The characters in the Art of Fighting series will be listed here.Characters are listed by game of introduction.
Characters introduced in Art of Fighting
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Ryo Sakazaki - Japan
The Invincible Dragon. Trained in the Kyokugen Style of Karate by his father Takuma, Ryo was forced to care for himself and his younger sister when he was 10 after their mother Lonette died in a car accident and their father disappeared shortly afterward. He makes his living by earning money on street fights. Whenever she saw Ryo in such condition, Yuri's desire to run away became greater. When Yuri is kidnapped by Mr. Big, Ryo and his friend, Robert, scour Southtown while battling its toughest enforcers and Mob bosses to rescue her, finding out that his father was still alive under the guise of Mr. Karate. After the incident, Ryo went to the mountains to train himself in combat, only to return to to Southtown a year later to participate in the King of Fighters tournament sponsored by Geese Howard. Despite beating him, Geese had managed to escape.After these events, Ryo goes to Mexico in search of Robert.Ryo has been voiced by Tetsuya Bessho (OAV, JP) and Marcelo Campos (OAV, EN).
Big Brother Instinct: Towards Yuri, who wishes he and their father would butt out of her love life. In later games, Ryo is torn between the desire to let Yuri live her own life and his pre-installed desire to protect her.
Famed in Story: Ryo achieved his status by bringing down Big's syndicate, during the original game and, in AoF 2, he went to become the champion of the first official King of Fighters tournament, by forcing Geese Howard to flee the match. Afterward, his reputation flourished and eventually earned him the title of "Mouteki no Ryu" ("The Invincible Dragon").
Friendly Rivalry: According to SNK, Ryo and Robert are equals in terms of prowess and stature, and have been competing against each other since their training days. Their rivalry is even reflected in the series' Japanese title: Ryuko no Ken - "Fists of Dragon Tiger".
It's Personal: When Mr. Big kidnapped Yuri, he and Robert raised hell across Southtown, beating the ever-loving tar of anyone who got in their way (including Ryo's father) to get her back.
Ki Attacks: Ryo can perform both the basic Kooh Ken and the Haoh Shoko Ken DM. But the former lost its long range capability from KoF '96 onward, reducing it to more of a ki-powered palm strike.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Both he and Robert have mastered the Haoh Shoko Ken and can use the full powered variant, Haoh Shikoh Ken. This version of the attack is much larger, travels quasi-instantly across screen, hits 5 times, and can deplete nearly 2/3 of an opponent's life meter if landed as a counter hit. However, they only have access to it if KoF '98, '99, 2000, and KoF 2002 UM.
Laser-Guided Karma: A positive example. When he decides to relent his attack on King, she provides him with the whereabouts of Mr. Big and Yuri. In 2, it's revealed that Ryo paid for Jean's operation, earning him King's admiration, friendship, and possibly more.
My Sister Is Off Limits: For reasons unknown, he and his dad are convinced that Robert would only take Yuri for granted, so they won't let him anywhere near her. Art of Fighting 3 seemingly resolved the issue, during Ryo and Robert's respective endings, where Ryo finally relented and tells Yuri to go after him. But in their team's KoF XIII ending, his dad prevents Robert from proposing to her.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown/Unblockable Attack: Kyokugen's Ryukoh Ranbu, an attack so devastating, that in the original game only he, Robert, and Takuma had access to it. It was toned down in later installments of the King of Fighters series, where it's significantly weaker and can be blocked. Though their respective HDM versions make up for it.
Promotion to Parent: When Takuma left the family, a ten-year-old Ryo was forced to look after his six-year-old sister.
The Protagonist: The series revolves primarily around him. As such, he's directly involved all major plot events.
In the original game, he and Robert scoured South Town to find his sister, Yuri. Which concluded with Ryo saving her by defeating Mr. Karate his father, Takuma. The following game covered the events of the first King of Fighters tournament, at the end of which he humiliated Geese Howard, by forcing him to withdraw from the match!
Ryo was also of the four peoplenote the others being: Terry Bogard, Athena Asamiya, and Kim Kaphwan who helped Kyo Kusanagi defeat Omega Rugal, at the end of the KoF '95 tournament.
The Raging Tiger. The son of multi-billionaire businessman, Alberto Garcia. To teach Robert humility and discipline, Alberto sent him to Takuma's dojo, where he met and befriended Takuma's children: Ryo and Yuri. Despite their initial differences, he and Ryo developed a mutual respect for one another's abilities, eventually becoming both friend and rival to each other. He developed a different kind of relationship with Yuri...which was carefully monitored by her father and brother. Robert returned home to Italy, after completing his training, where his father began teaching him the family business. Years later, he receives word of Yuri's kidnapping and rejoins Ryo. The two of them search Southtown, facing many of its worst criminals and Mob bosses to find her. They eventually learn that Mr. Big orchestrated Yuri's abduction and defeat him. After the incident, Robert trained himself in combat, only to return to to Southtown a year later to participate in the King of Fighters tournament sponsored by Geese Howard.After these events, Robert visited Mexico to help Freya Lawrence, a childhood friend, save her brother Wyler. Wyler is attempting to perfect a drug that will enhance one's physical characteristics to superhuman levels. Robert beats Wyler, but due to the usage of the drug his mind has been destroyed. Freya, concerned for Wyler's well being, decides to stay with him in order to take care of him, and the adventure comes to an end.
Action Fashionista: Robert has changed his attire as often as he's changed his fighting style and is the earliest known example of the sharp dressed character archetype in fighting games. Which is illustrated by the trope's page image.
Sharp-Dressed Man: As seen, he's always dressed to the nines. The man kicks ass with class.
Deuteragonist: Robert stars opposite Ryo, as the series next most pivotal character.
In addition to helping Ryo find Yuri and bringing down Big's syndicate, Robert is personally credited with defeating Big himself. A fact which Big hasn't forgotten, as reflected in their pre-fight dialog at the end of AoF 2. Robert was defeated by Ryo, during the finals of the original King of Fightersnote Art of Fighting 2 marked the very first tournament, but returned the favor during the events of AoF 3. After which, he went on to defeat Karmen, Sinclair, and Wyler.
Famed in Story: Robert was jointly responsible for bringing down Mr. Big's syndicate and is personally credited for defeating Big in single combat. He's also achieved recognition as both the first known foreign practictioner of Kyokugenryu Karate and as the first foreigner to ever master the discipline. As such, he's heralded as Ryo's equal and is acknowledged as a natural genius by friend and foe alike - which has earned him the title of "Saikyo no Tora" ("The Mightiest Tiger").
Fingerless Gloves: This has been a standard part of his attire since his debut appearance in the original Art of Fighting.
Informed Flaw: The Ryugeki principle of Kyokugen-ryuu is said to have severe imbalances as it relies mainly on kicks, placing it between the Raiou and Kou'ou principles (Raiou is the lowest principle and is used by Yuri; it revolves around user instinct and creativity), but closer to the former. Tell that to Robert.
Ki Attacks: Varies according to each game, but he almost always has access to the Ryuugeki Ken and Hoah Shoko Ken.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Both he and Ryo can perform the Haoh Shikoh Ken, which is the fully mastered HDM version of the standard Haoh Shoko Ken blast. It's much larger, travels near quasi-instantly across the screen, hits 5 times, and can deplete nearly 2/3 of an opponent's life meter if landed as a counter-hit. Thankfully, they only have access to it in KoF '98, '99, 2000, and KoF 2002 UM.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown/Unblockable Attack: Kyokugen's Ryukoh Ranbu, a move so devastating, that in the original game, only he, Ryo, and Takuma had access to it. It was toned down in the King of Fighters series, where it inflicts less dmg. and can be blocked. Except for Robert's HDM version of it, which hits the opponent 30 times and drains over half their life meter!
Official Couple: He and Yuri, if his and Ryo's endings in 3 are to be believed.
Pose of Supplication: Seen in the original game as his "facedown" defeat pose. If he's defeated by chip damage, or a light attack, he slumps forward in a humiliating pose where he's bent over on his knees, with his butt protruding upward.
The Other Darrin: Eiji Yano in the first game, Kay Inage in 2, Mantaro Koichi in 3.
Ship Tease: Despite the lack of progress in their relationship, he and Yuri get plenty of scenes together, usually in the form of special pre-fight dialog where they often flirt with each other and special victory quotes reserved each other. There's also several scenes during the credits of AoF 2, including one where Yuri becomes jealous when she catches Robert flirting with King and blasts him with a Haoh Shoko Ken!
Shotoclone: Mainly during the Art of Fighting series and the earlier installments of The King of Fighters. From '97 onwards, his style began to change, ranging from minor tweaks to complete overhauls.
Extremity Extremist: These days, he's more of a kickboxer. In some games, he and King have similar play styles while, in others, their moves are near identical with slight variations in range and power.
Although that's only in certain sections of the first two games.
Tall, Dark and Handsome: According to his character profile, he's a looker and a charmer and is said to be a real ladies man. But he only has eyes for Yuri.
Ryuhaku Todoh - Japan
Ryuhaku Todoh is the creator and main teacher of Todoh style karate, which derives its style from Aikido and Kendo. Todoh had a long standing rivalry with disciples of the Kyokugenryu school of karate and considers them a threat to his style of teaching in terms of profits as well as personal animosity dating back to a rivalry with Takuma Sakazaki when both men were very young. On his quest to find his younger sister Yuri, who had been abducted by Mr. Big under Geese Howard's orders, Ryo Sakazaki blatantly attacked Todoh at his school and fought him to interrogate him about the whereabouts of his sister. After Ryo easily defeated Todoh, he was humiliated and saw his schools finances as well as his attendance at his schools suffer. After the loss, Todoh went into hiding and hasn't been seen since. Because of his disappearance, his daughter Kasumi went on a personal quest to not only try to look for her father, but to gain revenge on Ryo and all Kyokugenryu disciples to try to reclaim her family's honor.Todoh has been voiced by Takeshi Aono in Capcom vs. SNK 2, carried over from the anime, and by Jimmy Zoppi in the dub of the OVA.
Expy: Of Soun Tendo. Todoh looks just like him, he's a comic relief character who's prone to crying spells (just like Soun), and he even has a daughter named Kasumi. What's more, his old rival, Takuma, looks loosely similar to Genma Saotome (especially by KoF XIII).
Running Gag: His absence in the series (which was retained in The King of Fighters) as well as Kasumi's resolve to find him. This in fact ascended into meta humor, as the magazine Neo Geo Freak's Running Gag was "Where's Ryuhaku?"
Jack was a member of Mr. Big's syndicate, and a developer of his own fighting style. As one of Mr. Big's highest-ranking subordinates, he waits at Mac's Bar to devastate anyone who crosses his path. Jack is also the leader of the Southtown based bike gang known as the Neo Black Cats. He is defeated by Ryo and Robert, losing favor with members of his gang. In the tournament held by Geese Howard, Jack tries to reestablish his control over the Neo Black Cats by winning the Tournament and defeating Mr. Big. In the (non-canon) translated version of his AOF 2 ending, he transforms the gang into a dance group.Jack has been voiced by the late Ginzo Matsuo in the anime and by Eric Stuart in the dub of the anime.
Acrofatic: For someone of his girth, he catches a lot of air with that drop kick of his.
Badass Biker: How badass? He subdued a rampaging circus bear at age 13!
The Brute: Jack's a brawler, plain 'n simple. What he lacks in finesse, is amply made up for with raw power and stamina; enough that he was able to strong arm King into working for Mr. Big.
Stout Strength: Jack's moves HURT when they connect, especially if he has a full spirit gauge. His "Super Drop Kick" was one of the best anti-air attacks in the game, due to it's range, speed, priority, and it's striking power.
Lee is a master of Chinese medicine and Chinese martial arts, the latter of which is dubbed as "a gentle yet destructive" art. His adoptive father and mentor, Lee Gakusuo, passed on his pharmaceutic knowledge and martial arts to him before instructing Lee to finish his studies in South Town. Once he arrived there, Lee became fascinated with the local style of Kenpo and neglected his roots to be a street fighter. When Ryo was looking for information on Yuri's disappearance, he goes to Lee. Since he is a former adversary and long-time friend of Ryo's father Takuma, he faced the son in battle to test his skills. During the tournament, he still sought to test kis fighting skill but also pursues his father's wishes to be a pharmacist.
Formerly the bouncer at the L'amour dance club, while she was in the employ of Mr. Big. After being defeated, by Ryo, she helped him and Robert find Yuri, by divulging her last known whereabouts. She quit shortly after they brought down Big's syndicate and has since gone into business for herself, as a full-time bartender, alongside Duck King's rave club.King has been voiced by Masako Katsuki in the OAV.
Badass: King isn't someone to be taken lightly, as proven when she accepted Robert's challenge to a kickboxing match to prove her worth, prior to the 2000 King of Fighters tournament. According to canon, she stalemated with him, leaving him no choice but to accept her on their team.
Boomerang Bigot: According to her backstory, prior to meeting Ryo she was a misogynist.
Bouncer: Her former profession, while working for Mr. Big. Since then, she's quit her old job and has become a full-time bartender.
Boyish Short Hair: As seen in the accompanying picture, to the right. She also provides the page image for the trope itself.
Bring It: Something else she shares in common with you-know-who. Except her variant has her taunt her opponent with: "C'mon, baby!"
Clothing Damage: This could be invoked in the first two games, if the player defeated her with a special attack during the final round of the match. Incidentally, this is also how Ryo came to realize she was a woman.
Hidden Buxom: You'd never know by looking at her, since she usually dresses conservatively, but she's stacked. Her official bust measurement is 85cm, which are best seen during her special KO animation in Art of Fighting 2.
Kick Chick: Slight subversion, since her fighting style lacks the fanservice aspect of the trope. Aside from that, yeah... her entire style is exclusively based on kicking. Justified, being that she's a practictioner of nak muay.
Ki Attacks: Performed with her legs, like all her other attacks.
Only One Name: To this day, it's unknown whether it's her first, or last name.
Punch-Clock Villainess: She originally worked as a bouncer for Mr. Big, because she was strong-armed into it by Jack and his gang. But once Ryo and Robert busted his organization, she quit and went into business for herself, as a bartender.
Mickey's career as a professional boxer was cut short after he accidentally killed a man in the ring. As a small time hood, he worked for Mr. Big so that he can get money as a street hustler. Confronted by Ryo and Robert, Mickey sought opponents to vent his anger and frustration on. After Mr. Big's defeat, he reforms and enters the tournament to test his skill, wanting to get back into the professional boxing circuit.
Expository Hairstyle Change: He wore dreadlocks in the first game, but traded them for a more functional buzzcut in the sequel, possibly to reflect his return to the boxing circuit.
Shout-Out: Young boxing champ who has a high-pitched voice and is recovering from a major scandal... Mickey Tyson?
Possibly also to Mickey Mouse. In his AOF2 stage, there's even poster depicting someone wearing a Mickey Mouse hat.
John Crawley - USA
A martial arts instructor with a brutal and aggressive fighting style, John was a member of Mr. Big's gang. The former marine was challenged by Ryo and Robert and lost. Later on, he enters the tournament to win the prize money and test his skills.John has been voiced by Kaneto Shiozawa in the anime and Eric Stuart in its dub.
One of Southtown's most feared crimelords, who formerly operated under Geese Howard (whom he loathes). However, they were concerned that Takuma would be a potential threat, so Geese had Big orchestrate his daughter's (Yuri) abduction, to use as leverage against him; leaving Takuma no choice but to work for them. This eventually lead to Takuma's son, Ryo and his student, Robert's involvement, and ultimately resulted in Big's defeat. And he's had it in for them ever since. Despite being the main antagonist of the series, he doesn't serve as the final boss in any of the Art of Fighting games.Mr. Big has been voiced by Iemasa Kayumi in the OAV.
Takuma Sakazaki is an somewhat eccentric character. He is donning a tengu mask and insists he's Mr. Karate, and delivering speeches that are supposed to rally morale, but often make him look silly. In the midst of Takuma's aim to spread the Kyokugenryu discipline, crime started infesting Southtown, and Geese Howard made himself the de facto boss of the city. Unwilling to live with it, Takuma fought his way through lackeys and stooges and confronted Geese himself, demanding that he put an end to the tyranny. Geese replied with threats against Takuma's children, knowing that they meant the world to him. In order to preserve his honor, Takuma donned a tengu mask and formed another persona: "Mr. Karate." While Geese was out on business, Mr. Big was in charge. In order to keep Takuma firmly under his control, Mr. Big had Yuri kidnapped. Unfortunately, that move caused Ryo and Robert to tear up Southtown in search of her and Takuma. When Robert got to Mr. Big and defeated him, Big called for Mr. Karate, and he came out to battle Ryo by Robert's favor because he was already exhausted. Although Ryo won, he threatened to kill Mr. Karate if he didn't tell him where Takuma and Yuri were. Yuri stopped Ryo from killing their father, and they had a joyous reunion.A year later, he entered the tournament to get revenge on Geese and Mr. Big.
Badass Grandpa: Not that old (he's 49 in the second game), but still...
Takuma's daughter and Ryo's little sister, who was abducted by Mr. Big in the first game. She began training under her father, during the time following her rescue and soon mastered the basic's of Kyokugen's Raioh disciplinenote which is the lowest and most basic of the four Kyokugen disciplines. In the years that followed, she's continued to hone her skill through repeat participation in The King of Fighters tournament, in order to prove herself to her brother.Yuri has been voiced by J-pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki in the OAV and by Veronica Taylor in its English dub.
Clothing Damage: Same as King, if she's defeated by a special attack during the final round of the match (seen at the end of this clip). This also carried over to King of Fighters '94, '95, and KoF XIII.
Cute Bruiser: She may not look it, but she packs a pretty mean punch. Such as her aptly named "Yuri Hardcore Super Upper", which is her own rendition of Ryu's "Shin Shoryuken".
Damsel in Distress: She was abducted by Mr. Big in the first Art of Fighting, and used as leverage to blackmail her father to work for him.
Expository Hairstyle Change: She cuts her hair short, sometime before KoF XIII, much to the surprise of her father and brother. Allegedly, because she's still trying to carve out her own identity on the team.
The first is her family's signature DM: the now infamous Haoh Shoko Ken, which results in a massive fireball. Its speed and power varies by game - with some iterations only inficting about a 1/4 dmg, while in it's original incarnation, it depleted half the target's life meter.
The other's the Haoh Raiou Ken, her NEO MAX from KoF XIII. As the name implies, combines her Raiou Ken with the Haoh Shoko Ken's power.
Fragile Speedster: In terms of gameplay, she's quick on her feet and can string some fairly devastating combos, but her stamina's not so good. Harder hitting opponents can present problems for her, especially if they start landing counter hits.
Love Interest: Robert first developed feelings for her back when he first began training with her brother and has grown fonder of her since then. The feeling is mutual, except her father and brother have made it a point to keep an eye on them and won't let Robert anywhere near her.
NPC: In 3, due to being wounded by Sinclair. She appears as a side character in Ryo and Robert's story, and can assist Robert in a last-ditch shot against Wyler.
The Other Darrin: She's voiced by Harumi Ikoma in the first game. Kaori Horie takes over for all subsequent appearances.
Rescue Romance: It's implied that Yuri fell for Robert after he and Ryo saved her at the end of the first game. Some of this is seen in the scenes interspersed during the credits reel in 2. In the third game, they actually seem to hook up in Robert and Ryo's endings.
Ship Tease: Between her and Robert, usually in the form of special pre-fight animations and dialog, as well as some of their victory quotes when they defeat each other.
Shotoclone: She parodies many of their attacks, including their supers. In KoF '03, she even gains a mock version of Akuma's "Raging Demon", which uses the exact same button sequence!
The commissioner of police, and even more corrupt than Mr. Big. He appears as a secret boss in Art of Fighting 2, and goes on (chronologically) to become an even worse danger to Southtown once we reach Fatal Fury.
Mistaken Identity: When his silhouette was leaked in Neo Geo Freak, fans first believed him to be an evil Andy Bogard or even Ryuhaku Todoh.
Old Shame: In-universe. It's a little known fact that he once fought Ryo Sakazaki, during the finals of the very first King of Fighters tournament. The embarrassing part was, Ryo thrashed him so soundly, that Geese turned tail and ran before Ryo could deliver the coup de grace.
Daughter of Ryohaku Todoh, who has disappeared. She sets out to find him, but has some trouble as she only speaks Japanese. In her Victory Pose, she pulls out a phrasebook. She keeps up the family's rivalry with the Sakazakis (her team in The King of Fighters XI is the Anti-Kyokugen Team).
Gratuitous English: Invoked during her win pose, where she pulls out a pocket guide to look up the phrase: "Come back when you grow up!"
It's Personal: When her character was first introduced, she held Ryo responsible for her father not coming homenote Todoh was believed to have gone into hiding, after his loss to Ryo and was determined to avenge him, by settling the score. Her mother put a stop to it by smacking some sense into her, then explained what really happened.
The Rival: Since then, she's become a rival of the Kyokugen school, but no longer harbors any animosity towards them. Instead, she's upholding the Todoh family name.
Wang went to Glass Hill for inspiration for a drawing he plans to enter in a contest, Wang heard about Wyler's attempt to create a powerful elixir, and decided to attempt to find it himself for his friend Lee Pai Long.
Wyler is looking for Freia Lawrence, the daughter of his dead father's former partner, who possesses information about a formula for some kind of "Jekyll and Hyde" formula that he is attempting to create. The essential data needed for completing it was taken by Freia's father when the two's partnership broke up. Wyler believes this action is the cause of his father becoming destitute and even the cause of his death. Freia now has the data.Wyler hires the private investigator partnership of Rody Birts and Lenny Creston to find her (they are convinced it is for romantic reasons). Freia is also being sought out by her old childhood friend Robert Garcia. Wyler finds Freia, though seemingly without the help of the private eyes he hired, completes his elixir and takes it himself, turning into a large Hulk-like man. However, it has an unforeseen after-effect and reverts his mind to a child-like state. Freia chose to stay and tend to him...