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Tabuu in the Subspace Emissary.
Game Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Universe Super Smash Bros.

Tabuu (タブー Tabuu?) is the leader of the Subspace Army in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the main antagonist and final boss of Subspace Emissary. He is a blue anthropomorphic figure with a red eye-shaped object who lives in Subspace. He uses the Subspace Bombs to send whole locations to his dimension, where he absorbs their power to increase his own.

Role in the Subspace Emissary

Tabuu is the embodiment of Subspace. He expressed desire to cut World of Trophies into pieces and take them to Subspace for his world. However, he himself was unable to leave Subspace, which is why he created the Subspace Army to act in his stead. According to the Ancient Minister trophy, Tabuu took over the Isle of the Ancients, the home of the R.O.B.s, and forced them to serve him under the threat of annihilation (even though it would be impossible for him to do so, since he couldn't leave subspace). Tabuu first discovered that Mr. Game & Watch had Shadow Bugs in him, so he captured him to harness the power, and thus the Subspace Army was created. Tabuu studied and took control of the master of the Smash Bros. world, Master Hand, who enlisted the help of Ganondorf, Bowser, King Dedede, and Wario. These four would track down any fighters that would stand in the way of Tabuu's ambitions.


The Chains of Light on Master Hand.

Later in the story, after the heroes obliterate the Subspace Gunship and gain access to Subspace, Ganondorf betrays Bowser by using a Dark Cannon, which causes Bowser to become a trophy. Ganondorf then goes to greet Master Hand. Ganondorf realizes that Tabuu was actually controlling Master Hand and that he was not actually following Master Hand's orders but was being tricked by Tabuu. Enraged, he charges a futile attack at Tabuu who effortlessly knocks him back. Ganondorf hits the puppet Master Hand, thus breaking him free of his Chains of Light and turning Ganondorf into his trophy form in the process. Master Hand also charges at Tabuu, but to no avail. Before the Smashers have their opportunity to battle him, Tabuu readies his first use of Off Waves, a dangerous weapon that turns his opponents into trophies, defeating all of them.

However, thanks to the Dedede Brooch, Luigi, Kirby, and Ness are brought back to life, and they then revive King Dedede himself after Ness notes the likeness of the badges' relief to Dedede, realizes that it was thanks to him that they were revived. King Dedede joins the team of Luigi and Ness, and they rescue everyone else by collecting their trophies in Subspace Part I and Subspace Part II. Tabuu then creates a maze out of the worlds that have been consumed by Subspace and brings back the old bosses. He also creates dark clones of all the heroes to slow them down.

Once Tabuu is reached, he readies the second use of Off Waves to turn everyone into trophies again. Before Tabuu can unleash his attack however, he is ambushed by a Spin Dash, courtesy of Sonic the Hedgehog. This ambush by Sonic weakens Tabuu's Off Waves so that rather than immediately turning all fighters into trophies it ranges only as far as the small arena on which Tabuu is fought, as seen in the final battle. Anyone can fight Tabuu; however, the trophies of the fallen comrades must be picked up first in order to do so.

In the end, Tabuu is destroyed completely. Following his defeat, the Subspace Army fades into non-existence, lands are restored to normal, and the Isle of the Ancients also fades into non-existence, because of the large number of Subspace Bombs going off at once (commanded by Ganondorf so Tabuu could get a Subspace Gunship into the World) making it impossible for the Isle to escape Subspace, which is why the effect has prevented the Isle of the Ancients' reappearance.

Tabuu's true fate is unknown, although he is seen contorting in pain and then the Great Maze restoring to its original places, and he was most likely to be destroyed.

Trophy Info


The ruler of Subspace and master of operations. Tabuu controls Master Hand with chains of light to excise this world and build up his great maze. He used Shadow Bugs to form Subspace and manipulates the servants of Master Hand to his heart's content. Born in a vastly foreign realm, he also possesses great leadership powers. Tabuu...No name is more suitable.
Capture Tabuu with a Trophy Stand.

Tabuu (Wings)

Tabuu with wings extended. The dreadful energy surges cast from these wings instantly turn all fighters back into trophies. Knowing this, King Dedede assembles all able-bodied troops and sets a timed device on each of them. This device is a brooch that, after the designated time runs out, revives all fighters wiped out by Tabuu.
Trophy obtained by beating Boss Battles mode with all characters.

See Also...

Winged Tabuu


Tabuu with his wings.

Tabuu reveals his wings, resembling a butterfly's in shape (but made of intricate curving symbols), only when he is about to unleash his very powerful attack: the Off Waves. With his wings extended, he charges energy, then releases a powerful explosion of crimson shock waves that annihilate everyone in their path. This attack is possible to avoid by sidestepping 3 times perfectly or switching Pokémon if you are controlling Pokémon Trainer. Right before the final battle, Sonic appears and shatters Tabuu's wings, severely weakening their power.


Tabuu is playable by hacking the game in Boss Battles mode and in other modes where Tabuu is fought. They first must hack, and must be Player 3 and using a Gamecube Controller.

Move Name
A^ Eye Lasers
A Shark Blade
Av Diving Slash
A> Electrical Shield
A< Rapid Chop
B^ Bullet Rain
B Pinpoint Explosion
Bv Shuriken Boomerang
B> Ghost Projection
B< Dragon Laser
R Golden Bracket
L Chain of Light
X Off Waves
Start Explosion Teleports


As the last boss of Subspace Emissary, Tabuu possesses a wide variety of dangerous attacks, which increase in power and speed at higher difficulties. Additionally, Tabuu's attacks are faster and stronger in The Subspace Emissary than in Boss Battles at comparable difficulty ratings.

Note that the names are not official, except for the Off Waves, whose name was announced on the Dojo.

First Set of Moves

  • Tabuu Shark Blade
    Shark Blade (シャークブレード Shark Blade?) - Tabuu transforms into a giant blade (also bearing a resemblance to ocean shark), which flies horizontally across the stage. It is dodgeable by air dodging or, if at ground-level, ducking (unless playing as Meta Knight). A perfectly timed sidestep dodge may also work.
  • Diving Slash (ダイビングスラッシュ Diving Slash?) - Tabuu appears high above one side of the stage and dives, turning his arm into an
    energy blade. Because he will always go near the ground, it can be dodged by jumping over his attack in the middle of the stage or going on the edge of the stage.
  • Goldenbracket
    Golden Bracket (ゴールデンブラケット Golden Bracket?) - Tabuu transforms into a cage of energy, resembling two glowing yellow brackets and flies across the stage, grabbing the character and plows him/her/it into the floor. On the top, there is a Motion Sensor Bomb, making it explode. If played on Intense difficulty, this becomes an OHKO, and can also kill at Hard and Very Hard at 0% if badly Momentum Cancelled. There is no predetermined way the brackets fly. Air dodging can be used to avoid it.

Second Set of Moves

  • 180px-TabuuStrings
    ' 'Chain of Light (光の連鎖 Chain of Light?) - Tabuu creates a golden chain, similar to the one he used to bind Master Hand, and throws it in front of him in an attempt to catch the player. If he succeeds, he will swing the player around before smashing them into the ground. If played in Co-op mode, he will smash the player he caught into the other player.
  • TabuuElectricity
    Electrical Shield (電気シールド Electric Shield?) - Tabuu teleports right next to the player. The purple sphere inside his torso splits into several fragments, which fly in circles around him for a short time while emitting electricity. This attack has a decent range, but leaves Tabuu wide open for projectile weapons. It somewhat resembles an atom, with Tabuu being the nucleus and his fragmented energy core being electrons.
  • TabuuRapidChop
    Rapid Chop (迅速なチョップ Quick Chop?) - Tabuu teleports behind the player and repeatedly slashes the area in front of him, creating visible purple slashes. This move can easily catch and juggle players, but it has less range than the visible slashes would indicate. Again, Tabuu leaves himself wide open to projectiles, and melee attacks are also viable behind him.
  • TabuuExplosion
    Pinpoint Explosion (ピンポイントの爆発 Explosion of Pinpoint?) - From one side of the stage, Tabuu performs a pointing gesture. Five locations along a line leading to the player's current location will flash once and explode after about two seconds. Avoided by taking note of and staying away from the flashes before they explode.
  • TabuuGhost
    Ghost Projection (ゴースト投影 Ghost Projection?) - Tabuu splits himself in half and shoots out many ghost images of himself in every direction, which explode after achieving a certain distance. The projections can be dodged, but take note that they explode when they make contact with the ground, so by sidestepping the projection itself, damage can still be received. They can also be destroyed, preferably by projectiles.

Third Set of Moves

  • 120px-TabuuLaser
    Dragon Laser (ドラゴンレーザー Dragon's Laser Breath?) - Tabuu appears on the side of the stage and manifests a head of the dragon (also bearing resemblances to the Dark Cannons), which floats beneath Tabuu as it fires a powerful laser horizontally across the stage. Jumping is advisable, although some characters may have a harder time of it. The attack can also be blocked by the shield without breaking it when timed correctly.
Tabuu Fight

Tabuu using Bullet Rain on Fox.

  • Bullet Rain (弾丸の雨 Hail of Bullets?) - Tabuu appears in a random area in the air and bombards a character as he fires a barrage of small bullets, the attack ends with a huge ball of energy. Easily avoided by staying behind him, or, for some characters, by distancing and using all jumps. This seems to be the least frequently used attack on the Third Move, but punishes overzealous jumping that would be done to avoid the other two attacks. Still, pattern memorization will give his location away if he's about to use this attack - namely, if Tabuu appears anywhere not off the edge of the stage, he's going to use Bullet Rain. This attack's projectiles cannot be reflected.
  • TabuuBoomerang
    Shuriken Boomerang (手裏剣ブーメラン Shuriken Boomerang?) - Tabuu appears on one side of the stage and throws a huge, circular, three-bladed chakram, which flies across the stage like a boomerang before he catches it. Avoided by jumping. Use the Up Special Move to avoid the second swing, but this depends on character. The boomerang only has three blades, but the speed of its spin makes it look like it has about nine. Note: At higher levels, the throw and the return must be evaded in one jump.

Fourth Set of Moves

  • TabuuOffWave
    Off Waves (オフウェーブ Off Waves?) - Tabuu appears in the background and spread out his wings. He then proceeds to unleash three massive circular shockwaves that encompass the whole stage. If these hit, they will cause massive damage and knockback, enough to One-hit KO on Normal or higher difficulties in Adventure: The Subspace Emissary, and on Very Hard and Intense difficulty in Boss Battles. To avoid these shock waves, a character must either roll or sidestep with accurate timing. If playing as Pokémon Trainer or Zelda/Sheik, using their Down Special Move the instant Tabuu extends his wings also works. It can also be avoided by using Perfect Shielding, or by using moves with Super Armor, but the timing is almost impossible. Air dodging is possible if a high enough jump is used with characters like Kirby and Jigglypuff. Used as the first 4th move, and every eight moves after that.
  • 120px-TabuuEyeLaser
    Eye Lasers (アイレーザー Eye Lasers?) - Tabuu grows to a gigantic size, so giant that only his head appears on the side of the screen. He then fires a red laser from each eye. This attack is used every 8 moves. Can be very easily avoided by hiding right at the end of the stage, literally under Tabuu's chin, allowing easy damage, mainly, by using Up Tilts. Be careful of not using moves that push characters backwards, since these may fall into the beams. Unlike Master Hand and Crazy Hand's lasers, Tabuu's lasers do not drift off the stage, so one will be hit as long as they are in front of him. Only the endpoints do damage.


  • Teleport - Tabuu teleports around the stage and appears at a set spawn which is randomly decided from the large amount of spawns available. He also sometimes teleports behind the character and attacks with one of the available attacks. Tabuu makes a distinctive sound on his last use of teleport.
  • Explosive Teleport - Tabuu teleports around, leaving a red explosion everywhere he teleports. On higher difficulties, this can KO a player at low percentages, meaning that one must not be too eager to attack Tabuu during his teleports.


There is, however, an ideal set of characters devised by players that can be used to defeat Tabuu somewhat more easily. This group works best with multiplayer, but can potentially work in single player. The group is as follows; For the first two players, one should be Samus, because of her long-distance capabilities, and the other player should play as Snake for the same reason. It would be best for this set to be KO'd before Tabuu first uses his Off Waves (flapping his wings). The next set of characters is resistant (nearly) to the Off Waves, and consists of the two heaviest characters, Donkey Kong and Bowser. They cannot be blown off of the stage like other characters who do not have the Metal powerup. This set should be able to, in a combination of DK and Bowser's 1-up moves, get Tabuu near defeat. The final two characters should be Ness and Lucas, because of their PK Thunder 1-up move. This move deals a lot of damage and should bring Tabuu down, if DK and Bowser made much of an impression on him. Again, this works best with multiplayer, but can be harnessed for single player. Also, Snake can be interchangeable to suit the player's individual needs.


  • A glitch can occur if the character defeats Tabuu while he's using Eye Lasers. When the battle shows him flying off into the subspace background, his head will be covered in the same red colored light that shot out from his eyes.
  • Tabuu's wings are almost completely destroyed by Sonic in the pre-battle cutscene, but they are shown full in the battle, and afterwards, they're back to being shattered.
  • Tabuu is one of four bosses in the series who can grab characters. The others are Giga Bowser, Master Hand, and Crazy Hand.
  • Tabuu's moves are similar to Marx's moves from the Kirby series.
  • Tabuu's difficulty increases when played in Co-op mode, to the extent of being almost equivalent to Hard mode in Single Player Boss Battles Mode.
  • Tabuu's moveset has the widest diversity of attacks in the entire game.
  • Tabuu's dragon cannon attack roar is similar to Palkia's from the Pokémon series.
  • It is likely that Tabuu's name came from the word Taboo, meaning "prohibited" or "disallowed".
  • Tabuu appears to have a strange glowing object inside his chest. When he activates his laser attack, this is shown to be a heart.
  • Tabuu bears a similar resemblance to a Fighting Wire Frame from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
  • Tabuu's attacks are weaker in Boss Battles than Subspace Emissary. So, he does less damage on the character during the battle.
  • Tabuu might be meant to represent adulthood and the loss of imagination (all the Smash Bros. characters being born from a child's imagination).

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