Kirby | UnraveledMar 04, 2020
*upbeat music* Kirby! This pink puffball has been making its way among the inhabitants of Dream Land since 1992. It has its own games, manga, TV series, and toys. It's safe to say that he's one of Nintendo's most trusted mascots. But you shouldn't trust him. The problem with Kirby is that he is both Nintendo's simplest and most powerful creature. Those two realities cannot coexist. It is a way of life without the ambition or intelligence to make decisions, and yet the world bends to its will. Even though it seems like Kirby is just an empty cake marshmallow, there must be some hidden wisdom that gives him the power he wields.
There must be. Kirby's incongruity is terrifying, but that's only because we're terrified of things we don't yet understand. And today, we will understand. “Scientia potentia est.” Knowledge is power. Humanity's attempts to harness the powers of the natural world stem from intense research and understanding of those powers. And yet Kirby is given powers far beyond his position. What powers, you ask? Let me show you. I've created two columns here: Simplicity and Power. What Kirby is, versus what Kirby can do. By mapping the dichotomy of these two columns, we can remove the facade of Kirby's simplicity and find out what's really going on.
Because again, this is not normal. Let's start with simplicity. Most people know Kirby as that cute round boy, but is there more to him? According to official canonical information: no. Does this sound like an apex predator? Even a bear enjoys a satisfying back scratch. This sounds like the lowest form of life, someone who is stuck at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. He wakes up, eats his caloric intake for the day, and falls asleep watching The Great British Bake Off. And yet, here in the power column... The things Kirby eats are completely erased. Not just turned into something else, completely gone.
Kirby only cares about eating and sleeping. And yet he gets no energy or pleasure from consuming these things. Instead, he just lets them disappear. He is gone from this plane of existence. So… what the hell. Kirby doesn't speak a language beyond saying the words "Poyo" and "Hello!" Kirby communicates primarily through body language and growling. Even small children are more communicative. By all accounts, he is either unable to speak a language or not interested in speaking it. And yet Kirby is an incredibly skilled technician. We see Kirby piloting mechs, and if the anime is to be believed, and I believe the anime, this can only be accomplished by gifted teenagers struggling with psychosexual boredom.
He can effortlessly convert into a fighter jet, something only the most skilled air force engineers have mastered. How can he understand these complex mechanical processes, without having the language skills to read a textbook or the "I love science" Facebook page? Kirby's origins are vague. Let me take a moment to move to a different board so I can show you Kirby's origin story. There is nothing here. Very little is known about Kirby's origin. He has no canonical species. He has no canonical age. Masahiro Sakurai, the presumed creator of Kirby, has stated that he does not remember how Kirby got his name.
Kirby was originally a placeholder sprite, ready to be replaced by something... More! But not. Kirby survived. Kirby came out of nowhere. And Kirby is nothing. Or is it all Because Kirby can be anything. His copy ability grants him the powers and appearance of any creature he consumes. But copying is a misnomer. Does not duplicate his enemies. He assimilates and replaces them. In Smash, he takes power from his enemies, and then the enemy is released as a mark of respect. But in every other iteration of Kirby, what he consumes is destroyed in the process. He absorbs the DNA from him?
Does he absorb the memories of him? Is he the guardian of his souls? All of these abilities point to Kirby being intelligently designed, which we know isn't the case. Sakurai woke up in a crop circle with the name "Kirby" carved on his arm. Kirby has no emotional intelligence. No Relations In the anime, Kirby appears to have no ill will towards King Dedede or Escargoon, his two main antagonists. He faces little birds and entire battalions of soldiers with the same vacant smile. He eats and destroys indiscriminately, but counts no one among his enemies. But those who count it among their own... are cosmic horrors.
Look at this thing. Look at this thing! These celestial powers likely have wants and needs far beyond our human comprehension, and yet they care about the destruction of Kirby, a barely living kickball. What do you see in Kirby that scares you? What could scare this? And the final simple evidence, Kirby is in the form of a friend. This was the opening of Kirby's Adventure. Let me show you something. what did you notice? That's how it is. The whole time I was drawing this, I WAS NOT QUESTIONING Kirby's true nature. This quote is cute and simple and a blatant misdirection.
It's a condescending assignment meant to keep people like me from finding out the truth. The truth is that Kirby has infinite power. And that's a date. Planet Robobot explicitly states that Kirby possesses infinite power. Kirby can ride a star. Kirby can traverse a planet. Kirby is the only being in the entire universe to survive the Galeem Cataclysm. One circle survived. THIS SURVIVED. WHAT? *deep breath* Now that we've addressed these two columns, it's time to close the gap. How can we reconcile the two canonical truths of Kirby: that he is both nothing and everything? How can this conscious trash bag achieve so much?
Let me tell you... I don't know. I literally have no idea how this damn dumb orb can have so much power. I've worked my whole life researching and gaining knowledge, and this ball of shit sleeps all day and has powers the gods fear. And that is impossible. It should be impossible. There has to be an answer here and I don't see it and that's NOT FAIR. If knowledge is power, then power should be knowledge, and Kirby is everything and he should know everything, but we know nothing! I can't think here. I'm going out! How do I go outside?
Kirby! The mystery of this flowery Dream Landian has me baffled, but I've taken a few months, collected my thoughts, and am back in the studio to deliver my findings. Kirby's incongruity is terrifying, but that's only because we're terrified of things we don't yet understand. And today, truly, we are going to understand. If you remember our first exploration of the pink nightmare, the problem with Kirby is that he's incredibly simple and incredibly powerful. In the intervening five months, I've learned a few pieces of information that contradict some of my points. First, Kirby can speak a language. There was a Drama CD released in Japan in 1994 where Kirby says complete sentences.
But in this one he says that a phone is "mysterious" and he doesn't know how it works. And yet he can pilot a robot. Two, Kirby's name does, in fact, have a backstory, even if Sakurai was too excited to remember it. Kirby is named after John Kirby, a lawyer who passed away last year, who defended Nintendo's right to copyright Donkey Kong in the '80s. But this doesn't make the rest of Kirby's origin any less vague, and it does not change the fact that a creature cannot embody these two truths. But that's the problem. I've been thinking of Kirby as a creature.
Consider, for a moment, Moby Dick. You might get this book in your English class and go, "Hell yeah! A big old whale? I can't wait to see Ahab level up and hit that big kid right in his weak spots. And sure, he puts his harpoon into Moby D's flanks, but spoiler alert! Ahab's got it, even though he's been fighting for years and the Pale Whale is just an idiot fish with a thing for sailor feet. You say this to Mrs. Mahoney and she's like, "Brian, don't you get it? The whale is a metaphor for... something," and then you write that on your final exam and you pass the class.
This is what I like to call "The Bookman's Bluff." It's when an author creates something and people say, " Hey, that doesn't make sense," but then the author says, "Well, it makes sense when you consider that it's actually a metaphor." Here, I think Sakurai is bluffing Bookman. Kirby, like Moby Dick, doesn't make sense. as a creature, but it will make sense as a metaphor. So what does Kirby symbolize? Let's take a look at some common metaphors. Let's start with the seven deadly sins, since everyone and their mother are basing characters on them. Unfortunately, none of them have sense to Kirby.
Anger, no way. Greed, he's not in it for the money. about lust. You could make a case for Gluttony because he eats a lot. Sloth, he sleeps a lot. And Envy, he's constantly copying other people. But he never does it maliciously. Kirby does these things at the same time. random, meaningless. of what he is doing. And then there is Pride. Now, pride is the sin from which all other sins spring, and his punishment in hell is to break on the wheel, but Kirby is a wheel, so that's not going to work. But Kirby could symbolize someone else's pride...
The arrogance of humanity. Think about it. Has humanity ever stopped to consider that perhaps our endless consumption is not a good move for the world as a whole? Have we altered our course or do we just continue to eat and sleep and copy others without thinking about the repercussions? In fact, perhaps we can go a step further. Kirby is a metaphor for capitalism! Does our capitalist society assimilate and destroy? Absolutely! Technical and cultural appropriation are two of the most reliable tools of capitalism. When it comes to lack of emotional intelligence, capitalism makes people willing to absorb and destroy anything, friend or foe, nation or natural wonder, as long as it makes money.
Is the enemy of capitalism a cosmic horror? What could be more cosmically horrible for a capitalist society than a guy named Marx? KIRBY IS A METAPHOR FOR CAPITALISM. Sure, capitalism can sometimes be crueler in its intentions than Kirby can handle. That's... I'll take that. Uh, also, it sure feels like it could burn out at any second, so the infinite power thing: not 100% true. Um, and, it's-it's-it's hard to describe capitalism as being in the form of a friend…and all that eating and sleeping stuff is…it really doesn't make sense because we have a hyperfixation on productivity and that's tied to to a value... so that's not...
This is not a very good metaphor, is it? In fact, most of these metaphors are bullshit. Especially this one. I thought I could take five months and pause and contemplate, and then I'd come back and have the perfect explanation for Kirby's dichotomy, but nothing has changed. This horrible cake is slipping through my fingers again. Maybe I'm just not good at this... Jenna, can you...? I need you to keep my papers and thumbtacks safe. I'm going away for a while... I'm going to find Kirby. Jenna: It's okay. Good luck friend. I went to the woods because I wanted to face only the essential facts of Kirby.
He wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life, just as Kirby might suck a Waddle Dee down his throat. I've been on it for a while now. Judging by the length of my beard, I've been living here for 2, maybe 3 years? There are no bulletin boards in the forest. I don't have three cameras to catch all my side glances. They don't teach you that... It's just me. And nature, which has reduced me to my low instincts. I only care about finding food and shelter, eating and sleeping. I have become Kirby. I wish I could say that this has given me a clear mind, but no, nature has broken me.
I'm confused by that. And we are terrified of things we don't yet understand. Kirby is nature! ...I thought, after spending my first day in the woods. Sure, the origins of nature are still murky, and what is evolution but a very, very slow form of Kirby's copying ability? *inhaling* And just like Kirby, nature is neither cruel nor kind: it doles out blessings and punishments indiscriminately. For every delicious handful of berries, he also gives a completely different bout of diarrhea. But it took me only a few days to realize that this was another dead end. Nature does not destroy matter, nor does it possess infinite power, and its enemy is not a cosmic horror, it is us.
Sorry for using so much paper. So I went back to the proverbial drawing board and have been stuck there ever since. Nature is still terrifying to me. And it certainly isn't in the form of a friend. How can Kirby live like this and stay so happy? How can he only care about his basic needs and conquer the enemies that come his way? I can't conquer anything, not even the mystery of a character from a children's game. All I can do is circle listlessly through the wood, like a star spat out of Kirby's jaws. *breaking waves* I wake up one morning on the shore of a strange sea.
I don't know where I am, or how I came to be here. The sea stretches out endlessly in front of me, revealing the smooth, Kirby-like curve of the planet, and I finally understand. She was so focused on investigating the inner machinations of this bulbous boy that sheI never asked why I was investigating. I'm racked with an eternal itch that things mean something, but Kirby didn't need an explanation, I did. There is no bullet point or fan wiki entry. Kirby is not nature or a metaphor. Kirby doesn't need a dark backstory or a logical reason. Kirby is just Kirby.
As I stand here watching the waves lapping at the sand miles away from civilization, I realize that I am not simply standing at the edge of the ocean, but at the edge of the world. A world that I have accepted without knowing its hidden meaning. Perhaps there is no hidden meaning. Maybe its better this way. Maybe it's time for me to go home. “First you draw a circle, then you dot the eyes. Add a big smile and voila, it's Kirby." Kirby is an extremely strong circle, and that's all the explanation I need. Unfortunately, the same CANNOT be said for DIDDY KONG.
WHO GAVE YOU A GUN? HE BUILT THE JETPACK? THAT MAKES NO SENSE, IT'S A MONKEY, WHAT IS HE... *suit ripping* Ahhh, yes! This is satisfying. If you get involved in this, you'll want to… Pat: Yeah. Brian: Roll… just put that in a pile of dirt right now. I'm going to roll a little. *hears a lot of people rummaging* *shirt ripped* Brian: Ohhhh amazing! Pat: Are we going to ride the train like this to Coney Island? Brian: Yeah, maybe!
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