When Kirby is off to save the day, sometimes he needs a little help getting the job done. To assist him are his Animal Friends. Riding on, under, or in them, they allow him to get to places he sometimes cannot reach. Each Animal Friend has a different way of using copy abilities used by Kirby. For example, when Kirby has the Cutter ability and his being held by Coo, Coo will shoot razor-sharp feathers out in front of him to attack if the player presses the B button. Some Animal Abilities are required to figure out certain puzzles and reach certain areas.
The Animal Friends were first introduced in Kirby's Dream Land 2 with Rick, Kine, and Coo. Upon defeating a mid-boss, a sack containing one of the three animals opens, allowing Kirby to pair up with the pet. Gooey and Chao/Blob appear if Kirby is already teamed up with the Animal Friend that would've been rewarded. Their only purposes are to heal Kirby and grant an extra life, respectively. Note that Chao/Blob is very rare and is necessary to find to earn 100%, adding 1% to the game's completion rate.
The next appearance of the Animal Friends was in Kirby's Star Stacker. The images of Rick, Kine, and Coo appear on blocks that, when like images were lined up, would react all non-pet blocks in between. Kirby Super Star Stacker was a remake of the game, so blocks with the Animal Friends on them were featured in this game, too.
The original Animal Friends reappeared in a non-puzzle game with newcomers Nago, ChuChu, and Pitch in Kirby's Dream Land 3. Just as before, Kirby can couple with them to enhance his Copy Abilities, help him travel through the stage, or to unlock certain secrets to access Heart Stars. Most of them (aside from Coo) are given relatives (in ChuChu, Kine, and Pitch's case) or love interests (in Nago and Rick's case).
List of Animal Friends
Only three of the animal friends make an appearance in the series -- Rick, Coo, and Kine. They live in Whispy Wood's Forest near the village and only appear in a small number of episodes. They don't seem to have any close relationship with Kirby, but they do tend to get along and will help him out when he needs it. Kirby never travels with them and the ability combining is absent.
Nago was intended to appear in the series, but only a few sketches of him were drawn before the idea was scrapped. He may have served as an inspiration for Chef Nagoya's design, though this remains unconfirmed.