Why is Kirby always angry in the US? Nintendo explains

Nintendo thinks an angrier Kirby is what the US wants, but adds that it depends on the game.

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The US brings out the worst in Kirby.

Why does Nintendo's loveable pink ball Kirby always seem to be happy when being advertised in Japan, but angry when he comes over to the US? Kirby: Triple Deluxe director Shinya Kumazaki has explained that it's down to what the two audiences get out of the character.

A neat TV Tropes page--titled "American Kirby is hardcore"--neatly summarises all the examples, with the greatest offender likely being a 1994 print advertisement for Kirby's Dream Course, where the poor little guy was shown with a bandage, stubble, and a rap sheet.

"For the Japanese versions we are, at [Kirby series developer] HAL, involved in everything throughout development, including the package design. The most powerful image of Kirby is that cute image, we think that's the one that appeals to the widest audience," explained Kumazaki in an interview with GameSpot. This cute Kirby "brings in the most people to play" in his home country of Japan.

"While it does start cute," Kumazaki continues, "we know there is a serious side to Kirby as well, and throughout the gameplay we see more and more of that, and the games themselves have quite a bit of depth. That being said, we recognise that Kirby's cuteness is his biggest draw in [the Japanese] market."

Kumazaki asys Nintendo of America controls the shots in the US, and provides HAL with "feedback and insight" into the market. "What we have heard is that strong, tough Kirby that's really battling hard is a more appealing sign of Kirby, so that's what we feature in the US."

So now you know. Kirby is angry in the US because Nintendo thinks that will make him more appealing.

Still, Kumazaki adds that it "depends on the title" and points to Kirby Super Star Ultra, which had a 'tough' Kirby on both the US and Japan box art. He also mentioned the brand-new Kirby Triple Deluxe, which features a slightly angrier Kirby in both the US and Japan.

GameSpot's Mark Walton has just finished playing the 3DS' Kirby Triple Deluxe, and you can read his thoughts (spoiler: he liked it a lot) in our review.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe will be released for 3DS on May 2 in North America.

Discussion

65 comments
danusty
danusty

the thing is kirby has a twin brother he has yet to meet like jean claude van damme's movie double impact. one kirby has had a nice simple life in japan while he practices how to kick some ass and does the leg split, the other was raised in the US and became a street thug who can kick some ass.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

"Nintendo thinks an angrier Kirby is what the US wants"

They also think that the WiiU is what the core gamers want. So "what they think" is not "what it actually is"

Nintendo: Just cut the crap and give an excuse to get a WiiU.


Revenant_K
Revenant_K

Poor Kirby, the US's prison changed him.

Babugee
Babugee

Kumazaki asys Nintendo of America :)

BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

i prefer the cutesy, happy kirby myself :P

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

I love kirby games, they are incredibly fun.

However, to state they have "depth" is an outright lie.

Jaxith
Jaxith

Odd.  I haven't really been following Kirby boxart recently, but I'd honestly thought that this thinking had died off in the 90s.  I don't really think characters or games need to be portrayed differently in the US compared to Japan.  In particular, it seems to me Kirby's greatest appeal is that he's not dark and gritty, even in his serious mode.  He's just a character you naturally love for his cuteness and innocence.

UnstoppableKARL
UnstoppableKARL

Kirby looks like the fat form of Majin Buu in that pic.

bluedeathking
bluedeathking

"American Kirby is hardcore" sadly this describe the mind set of most American's where being bad is cool. :(

xcollector
xcollector

That explanation was too long to read so I will condense it. The Japanese think the US is only interested in violent games. Putting a frown on a cute image makes it less cute and more violent.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Umm... he's not.  Look at any of the US box art or play the games.  What are they talking about?


A few ads from the mid 90's... well DUH they were more aggressive.


By the way, it's hilarious how lame Nintendo's mid 90's ads were.  They were trying to be like Sega, but failed miserably.


Sony's mid to late 90's ads were VERY SEGA like, but they pulled it off well.  I loved those commercials where Crash harasses Mario with a megaphone.

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

Because Japan/ese like cute, they dress up in "Lolita" dresses, paint their planes with Pokemon livery etc etc... just check the wikipedia and the answer is painfully obvious. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawaii  Heck they even turned the new Crimean attorney general (Natalia Poklonskaya) into a cutesy cartoon character. 

fluffy_kins
fluffy_kins

someone gets paid to research this shit.

DesertLynx83
DesertLynx83

He's so cute when he's angry, though. He's cute all the time!

DarxPhil
DarxPhil

It's how some Japanese folks tend to view American culture, they omit an aggressive presence so we'll make aggressive content for them to consume.

DoomSky
DoomSky

Mental picture of grizzled 80's action hero Kirby dropping down from a Blackhawk helicopter M-16 in hand going to take down infamous dictator and drug baron: King Dedede.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Not gonna lie, angry Kirby is cooler than happy Kirby.

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

Because kirby is a serial killing psychopath.

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

So will the next installment be called 'Call of Kirby'?

Stebsis
Stebsis

Kirby don't take no guff from nobody

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

Well we did drop two A-bombs on them... (joking)


All distasteful jokes aside, its not much surprise that the average US gamer prefer a strong, badass type character. We like our Kratos, Master Chiefs and Dovahkiins. Nintendo is just trying to appeal to us I think.

shinta125
shinta125

@Jaxith  It really hasn't actually. Young boys are just as adverse to cute things as they always have been and they go by what looks "cool." All the box art these days are chin down, eyes up because it looks "cool."

shinta125
shinta125

@xcollector  That's actually the whole world. Ubisoft does much of the same for American boxart. The whole world sees us as ignorant violent people.

Jay2528
Jay2528

@ps3gamer1234 I have always looked at Kirby as both a boy and a girl. Strange way of looking at it, but I'm just not sure what he/she is.

ACMC85
ACMC85

@DoomSky I would play that. Reminds me of Conker's Bad Fur day. The mash up is jarring enough to be appealing.

allyouneedisluv
allyouneedisluv

@KamuiFei  Japan has bad-ass looking people, like Raiden, Jiggilypuff, Link, Mario among others. 

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@Itsdatninja @Warlord_Irochi Core gamers =/= Nintendo fandom.

This is the problem with Nintendo.  They don't understand that they're not the only game in town anymore.  They don't understand that, when Sega released the Genesis early and decimated their monopoly in the US, that millions turned away from them, and many of them never looked back.  They don't understand that when Sony PlayStation came out, when third parties ran there and largely never looked back at the N64, a new generation of gamers grew up without any real nostalgia for Nintendo.

Nintendo's been out of touch with the broader gaming market since the end of the SNES.  If not for the Wii selling as well as it had to non-gamers (Seriously, Nintendo did an amazing job filling a market, however fleeting said market turned out to be), they'd have been forgotten by now.


Kirby will never appeal to the dude-bro, or to the hormonal little piece of crap who wants to be the dudebro, no matter how "angry" he looks, and that Nintendo thinks a frowny face is enough to appeal to people (of any age) is hilarious.  Seriously, how out of touch do you need to be to try to "toughen up" a pink ball?

Babugee
Babugee

@martingaston Darn. I was hoping that Kumazaki had NoA held up in some sort of lab and was running tests.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@shinta125 @Jaxith There's no way in hell to make a pink ball look "cool" to little boys.  That Nintendo is even trying shows how hilariously out of touch they are.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@shinta125 @xcollector  How much of that "world" thing have you seen? The world doesn't view America in a radically different way from other developed nations. For the most part America is seen as slightly more monolithic than any other country, but most non-Americans don't have all that much of an opinion of the country and are content not to.

DrKill09
DrKill09

@Jay2528 @DrKill09  It happens.


...though it wouldn't if Gamespot let you delete comments or edit them for longer than 5 minutes.

Jay2528
Jay2528

@DrKill09 Whoops I didn't notice you were replying to ps3gamer1234's comment and not mine, my mistake.