Role in the series
In the anime Kirby: Right Back at 'Ya!, Nightmare runs a business called Nightmare Enterprises or N.M.E., a business that specializes in selling monsters to its clients. King Dedede happens to be one of his clients and is always ordering new monsters to get rid of Kirby and every one of those monsters ends up failing. The king never has the money to pay for any of these monsters and ends up eventually building up a massive debt that Nightmare keeps reminding him of.
In the short movie, Fright to the Finish, Nightmare himself, the head of N.M.E., is fought and defeated by Kirby after Meta Knight leads an attack on the N.M.E. base. In the battle, Kirby ran out of power as all his weapons were useless against Nightmare, and Nightmare entered Kirby's dream to give him a nightmare. When Kirby inhaled the Warp Star, he became Star Rod Kirby, and used the Star Rod - Nightmare's only weakness - to attack him. Nightmare was disintegrated.
Nightmare is referred to as NME (or eNeMeE) in the anime. Not only is this the initials for Nightmare Enterprises, but sounds like the word "enemy".
Likely because the Kirby anime was meant to coincide with the release of Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, Nightmare is the main antagonist in Kirby's anime series, despite actually appearing in only nine of the one hundred episodes. He is referred to as eNeMeE in the anime. Instead of attempting the conquest of Pop Star by corrupting the Fountain of Dreams, this version of Nightmare is intent on universal conquest through more direct, forceful methods. He is responsible for the creation of Nightmare Enterprises, which manufactures and sells hordes of monsters that Kirby often has to fight. It's implied that the monsters eventually turn on the customers as well. The money he makes from it also goes to further his conquest goals. There was a time when the Star Warriors and Galaxy Soldier Army stood in his way, but his army of monsters wiped them all out except Meta Knight, Kit Cosmos, Sir Arthur, Sir Falspar, Sir Dragato, and Sir Nonsurat.
It's mentioned by Kabu that Nightmare created one monster that didn't obey him, though who it is is never stated. This is heavily implied to be Kirby, but it is possible that it might also be Meta Knight who also seems to hold a grudge against Nightmare, as Kirby wasn't even born yet while the great war was going on.
Besides being able to create powerful monsters, Nightmare is also able to manipulate other peoples' minds, and even brainwash them. Just like in the games, he is also impossible to hurt without the use of the Star Rod, and all other attacks are absorbed by the void underneath his cloak.
Nightmare rarely interacts with anyone and spends his time alone. Occasionally, Nightmare speaks to Customer Service concerning their business, but mainly exists as a mysterious figurehead of the company.
Throughout the series, Nightmare is seen simply watching Kirby and Dream Land, and never seems to take Kirby for a threat. He constantly watches Kirby fight his monsters that he sells to King Dedede. One of the few notable actions was when he sped up the rate of an asteroid that was heading for Dream Land, which he seemed to mostly just do for his own amusement, as well as putting money in his pockets from his best customer: King Dedede. For the bulk of the series though, Nightmare resides deep within his planet-sized fortress creating monsters.
Towards the finale, Nightmare seems to decide to end his amusement with Kirby and sends some of his Destroya ships to kill him, but this also fails. Nightmare responds by sending another six, but these are destroyed by Meta Knight's battleship, the Halberd. Even when the Halberd heads towards his fortress, Nightmare still doesn't take it for a threat and attempts to stop them with one last monster called Heavy Lobster.
This last ditch attempt fails, and the group (at this point consisting of Kirby, Tiff, Tuff, Meta Knight, Sword, Blade, a number of other Cappy Town residents, and other old friends of Kirby) manages to make their way into the fortress. During this time, Nightmare decides to finally confront them head-on. After a brief scuffle, Nightmare kidnaps Tiff to lure Kirby into a fight with him. Kirby takes the bait and, as Fire Kirby, tries to attack him, but his fire breath proves useless and he exhausts himself. With Kirby unconscious, Nightmare then enters his mind to torment him before finishing him off. Tiff, who also ended up in the dream, tosses Kirby a dream version of the Warp Star, which he swallows and gains the Star Rod ability—the only thing capable of damaging Nightmare. Kirby harnesses the power of the Star Rod and sends a wave of cascading stars at Nightmare, which destroys him forever.
Nightmare appeared to also be the real villain in the Kirby of the Stars Pilot and to be the one who actually sends all the monsters at Kirby. In the end, he appears to attack Kirby and his friends with some kind of energy beam before Kirby wakes up and realizes that it was actually a nightmare. His appearance in the pilot is based on his original design in Kirby's Adventure, with small shoulder pads, a single jewel on his crown, and short horns.
- "Sell him Fofa. Better yet, chop it and charge him double!" *laughs* -Nightmare to Customer Service, The Fofa Factor
- "Feeling injured? Then take some of this. Take it, and your fading life will be restored." *laughs* -Nightmare to Knuckle Joe's Father, Here Comes the Son
- "Forget it. Let them celebrate. When they let their guard down, we'll teach them a little lesson!" *laughs*-Nightmare to Customer Service after learning that Kirby and Knuckle Joe destroyed Masher
- "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm growing rather impatient. What do you say we speed it up a bit?" -Customer Service to Nightmare, Prediction Predicament - Part I
- "What a wonderful idea!" *laughs* -Nightmare, Prediction Predicament - Part I
- "Well, it looks like Kirby and his Warp Star aren't invincible after all." -Customer Service to Nightmare, Air-Ride-in-Style - Part II
- "It's only a matter of time until the Warp Star will be ours for the taking." *laughs* -Nightmare, Air-Ride-in-Style - Part II
- "They're growing desperate... They'll realize I have them beaten. I was hoping they'd be foolish enough to attack, so I've prepared a surprise for them." -Nightmare about the Halberd crew, Combat Kirby
- "Heh. It was a mistake to come here, Kirby. As you can see, you and your puny band of Star Warriors pose no threat to me. Challenging me is the last mistake you will ever make!" -Nightmare, Combat Kirby
- "Hahahaha... This is checkmate, Kirby. The game is up!" -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "We shall see about that! Before this match is over, you will learn the force of my power." *laughs* -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "Hahahaha... Your friend has chosen an unfortunate time for a nap!" -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "He has used up all his energy... Kirby is now completely helpless. I can crush him with little effort... But first, some fun! I shall enter his sleep and give him a nightmare, and you can join him. I think you'll find this dream a real scream!" -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "Ahahahahaha! What a dreamscape. All Kirby cares about is food!" -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "You're wasting your time! This is Kirby's dream. There is no Warp Star here!" *laughs* -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "Foolish child... There is nothing you can do to help your friend." -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "He swallowed the Warp Star..." -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "The Star Rod?! AAAAH!" -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "Aah! Aaaah! No... How did Kirby discover the secret?! That pitiful little Star Warrior has found my only weakness! I am helpless against the power of the Star Rod!" -Nightmare, Fright to the Finish
- "True to my name, I am but a dream that lives in your heart. Therefore, I am immortal. For as long as there is fear in your heart, I will someday return." -Nightmare's last words in the Japanese version of Fright to the Finish
- In the Japanese version of the anime's last episode, Nightmare says these lines while Tiff, Kirby and the others are escaping his fortress: "True to my name, I am but a dream that lives in your heart. Therefore, I am immortal. For as long as there is fear in your heart, I will someday return." These lines were edited out of the dub.
- Nightmare's Power Orb form makes a cameo in the first Japanese intro of the anime. It is a circus ball that Kirby and Tiff walk on. As with other elements in the anime, the Power Orb is based on Kirby's Adventure's design, as Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land had not yet been released at the time.