Meta Knight in Kirby's Return to Dream Land
|First game||Kirby's Adventure (1993)|
|Created by||Masahiro Sakurai|
|Voiced by (English)||Eric Stuart (anime)
Eric Newsome (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Atsushi Kisaichi|
Meta Knight (Japanese: メタナイト Hepburn: Meta Naito?) is a fictional character in Nintendo's Kirby video game series created by Masahiro Sakurai and developed by HAL Laboratory. Meta Knight first appeared in the 1993 video game Kirby's Adventure as a nameless character remaining there until the game Kirby's Avalanche. The character also appears in several Kirby comic books, in the 2001 anime series and in the Super Smash Bros. series.
Meta Knight is a mysterious but honorable knight; due to this attitude he has played more a "friend or foe" role in the Kirby series, which led video game critics to debate his nature and allegiances. He has received mainly-positive critical reception since his introduction; his development within the series, from a nameless character to one of Kirby's main enemies, was praised, and he has been described as a "cool" character by reviewers. He has also been regarded to be worthy of its own game, and popular among fans.
Meta Knight is an honorable swordsman who follows the chivalric code; this is exemplified when he gives Kirby a sword with which to fight. He is always seen in a silver mask; beneath it he looks similar to Kirby, with a blue body (black in his first appearance) and misty white eyes, which appear yellow with his mask on. Meta Knight wears a navy-blue mantle, the Dimensional Cape (ディメンションマント Dimenshon Manto?), which can change into a set of bat-like wings (although in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, the wings grow directly from his body) and he usually wields a golden sword, known as the Galaxia Sword (宝剣ギャラクシア Hōken Gyarakushia?) (although he has a "Master Sword" (マスターソード Masutā Sōdo?) in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror). He is usually described as Kirby's rival, an antihero. Despite being a villain, he has benign intentions and he will fight with Kirby (when necessary) for his survival. This attitude has led to debate about his allegiances.
In the Kirby video game series
Meta Knight first appeared in the NES game Kirby's Adventure (1993) as boss of the Orange Ocean level, where he fights Kirby to stop him from taking a piece of the Star Rod and keep it out of Nightmare's hands. He is the main antagonist of the Revenge of Meta Knight mode in Kirby Super Star (1996), in which he tries to take over Dream Land to end the inhabitants' lazy lifestyle. Meta Knight is a playable character in special mode Meta Knightmare of Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land (2002). In Kirby & the Amazing Mirror (2004), Dark Meta Knight—an evil-mirror-world version of Meta Knight—splits Kirby into four identical Kirbys (of different colors) by shattering a mirror. He appears as a boss who tries to keep the chest containing Dark Nebula out of Kirby's hands in Kirby: Squeak Squad (2006). In Kirby Super Star Ultra (2008), he appears as a playable character in Meta Knightmare Ultra. Meta Knight also appears in Kirby's Return to Dream Land (2011) as one of the four playable protagonists, alongside Kirby, King Dedede and Waddle Dee, and as playable character in multi-player mode.
Meta Knight also appears in several spin-off games in the series. He makes brief appearances in Kirby's Pinball Land and Kirby's Avalanche (both 1993). In the latter, his name was revealed for the first time, where he is the penultimate challenger. He is an unlockable character in Kirby Air Ride (2003) and Kirby: Canvas Curse (2005). Meta Knight is a boss in Kirby's Epic Yarn (2010) and in Kirby Mass Attack (2011) appears as a boss in two sub-games.
Meta Knight has made several appearances outside of the Kirby video game series. Meta Knight is featured in the 1994–2006 manga Hoshi no Kirby: Dedede de Pupupu na Monogatari written by Hirokazu Hikawa and published by Shogakukan in CoroCoro Comic. He also appears in the ongoing Enterbrain's Hoshi no Kirby: Kirby to Dedede no Pupupu Nikki manga written by Noboru Matsuyama and published in Famitsu DS+Wii (originally called Famitsu DS+Cube+Advance), and in the Asami Taniguchi manga Hoshi no Kirby: Moretsu Pupupuawā! published in Bessatsu CoroCoro Comic, where he is a main character. He is also featured in the 2012 Yuki Kawakami manga by Shogakukan, Hoshi no Kirby: Pack to Daibaku Show. In the 2001–2003 anime Kirby: Right Back at Ya! he is a main character. In the series he is the last surviving member of the Galaxy Soldier Army, made up of "Star Warriors". He also appears in two Super Smash Bros. series games; in Melee he is a trophy, and in Super Smash Bros. Brawl he is a playable character.
IGN described Meta Knight as "one of the most enigmatic characters" in the series, naming him one of their ten favorite sword-wielding characters in the video games and adding that although he was once "a mere villain" in the series, "his devilishly-cool appearance set him apart from the rest". GamesRadar ranked Meta Knight twelfth on its list of "Most Misunderstood Videogame Villains", saying that he is "the standard good-guy folderol [...], except that Meta Knight is invariably the bad guy"; it said of the Meta Knight-versus-Kirby battles that "[i]t's like if Batman picked a fight with a morbidly obese shut-in, and you were supposed to root for the shut-in." It listed him on "The Top 7 Unlikeliest Badasses in Gaming" list, saying he should not be there: "[h]e's a little blue ball with stubby cartoon feet" and adding "[n]ever before has being round and adorable been so damn awe-inspiring." He is the 18th-best Nintendo character of all time, according to GameDaily; that also placed him third on their list of Nintendo characters which deserve their own game. Complex stated that he developed from "a nameless villain" in Kirby's Adventure into "Kirby's rival" and noting that his popularity has surpassed that of King Dedede, ranking Meta Knight eighth on its list of "25 Video Game Characters That Deserve a Spinoff". Similarly, he was placed sixth on WhatCulture's list of "10 Video Game Characters That Deserve Their Own Spin-Off Game".
His inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Brawl was praised; he was listed in the top five characters of Bozon (ranked second), Peer (ranked fourth), and Richard George (ranked first) from IGN, with all three highlighting his speed and Bozon saying he is "the best single-player Brawler". Jesse Schedeen from the same site said that "Meta Knight is a true powerhouse of the SSBB cast"; UGO Networks called Meta Knight "[t]he most dangerous sword-wielding, helmet-wearing, sentient balloon you're ever likely to meet". However, the balance among the Brawl characters was impaired, with Meta Knight "standing tall above the rest". Due to this imbalance, the character was removed from professional gaming competitions in the United States and Canada. Despite of it, WhatCulture ranked him as the 6th greatest character in beat'em up games, saying "he's a brilliant character skills-wise, even if he may be totally unfair in the grand scheme of things."
- Meta Knight's trophy description in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
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