Characters: Art of Fighting
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).
- '80s Hair: Dear God, that mullet!
- Alternate Company Equivalent: SNK's Ryu.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: He's raven-haired in the anime special, which was taken from the Japanese live-action commercials for 2.
- Badass Biker: Moreso in the first game.
- 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.
- But Not Too Foreign: Half-American, half-Japanese.
- Catch Phrase: "OSU!" "Ora ora!"
- Does Not Like Shoes: Subverted in that in the first game, he wears geta sandals outside fights.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Since Geese has to kill Jeff Bogard in order to set the events of Fatal Fury into motion, he fled before Ryo could finish him with his Haoh Shoko Ken, at the end of Art of Fighting 2.
- 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").
- Fashion Victim: Suffice to say, his taste in clothes leaves a lot to be desired. Such as the neon orange suit and blue shirt he wears for his date with King, in their team's KoF XI ending.
- Fighting Your Friend: Ryo confronted Robert, near the conclusion of AoF 3 to demand answers concerning his sudden disappearance, which Robert refused to answer as he was desperate to find Freia before Wyler could complete his elixir. So they fought, on the condition that Robert would explain himself if he lostnote According to canon, Robert won.
- Fingerless Gloves: In 2.
- 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".
- Guest Fighter: He made appearances as a Bonus Boss in Fatal Fury 2: Special and Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition as his Mr. Karate II persona.
- Heir to the Dojo: By the time of Garou: Mark of the Wolves, he takes up the mantle of "Mr. Karate II" and has a disciple named Marco Rodriguez.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Robert.
- 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.
- Megaton Punch: Ryo has two variants: the "Heaven Glaze Punch" (KoF XI and 2000) which results in an automatic stun. And the "Ichigeki Kessatsu" (KoF XIII), which dials the trope Up to Eleven and has to be seen to be believed.
- 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 Celebrities Were Harmed: Loosely modeled after the late Patrick Swayze.
- 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 who helped Kyo Kusanagi defeat Omega Rugal, at the end of the KoF '95 tournament.
- Red Baron: The Invinicible Dragon.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs/Spam Attack: Ryo's Zanretsuken.
- The Smart Guy: He may not be that smart, although Takuma thinks he could be one during their pre-fight dialogue with each other in 2.
- Took a Level in Badass: It took the death of his mother and the subsequent disappearance of his father for Ryo to man up and become the legendary fighter he is today.
Robert Garcia - Italy
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.
- Animal Motifs: Robert is associated with the tiger which is best seen in his SDM from KoF 2002 UM, where he performs a special modified version of his Ryukoh Ranbu that ends with a tiger shaped version of the Haoh Shikoh Ken (pause at exactly 1:39, here).
- Alternate Company Equivalent: SNK's Ken.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Same deal as Ryo; he's a brunette in the anime.
- Big Brother Mentor: To Ryo and Yuri.
- Bring It: This became his signature taunt animation, starting in Art of Fighing 2, complete with the phrase: "Bring it on, clown," and has continued to use it throughout the King of Fighters series.
- Character Focus: In 3. Most notably, the story revolves around Robert revisiting his childhood town of Glasshill Valley, Mexico and aiding his old friend, Freia.
- Cultured Badass: In addition to the Action Fashionista entry, he's the earliest known example of this trope in fighting games as well.
- Robert has class out the ass and his family's so incredibly wealthy, that he's known to have bought several luxury sports cars - including a Ferrari F-40. Which gets lampshaded during his pre-fight dialog with Ryo, in Art of Fighting 2. But if you think he's all style without substance, think again. Robert fights well enough to rival Ryo and is considered one of the toughest competitors in The King of Fighters.
- 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 , 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").
- Fighting Your Friend: See the related entry in Ryo's example section.
- Fingerless Gloves: This has been a standard part of his attire since his debut appearance in the original Art of Fighting.
- Friendly Rivalry: Covered in Ryo's example section.
- Hair Color Dissonance: His hair (which is black) appears to be purple in the first two games and blue in AOF3.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ryo.
- 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.
- Kansai Regional Accent: To substitute for the fact that in English, Robert would be speaking with an Italian accent.
- 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.
- Latin Lover
- Like Brother and Sister: He and Freia Lawrence. Yuri, a tad bit jealous, decides to tag along and keep an eye on Robert.
- Love Interest: Robert's been trying to get with Yuri since he first met her and, for the most part, the feeling is mutual. But between Yuri playing hard to get and Ryo and Takuma's constant interference, their relationship hasn't made any progress. This was seemingly resolved by his and Ryo's endings in AoF 3, but the King of Fighters series has restored the status quo.
- Memento MacGuffin: The coin he flips in the third game was a gift from his father Alberto. It was meant to remind Robert of his roots so that he could one day come back to them.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Loosely modeled after Steven Seagal in his prime.
- 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.
- Red Baron: The Mightiest Tiger.
- Rich Idiot With No Dayjob: Robert's the scion of one of the wealthiest families in the world and is the current CEO of the Garcia Foundation. But, he'll hand your ass to you on a silver platter, courtesy of his thousand dollar wingtip shoes if you make the mistake of crossing him.
- 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.
- Shout-Out: He's modeled after Andy Garcia and Steven Seagal.
- Spam Attack: Robert's Geneikyaku, the kick counterpart to Ryo's Zanretsuken - he also has his Muei Shippu Jyudan DM, which is an aerial version of his Geneikyaku combined with the Hien Shippu Kyaku.
- Surprisingly Good English: Because of an English-speaking voice actor.
- 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.
- Badass Grandpa
- Badass Mustache
- Bootstrapped Theme: His theme went on to become the groundwork for every theme of the Art of Fighting Team in The King of Fighters (the only exceptions being '96 and 2001) as well as Ryo's themes in Art of Fighting 2, Fatal Fury Special, and Fatal Fury Wild Ambition.
- The Chew Toy: To the point that he makes cameos in Maximum Impact's Extra Mode as the driver of the vehicles you push off of a cliff and watch explode.
- Demoted to Extra: After AOF1.
- 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).
- Ki Attacks
- Manly Tears: He's often seen crying when Kasumi accomplishes something.
- Martial Arts Headband
- The Rival: To the Kyokugen school of karate.
- 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?"
- Unexpected Character: When Todoh appeared in Capcom vs. SNK 2.
Jack Turner - USA
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.
- Fingerless Gloves: As part of his biker attire.
- Martial Arts Headband:
- 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.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Dropkicks, body slams, hip drops.... you get the idea.
Lee Pai Long - Taiwan
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.
- All Chinese People Know Kung-Fu
- Ascended Extra: How else did he make it to Neo Geo Battle Coliseum?
- Badass Grandpa:
- Combat Medic: He is a master of Chinese Kenpo, a prison warden and an expert in the pharmaceutic world. In his translated AOF2 ending, he becomes famous by finding the cure to hemorrhoids.
- Cool Mask
- Fingerless Gloves: In NGBC.
- Old Master
- The Rival: To Takuma, although they are good acquaintances as well.
- Wolverine Claws
King - France
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.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: To the point of practically being Robert's Distaff Counterpart, as she's rarely seen without her tux.
- Cultured Badass: She runs an upscale establishment and is a connoisseur of fine wine and Ming crystal wine glasses. She even has her own vintage collection. She's also a regular in The King of Fighters - usually as the captain of the All Women's Team - though she's occasionally filled in for Yuri on the Kyokugen Team, as well.
- Bifauxnen: The first time she ever wore women's clothing was The King of Fighters XI, in the AOF Team ending... thirteen years after her first appearance.
- 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.
- Combat Stilettos: It's very hard to notice, though.
- Cool Big Sis: To Yuri, who looks up to her and really, REALLY, wants King to become part of the family by hooking up with her brother, to make it official. Which is seen in both their pre-fight dialogue (at 4:54-5:26) and their team's ending in KoF XIII.
- Distaff Counterpart: For all intents and purposes, she's basically female Robert; though the degree of similarity depends on the game. Particularly in the '97, 2000, and XI installments of King of Fighters series.
- Dope Slap: She gives one to Yuri for saying someone like King would be her ideal husband, during their team ending for KoF XIII.
- Fingerless Gloves: Like Robert, they're a standard part of her attire.
- Foreign Fanservice: Well, she is French.
- 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.
- Promotion to Parent: For Ill Boy Jan/Jean.
- 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.
- Samus is a Girl: Probably the first fighting game example.
- Ship Tease: With Ryo, a lot. Even more so in The King of Fighters, where they're apparently dating as of their team's XI ending.
- The Smurfette Principle: The sole female character in the first game.
- Spam Attack: Her Trap Shot and her 'Phantom Vemon Strike' HDM, which has her launch a barrage of 10 Venom Strikes in rapid succession.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Don't ask how she managed to pass for a male while dressed in traditional Muay Thai garb.
- Team Mom: She's almost always the captain of the All Womens Team in the annual King of Fighters tournament; excluding the '97 tournament, where Chizuru was their team's captain. King has also joined the Kyokugen Team on occasion.
- Tomboyish Name
- Wholesome Crossdresser: During the second game; she was a crook in the first game, albeit begrudgingly.
Mickey Rogers - USA
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.
- Extremity Extremist
- Gratuitous English and Surprisingly Good English: Has bouts of both.
- Mistaken Identity: The reason he fights Ryo and Robert in the first game, aside from being pissed off about his luck, is because he assumes they are cops due to their questions.
- Real Men Wear Pink: His boxing shorts and sneakers.
- 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.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: SNK's Guile.
- Blondes Are Evil: His AOF 1 version comes off as quite sadistic.
- Expy: Of John Kreese from Karate Kid. Besides having similar names, they share the same background, hairstyle and training methods.
- Cool Shades
- Expository Hairstyle Change: His hair was longer and shaggier in the first game.
- Lighter and Softer: In AOF 1 he is depicted as bordering on Ax-Crazy, while his AOF 2 version emphasizes his status as a Shell-Shocked Veteran who owns a dog and enjoys working on his propeller plane. His ending even sees him turning down an offer to rejoin the army.
- Psycho for Hire: He gives off these vibes in the first game, and moreso in the anime.
- Sunglasses at Night: They have to be knocked off his face in battle to be removed.
- Surprisingly Good English: Voiced by native English speaker in the English version of 2.
Mr. Big - Australia
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.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: He wears a fur longcoat. In part two, he returns with a three-piece suit and scarf to go with it.
- Badass Mustache
- Bald of Evil
- Beard of Evil: Grows one for the sequel.
- Cool Shades: Worn at all times.
- Demoted to Extra: Of the SNK bosses who have appeared in more than one game, Mr. Big is by far the least remembered. He's not even the final boss in his own games.
- The Dragon: Formerly, to Geeses. Big severed ties with him at the conclusion of King of Fighters '96 after realizing Geese was merely using him.
- Dual Wielding: With a pair of rattan sticks.
- Extremity Extremist: In the first game, he couldn't even JUMP! For his stint in KOF '96, he gained actual kick attacks.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: His translated dialogue in Art of Fighting 2. "Let's just say I know which holes in which to put my pegs," indeed!
- I Have Your Daughter: Big used this as leverage to blackmail Takuma so he'd have to continue working for Geese, but his plans were ruined by Ryo and Robert.
- It's Personal: Although he holds them both responsible for bringing down his syndicate, he has a personal beef with Robert, since he was the one who fought and defeated Big at the end of the first game. Which is reflected in Robert's pre-fight dialog with Big at the end of Art of Fighting 2.
- A Lady on Each Arm: Seen in his pre-fight animation, ever since King of Fighters '96, which has led fans to believe that one of his syndicate's operations is prostitution.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: As if it needs to be said.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Big has no fear of the police, since many of them are on his payroll and the rest know better than to cross him. And he isn't concerned about the Feds either because he has extensive connections in the criminal underworld. Which gives him free reign to operate as he sees fit... if it weren't for Ryo and Robert.
- Shock and Awe: His "Blaster Wave" DM/HDM.
- SNK Boss
- Starter Villain: Especially apparent when Geese comes into the picture in 2.
- Sunglasses at Night: As with John, you have to knock them off by force if you want to look him in the eye.
Mr. Karate/Takuma Sakazaki - Japan
Takuma Sakazaki originally came to South Town in hopes of spreading Kyokugenryu's influence. Naturally, being a martial artist of great renown, this made him a cause for concern for Geese Howard, who was the Police Commissioner at that time. By using his criminal connections, he soon learned that Takuma's son and daughter were also in South Town, unbeknownst to Takuma. Geese used this to his advantage and had Mr. Big arrange to have Yuri abducted, to use as leverage against her father. Now under the guise of "Mr. Karate", he regrettably became their top enforcer.Sometime afterwards, Takuma began to hear rumors that his son, Ryo, and his student, Robert had begun searching for her and was proud to learn they were defeating some of Big's top henchmen. Which included some of his old rivals, such as Ryuhaki Todoh and Lee Pai Long. Eventually, he even got wind that Big, himself, had been defeated by his student and found himself facing his son not long afterward. Their fight was an intense one, but Ryo's drive to save his sister gave him the strength to overcome his own father. Though Yuri intervened before Ryo could finish him with his Haoh Shoko Ken and explained who he was and how he'd been conscripted by Geese. Ryo understood and Takuma returned home with his family to resume his rightful place as head of their dojo.The following year, he entered the first chronological King of Fighters tournament (AoF 2) to exact his revenge on Geese and Mr. Big.Since then, he has continued to push himself and his students to greater heights, believing that Kyokugenryu is constantly evolving and is without limit. As such, he makes it a point to enter the annual King of Fighters, to promote their school in hopes of further spreading it's influence by attracting new students.
- Badass: Takuma boasts monstrous amounts of power, enough that he he was able to divert a blast from the Zero Cannon in their team's KoF 2000 ending; which left Ryo and Robert utterly amazed by it.
- Cool Mask: Whenever he's using his Mr. Karate persona, he dons his red Tengu mask. In most cases, it's for comedic effect since Ryo, Robert, and Yuri know it's him (though Takuma'll insist that he's someone else). But when he's using his Shin Karate persona... that's another case entirely.
- Forced Into Evil: As previously mentioned, he was forced to work for Geese and Mr. Big under threat of harm coming to his daughter, Yuri, if he didn't comply.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a X-shaped scar on his right pectoral, earned from his fight with Lee Gakusuo, Lee Pai Long's father. During his special KO pose, he clutches it as blood spurts from the wound.
- I Want Grandkids: Ever since finding out about his son's tentative relationship with King, he's given them his full support and actively encourages them. In their team's KoF 2000 ending, he says he saved her since he couldn't allow the mother of a Kyokugen heir to perish and, during their KoF XI ending, he gives them the key to a penthouse suite!
- Ki Attacks: Having taught Ryo, Robert, and Yuri, it comes as no surprise that he's mastered both the Kooh Ken and Haoh Shoko Ken. Though in the King of Fighters series, his Kooh Ken becomes short ranged and has become more of a force shove, if the opponent doesn't block it. Though the EX version has slightly longer range.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: As seen in their team's KoF 2000 ending, Takuma has mastered the Shi Kohken blast to such an extent that he was able to deflect a direct hit from the Zero Cannon. A feat which was believed to be humanly impossible. In 2002 UM, he gains this as his HDM where it now takes the form of roaring lion's head before firing (seen here at 6:08-6:11), resulting in a massive wave of ki that can deplete over 1/2 of his opponent's meter if it connects.
- Living Legend: There's hardly anyone who doesn't know him, or at least heard of him. As the founder and creator of Kyokugenryu Karate, he's the foremost authority in its disciplines, having achieved levels of mastery that even his son and student have yet to attain, themselves. Takuma has fought and defeated many prolific martial arts masters in his lifetime, such as Gaksou Lee (Lee Pai Long's master), Ryhaki Toodoh, and has remained in top form through rigorous training and repeat participation in The King of Fighters.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: The original game concludes with Yuri revealing that Mr. Karate was their father, to her brother.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: It's commonly believed that Takuma either restrains a great deal of his power when fighting normally, or that his Tengu mask somehow draws out his full power when he assumes his Shin Karate persona. Either way, he's significantly faster and stronger when fighting as his alter ego, despite his normal fighting ability already being considered beyond exceptional. For that reason, it is believed by some that Takuma may be the most powerful character in SNK's universe.
- One-Hit Kill: In the original game, his Haohshoken has to potential to deplete nearly an entire life bar (depending on whether it hit normally, or as a counter hit) assuming it's AI controlled Mr. Karate.
- Overprotective Dad: This is part of the reason Yuri can't have a love life, 'cuz her father (and her brother) won't let Robert near her, even though she's an adult and mutually attracted to him. During their team's KoF XIII ending, Robert had intended to propose to her, except Takuma wouldn't allow it.
- Passing the Torch: By the time of Garou: Mark of the Wolves, he's handed the title of Headmaster over to Ryo; along with the mantle of "Mr. Karate".
- Pec Flex: Seen in his standard Victory Pose in the KoF series from '94-2002 UM, where he slips the top of his dogi off of his shoulders.
- Red Baron: Takuma is referred to as "Mr. Karate" and as "The Invincible Fighter".
- Shipper on Deck: Covered in the I Want Grandkids entry.
- Spam Attack/Rapidfire Fisticuffs: With both the Zanretsuken and the Shorankyaku, which is a rapid series of knee bashes directly to the opponent's face, while balanced on their shoulders. As the name implies, it's part of the Shoran Disciplinenote making it unique to Takuma's moveset.
- Stern Teacher: No matter how well Ryo and Robert perform in the King of Fighters, he also tells them it isn't enough and has them redouble their efforts. In '96, they run away from him, while in '97 they punch him to the sky.
- SNK Boss: One of the earliest and fiercest examples. As Shin Karate (aka "Serious Mr. Karate"), his attacks become much faster, stronger, and have priority over most other attacks. Depending on which game he appears in, he gains additional attacks to his standard moveset, while losing others. The following link showcases his abilities in KoF XIII
- True Final Boss: Of the original Art of Fighting.
- He shares this spot with Shin Akuma in CvS: Chaos. Which one you face depends on what set of criteria you meet, part of which includes not losing any rounds.
- Unblockable Attack/No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Takuma can also perform Ryukoh Ranbu, though his variation of it ends with a Haoh Shoko Ken blast. While the HDM version ends with three consecutive Haoh Shikoh Ken blasts For Massive Damage.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: In Art of Fighting 2 only.
Characters introduced in Art of Fighting 2
Yuri Sakazaki - Japan
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 . 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.
- Accidental Innuendo/That Came Out Wrong: Yuri unintentionally makes it sounds as if she'd like to marry King, when asked to describe her ideal husband, during their team ending in KoF XIII.Interviewer: "I see. And, what would your ideal husband be like?"Yuri: (thinking aloud) "Hmm... Let's see... That's a tough one... I think they would have to be someone nice and polite..."*King dope smacks Yuri*
- Ascended Extra
- Ass Kicks You: One of her special normals has her launch herself at her opponent, hip first.
- Badass Adorable: Many would find it hard to believe someone as cute and generally friendly as she is could deliver a world of hurt. Well, she can.
- Braids of Action: She had one, until she finally decided to cut it off, just before the KoF XIII tournament.
- But Not Too Foreign: Same as Ryo.
- 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.
- Cool Big Sis: She looks up to King for her talents as a martial artist and as the captain of the All Women's Team. More importantly, Yuri wants her to become part of the family by marrying her brother.
- 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.
- Fantastic Nuke: Yuki packs two of these in her arsenal:
- 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.
- Fingerless Gloves
- 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.
- Genki Girl: To the point of almost acting (and sounding) like a schoolgirl.
- Ki Attacks
- 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.
- Martial Arts Headband
- 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.
- 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.
- Shipper on Deck: She REALLY likes the idea of King hooking up with her brother. She even sets them up ona date, in their team's KoF XI ending while, during their pre-fight dialogue in KoF XIII, she asks King what she thinks of her brother. And in their team ending for XIII, she puts King on the spot again.
- 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 '01, she even gains a mock version of Akuma's "Raging Demon", which uses the exact same button sequence!
- Took a Level in Badass: Between Art of Fighting 1 and 2.
- Verbal Tic: Most of sentences end with "-chi", a quirk devised by her seiyuu.
Eiji Kisaragi - Japan
Eiji is an ninja from the feared and respected Kisaragi clan. His school is the sworn enemy of both the Sakazaki clan and Kyokugenryu Karate. He enters the tournament to kill his rivals.
- '80s Hair: To this very day!
- Arch-Enemy: To the Kyokugen school of karate. Apparently, it is a generational feud.
- Attack Reflector
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Thanks to the translators having no knowledge of the Japanese script, Eiji's ending has him sulking about how Mai Shiranui was stolen from him by Andy. Keep in mind the Art of Fighting series takes place at least a decade before the events of Fatal Fury...
- Cool Mask
- Expy: Mature has some similar moves.
- Flash Step
- Ki Attacks
- Ninja: It is heavily implied that he's a descendant of Zantetsu.
- The Quiet One: His special skill? Not talking.
Temjin - Mongolia
Temjin is a Mongolian wrestler who works as a dock worker at the Southtown port to raise money for a school in Mongolia. He enters the tournament to get the prize money and make his dream come true.
- Badass Mustache
- Badass Teacher: Well, a Badass Principal anyway.
- Braids of Barbarism: The object of ridicule by both Yuri and some of the students at his school.
- Chinese People
- Friend to All Children: Unless they insult his hairstyle....
Geese Howard - USA
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.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the reigning crime lord of Southtown.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: It's how he got so far in life.
- Badass in a Nice Suit
- Big Bad
- Blond Guys Are Evil
- Canon Immigrant: Originally from the Fatal Fury series.
- Dirty Cop: He's also the police commissioner of Southtown. Do the math.
- Guest Fighter
- Leitmotif: A technofied version of his original theme, perhaps to portray Geese before his fascination with Japanese culture.
- The Man Behind the Man
- 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.
- SNK Boss
- The Syndicate: Howard Connection.
- True Final Boss: Of Art of Fighting 2, provided the player won every fight without continuing, or losing any rounds.
- Villain Exit Stage Left: When you beat him in Art of Fighting 2, he escapes when a blackout hits his office and hightails it to Japan.
Characters introduced in Art of Fighting 3
Rody Birts - USA
Rody Birts is a private investigator and partner of Lenny Creston, who has been hired by Wyler to find Freia Lawrence.
Kasumi Todoh - Japan
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).
- Alternate Company Equivalent: She could be SNK's Hsien-Ko.
- Badass Adorable
- Cute Bruiser: From using her family's style of kobujtsu, which is a counteroffensive style of grappling. Though she supplements it with handstrikes and her Kasaneate.
- Daddy's Girl: She's the apple of her father's eye and she aspires to uphold the family name to make him proud.
- Demoted to Extra: For the most part averted as she became a recurring character in The King of Fighters. However, she was the only character whom debuted in AOF3 who didn't play this trope straight.
- Disappeared Dad: For which she blames Ryo.
- Generation Xerox: Downplayed. Very much like her father, but she goes out of her way to emulate her mother, a full-blown Yamato Nadeshiko.
- 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 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.
- Noblewoman's Laugh
- Lady of War: In training.
- She's Got Legs: They are revealed when you finish her off with an Ultimate K.O in Art of Fighting 3. Chun-Li also comments on them in SVC Chaos.
- Martial Arts Headband: Which she given to Ryo in her ending in order to ensure that he remembers her vow to defeat him one day.
- Plucky Comic Relief/The Comically Serious: She's portrayed this way, due to her dedication to her family name and her obsession with finding her father.
- Razor Wind: The Todoh family's signature special: Kasaneate. And, like her father, she can also perform Hou Kasaneate, which is the HDM version of it.
- Translation Convention
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair
Wang Koh-San - China
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.
- Eyes Always Shut
- Fingerless Gloves
- Goggles Do Nothing
- Ki Attacks
- Non-Human Sidekick: Wang is fiercely protective of his pelican Hoe Hoe, and will initiate combat with anyone who bothers it (though the bird is in actuality to blame most of the time).
- Warrior Poet: He is also an accomplished artist who has come to Glasshill looking for inspiration.
Lenny Creston - USA
Lenny Creston is a private investigator and partner of Lenny Creston, who has been hired by Wyler to find Freia Lawrence.
- Bare Your Midriff
- Brains and Brawn: The Brain to Roddy's Brawn.
- Hot Scoop
- Intrepid Reporter: Overlapping with Going for the Big Scoop. She's come to Glasshill in search of a big news report.
- Martial Arts Headband
- Odd Friendship: With Rody.
- Tomboyish Name
- Tsundere: Type 2 with Rody, although it seems purely platonic (at least on her side).
- Whip It Good
Karman Cole - Germany
Karman is an assistant to the Garcias who has been sent to find Robert, who left for Glasshill Valley to look for his childhood friend Freia.
Jin Fu-Ha - Japan
Jin Fu-Ha is a was once the disciple of Eiji Kisaragi who was betrayed by his master. He has come to Glass Hill to test his skills against Ryo Sakazaki.
- Attack Reflector
- Everything's Better with Spinning: One of his moves is quite similar to Zangief's Spinning Clothesline.
- Fingerless Gloves
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has one across his chest, presumably from Eiji.
- Invisibility: Hey, at least he's not screaming "FIND ME!".
Sinclair - Unknown
Sinclair is the assistant of main antagonist Wyler. She is secretly looking for somebody to convince him to give up his pursuit of the drug he is attempting to create.
- Action Girl
- Bare Your Midriff
- Cool Sword
- Dance Battler: Her techniques resemble Indian sword dancing.
- Does Not Like Shoes
- The Dragon
- Enigmatic Minion: To Wyler.
- Extremity Extremist
- Foreign Fanservice: She appears to hail from the Middle East.
- Mind over Matter: She can telekinetically control her sword from afar.
- Reverse Mole: It would seem that she's either Wyler's underling or partner, but she's actually working undercover to stop him.
Wyler - Unknown
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...
- Multicolored Hair
- My God, What Have I Done?: In his ending (exclusive to the Japanese Neo Geo CD version), he regains his normal form after beating all of the other fighters (unlike the other endings, he retains his lucidity) and sees the error of his ways once he realizes Freia's feelings for him.
- One-Winged Angel
- Psycho Serum: The elixir he intakes turns him into a hulking giant, but reverts his mentality to that of a child, a side-effect that seems to be permanent after he returns to his normal form.
- Shout-Out: To Hulk and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- SNK Boss
- Walking Shirtless Scene