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Masahiro Sakurai (桜井 政博 Sakurai Masahiro) is a Japanese video game developer, director and designers, who is known for creating the Kirby and Super Smash Bros games. Online, he has gained a reputation for being a troll and has inspired several memes within the Super Smash Bros. community.
Sakurai joined HAL Laboratory and at age of 19, where he created the Kirby series and directed the game Kirby’s Dream Land for the Game Boy. He subsequently directed the game Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64 as well as its sequel Super Smash Bros. Melee. On August 3rd, 2003, Sakurai left the HAL Laboratory for more autonomy and to work on fewer sequel games. In 2005, Sakurai founded his own video game company Sora Ltd. He was soon contacted by Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata to be the director of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. Sakurai accepted and began work in October that year. During development, Sakurai updated the official Super Smash Bros. Brawl website on a weekly basis. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was released on January 31st, 2008 in Japan to critical acclaim. After finishing the game, Sakurai directed Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS, ending the franchise’s 21 years long hiatus. Sakurai then began working on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U & 3DS set for released in 2014.
Online, Masahiro Sakurai has developed a fan following due to the popularity of his games, specifically his work on the Super Smash Bros. Series. He has a page on TVtropes and a Twitter feed with over 78,000 followers as of June 2014.
Among fans of the Super Smash Bros. series, Sakurai has earned a reputation as a troll due to his tendency to prank the community with misinformation regarding playable characters in the games. On TVTropes, he is listed as an example under the “Trolling Creator” entry.
“Sakurai: (Laughs)” is an expression originating from an interview on Iwata Asks in which Sakarai’s laughter was transcribed each time as “Sakurai: (Laughs).” Online, it is often used as a patronizing reaction on discussion forums.