May 27th 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the Japanese release of Hoshi no Kirby or Kirby’s Dream Land on the Nintendo Game Boy. With this game the world was introduced to what would soon become one of the most recognizable characters in the video game industry. With Kirby’s anniversary right around the corner, let’s take a closer look at this wonderfully bouncy and iconic character.
Kirby is a small, 20cm tall, pink, character listed as having an elastic body, and the ability to inhale objects and enemies to acquire their power, skills, and properties. This flexible body and copy ability is part of what makes Kirby such a powerful character, or as the gamers would say, OP.
Kirby’s ingame backstory is that they live in a place called Dream Land on Planet Popstar, which resembles a very large yellow star, with fellow inhabitants like Waddle Dees and King Dedede. Their adventures often involve trying to save Dream Land and Pop Star from the likes of King Dedede himself and other various enemies.
Kirby, who is listed on their official website for being, “Pink. Puffy. Powerful,” might seem like a perfectly designed character, with a simple shape and basic skill set. But Kirby didn’t always look that way, and wasn’t meant to look that way.
Kirby’s journey started in the mind of then 19 year old HAL Laboratory employee, Masahiro Sakurai. Kirby’s original design was meant to be a placeholder for an eventual “real” character design during the development and testing phase of the first Kirby game.
However, Mr. Sakurai fell in love with this cute, pink ball-like design and decided to keep Kirby the way they were. Who can blame him? Kirby also made our list for the top five kawaii Nintendo characters.
Kiby’s original name was also changed, originally named Popopo, the change to Kirby is a bit of a mystery. Some claim the name was chosen due to Nintendo’s American lawyer John Kirby, who helped defend Nintendo in their case against Universal over Donky Kong being too close a resemblance to King Kong.
Mr. Sakurai has stated that that is not true and that he can not remember exactly where he got the name from. Either way Kirby has proven to be a perfect name for a perfectly designed character.
In these past 30 years there have been just as many Kirby titles for fans to play through. With titles like, Kirby Canvas Curse, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and Kirby Super Star Ultra, it is no surprise that Kirby games are jam packed with kawaii goodness and wholesome fun! Kirby games have evolved past simple side scrollers and have branched out into many different game styles.
Aside from the many Kirby games, Kirby is also a mainstay on the Super Smash Bros series roster, which is understandable considering those games were also created by Mr. Sakurai. The newest installment of the Kirby series is Kirby and the Forgotten Land for the Nintendo Switch.
Looking for the Japan exclusive scoop on Kirby? We’ve got you covered. With a character as popular and as cute as Kirby, it is no surprise that they can be found in many places all around Japan. Here are just a few spots where you can find Kirby.
Fans of Japan might already be aware of Japan’s love of character and theme cafes, so it is no surprise that a permanent Kirby Cafe exists. Lucky for sightseers, the Kirby Cafe is located at the base of the very famous Tokyo SkyTree in Sumida, Tokyo.
The permanent Kirby Cafe is a fan’s wonderland. Not only is the menu extremely cute but the decorations transport you to Dream Land. Both Kirby and a Waddle Dee greet guests outside of the cafe by the adorable sign.
As you enter the cafe there is a photo spot near the door that includes using large props such as Kirby plushies and oversized cutlery. In the center of the dining room stands a very large Whispy Woods for people to sit around while they eat.
The menu can change depending on the season, right now the menu celebrates the 30th anniversary of Kirby through their designs. There is even a birthday cake to enjoy!
Interested in more cute theme cafes in Japan? Here are six cute theme cafes whose decor is almost as sweet as their food, and yes the Kirby Cafe is on the list.
If really expensive food in the shape of Kirby isn’t quite your jam, there are a few stores you should definitely check out instead. Of course the Nintendo Store is a great place to start for not just Kirby goods but other popular Nintendo series like Animal Crossing, the Super Mario games, and the Legend of Zelda series, as well.
What is sometimes a pop up shop across Japan, Kirby’s PuuPuuPuu Market, found a permanent home in Harajuku and Osaka’s Kiddy Land shops. Here you can buy especially branded Kirby’s PuuPuuPuu Market goods, as well as regular Kirby goods.
With 30 years under his belt, we know that there is only up for our loveable pink friend Kirby. Happy Birthday, and here is to many more! Which Kirby game is your favorite to play? Let us know in the comments.
Kawaii culture lover since birth, I am beyond excited to share my passion for cute with the world!
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