Apr 29th, 2014


One of the biggest noticeable differences between Japanese and American box art for Kirby games is how Kirby himself is portrayed. Often in Japan Kirby is shown with wide eyes and a certain cuteness, while in America he’s often given weapons and angry eyes to accentuate his serious side. This divide has been pretty clear for a long time, even going so far as to have a TV Tropes page dedicated to the differences.

HAL Laboratories director Shinya Kumazaki explained that Japan loves the cuteness of Kirby, while Americans prefer their pink puff ball to look a little bit more serious.

“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. While it does start cute, 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. 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.”

Apparently, Americans really do love violence more than cuteness.

local_offer    kirby  Kirby: triple deluxe  Nintendo  nintendo 3ds  wii u  
  • Aleksandar Antonijevic


  • Mayoo

    In other news, the sky is blue, Canada doesn’t exist and Unicorns are in fact Rhinos.


    • andrewjcole

      It took awhile, but eventually, I learned to interpret US and US and Canada on this website.

  • Moyack

    I like the cute kirby more πŸ™

  • That guy who hates Spike

    I guess the same goes with Pit’s boxart in Kid Icarus Uprising.

  • Gabe Hoffman

    Gotta love the edginess

  • WarioForever

    I didn’t think of that until now.

  • Capt. Smoker

    Kirby ^^ my favourite franchise from Nintendo, he’s pissed because he doesn’t have a Wii U game yet

    • That guy who hates Spike

      My favorite is Mario

      • Capt. Smoker

        Mario’s probably 5th on my list, behind, Kirby, Fire Emblem, Zelda & Metroid πŸ™‚

        • That guy who hates Spike

          Have you not played Super Mario Galaxy? Its perfect.

          • Capt. Smoker

            graphics and motion control spoilt it for me, I didn’t mind it πŸ™‚ but not even close to my favourite Mario franchises, Paper Mario the thousand year door and 3d world live long in my memory πŸ˜€

          • Daniel Brown

            All the Paper Marios are so great.. except I didn’t care for Sticker Star in the slightest.
            It wasn’t Paper Mario at all. No story, no party members, and it wasn’t open world! Plus the sticker system with bosses was trial and error; you had to fight the boss, fail, then try and bring the right sticker for its weakness.
            I was totally disappointed.

          • Capt. Smoker

            Completely agree, sticker star got out of hand at being complex in my opinion, too much so to be any fun at all

    • Ony

      Skomer, I didn’t knew you liked cute stuff :Β°

      • Capt. Smoker

        You haven’t seen my love heart disco sun glasses! <3.<3

    • Thomas Vienna

      That’s because the line is too long.

    • The Clockwork Being

      Amazing Mirror is still my favorite Kirby game by far! That one was pretty hard and also challenging. I have yet to reach 100% on the game.

      • Capt. Smoker

        I have to agree with that, still mine too πŸ™‚

        • The Clockwork Being

          Who’s your favorite boss from the game?

          • Capt. Smoker

            Lol their all hilarious in design, its always hard to decide, probably gotta be gangsta mouse in the sun glasses or the eye in the cloud xD people always rip on kirby games for looking childish but that was always the charm for me, i especially loved squeak squad on the ds, felt like the good ol days playing that, i really hope it makes it over to vc once ds games get ported over, the bosses were crazy hard despite looking too damn cute xD

      • jjbredesen

        I have yet to cross 30% xD

        • The Clockwork Being

          Wait did you beat the game and you’re still at 30%?

          • jjbredesen

            No never beat it, i got Mario Bros 3 and Sonic the same day so i never completed Kirbey :/ , but i am replying it on 3DS VC once i am done with Minish Cap.

  • darkcreap

    No news here. It is a well known issue. Same happens with Rayman Legends. Compare the US/European cases and Japanese cases: the exact same thing happens. Cute and funny for the Japanese version. Aggressive for the US/Europe version.

    Quite contradictory, since Rayman has a crazy mood to it. Rayman should be portrayed as happy/crazy in any case.

  • Alden Youngthunder

    Just seen the trailer. Guess I won’t be renewing my xbl gold. Thank you basegod

  • Alexander Kleinwechter

    I think its kinda sad that the US market is like that, boys think cute means for kids, wich it is, but they all kinda have the wrong view on it.

    • Squid

      Couldn’t agree more. πŸ˜‰ people need to find the fun in these rather than the overall presentation of it.

      • Mario

        You know the saying. Never judge a book by his cover.

        • Miles “Tails” Prower

          So very true.

        • Then again, if a book’s cover contained magical unicorns in it and it’s title was, “Unicorn Adventure”, I’d avoid buying it.

          • Mario

            Hehe. Right. :-]

          • Squid

            I dunno, the MLP comics seem well made.

    • I blame the fathers. “Be a man! What’s with all this pink, cute stuff!”

      • Peter Lythaby

        A ‘colourist’ once told me pink was a male colour. We ended up agreeing to disagee.

  • Miguel Angel Barrueta HernΓ‘nde

    In the west, cuteness is almost always considered childish

    • Squid

      Sadly, though Animal Crossing still sells a bajillion copies.

      • Justin McQuillen

        What’s sad about that?

        • If you noticed, there’s a comma after ‘sadly’, implying that it is sad cuteness is considered childish, but that Animal Crossing sells a lot of copies despite it.

  • desgraciado79

    I like cute, crazy chicks.

  • Daniel Gonzalez

    To be fair, Kumazaki, I don’t think making him look angry is going to help much. His cuteness still shows to the westerners. Thanks for the explanation, but Kirby looks cute no matter how you go about it. ;P

    • WT Herrod Jr.

      I know, it’s sort of like “Dawww, him’s angwee”

      I’m a Kirby fan myself though

  • Sdudyoy

    That makes sense, but I really don’t care about Kirby’s facial expression, he’ll be cute either way.

  • Nintendofreak
  • crocodileman94

    Itsudemo guusukaapii hoshi no kaabii

    Kedo honto wa tsuyoi yo honto kana

    Fushigi na chikara wo motsu densetsu no hiiroo

    Tsuyoi hoshi no senshi yarumonda kaabii

  • Squid

    Kirby. One of my favorite franchises, can’t wait for Triple Deluxe on Friday. And I think I may main Kirby as my veteran, instead of Ness or Lucario.

  • Dark-Link73

    When in Rome do as the Romans do!

  • Noah

    It’s sad that western culture demands aggression. Freakin’ SpikeTV mentality. I wish Kirby could just be Kirby

    • X3Charlie

      To be fair, he did say Kirby is both sides cute and serious. Neither portrayal is wrong.

  • Virus6

    So many gamers are incredibly adverse to anything remotely childish looking. I’m surprised they didn’t feel compelled to change Kirby’s color to something less “girly”.

  • Frankie

    They make Kirby angry because they are afraid cute things will not sell here.

    Just like they told Iwata that Pokemon would not sell in the west.

  • Ace J

    can’t wait till friday when triple deluxe comes out. btw does anyone know when it will be on the e shop? like will it be on the e shop at midnight of thursday night?

  • Assassinated23

    I packed you an extra pair of shoes, and your angry eyes, just in case.

  • Ducked

    Will Wii U Daily be writing a review on this game?

  • leo


  • SinkyChan

    i think they discussed this a while back tbh.

  • Madmagican

    There ya go, cultural differences (just as previously inferred by so many people)

  • Shootdatrupee!…

    ‘Apparently, Americans really do love violence more than cuteness.’
    You don’t say…all those godamn fps…

  • William Cole

    Dude, kirby is tough as hell. Keep him that way.