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Knuckle Joe

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This article is about Knuckle Joe, an enemy in the Kirby series. For other uses, see Joe (disambiguation).
Knuckle Joe
SSBU spirit Knuckle Joe.png

Official artwork of Knuckle Joe from Kirby Super Star Ultra.

Universe Kirby
Debut Kirby Super Star (1996)
Smash Bros. appearances Brawl
Most recent non-Smash appearance Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe (2023)
Console/platform of origin Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Species Knuckle Joe
Gender Male
Place of origin Dream Land
English voice actor Alésia Glidewell
Japanese voice actor Minami Takayama
Article on WiKirby Knuckle Joe

Knuckle Joe (ナックルジョー, Knuckle Joe) is an enemy from the Kirby universe.


Knuckle Joe debuted as an enemy in Kirby Super Star (Kirby's Fun Pak in PAL regions). He has a stout, humanoid appearance with spiky hair, wearing a bandanna and a bodysuit. Kirby can copy him to obtain the Fighter ability, and can also summon him as the ability's Helper. In Super Star, enemy Knuckle Joes appear with red bodysuits and white hair, while friendly Knuckle Joes have blue bodysuits and blonde hair; later games use the Helper design in all instances, which is reflected in the Super Smash Bros. series.

Knuckle Joe's attacks as an enemy usually consist of moves such as Vulcan Jab (rapid punches), Smash Punch (a wide punch that acts like a projectile), and Rising Break (an uppercut). Kirby can utilize these same attacks with the Fighter ability. In Brawl, SSB4, and Ultimate Knuckle Joe appears as an Assist Trophy and performs these same maneuvers, calling out their names as he does so.

Knuckle Joe also appeared as a recurring character in the Kirby: Right Back at Ya! anime. Reflecting his in-game appearance, he starts out as a minor antagonist before befriending Kirby and aiding him in later episodes. His Japanese actress in the anime, Minami Takayama, also provides his Japanese voice for Smash.

In Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

Knuckle Joe was mentioned in the Fighter Kirby trophy as "an enemy skilled at physical attacks".

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

As an Assist Trophy[edit]

Knuckle Joe attacking in Brawl.

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Knuckle Joe is one of the supporting characters that spawns from the Assist Trophy item. When Knuckle Joe is summoned, he uses his "Vulcan Jab" technique, which is a series of rapid punches, on the nearest foe. Afterwards, he finishes the opponent off with one of two "finisher" attacks: the strong, short-ranged "Smash Punch", or the electricity-charged uppercut known as the "Rising Break" technique. The finisher he uses is chosen at random. He will use the finisher either the second or third time he did the Vulcan Jab. He could be considered one of the most powerful Assist Trophy characters, because if he manages to trap an opponent in his initial barrage, he can KO them at 0%.

For this game, Knuckle Joe is peculiarly voiced by Alesia Glidewell, who also voiced Zero Suit Samus and Krystal.


Knuckle Joe's trophy in Brawl
Knuckle Joe
A martial artist known for amazing attacks like the Vulcan Jab. With his bandana, he looks and fights the part of a Muay Thai boxer. When Kirby copies Knuckle Joe, he gains the fighting techniques of a hand-to-hand-combat expert. Knuckle Joe also engages in friendly block-breaking competitions with Kirby. His other famous techniques are the Smash Punch and Rising Break.
SNES: Kirby Super Star
SNES: Kirby's Fun Pak

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

As an Assist Trophy[edit]

Knuckle Joe attacking in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

Knuckle Joe reprises his role as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. 4. He is functionally identical to his Brawl appearance, but the overall power of his Vulcan Jab and Rising Break have been considerably reduced, and neither attack can reliably OHKO opponents. As a trade-off, he now performs his attack pattern twice (a series of Vulcan Jabs then finishing with a Smash Punch/Rising Break) as opposed to once in Brawl, making him much more effective. He can also be defeated this time around.


Knuckle Joe's trophy is one of the very few (along with Shadow the Hedgehog, Timmy & Tommy, Master Hand, and Crazy Hand) to be a Challenge unlock in both versions of SSB4. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS it is obtained by playing 10 collective hours (total gameplay x participants) of Smash. In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U it is obtained by clearing Classic Mode at intensity 9.0 without any customizations.

Knuckle Joe's trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Knuckle Joe's trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Knuckle Joe
NTSC A martial-arts master, Knuckle Joe can be inhaled by Kirby and his Fighter ability copied. If you summon him, he'll leap toward the enemy nearest you and unleash his powerful Vulcan Jab attack. He'll then finish off his target with a devastating Smash Punch or Rising Break.
SNES: Kirby Super Star (08/1996)
Wii: Kirby's Return to Dream Land (10/2011)
PAL When Kirby copies this expert in all martial arts, he becomes a pro at hand-to-hand combat. Release Knuckle Joe in this game, and he'll jump towards the enemy nearest to you and unleash his mighty Vulcan Jab, then finish them off with a devastating Smash Punch or Rising Break!
SNES: Kirby's Fun Pak (01/1997)
Wii: Kirby's Adventure Wii (11/2011)

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

As an Assist Trophy[edit]

Knuckle Joe reprises his role as an Assist Trophy, however the knockback of his Smash Punch and Rising Break have been considerably reduced, making his KO potential much weaker overall. Additionally, KOing him now earns a point. Knuckle Joe now faces the screen regardless of direction he turns towards. Training Mode describes his Assist Trophy: Opens with a Vulcan Jab, and then unleashes Smash Punch or Rising Break. He cannot appear on Midgar, Mute City SNES, Norfair, and Suzaku Castle.


No. Image Name Type Class Slots Base Power Max Power Base Attack Max Attack Base Defense Max Defense Ability Series
SSBU spirit Knuckle Joe.png
Knuckle Joe
★★★ 1 2810 8472 1581 4766 1121 3381 Fist Attack ↑ Kirby Series


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japan Japanese ナックルジョー, Knuckle Joe
UK English Knuckle Joe
France French Knuckle Joe
Germany German Knuckle Joe
Spain Spanish Knuckle Joe
Italy Italian Knuckle Joe
China Chinese (Simplified) 格斗家乔 Fighter Joe
Taiwan Chinese (Traditional) 格鬥家喬 Fighter Joe
South Korea Korean 넉클 죠, Knuckle Joe
Netherlands Dutch Knuckle Joe
Russia Russian Накл Джо Nakl Joe
Portugal Portuguese Knuckle Joe


  • Knuckle Joe, Gray Fox, Lyn and Shadow the Hedgehog are the only Assist Trophies in Brawl to say a complete phrase.
  • In Brawl, Knuckle Joe's official artwork has his mouth wide open, while his trophy has his mouth shut.
  • Knuckle Joe is one of two Kirby characters to be voiced in the Japanese version of the series by the actor who played them in the Kirby: Right Back at Ya! anime, the other being Meta Knight. Both of them are also voiced by different actors in the English version of the series than they were in the anime.
  • Rising Break has an electricity effect in Smash, but not in the Kirby series. This is in reference to how its name in Japanese sounds like "Raijin Break" (Raijin is the god of thunder in Japanese).
  • Knuckle Joe is the only Assist Trophy in SSB4 who is a common enemy in his home universe that is not an enemy in Smash Run.

External links[edit]