Kirby is quite a cocky Jerkass in Kirby's Avalanche. More famously: Kirby is a much less straightforward hero than most of them, notably eating definitely sentient beings alive, and sometimes, going on quests and slaughtering people (a good number of them innocent and just being in his way) for rather... ambiguous reasons (in Squeak Squad: CAKE). This led to many alternative interpretations of Kirby. Conversely, exactly what happens when Kirby inhales an enemy isn't entirely clear. Sometimes the specific individuals Kirby inhales can show up again later (mostly) unharmed, which in addition to alternate interpretation leads to some Wild Mass Guessing.note In the Kirby Light Novels, enemies that Kirby eats return to normal after Kirby discards his Copy Ability, but since this takes place in an Alternate Continuity it likely doesn't apply to the games (where Copy Abilities turn into Ability Stars when Kirby discards them). In Super Smash Bros., the Inhaled opponent instead is released immediately... somehow, but is damaged in the process.
Meta Knight squanders more than one opportunity to let Kirby know what's going on. Is he playing Idiot Ball or does he have some ulterior motive, such as ensuring another rematch between the two of them? If he does, does Meta Knight really crave a rematch so badly that he's willing to risk an Eldritch Abomination escaping into the world? Or alternatively, does he just not view telling Kirby everything as worth it and think Kirby is too stubborn to listen?
Galacta Knight has had no information released about him besides being so strong that he was sealed away and possibly having destroyed several planets in the past. Literally every piece of fandom conversation outside those few facts is an ACI.
Animation Age Ghetto: In Japan, Kirby is one of Nintendo's biggest franchises, up there with Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing. Outside Japan, many view the Kirby series as being too cute and easy, not helped by Kirby himself being pink. Many ads and reviews for the Kirby games paint them as being most suitable for young children, largely due to their easiness and cutesy aesthetic, overlooking the Mood Whiplash with its terrifying final bosses. This has a side-effect of turning some people off, as while Kirby has an active and vocal fanbase and is considered a Sacred Cow among Nintendo's series, it has an inherently harder time attracting uninitiated older (in age) non-Japanese fans. This has lessened considerably over time due to growing acceptance of cuteness in the west, the considerable Fountain of Memes status the series has, and Kirby and the Forgotten Land enticing many Western gamers to get back into the series.
Dark Nebula is laughably easy compared to the battle just before it. 02 is also easier than Miracle Matter.
Dark Crafter makes the above two bosses look difficult. It only has one, rather easy to dodge, attack and the strategy to defeat it is the same as Whispy Woods.
Audience-Alienating Era: The interim between Masahiro Sakurai departing from HAL in 2003 and Shinya Kumazaki stepping in as series director in 2008 is considered to be the series' weakest period. Due to the main team at HAL Laboratory being tied up in multiple failed attempts to continue the series, Kirby would be farmed out to various outside teams. The two mainline games released during this period would garner receptions ranging from divisive (Amazing Mirror) to underwhelming (Squeak Squad), while the spin-off Canvas Curse would largely be overlooked as an insubstantial Tech-Demo Game despite being fairly well received. Kumazaki would eventually take control of the franchise after this period, starting with the Ultra remake of Kirby Super Star, then using the work on that game to put together a vision that would properly continue the mainline Kirby games with Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
As Bandanna Waddle Dee has become a Breakout Character and has started to be pushed as the fourth main character, fan opinion has started to become divided on him. Some love him for his adorable design, his use of a spear to round out Meta Knight's sword use and King Dedede's hammer use, his relationship with King Dedede, and for being built as an "underdog story" who was able to train and be on par with Kirby. Others dislike him for his design being little more than that of a generic enemy and having less interesting abilities than the other main characters. His detractors also feel that his position as the fourth main character would be better given to other characters like Gooey or Adeleine.
There has been a debate over the different kinds of Kirby games ever since Kirby: Squeak Squad. While not to the extent of the Zelda franchise's They Changed It, Now It Sucks!/It's the Same, Now It Sucks!, there are similarities at its core. Which Kirby experience is better? The classic-style platformers where Kirby absorbs enemies to gain their abilities, or the ones that innovate (spin-off titles such as Kirby: Canvas Curse, Kirby's Epic Yarn as well as Kirby and the Forgotten Land for finally overhauling the entire gameplay for a true 3D experience) where the gameplay is given an overhaul? Critics of the former feel the formula grows stale, whilst critics of the latter feel that it's too gimmicky. Of course, quite a few fans like both and want to see what Nintendo comes out with next.
Canon Fodder: While lots of story is given from Flavor Text, manuals, and Word of God, lots of them are left unexplained and mysterious. Star Allies hinted that many of the mysteries are tied to Void Termina and the ancients of Halcandra. However, there are still no solid answers.
Meta Knight. Where did he come from, and what is he trying to do? Why does he look like Kirby? Is he the same species, or even related? Can he inhale or copy abilities? And why is Kirby suddenly content with letting him fly around in the Halberd after what happened last time?
If Gooey is part of Dark Matter, why is he good? Why does he look so much different from all other Dark Matter? How did he meet Kirby?
What's the deal with Shiver Star? Why does it look like a frozen Earth? Is it After the End? What was that factory made for? What are the creatures in those tubes? Did the Haltmann Works Company invade the planet?
Who was responsible for Drawcia's (and Paintra's) painting in Canvas Curse and Triple Deluxe? And how exactly is Vividria related to them (if she's even related in the first place)?
How did Dark Nebula get into its chest, and how did Meta Knight (and possibly King Dedede) know about it?
Who is Galacta Knight? Why did people fear his power so much?note Planet Robobot yields some information, casually implying him to be a Planet Destroyer. How was he sealed up? Where did he come from; where did he go? What happened to him in Star Allies?
Why does HR-D3 vaguely resemble King Dedede? How did it "drift in" from Another Dimension?
In Kirby's Return to Dream Land, what was Magolor talking about when he said that someone on Halcandra may know Kirby? Or, when he said that the ancients created lots of artifacts? Who are those ancients? What does "clockwork stars" refer to?note Presumably beings of the same "family" as Nova from Super Star (of which there are two known).
What is the Master Crown? How was it created, and who created it? How many have worn it before Landia?note Magolor says the ancients created it alongside the 'clockwork stars'. However, in Star Allies, Void Termina uses it as one of its attacks in bird form, so it could have created or worn the crown.
Just what is Void Termina in relation to Dark Matter/Zero? And for that matter, the many connections that it seems to have to other bosses opens up the question of how much of an influence Dark Matter has had on the universe. On top of that, Void Termina seems to link all of these things to Kirby himself.
Who or what is Morpho Knight? How powerful is it, and what are its motives?
Using Stone against any boss is basically a free win: just attack from above, hide in your invulnerable rock shield until you're safe, and then repeat. This strategy requires a good deal of patience, though, and the developers have caught on in more recent games by making certain bosses difficult to combat in this manner.
The Ultimate Choice in Star Allies is easily cheesed with CPU friends, since you can just hide while they attack the boss for you. The Three Mage-Sisters are an especially ideal partner for this strategy.
The Kirby games are developed by HAL Laboratory, and HAL has a great deal of control over the franchise, but it's common for non-fans to assume that it's fully owned by Nintendo.
Even to this day, it's not uncommon for people to accredit the entirety of the Kirby franchise to Masahiro Sakurai. While he is the original creator of Kirby and served as the director for many earlier titles, he hasn't had any direct involvement with the series since his resignation from HAL Laboratory back in 2003, with Kirby Air Ride being the last Kirby game he ever personally worked on. Even before his resignation, he wasn't responsible for every single Kirby game, with Shinichi Shimomura directing nearly as many games as him. Inversely, articles talking about Shinya Kumazaki (the current series director) often refer to him as merely a "developer," downplaying his greater role in the series' modern era.
It was incorrectly thought for a time that, like with Mallow and Geno, legal issues were preventing characters from Shinichi Shimomura's games (the Animal Friends, Dark Matter, Adeleine, etc.) from returning. They are fully owned by HAL, and many have made cameos in later games. Relatedly, there was an odd fanon that Gooey was Killed Off for Real alongside the rest of Dark Matter at the end of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, even though Gooey assisted Kirby in destroying Dark Matter in Kirby's Dream Land 3 and nothing bad happened to him then. Kirby Star Allies put both of these to rest.
The "Gourmet Race" theme from Kirby Super Star is commonly thought to be the main theme of the series due to its use in Super Smash Bros.. The series' actual theme is most likely "Green Greens," which has appeared in nearly every game in some form.
Kirby's nature as a baby Star Warrior is exclusive to the anime, but it's often assumed to be canon to the games as well, when that isn't the case. "Star Warrior" also isn't Kirby's species, but a greater group that consists of many distinct species.
Though commonly assumed, Kirby isn't necessarily incapable of speech. This is also largely thanks to the anime, which establishes Kirby as unable to speak much. However, the games never actually establish this; themanuals for the first two games in the series show him speaking fully-formed and grammatically correct sentences. Additionally, in both the anime and Super Smash Bros., he can call his attacks when using certain Copy Abilities. Furthermore, he is portrayed as speaking certain quotes in Kirby's Epic Yarn, though his dialogue is conveyed by the narrator. While modern games seem to be less lenient on Kirby being capable of proper speech, it's often implied that he does have the ability to speak, and Kirby's side of the conversation is merely unheard by the player. He is also capable of full speech in most manga based on the series, as well as the light novel adaptations.
During the prerelease of Kirby and the Forgotten Land, a common theory circulating at the time was the idea that Elfilin was actually a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing manipulating Kirby who was going to betray him and become the game's Final Boss (which ultimately turns out to be completely wrong aside from the Final Boss part, and even then, not in the way fans were expecting). This led to some fans claiming this to be an incredibly common occurrence that happens regularly in the series, citing Marx from Kirby Super Star and Magolor from Kirby's Return to Dream Land as examples. The thing is that those two are the only examples of false friends manipulating Kirby, and there's an almost 15-year gap between their games. Though Super Star's remake, Super Star Ultra, was released only three years before Return to Dream Land, which might have made the similarities in the plots more obvious to newer players unfamiliar with the original Super Star. But even then, previous Fairy Companion characters such as Ribbon or Elline are unambiguously heroic for the entire game, while antagonists such as Taranza or the Mage-Sisters are openly hostile to Kirby from the start and ultimately pulled heel-face turns. Yet those in the "Elfilin is evil" camp would have you believe that Kirby getting betrayed is a weekly occurrence for him.
A common misconception is the idea that Kirby takes place in a literal Dream Land since the primary setting of the series is known as Dream Land. Not helped by the fact that Nightmare was arguably the series' most recognizable villain for most of the early 2000s due to the anime, nor the fact that Kirby shares a very similar tone, aesthetic, and fanbase to the Klonoa series, which does take place in a literal land of dreams. While dreams do play a major role in the overall lore, Dream Land itself is simply a country on Planet Popstar, which is in fact a physical location in the Kirby universe. This confusion is nonexistent in the Japanese fandom due to the Japanese name for Dream Land being Pupupuland, which is just a nonsense word.
Morpho Knight's design is often cited as being an unused concept design for Meta Knight from Kirby's Adventure. This isn't true; Morpho Knight was designed for the canceled GameCube Kirby game as a unique character. Even before this was directly confirmed within a Nintendo Dream interview, the concept art's complexity makes it apparent that it was designed for a 3D game rather than an 8-bit 2D one. The misconception stems from Morpho Knight's concept art being placed on a page about Meta Knight within the Kirby's Dream Collection booklet; with no other context, people had no reason to assume it was meant to be a unique character.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: When it comes to Boss Rush modes that offer abilities, many players will stick to only one ability throughout the entire run. Most of the time, they'd stick with abilities that can deal heavy damage as quickly as possible, such as Hammer, Plasma, Tornado, or Smash Bros. or abilities with great defensive options such as Stone, Leaf, or Archer.
Continuity Lockout: Downplayed a bit. You don't have to be a long-time Kirby fan to understand the basic plot of most games, but a lot of the references, callbacks, and background lore will fly over your head if you don't read up. This is especially true for Kirby Star Allies, what with so many past characters returning as playable Dream Friends, as well as the Big Bad's plan revolving around what is supposedly the source of every major antagonist's power, directly or indirectly.
Cult Classic: Air Ride has been getting more and more popular each year since its release thanks to its sandbox-like City Trial mode. Helps that it was the last Kirby game that Kirby's creator Masahiro Sakurai worked on before leaving HAL Laboratory to start his own company.
Designated Villain: Dedede in Squeak Squad actually did nothing wrong, but becomes a boss anyway because Kirby accuses him of stealing his cake. In other games, he's often Brainwashed and Crazy and becomes the "villain figurehead". In fact, the only time Dedede has ever done something openly villainous was stealing all of the food from the citizens of Dream Land in the first game.
Draco in Leather Pants: Many Kirby fans think Dark Matter/Zero is a lonely, sad being that just wants some friends though this does have some basis in canon, as it was stated that Dark Matter Blade couldn't feel positive emotions and wanted to destroy the world out of jealousy.
Even Better Sequel: Kirby's Dream Land was a fairly standard side-scroller that was pretty enjoyable for what it was, but was laughably short and easy (although the latter is compensated by the unlockable Hard Mode and it lives up to its name, all right) and didn't even allow you to copy abilities! Kirby's Adventure then came out on the NES and blew the original out of the water by offering more levels, the series-trademark Copy Abilities, and a save feature! It also introduces the Breakout Character Meta Knight. Kirby's Dream Land 2, while not quite as elaborate as Adventure, at least brought these improvements down to a portable level, while also adding the Animal Friends to offer unique variations on Adventure's pre-established gameplay and introducing the concept of multiple endings to the series.
He's also referred to as "Kirby Batman" or "Batkirby".
Bandana Waddle Dee is often shortened to just "Bandana Dee" or occasionally "Bandee." The former was what many called him back when he was only officially referred to as "Waddle Dee," and the latter was a name that the staff had considered, but rejected naming him for his appearance in Return to Dream Land.
Chef Kawasaki is affectionately referred to as "KWSK" in Japanese communities.
The sailor-capped Waddle Dee crewmember from Revenge of Meta Knight also originally had No Name Given, so he was given the name "Sailor Dee" among fan circles until his sticker in Kirby: Planet Robobot named him the suspiciously similar Sailor Waddle Dee.
Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards are collectively known as the "Dark Matter Trilogy" due to the three games having Dark Matter as the main villain(s). All three games were directed by Shinichi Shimomura instead of series creator Masahiro Sakurai (who directed all other non-spinoff games in the series prior to his departure post-Air Ride), and have more of a focus on puzzle solving rather than combat. Other similarities these games share include:
Having no traces of Meta Knight whatsoever.
Having King Dedede be possessed by Dark Matter, then fighting him.
Having some form of Copy Ability mixing system.
Having a True Final Boss only accessed by collecting all of a certain collectible, which then form a weapon used to combat said boss.
The pre-release version of Magolor was originally referred to as "Daizen" and treated as a separate character due to the filename of his picture. Eventually people figured out that "Daizen" actually referred to the book that the picture came from and switched to "Betalor".
"Blob" for the female Gooey in the international version of Kirby's Dream Land 2, which allegedly originates from Nintendo Power. It was actually Gooey himself that they called a "blob character", with the female being the "Girl blob".
The fandom tends to use "lore" as shorthand for the descriptions in pause menus during boss fights (which first started appearing in Super Star Ultra), due to them being the main source of exposition in the Kumazaki-directed games.
Ever since Team Kirby Clash Deluxe where he served as a shopkeeper that sold gem apples for exorbitant prices (asking for real world currency), Magolor (or, at least, that version of him) has gained the nickname Microtransagolor. He's also commonly referred to as an egg, and Easter is now referred to as Magolor Day on Reddit since he's egg-shaped and Sundays were always Magolor days in Team Kirby Clash Deluxe.
What would happen if other characters found Nova or another wish-granting machine, and what wishes would they make?
What are the Mirror World versions of characters we haven't seen yet?
If the Robobot Armor can take the ability of its wearer, what would happen if someone other than Kirby used it? Related is the potential other powers (that don't appear in Planet Robobot but do in other games) that could be a Mode for the mech, and how they'll work; a similar thing happened for the Super Abilities in Return to Dream Land, especially with how a "Super Cutter" was considered but then got Dummied Out.
One Japanese guidebook for Kirby's Dream Land 2 claimed Dark Matter was a Tortured Monster that attacked Popstar because it was jealous of all the "happiness" there. Just about every fan accepts this as official canon, but they alwaysflanderizeit into applying to Zero/02 alone, despite Zero not being introduced until the sequel (the Tears of Blood likely have something to do with it).
Most Japanese fans depict Dark Matter Blade as having floating hands like Magolor (except with fingers).
People really seem to like the idea that Meta Knight is like a father-figure to Kirby, to the point where the Japanese have their own term for the whole headcanonnote パパナイト, which literally translates to "Papa Knight". This stems from his portrayal in the anime, where he's more protective and supportive towards Kirby (though still largely enigmatic).
Fanart that depicts both Kirby and Gooey together often show Gooey as being very close friends with Kirby, to the point where they're best friends. This can veer into major Tear Jerker territory if you believe the theory that 02 is Gooey.
Many fans believe that Meta Knight's mask contains a voice changer/amplifier like Darth Vader, to provide his trademark Badass Baritone, and that his "real" voice would sound more like Kirby's.
Did Bandana Waddle Dee appear in Kirby 64, minus the blue bandana and spear? Some fans think so. With Adeleine's trailer for Star Allies showing him alongside the rest of the 64 cast (as opposed to Parasol Waddle Dee, who's also a partner in that game), this may even be confirmed.
Many fans agree that Susie, Haltmann, the Three Mage-Sisters, and Hyness are all from Halcandra like Magolor is.
There's a Japanese fan-comic on tumblr (translated here), detailing Gooey's exile from the Dark Matter and the start of his friendship with Kirby, that is accepted by just about everyone who reads it as Gooey's "official" backstory.
"Gamble" being the name of the galaxy that contains Popstar and its neighboring planets. This is derived from Gamble Galaxy, the final world of Kirby: Squeak Squad.
Before notes from a Japanese art book confirmed Ado and Adeleine to (probably) be the same person, fans had a habit of drawing them as identical twin sisters. Western fandom used to consider the pair Half-Identical Twins before Ado's gender was confirmed, and some still do, as a way to further distinguish them.
With Super Smash Bros., as both series were minded by Masahiro Sakurai and share many mechanics. Many older Kirby fans (and some younger fans) were introduced to the series via Smash, and without Smash, Kirby would have a much harder time attracting fans of all ages.
Many Kirby fans are fans of HAL Laboratory's secondary franchise, BoxBoy!, as they share elements like cutesy aesthetics and unexpected lore. It helps that both series were prominent on the Nintendo 3DS and like to cross-reference each other. Fans of both also tend to like HAL's mobile title Part Time UFO (which later made it to the Nintendo Switch), which contains its own references to Kirby and BoxBoy.
Many Kirby fans in general are also fans of Pokémon due to both being successful Nintendo IPs with adorable characters, some, like Jigglypuff, even resembling Kirby.
Kirby fans also typically get along with Deltarune fans. Fanart depicting Magolor, Taranza, and Susie as the game's main trio (Magolor is Kris, Taranza is Ralsei, and Susie is Susie), along with Marx as Jevil has become very common. It helps that KirbyFandom VIP Gigi DG (creator of Hiimdaisy and Cucumber Quest) is a close affiliate of Toby Fox.
Many Kirby fans quickly get along with fans of the Klonoa franchise by Bandai Namco due to both series' having a similar cutesy tones combined with some darker themes. Especially from fans who grew up with Door to Phantomile and Lunatea's Veil. The news of Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series arriving a five months after the release of Kirby and the Forgotten Land only increased both fanbases overlapping with each other, also further helped by the announcement of Kirby's Dream Buffett a few days after Phantasy Reveries Series's release. The fact that both franchises also had milestone anniversaries in 2022 (25th for Klonoa and 30th for Kirby, respectably) even helped.
Similar to Klonoa, fans of Osamu Tezuka's Unico also shares fanbases with Kirby fans (especially in Japan) due to both containing similar darker moments while both protagonists are adorable and badass. Nightmare (the Big Bad of Kirby's Adventure) even shares similarities with one of the antagonists Unico faces in the manga (and 1981 feature film). Such as "The Baron" (one of the several villains Unico faces) sharing similarities with Nightmare where both characters have a One-Winged Angel form. This even extends to other villains Kirby faces in the series who also shares similarities with other villains from Unico.
Meta Knight's identity as another member of Kirby's race is technically a spoiler on the grounds that you don't know anything about him until his defeat. The fandom's been talking about it for years, so never mind about that.
Galacta Knight is meant to be a major surprise in each game he appears in, but he's so widely talked about in the fanbase that his appearances don't come as much of a surprise anymore. Star Allies lampshades this by having his seemingly-gratuitous appearance actually be a Bait-and-Switch Boss. Funny enough, this continued bait and switch in later games has given a similar reputation to Morpho Knight and by extention, any seemingly incidential butterflies shown in any given cutscene.
Practically everyone knows about Marx being a Treacherous Quest Giver. Later games wouldn't even try to hide it, showing his Final Boss form in cameos. His pause screen description in Star Allies outright states that "this final boss is here to help". Magolor's betrayal is similarly widespread — Star Allies shows his final boss forms outright — but the fanbase is divided roughly down the middle as to whether they try to hide it or just say it outright.
Jerkass Woobie: King Dedede. Considering practically every game involves him being possessed, mind controlled, or duped into fighting Kirby and getting his ass kicked it's hard not to feel bad for him.
Kirby himself is this. There are Nintendo fans who firmly believe the pink puff's badassery is only rivaled by Captain Falcon. The fact that Planet Robobot described him as having infinite power (which would technically make him god-like) and the fact that Mass Attack concludes with Kirby killing the implied Death God has only amplified this, and it reached further extremes when Star Allies heavily implied that Kirby is a reincarnated Eldritch Abomination. The Super Smash Bros. community usually hype Kirby, Shulk, Bayonetta, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Pit as the five strongest characters due to them all canonically killing gods in their home series. It got an extra boost with the reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Story Mode, which involves every single character apparently dying at the hands of a Light Is Not GoodEldritch Abomination... except for Kirby.
King Dedede. His antics are continually over-the-top, and ups the ante with every new game. To quote a tip from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Dedede doesn't need to copy abilities like Kirby because he "is already perfect".
Meta Knight, from his introduction, has been seen as really, really kickass. Three things have solidified it: him summoning Galacta Knight just to prove that he can beat him, his complete Game-Breaker status in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and a cover of his theme winning a Grammy.
During the Boss Rush in Super Star, you will have to fight a Waddle Dee with at least ten times the health of a normal Waddle Dee. It's still a Curb-Stomp BattleZero-Effort Boss (he doesn't move, and you can still inhale him). A video on the internet portrayed him as an unstoppable god of destruction (via a player who thought it would be hilarious) and the fandom's pumped him up ever since. In case anyone wants to argue, here is Waddle Dee proving his point. Contains spoilers!
Kirby himself, since many of his enemies, especially Waddle Dees, are mostly harmless so long as you leave them alone. There are also a lot of jokes about how his main power revolves around eating people.
And of course, there's Dark Matter. While it was already a menacing force to begin with, whenever fans aren't portraying them as a DestroyerWoobie Species, they instead love to take their atrocities to the point where Dark Matter in fandom is often considered A Nazi by Any Other Name at best and basically the In-Universe equivalent to the Great Filter at worst.
Kirby, obviously. His baby-like voice in the anime also helps. Many other characters, even a lot of the enemies, are also cute.
As the rather large amount of Fan Art would show, Ribbon seems to get a lot of attention for her cuteness. She's a pink-hairedfairy girl, after all.
This whole series could basically be called Moe: The Series, as almost everyone (minus the Final Boss of most games) is utterly adorable. Even Meta Knight without his mask is pretty cute.
Moral Event Horizon: Pratically every final boss in the games crosses that at least once, but the most relevant are:
Marx crosses it when he tricks Kirby into gathering the star pieces for him in order to become powerful enough to take over Pop Star, then left Kirby to die in space while gloating over his scheming and bragging of the fact that he will couse all the mischief he wants. Luckily, the pink puffball survives and kicks his rear. While Marx technically helps out Kirby later on, he's not doing it out of altruism, keeping this moment firmly as where he crossed the line.
While Masahiro Sakurai is the one who created the franchise and directed some of the main games through its run in the 90s (Dream Land, Adventure and its remake, Super Star), two creators are seen as having refined Sakurai's base into something special:
Shinichi Shimomura, director of the "Dark Matter Trilogy" (Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards), gave the franchise a much more coherent direction than the titles directed by Sakurai, introducing a focus on intricate puzzle solving, story-telling reliant on environments and wordless cutscenes, and surprisingly dark villains in the Dark Matter clan, all of which would carry over into the games after Sakurai's departure from HAL.
Shinya Kumazaki, director and later general director of the franchise since Super Star Ultra, was responsible for bringing the Super Star combat systemnote having abilities with multiple moves into the modern Kirby games, as well as reconciling the action-oriented combat of the Sakurai-directed games with the puzzle-oriented approach of the Dark Matter Trilogy, creating a direction that brought the best of both worlds. Kumazaki also greatly fleshed out the universe and lore of the series compared to both Sakurai and Shimomura, bringing together elements introduced by both directors and introducing several of his own additions such as Another Dimension and Galacta Knight.
Although Bandana Waddle Dee originally made his debut in the Masahiro Sakurai-directed Super Star, it is universally agreed that Shinya Kumazaki is the character's true creator, as he took who was originally just one of several opponents you face in Super Star's Megaton Punch mini game and fleshed him out to be a unique character in his own right.
In Kirby Squeak Squad, Kirby goes on a quest (read: rampage) for his stolen piece of cake. In every other platform game, his goals are more noble, but some fans hang on to this one instance and insist Kirby is a Sociopathic Hero.
Meta Knight attempting to take over Dream Land in Kirby Super Star was very early on his characterisation but some fans would have you think he is still an outright villain despite being portrayed as an outright hero at best and a slight Anti-Hero at his absolute worst (except for Kirby Fighters 2) in pretty much every game he appears in since.
One True Threesome: Magolor, Taranza, and Susie are a decently popular trio in the fanbase, both platonically and romantically, mostly due to being popular villain characters from beloved 2010s Kirby games.
Periphery Demographic: Though the games are and remain mostly geared for people beginning to play video games, a good chunk of the fanbase are experienced gamers who grew up playing them and who gleefully return to each new installment, no matter how short or easy it is. It helps that the games tend to be well-made, and make up for the easiness by putting the difficulty into 100% Completion; in fact, their easiness and cuteness can be therapeutic for many people, and provide nice breaks for people who play "heavier" games.
While Kirby may not be as popular as other Nintendo franchises, it has an extremely good reputation, and it's rare to find a Nintendo fan that outright hates the games. Furthermore, while some may call a few games "lacking", the opinion that Kirby has never had a truly "bad" game is common, which is a rarity among Nintendo series.
It's practically impossible to even criticize Kirby as a character. One artist, Shenanigansen, played on this by making a tweet claiming that Kirby was the worst Nintendo character. After severe backlash from fans, he immediately apologized and withdrew his statement. Later, he posted this picture, likely indicating it as a joke. The series' other characters, such as Meta Knight and Dedede, also have such a reputation due to their unique, charming designs and personalities and lack of controversial character traits, particularly for those who find Kirby to be boring in comparison.
Scrappy Mechanic: Attacks that knock the ability out of you. It's been a mainstay for most games and can lead to a pretty bad cycle of getting hit over and over trying to recover the star, only for it to get knocked back out. Made worse by the fact that there's never actually any indication as to what will or will not, as even basic enemies can do it with contact damage occasionally. How often Kirby loses his ability from attacks varies by game. Recent games have many different enemy and boss attacks programmed to always knock out Kirby's ability, and in Kirby's Adventure, Amazing Mirror, and Squeak Squad, every means of taking damage will make Kirby drop his ability. This can get truly aggravating when going for the fastest possible times in Boss Rush modes, as you can't afford to get hit too much or you'll waste time.
Squick: In Super Star (and a few other games with co-op), a player can share the effects of a recently consumed food item by walking up to their ally, at which point the two get face to face for a second. There's really no other way to interpret this animation as anything but player 1 spitting up what they had just eaten into player 2's mouth... Or they share the health gain with a kiss. Since healing items are food, Kirby's giving the chewed up remains to his sidekick. Meta Knight can do it too, through his mask. Somehow. This is joked a lot in fanarts, and if Kirby Super Star's manga adaptation is any indication, the creators are fully aware of this. . All ambiguity is thrown out the window in Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Kirby Fighters 2, where sharing food between teammates is accompanied by a visible "SMOOCH!" effect. In Kirby and the Forgotten Land, it is replaced with a high-five, likely due to how difficult it would be to share food this way in 3D, especially when in Mouthful Mode.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Ado and Adeleine are the franchise's only human characters (or character), stated to be visiting Popstar to study. Given how unique they are, you would think the franchise would delve into who they are and where they came from. Despite this, however, the franchise never touches upon any of those topics. It doesn't help that Adeleine would be Put on a Bus after Crystal Shards until Star Allies brought her (and Ribbon) back 18 years later.
Unexpected Character: Even if the two are just depicted as dolls in the artwork, nobody had expected the reappearance of Tiff and Tuff from Kirby: Right Back at Ya! in the key artwork◊ for the franchise's 30th anniversary, given how little HAL has acknowledged them outside of the anime.
For the longest time, many non-Japanese fans considered Ado from Kirby's Dream Land 3 to be male. However, Japanese material, mostly manga adaptations, has always referred to her as female.
Vindicated by History: Not an uncommon occurrence with Kirby games, since they're often released on consoles just as they're about to be replaced by their successors.
Kirby's Dream Land 3 was one due to coming after the Tough Act to FollowKirby Super Star, and undoing many of the new mechanics from that game, such as multi-attack abilities, minigames, and a more elaborate Boss Rush. Instead, the slow-paced gameplay and Animal Friends from Kirby's Dream Land 2 made a comeback. This was because the games were made by different development teams. It also was overlooked due to the release of the Nintendo 64, and the "coloring book" art style. Now, it's seen as much of a classic as that game, especially due to it improving the Kirby series' Minimalist Cast with Gooey and the Animal Friends, and being surprisingly Darker and Edgier than most games in the series. With its release at the launch of the Switch's SNES service, appearing on the console before Super Star, many people are experiencing the game for the first time without its more popular SNES outing to overshadow it.
Kirby Super Star itself was an Acclaimed Flop in Western regions, as it was released in those markets near-simultaneously with the launch of the Nintendo 64. Now it is almost unanimously considered to be one of the finest first-party Nintendo games and frequently cited as the best Kirby game period.
Similarly, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards was disliked for many of the same reasons. Now, it's enjoyed for giving Kirby an Implied Love Interest, and, once again, being Surprise Creepy. However, the Kirby series switched back to Adventure style, then back to Super Star style due to the initial poor reception of these two games. Many fans are eager to see another game like them.
The Super Star manga, which ran with the "Sharing Health" mechanic by making Kirby's helpers all Camp Gay stereotypes constantly fighting for his affections (Bonkers and Knuckle Joe especially) and had a number of other risque jokes, such as big-breasted female versions of Kirby and Dedede, the former having six of them, the latter wearing BDSM gear.
The German Club Nintendo "detective" comics, which showed Kirby smoking, drinking, reading porn, and discovering a recently murdered corpse. The comics' writer Claude M. Moyse was ostensibly invoking this trope out of an unexplained grudge towards Sakurai. Oh, and in one of these comics, Kirby even says "Shit".