Papi[Japanese title] is a guest character featured in the Kirby novel series, and makes his guest appearance in Kirby: Meta Knight and the Knight of Yomi. He is a butterfly resident of the underworld, Yomi, trapped in this world due to having tasted its flowers, similarly to the Japanese deity Izanami. In the aforementioned novel, he becomes Meta Knight's guide and friend, aiding Meta Knight in his return to the world of the living.
Papi is a light blue butterfly. His wings have a slightly darker blue outline and three stripes each. Unlike most butterflies in the series, Papi's wings are not smooth on the borders, as their top parts have a small chip.
Being a butterfly, Papi likes the taste of flower nectar. His favorite is yellow flower nectar; he also likes purple, but finds pink too sweet. In addition to tastes, Papi inherited butterfly lore, including rumors about the red butterfly of Yomi.
Papi is friendly, cheerful and carefree, as well as very talkative; his liveliness stands out in the underworld. Papi is lonely in this world, so he tries to befriend newcomers (often to no avail), whom he respectfully refers to as brothers. Besides this title, Papi comes up with names for fellow residents, including the frightening monsters.
Papi is easily scared by the nocturnal residents of the underworld. However, in the name of friendship, he can muster up courage and confront his fears. While he struggles with his selfish desire for Meta Knight to stay with him in Yomi, he ultimately respects his friend's desire to leave, and helps him return to the living world.
Role in Kirby: Meta Knight and the Knight of Yomi
- Main article: Kirby: Meta Knight and the Knight of Yomi
At some point before the events of Kirby: Meta Knight and the Knight of Yomi, Papi was badly injured, and his soul reached Yomi. If Papi had a chance to return, he lost it when he unwittingly tasted the nectar of Yomi's flowers in hopes that it would remind him of the flowers in the world of the living. After that moment, Papi became a permanent resident of the underworld. He became accustomed to the place but was lonely.
Papi tried to start a conversation with every newcomer, but the first to speak back is Meta Knight, who is initially mildly annoyed by Papi's constant chatter. Papi gives Meta Knight advice and, though he wishes for Meta Knight to stay in Yomi, agrees to help him find a way out.
Papi is shocked and impressed by Meta Knight's courage and fighting spirit. He warns his new friend of the dangers Yomi holds after they spot the red butterfly. Papi ends up following his headstrong friend anyway. After Meta Knight fights off the Giant Snake while protecting the terrified butterfly, Papi once again tries to convince Meta Knight to stay in Yomi and keep him company. Things grow tense between them heading into Meta Knight's third and final day. However, Meta Knight sympathizes with the lonely butterfly.
As the two have a conversation about food on the third day, they reach a fruit tree. When Meta Knight decides to try the fruit of the underworld, Papi is torn between warning him and preventing disaster, or letting him eat it so he will stay in Yomi. He ultimately stops Meta Knight in time, knocking the fruit from his hand, and sorrowfully apologizing for his selfish intention. Meta Knight realizes that Papi had fallen into this trap before and thanks the butterfly for saving him, calling Papi a "butterfly hero", which makes Papi content.
On the third night, Meta Knight starts to lose hope, but Papi is determined to help his friend. They find Morpho Knight, and Papi faces his fears and confronts the red butterfly. When a death scream is heard in the world of the living and Morpho Knight opens a portal to answer it, Papi holds the portal open to help Meta Knight escape through it. Once done, they say their goodbyes, and Papi asks Meta Knight not to forget him.
Back in Dream Land, Meta Knight gratefully remembers Papi's words. When he sees a white butterfly, he asks it to send his regards to Papi if it ever goes to Yomi.
- Since the novel illustrations are confined to black-and-white, Papi is one of the few novel-exclusive characters to have an official color palette (with the others being Baron Gallic and Princess Marona) as shown on the volume cover art and colored illustration for Kirby: Meta Knight and the Knight of Yomi.
- Papi initially calls Meta Knight "Meta-cchi" (メタっち), but switches to using his full name as a sign of respect after learning about his true power.
Key art of the cover of Kirby: Meta Knight and the Knight of Yomi, which features Papi
Names in other languages
Clipped form of papillon (French for "butterfly").