CONFESSION: I have, like everyone else, resorted to Kirby whenever I only cared about "winning" in Smash Brothers, and I've watched pretty much all of the anime series, but I've actually only ever kind of "messed around in" any of the actual games. I've picked them up, I've played minutes at a time, I've enjoyed those minutes, and then just never gotten around to owning, renting or otherwise playing an entire entry. Fortunately, that's what "let's plays" are for, like most of the games whose bestiaries I review...and how hard could this be? It's not like Kirby is LoRe hEaVy is it!? IS IT!?! HA HA! IS IT!!!! IS IT!!!!!
KIRBY'S MOST HORRIFIC FOES!
This review is going to consist primarily of the most frightening final bosses or "main villains" of Kirby games, in order of appearance. We're skipping to the third Kirby game, confusingly the one called Kirby's Dream Land 2, because the boss of the first game is only King Dedede and the boss of the second game is a mean wizard guy I don't have a lot to say about. It's the third one that matters.
It's the third one that DARK matters!! OHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Anyway actually the boss is Dedede again, at first, but it turns out he was actually nothing but the helpless puppet of something else. Of DARK MATTER!...Which is what, exactly?
Decades later, we still can't be sure. It appeared here as a black orb with a single eyeball similar to Mizuki Shigeru's Backbeard, likely an intentional reference as several generations of Japanese people have grown up knowing Backbeard as one of the ultimate pop-culture villains.
Dark Matter didn't speak, didn't exhibit any particular personality, and had no known motivations besides ostensibly "turning Dream Land into a dark world" before Kirby destroyed it, or seemed to have destroyed it. The appearance of this ominous, ambiguous force of evil in such a whimsical series set a new precedent for the entire rest of the franchise, and countless other villains and monsters we've seen here are either explicitly or implicitly connected to this entity in one way or another.
This one will be important to a couple of others to come! Resembling a huge, clockwork collection of junk with a serene, goofy face, the Nova is actually a "comet" capable of granting any wish, but when this wish is misused, Kirby has to battle against the comet, make his way inside, and attack its "heart." Just the Valentine's Day kind of heart, not the organ kind of heart, though it's pretty weird that this thing has any kind of heart at all. And about that "misuse:"
This little pink blob in a Jester's hat was introduced in Kirby Super Star as a harmless prankster and one of Kirby's friends on planet Popstar. When the sun and moon of dreamland begin to fight one another, he informs Kirby that a wish from Nova could end the battle. At the end of his quest, Kirby is just about to make that wish, only for it to be stolen at the last minute by Marx!
The tiny clown had secretly yearned to be taken more seriously all along, and wishes for enough power to conquer the world in a memorably shocking twist for such an early Kirby title. His design during his boss fight is a lot of fun, since he's almost the same besides the deranged, overjoyed look on his face and those bizarre "wings," if that's really how you want to describe them. They're more like gnarled, clawed arms, and they project those electronic looking hexagons where there would otherwise be a bat wing's membranes!
The final boss of Dream Land 3 initially seems to be King Dedede again, but he looks a little off...
...He looks REALLY off!! He's possessed again by Dark Matter, but this time, it's even transforming his body into something wholly unnatural, splitting him open into its dark eye or gnashing jaws! Once you've expelled it from his body, you go on to face to real threat:
"Zero" is said to be the source of Dark Matter, despite appearing as an eerily pure white orb with a blood red eye. All we know about this being is that it produces the smaller Dark Matter entities in order to invade and corrupt other worlds.
Dark Matter invades the world of fairies in Kirby 64, and if Kirby collects all 74 stars, he'll face the true final boss. It's a creature that very momentarily resembles a teardop shaped "angel" with a goofy face...
...But the "mouth" is really this being's red eye, and it's commonly interpreted as a reincarnation of Zero due to both its design and a bandage that can be deen on top of its head. It's also interestingly reminiscent of a Daphnia, or "water flea," an organism most famous to the Japanese for its tiny size and its prolific ability to reproduce.
If Kirby fails to unlock the 02 battle, the final boss of Kirby 64 is the even more surreal "Miracle Matter," a white isohedron covered in eye-like red markings. There are positively ZERO details ever given by any original, official source on what this is supposed to be, making it all the creepier and oddly enough one of my personal favorite Kirby bosses, moreso than the more lore-friendly 02. I guess there's just something I find extra spooky about fighting a geometric shape.
A villain from Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, Dark Mind sought to conquer the mirror realm (because there's always a mirror realm in stuff!) and corrupt it with evil, which is about as complex as this character gets, though his design is interesting, because at first he just seems like a menacing, cloaked figure with a creepy, bony demon helmet and floating, clawed arms, but under his cloak is a flaming orb with a single eye...
...Which is what you battle against in his later phases, which obviously indicates that this giant, burning eyeball is his true appearance, the rest having just been the thing's fashion sense.
This sorceress was the villain of Kirby: Canvas Curse, who awoke one day from a strange painting and can in turn bring paintings to life. Her design seems to resemble a floating, heavily dressed witch or wizardress, but you're probably sensing some patterns to these bosses by now. Notice the orange marking in her "chest."
Under the clothes, Drawcia is a dripping, oozing ball of pink and purple paint with a single huge, pupil-less orange "eye" that also comes across as a "mouth," drips of paint evoking long, sharp teeth! For good measure, she has five additional, smaller eyes like the ocelli of a spider! Drawcia is also assisted in her battle by curious life forms known as paramatter. These are spherical at first, but flare open like four-petaled flowers to reveal their inner eyeballs! What relation do they have to the Dark Matter and other, similar beings? Why the "para" in their name? We just don't know!
Kirby: Squeak Squad is an especially lovable series entry in which revolves around thieving mice and a mysterious treasure chest that even Meta Knight doesn't seem to want anybody else to have, though we all know by now that Meta Knight usually knows what's best. Naturally, the chest was more of a Pandora's Box sort of deal, the prison of a mysterious force called Dark Nebula that can possess other beings and corrupt them into "dark" versions of themselves. The being has a simple but beautiful look to it, too, its star shape almost more like a five-pointed hole in space through which something peers with a single, purple eye.
This guy was the final boss of the "non-canon" Kirby's Epic Yarn, a game in which everything looked as if it were made out of yarn and fabric. Yin-Yarn himself also appears, at first, to be a bunch of yarn in the shape of a smiling, one-eyed wizard, wielding two large knitting needles to do whatever he wants to the surrounding yarniverse...but in reality, those needles are his true selves, and are apparently twin brothers. It's a very unique, very clever concept, though we never do learn a whole lot more about them, their motivations or their origins, and surprisingly, there's never any hidden eyeball monster behind the veil.
Your new adversaries in Kirby Mass Attack are a horde of floating, ghostly skulls known as the Skull Gang, who hate light and want to plunge the world into darkness. The usual floating skull guy stuff! Their leader is Necrodeus, an undead being with giant, skeletal hands who's kind of treated by the Skull Gang as some sort of god. The design is alright, I suppose, a big devilish skull with a purple clown nose, a skull necklace and floating skeleton hands...BUT WAIT!
THERE we go! Inside Necrodeus's skull head is a floating, purple eyeball!
In Kirby's Return to Dream Land, this little guy enlists your aid to defeat a multi-headed dragon that's supposedly gone berserk. That dragon, however, was really the sacred guardian of an all-powerful crown, in a double cross similar to what Marx pulled so long ago, and when Magolor puts on the crown, he transforms into a pretty fantastic boss mode:
I'm showing you this concept art so you can really appreciate this design, the details of which are kind of lost in the in-game model. Magolor's little, shadowy body becomes a larger, floating head with a pair of huge, downturned bull-like horns, burning black and red wings, hovering hands, and a big "smile" on his face that's really, SURPRISE, a scowling eye! You'd think spooky eyeballs are some kind of important symbol of something in this continuity, or something! Some kind of blackish material, if you will!
It's also worth noting that Magolor mentions his people building "clockwork stars," something we've just seen a few entries ago.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe introduces an all insect-themed bad guy team. Now we're really talking! And the wasplike Queen Sectonia is a gorgeous character design, perfectly "insectoid" in an only slightly simplified, kirby kind of way, what with having only a pair of floating hands for appendages. She wasn't always a Hymenopteran, however!
Sectonia was once a more spider-like critter, like her friend and servant Taranza here, but soon Sectonia became obsessed with a dimensional mirror that drove her increasingly vain and increasingly mad for power. Capable of parasitically taking over other beings, she finally settled on the wasp-like host body as something "truly" beautiful as she rose to the status of a feared dictator.
In the final battle, Sectonia further merges herself with a magical plant to become a majestic wasp/flower hybrid plant monster! The four insect wings alternating with the four psychedelic petals makes for a lovely design, and I also like her antennae become multiple stamen-like red tassles, ending like devilish tails. What I obviously also really like are the smaller eyeball flowers that assist her, each also with multiple bee-like antennae!
Sectonia even has one more form after this, "Sectonia Soul," now an undead wasp-flower hybrid with sharper, more gothic petals! Even her insect wings change to have a more "batlike" devil-wing outline, and an insect wing shaped like a devil wing is quite surprisingly not something I've seen all that often. This one is so cool, I'm surprised it doesn't tie back in any obvious way to Dark Matter again.
Kirby games have gotten pretty experimental these past few years. There was that one where everything was yarn, and then there's this one where everything looks like clay! The main antagonist of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse initially appears to be Claycia here, a sculptress whose painter counterpart Elline once worked together to bring an entire realm from their imaginations...but one day, Claycia inexplicably turns hostile, abandons Elline and begins to steal the colors from other worlds instead of relying on Elline's paints.
After battling Claycia, however, she gets her sunglasses knocked off...and it turns out that, like all radical shades, they're exactly what made her go down such a criminal path. They're actually a form taken by an entity called Dark Crafter, a big blob of clay with...you guessed it...a giant eye! It's even another giant eye that resembles a mouth when closed, the tiny sunglasses becoming the "eyes" of its alternate face.
The final boss of Planet Robobot is some interesting commentary for a Kirby game; a satellite originally engineered by a powerful tech company to grant wishes and intended to help bring in an age of "eternal prosperity" to all the universe. Can you guess that it became uncontrollable? Can you also guess that it determined the secret to "prosperity" was to eradicate all life? And if you remember our other wish-granting boss, another phase of the final battle reveals how "Star Dream" was actually engineered:
Just like Nova! The same kind of thing that once turned a regular clown into a regular Satan, privatized and "improved" by a capitalist empire as part of a hare-brained doomsday scam a regular Bezos would be proud of.
We only have one game's bosses left to go, and they're kind of a big deal, but before we get to that I'd like to run down my personal five favorite creepy minor enemies:
!!!MINOR ENEMY INTERMISSION!!!
The first enemy I want to look at is PACTO! One of my favorites! Standing on two nubby little limbs, Pacto is an egg-shaped monster that can split open vertically into a mouth full of sharp, red teeth. The single visible eyeball might seem to indicate that it's just a big lizard-like head, with an eye on each side, but Pacto's 3-d models confirm that it's a cyclops! We're seeing the "front" of this weird thing!
Between its name and its yellow coloration, Pacto also seems like a shoutout to Kirby's fellow all-consuming abomination, Pac-man.
A classic to the series, Scarfy is a critter that appears at first like a cute, friendly little kitty-cat head, but if angered, it "mutated" into a form with one huge eye and a gaping mouth with vicious fangs! Kirby can't even inhale these creatures, though once they've been in their more monstrous form for a while, they tend to explode.
An enemy from Kirby Mass Attack, Gobchomplin is a somewhat standard carnivorous plant design, but I really love its heavily blue color scheme, its huge lipless ring of teeth, and the cute little flower sticking out of its mouth like some sort of camouflage. There sure are a lot of Kirby enemies themed around biting and eating, but fair's fair. The universe just wants to give Kirby a taste of his own medicine, sometimes.
See, here's another attempt to even the odds of the cosmos; Schwarz is another "ball with a mouth" kind of design, and another with pretty nasty teeth as well as toad-like eyeballs. This creature, however, literally generates miniature black holes as a feeding mechanisms, which would logically give it the ability to absorb entire galaxies at a time if it wanted to...but still, this poor animal is no match for a Kirby's endless hunger. Event horizons? What are those? Appetizers? Spaghettification? I'm sure Kirby loves spaghetti just fine.
My favorite of all on sheer freakiness, this is yet another entity capable of eating Kirby, and an entity Kirby cannot inhale. It manifests solely as a pair of eyeballs, a smiling mouth and a long tongue hovering in nothing. No body, no hidden physical form, just facial features emerging from the surrounding space. It's not terribly unbelievable in-canon, really; the inside of Kirby's mouth obviously leads to something other than conventional space. Peloo just seems to be the inverse, a thing whose mouth manifests normally while most of the rest of it is just...somewhere else I guess.
There's no particular reason I chose these five enemies to share, except that they're all things that have tried to eat the Ultimate Eating Machine himself.
Haha! Look at his real face!! But seriously, we now come at last to 2018's Kirby Star Allies, the antagonist of which turns out to be the high priest of an ancient religion, and this is going to be a pretty intense ride for a Kirby villain. Nobody knows if his words could be trusted in the state he was in, but Hyness's mad ravings in-game imply that his religion worshipped some kind of "matter" of "dark" power, and once averted a galactic cataclysm with the help of a more scientific sect they were dearly allied with.
But, at some point, the scientists saw reason to turn on the spiritualists, saw what it was they were really worshipping, perhaps, and erased all record of their existence from history as they banished them to the edge of the galaxy. The science clan, too, is long gone by the events of this game, but Hyness has spent ages alone with nothing but his anger and fanaticism, bent on awakening the being he prays to and proving his beliefs to the universe.
Yeah, if you never paid much attention to Kirby, you weren't expecting some serious shit on that level now, were you? After years of ambiguously evil shadow-demon bosses, Hyness is a tragic, complex character with believable motivations and a fairly twisted history; one that we're unfortunately not only hearing from only his perspective, but only his perspective in his "dark," corrupted state. We will never know if anything he describes really happened, but we can hazard a guess as to why someone might have thought that this religion needs to be booted from their civilization...
Evangelion shoutouts, in MY Kirby?! It's more likely than you think! This is the initial physical manifestation of "VOID," the actual force that Hyness worships. VOID is said to exist everywhere, in all realities, and can manifest into many different possible forms. Remember those words as we continue.
This particular vessel resembles a headless humanoid with a floating, heart-shaped white mask and can also transform into a more threatening bird-like configuration, but this is, again, only a physical shell carrying a piece of the true entity...
Whenever Void Termina's mask is knocked off, Kirby and his friends get sucked into its hollow body where an "embryo" of true void is still incubating. Bet you also never thought Kirby would have to literally abort a malevolent god, did you? The squelching mass has its own attacks and even roars as Kirby hacks away at its placental covering.
Haha! RIGHT BACK AT YA!!!!!! Am I right!?
But hey, what's actually in there, anyway? Just what comes out of the gelatinous womb Kirby mercilessly tears open?
...Oh......oh, uh....that's....familiar, huh?
Void is everywhere, and it can take many forms. The meaning of what we see here is left to our imaginations, but the face of this shifting, glowing sphere is unsettlingly similar to that of Kirby, and it even regards its surroundings with the same wide-eyed innocence. As you battle this nearly-finished but seemingly malevolent, corrupted piece of VOID, Kirby's own classic theme music - Green Greens - even attempts to join in the battle theme, but distorts and fades away almost as quickly. While treated as a "theory" by what I've seen of the fandom, I don't think the connections here are at all ambiguous.
Kirby himself is incredibly powerful, incredibly deadly when you get down to it, capable of consuming matter that shouldn't even be possible...and maybe now we finally know why.
But that's not all, because the orb takes on one more form as the battle progresses...
WHAT DOES IT MEAN??? WHAT is Kirby!? WHAT is Dark Matter?! How are the two related!? Did you know Kirby was possibly the protrusion of an unknowable, terrifying god-force into physical reality? A thing so vast and ancient and alien that the power it holds is incomprehensibly destructive whether for good or for evil?
I mean......of course. Of course you did. You've never watched this little, smiling gumdrop inhale Donkey Kong and Samus Aran out of existence only to think "this is okay. This thing is a normal thing. Nobody should be afraid of it."
I hope you go to bed tonight still thinking about the time Kirby faced his own embryonic baby sibling in its own womb, and had to kill it before it killed everyone and everything he cared about.
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