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    King Dedede

    Character » appears in 45 games

    King Dedede is the self-made king of Dream Land and Kirby's friendly rival who has appeared in many games.

    Short summary describing this character.

    King Dedede last edited by Dededisciple on 05/22/24 11:20PM View full history


    “Make way for the king of Dream Land! I'm big and burly, just like my hammer. You won't get far without I'm coming too!”
    ― King DededeKirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe

    King Dedede is a prominent character in Kirby franchise, initially portrayed as an antagonist before growing out of that role. As the self-proclaimed ruler of Dream Land, Dedede considers himself to be Kirby's destined rival, although they are also shown to be good friends. The character's presence can be traced back to the first game in the series, Kirby's Dream Land, and despite his initial selfish motivations, Dedede evolved into a dependable ally and a true hero in his own right, often assisting Kirby on his adventures.

    Dedede's unmistakable presence makes him one of the most iconic figures in the Kirby series, appearing in nearly single every installment to date as a boss (usually being controlled against his will) or a playable character. He even takes the lead in his own standalone game, Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe.

    He is voiced by Kirby series director, Shinya Kumazaki, in the mainline games, and the preceding series director and original creator, Masahiro Sakurai, in the Super Smash Bros. series.


    Kirby showing pity towards the defeated king.
    Kirby showing pity towards the defeated king.

    In his debut, Kirby's Dream Land, King Dedede steals all the food in Dream Land and the precious Sparkling Stars that provide more food. The citizens of Dream Land were left puzzled and uncertain about how to recover their resources. However, their hopes were soon uplifted when a pink puffy young hero arrives on the Spring Breeze, and pledged to retrieve the stolen food and Sparkling Stars. This hero's name is Kirby! Kirby's path led him to Castle Dedede, where an epic battle ensued between the destined rivals. Kirby emerged victorious, reclaiming the food and Sparkling Stars from King Dedede, but sensing Dedede's frustration and sorrow, goes comfort to the dejected king after his loss. This interaction marked a turning point for King Dedede.

    Kirby and Dedede leaving on good terms after defeating Nightmare.
    Kirby and Dedede leaving on good terms after defeating Nightmare.

    In the subsequent game, Kirby's Adventure, Dedede noticed the presence of Nightmare threatening Dream Land's peace before anyone else, and saw the opportunity to be the hero this time. So he took action by shattering the Star Rod into pieces and entrusting each piece to one of his friends to guard. Although this meant that the people of Dream Land lost the ability to dream, in Dedede's eyes, this was the right choice, and decided to treat himself to a swim in the fountain's waters as a reward. But without dreams, the people of Dream Land, including Kirby, became restless, so Kirby decided to take matters into his own hands.

    "So you're up to you're old tricks again, eh Dedede?!" accused Kirby.
    "What are you talking about, young pudge ball?" Dedede looked surprised. "I thought I'd do everyone a favor by..."
    "No, no no!" Kirby shook his head. "I won't listen to your tricks! What have you done with the Star Rod?!"
    "Oh, that old thing," Dedede said nonchalantly. "I broke it into seven pieces and gave each piece to one of my friends..."
    "What was Dedede thinking?!" Kirby wondered. Before hearing any more of what Dedede had to say, Kirby set off on the long trek to gather the pieces of the Star Rod and return them to the Dream Spring.
    Kirby's Adventure Instruction Booklet

    Refusing to let Dedede explain himself and left unaware of the full story, Kirby went on an adventure to defeat each of Dedede's trusted friends and reclaim the Star Rod pieces, and after defeating Dedede himself for a second time and fixing the Star Rod, against Dedede's last desperate attempts to convince Kirby to stop, Kirby unintentionally unleashed Nightmare in Dream Land. Both Dedede and Kirby panic at the sight of Nightmare, but thanks to Dedede launching him into the sky to confront Nightmare as well as equipping him with the Star Rod, Kirby manages to vanquish Nightmare once and for all and save the day. Both King Dedede and Kirby leave on good terms, with the latter now understanding that the former actually meant well all along.

    “My name is King Dedede the Great! I was being controlled by some black thing, but getting beat up by that darn Kirby is so frustrating! Collecting crystals? I really don’t wanna do that, but I’d be worried if those guys went on their own. Guess I got no choice, I’ll help out, too!”
    ― King Dedede's character bio (translated by Kaialone) • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards Japanese website

    From that point forward, most battles King Dedede has with Kirby are ones against his will, usually because he's been possessed by the true villain of the game. Remarkably, in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, after having the possession beaten out of him again, Dedede actually joined Kirby and his companions on their quest, displaying an initially hesitant but ultimately wholehearted willingness to assist. According to the Japanese website, Dedede's motivation for joining stemmed from concern for the children's safety during their perilous journey, believing that they won't get far without him. Throughout the adventure, Dedede, in the words of Shinya Kumazaki, acts as the older brother of the group.

    But although Dedede had grown to warm up to Kirby, he still harbored a grudge against him after his numerous losses, leading to the events of Kirby Super Star Ultra's Revenge of the King, where Dedede challenged Kirby to a rematch, as Masked Dedede. But first, he tested Kirby by sending his best minions to face him as he stormed his castle. As Kirby progressed further and continued to defeat Dedede's best men, the King grew increasingly anxious and needed to be calmed and reassured by his most loyal servant, Bandana Waddle Dee, but once he had no minions left to send to fight Kirby, Dedede, in a panicked state and desperate to stall confronting Kirby in any way possible, briefly considered sending Bandana Dee to face him, but ultimately decided against it and spared him from the encounter knowing he wouldn't stand a chance, and accepting that Kirby is his burden to bear. Ironically, it's this act of selflessness that inspires Bandana Dee to fight Kirby anyways, even though he quickly lost. After this, the time had finally come for the Great King to have his revenge. Their intense duel unfolded in the same arena where their first confrontation took place, this time within an electric cage, with the only observer being Bandana Waddle Dee, a stark contrast to the large audience that was present during their first battle, showing that this time, this battle wasn't for show, it was personal. Dedede approached Kirby as an equal, providing him with a hammer of his own to ensure a fair battle. The self-proclaimed Great King stated, "Our grudge will be settled at last." In a demonstration of uncommon humility, Dedede accepted his defeat without any tantrums or demands for another rematch. Instead, he departed solemnly towards the setting sun, accompanied by his loyal Waddle Dees who respected and admired him genuinely, not solely because of his title.

    Ever since then, Dedede has accepted the fact that Kirby is the true hero of Dream Land, and is now content with aiding him on adventures whenever he can or simply putting his faith in him even when things look bleak, no longer needing to put aside his pride to do so, such as in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, where Dedede is a playable character, willingly stepping into the role of hero alongside Kirby and their friends right from the game's beginning for the sole altruistic purpose of helping Magolor, a stranger who crash landed onto Popstar. And Dedede has remained one of Kirby's closest companions since. The plot of Kirby: Triple Deluxe starts with Kirby going off to save Dedede after he was kidnapped by Taranza, and in the game's climax, Dedede, in turn, saves Kirby from the clutches of Queen Sectonia in the final act. Dedede's intervention was instrumental in saving the day. In the end, he can be interpreted as another "Hero of the Lower World" that was chosen by the Dreamstalk as his castle was also lifted alongside Kirby's, which led to Taranza mistakenly kidnapping Dedede to begin with.

    "King Dedede was mistaken for Kirby and was kidnapped by Taranza.
    But Floralia would be in ruins had he not played his part.
    Indeed, the Dreamstalk works in mysterious ways."
    Kirby: Triple Deluxe ending narration

    In Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Dedede exhibits selflessness by sacrificing himself to save a single normal Waddle Dee after Kirby snaps him out of being brainwashed. This act demonstrates the tremendous growth Dedede has undergone from his initial portrayal as a selfish and childish tyrant. He has transitioned from being a self-proclaimed king to becoming a self-made one, and is now friendly rivals with Kirby, who he will assist whenever Dream Land, Planet Popstar, or beyond needs saving.



    “As a “King Dedede” type, your sense of responsibility is stronger than that of most people, and you firmly believe you can do anything as long as you try hard enough. Adding to that, being trusted by others often brings you great joy and gets you motivated. Since you also have determination, you’re good at putting together a team and acting as its leader. While you are thoughtful and considerate, you’re also the type to not directly show your emotions and affection to others. You might want to try expressing your honest feelings to another person some time.”
    Kirby Personality Quiz when King Dedede is the result (translated by Kaialone) • Kirby Portal

    On a surface level, it's easy to misinterpret King Dedede as a villainous character made to serve as the main antagonist of the series, akin to Bowser's role in the Mario franchise, but this is rarely the case in the games, where Dedede is often an unwilling pawn, controlled or possessed against his will to serve as a boss out of tradition. Dedede may be a selfish glutton and his immense pride may make him incredibly stubborn, but he's shown to be a caring and compassionate person who doesn't mean any harm. Even in his first role where he was at his most villainous, his actions of stealing food from his people is more comparable to a childishly selfish bully who needs to be taught a lesson, rather than a kingdom conquering tyrant. His rivalry with Kirby and various stunts to best him is fueled less by animosity, but by his competitive spirit.

    Though his reputation as a "villain" and lazy and carefree demeanor may make him seem unfit to be a ruler, Dedede is actually a responsible and dependable leader, who will put the greater good and others above himself when the time calls for it. It's simply because peace and having a lazy lifestyle is the status quo for everyone Dream Land, Dedede doesn't actually have the need to perform any administrative functions, nor does he have any interest in doing so. But while Dedede is indeed carefree and lazy, when it comes to the things he cares about, he is extremely passionate, such as his "destined rivalry" with Kirby, having undergone extensive training in order to compete with him according to his Super Smash Bros. Melee trophy.

    “Dedede's the self-proclaimed king of Dream Land. While he says he's king, Dedede performs no administrative functions and the citizens of Dream Land continue to live as they always have. He's able to suck in air and fly like Kirby does, but only as a result of the vigorous training he undertook after being bested by Kirby.”
    ― King Dedede trophy description • Super Smash Bros. Melee

    Dedede's passion also shines in how much he cares about his friends and subjects. Dedede might not usually have the courage to outwardly show affection or share his honest feelings, likely to try to maintain a "manly" image, but it's still incredibly obvious just how much he cares for the people around him. He seems to have grown out of this behavior in recent years, notably in Kirby's Return to Dream Land and Kirby and the Forgotten Land, feeling safe acting soft around Kirby and friends, no longer denying how much he appreciates them, and it seems at this point, Dream Land has come around to accept Dedede too.

    Another often overlooked aspect of Dedede's character would be his intelligence. While he may appear to be bumbling at times and he's certainly no brilliant genius, he has to be shown to be more clever than you may initially believe. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary, none of the fighters would have survived Tabuu if it weren't for Dedede's planning, which did end up saving them all in the end. And in Kirby: Planet Robobot's opening cutscene, Dedede can be seen casually playing chess against Waddle Dees, which can be interpreted as one of his regular hobbies to sharpen his wits.

    Powers & Abilities

    Being able to consistently compete with one of gaming's most infamously powerful characters, Kirby, it shouldn't be a surprise that King Dedede is a powerhouse in his own right, even considered one of the strongest life-forms on Planet Popstar according to the pause screen description of his clone's boss fight in Kirby: Planet Robobot. In Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Dedede is shown being able to lift a giant pillar and swing it around effortlessly as a weapon, and in Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe's Crackity Hack, Dedede is capable of hitting the ground so hard, the resulting crack reaches the other side of the planet.

    Dedede shares his rival's ability to inhale and spit out enemies and hover in the air by inflating himself, with the latter ability being something he had to train for. In Kirby: Triple Deluxe's Dededetour mode, Dedede is capable of accomplishing things Kirby would normally require a Copy Ability in order to do, such as melting ice blocks by igniting his hammer, charging his hammer to send out shockwaves capable of cutting ropes, and cooling off magma blocks by the wind caused by the intensity his hammer swings.

    Although Dedede has had a history of being controlled against his will, Kirby and the Forgotten Land implies his mental strength is growing strong enough to begin resisting it to some degree. Before Forgo Dedede's boss battle, Dedede can be seen trying to remove the mask that's controlling him, and according to Phantom Forgo Dedede's figurine description, the mask was intended to cloud the already-controlled Dedede' mind even further. The fact that extra measures were taken to suppress Dedede's will implies that Dedede might have been resisting the control prior as well. More impressively, while not mentioned in the game itself, the game and series' director, Shinya Kumazaki, has said in an interview that Dedede actually arrived in the New World months before Kirby did. That added with the Destined Rivals figurine description saying that Dedede was lonely and crestfallen in the New World without Kirby, means that unlike the other times he's been controlled, his possession in this game was not instant and only happened after being worn down surviving on his own in an unfamiliar world for months. The fact that he lasted as long as he did and still managed to have some fight left in him to at least make his struggle against being double-brainwashed visible is very impressive.


    King Dedede & Kirby: The Destined Rivals

    “Planet Popstar's destined rivals!” That's how King Dedede usually describes this special relationship, so he was crestfallen when he arrived in the new world and couldn't find Kirby.”
    Destined Rivals figure description • Kirby and the Forgotten Land
    Dedede happily embracing Kirby.
    Dedede happily embracing Kirby.

    King Dedede and Kirby's rivalry has formed into a strong friendship after their long history with each other, going on numerous adventures and even saving each other's lives. King Dedede is often shown as one of Kirby's closest companions in media such as official artwork, various manga, and light novels. Their friendly competition is mutual, with Kirby readily accepting King Dedede's challenges. They consider each other true rivals, owing to their lengthy history and shared traits. Both are gluttonous and carefree people who enjoy the peaceful status quo of Dream Land, and will step up to defend their lifestyle whenever it is threatened, while also showing to be childishly impulsive at times.

    Kirby happily embracing Dedede.
    Kirby happily embracing Dedede.

    Their relationship bears resemblance to a sibling dynamic, where they both tease and compete with each other from time to time, but also manage to get along really well and are extremely important to each other, with Kirby's sole motivation throughout the entirety of Kirby: Triple Deluxe being to save Dedede, as he was completely unaware of the existence of Queen Sectonia or the Floralians, and Dedede being crestfallen without Kirby upon arriving in the New World in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. It is worth noting that according to several in-game texts, King Dedede taught Kirby how to wield the Hammer Copy Ability, explaining their shared moveset, and further supports the idea of Dedede being Kirby's "big brother."

    Given their similarities and extensive history together, Kirby and King Dedede possess an unparalleled understanding of each other. This mutual comprehension contributes to the significance of their "destined rivalry." King Dedede respects Kirby as a worthy rival and treats him as an equal, possibly even knowing deep down that Kirby is the true hero of Dream Land and that he may never surpass him, often putting his faith in Kirby to save the day. Despite his constant efforts and notable growth in strength and skill, King Dedede remains perpetually overshadowed by Kirby's heroics. His losses weigh heavily on him, as shown in the credits of Kirby Super Star Ultra's Revenge of the King and Kirby Fighters 2. Though in Kirby: Planet Robobot, Susie hints that Dedede may still hold an underlying grudge against Kirby before the battle with Dedede Clone, Dedede's desire to prove himself better than Kirby actually seems to stem from his own insecurities rather than animosity. In the post-game of Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Minion Waddle Dee mentions that Dedede was upset that Kirby was saving his Waddle Dees while he was being controlled like a puppet, suggesting that he may feel a sense of failure for not being able to save them himself and not being able to live up to his own standards of being a "Great King."

    “His Majesty is acting cool and aloof, like he always does, but... He's actually pretty upset that you were saving us while he was, uh, being controlled like a puppet. You should probably give him some space for a while. Sorryyy...
    Minion Waddle Dee about King DededeKirby and the Forgotten Land

    He might want to try expressing his honest feelings to another person some time.

    King Dedede & His Waddle Dees: The King and His Loyal Subjects

    “You can't be mean to my Waddle Dees! Only I can be mean to my Waddle Dees!
    King DededeKirby's Epic Yarn

    Dedede sacrificing himself for a single Waddle Dee.
    Dedede sacrificing himself for a single Waddle Dee.

    Dedede takes great pride in his subordinates, and won't tolerate anyone being mean to them, with himself being the exception of course. His loyal Waddle Dees follow him, not out of fear, but out of respect and admiration. Being a "self-proclaimed king," Dedede doesn't really have any real authority over Dream Land, according to his Smash Bros. trophies, he doesn't really perform any administrative functions and the people of Dream Land continue to live as they always have, yet despite being aware of this, Dedede's Waddle Dees choose to remain faithfully by his side, and continue to put up with his laziness and gluttony.

    “He's usually so carefree, perhaps a teeny-tiny bit lazy... But when it matters most, our leader always does his royal duty. Long live King Dedede!”
    Minion Waddle Dee praising King Dedede • Kirby and the Forgotten Land

    Dedede reciprocates this loyalty by caring deeply for his minions. Despite his stern demeanor, he values and appreciates their companionship, playing chess wtih them in the intro of Kirby: Planet Robobot, and gazing at the sky with them in the intro of Kirby Star Allies. Furthermore, Dedede exhibits a strong protective instinct towards his Waddle Dees. In Kirby Super Star Ultra's Revenge of the King, when facing the approaching final battle against Kirby, Dedede considers sending Bandana Waddle Dee to fight. However, in a display of concern for his loyal servant's well-being, he ultimately decides to spare him and even apologizes for considering such a risky option. Near the end Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Dedede stays behind to hold off the Beast Pack, allowing Kirby and his Waddle Dees to escape.

    King Dedede & Meta Knight: The Sworn Partners

    King Dedede and Meta Knight's power was genuine, flowing from their deepened bond. Even without the mask, they would have been worthy opponents.
    ― Final Chapter epilogue narrationKirby Fighters 2's Story Mode: The Destined Rivals

    Dedede taking Meta Knight's hand.
    Dedede taking Meta Knight's hand.

    Meta Knight was one of Dedede's friends who he entrusted to gaurd a piece of the Star Rod during the events of Kirby's Adventure, and in Kirby Fighters 2, they are referred to as "Sworn Partners." This parallel between Dedede and Meta Knight's relationship and Kirby and Bandana Waddle Dee's bond has led to fan speculation that Dedede and Meta Knight were the original heroes of Dream Land before Kirby's arrival. Their bond is so strong that they are capable of executing combined team attacks, and they are willing to face the burdens of darkness together through the Masks of Dark Bonds. Despite their shared camaraderie, they possess contrasting traits. Dedede wishes he could appear as cool, stoic, and tough as Meta Knight, but its pretty obvious that he's really a big softie with a heart of gold, especially towards the people closest to him. On the other hand, Meta Knight also harbors great concern for those close to him, such as his crew, but his aloof demeanor that Dedede tries to imitate ironically comes from lack of emotional communication skills that can sometimes make him appear indifferent, unlike the more emotionally expressive Dedede. This contrast in their personalities is best showcased when comparing their respective dialogues in Revenge of Meta Knight and Revenge of the King directly.

    Meta Knight: “So... Now it's time for the rest of you to escape as well.”
    Axe Knight: “I will stay until the bitter end.”
    Mace Knight: “We should finish off Kirby then all escape together!”
    Meta Knight: “... ... ... ... ...You are all about to perish. Do as you please.” (...I'm sorry.)
    ― Meta Knight to his Meta-Knights • Kirby Super Star Ultra's Revenge of Meta Knight
    Bandana Dee: “Great King! Kirby made it here! W-what do we do?!”
    King Dedede: (... We're done for... Only one option...) “...O-OK then, I guess it's your turn.”
    Bandana Dee: “B-but, Great King, I can't do it alone!”
    King Dedede: “...Fine, you can go. You've been spared.”
    Bandana Dee: “Don't go, King!”
    King Dedede: (...I'm sorry.)
    Bandana Dee: “Great King!”
    ― King Dedede sparing Bandana Waddle Dee from fighting Kirby • Kirby Super Star Ultra's Revenge of the King

    Meta Knight's response towards his crew, who were already willing to die for him, came across as cold and uncaring, despite it not being his true feelings, while Dedede gives Bandana Dee, who didn't want to fight Kirby, permission to flee, showing him that he cares about him, which inspires him to fight Kirby anyways in spite of his fear out of sheer loyalty. Both Dedede and Meta Knight have skills that the other wish they had, which is why they hold a lot of respect for each other.


    King Dedede as he appears in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe
    King Dedede as he appears in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe
    “King Dedede in particular is a character that was very influenced by the worldview. — Of all the main characters, King Dedede changed the most! It is King Dedede’s destiny, since he is a character with more details than Kirby, so each time he is designed, we make adjustments to him to bring out the worldview of that particular work.”
    Shinya Kumazaki about King Dedede's redesign in Kirby and the Forgotten LandNintendo Dream interview (translated by Gigi)
    “King Dedede’s form changes every time in order to highlight the individuality of each work. For example, “Triple Deluxe” featured many scenes in which King Dedede was active, both as a playable character and as an enemy. Therefore, he has a bit of a stylish look. On the other hand, in “Star Allies”, he appears as a Dream Friend, so he has a slightly more comical and goofy position than the other characters. The design emphasizes King Dedede’s inherent uniqueness in a comical way. For “Forgotten Land”, we sought a new form for King Dedede while keeping it in line with the image of the Beast Pack.”
    Shinya Kumazaki about King Dedede's various redesigns • Nintendo Dream interview (translated by Gigi)
    • Out of any other character in the series history, Dedede has had the most variation in his designs. According to Kirby series director Shinya Kumazaki, this is done so to highlight the individuality of each game and better suit whatever new role he plays in it.
    “I have been playing video games in general since I was a child, and of course I played the first Kirby game "Kirby’s Dream Land," but at the time I had the impression that it was a game for a much younger generation. But it was “Kirby’s Adventure” on the NES that overturned that. When the true boss appeared at the end of the game, and there was the twist that “King Dedede actually had no bad intentions”, and I saw the expression in the ending “You can now sleep in peace”, I thought, “I’ve been had!” I’m sorry I thought it was for children (laughs). With such memories in mind, I consider the climax of “Kirby” games, which I now create, to be very important. The introduction of the game starts off light, but we want to make it deep enough so that those who are absorbed in the game and play it thoroughly will not feel unsatisfactory. Perhaps some of the expressions that appear in the climax of the game may be a little difficult for young children, but I am sure that children who play the game and stick through will grow up by playing it. And then they will feel like they are overstretching themselves thinking “I’m sort of a grown-up!”, and after some time passes, and they’ve actually grown up, they will look at it again and get impressed and think, “So that’s what that was all about!” Kirby games are designed to be relatively easy to complete, so it’s likely that one of them will be the first game they will ever complete in their lives, and we hope that it will remain in their hearts for a lifetime.”
    Shinya KumazakiKirby 25th Anniversary Orchestra interview (translated by Gigi)
    • Shinya Kumazaki, who succeeded Masahiro Sakurai as the series director since Kirby Super Star Ultra, most known for directing Kirby's Return to Dream Land, it's remake, Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Kirby: Planet Robobot, Kirby Star Allies, and Kirby and the Forgotten Land, being extremely influential to the series' characters, storytelling, hidden worldbuilding, and lore, has often said that what caught his interest to the Kirby series in the first place and inspired his approach to game design is when Dedede's good intentions are revealed in Kirby's Adventure. It's for this reason that King Dedede can be considered responsible for the extremely successful direction the series has taken under Kumazaki's direction as he would likely never had become the series director in the first place if it weren't for him.

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