A painter pairin
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Through the Looking Glass
Have you ever stopped to think about the Mirror World? I mean really stopped to think about it? I think many of us just take it for face value as the tired cliché of a world that is a reflection of the regular one. However, is this true? Well, no, this is wholly not the case, but it seems people all think it is. In fact, it isn't even close. This is a puzzle wrapped in a riddle stuffed inside an enigma, cooked inside a large turkey. It is, for certain, a turpuzzmaddle!
First, tho', it's story time with Uncle Gobbo. I'd like to, for a sec, talk about another game altogether. It's an old one that is still in the minds of many today due to a large part on behalf of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I refer to the mighty mythic, Pit, also known as Kid Icarus. Many questioned, "Uh... Pit? When did Kid Icarus get called that?" Even a guy who ran a well constructed, intelligent fan site for the winged hero asked that question. It seemed that no one knew just when a real name was given over familiar title. In fact, Yahoo Answers didn't even know (not that it means much).
So, when did Kid Icarus get the name Pit? Back in the era when Samus Aran was simply called "Metroid" after the assumption that a game is named for the hero, this was the only name we ever heard. The "we" are video game players in the late '80s. We didn't have all these sources and internet to slam facts in our faces. Mostly, what you knew was what was passed by word of mouth. Well, Captain N the Game Master sure didn't help with what name was being spread among the youth.
Well, back on the website, the one fan site mentioned by the guy who also didn't know where Pit originated, there was a scan of the original NES instruction manual. These things strangely always seemed to vanish. I kept all of mine in the sleeves my NES cartridges came in, so I don't know how others managed to lose or damage them. Anywise, this complete scan that the guy had on his site contained the original Kid Icarus story. It had written, several times, clearly and plainly, the heroic youth being named Pit. Yes, that's right. It was smack-dab easily found in the game manual and no one thought to look there for the answer, including a guy who had scanned the booklet himself. This is how oblivious people are to basic information.
The point of my off-tangent anecdote is two fold. First, you'll be able to follow up any future stupid blunder with "Well, at least I'm smarter than that guy." Second, it shows how little we all actually pay attention. We let so many other factors, opinions, and influences rule our mind that these overshadow the simple and plain facts. I've played and beaten Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, but until I sat down and paid attention to what was what, it slipped by me. I just kind of assumed, "Oh, yeah, a mirror world. Okay, sure." Then, I thought. Thinking changes so much.
Let's get back on track and start with what we know about the Mirror World, that information actually given to us by the game itself. This is a rarity in Kirby games since, normally, only enough superficial details are given to give a loose understanding of the situation. They are meant for children, after all. The foremost piece of information is the great mirror itself, which floats up in the sky overlooking Dream Land. This great structure is shown in the opening with Meta Knight flying into it. This surface only acts as a gateway into the Mirror World. It's like the bridge to Long Island -- just a passageway.
Now, through here, there is an identical mirror on a smaller scale, the Dimension Mirror. This is the troublesome one that the story's pro- and antagonists focus on. It is where Meta Knight is trapped. It is divided. More importantly, it leads to where Dark Mind resides. None of that is speculation or fanon, it's simply what happens. The fact that ":dimensions" is in its name probably didn't sway anyone from thinking that all this is just an alternate reality. Again, the mirrors are like bridges. That's why they serve as the doorways in the game and join areas across long distances. They're wormholes on glass, in effect. At this point, from the information given, outside of being reached through a looking glass, this world is just another realm on Pop Star.
It's likely that you have a question at this point in time. "What's up with the whole Mirror World if all they do is homage an Alice in Wonderland sequel and lead to other places? That's not even all that mirrorish." Well, the looking glasses do carry out another function, one stated right in the instruction manual in about the second sentence of the booklet, that makes the land stand out from the rest of Dream Land. They... reflect wishes and make them true? What is that about!? Lame and bewildering as that may be, it's the truth. Wishes are reflected in the mirror and made true. I... guess. It doesn't really go more in depth than that. Dark Mind made it so that they would only reflect bad things, and thus chaos ensued.
Facts aside, let's tackle opinions. I'm not putting them out there, only crushing them. People think that the Mirror World is supposed to be some type of twisted reflection of Dream Land. This is a poorly formed hypothesis that has shaky founding at best. These people mostly looked at a few faces, like Dark Mind and King Golem, and thought "Oh, they are like copies of regular Dream Landers. I see." But, that's just not the case. Yes, there are similarities, but that happens a lot in the Kirby games. Just look at these pairings: Lololo & Lalala, Nruff & Nelly, and Pon & Con. Each follows the same basic boss battle layout and strategy. Whispy Woods has had his behavior altered more between titles than the bridge bosses and kept his face and name.
Dark Mind, yes, is based on some familiar faces. Touches of both Nightmare and Zero are evident in his design and attacks. Now, he created Dark Meta Knight and Shadow Kirby, or his corruption of the Mirror World led to their creations. Either path picked takes us down the same road. Outside of the entire game itself having a mirror gimmick, Dark Mind in particular has that theme going with them. He flips the screen, has several copies of himself (I guess that's what they could be explained as), and has them floating around his body. Creating, tampering, whatever. He looks to have the ability to do it.
Those two crafted clones of his are, if you notice, just evil versions of the respective characters without many differences. They aren't even changed in appearance. The copies aren't just "like" the originals in some vague way but are them. They're just... darker... and have less color saturation. The dark knight pulled out all of the shining one's tricks, including tornado attacks and getting his mask split. Shadow Kirby even showed the use of several abilities Kirby can get. They do the same, act the same, but for evil. And, yes, those two copies weren't just always sitting around in Mirror World. If you notice, Dark Meta Knight cracks like glass when defeated for good. Did anyone else do that in Mirror World? Only Dark Mind at certain times. Why did he break? Probably due to being a reflection incarnate.
These sinister twins were created to do Dark Mind's evil bidding. They mostly followed along as they were those characters dark sides! Meta Knight, having played the full-out villain before as he tried to take over Dream Land (his reasons for such are insignificant as when you go out anywhere with an armada and battleship, you're bad), had a pretty strong, mean, and powerful one. Kirby's, however, despite pulling off slight attacks against the split protagonists, had so little badness in him that his inherent heroics eventually won out and the dark doppelganger switched sides by the end of the adventure. This is because he was just made. He hadn't found his way yet. Dark Mind was able to get as far as he did since there wasn't a cream puff there to stop bad things from happening. Now, Shadow K. is watching over the realm to protect it, just like the ending scenes explain. He wasn't there before to keep it safe, and, if he was, what good would he be against future threats if Dark Mind got his schemes as far along as he did under Shadow's watch?
This type of stuff doesn't inherently seem right, but laying down the cards this way fills up a lot more gaps in the details than the alternative methods. Those guys are copies, and this is where versions screw people up. The English language foolishly changed "Shadow Kirby" to "Mirror-world Kirby", most likely to distance him from being thought of as evil. However, as he was ushered from that pile, he was placed next to the "Assume this is a land filled with nothing but copies" pile, which I do not doubt the suits behind the decision thought was the case.
I've stated why those characters are mirrored copies of existing Dream Landers. With the pattern established, let's look at the alleged doubles. King Golem is not an evil clone of Whispy Woods. He's just a recycled boss strategy. I've already given the previous examples where such has occurred. While he at least has some resemblance that could further such an argument, the Wiz looks nothing like Paint Roller, an equally debated point. No, he's just another pilfer. He looks nothing like, has a whole different gimmick (magic to drawing), but jumps around to different corners to toss stuff out. And it is at this point where people's ability to argue on behalf of a cause falls to pieces. Even assuming that those two were copied versions of other bosses, then who are the rest copies of?
Gobbler is shark who, I guess, could be compared to Acro, but the two act nothing like one another. Frankly, the only tie is that they are both fought in the water. In that case, he could be tied equally with Sweet Stuff and almost Fatty Whale since of the out-of-water aspect. It's not much to join them with. Moley is who? Heavy Mole? They couldn't look more different and act nothing like one another. The only thing those two have in common is four letters in their names. And Mega Titan? You remember all those floating robots that had to be pushed into electric barriers in past games, right? You don't? But, isn't that how you fought Kaboola? Oh, no, wait, Mega Titan was wholly original and shared no traits with other bosses outside of being mechanical. How about the Master & Crazy Hands? Those are just cameos, not copies. They don't mimic anything outside of previous cross-promotional efforts. That was never a boss by my recollection. Then, with what is my favorite, Kracko. Just Kracko. Who is that the double of? Himself?
No. The fact that Kracko is even present in the first place should tell everyone that the bosses are not clones of other bosses. Dark Meta Knight was created in response to the original swordsman flying into the mirror. Shadow Kirby was birthed in much the same manner, I would imagine. Did Whispy and Roller follow in on the tails of the heroes? No, I think not. Let's face it, folks. Kirby games aren't big on story. They basically just have stuff. The bosses just lived in Mirror World, plain and simple. And Kracko? They've had him, Whispy, and other bosses appear across stars and the galaxy. It's obvious that they, the game makers, don't feel it necessary to explain or think about how a whale gets from Ripple Field to Aqua Star or Aquaris.
As a footnote, people say that the levels even mimic those found in Kirby's Adventure. You know, 'cuz it's not like every game tends to have a grassy, water, sky, icy, and other distinguished terrains. You could match Mustard Mountain to Yogurt Yard and Olive Ocean to the Orange, but you start running thin after that. Candy Constellation and Peppermint Palace should be joined to Rainbow Resort as one is space, one is frozen, and both describe the Resort. Ice Cream Islands would have to be wedged into Cabbage Cave, which both have a good deal of subterranean tunnels. Vegetable Valley to Rainbow Route, I guess, as they're both pretty green. Where does Grape Garden even fit in? As the Center Circle? That's the only place that's cloudy. So, then, is Radish Ruins the Butter Building? Is Carrot Castle as well? And Moonlight Mansion? There's too many building structures in this title. These comparisons are so superficial that any game could probably link up like this, especially since half of them are far, far stretches. Frankly, I could probably match these up better with levels from Act Raiser.
The accepted view on the game that I get from people the most is that Mirror World is a reflection of Dream Land, but nothing related to the game even hints at this being the case. You have an evil knight and a darkened puffball that pop out of the mirror, and suddenly everyone thinks everything is a duplicate of everything else. They continue this askew view even in the face of overwhelming contradictions like an original Kracko appearing in the supposed copy occupied world. The true copies are exact replicas, differing only in a gray color, not complete redesigns with the faintest likeness.
So, then, what is the Mirror World? It's no different than Pinball Land or wherever Dream Course and Block Ball take place. It's just another gimmicky part of Pop Star, but, rather than a sport, it focuses on shiny glass. Is this less interesting than a dimensional double? Those are actually pretty cliché. Frankly, that is the less interesting route that could have been gone. I'm not saying that my alternative take is 100% without holes, but it certainly holds water better than the popular reflection theory. But, at the core of good science is this simple truth: facts can never be proven, only never disproven. Recognizing what isn't true is what matters in this case, especially since I don't think we'll ever really know the complete truth about any questionable matter in Dream Land. We do know this: Mirror World is not simply a reflection of Dream Land. That is never stated, never implied, and easily refuted.
|Last Updated - December 7th, 2009|
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