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Character Column: Bandana Waddle Dee, “goombas with hats,” and minion identity

Character Column: Bandana Waddle Dee, “goombas with hats,” and minion identity

Welcome again to Season 2 of the Character Column, the place we run down all method of royal, ruffian, and rough-around-the-edges rube in a weekly evaluation of varied characters. Final week we ran down the nuances of Inklings and avatars in Splatoon.

This week, I’d like to start by demanding that you simply take a look at this valuable creature:


Have you ever ever seen such an excellent boy?!

I need to shield this nonexistent smile.


It’s a well-known reality amongst my friends that I personally consider Bandana Waddle Dee to be the bestest boy who ever did stay, to the purpose the place the little red-orange ball of optimism is my Twitter avatar (shameless plug!). And I’m not alone in my adoration for the little fella — he’s been slowly climbing in reputation for over a decade now after his official first look within the revamped Kirby Tremendous Star Extremely, happening to undertake a prestigious playable character position in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, the place he was solidified right into a extra concrete identity.

Bandana Waddle Dee is so widespread (particularly in Japan) that within the lead as much as Tremendous Smash Bros. Final, he’s been some of the oft-requested characters among the many fanbase, being extensively thought-about the apparent selection for a fourth Kirby request. And for some time, he was a reasonably uncontroversial decide — Kirby’s widespread, he’s in style in Kirby, he’s been playable in a number of video games at this level, the place was the difficulty?

Nicely, as a result of the web thrives on dissent, accusations of Bandana Waddle Dee being a nasty match sprung forth, based round a perceived lack of distinguishment from his fellow Waddle Dees. He was slandered as “just a goomba with a hat,” with detractors claiming that the valuable being was missing in identity and character. And to them I say: NAY!

How might you hate such purity, you vile demons?!

However in the present day, I’m not merely involved with defending BWD’s dignity from salty Smash speculators. I’m extra fascinated about dissecting why this turned the primary criticism of Bandana Waddle Dee’s “chances” of turning into a Smash newcomer when any Kirby fan value their salt is aware of him to have a presence past only a mildly particular minion. What makes a minion a minion, and a minion with a hat… a personality?

Bandana beginnings

Bandana Waddle Dee (usually shortened to only “Bandana Dee” although’s by no means been used as official nomenclature) technically first appeared method again within the unique model of Kirby Tremendous Star within the Megaton Punch minigame. However he didn’t actually come into his personal till the Extremely remake, the place he served a small position within the “Revenge of the King” mode. There Bandana Dee acts as King Dedede’s most loyal servant, bravely going to battle Kirby regardless of the chances being desperately stacked towards him, and displaying each valor and fealty in his futile mission. His boss battle is considerably of a joke, as he’s actually only a Waddle Dee with extra HP (and may even be swallowed to win immediately), however one way or the other troopers on to be the lone help for his King in his remaining masked bout with the pink puffball.

He additionally exhibits up in The Area to only… simply… perish.

Whereas a fierce proponent of King Dedede in his preliminary debut, Bandana Dee shortly turns into extra of a help character to Kirby in no matter quest he’s partaking upon. He helps each Kirby and the King in Return to Dream Land of their quest to revive Magolor’s ship, whereas in Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot he acts as a helper who tosses Kirby gadgets for help. Whereas he’s not the primary Kirby pal within the collection to behave in such a method, he’s the newest and constant, showing in almost each recreation since Mass Assault as a superb pal to Kirbs, and night having some nice prominence in spinoffs like Rainbow Curse and Battle Royale. Some even speculate that the Waddle Dee in Kirby 64 is definitely our blue-sporting pal. Toss in one other playable character look in Star Allies earlier this yr, and it’s straightforward to see that Bandana Waddle Dee is not any mere minion, however a outstanding supporting forged member in his personal proper.

I might go extra into the small print of every look, however I’m not right here to argue that he’s some tragic Byronic hero or surprisingly complicated determine or one thing. Bandana Dee is only a easy, useful little man who acts as Kirby’s present greatest pal each time he’s busy saving the world. It’s not probably the most nuanced character, nevertheless it doesn’t have to be. It’s not such as you play Kirby for the wealthy character improvement, do you? In fact not — everyone performs Kirby for the wealthy, deep lore!

What, you thought I used to be kidding? These things makes Tolkien seem like Twilight.

However one’s standing as an iconic or memorable character shouldn’t be solely predicated on their depth. Mario is the face of video video games as an entire and he has the emotional complexity of a dried out mushroom. Bandana Dee is probably not too visually distinct from his compatriots, true, however certainly he has sufficient going for him to warrant a separate presence from being only a Waddle Dee? I imply, it’s not like an precise “goomba with a hat” has ever been a personality, proper?

… Oh.

Garments make the minion

The above, as anyone with good style will certainly know, is Goombario, the primary companion character who joins Mario’s quest in Paper Mario. Goombario is a fairly easy and unextraordinary character — he needs to be like Mario, and thus has taken to emulating his leaping talents to bonk foes on the noggin. He assists Mario like an adoring fanboy, bidding farewell to his household earlier than embarking on the search.

Now, it’s not as if Goombario is a very beloved or related character, and I don’t consider I’ve ever heard him requested for a Smash fighter slot. However I additionally don’t assume anyone would declare that he’s simply “a goomba with a hat.” His character is skinny, admittedly, nevertheless it’s not as if he’s devoid of distinguishing traits from different members of his species.

The identical holds true for almost each associate within the first two Paper Mario video games, truly — with a couple of notable exceptions (Flurrie and Vivian from The Thousand Yr Door), every one is predicated on a basic Mario baddie. And whereas the individuality of their personalities ranges from eccentric to banal, I feel it’s protected to say that no one would have hassle distinguishing them from the species they derive from. So why does Bandana Dee get flack when he has extra presence and character?

I’m solely simply now noticing that Kooper and Parakarry have the identical expression.

The reply is twofold. First, design. Whereas a pair Paper Mario characters are fairly merely designed, they often have some distinguishing attribute past mere apparel — Goombella is the uncommon feminine goomba, Bombette sports activities a pink physique and ponytail fuse, TTYD’s Yoshi has a rad mohawk, and so on. Bandana Dee, in case you have been to take away his titular implement and weapon, would merely be a Waddle Dee. He doesn’t sport any specific coloration or facial function to distinguish himself from the others in his species.

The opposite is much more easy — a reputation. Whereas he does have a title that everybody is aware of him by, BWD’s identify is actually his species plus his clothes. It’d be like calling Mario “Red Overalls Plumber” or Samus “Power Armor Mercenary” — it lacks distinction. And thus, it’s very easy for a passerby to imagine that Bandana Waddle Dee is… properly, only a Waddle Dee with a bandana.

Thus, I suggest to formally christen this valuable hero. Not will he be recognized merely for what he’s, however fairly who he’s — and that may be a creature of compassion, braveness, and righteous character. For all of his greatness and providers, I hereby dub him… Dee.

Wanting on the minion within the mirror

However this examination of Dee and the Paper Mario companions invitations some extent of bigger dialogue. When does a personality that’s half of a bigger species develop into extra than simply an NPC? Is it merely once they’re christened with one other identify? Or once they tackle a task distinguished from that of their friends?

I briefly glossed over the Waddle Dee that seems as a staunch good friend to Kirby in his N64 journey, and what number of speculate that that is actually our spear-wielding savant. Whereas I feel most do that for a way of cohesion in a collection that’s paying extra and extra respect to its personal continuity, contemplating this companion as simply one other Waddle Dee offers an fascinating query — is he actually simply one other Waddle Dee? What’s to separate him from his friends, in addition to a task to play? Might any Waddle Dee have fulfilled such a task, or is that this one particular for some cause?

Do they ALL eat like this?

On the time, a platformer like Kirby wasn’t actually involved with the self-actualization of its minor enemies — and, most likely, it nonetheless isn’t. The Waddle Dees are sometimes thought-about extra a monolithic mob than a various group with totally different personalities, ideas, and beliefs. However that’s simply why ol’ Bandana Dee stands out a lot. In a sea of the identical species, he’s carved out his personal little place within the collection, and is now thought-about a celebrity in his personal proper.

Bandana Waddle Dee didn’t make the minimize for Smash Final’s launch. And with the announcement that the DLC goes to be filled with shock picks à la Joker, I don’t know if he’ll make it in now. However he’s undoubtedly one to be thought-about for future Smash installments. In any case, he’s distinguished himself time and time once more as a personality worthy of respect and honor, separate from the remainder of his species. And having a singular, tangible presence is necessary to creating it into Smash. In any case, it’s not like Sakurai… would simply… decide a generic enemy… as a fighter……. Proper…

………… Ah.

Subsequent time: We speak concerning the plant.


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