Despite his ridiculous adorableness– or, more likely, because of it– Kirby’s actually an extremely popular guy. So popular, in fact, that he probably can’t even remember how many lives he’s touched (or sucked up) along his long history. We can’t really blame him, though, especially considering that, well, Kirby’s got a lot on his plate. Whether it’s saving Dream Land from starvation, or stopping King DeDeDe from another one of his inane plans (such as, I don’t know, stopping Dream Landers from actually dreaming), Kirby’s pretty much always busy– and, of course, in his free time he just stuffs himself. Really, somehow it makes sense that Kirby wouldn’t remember each and every friend, sidekick, and (in some cases) ride that he’s met along the way.
The only problem is that Nintendo doesn’t seem to remember, either. Let’s take a look at some of Kirby’s least-known buddies– and hope that they’ll show up one day, some day, soon. Or if they don’t, that they at least get a couple of trophies in the next Super Smash Bros. game. (Luckily, some of them already have ’em.)
Left to right: Coo the Owl, Pitch the Bird, Chuchu the Octopus, Rick the Hamster, Gooey, Nago the Bobtail, Kine the Sunfish
Kirby’s Dream Land 2 introduced the idea of Kirby having helpers to guide him through his intergalactic travels, and brought probably the most famous of Kirby’s not-so-famous heroes: Coo the Owl, Rick the Hamster and Kine the Sunfish. These helpers mirrored abilities that would be seen in future Kirby games, with Coo giving Kirby the ability to fly in strong winds, Kine traversing Kirby across ridiculously huge water areas and Rick allowing Kirby to hop on his back (like Mario with Yoshi) and just keep walkin’ on, even up walls or on treacherous terrain like ice. (On a personal note: Rick made such a great impression on me as a kid that I’ve tended to call hamsters “Rick” ever since. Endearing? Maybe. Nerdy? You betcha.)
Needless to say, Kirby did a great job with his power-stealing abilities all by himself, but it was nice to see Nintendo and HAL Laboratory implementing some spice into his games– new copy abilities were all well and good, but Kirby’s games became even more unique in the Nintendo pantheon with their emphasis on teamwork, albeit with AI. The fact that Coo, Rick and Kine were just as adorable as Kirby (or, in Kine’s case, dopey-looking) probably helped quite a bit, too.
In Kirby’s Dream Land 3, though, Rick found a counter in Nago the Japanese Bobtail, who was too, well, catlike to let Kirby ride on him, but instead pushed him around like a ball. (This was more useful than you’d think.) Nago could also triple-jump, which Rick could only best with his wall-climbing.
But Rick wasn’t the only one who might’ve been outclassed in Dream Land 3: Kine, an ocean sunfish, was no longer the only aquatic animal out there when Chuchu the Octopus popped onto the scene. Unlike Kine, though, Chuchu can stick on ceilings and fly– certainly something non-octopus-like, but welcomed nonetheless. (Kirby’s Dream Land 3 seems to encourage competition between the two, as well, considering scenes in the game that show Chuchu enamored with Kirby and Kine highly jealous of their companionship.)
The only character who didn’t seem overshadowed in Kirby’s Dream Land 3 may have been Coo, whose anti-wind flying far bested the tiny Pitch’s desperate attempts to help Kirby. (Kirby actually had to pick Pitch up– the only helper he had to do this with.) But we can’t even blame Pitch here, because the manual for Dream Land 3 indicates that Pitch looks up to Coo and wishes he could be like him someday. Seriously, if there’s a series out there that refuses to do anything but warm the heart, it’s Kirby.
But Gooey’s the main attraction in Kirby’s Dream Land 3, and for good reason. Born of Dark Matter, one of Kirby’s main antagonists throughout the series, Gooey rebelled against his own being and joined Kirby in a pursuit of, well, the various good things that Kirby stands for. (The game’s a little vague on that.) Controllable by the second player, Gooey managed to act essentially the same as Kirby, copy abilities and all, though Gooey couldn’t swallow two enemies simultaneously. He could, though, lick up enemies and stars underwater, unlike Kirby, whose abilities were hampered. Best of all, though, Gooey’s described as Kirby’s best friend. An odd couple, perhaps, considering Gooey’s pedigree, but they probably bonded over the fact that they’re both pretty simple characters: spherical buddies, wobbling about, swallowin’ stuff.
Not summonable by the Elegy of Emptiness.
Unfortunately, Kirby’s animal friends haven’t appeared lately, being relegated to cameos like abilities for Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. Gooey fared essentially the same, despite supposedly being Kirby’s best friend. Unfortunately, HAL Laboratory just doesn’t seem to think Kirby needs these lovable louts– which, as true as it is (Kirby’s all-powerful, after all), is just a little saddening. You can, though, catch Rick and a few others on Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. Whether that’s a good thing is for you to judge.
Adeleine: the one and only resident hippie/bohemian of Dream Land.
Probably one of the most conspicuous Kirby helpers in the sense that she’s a human rather than an animal (or Dark Matter wannabe), Adeleine first appeared in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, in a rather abrupt manner– specifically, Adeleine tries to beat Kirby to a pulp. Now, we can all agree that Adeleine doesn’t mean to do this– being possessed by Dark Matter and all– but it’s still disturbing to suddenly see a evil human being (!) in a Kirby game drawing up monsters and sending them after Kirby.
Fortunately, Adeleine’s bested pretty easily by our pink Star Warrior, and joins Kirby’s team as the resident artist. Unfortunately, Adeleine gives up drawing monsters and other creepy crawlies when she’s on Kirby’s side. Instead, she draws up boring things like Maxim Tomatoes and 1ups for Kirby to use– which may be a noble endeavor considering Kirby’s epic stomach grumblings, but brings up old memories of boss characters never being quite that powerful when the player controls them. Nevertheless, Adeleine’s still pretty useful sometimes, despite the somewhat quiet and rather lonely nature she’s often depicted with in the games. (The picnic scenes at the end of each level show her calmly eating a sandwich in the midst of, well, Kirby’s friends.)
Unfortunately, Adeleine hasn’t shown up in recent Kirby games. Whether this is because the human race has been wiped out in Kirby’s Dream Land or the Fountain of Dreams no longer authorizes human interference, we’ll probably never know– but at least we’ll find her in Kirby 64. Now let’s give her a Smash Bros. trophy!
Big Bird visited Dream Land, except this time he was rainbow-colored and had very sharp talons.
While not an ally when Kirby first meets her in Kirby Super Star, considering the massive, rainbow-hued Dyna Blade pulls a DeDeDe-style caper by stealing all of Dream Land’s crops, Dyna Blade turns out all right in the end. (It’s a bit of a pattern with Kirby’s enemies.) Turns out that though Dyna Blade’s certainly wrecked the Dream Landers’ ecosystem and possibly their livelihoods, she was just doing this so she could feed her very hungry chicks (who apparently can’t be fed with meat, or something). Unfortunately, Kirby doesn’t realize this and proceeds to beat the living daylights out of Dyna Blade– and realizes, too late, that Dyna Blade’s got some very hungry babies. So the cold-hearted Kirby abandons them to die. Just kidding! Of course Kirby helps them out– at the expense of a certain tree. The poor Whispy Woods’ apples, normally used for hitting Kirby, are used to feed the apparently vegetarian baby Dyna Blades– and to thank Kirby for this, Dyna Blade proceeds to help Kirby out with his battle against Meta Knight’s flagship, the Halberd. (We’ll skip the part where Dyna Blade gets gunned down by the Halberd almost instantaneously, though.) (Oops.)
Like the other allies mentioned so far, however, Dyna Blade’s made very few appearances in Kirby games recently. The last appearance she made (besides in a trophy for Super Smash Bros. Brawl) was a cameo in Kirby Air Ride, where players can– sigh– beat her up to get more power-ups. Which is, you know, totally the kind of perspective HAL Laboratory tried to build in Kirby Super Star. But hey, it’s more recent than we can say for Rick or Kine or Adeleine– which is success enough for any Kirby sidekick.
There’s bound to be a few Kirby sidekicks that I’ve missed, since I’ve tried to pick out only the most obscure ones– or at least the ones that need a good kick back into the mainstream. (As mainstream as Kirby can get, at least.) Who are your favorite Kirby sidekicks? Does Ribbon’s romance with Kirby get your heart pounding? Or perhaps those multicolored Kirby characters from the Mirror World? Maybe that Prince guy from Epic Yarn looks enticing! Show us in the comments– or wait with us for a better tomorrow in Dream Land, one full of Kirby’s buddies.