King Dedede (デデデ大王 Great King Dedede) is a major recurring antagonist (or anti-hero) from the Kirby series. Since debuting in Kirby's Dream Land as a full-fledged villain, King Dedede has steadily transitioned into both Kirby's "arch-frenemy" and an anti-hero, as he willingly assists or directly allies with Kirby on a number of occasions for the greater good while maintaining their rivalry.
King Dedede is a rotund, blue bird who possesses an egocentric and selfish disposition, which is best exemplified by his status as the self-proclaimed king of Dream Land. His signature attire consists of a red, regal coat with white fur trim and his personal emblem, a stylized version of his hand striking the V sign, embossed on the back. He also wears yellow mitten-like gloves, a red tuque with a white fur pom-pom and gold crown-like brim, and a sash featuring blue and white trim with red and yellow tessellated triangles.
King Dedede's powers are vaguely similar to Kirby's; he is able to inhale enemies and spit them out as projectiles (but cannot copy a foe's ability like Kirby), or inhale air in order to puff himself up and float, the latter of which he learned after rigorous training following his first defeat at Kirby's hands. Outside of this, Dedede wields a large wooden mallet as his signature weapon; this mallet is depicted in some games as having special features built into it, such as a powerful jet engine, or the ability to fire missiles or a chargeable laser.
In early Kirby games and spin-off titles, Dedede is depicted as the central antagonist. Beginning with Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, however, he slowly transitioned into an anti-hero, although he remains the most well-known antagonist in the series. In fact, a common misconception about King Dedede is that he is an "evil" character. He seems to be more selfish than evil, and appears to otherwise have a good heart. King Dedede's evil actions range from stealing food from the Dream Land residents in Kirby's Dream Land to stealing all the stars from the sky in Kirby's Dream Course. In other games, such as Kirby's Dream Land 3 and Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Dedede's evil actions are not from his own volition; he is manipulated by a greater evil through mind control or possession. His intentions are also occasionally misguided; in Kirby's Adventure, Dedede breaks the Star Rod (the power source of the Fountain of Dreams) to protect Dream Land from the evil Nightmare, but its inhabitants are unable to dream as a consequence.
King Dedede's relationship with Kirby also varies, from a rival to a partner. While he appears to view Kirby with general annoyance or reluctant friendship, Kirby himself bears no such grudge. The duo partake in friendly speed-eating contests in Kirby Super Star's Gourmet Race sub-game, and Dedede even teams up with Kirby as a playable character in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and Kirby Star Allies. In the anime Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, he is much more malicious and determined to defeat Kirby, but rarely succeeds due to his simple-mindedness. However, he retains a form of respect for Kirby, which he rarely shows.
In Smash Bros., he is voiced by his creator, Masahiro Sakurai, who also voiced Dedede in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. His appearance in the Smash Bros. series is primarily influenced by Kirby Super Star. However, there are additional details original to the series, such as his kimono-like robes and mechanically-enhanced hammer. This design later influenced other Kirby games, including Kirby Mass Attack and Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
In Super Smash Bros., King Dedede makes a cameo in the background of Dream Land. However, according to a page on the Japanese Super Smash Bros. site, King Dedede was, alongside Bowser and Mewtwo, planned to be included as a playable character, but was cut. Aside from this, no other information is available.
Like SSB, King Dedede reappears in the background of Dream Land for Super Smash Bros. Melee.
King Dedede also makes an appearance as one of the collectible trophies that can be found through the Trophy Lottery.
As a playable character
Main article: King Dedede (SSBB)
King Dedede is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, making him the third playable character from the Kirby series. He wields his trademark hammer, swinging it in most of his standard attacks, like the Ice Climbers, and has very powerful hammer-based attacks. His special moves are Inhale, Waddle Dee Toss, Super Dedede Jump, and Jet Hammer. Inhale is very similar to Kirby's trademark move, but King Dedede lacks the ability to copy abilities. Waddle Dee Toss lets him throw his minions at foes, sometimes producing not only Waddle Dees, but also more deadly Waddle Doos and Gordos. It is also possible for Dedede to throw out capsules containing items.
Super Dedede Jump is an effective recovery move, sending King Dedede high into the air, then crashing into the ground to damage foes. He can also cancel out of doing this. Finally, King Dedede mechanizes his hammer with Jet Hammer. The hammer's power is charged up by holding the special attack button, and then released for a mighty swing. King Dedede incurs damage after charging for too long, however. His dash attack, forward smash, Inhale and Super Dedede Jump all come from Kirby's Dream Land.
Like other playable characters, King Dedede retains his core design, albeit greatly enhanced graphically; most notably, his usually-exposed girth (other than his patterned waistband) is now covered by fine robes of a similar color, making his overall wear resemble a kimono. Additionally, his alternate costumes not only change the color of his outfit, but the design on his waistband, as well.
King Dedede currently ranks 12th on the tier list in C+ tier.
The self-styled king of the amazingly peaceful Dream Land. He continually does things unbecoming a king, like stealing the kingdom's food supplies or all the stars from the sky. He's not all bad, though, and sometimes performs good deeds. While he and Kirby often battle, they've been known to compete good-natured at speed-eating contests and minigames.
As a playable character
King Dedede returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. He has a more cartoonish look than his appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, reminiscent of his appearance in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. He has gained a new Final Smash, Dedede Burst.
King Dedede has seen a large fall from his previous tier list spot for Brawl, now ranking 52nd out of 55 characters for SSB4. While still maintaining his high power and disjointed reach with his hammer, he lost his effective chain grab, a technique removed from SSB4. This removes what made him so effective in Brawl. His back aerial was also changed for the worse, no longer being as versatile as it once was. King Dedede also has a new side special: Gordo Throw. Since he now throws only Gordos, the new move has consistent power compared to the random nature of Waddle Dee Toss. However, this new attack can also be a hindrance for Dedede, as the Gordos are easily sent back to him by reflectors or any attack that does 2% or higher. His large size also makes him vulnerable to combos, as well as camping, due to his slow movement. Due to the loss of his effectiveness from Brawl, Dedede is regarded generally poorly in competitive play despite some notably high tournament results from players like Big D and Zaki.
As a playable character
Main article: King Dedede (SSBU)
King Dedede returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He once again features a new Final Smash; in this case, it is Dede-Rush, which is described as a cage fight where, in his Masked Dedede form, he attacks any trapped opponents with a barrage of missiles and his Jet Hammer. Unlike Brawl and SSB4, he is an unlockable character instead of a starter character.