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Kirby: Who is Morpho Knight?

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  • Posted on 08th Apr, 2022 23:20 PM
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Post-game content in Kirby games has been building up the series' lore for a long time, but Morpho Knight only recently entered the spotlight.

p>The Kirby franchise is home to all manner of friendly faces and sinister foes. The pink puffball has been fighting King Dedede since the beginning, even if it's not always His Highness' choice. Kirby's circle of friends has also been steadily growing over the years, with just about every major living friend and rival reappearing in Kirby Star Allies. Kirby's other foes are just as iconic and dangerous, with Meta Knight alternating between hero and villain alongside Dedede, and various other threats stepping up to challenge Kirby.

There is a sort of meta plot running through the non-canon post-game modes of many Kirby titles, with "Soul" bosses referencing one another to demonstrate a legacy of evil. There is also the enigmatic Galacta Knight, considered the strongest warrior in the galaxy who Meta Knight - and later Kirby - challenges to prove his worth. One more entity is hidden deep within Kirby's last couple games. A mysterious figure named Morpho Knight has shown up near the end of Kirby Star Allies’ and Kirby and the Forgotten Land's post-game content, and there seems to be a lot going on with this new yet familiar face. Spoilers for Kirby and the Forgotten Land ahead.

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The Meta Origins of Morpho Knight

Morpho Knight was intended to be in the Kirby series since its potential first 3D offering. There were three Kirby games intended for the Nintendo GameCube that were quietly canceled. One was planned to have both the four player co-op that defined console Kirby games, and another had a 3D play space that would only be realized in Forbidden Land. The Japanese 20th anniversary booklet revealed that one of these titles was going to have a knight almost identical to Morpho Knight. Fans initially thought that this was a beta design for Meta Knight, but director Shinya Kumazaki later confirmed this was a different character entirely.

It seems like Kumazaki and his team had been planning to incorporate Morpho Knight into the series for some time. In Kumazaki's first console game as a director, orange butterflies began appearing in the opening and ending cutscenes. Kirby's Return to Dreamland, Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Kirby: Planet Robobot, Kirby Star Allies, and Kirby and the Forgotten Land all share this Easter egg. These butterflies are loosely based on real morpho butterflies, although they are usually blue in real life. In Japan, butterflies are sometimes considered a figure of death, and a guide in the spiritual realm.

Morpho Knight's Unique Role in the Kirby Series

Morpho Knight debuted in its true form as the final boss of Kirby Star Allies' Guest Star ???? Star Allies Go! sub-game. Players who reach the end of the mode and defeat Hyness are greeted by Galacta Knight, one of the traditional bosses fought at the end of bonus modes since Kirby Super Star Ultra. However, an orange butterfly appears and lands on the knight. Galacta Knight is absorbed and the butterfly transforms into Morpho Knight, which is repeated in Kirby and the Forgotten Land but this time with Soul Forgo getting absorbed. While Galacta Knight has proven its strength by destroying other bosses in the past, Morpho Knight dwarfs those displays by absorbing other boss characters.

Japanese and English pause screens convey Morpho Knight is an enigmatic being from either “paradise” or the underworld that deals with death, souls, and passing judgment. It seems to arrive in climactic moments seeking powerful souls to absorb, although the anniversary art book implies its fusion with Galacta Knight was out of sympathy. Also of note is that Morpho Knight is canon, meanwhile Galacta Knight technically still isn't. While Isolated Isles: Forgo Dreams is part of Forgotten Land’s post-game, it is the story's true ending. Having what has traditionally been a bonus boss kill off the main villain, duel Kirby, and then drop a Copy Ability based on itself is unprecedented. There's a good chance this dimension-hopping fiend will be seen again, and until then, Kirby fans will be left speculating whether it is part of some larger mystery.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is available now for Nintendo Switch.

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