Monster Management is the fortieth (thirty-seventh in English airing) episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. It is notable for the second appearance of Knuckle Joe (the first being Here Comes the Son, the third being Masher 2.0, and the last two being Combat Kirby and Fright to the Finish), as well as the first appearance of Masher (the second being the aforementioned Masher 2.0, where he is rebuilt as Masher 2.0).
Knuckle Joe is back, and this time, he's got a new, horrible surprise in store for Dream Land: He is now in charge of Nightmare Enterprises' new monster management service, having sent hundreds of small monsters to wreak havoc in Cappy Town. Although Kirby tries to help by inhaling them, there are just too many to swallow, and he very quickly becomes worn out from all that inhaling. And as if that's not bad enough, things get even worse when Joe downloads the strongest monster NME ever has, Masher, for King Dedede - to finally finish off Kirby once and for all. When Masher and Knuckle Joe tag-team their attacks, will Kirby ever have any chance of winning a battle two against one, or will it finally be the end of Kirby and the end of Dream Land as we know it?
|Spoiler alert: The following section contains plot-specific details.(Skip Section)|
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Meanwhile, Tiff is fixing her hair in her room when, to her confusement, something opens the door. And what does it turn out to be but more Mini-Monsters to her horror. As the Mini-Monsters begin to invade her room, Tiff screams a rather high-pitched girly scream. Back to Dedede and Escargoon, they rush through the Mini-Monster-infested hallways of the castle to the throne room and find that several Mini-Monsters are being downloaded. Knowing that he didn't order any monsters, he attempts to stop the download by repeatedly pressing the buttons on the throne, with no luck. Escargoon says that the monsters keep coming and asks his highness how many he ordered, and, naturally, Dedede says "It wasn't me." The screen with the NME Salesman comes on and Dedede asks for help. The salesman explains that it's an ad for Nightmare Enterprises' Monster Management service and Dedede asks in confusion what the Monster Management thing is. The salesman says that the service's new director suggested that they do a life-sized demonstration and says that he believes they've met him before. The salesman says, "Say hello, Joe." and light shines on the service's director, and he turns and smiles saying, "That's Knuckle Joe!", indicating that the director is none other than Knuckle Joe himself! Dedede's and Escargoon's jaws drop and Knuckle Joe does his usual nose rub as he says, "Nice to see you again, tubby."
Meanwhile, at Kirby's house, Kirby wakes up to find Tokkori being attacked by several Mini-Monsters, and sees the rest of Dream Land being attacked by multitudes of Mini-Monsters as well. Back at the castle, Joe downloads himself there and cracks his whip, letting the Mini-Monsters know that it's time to get to work. In the castle hallways, Meta Knight, Sword Knight and Blade Knight come to Tiff and Tuff's rescue just as they are being swarmed by the monsters. Kirby shows up just in time to help, only to be knocked around by them. After being helped up, he sucks up the monsters just like Tiff tells him to. Just then, more Mini-Monsters arrive, and Meta Knight decides they should cut them off at the source. They arrive at the throne room where they, to their surprise, find Knuckle Joe. Dedede and Escargoon explain that he's been made into the new Monster Manager for Nightmare Enterprises, much to the shock of everybody. The group and Knuckle Joe reminisce the first time Joe came to Dream Land, where he initially thought Kirby killed his father but learned that it was Meta Knight who did it, and that's because Joe's father was turned into a monster, and with his death by Meta Knight's hands, he gave him his medallion with Joe's picture in it as a sign of his love. Joe had promised back then to fight on the side of the good guys, and Tiff says to him that he can't work for the same company who made his father a monster, but Joe says that all he cares about now is getting a pay check. He whips the monsters into getting to work and leaves the throne room, with MK, Sword and Blade giving chase, as Joe pushes the doors against them and knocks them backward. The heroes head to Cappy Town where the monsters are invading, while Dedede realizes that the service is another plan to get rid of Kirby. From the top of one of the castle towers, Tokkori comments that it's monster mayhem.
The Mini-Monsters wreak havoc in Cappy Town, smashing things within Chef Kawasaki's restaurant, Tuggle's convenient store, and Professor Curio's antique shop. Kirby helps out by sucking up the monsters as told to him by Tiff and Tuff, and they point out the locations of several of the monsters scattered across the village for him to inhale. Meanwhile, Meta Knight, as he is slaying several more Mini-Monsters with Galaxia, tells Joe that he is putting all of Planet Popstar in danger, but Joe replies that he's just trying to keep his bosses happy. He escapes and comes back to the castle where he makes his request to the NME Salesman to download their strongest monster, Masher, to the castle. Masher is downloaded, as King Dedede looks on in amazement with the words "Now that's a monster! This is amazing!" Joe orders Masher to go crush Kirby, as the gargantuan goon makes his way out of the castle, with Joe, the king and Escargoon following.
After Kirby inhales the last of the Mini-Monsters, he gets tired out as Tiff says that he got most of them and Tuff angrily complains about Joe not keeping true to his promise. Just then, Meta Knight and his knights show up warning them that something big is brewing at the castle. The two start to make their way to the castle just as Masher's flail comes flying at them from above, and they move out of the way. As Masher crashes down and turns to face Kirby, Meta Knight comments that Masher is a real heavyweight and Tiff agrees. Masher starts to attack Kirby, knocking down several trees with his mace as he does so, just as the three bad guys show up to watch the fight. Tiff tells Kirby to use his suck-up power, but he ends up getting pounded heavily by Masher before he can do so. Tiff screams out in disbelief as Kirby struggles to get up with Masher approaching him again. Tiff tries to tell Kirby to get up as Meta Knight charges Masher with Galaxia, but Masher smacks MK into a wall with his mace, causing Sword and Blade to rush over to help him and Dedede and Escargoon to comment in shock and surprise. Joe replies that they haven't seen anything yet, and he keeps true to his word when Masher starts hovering in the air with his jet shoes to the heroes' surprise. As the metal monster starts spinning in midair to strike at Kirby, Joe jumps down and rushes in to join the fight. Tiff, calling out to Joe, starts shedding tears as she pleads for him not to kill Kirby. Masher smacks Kirby again while Joe starts attacking him with Vulcan Jab. Tiff and Tuff complain saying that one bad guy was enough and wondering how Kirby can win two against one.
After Masher strikes Kirby again, Knuckle Joe grabs Kirby and throws him with Tomoe throw and then uses Spin Kick on him, causing him to fly into a wall. Tuff cries out to Kirby in disbelief while Tiff pleads for Joe to stop. As Masher settles onto the ground again, Joe approaches Kirby and, seeing that he's unable to even stand anymore, decides to finish him off. He jumps in the air and uses Smash Punch, and quickly tells Kirby to suck it up, which he does, transforming into Fighter Kirby to the joy of Tiff and Tuff. Joe tells Masher to do his stuff as he starts spinning his flail's spiked ball and handle, but just then, he jumps up and knocks Masher down to everyone else's surprise and amazement. Dedede complains to Joe telling him that he was supposed to clobber Kirby, not mess with Masher. Joe replies that he tricked them and says that he's a monster hunter now, explaining that he wasn't able to access Nightmare Enterprises' strongest monsters so he disguised himself as a Monster Manager so he could get to Masher. Tiff and Tuff are amazed upon realizing that he was a double-agent all this time. Dedede says "That's De-de-de-devious!" and laughs until Escargoon tells him that Joe made him look like a knuckle-head to his shock. Dedede tells the two-timer as he calls him that nobody monkeys with Triple D, but Joe replies by saying "Sorry, Tubby. Too late!" Furious, Dedede orders Masher to grind the two into dust, as the monster stands back up and prepares his attack on them. Joe tells Kirby it's time to give it their all and Kirby agrees, mimicking his nose rub. The metal menace attacks the two, but the two gain the upper hand with their own attacks. Masher manages to smack Fighter Kirby with his flail handle, but Joe dodges the monster's spiked ball and kicks his flail away to help Kirby. The two then fight back and overpower Masher with Vulcan Jabs, Smash Punches and Spin Kicks while Sword and Blade describe them as "like smoke and fire" and Meta Knight compliments that the two have grown. After Masher is severely weakened, and starts to malfunction, Kirby and Joe finish off the monster with their Rising Break and Tiff and Tuff cheer. Masher explodes, with the wind from his explosion pushing King Dedede's Limousine, with the king and Escargoon in it, back against the wall, flipped over. Kirby and Joe then shake hands as the other heroes happily watch and rejoice.
At Nightmare's Fortress, the NME Salesman, having realized that he's been tricked, apologizes to Nightmare saying that he must take full responsibility for having fallen for Joe's trick. Nightmare tells him to forget it and let the heroes celebrate for now as he believes that when they let their guard down, the villains will teach them a lesson, as he laughs afterwards. Back at Cappy Town, Tiff and Tuff compliment Joe saying that he was a double-agent all along and Joe thanks them. Meta Knight says that his father would've been so proud, and Joe says to Kirby that if he needs an ally he can just give him a call and that he'll be waiting. Joe then flies off and leaves as his friends bid their goodbyes to him for now, with Kirby mimicking Joe's nose rub again.
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- This is one of the few episodes where Tiff actually cries, the second being "The School Scam" and the third being "Teacher's Threat".
- In this episode, Knuckle Joe gets a color change from his previous appearance in "Here Comes the Son". Here, unlike his last appearance, which had the enemy colors, he has the Helper colors.
- This is also the only time Knuckle Joe wears a tuxedo (after which he takes it off during the fight between Kirby and Masher).
- This is also one of the few episodes where Meta Knight actually gets hurt, as Masher hits him with his giant metal spike ball and sends Meta Knight flying into the cliff. (the first being "Sword and Blade, Loyal and True / Hour of the WolfWrath", where he was bitten and paralyzed by WolfWrath, the third being "Crusade for the Blade", where he was blasted by Sirica).
- At the end of the episode, Nightmare's voice sounds very different from his usual one.
- This is one of the few episodes in which Meta Knight uses a physical attack. Others include "A Novel Approach" and "Kirby's Duel Role".