by Takahiro Tonoe from Aichi prefecture)
|Televi-Kun Grand Prize
|Kirby gains this ability by inhaling large amounts of water from the ocean, which gives him the ability to create spouts of water and use a variation of the Water Gun move that can be used out of water. This is the second ability shown in the episode.
|Notably, this is the only ability from this contest that eventually made it formally to the games, with its game debut being in Kirby's Return to Dream Land (although it was originally planned to be in Kirby for Nintendo GameCube).
Baton Kirby (バトンカービィ, by Yuya Nishiuchi from Fukushima prefecture)
|Shougaku 2nd Grade Grand Prize
|Kirby gains this ability by inhaling a baton from the Formula Star-riding Air Rider, and uses it to force control on one of the Air Riders. This is the first ability showcased in the episode.
|This ability is aesthetically similar to the Staff ability from Kirby Star Allies, although their movesets are different.
Octopus Kirby (たこカービィ, by Motoki Nakano from Osaka prefecture)
|Hakushuu Youchien Grand Prize
|This ability transforms Kirby into an octopus-like creature somewhat resembling Octacon. The drawing also depicts Kirby to be capable of shooting ink.
|Youchien Grand Prize
|This ability has currently no clear recorded image.
Spring Kirby (バネンカービィ, by Aisai Tamura from Saitama prefecture)
|Shougaku 1st Grade Grand Prize
|This ability contorts Kirby into the shape of a bouncy spring coil, giving him the ability to bounce very high. This ability was conceptualized by the submitter to be obtained by Kirby inhaling a spring coil.
|This ability resembles Hi-Jump as it appears in Kirby's Dream Buffet, although still a sheer coincidence.
Fly Kirby (フライカービィ, by Shuhei Aiba from Akita prefecture)
|Shougaku 3rd Grade Grand Prize
|This ability transforms Kirby into a form resembling that of a butterfly (hence the name), featuring black butterfly wings with a star on top of each one.
Witch Kirby (まじょカービィ, by Ayaka Tsuda from Osaka prefecture)
|Shougaku 4th Grade Grand Prize
|This ability features Kirby donning a black witch hat while holding a magic wand. He also rides on top of a flying broomstick.
|Shougaku 5th Grade Grand Prize
|The Pupupu Tsushin segment erroneously showed the drawing for ESPer as the winner of the Shougaku 5th Grade Grand Prize, but the magazine showed Tennis as the Grand Prize winner with ESPer winning a runner-up prize.
The ESPer ability is not to be confused with the ESP ability from Kirby: Planet Robobot.
Neither Tennis nor ESPer currently has a clear recorded image.
Weather Kirby (by Reiko Akao from Aichi prefecture)
|Shougaku 6th Grade Grand Prize
In addition to CBC, prizes were offered in the names of each of the ten Shogakukan magazines jointly organising the contest. CBC offered the following prizes:
|List of prizes in Kirby of the Stars: New Ability Contest
CBC Grand Prize (ＣＢＣ最優秀賞) - Kirby Air Ride and Nintendo GameCube
|Masanobu Maeda from Nara prefecture (who created Top Kirby) was the sole recipient of the CBC Grand Prize. However, other grand prize (最優秀賞) winners may have received similar if not identical prizes, with Aisai Tamura (Spring Kirby) being confirmed to win both a copy of Kirby Air Ride and a GameCube in a Shougaku 1st Grade magazine showcasing some of the winners. It is unclear what happened in the case of the CoroCoro Comic Grand Prize, for which two submissions tied.
Runner-up Prizes (優秀賞) - Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land and Game Boy Advance SP
|This prize went to ten runners-up in the contest. Each participating magazine also likely gave out their own sets of ten runner-up prizes each, based on the Shougaku 1st Grade magazine prizes.
Honorable Mention Prizes (佳作) - Kirby Goods Set
|CBC awarded these prizes to thirty honorable mentions in the contest (again, with each magazine likely awarding their own sets of 30 prizes). This goods set comprised Kirby-themed magnets, sticker sheets, Kirby-themed spinning roulette toys, and mini plush toys featuring various Copy Abilities in their anime designs.
Special Prizes (特別賞) - Kirby of the Stars Season 1 DVDs (episodes 1-21 in seven volumes) and a Kirby-themed bike
|Out of all the entries, two winners were selected for the Special Prizes - Ryo Kimura (DVDs) and Sakira Masaki (bike), both of Osaka prefecture. The abilities that they submitted to the contest are currently unknown.
Runners-up and other contest entries
The following is a partially-complete list of the other Copy Ability entries known to have been submitted to the contest, by virtue of being listed as runners-up. Note that most entries do not have any recorded images attached with them so their appearances and moves remain undocumented. Most entries may not have the original submitter's name listed with them either. Any potential similarities to future abilities in games released after the anime's original run are purely coincidental and should not be taken as otherwise.
|Partial list of runner-up entries in Kirby of the Stars: New Ability Contest
Messages sent from viewers to the CBC website after the broadcast of D'Preciation Day suggest they submitted other ideas such as Paper Kirby (『ペーパーカービィ』), NS Kirby (『NSカービィ』), and Machine Gun Kirby (「マシンガンカービィ」), although the messages left further details unexplained.
The "Pupupu Tsushin" segment that first announced the contest also showcased two example ability drawings for the contest: Cowboy Kirby (who somewhat resembles Whip but uses a lasso) and Turtle Kirby (who wears a turtle shell that he can hide in). The CBC website showcased another sample ability, Traffic-Light Kirby, as part of instructions on how to submit an entry to the contest.
Initial announcement on the "Pupupu Tsushin" segment for Caterpillar Thriller
Announcement on Shougaku 1st Grade for their selected grand prize winner and runners-up, also featuring their respective drawings
Other example Copy Ability artwork
- Magazine photocopy of "Shougaku 1st Grade" featuring the New Ability Contest
- CBC website
- Pupupu Tsushin collection including the E093 communiqué
- Internet Archive repository of off-air recordings
- The JP Kirby Wiki article on the contest corroborates the existence of these entries, and in particular their status as prize winners for each of the participating magazines.
- Prize list for the New Ability Contest on CBC
- OPERATION: HNK FANSUBS Tumblr (by Ivyna J. Spyder)
- CBC's Kirby website message board archive