Is King Dedede Really a Villain?

Big KD – monstrous villain or plain old Jerk?

By Mel Turnquist. Posted 07/29/2011 10:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

King Dedede Villian (Mel Turnquist)

What comes to mind when you hear the word villain? You think, most likely, of someone who is sadistic. Someone who is evil, manipulative, and just plain mean. We all know the basic villains — Bowser, Ganondorf, Andross, Mother Brain, and many more. They all fit this criterion most of the time and are enjoyable to beat.

When it comes to the Kirby series, however, we’re left with the designated villain of King Dedede. The giant penguin-like hedonist who seems to have some sort of vendetta against the always loveable Kirby. While he does have a vendetta, there’s still some questioning in my mind — is he really a villain cut from the same cloth as Bowser and the rest of Evil Incorporated?

Let’s look at what qualifies him as a villain. First off, he is kind of a jerk. Maybe it’s not intentionally so but he isn’t exactly the most friendly guy out there to his followers. King Dedede is also considered greedy, as evidenced by Kirbys Dream Land where his dastardly plan was to steal the food supply and keep it all for himself. He’s also considered selfish and a glutton as well. He does have some villainy qualities but it’s kind of a stretch to call him a flat out villain if you ask me.

Now as for what makes him not a villain, there’s a bit of a laundry list. First off, he is not a horrible king. Sure he has his moments of greediness, but he does think about his followers quite a bit. In Kirby’s Adventure, King Dedede had broken up the star rod into different pieces to prevent Nightmare from invading Dream Land. Kirby was the one who put it back together and awakened Nightmare. When Kirby began to panic, King Dedede swallowed him up and spit him up into the sky to fight Nightmare.

King Dedede Super Smash Bros Brawl artwork
Should arch foes really be that cuddly?

Another thing about him is that if he is a villain, he’s not exactly that good of one. For one thing, he is very easily manipulated. How many times has he become brainwashed by the actual bad guy? It seems to be a very normal occurrence in the Kirby series. He’s not really the most powerful either, since Meta Knight seems to be a lot more powerful and he’s not even royalty. King Dedede does have his mighty hammer and he did work very hard to do a lot of what Kirby can do too. However, Kirby has still always gotten the best of him.

And for what probably is the biggest piece of evidence, if you want to count it is his role in the Subspace Emissary in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. At first, it seemed as if King Dedede was working with the villains. He was collecting statues just like they were, but in a different manner. Then came the brooches that were placed on the princess of choice, Luigi, and Ness. There was an assumption that he was working alone and doing his own thing. By the time the plot was thrown completely into motion, nobody knew what exactly Dedede was up to. At least they didn’t know until everybody became statues and suddenly Ness and Luigi were revived. The brooches had a timed device that would turn them back into normal. Yes, King Dedede was working against the villains and actually outsmarted Taboo. And the strange thing? This is actually consistent with his personality.

So for the final verdict of whether or not King Dedede is a villain — well that’s up to you folks. In my own personal opinion, I wouldn’t call him a villain. Sure he’s a jerk and he seems to have it out for Kirby, but that doesn’t really make him a villain. It only makes him…well, for lack of a better word, human. And with the upcoming Kirby Returns to Dreamland on Wii, it looks as if he will actually be a playable character, a far cry from the villainy he had held back in the first Kirby’s Dream Land.

So, all in all, I don’t think he’s a villain — do you?

2 Responses to “Is King Dedede Really a Villain?”

  • 162 points
    LadyMushroom says...

    King Dedede is a layered, nuanced villain. He is not some cardboard cutout figure motivated by Pure Evil (whatever that is). Kirby is not some cartoony kid’s story, it is subtle, psychological drama. People don’t realize that.

  • 57 points
    Urie says...

    I’ve always likened him to the anti-hero or rival, never the ultimate evil in the Kirby universe (which the games have never attempted in the first place). I only wish that the subtlety lady mushroom indicates was even more fleshed out.

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