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Some scholars believe that Waddle Dees roam freely, unless someone gives them food and a place to sleep. Waddle Dees feel that it is their duty to stay and repay their host.
~ Professor Curio describing the nature of the Waddle Dees.
Waddle Dees (in Japanese: ワドルディ, Wadorudi) are recurring antagonists in the Kirby franchise. They are inhabitants of Dreamland who primarily serve the land's self-proclaimed ruler King Dedede and willingly assist him and occasionally other villains in their various schemes. Despite this, many Waddle Dees are shown as not actively evil and mostly carefree, not outright trying to impede Kirby unless they are ordered to do so.
The Waddle Dees make their first appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In addition to their trophy returning in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Waddle Dees also appear as part of King Dedede's moveset, carrying King Dedede in before being knocked away in his intro animation, one posing alongside him in one of King Dedede's victory animations, being tossed forward in his side special, and used in his Final Smash, Waddle Dee Army. Beyond that, the Waddle Dees also have two collectable stickers (One based off the heroic Waddle Dee in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, and the other based off their ball form in Kirby: Canvas Curse, and they appear in the Subspace Emissary mode as King Dedede's main henchmen and unused enemies.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Super Smash Bros/. for Wii U
Although the Waddle Dees no longer appear in King Dedede's side special and Final Smash, the Waddle Dees are continuingly used in King Dedede's entry and victory animations in both Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Super Smash Bros/. for Wii U, as well as being present as a trophy via the Parasol Waddle Dee trophy in the former. For new content, pixel-art of Waddle Dees are featured on King Dedede's green alternate costume, and both Waddle Dees and Parasol Waddle Dees appear in the Smash Run mode present in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. In Smash Run, standard Waddle Dees mainly walk around and jump to cause damage if bumped into, while Parasol Waddle Dees continue this tactic, but use a parasol to slow their descent after jumping. The Parasol Waddle Dees can be downgraded by the loss of their umbrella if attacked.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Waddle Dees return in King Dedede's animation and alternate costume, while also gaining a spirit. The Waddle Dee spirit is a Neutral-type Advanced-level spirit that spirit battle has the player fight a team of four Kirbys on the Dream Land GB stage, with no gimmicks present. When evolved, the Waddle Dee spirit becomes a spirit for Bandana Waddle Dee, who both gains a level and gains the ability to strengthen any items that cause battering damage.
Like many residents of Dreamland, Waddle Dees bear a very simplistic appearance. They possess a light brown and spherical body with pear-shaped, tan faces, short, stubby arms, and tan/light-orange feet. Although many variations of Waddle Dees exist, not many change up this basic design. The only major exception to this is the Waddle Doos, who are typically darker in color, and have a large cyclopean eye in place of the Waddle Dee's face, as well as two hairs above, said eye.
As stated before, Waddle Dees are primarily carefree and friendly creatures. They are not actively malicious or dangerous towards anyone around them, sometimes only serving as enemies to Kirby because he got in the way of what they were doing, and, a trait shared by many residents of Dreamland, they can be fairly lazy. Volume #39 of the Nintendo Power magazine describes the Waddle Dees and Waddle Doos as being not very intelligent, stating that this is their greatest downfall. For reasons unknown, they, or at least a good number of them, are willingly subservient to King Dedede and usually follow his orders without question, seemingly not realizing when their King had been possessed by Dark Matter in Kirby's Dreamland 2 because of their fierce loyalty. Even so, not all Waddle Dees are strictly Dedede's minions, and are equally likely to suffer from his plans as they are to benefit, as a crowd of Waddle Dees can be seen cheering for Kirby after he retakes all the food Dedede had stolen in Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra.
In Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, it is stated that the Waddle Dees will dedicate themselves to serving and repaying anyone who treats them kindly, explaining their loyalty to King Dedede, even when he is completely abusive towards them. However, despite this, it is shown that even they can be pushed too far by the King's cruelty, violently rebelling against and trying to eat Dedede and the other inhabitants of his castle when they were starved so that Dedede could save money.