Story & Art by Hirokazu Hikawa
Translated by Amanda Haley
English Adaptation by Jennifer LeBlanc
Touch-Up Art & Lettering by Jeannie Lee
Design by Shawn Carrico
Edited by Jennifer LeBlanc
Kirby Manga Mania is a best-of-collection of Hoshi no Kirby – Dedede de Pupupu na Monogatari (Kirby of the Stars: The Legend of King Dedede in Dream Land) by Hirokazu Hikawa. Despite the popularity of the Kirby franchise, this is the first time that this Kirby manga has been released in English. That said, is the classic gaming icon equally as lovable in manga form?
Kirby Manga Mania consists of self-contained gag chapters, centered around the lives of Kirby and King Dedede in Dream Land. With this premise, you’d probably expect to read a relaxing adventure about Kirby and his friends, but you’d be very wrong. In fact, the manga opens with a story about Kirby getting drunk off of “Loopy Juice” and wreaking havoc during a festival. This is something I would have never expected from a Kirby story, but to my surprise, it’s executed perfectly. This also gives you a good idea of the crazy and hilarious tone that Kirby Manga Mania embraces.
The manga’s interpretation of Kirby is that they are a walking ball of chaos. Kirby is friendly to the inhabitants of Dream Land, but Kirby is oblivious to the gravity of their own actions. This leads to Kirby often being a source of trouble, whether it’s causing massive property damage or stealing King Dedede’s precious strawberry desserts.
In contrast, King Dedede is often the manga’s “straight-man”, attempting to mitigate the effects of Kirby’s actions, while also trying to relax as the ruler of Dream Land. Unfortunately, this also leads to him being the biggest victim of Kirby’s lovable rampages, with his body and prized possessions often left in shambles. The dynamic between King Dedede and Kirby is an interesting change of pace from the early Kirby video games. Instead of Kirby being King Dedede’s arch-nemesis, they’re more like a troublesome neighbor. There are even several chapters where they hang out together and are on friendly terms. Kirby Manga Mania wants to show its cast having fun, and it does just that.
Kirby Manga Mania’s artwork is a slight departure from the usual aesthetics of the Kirby video games. Hikawa draws the characters in a more cartoon-like style, utilizing rounder body shapes and larger facial features. These stylistic differences may be an adjustment for some readers, but Hikawa’s artwork fits with the manga’s humor. Many of the manga’s panels emphasize the reactions of King Dedede and Kirby, whether it’s their bursts of laughter or their shocked panic. Kirby Manga Mania is chaotic at its core, so it’s only fitting for its artwork to further enhance its wacky nature.
Kirby Manga Mania is a hilarious read that will both entertain and surprise fans of the video game franchise. Hikawa makes some unexpected choices in their depiction of Dream Land, but the manga’s unique approach to the world of Kirby makes this an experience like no other. Our favorite pink puff ball hasn’t lost its charm!