King Hippo

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King Hippo
Punch-Out!! character
King Hippo.jpg
King Hippo, as seen in the Wii video game Punch-Out!! (2009)
First gamePunch-Out!! (NES)
Designed byM. Wada (Punch-Out!!, 1987)
Eddie Visser (Punch-Out!!, 2009)
Voiced byGarry Chalk (Captain N: The Game Master, 1989‒1991)
Scott McFadyen (Punch-Out!!, 2009)

King Hippo[a] is a fictional boxer from Nintendo's Punch-Out!! series. King Hippo first appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, as the second competitor in the Major Circuit. Subsequent reviews have characterized King Hippo as one of the most iconic characters from the game. The character is featured prominently on the NBC Saturday morning cartoon, Captain N: The Game Master. His obese figure and his face both resemble those of a hippopotamus.


King Hippo was originally created by Punch-Out!! character designer M. Wada. His most recent appearance was illustrated by art director Eddie Visser.

King Hippo's face and girth resemble that of a hippopotamus, hence his name.[1] He is an obese man from the fictional Hippo Island (not the real, sub-Antarctic Hippo Island). His age, weight, and height are all unknown. He is often depicted wearing a crown. He has tanned skin (blue skin in Captain N: The Game Master) and a large mouth.

In the video game, he guards his belly while punching and blocking. When he opens his mouth and pulls one fist back, Little Mac, can punch him in the face to stun him briefly and make him drop his guard. Mac can then repeatedly punch Hippo in the belly, causing his trunks to fall down with every hit. Once Hippo is knocked down, he will be unable to stand under his own weight before the referee finishes the ten-count, leading to a win by knockout for the player. In the Wii version of the game, his underpants have starmen on them.

In the Wii version's "Title Defense" mode, Hippo enters the ring with a manhole cover taped to his belly; Mac must knock it loose before he can strike at that weak spot.[2] He speaks English in the cartoon and NES game, but only makes grunting noises in the Wii version.

Promotional merchandise was created for the Wii Punch-Out!!, which included replicas of King Hippo's crown and boxer shorts, as well as a King Hippo desktop punching bag.[3]


King Hippo first appeared in the 1987 NES video game Punch-Out!!. He returned in 2009, in the Wii video game of the same name (voiced by Scott McFadyen). Some advertisements for the Wii game feature the protagonist Little Mac training to reclaim the World Circuit Title from King Hippo.[4]

King Hippo has a featured role in the animated series Captain N: The Game Master voiced by Garry Chalk as one of Mother Brain's henchmen. He has blue skin and is often paired in a comedic duo with the Kid Icarus villain Eggplant Wizard. This version of King Hippo also appears in the comic books based on the series. He makes a cameo appearance in the Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness comic book, as part of a guest comic written and illustrated by Girly creator Josh Lesnick. In it, Scott Pilgrim battles him and has to discover his weak point.


Since appearing in the NES video game Punch-Out!!, King Hippo has received largely positive reception. GameDaily listed him as the 10th best Nintendo character ever, stating that he "stands out" more than the other boxers in the series, including the player-character.[5] They also listed him as one of video game's "most lovable lummoxes" and stated that he seemed invulnerable until his weakness was discovered.[6] IGN listed King Hippo as the 64th best video game villain, though they describe him as a "push-over" in the NES Punch-Out!!.[7]

Destructoid said Hippo is distinctive, well designed, and "might smell like a pile of festering skunk corpses".[8] IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas stated that despite his exclusion from some Punch-Out!! titles, he is still popular among fans due to his role in the NES game and the Captain N: The Game Master cartoon.[9]

In his celebration of "gaming's greatest fatties", GamesRadar's Chris Antista commented that the NES Punch-Out!! was King Hippo's game, in spite of featuring Mike Tyson in its original release; he described him as being its most memorable character.[10] When asked if the Wii Punch-Out!! would bring the cast of characters into "Nintendo pantheon" games such as the Super Smash Bros. games, Next Level Games designer Bryce Holliday commented that he considered characters such as King Hippo and Little Mac as already being at that point due to their appearances in Captain N: The Game Master.[11] editor Scott Sharkey listed King Hippo as the fourth best fat guy in video games.[12] GamesRadar editor Brett Elston called King Hippo one of the most famous boxers in video games.[13]

In discussing his race, Retronauts discussed how King Hippo was a racial stereotype of islanders (specifically that they were all fat and lavish).[14] Bit Mob editor Brian Shirk commented that the stereotypes utilized in King Hippo were uncalled for, stating that his "subhuman caricature is particularly offensive, and it likely stems from the typically savage portrayal of Polynesians in literature and film."[15] GameDaily commented that while he is a "lovable oaf," others may see him as a "fat Pacific Islander who loves stuffing his face."[16] King Hippo's weakness is considered one of the things that makes King Hippo iconic. Game Informer writes that the "secret to beating this flabby fighter was probably even more widely known than the 30-lives code in Contra".[17] Colette Bennett echoed sentiments of the notability of his weakness and said that "anyone could tell you King Hippo's weak point".[8] editor Bob Mackey also listed him as the third worst dressed video game character, called the fight with him an "iconic moment in gaming." Mackey added that King Hippo's shorts falling down was "talk of the schoolyards during the 80's".[18] GamesRadar editor Chris Antista comments that his role in Captain N was his biggest achievement.[10]


  1. ^ Japanese: キング・ヒッポー Hepburn: Kingu Hippō?


  1. ^ David Craddock (April 17, 2007). "Punch Out! Featuring Mr. Dream Wii Virtual Console Review". Shack News. Archived from the original on June 22, 2007.
  2. ^ "Punch Out!! is Wii's latest champ - The Gamer".
  3. ^ Colette Bennett (March 31, 2009). "Take to the ring in the Punch-Out!! King Hippo Contender kit". Destructoid. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  4. ^ GamePro Media: (May 15, 2009). "News : New Punch-Out!! documentary is a knock-out [Wii] - from". Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  5. ^ "Excellent video game news, reviews and streaming for PS4, Xbox One, PC & more | Joystiq". Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  6. ^ "Excellent video game news, reviews and streaming for PS4, Xbox One, PC & more | Joystiq". Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "King Hippo is number 64". IGN. Archived from the original on July 17, 2010. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Colette Bennett (May 5, 2007). "What makes a boss unforgettable?". Destructoid.
  9. ^ Lucas M. Thomas (January 18, 2008). "Smash It Up! - Delayed Again?!". IGN. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Chris Antista (February 22, 2008). "Gaming's greatest Fatties". GamesRadar.
  11. ^ "Punch-Out!! Post Mortem Interview". Armchair Empire. August 26, 2009. Archived from the original on December 11, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  12. ^ Scott Sharkey. "Top 5 Fat Guys". Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  13. ^ Brett Elston (May 9, 2009). "Exclusive boxer reveals!". GamesRadar. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Excellent video game news, reviews and streaming for PS4, Xbox One, PC & more | Joystiq". Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  17. ^ "Punch-Out!! Boxer Breakdown," Game Informer 188 (December 2008): 74.
  18. ^ Bob Mackey. "Top 5 Worst Dressed Videogame Characters". Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2010.