|“||This 100-episode animated TV series was first broadcast in the USA in 2002. It's been released in many other countries as well.”|
|— Summary • Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition|
Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, known in Japan as Hoshi no Kābī (星のカービィ, Kirby of the Stars), is an anime series based on the Kirby franchise. The series was produced by Warpstar Inc., a company formed between a joint investment between Nintendo and HAL Laboratory, Inc. Some of the episodes were put onto the Wii Channel "Kirby TV", running until 15 December 2011. A second run started again in 2012 with additional material such as game trailers.
The series is about the adventures of Kirby and his friends after his Starship crash lands on the planet Planet Popstar, in the country of Dream Land. In this series, Kirby is a legendary Star Warrior destined to save Dream Land from destruction by eNeMeE. King Dedede, the ruler of Dream Land, wants to drive Kirby away, and orders up fearsome monsters from eNeMeE's company, Nightmare Enterprises. The monsters usually end up attacking Kirby and the people of Dream Land, but Kirby and friends always save the day.
Kirby: Right Back at Ya! uses the characters and concepts from the preceding game series as a basis rather than copying the games' events and lore word-for-word. It is best viewed as an alternate universe, having no direct connection to timeline of the events in the games. Being self-contained, it is easier for those unfamiliar with the game series to understand it.
The series is rifled with satire and parody, some of it self-referential in nature. Homages to old movies are common, as are references to modern popular culture, politics and news events.
Centuries ago, The Evil Demon known as eNeMeE, craving the rule of the universe, made himself known and created a company called Nightmare Enterprises. It was to function as a front, and fund his operations and manufacturing of great armies of monsters, which he used to take over much of the galaxy. His actions devastated countless planets. There were those who stood to combat his evil; The Star Warriors and the Galaxy Soldier Army. Both sides fought for many thousands of years, but eNeMeE's monsters outnumbered them and only Meta Knight and a few others survived to see the aftermath.
eNeMeE eventually threatens the peaceful country of Dream Land on Planet Popstar, as it seems likely to be eNeMeE's next target. The inhabitants are told that a legendary hero will come to save them - the Star Warrior, Kirby of the Stars.
Everyone is quite surprised when Kirby's ship crashes close to Cappy Town (Pupu Village in Japan). At first glance, he doesn't look like much, as Kirby is tiny, round, pink, and only a baby! However, he is quick to save anyone who is in danger and soon befriends the siblings Tiff and Tuff (Fumu and Bun in Japanese), along with their friends (servants) Fololo and Falala (Lololo and Lalala).
The mean ruler of Dream Land, King Dedede, is jealous and suspicious of Kirby the moment his starship crashes. He and his sidekick Escargoon (Escargon) try to get rid of Kirby with monsters and machines provided by eNeMeE. The attempts always fail, however, due to Kirby's natural abilities in one way or another. Just as in the games, Kirby can inhale enemies and gain the use of their powers.
The series deals with Kirby's day-to-day trials, and how he grows and becomes stronger before his final battle against eNeMeE. Story progression is slow paced, and themes are mostly light-hearted with some darker undercurents running throughout. Although the series is episodic and episodes are mostly self-contained, there are a few story-arcs so it is recommended to watch the episodes in order.
In an interview, producer Soji Yoshikawa speaks at length about the challenges faced by the creators of the Kirby anime. He expressed worry about potential failure, as past videogame to anime adaptations did not go well, but as time went on, he began to see a character with strength, and felt that it could be successful.
Two of the main challenges were set by Kirby's creator Masahiro Sakurai. He said that there were to be no humans, and Kirby must not speak. Yoshikawa acknowledges the difficulty of having a main character who does not speak, as well as coming up with entirely unique settings and characters. Without any humans in the cast, he likens it to the Finnish series The Moomins, which was quite popular in Japan.
The series is animated with combined 3DCG and traditional 2D drawings, and as a result, animators were able to use a much higher framerate than most television anime, anywhere from 1.5-3x more on average. About 10,000 frames are used in each episode, compared to the 4000-5000 used by most TV anime of the same length. CGI is most often used on Kirby, King Dedede, Escargoon, Dyna Blade, and certain Nightmare Enterprises monsters.
The main concern was to have as much movement as possible, as Japanese animation has come to rely on shortcuts to reduce production costs. The success becomes apparent upon watching, as the character animations are fluid and there is a low incidence of stock footage or still frames. Despite being such a long series, there is no degradation of the animation quality towards the end.
Kirby had enjoyed high levels of popularity and financial success in Japan, selling a wide range of merchandise. Unfortunately, Nintendo's efforts in the US appear to be unsuccessful, judging by comparatively lackluster reviews and TV ratings the animated series received there. The official websites had much information about Kirby toys and other merchandise, but almost nothing was actually released outside of DVDs.
By 2010, nearly all merchandise regarding the Kirby anime ran out of print worldwide, especially in Japan.
|Main article: Kirby of the Stars Pilot|
|Main article: List of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! episodes|
- Meta Knight
- King Dedede
- NME Salesman
- eNeMeE (Nightmare in the Japanese version)
In Japan, the series was first aired by Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting Co., Ltd. on October 6, 2001, and finished in 2003 after 100 episodes. The second broadcasting began on June 28, 2007 on the Tokyo Metropolitan Television station and ended after May 21, 2009.
The anime was licensed in North America by 4Kids Entertainment under the title Kirby: Right Back at Ya! and aired on 4Kids TV (formerly known as FoxBox). airing ended in 2006 in the US. The second broadcasting began on June 21, 2008 until December 27, 2008 at 11am on Saturday mornings on 4Kids TV, and for a time, the content was available via the 4Kids Video On Demand Service and at www.4Kids.TV. It also aired temporarily on the CW4Kids from June 6 to July 11, 2009. As of October 9, 2009, 4Kids no longer holds the license for the show.
The series has been released on digital media in other languages, including Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Serbian, Korean and Hebrew.
English dub release
Once the Japanese version was released, 4Kids made an English version out of it and some parts were cut out. Parts that are cut include a little violence, profanity, parts that take up time, guns, weapons, alcohol and drug references and toilet humor. All references to the Galaxy Soldier Army are completely removed, and refer to them as Star Warriors. Any references to heaven and hell have been taken out as well (examples are in Fitness Fiend and Sword and Blade, Loyal and True / Hour of the WolfWrath). Any talk about punishment heaven (only in Fitness Fiend) has also been removed.
Episode order changes
Some episodes aired differently in English-speaking/Western countries than in the original version. The first one of this episodes was Escargoon Squad: instead of being #12 on the list, it was changed to #13 because of Kirby's Pet Peeve (it was #12 in the English dub version instead of the original version where it was #15). A Fish Called Kine was changed to #15 instead of #16]]. Cappy New Year was changed from being #13 to #29 to make it closer to its actual holiday (New Year's Day). All episodes after that up until Cappy New Year (which are Flower Power, Here Comes the Son, Dedede's Snow Job, A Princess in Dis-Dress, Island of the Lost Warrior, The Empty Nest Mess, Ninja Binge, Like Mother, Like Snail / Escargoon Rules, Sword and Blade, Loyal and True / Hour of the WolfWrath, The Flower Plot, Labor Daze, The Hot Shot Chef / A Spice Odyssey and Hatch Me if You Can) moved up 2 episodes. Abusement Park was changed to #30 instead of #31 and Junk Jam and A Recipe for Disaster have switched places. The whole Kirby Derby segment has been changed to #31-#32 instead of #35-#36. Watermelon Felon moved up 2 episodes and A Novel Approach was changed from #38 to #44 to air it around one of the Harry Potter movies (A Novel Approach parodies the Harry Potter books]]. All episodes up until Pink-Collar Blues (which are Escar-Gone, Monster Management, Prediction Predicament - Part I, Prediction Predicament - Part II, Sheepwrecked and War of the Woods) moved up 3 episodes. The Scare Tactics and Snack Attack segment have switched places and Pink-Collar Blues and Tourist Trap moved up 5 episodes. Cartoon Buffoon, Don't Bank on It and Kirby Takes the Cake have all moved up 2 episodes and all the other episodes up until Cowardly Creature are in the same order as the original. Cowardly Creature and Frog Wild changed to #96 and #97 instead of #94 and #95 because of the re-airing of The Thing About the Ring and A Dental Dilemma, which were cut before they aired and the Air-Ride-in-Style segment has been changed from #96 to #97 to #50 and #51 to air along with the Kirby Air Ride game for the GameCube.
As of April 2012, the original Japanese version of this anime is no longer available on the Wii no Ma, the Wii's video-on-demand service, with each episodes worth 100 Wii Points because Nintendo terminated broadcast of the entire channel. There was an additional video within Kirby's section (also worth 100 Wii points) showcasing all of Kirby's copy abilities as seen in the anime. Some of the episodes were later re-released in groups of five.
On June 23, 2011, Nintendo released the English version to Australia / New Zealand and much of Europe through the Wii Channel. Every Monday and Thursday, a new episode is added to the channel, with older ones being relegated to an archive, which were available for intermittent viewing. The planned release schedule did not cover all 100 episodes dubbed by 4Kids, only about 50. At two releases per week, the schedule spans 5–6 months. The second run began on April 2, 2012.
The list of European countries it is available in is: the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Australia and New Zealand.
It was also confirmed by Nintendo of Europe that Kirby: Right Back At Ya! series 1 would be released on the Nintendo Anime channel on the Nintendo 3DS family of consoles, with new content being added regularly. It launched on February 13, 2015.
Home Video Release
Funimation Entertainment was the main DVD licenser to the English dub of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. All the DVDs show the edited TV dub version only. Most of these DVDs are still available as new and used copies. Uncut DVDs are not available.
Kirby: Right Back At Ya! was released in 3 volumes with 3 episodes in each:
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya! Volume 1: Kirby Comes to Cappy Town (Episodes 1-3) (Released 12th Nov 2002)
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya! Volume 2: A Dark and Stormy Knight (Episodes 4-6) (Released 7th Jan 2003)
- Kirby: Right Back At Ya! Volume 3: Kirby's Egg-Cellent Adventure (Episodes 7-9) (Released 4th Nov 2003)
The Final Five Episodes were released in a movie format:
- Kirby: Fright to the Finish - Movie (Episodes 96-100) (Released: 14th Jun 2005)
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya! Cook Kirby (Episodes 11, 27) (Released 15th Nov 2005)
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya! Ice Kirby (Episodes 66, 20) (Released 15th Nov 2005)
- Kirby's Adventures in Cappy Town (Episodes 1-7) (Released 19th Feb 2008)
- Kirby: Cappy New Year & Other Kirby Adventures (Episodes 8-14) (Released 9th Dec 2008)
Funimation was also planning to release "Escargoon Squad" on DVD, but was canceled in 2006.
Avex Trax was also the distributor for the DVDs and VHS tapes of the original anime. The first 36 episodes were released in both DVD and VHS formats, while all the remaining episodes were only available on VHS. Each consisted of up to three episodes. They were released from 2002 to 2004. The "1st series" consisted of episodes 1-21, the "2nd series" consisted of episodes 22-42, and the "3rd series" was the remainder of the entire series.
All of the Japanese DVDs were coded for Region 2 only. The first two DVDs manufactured in North America were both coded for all regions. Later DVDs were Region 1 encoded.
Satire and Parody
While a great many video game to anime adaptations are created for the sole purpose of merchandising, the creators of Kirby had the same goal that they had had when they were creating the games themselves - to make something that could be enjoyed by anyone. The director described his vision for the show as a 'Life Drama.'
The show is rife with references to popular culture, history, current events and classic literature. Many episodes deal with what was current news and politics in Japan, from issues to North Korea to the very common theme of environmental protection. They even poke fun at US-American president George W. Bush by having the main villain Dedede make comments about 'Axis of Evil' and 'Weapons of Mass "DeDeDestruction"'.
Old American movies are commonly referenced, including King Kong, Gone with the Wind, Planet of the Apes, Modern Times, newer classics like Jurassic Park, and the works of Alfred Hitchcock such as Psycho and The Birds. Of course, classic Japanese movies such as Mothra get their screentime as well, in addition to others that might be more obscure to American audiences.
For those familiar with the lore in the game series, the anime has some rather different takes to certain characters and events, and this discrepancy has resulted in a varied range of opinions in the Kirby fandom.
In fact, the anime was closely supervised by the same people who worked on the games, including Kirby's creator Masahiro Sakurai. In an interview with Famitsu Magazine he is quoted as saying, "I was considerably involved with the production of the anime. The aim was to create an anime that could be enjoyed by children and parents as much as they enjoyed the games. At first, 'Kirby' began as a game that even a beginner could enjoy. I believe such a spirit was achieved in the anime."
One of the largest deviations from the games is Kirby's status as a legendary Star Warrior who is to Popstar. In the games, he isn't described as being any kind of special soldier, nor are there any legends associated with him. Star Warriors are a concept unique to the anime.
Although it has always been hinted that Kirby is young, Kirby's age is lowered even more in the anime, to imply that he is only a baby, which is the explanation for why he doesn't talk as Sakurai mandated. While many characters from the games appear, they are often more or less changed to better fit in.
Dedede and Meta Knight lose certain abilities in the anime. Meta Knight is never shown with wings or flying abilities, while Dedede is unable to float or inhale enemies.
In addition, Dedede is portrayed as a much more antagonistic character in the show, with his redeeming moments much fewer and further between, and his looks are slightly changed to reflect that as well. In the games, Dedede is not that villainous, but mostly just tends to be more selfish and egotistical. The basis and means of aggression between Kirby and Dedede in the games is not nearly as severe as in the animated series.
Certain characters in the anime are enemies/bosses in the games, but are friendly towards Kirby in the anime. Chef Kawasaki, Meta Knight, Sword Knight, Blade Knight, Knuckle Joe, Bonkers, Whispy Woods, Lololo and Lalala, Phan Phan, and the Cappies are prime examples of this statement.
Kirby's inhaling ability is a lot more powerful than what it was in the games.
Influences on the Games
There are a few features from the anime that have made appearances in the games. They are listed below:
- A number of the musical pieces featured in the Japanese episodes were used directly or remixed in various games:
- The theme song was remixed into Kirby Melee's theme in Kirby Air Ride.
- In the episode A Recipe for Disaster, a remix of Gourmet Race's intro from Kirby Super Star plays when Chef Shiitake is preparing food in the cooking competition. This track was later used in Kirby Super Star Ultra's Special-Edition Blooper Reel and Level 2 of the Scope Shot sub-game in Kirby's Return to Dream Land. It is now associated with Chef Kawasaki.
- The Island Sisters' song was later remixed in Kirby Mass Attack, becoming the tracks "Desert Scorcher" and "Lifted Upward." The former was then remixed in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, becoming the tracks "Dig and Dash" and "Evade and Dig and Dash."
- One track from the episode Combat Kirby was directly ported to Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, specifically in the stage Wonder Space.
- Devil Kirby's theme from Frog Wild was reused in the Kirby Rocket stages.
- The sword Galaxia was introduced in the anime and became Meta Knight's signature weapon as of Kirby Air Ride.
- Spear-wielding Waddle Dees appear as enemies in Kirby: Canvas Curse, Kirby Super Star Ultra, Kirby's Epic Yarn, and Kirby's Blowout Blast. Bandana Waddle Dee also wields one in Kirby's Return to Dream Land and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.
- Castle Dedede appears on the map of Prism Plains and as the location of where Kirby fights Dedede in Kirby: Squeak Squad. When fighting Dedede in his throne room, the player can see the NME Teleporter in the background. The Halberd makes an appearance with its anime design.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, when the player gets Knuckle Joe out of his trophy he sometimes says "Vulcan Jab" and other attack names like his character in the anime.
- Kirby uses his "poyo language" in Kirby's Epic Yarn and Kirby Mass Attack. King Dedede's Castle also looks like the one in Kirby: Squeak Squad, which is modeled after the one in the anime. Lastly, Meta Knight's in-game profile calls him a "space guardian," which may be a reference (or potentially a mistranslation) of Star Warrior.
- In the Meta Knightmare Ultra mode of Kirby Super Star Ultra, Sword Knight and Blade Knight both appear as helpers. They also accompany him to battle in the Kirby Quest of Kirby Mass Attack.
- In the Kirby Quest and Strato Patrol EOS sub-games in Kirby Mass Attack, many anime-exclusive characters appear. These characters are Escargoon, Chef Shiitake, Kabuki Kirby, NME Salesman, and Max Flexer. Kirby fights Chef Kawasaki and Chef Shiitake in Kawasaki's restaurant from the anime.
- Water Kirby, first seen in the anime, is featured in Kirby's Return to Dream Land (albeit redesigned).
- The King Dedede Doodle sticker in Kirby: Planet Robobot may be inspired by one scene in Cartoon Buffoon.
- In Kirby: Star Allies one of the animations on the mode select screen shows Waddle Doo commanging Parasol Waddle Dees and Bandana Waddle Dees, referencing his role in the anime as their leader.
|Main article: Kirby: Right Back at Ya!/Music|
- Japanese version (Hoshi no Kābī)
- "Kirby * March" (カービィ★マーチ Kābī ★ Māchi) by Shanchī (シャンチー) (Eps. 1-71)
- "Kirby!" (カービィ! Kābī!) by Hiroko Asakawa (朝川ひろこ) (Eps. 72-100)
- "Kihon wa Maru" (きほんはまる, First draw a circle) by Shanchī (Eps. 1-71)
- "Kirby * Step!" (カービィ☆ステップ! Kābī ☆ Suteppu!) by KONISHIKI (Eps. 72-100)
- U.S./English version (Kirby: Right Back at Ya!)
- "Kirby Theme (Kirby Kirby Kirby!)" by Norman J. Grossfield and Ralph Shuckett (Eps. 1-100)
- "Kirby Theme (Instrumental)" by Ralph Shuckett (Eps. 1-100)
- The English version of the title (Kirby: Right Back at Ya!) was likely chosen because its initials (KRBY) is very similar to Kirby, minus the vowel.
- During the span of time Kirby: Right Back at Ya! was available on the 4Kids TV website, three flash games were created for it: Kirby Shuffle Puzzle 1, Kirby Shuffle Puzzle 2, and Waddle Doom. Two of these games no longer exist, though each has an official description. The Shuffle Puzzle games were standard puzzles that revealed a Kirby: Right Back at Ya! image when completed, and Waddle Doom had the player shoot as many Waddle Dees as possible under a one-minute time limit.
- In Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition, the box art for the anime in the History section has a dynamic poster.
Wii no Ma episode thumbnails
These images are from Nintendo Japan's Wii no Ma section dedicated to Hoshi no Kābī. The two-part episodes are meant to be displayed side by side; they are marked by green lettering and have a background with a multitude of screens behind Kirby. Kirby's image on the front represents the most significant Copy Ability transformation in the episode, with the exception of Air-Ride-in-Style - Part I, where he flies the Formula Star. If Kirby isn't shown having an ability or standing with something associated with one, it means none is featured within that episode.
Click on the little white button at the top right to expand the table.
- Official Japanese page for Hoshi no Kābī.
- List of all 100 Japanese episodes with comment on quality and watch and download options at KRR. Full English compilation is not available as of July 2011.
- Musical montage promoting Kirby: Right Back at Ya!'s 3rd season in the US
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