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Tuff is a young boy who serves as the tritagonist of the anime series Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. He is Tiff's younger brother and helps her to protect and guide Kirby on his road to becoming an able Star Warrior, though Tuff sometimes causes problems for the two due to his rashness and immaturity. Despite sometimes being only a minor character in the show, Tuff appears in every episode, and often serves a leading role, with notable examples being in the episodes Hail to the Chief, Flower Power, and War of the Woods.
Tuff is vaguely humanoid in appearance, with a short slightly plump physique and yellow-orange skin. His long bushy hair has green accents and covers much of his face, obscuring his eyes from view and leaving only his mouth visible. He wears a pair of purple shorts held up by a single diagonal red suspender and has greenish-brown shoes.
When compared to other characters, Tuff is somewhat taller than Kirby and the Cappy kids, but noticeably shorter than Tiff and much shorter than most of the adult characters.
Personality and role
Tuff is defined by his youthful rambunctiousness, high spirit, and generally self-centered demeanor. Unlike Tiff, who enjoys studying and reading, Tuff prefers to play games and be active, with kicking around a soccer ball with Kirby and the Cappy children being his preferred past-time (though in a running gag, Tuff often accidentally kicks Kirby instead due to his similar size and shape to the ball). In addition, Tuff often likes to play pranks on others, though he usually has a higher goal with these than simply the prank itself, as seen in episodes like Escargoon Squad and Mabel Turns the Tables. Much like Tiff, Tuff is a staunch ally of Kirby and Meta Knight and is generally opposed to King Dedede and Escargoon, and will bravely step in to help Kirby wherever he can, though sometimes his stubbornness causes problems for Kirby, with the most notable example being in the episode Flower Power.
Tuff is not quite as intelligent as his sister Tiff, but he is still smart enough to catch hypocritical actions from other characters and generally does not need things spelled out for him. He still tends to fall for many of King Dedede's schemes along with the other Dream Landers, however, where Tiff and her wiser cohorts would be able to see through the ruse, though he is often the first to be snapped out of the schemes in question. Tuff's rebellious nature often leads him to commit minor misdemeanors if it means helping somebody else out in the long run, with one example being in Mumbies Madness where he breaks into Professor Curio's home and steals a book from him in order to show Tiff information about the monster Mumbies. Despite these occasional acts, Tuff sees Chief Bookem in particular as a role model, and in order to prevent him from being dismissed by King Dedede in Hail to the Chief, commits theft and vandalism in secret in order to give the chief something to do and make the townsfolk appreciate him again.
Tuff is often characterized by his boyish immaturity, with particular obsession with toys and games, his refusal to clean his room when ordered, and his refusal to adequately brush his teeth, which comes back to haunt him in A Dental Dilemma when he gets a painful cavity and initially refuses to see Doctor Yabui in fear of how much more his drilling might hurt. Tuff's immaturity is often used in tandem with King Dedede's own childish outbursts of defiance and selfishness, in order to highlight Dedede's much greater personality flaws given his more advanced age and status as king. Seeing King Dedede act in a similar and often more exaggerated way often leads Tuff to recognize his own bad behavior by proxy due to his dislike for the King.
- Kirby: Tuff is one of Kirby's closest friends and allies, and will do whatever he can to help and protect the pink Star Warrior from harm. Despite this, Tuff often has trouble handling Kirby directly, which sometimes lands one or both of them in trouble. Unlike Tiff, who often acts as a parental figure toward Kirby, Tuff acts more as a sibling to him, and is more interested in playing games with Kirby than trying to teach him anything.
- Tiff: Tiff and Tuff generally get along and are able to coordinate well with each-other in most situations, but Tuff sometimes bemoans his older sister bossing him around, and will sometimes defy her when she orders him to do things against his wishes. Their disagreements are typically resolved by their mutual desire to help and protect Kirby.
- Sir Ebrum and Lady Like: Despite often being scolded by his parents for failing to keep up good habits at home, Tuff generally enjoys autonomy from them throughout the show, as they are rarely involved in his escapades, and often fail to keep track of him and his sister. Despite this, Tuff and his parents generally get along, and are often seen having meals together.
- Meta Knight: Tuff looks up to Meta Knight as a role model and a stern ally. Meta Knight in turn commends Tuff for his valorous nature, even if he sometimes remarks on his rashness and naivete.
- King Dedede: Tuff despises King Dedede more than anyone else in the show, and always looks for opportunities to get back at Dedede by pranking or insulting him, which happens fairly often. Despite this, King Dedede usually does not pay Tuff much mind, seeing Tiff and Kirby as the more direct threats to his schemes.
- Escargoon: Tuff generally dislikes Escargoon for his association with King Dedede, but the two do not often interact directly. When they do, it is usually to make schemes to get back at King Dedede for some egregious behavior from him, with the most notable example being in Escargoon Squad.
- Honey, Iro, and Spikehead: Tuff is often seen playing with these three in and around Dream Land, and can be considered to be the leader of this particular group of friends. He often gets into schemes with them and Kirby to pull pranks or to engage in some other organized activity.
- Other Cappies: Tuff has a generally positive relationship with the people of Cappy Town, as he is good-natured toward them, even if he occasionally causes trouble for them. Tuff looks up to Chief Bookem in particular, who he sees as a role model and tries to help in Hail to the Chief and A Trashy Tale.
- Main article: Tuff/filmography
Tuff appears in all 100 main episodes of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, along with Kirby 3D. For a full list of his appearances and role in each one, see this page.
- Tuff is one of the five recurring characters who appears in every episode of the main anime series. The other four are Kirby, Tiff, King Dedede, and Escargoon.
- In the Kirby 30th Anniversary group artwork, Tuff alongside his sister Tiff make a cameo appearance as small plushies being held by a Kirby copy. This is the two's first official cameo appearance outside anime material. A plushie based on the artwork was also made, making it one of the only pieces of official merchandise to depict Tiff and Tuff.
New Year's Day 2023 illustration from the Kirby JP Twitter, featuring plushies of Tiff and Tuff
Tuff teasing Tiff about her inconsistency in Snack Attack - Part I
Tuff "borrowing" Chef Kawasaki's cooking pot
Plushie of Kirby holding plushies of Tiff and Tuff, created for Kirby's 30th Anniversary by San-ei.
Names in other languages