Kirby: Right Back at Ya!

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Kirby: Right Back at Ya!
Kirbygroupsmall.jpg
Japanese promotional poster
星のカービィ
(Hoshi no Kābī)
Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy, Science Fantasy
Anime television series
Directed by Sōji Yoshikawa
Produced by Satoru Iwata
Taihei Yamanashi
Seiichi Hirano
Takeyuki Okazaki
Written by Soji Yoshikawa
Music by Akira Miyagawa
Studio Warpstar, Inc.
Licensed by
  • CH  Horng En Culture
Network Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting (2001-2003)
Tokyo Broadcasting System (2007-2009)
Kids Station
Tokyo MX
English network
Fox Box (2002-2005)
4Kids TV (2005-2008)
The CW4Kids (2009)
Original run October 6, 2001September 27, 2003
Episodes 100 (List of episodes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Kirby: Right Back at Ya! (Hoshi no Kirby (星のカービィ Hoshi no Kābī?, Kirby of the Stars)) is an anime series based on Nintendo's Kirby franchise. The series was produced by Warpstar Inc., a company formed between a joint investment between Nintendo and HAL Laboratory, Inc.[1]

The series, which takes place on the planet Pop Star, focuses on the adventures of Kirby, who fights off monsters to the village's well-being.

In Japan, the series aired on Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting Co., Ltd., and aired in North America on 4Kids TV under the name Kirby: Right Back at Ya! The series has since been released in other languages, including Bulgarian, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, French, German, Hebrew, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Serbian, Korean, Tagalog, Russian, Hindi, Tamil, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Telugu.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

Thousands of years ago, a being known as Nightmare appeared and created a company called Holy Nightmare/NightMare Enterprises, also known as N.M.E. It was in truth a front for his great armies of monsters, which he used to take over much of the universe. They devastated countless planets. But there were those who stood to combat his evil, in the form of the Star Warriors and the Galaxy Soldier Army. They fought for many thousands of years, but Nightmare's demon beasts outnumbered them, and killed most. However, everyone is quite surprised when Kirby's ship crashes close to Cappy Town (Pupupu Village in the Japanese dub). They find he's tiny, round, pink, and a child, unlike Tiff's desire of a strong knight. Despite his hardly warrior-like characteristics, he is quick to save anyone who is in danger. He is soon befriended by the siblings Tiff and Tuff, along with their servants Fololo and Falala.

The ruler of Dream Land, King Dedede, is jealous and suspicious of Kirby from the start. He and his sidekick Escargoon constantly try to get rid of Kirby with demon beasts provided by the company for a high fee, though Escargoon shows a great deal more reservation and morals. However, these attempts usually fail because of Kirby's natural abilities. Just as in the games, Kirby can inhale enemies and gain their powers, transforming into forms such as Fire Kirby with the ability to spit flames, or Sword Kirby to literally slice foes into pieces.

Kirby grows and becomes stronger before his final battle with Nightmare. In the end when Kirby and Tiff face Nightmare which is in a dream Tiff throws the Warp Star at Kirby, who swallows it and becomes Star Kirby. Star Kirby has the Star Rod which is Nightmare's sole weakness, allowing Kirby to defeat him.

Production[edit]

Producer Soji Yoshikawa speaks in length about the challenges faced by the creators of the Kirby anime.[2] He expressed concern as most video game to anime adaptations don't go well, but as time went on, he says he began to see a character with strength, and felt it could be successful.

Two of the main challenges were set by Kirby's creator Masahiro Sakurai. He said there were to be no humans, and Kirby must not speak.[citation needed] Yoshikawa says in his interview how difficult it was to have a main character who does not speak, as well as coming up with entirely unique settings and characters. Kirby is unusual in that it has no humans in the cast. He likens it to the Finnish series The Moomins, which was quite popular in Japan. Sometimes, Kirby, King Dedede, Escargoon, and other characters are shown in 3D mode.

Pilot anime[edit]

To celebrate the release of Kirby Air Ride in Japan, a special Kirby DVD was released with a popular video gaming magazine. It had clips from episodes and different games, and also a short 'pilot anime' that seems to be an early form of the show. No information was given about it, and it was not narrated with any voice acting. It was done in a mix of 3D computer graphics and 2D animation, much like the current series.

It first shows Kirby in space, sleeping on his Warp Star which then crashes down onto a planet (presumably Pop Star). A young, yellow skinned girl in a tiara who resembles Tiff is the first to find him. The two soon become friends, but Dedede, likely to be the princess' angry father, also appears. He tries to get rid of Kirby with a series of weapons and pranks reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote, but each plot fails or backfires, leaving Kirby unharmed. Kirby then gives him a hot dog on a fork, completely unaware of what was going on, causing Dedede to start crying.

At the end, dark clouds appear along with animated versions of many Kirby game enemies, such as Dark Matter, Ice Dragon and Meta Knight. But Kirby quickly goes into battle, inhaling them to gain their powers. Though he doesn't gain his signature hats as with the current anime, he does gain their abilities. This is what happens in games like the original Kirby's Adventure, Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, and Kirby Mass Attack. Kirby defeats them all, and he, Dedede, and Tiff are happy. All of a sudden, Nightmare appears and attacks the trio with an electric shock. Kirby wakes up on his Warp Star, only to find that his adventure was all a strange dream.

Game differences[edit]

There has always been a certain amount of argument in the Kirby fandom over how the anime was made to be quite different from the games. It only uses them as a basis, rather than following them exactly.

However, a little publicized fact is that the anime was closely supervised by the same people who worked on the games - including Kirby's creator Masahiro Sakurai. In an interview with Famitsu Magazine, he is quoted as saying "I was considerably involved with the production of the anime. The aim was to create an anime that could be enjoyed by children and parents the same as the games. At first, 'Kirby' began as a game that even a beginner could enjoy. I believe such a spirit was achieved in the anime."[3]

One of the largest differences from the games is how Kirby is changed to be a legendary Star Warrior fated to save Pop Star. In the games, he isn't described as being any kind of special soldier, nor are there any legends associated with him. (Star Warriors are a concept unique to the anime.)

Although it has always been hinted that Kirby is young, Kirby's age is lowered even more so he is only a baby, likely to act as an explanation for why he doesn't talk as Sakurai mandated. While many characters from the games appear, they are often changed slightly to better fit in.

Another major difference is how Dedede and Meta Knight lose certain abilities in the anime. Meta Knight is never shown with wings (although in the original test pilot [see above] he was shown as an enemy and has his wings) or flying abilities, and he is never seen without his mask on. Dedede is unable to float or inhale.

4Kids adaptation[edit]

The English dub often removed any visible text

The anime is a children's anime, targeted at young Japanese children from kindergarten to middle school. When adapted by 4Kids Productions and dubbed into English for North America, the anime was edited: content that was deemed inappropriate for American and Canadian audiences, including guns and alcoholic beverages, ended up cut out completely and some had to be changed to other non-offensive imagery. Some of the visible text, whether it was English, Japanese, or even gibberish, still had to be digitally removed. However, direct references to Japanese foods or culture (such as onigiri) were not removed, but rewritten for context. However, the Galaxy Soldier Army subplot was removed entirely, and all soldiers are referred to as Star Warriors.

The Japanese score was completely replaced with original music. The original Japanese score played a mass variety of music to fit the individual moods of each scene (relaxed, heroic, comedic, etc.), while the dub score songs still did fit the individual moods of each scene but in their own way. Some of the original sound effects were retained, while some of them were replaced with a new sound effect when, for instance, a sound effect could not be retained. Some of the sound effects in the original version were already in 4Kids' sound library.

A few of the characters' personalities, relationships, and speech patterns were changed for the English dub. For example, Meta Knight speaks using a Spanish accent to compliment his Zorro-like qualities; and King Dedede speaks using a Southern American dialect, while he originally spoke proper Japanese (albeit having a verbal tic, ending all sentences with "zoy"). Makiko Ōmoto's performance of Kirby is the only voice that was preserved in the English dub.

Some episodes aired differently from their original order, sometimes to put a holiday-themed episode closer to that holiday, or to advertise the latest merchandise products. For example, "A Novel Approach," which parodied the Harry Potter books, was aired in conjunction with one of the real books' release. One large and controversial[citation needed] move took episodes 96 and 97, "Crisis of the Warp Star" from the end of the series and aired them toward the middle to advertise the Kirby Air Ride game for the Nintendo GameCube. The episodes were placed in the original order for the Kirby: Fright to the Finish!! DVD of the final episodes.

Michael Haigney originally stated in an interview that the Fox Network would not let it air the episode "A Dental Dilemma" because it shows dentists in a bad light and could scare children (although it was meant to encourage children to brush their teeth and go to a dentist if they thought they had a cavity).[4] This applied to all other countries that used the 4Kids dub as well. The episode did eventually get dubbed, but it was aired under a third season, along with some other episodes in the line-up.

Broadcast history[edit]

In Japan, the series has aired on Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting Co., Ltd. since October 6, 2001. It was licensed in North America by 4Kids Entertainment under the title Kirby: Right Back at Ya! and seen on 4Kids TV (formerly known as FoxBox). The North American version of the anime was distributed by 4Kids Entertainment, Nelvana Enterprises, and HAL Laboratory, Inc. It ended in Japan in 2003 with 100 episodes,[5] and the series finished airing in late 2006 in the US.

The series began rebroadcasting in Japan on June 28, 2007 on the Tokyo Metropolitan Television station, then on June 21, 2008 in the US, Saturday mornings at 11am EST on 4Kids TV, and ended along with all other 4Kids TV shows on December 27, 2008. On June 6, 2009, Kirby, along with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward, rebroadcast in the US again, and aired at 7:30am EST on The CW4Kids. The series used to be seen on 4Kids's video on demand service and on www.4Kids.tv. However, the show was removed from the 4Kids TV website on October 2009. A moderator on the 4Kids forums states that 4Kids no longer holds the license.[6] Since May 21, 2009, the Tokyo MX website has stated that the show has been removed from the air.[7]

Since 2009, the series was available for streaming via the Everyone's Theater Channel for the Wii in Japan only, with each episode worth 100 Wii Points,[8] but on April 30, 2012, Nintendo terminated broadcast of the Wii no Ma channel. On June 23, 2011, the show has made a comeback to Europe and Australian audiences on the Wii, for the first time as the Kirby TV Channel, which expired on December 15, 2011. This service also returns in April 2012, however, the same episodes will be available, rather than the other half. A special CG animated episode, titled "Take it Down!! The Crustation Demon Beast Ebizou" (倒せ!!甲殻魔獣エビゾウ Taose!! Kōkaku Majū Ebizō?) was released for the Wii no Ma service in Japan on August 9, 2009.[9] A stereoscopic 3D version of the episode was dubbed by 4Kids and streamed internationally in two parts on the Nintendo 3DS' Nintendo Video service in January 2012, under the title "Kirby 3D".[10] With the release of Kirby's Dream Collection for Kirby's 20th anniversary, three complete episodes are available to watch on the Wii via that disc.[11]

Characters[edit]

Kirby (カービィ Kābī?)
Voiced by: Makiko Ohmoto
Kirby is a young Star Warrior. He is spoken of in legend as Kirby of the Stars, because a Star Warrior's ship is designed to go wherever demon beasts are. Kirby's ship detected the creatures Dedede was ordering and he was awakened 200 years before schedule. Due to this early awakening he is still only a child.
He does not speak much, only saying "poyo". Certain characters such as Kine and Meta Knight have acted as if they understand him and Kirby uses it quite expressively. Occasionally he speaks their language, his favorite word being 'suika' (Japanese for watermelon) or repeating snippets people have said.
The official explanation of why Kirby doesn't speak was that his creator Masahiro Sakurai did not want him to. Characters who don't speak are often created that way to be seen as more endearing and easier to relate to. There is also the "window for the gamer" factor- this is expressed more in Link of the Legend of Zelda series, created by Shigeru Miyamoto. Soji Yoshikawa cited examples such as Snoopy and the like, but said it was rather difficult to have a main character who didn't speak.
Tiff (フーム Fumu?)
Voiced by: Sayuri Yoshida (Japanese), Kerry Williams (English)
Tiff is daughter of the Cabinet Minister. She has lived in Dedede's castle her entire life. She's very intelligent for her age, with much of her interest being in the environment. Her favorite subject is marine biology. She can also be short tempered and definitely speaks her mind on things, especially when she thinks King Dedede is up to no good. Tiff is the only one who can summon Kirby's Warp Star when he is in danger. Meta Knight said that Kirby cannot keep it safe himself, so she can control it because she truly cares for him.
Tuff (ブン Bun?)
Voiced by: Rika Komatsu (Japanese), Kayzie Rogers (English)
Tuff is the younger brother of Tiff. He is in many ways her complete opposite, preferring to play outside rather than read books. He can be quite a troublemaker, even when he's really trying to help. Impetuous and always getting into mischief, such as pulling pranks and cracking jokes. He is now friends with Kirby, even though he gets jealous of him sometimes.
King Dedede (デデデ大王 Dedede Daiō?)
Voiced by: Kenichi Ogata (Japanese), Ted Lewis (English)
King Dedede is the ruler of Dream Land. Despite the fact Dedede is greedy, scheming, and even outright sadistic, even going as far as to say that people’s suffering amuses him, no one has ever tried to dethrone him, despite the fact that he also threatens the children. He's actually harmless for the most part, but his intense dislike of Kirby compels him to purchase demon beasts from HolyNightMare Co. and cause mayhem for the people of Dream Land. He loves buying new 'toys' and acts like a spoiled child, despite his age. He is often jealous of the attention Kirby gets, and while at first he even wanted to defeat Kirby, later he focuses more on trying to kick him out or just make him look bad. Of course, he has a kinder, gentler side, but it only shows in the most extreme of circumstances.
Escargoon (エスカルゴン Esukarugon?)
Voiced by: Naoki Tatsuta (Japanese), Ted Lewis (English)
Escargoon, an anthropomorphic snail, lived with his mother on a farm before leaving to make it big. But despite the fact Escargoon is well educated, knowing a great deal about chemistry and electronics (even writing a book on botany), he’s been working for Dedede for many years as an assistant and punching bag. But it seems that he truly cares for the king and is always concerned for his welfare, despite the abuse he receives from him on a daily basis. While Escargoon usually goes along with what Dedede wants and helps him with his schemes, he may actually be a nice guy at heart who only acts mean because he wants Dedede's approval.
Meta Knight (メタナイト Meta Naito?)
Voiced by: Atsushi Kisaichi (Japanese), Eric Stuart (English)
Meta Knight works for Dedede as well, along with his followers Sword Knight and Blade Knight. However, it is revealed that Meta Knight is a Star Warrior like Kirby, and one of the only ones to survive the war with Nightmare. He carries the sacred sword Galaxia, which only a select few can wield. Meta Knight appears as a sort of mentor, helping Kirby and others, though only when he absolutely has to. He has a habit of appearing seemingly from nowhere, helping Kirby and his friends in times of need. In the original, his voice actor is serious, with occasional random English thrown in, possibly in reference to Meta Knight being similar to English knights, with honor and courage. He is the second strongest Star Warrior in the universe, after Kirby.
Customer Service (カスタマーサービス Kasutamā Sābisu?)
Voiced by: Dan Green
As the public face of Nightmare Enterprises, he handles much of the company's sales (and advertising) from the center of Nightmare's Fortress. In both the Japanese and English versions he can be quite sarcastic, and enjoys finding ways to make things difficult for King Dedede, although he is much more subtle about it in the original. In the English dub, he went through a drastic personality change; his persona is more that of the stereotypical "slimy used-car salesman," using a large amount of slang. In the original, his image is that of a polite Japanese salesperson, using a large amount of honorific language (even when he insults customers like Dedede). The English dub makes it seem like he wants nothing more but to defraud or swindle Dedede for every money amount he has, rather than actually helping him.
Nightmare (ナイトメア Naitomea?)
Voiced by: Banjō Ginga (Japanese), Andrew Rannells (English)
Nightmare is the main antagonist of the series and the president of Nightmare Enterprises. Nightmare only appears in the shadows for most of the series, his full form is only seen at the very end of the penultimate episode, and in the series finale. Very little is known about him or his origins, but as his name suggests, he is a living nightmare. He thrives on suffering, creating monsters to sell in his company and use in his armies to continue his conquest of the universe in order to bring himself more power. He also gives off the illusion of being invincible, since he can open his cloak and suck all attacks into the area where his stomach and chest should be.

Episodes[edit]

Theme Songs[edit]

Japanese
Openings:
  • "Kirby * March" (カービィ★マーチ) (Episodes 1-71)
  • "Kirby!" (カービィ!) (Episodes 72-100; Also used in the Japanese version of Donkey Konga)
Endings:
  • "Kihon wa maru" (きほんはまる) (Episodes 1-71)
  • "Kirby * Step!" (カービィ☆ステップ!) (Episodes 72-100)
English
  • "Kirby Kirby Kirby!" (Also used in the North American version of Donkey Konga)

DVD[edit]

All North American DVD releases of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! were licensed by Funimation Entertainment. The 2005 DVD release of Kirby: Fright to the Finish!! was a compilation of the final five episodes of the television series edited together to create a feature-length film.

  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! Volume 1: Kirby Comes to Cappytown (November 12, 2002)
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! Volume 2: A Dark and Stormy Knight (January 7, 2003)
  • Kirby: Right Back At Ya! Volume 3: Kirby's Egg-Cellent Adventure (November 4, 2003)
  • Kirby: Fright to the Finish!! (June 14, 2005)
  • Kirby's Adventures in Cappytown (February 19, 2008)
  • Kirby: Cappy New Year & Other Kirby Adventures (December 9, 2008)

On May 6, 2010, the first 26 episodes were released on DVD in complete season format in Taiwan.[12] [13]

Reception[edit]

Common Sense Media claims that the dub is "a stab at educational value, but really all about fighting monsters"[14] and "More pandering kiddy fluff from the Fox Box".[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ HAL Lab Article N-Sider. URL Accessed October 28, 2006.
  2. ^ Interview with Soji Yoshikawa Nintendo Online Magazine. URL Accessed October 28, 2006.
  3. ^ Kirby article Famitsu Magazine. URL Accessed October 28, 2006.
  4. ^ Interview with Michael Haigney Anime Boredom. URL Accessed October 28, 2006.
  5. ^ Episode List Official Japanese site at HICBC. URL Accessed October 28, 2006.
  6. ^ "4kids forums: Where, oh Where, has Kirby Gone?". November 16, 2009. Retrieved Dec 9, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Tokyo MX's official site for Kirby of the Stars". May 21, 2009. Retrieved Jul 3, 2010. 
  8. ^ "The Wii no Ma's list of Kirby episodes". June 4, 2011. Retrieved Jun 4, 2011. 
  9. ^ http://www.wiinoma.co.jp/program/free/star/
  10. ^ Kirby: Right Back At Ya! Volume 1 at Nintendo Video
  11. ^ Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition Impressions - Impressions - Nintendo World Report
  12. ^ "Kirby DVD Box Set 1 from Taiwan". May 6, 2010. Retrieved Feb 6, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Kirby DVD Box Set 2 from Taiwan". May 6, 2010. Retrieved Feb 6, 2011. 
  14. ^ Galguera, Robin. "Kirby: Right Back at Ya". Common Sense Media. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  15. ^ Carpenter, Christina. "Kirby: Right Back at Ya". Them Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 

External links[edit]