Characters: The King Of Fighters The Rugal Saga

The characters in The King of Fighters introduced during KOF '94 (the intro title also known as the "Rugal Saga").

Characters are listed in alphabetical order of last names. It should be noted that all the Chinese and Korean character names are rendered in the Western style (given name-surname rather than surname-given name).

Trivia entries go in the Trivia tab. Captain Ersatz, Continuity Nod, Expy, Mythology Gag, No Celebrities Were Harmed and Shout-Out entries go in the Shout Out page.

And remember: this is just a part of all the characters that comprise the series. For characters who debuted in KOF '95 through '97, go here.

For characters who debuted in KOF '99 through 2002 (2002: Unlimited Match included), go here.

For characters who debuted in KOF 2003 through XIII, go here.

Finally, for characters who appeared outside the main series, go here.

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Hero Team- Japan

    Kyo Kusanagi - Japan 
"You just ain't got it. So stop whining and get lost."

Voiced by: Masahiro Nonaka, Andrew Roth (Maximum Impact series, English), Peter von Gomm (XII, English), Ryōtarō Okiayu ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Tomokazu Sugita (Japanese dub of the live-action movie)
Portrayed by: Sean Faris (live-action movie)

The Protagonist of the series. Kyo begins as an Ordinary High-School Student who enters the first tournament both to prove his strength to the world (having already won the All-Japan Martial Arts Tournament) and to find his missing father Saisyu. After defeating Rugal for the first time, he encounters Iori Yagami who proclaims himself as Kyo's eternal enemy. Kyo makes it to the finals again and fights his Brainwashed father, and then Rugal once again. He learns of his destiny to seal away Orochi from Chizuru Kagura, and in '96 defeats Goenitz along with Iori. In '97 he, along with Iori and Chizuru, battle the last remaining forces of Orochi and reseal him, but he disappears afterward, and he is found by NESTS and cloned. A year later he decides to find out about NESTS, and joins K' in combating the organization. In the Tales of Ash saga, he joins with Iori and Chizuru once again to stop a group of people trying to resurrect Orochi, but Iori and Chizuru have their powers stolen by Ash Crimson, leaving Kyo as the final target. Due to Ash fully managing to unfurl his plan, however, Kyo never has his powers stolen.

  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Just because he's the hero and really cares for his friends, doesn't stop him from being a cocky bastard when it comes to fighting.
  • Badass
  • Badass Adorable - The KOF: KYO manga shows us Kyo when he was no older than 8. He was this through and through, especially considering that he loved to train very roughly with his father and that he saved other kids from being bullied by high schoolers.
  • Badass Biker
  • Because Destiny Says So/You Can't Fight Fate - Pretty much the underlying reason for why stuff happens to him. Kyo vehemently refuses to believe that fate plays an integral role in his life, but will fight people like the Orochi and Those of the Past so they'll leave him and his loved ones alone.
  • Berserk Button - Ash Crimson and Iori Yagami. On a less serious note, being too nosy about the fact that he never graduated from high school is a sure-fire way to get smoked. (Kim is particularly good about rising his hackles in regards to this. Hilarity Ensues every time they meet.)
  • Big Fancy House - In the KOF:KYO media, we see that Kyo and his parents live in a traditional Japanese complex located atop of a small hill from the outskirts of Osaka.
  • Bonus Boss - Along with Iori in KOF '99. You can fight him if your end points are over 280. Win, and he becomes playable.
  • Bootstrapped Theme/Recurring Riff - "Esaka?" from '96 is so popular a song that it's probably the song of the series. It has seen multiple renditions over the years, whether it's being used for the original Japan Team, Kyo's clones, or even as a bridge in a completely different theme for Kyo.
  • Brought Down to Normal - A huge plot point in the KOF: KYO manga. Kyo has had some hidden insecurities about why he's fighting for for a short while, and while fighting Billy Kane his flames suddenly die out. He spends the following days in an Heroic BSOD-induced apathy, where not even Iori really wants to fight him since he's completely Not Himself, and from then on it went From Bad to Worse.
  • Bully Hunter - According to the KOF: KYO manga, this is how he started fighting.
  • Catch Phrase - "Heh heh, moetaro?" note  and "Ore no... kachi da!" note 
  • Cloning Blues
  • Creepy Cool Crosses - His outfit during the NESTS saga had a black shirt with two pairs of perpendicular white lines forming a cross on his chest.
  • Depending on the Writer - In XIII Climax, NESTS!Kyo is portrayed to be slightly Older and Wiser than normal!Kyo. For example, Kyo bluntly tells Leona to get out of the battlefield since "this is no place for those who can't control themselves", whereas NESTS!Kyo asks her if she 's up for controlling her Orochi blood instead. Then again, some of NESTS!Kyo's lines come across as more conceited than regular Kyo's, and thus reminiscent of his Orochi Saga self.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Orochi? - With the help of Iori and Chizuru, he takes out Orochi in The Three Sacred Treasures' ending in '97.
  • Divergent Character Evolution - Although he's one of many examples (see Ryo/Robert, Ralf/Clark, Mature/Vice, etc.), his is perhaps the most notable. In '95, Kyo and Iori possessed similar movesets (this is justified in-story; their ancestors worked together to perfect their respective fighting styles together before the Kusanagi/Yasakani schism), giving them a Moveset Clone relationship. In the following game, Kyo traded in his Yami Barai fireball for his now-trademark flame-lanced chain of punches (this is presumably due to the Curb-Stomp Battle he experienced at the hands of Goenitz in the interim between games). Currently (read: "up until XII"), he and Iori share one move.
    • And now that Iori has lost his flames (and possesses a more physical moveset not unlike post-'95 Kyo), Kyo's back to his original moveset.
  • Downloadable Content - In XIII, the "NESTS-style" Kyo, which is him with his more iconic Rekka-style combos.
  • Even the Guys Want Him - Just watch his intro with Vega in the Capcom vs. SNK games. Kyo is not honored in the slightest.
    Vega: "Hmm. Rather attractive. However you can't hold a candle to me."
    Kyo: "Shut yo' mouth! You silly narcissistic little fancy pants! I'm going to torch you to your bones!"
    Vega: "Heh, heh. Relax. You should take a break before I tear you to shreds, huh?"
    Kyo: "I've got stuff to do. I can't waste my time with freaks like you."
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out - Although he and the original Team Japan won throughout the entire Orochi Saga ('95-'97), with Kyo usually getting the credit for single-handedly beating Orochi, Kyo doesn't seem to have quite the same luck in either the NESTS or Tales of Ash sagas (especially the latter), despite being one of the most powerful fighters in The Verse.
  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Finger Wag - His taunt. Originally, he'd only dental click while doing it ("Tsk tsk tsk"), although Kyo later says "Mou, oyasumi ka?" ("Oh, is it bedtime already?")
  • Fire Is Red - Supposedly. The flames of the Kusanagi clan are usually referred to as "crimson", but appear in-game as orange, similar to how the cursed blue flames of Orochi (see: Iori, Orochi Chris) are depicted as purple.
  • Fun with Acronyms - His 707 Shiki: Doku Gaku Tori is alternatively known as the R.E.D (Rainbow Explosive Dynamite) Kick.
  • High School Sweethearts - A Belligerent Sexual Tension-filled example with Yuki. Despite Yuki largely disappearing from the supporting cast in later installments, she and Kyo are going steady to this day.
  • Image Song - Several. The main ones fans request for Masahiro Nonaka to sing are "Burning Devotion!" and "Pieces." God forbid that you get him and Kunihiko Yasui (Iori) in the same room or less the fans will clamor that they sing their dual image song, "The Sun & The Moon."
  • Intergenerational Friendship - With Daimon, who is roughly 8-9 years older than he is.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Kyo is cocky, fight-happy, rebellious and really full of himself, but his heart is very much in the right place and he does love his family and friends in his own way. (And in KOF:KYO he seems to have some hidden insecurities as well, which leave him open to almost losing himself to the dark side.)
  • Martial Arts Headband - Wore one until the start of the NESTS saga (not counting his Another Kyo striker in KOF '99). He burns his headband in a few KOF '99 opening poses in order to distinguish himself from his clones.
    • He kept on wearing it (along with his "classic" school uniform) in several spin-off games until Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, in which he appears with his NESTS Saga outfit, thereby ditching it for good (also because the outfit went to his alternate version, Kusanagi).
  • Meaningful Name - The Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi is a sword that the sea and storm god Susano'o found inside of the Yamata no Orochi's body after slaying the great beast. Guess what Kyo Kusanagi does to Orochi at the climax of '97.
    • His Neo MAX in XIII is named the Ura Hyaku Ni Juu Ichi Shiki Ame-no-Murakumo, the "Ame no Murakumo" being the former name of the Kusanagi sword.
  • Megaton Punch - Gains one from '99 onwards in the form of his 182 Shiki. This is presumably a Continuity Nod to the killing blow Kyo landed on Orochi.
    • You could also argue that the end of his Mu Shiki DM (not the SDM version, though) ends with one also. At the very least, they're sent flying.
  • Neck Lift - Kyo's Crescent Moon Flash/Crescent Slash has him charging the opponent with a running elbow to the stomach, followed by Kyo hoisting them up by the neck and, finally, lighting them up like a Christmas tree.
    Kyo: "MOERO!" note 
  • Non-Indicative Name - Halfway there. NESTS-Style Kyo may wear the threads from his '99-2002 days, but his playstyle is primarily based on that of '98!Kyo.
  • Not So Different - Although semi-canon at best, other media adaptations (most notably the '98 drama CD, KOF: Kyo, and the Hong Kong manhua) insinuate that should the Kusanagi lose themselves to their darker side, they'll end up just like the followers of Orochi.
  • Oh Crap! - A big one dawns on him at the end of his Maximum Impact story. Why? He forgot to call Yuki.
  • Playing with Fire - Comes from his Heroic Lineage.
  • Power Echoes - Most versions of his Mu Shiki DM have an echo effect. Canonically, the Mu Shiki is believed to be Kyo's strongest skill (Clone Zero even used its data for the Zero Cannon).
  • Public Domain Artifact/Amplifier Artifact - Wields the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, which is implied to reside inside of his body.
  • Pungeon Master - Quite fond of making all sorts of quips pertaining to his natural element.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black - He's entered several tournaments while in uniform. When Kyo stopped wearing his school clothes in '99, his clones picked up the slack.
    • Clothes Make the Legend - Arguably. Kyo is more recognizable as the schoolboy from the Orochi Saga. Most of his appearances outside of KOF have Kyo in his uniform as well. In fact, the creation of Kyo's clones were fueled by a desire among some of the developers to include Kyo's older and more iconic look.
  • Screw Destiny - While Kyo does go on to defeat Orochi just as his ancestor did, Kyo himself refuses to believe that his feud with Iori is influenced by the ancient war between the Kusanagi and Yasakani. Basically, he wants to just live his life as a fighter, but if others seek him out and/or harm someone who's at least mildly close to him (like Saisyu in '95, Yuki in '97 or Chizuru in 2003), he just will fight back so they'll leave him and his loved ones alone.
  • Send in the Clones - Used as Self-Deprecation in regards to the NESTS Chronicles. XI has Kyo making a jab at the ludicrous number of clones he's picked up over the years, almost to a Never Live It Down degree.
    Kyo: "Another clone? There's enough of me to start a baseball team!"
  • Shoryuken - His Oniyaki special.
  • Shotoclone - Somewhat, during his first appearances (and by proxy, in XII and XIII).
  • The Slacker - Never graduated from high school. Lampshaded more than once in the games. He gets pissed off every time this is brought up.
  • Solar and Lunar - Represents the sun, in contrast to Iori's moon-related imagery.
  • Spell My Name with an "S" - His first name is written as "Kyo", "Kyō" or "Kyou".
  • Teen Genius - He's said to have properly dominated his pyrokinetic powers and surpassed his father's own skills when he was 15 years old (which is also the time when Souji almost lost himself to his darker side and thus asked Kyo to replace him as the family leader). He became the winner of the All-Japan Martial Arts Tournament at age 18, and the Team Japan leader at age 19. The rest is history.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork - It's not exactly easy to fight alongside a guy who unreasonably hates your guts, but if the Orochi is involved, it's time to throw the feud aside and help Chizuru out.
  • Theme Naming - More often than not, his theme will have the word "Esaka" in it. This is also symbolic to fans of the series, as Esaka refers to the locale of the old SNK headquarters.
  • This Is Something I've Got To Do Myself - XIII in a nutshell. Kyo is very fervent about making sure that he's the one who'll give Ash his just desserts, leading to him butting heads with several other competitors, including Athena (who calls him out on trying to shoulder all of the burden when he has friends who are willing to help), Kensou (who both wants to use his new powers and thinks similarly to Athena), and Elisabeth (who has the same mindset when it comes to dealing with Ash).
  • Trademark Favorite Food - Grilled fish. Lampshaded in XIII when he taunts K's via theorizing that he's always grumpy because he eats too much red meat and telling him to eat fish instead; K' is obviously not amused.
  • Unusual Euphemism - 2002 has Kyo prattling on about "the pepper" in his win quote. The Japanese equivalent is more along the lines of his trademark "Moetaro" ("You [got] burned") line.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds - With Benimaru, in earlier incarnations. Also with Kensou in KOF: KYO, to a smaller degree.
  • Vocal Evolution - Kyo sounds more laid-back and relaxed in later games (as compared to his almost Hot-Blooded characterization at the beginning of the Orochi Saga) and his voice has grown somewhat deeper to match this, perhaps to show his maturity over the years. Nonaka has said he feels slightly detached and disappointed by this, as he saw his younger days in Kyo's more cocksure personality.
  • Warrior Poet - Literally. Poetry is a hobby of Kyo's. Though he's not too good at it.

    Benimaru Nikaido - Japan 
"My reason for winning? I'm just cool. Real cool."

Voiced by: Atsushi "Monster" Maezuka, Eric Kelso (XII, English), Hikaru Midorikawa ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

Kyo's and Daimon's partner. A lightning user who's also quite the ladies' man. Practices an unconventional fighting style called "Shooting" (shoot boxing).

  • Guest Fighter - In Xuan Dou Zhi Wang alongside Terry.
  • Image Song - "Show Time!"
  • The Jail Bait Wait - For Kula, judging by his dialogue with her in XIII's story mode and his win quote for her. Immediately subverted in the former when he calls himself a horrible person for bringing it up and then tells Kula to forget what he said when she has no understanding of what he meant by waiting five years for her.
  • More Than Mind Control - Briefly happens to him in Ryo Takamisaki's The King Of Fighters G. Goenitz starts using his powers to drain people of Life Energy while he and Kyo are fighting in the finals; this affects Benimaru by proxy and he goes Blood Knight at Kyo, injuring his eyes. When Kyo wins the fight anyway, Benimaru comes back to his senses and apologizes. It qualifies as this trope instead of Brainwashed and Crazy because of a subplot where Benimaru was very angry at Kyo after a massive fight, which led him to team up with Iori and Mature (while Kyo teamed with Athena and Vice); Goenitz's appearance and powers simply amped up the bad feelings that already were there Up to Eleven.
  • The Lancer - If the Japan Team's original configuration has Kyo as The Hero and Daimon as The Big Guy, then Benimaru is definitely this.
  • Shock and Awe - His exaggerated case of electrostatics is the reason his hair rivals Paul Phoenix and Guile.

    Goro Daimon - Japan 

Voiced by: Masaki Usui, Ryuzaburo Otomo ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

Japanese judo master who was invited by Benimaru to join the Japan team for the '94 tournament. He, Kyo, and Benimaru have been good friends since then, although Daimon occasionally declines joining tournaments to focus on his family.

Fatal Fury Team- Italy

    Terry Bogard - USA 
"Say what? It's no fluke. This is why I'm here every year."

Voiced by: Satoshi Hashimoto, Tony Carrol (Maximum Impact series, English), Takeshi Kusao ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)
Portrayed by: David Leitch (live-action movie)

The hero of the Fatal Fury series and SNK's mascot for all intents and purposes. His role in the overall plot of the KOF series is minimal, as he's mostly here due to his popularity. He was raised by martial arts master Jeff Bogard along with his younger brother Andy, and developed his own unique fighting style based on Jeff's teachings. He witnessed the murder of his father at the hands of Geese Howard, and trained with Tung Fu Rue to take revenge. Terry defeated Geese and gave him a boot out of his tower, but after learning of his survival Terry was none too pleased. He failed in stopping Geese from obtaining the Jin Scrolls but in the next tournament, he defeats Geese once again and this time tries to save him from falling off the tower, again, but Geese rejects him, allowing himself to plummet to his "death," again. He adopts Geese's son Rock afterward, and trains him.

    Andy Bogard - USA 
"If you want to be the best, it's practice every day, pal."

Voiced by: Jun Hashimoto ('94), Keiichi Nanba ('95 onwards), Jeff Manning (XII, English), Ryo Horikawa ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

Younger brother of Terry and a McNinja. He was taught a basic form of Shiranui ninjutsu by Mai's grandfather Hanzo. After hearing of his father Jeff's death at the hands of Geese Howard, he joins forces with Terry and Joe Higashi, and the three enter Geese's King of Fighters tournament. Although Andy fights Geese first, he loses badly, and Terry finishes the villain off... maybe. He's also the apple of Mai's eye, although he rejects her advances.

  • Always Someone Better - It doesn't get in the way when the rubber meets the road (the duo will always have each others' back) but there is some definite yearning on Andy's part to become the kind of fighter his brother is seen as.
  • Badass in Distress - The reason why Terry and Mai join the party in Sky Stage is that Andy is among the fighters who got caught in the time/space paradox that the group has to fix.
  • Bash Brothers - Literally with Terry.
  • Blue Oni to Terry's Red.
  • Chaste Hero - His reason for not shacking up with Mai, which makes people wonder if he's gay.
    • Spoofed with a couple of his special intros with Mai, where she shows him a (fake) baby that looks like him and he looks shocked.
    • His Ambiguously Gay status in the fandom was apparently also parodied in Mai's ending for Gals Fighters: Andy refuses to marry Mai arguing that he has secretly been a woman all this time; fortunately for Mai, it was All Just a Dream, and she immediately wakes up.
    • Alternatively, Andy can easily be seen as a Celibate Hero. He is aware of Mai's interest, he just considers Mai to be more of a younger sister since he started training with Hanzou when he was very young. Mai's luck is surely bad.
    • The current storylines make it clear that they definitely are a couple, so it looks like that he's at the very least gotten over that.
  • Disappeared Dad - Jeff.
  • Flash Step - Finally gains one in the form of his Chou Kami Soku Zan'ei Neo MAX from XIII.
  • Highly Visible Ninja - Yes, white is good for camouflage in the winter, but how many times have you seen snow in KOF? No wonder Mai can easily find him... And what need is there for stealth in a fighting tournament anyway? At least alternate palettes are available... And they carry some questionable choices, too.
    • And then Eolith went and put a black bodysuit underneath his uniform in 2001 and 2002. Glaring color clash = even higher visibility.
  • Ki Attacks
  • McNinja - American, but lived in Japan for a good portion of his life.
  • Running Gag - A short-lived one during the NESTS Chronicles; in both '99 and 2001, Mai shows up with a tyke of her own in her arms, which then acknowledges Andy/crawls towards to him while shouting "Papa!" Andy's stricken with a look of pure horror and disbelief, only for Mai to reveal that the baby is just a puppet. Andy then nervously attempts to save face. The meaning behind Andy's reaction, of course, is up to interpretation, but them having slept together isn't totally out of the question since Andy wouldn't freak out that badly if he didn't think the "kiddo" isn't his's...
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Seen during his pre-fight dialogue with Yuri, in KoF XIII. When she asks about how things are going between him and Mai, he turns the tables on her and asks what she thinks of Robert. Which causes Yuri to giggle and quickly change the subject.
  • Technician vs. Performer - Andy (the technician) gruelingly trained for years under ninjas to learn the art of Ninjutsu and Koppoken. Terry (the performer) simply grew up in Southtown getting into random street fights and rarely trains. Andy's quote above also supports this.
    • Fridge Brilliance - That's because Terry grew up alone in the streets of Southtown, therefore merely living there as a Street Urchin who constantly got into brawls was enough for him to grow into an amazing fighter - if not, Terry would be a homeless bum or simply dead. Andy had some more luck in these regards, as while he also had to fight and work hard for the skills he has now, he still had the support of the Shiranui family and thus is in somewhat less of a position to fight to survive every day.

    Joe Higashi - Japan 
"How's that? I'm the Satan of martial arts."

Voiced by: Katsuhisa Namase ('94), Nobuyuki Hiyama ('95 onward), Greg Irwin (XII, English), Kazuki Yao ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

A Japanese man who is well versed in the art of Muay Thai, he is the best friend of both Bogard brothers, and is a constant in nearly every King of Fighters tournament. He is currently dating Billy Kane's sister Lilly, something her overprotective older brother Billy is not happy about, given his connection to the Bogards (that's for the Fatal Fury continuity; in The King of Fighters he possibly remains single, later being chased around by his unnamed loyal fan). Quite possibly the strongest Muay Thai practitioner in the SNK 'verse, much to credit for his many team ending sequences consisting of him winning other fighting tournaments by himself.

  • Anime Hair
  • Arrogant Muay Thai Guy: He's actually more arrogant and boastful than Hwa Jai, who's supposed to be the bad Muay Thai user.
  • Blow You Away: In the form of a myriad of Tornado Moves. Hurricane Upper being an example.
    • In XIII, he gets the Screw Straight as his Neo MAX. It's a horizontal tornado.
    • Games such as 2002 and CvS2 give Joe the even more destructive Double Cyclone, which creates two Screw Uppers that surround Joe on both sides and utterly rips anyone who's foolish enough to approach a new one.
  • Boisterous Bruiser - Oh, so much.
  • Flung Clothing - One of his intros has him dispose of a robe.
  • Handwraps of Awesome
  • Hot-Blooded - One of the earliest fighting game examples, although given his seiyuu, how could he be anything but?
  • I Shall Taunt You - Used to taunt King for her not having a single title in Muay Thai, therefore assuming she isn't all that compared to him, by either sporting his champion belt before a match or just the disrespectful Bring It; from 2002 onward he became more respectful towards King as their special intros have become quite friendly, there is even a occasional polite bow before they fight. However, Joe seems to have moved back in the opposite direction, given his snide remarks to her in XIII (which King takes via snarking back at him).
  • Martial Arts Headband
  • Megaton Punch - He received one as his LDM in KOF 2003.
  • Mooning - His very, very infamous Taunt Button animation. (And his winning portrait in 2001!) Too bad it was suppressed around the start of the NESTS saga.
  • Out of Focus - His relationship with Lilly Kane, and his beef with Billy because of it, simply does not carry over to KOF, quite jarring in comparison with his friends Terry and Andy whose love interests, Mary and Mai, are still on their tail.
    • Made all too frustrating for Joe in his team's ending for XIII, both Terry and Andy get their women, Mary and Mai, embraced in their arms congratulating them for winning the tournament, the logical course of action would be Lilly appearing to congratulate Joe as well, but no, what happens is Joe being chased by the fan he saved in 2003 (named Okama), which appears to be turning into a Running Gag.
    • However, confronting Billy with Joe has Billy talk about keeping her away from Joe and their respective win quotes against one another have them decide to look the other way for Lilly's sake, so Joe and Lilly's on-and-off relationship is perhaps underplayed in KOF more so than non-existent.
  • Playing with Fire - On occasion.
  • Pretender Diss / My Muay Thai Is Stronger Than Yours: Directed towards King, during their pre-fight dialogue in KoF XIII, when he calls her Nak Muay style "fake" and says he won't lose to her because of it (seen at 2:26-2:37).
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs/Spam Attack - One of his oldest moves is of this kind.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon - The Tiger to Hwa Jai's Dragon.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene

Art of Fighting Team- Mexico

    Ryo Sakazaki - Japan 
"Absolute karate, that's Kyokugen. And don't you forget it, dweebenheimer!"

Voiced by: Masaki Usui ('94-XI, XIII), Masayoshi Kozaki (XII), Curt Gebhart (Maximum Impact series, Enlgish), Akira Kamiya ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

The heir of the Kyokugen School of Karate. Ryo is Takuma's son and Yuri's brother, and is best friends with Robert Garcia. He rescued Yuri with Robert, who was kidnapped by Mr. Big and Geese Howard to get Takuma to do their bidding, thus freeing his father from said bidding as well. Now he promotes the fighting style by competing in the tournaments. He later takes up his father's title of "Mr. Karate."

    Robert Garcia - Italy 
"Underestimate my strength, huh? You're dumber than you look!"

Voiced by: Kay Inage (94-'95, XI onward), Mantarō Koichi ('96-2003), Greg Irwin (XII, English), Hideo Ishikawa ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

Italian playboy who is also the heir to the Garcia Foundation, one of the largest companies in the world. He was sent to train with the Sakazakis by his father, who wanted him to appreciate the value of hard work. He became good friends with Ryo and when Yuri was kidnapped by Mr. Big, he and Ryo hit the streets of Southtown to get her back. While Ryo's style of Kyokugen is more balanced, Robert's focuses mostly on kicks. He and Yuri have a relationship, but they have yet to make any serious commitment.

  • Action Fashionista - So much that he's the one providing the picture in the page.
  • All Love Is Unrequited - If his ending with the Unrequited Love Team (him, Kensou, and Ramon) in XI is any indication. Oddly enough, his relationship with Yuri was never one-sided and seems to downplayed in KOF. Back in the Art of Fighting series, hints of Robert/Yuri were dropped in 2 and they even (technically) became an Official Couple in Robert and Ryo's endings in Art of Fighting 3. Huh.
    • Heck, in his team's XIII ending, he planned on proposing to Yuri in the middle of a post-tournament interview. Too bad Takuma kept him from doing so.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent - To Ken Masters of Street Fighter. Both are rich-out-their-ass playboys who are friendly rivals to their respective best friends, although Robert dresses like he's rich.
    • And both of their styles emphasize stylish kicking. Of note is that Robert was introduced that way whereas Ken had developed this after Art of Fighting came out.
  • Ambiguously Brown - Subverted. In NGBC (and by proxy, XI), Robert appears to be a bit darker than he usually is, although it's not uncommon for an Italian to have a skin tone like that.
  • Animal Motifs - The tiger. His nickname is "The Raging/Mightiest Tiger" and the last hit of his EX version's HSDM in 2002: Unlimited Match is shaped in the form of one. Oddly enough, Robert uses the Ryugeki ("Dragon Strike") principle of Kyokugen-ryuu Karate.
  • Badass Beard - His Neo Geo Battle Coliseum incarnation sports one, although his depiction in artwork from XI omits it due to KOF!Robert's younger age.
  • Big Brother Mentor - To Ryo and Yuri (more so the former).
  • Blue Oni to Ryo's Red. Frequently this puts him in the position of playing the peacemaker when things start to go south between Ryo and Yuri (though he tries to side with Yuri where he can).
  • Brilliant but Lazy - Loves to party and live a carefree life, but has been described as a "natural genius" when it comes to martial arts.
  • Bring It - His taunt, complete with "Donai shitaiya?" ("What's the matter?")
  • Cultured Badass - He's a wealthy playboy who dresses fancy and drives around in a Ferrari F40, but can and will hand you your ass on a silver platter if you fight him.
  • Dance Battler - Borderline example; while he doesn't use dance as a part of his style, he sure does like to groove in his combat stance.
  • Depending on the Game - Robert's moveset varies by game, ranging from simple tweaks to complete overhauls. As a result, there are games where he plays loosely similar to Ryo, or like an entirely different character; including having charge motion inputs for his attacks. And for certain installments, he becomes an Extremity Extremist of the kicking variety, during which he and King play near identical to each other.
  • Diving Kick/Dynamic Entry - If you can pull off his Hien Ryuujin Kyaku (Flying Swallow Dragon God Leg).
    • Or its LDM variant out of two, the Jiryuu Haisen Kyaku (Earth Dragon Stature Drilling Leg). The Neo MAX variant, Hien Shippuu Ryuujin Kyaku (Flying Swallow Hurricane Dragon God Leg) is a more bigger bonus since he surfs on his opponent instead.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In his pre-fight dialog with Mai (KoF XIII), he asks her not to influence Yuri, since he'd be embarrassed if Yuri ever dressed the way Mai does.
  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Hero of Another Story: Of AoF 3. In the first two games, he filled the deuteragonist role, but AoF 3 cast him as the main character.
  • 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 (a drawback Robert himself notes in XIII), 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. It doesn't seem to slow Robert down in the midst of a battle.
  • Kansai Regional Accent - According to Word of God, his Kansai accent is supposed to substitute for the fact that in English, Robert would be speaking in English with an Italian accent, despite him being Italian.
  • Ki Attacks
  • Latin Lover - Seems to fit this pretty well, with him being Italian and all.
  • Melting-Pot Nomenclature - While his first name gets a pass (Robert is a common given name in English and is likely shortened from the Italian Roberto), Garcia is a Spanish surname. Partially justified if only because SNK might've taken the name from one of Robert's visual inspirations, Andy García.
  • Memento MacGuffin - The coin he flips in a few of his win poses 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 it. Its significance is much greater in the Art of Fighting series, specifically in the third game.
  • Millionaire Playboy - See directly below.
    • Rich Idiot with No Day Job - He may not be a superhero, but is still a formidable opponent. The Sakazakis find this attribute of his personality to be off-putting sometimes, as they work their hands to the bone to support their dojo and keep it afloat.
    • He lampshades this in his and Kyo's pre-fight talk in XIII: Kyo makes sarcastic comments about how Robert is fighting when he should be taking care of the Garcia conglomerate, but he handwaves it saying that he knows clearly about his responsibilities, but he just doesn't want to take them now when he can still join KOF.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown - The Ryuuko Ranbu DM, shared between him, Ryo and Takuma.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man - Both in and outside of battle.
  • Shipper on Deck - In regards to Ryo/King. Lampshaded when, in XIII, King directly asks him what's up with him, Takuma and Yuri in regards to her and Ryo, and Robert is almost terrified at the question.
    • He also kinda ships Kensou/Athena, as in 2001 his win quote against Kensou says that he wants to know about any possible Relationship Upgrade.
  • Ship Tease: Though it's downplayed in the KoF series, he and Yuri occasionally have special pre-fight dialogue and victory quotes reserved for each other. In KoF XIII, he tries asking her out, but she pretends to turn him down.
    Yuri: "Ohh... I'm sorry, Robert, but I already have plans for a victory party tonight."
    Yuri: (smiling) "And tomorrow I'll have to go the hospital... to visit YOU, of course!"
  • Shotoclone - Depending of the game, though.
    • Energy Ball - His Ryuugeki Ken (Dragon Strike Fist) special and Haou Shoukouken (Supreme King Soaring Howl Fist) DM.
    • Hurricane Kick - His Hien Shippuu Kyaku (Flying Swallow Hurricane Leg), though he has a variation of it in some games instead known as the Hien Senpuu Kyaku (Flying Swallow Whirlwind Leg).
    • Shoryuken - His Ryuuga (Dragon Fang) special. Some games give him a somersault kick version known as Ryuuzanshou (Dragon Slash Soar).
  • Spam Attack - Gen'ei Kyaku (Phantom Leg), his kick-based counterpart to Ryo's Zanretsuken. He originally had it called Zanretsukyaku in past games however.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome - Although the "tall" part is subjective (5'11"/180cm is actually average in KOF), you can't deny the rest.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon - He's the Dragon to Ryo's Tiger (this is more evident in Art of Fighting, where its Japanese name is Ryuuko no Ken, or "Fist of the Dragon and Tiger"). Their stances occasionally reflect their animal motifs and their disciplines are named for their respective animals (even though they appear reversed in the movesets, as Ryo uses moves with ko/"tiger" in the name, while Robert uses ryuu/"dragon" moves), but they share a DM, the Ryuuko Ranbu (another reference to this rivalry). Much like Ryu and Ken, however, their's is a friendly rivalry.

    Takuma Sakazaki/Mr. Karate - Japan 
"Wow, you're a disgrace! You'd better hang it up, kid."

Voiced by: Eiji Tsuda, Hochu Otsuka ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

The current master of the Kyokugen Karate style. He is sometimes seen as a doddering old man, but he can be very serious when he wants to be. He was forced into serving Mr. Big when his daughter Yuri was kidnapped. To conceal his identity, he wore a tengu mask and dubbed himself "Mr. Karate." After he was defeated by a very pissed off Ryo, he was almost killed by him until Yuri revealed the truth. Nowadays he enters the tournaments to promote his school. He sometimes likes to put the old mask back on just for kicks and giggles.

  • Shotoclone - Off and on again, like Robert.
    • Energy Ball - His Kou'ou Ken (Tiger Sparkle Fist; when it isn't a short invisible fireball) special and Haou Shikouken (Supreme King Champion Fist) DM.
      • Kamehame Hadoken - His Haoh Shikou Ken becomes this when Takuma is using the full brunt of his strength, as seen in his team's 2000 ending and during his 2002UM HSDM.
    • Hurricane Kick - His Hien Shippuu Kyaku (Flying Swallow Hurricane Leg).
    • Shoryuken - His Kohou (Tiger Roar) special and (as Mr. Karate) Kyokugen Kohou (Extreme Limit Tiger Cannon) DM.
  • SNK Boss - In SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos.
  • Spam Attack/Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs - Same as his son's Zanretsuken. Not always part of his moveset, though.
    • He also sometimes possesses an attack named Shouran Kyaku (Soaring Riot Legs) where he runs to grab the opponent and then barrages their face with his knees while mounted on their shoulders.
  • Stern Teacher - To a degree, considering that most of the Art of Fighting Team's endings involve him dragging Ryo and Robert into grueling training (almost to the extent of Training from Hell) immediately after the close of a tourney. Still, he garners a great deal of love and respect from his children and students. Well, the ones who can endure his training...
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome - For a man with a son in his early-to-mid 20s and a daughter in her late teens (Comic-Book Time be damned), he looks damn fine.
  • Team Dad - Literally and figuratively.

Ikari Warriors Team- Brazil

    Heidern - Unknown 
"You say you let your guard down? I think you're just a weenie!"

Voiced by: Toshimitsu Arai

Founder and leader of the Ikari Warriors mercenary squad, and Leona's adoptive father. A stoic man who fights using his own brutally efficient style of martial arts, he also has a massively tragic backstory: his daughter Clara and his wife Sandra were kidnapped and later killed by his Arch-Enemy Rugal in front of him, as he was investigating Rugal's operations too much for Rugal's own tastes. Heidern's own squad of fifty men were also killed in the same attack. He has dedicated himself to Rugal's defeat, and eventually his efforts paid off. After the Rugal saga he alternates between fighting and handling the Ikari deals from outside the battlefield, and in the Tales of Ash saga he led an investigation team on the heels of both Ash and Those of the Past. His eyepatch was stolen by Mukai's group following Magaki's defeat, and it's current status is unknown.

  • Eyepatch of Power
  • Flung Clothing - An odd inversion. In one of Heidern's win poses, a longcoat falls from the sky. In a quick change, Heidern drapes himself in the cloak and somehow loses his hat in the process.
  • Glowing Eye Of Doom - Has this in his '98-and-onward intro pose as well as his Striker pose.
  • Guile Hero - On top of being a Colonel Badass and Action Hero, Heidern gets to show that he can play this role pretty well when it's needed. He gets his first try in KOF '99 and 2000, when he and the Ikari Warriors are tasked with investigating NESTS through the KOF tournament, and he does this again in XIII via organizing and leading an Investigation Team (with Seth, Blue Mary, Ramon and Vanessa as its members), to check on the mysterious circumstances surrounding Those From the Past — and this is alongside always sending out the Ikari Warriors into the battlefield itself as well. Too bad Ash is just as guile-ful and manages to perform his plan even with Heidern & co. around.
  • Handicapped Badass - The loss of his eye should mean that he lacks peripheral version and depth perception. Much like Sagat, he still manages to kick so much ass.
  • Hired Guns - Commands an elite squadron of 'em. It's unknown if they're Private Military Contractors or a more independent breed of mercs, although the latter is more strongly implied.
  • His Heart Will Go On - A rare male version. With Rugal dead, Heidern finds no more reason to lament the loss of Sandra and Clara, his wife and daughter. In his '94 ending, he chooses to rip up their family photo, finally able to move on with his life.
  • It's Personal - Read the excerpt above and then put yourself in his shoes. How could you not want revenge? Fortunately, the hostility does not carry over to Adel and Rose.
  • Last Name Basis - His title of "Commander" aside, Heidern (which is his surname; Leona's full name via adoption is Leona Heidern) is only referred to as... you guessed it.
  • Mangst - Go ahead and click that link. The description is basically Heidern's backstory word for word.
  • Mentor - To the Ikari team (most obviously Leona). Might overlap with A Father to His Men.
  • Precision F-Strike - "Go... to... HELL!"

    Ralf Jones - USA 
"That's enough for now. I can only be forgiving so much."

Voiced by: Atsushi "Monster" Maezuka ('94-XI), Bunsyu Shinoya (XII onward), Scott Casey (Maximum Impact series, English), Jeff Manning (XII, English)

One half of the Ikari Warriors team, originally from the game TNK III, skilled in heavy hits and survival techniques. He's also known to associate with the Peregrine Falcon team from Metal Slug, assisting them at Heidern's behest several times (starting with Metal Slug 6). His knife collection is partly responsible for Clark's sunglasses; he was fooling around and sliced Clark in the forehead, leading to the sunglasses to cover the injury.

  • Ambiguously Brown - From XII onward. All of those missions must have given him and Clark one hell of a tan.
  • Awesome but Impractical/Death-or-Glory Attack - The Galactica Phantom. An unblockable Megaton Punch with an absurd damage output. It does even more damage if it's used as a counter (in fact, in this case, it can sometimes be a OHKO). Even better, it's lethal on bosses, too! However, it has an ungodly long charge period; a fully-powered one requires lots of charging. And even if your opponent gives you ample time to store up your energy, the attack is easily telegraphed; with good timing, a player can just jump over it or roll behind you. Should you be able to pull this off (especially on a human opponent), give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it.
    • A good example of how this attack can be extremely impractical can be found here. The combos only work in KOF '98, as in that game the move doesn't really have true autoguard, only stun immunity to most attacks, which still deal damage to Ralf.
    • The only times Galactica Phantom really managed to avoid this were in EX2, 2001, and 2002, where it became a normal special with reduced charge time. The damage it dished out took a bit of a dive, but it didn't matter since you could actually hit someone with it, particularly in EX2.
  • Badass
  • Badass Normal
  • Bash Brothers - Again, with Clark.
  • Big Brother Mentor - To Leona.
  • Boisterous Bruiser
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough - His dynamic with Clark reverses the typical relationship; Ralf (Colonel) prefers the rough-and-tumble approach, whereas Clark (Lieutenant) is more laid-back and mellow. The same goes for Ralf interacting with Leona and Whip, although the latter occasionally gets miffed that Ralf acts befitting of neither his age nor rank. Of all the Ikari Warriors, the only person Ralf plays this straight with is his CO, Commander Heidern.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower - There's no supernatural power behind his insane Galactica Phantom. His Metal Slug incarnation takes it up even further by having him as the only character who must be hit twice to die (this being the series where everyone else is a One-Hit-Point Wonder). Most of all, he is the only one who can destroy tanks with his bare fists.
  • Colonel Badass - Even if only by a technicality.
  • Death from Above - Dive Bombing Punch.
  • Dub Name Change - You might remember him as Paul.

    Clark Still - USA 
"Losers have no rights. That's what history's all about."

Voiced by: Yoshinori Shima, Sean Michaels (Maximum Impact series, English), Eric Kelso (XII, English)

The other half of the Ikari Warriors. He is Ralf's best friend and specializes in grappling.

Psycho Soldiers Team- China

    Athena Asamiya - Japan 
"Sorry about that! Are you hurt? I guess I got a bit carried away!"

Voiced by: Reiko Fukai ('94), Moe Nagasaki ('95), Tamao Satou ('96), Yukina Kurisu ('97, The King of Fighters: KYO), Haruna Ikezawa ('98 onward), Robyn Gryphe (Maximum Impact, English), Lily Kong (Maximum Impact 2, English), Miwa Gardner (XII, English)

An Idol Singer with Psychic Powers and kung fu, taught to her by Old Master Chin Gentsai. She debuted in the arcade game Psycho Soldier along with Sie Kensou, but made the leap to fighting games in '94. She, along with Kensou and Chin, make up the Psycho Soldiers team, who fight in the KOF tournaments in order to preserve peace.

  • Action Fashionista/Unlimited Wardrobe - Every single game gives Athena a completely different outfit. The only exception is XIII, which is justified because the game is reusing the sprites from XII.
    • XIII is something of an in-between. She's wearing her XII clothes but bears the default color scheme of her XI attire. Not a new outfit in any one aspect but together comes together to create something different.
    • Lampshaded in '98, where her intro involves her changing between her previous four outfits before settling down on her current attire.
    • Lampshaded again with her Psychic 8 HSDM/LDM, where Athena changes her outfit (progressing from '94 to the current costume, and sometimes adding her Princess Athena bikini) with each hit.
    • Overkilled in XIII with her Neo MAX version of the above attack, Psycho Medley 13 (also known as Psychic 12), where she uses all twelve of her previous outfits and is then aided by what appears to be Princess Athena's royal guard.
    • Almost averted in '95, where she wears a slightly modified version of her '94 outfit.
    • Lampshaded in-game by Maxima in their single-player intro in XIII.
    Maxima: "You're wearing something new every time I see you. Do you know what a pain is it to keep my data updated?"
  • Action Girl and Barrier Maiden
  • Animal Motifs - The phoenix. Most likely a Shout-Out to her ability to become one in Psycho Soldier.
  • Ascended Extra - Ryo Takamisaki's The King Of Fighters G has Athena as the main character, teaming up with Kyo and Iori and pretty much stealing Chizuru's place in the story — despite starting as a borderline Faux Action Girl.
  • Ass Kicks You - One of her aerial command attacks.
  • Badass Adorable - Super cute and sweet-looking, but plucky as Hell and more than able to back-up her fame as an Action Girl.
  • Bare Your Midriff - Her '99, 2002, and 2003 outfits.
  • Breakout Character - Had her own game back in the 80s, but only after debuting in the fight scene did Athena's popularity start to pick up again. A notable game is the 3-disc RPG game for the PlayStation, Athena: Awakening from the Ordinary Life, with its gameplay sharing many similarities with Parasite Eve. The less known one is Athena On Stage, a mobile game centered around rising Athena's career as a successful pop idol, pretty much a simulation game.
  • Break the Cutie - The Awakening from the Ordinary Life plot is not easy on poor Athena. She must struggle with her newborn powers, face a Government Conspiracy, fight dinosaurs, try to keep her friendship with Rika Kashiwazaki and deal with the new one she strikes with Creepy Child Masato Kurihara, etc.
  • Cleavage Window - Her 2003 attire sports a heart-shaped one.
  • Cute but Cacophonic:
    • Her '95 incarnation. It can be argued that she's this anytime she yells "Saikou Baaru!"
    • Also happened in KOF '98 when Haruna Ikezawa took over her voice for the rest of the series.
  • Distracted by the Sexy - In-universe, she's the only character who does distract people. Ironically, she's one of the most clothed characters in the cast.
  • Divergent Character Evolution - It happened when SNK started to use the Goddess Athena again in their merchandise in modern times; prior to that many people assumed Idol Singer Athena and Goddess Athena had the same personality, or even were the same person, which isn't entirely unfounded since the original Athena had little to no canon characterization all. Now both Athenas are polar opposites to each other:
    • Goddess Athena: a proud warrior amazon who isn't quite a nice person to boot; she's not evil, yeah, but openly belittles some of her foes for daring to fight against a goddess.
      • Composite Character - That said, when SNK feels the need to use Goddess Athena in some of their fan-pandering merchandise, their infamous Dating Sim games for mobiles in particular, she becomes a sweet girl just like Idol Singer Athena to the point of her actually being the Goddess version becoming an Informed Attribute, since the Idol Singer does use the iconic Chainmail Bikini to promote her image.
    • Idol Singer Athena: a nice Action Girl with Psychic Powers, very charismatic, friendly, and is respectful to her opponents and never underestimates them.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles - Her stance in XIII has her start out surrounded by sparkles. Her win pose also produces some as she winks.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change - Athena's hair was cut for KOF '99, apparently as a reaction to Kensou's loss of powers. It lasted until (and including) 2001.
  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Flung Clothing - She changed/disposed of almost complete attires. Was often used to dispose of her school uniform and reveal her fighting outfit.
  • Genki Girl
  • Girly Bruiser: Super girly looking but completely unafraid of fighting her way in KOF and anything else.
  • Hair Decorations - Her headband, which is the only really consistent element in all her looks.
  • Heroine Of Another Story: As mentioned above, she and Kensou made their debuts in Psycho Soldier.
  • Magic Idol Singer: Probably one of the straightest examples
  • I Did What I Had to Do - In Sky Stage, the Kula and Athena common ending says that Athena lied to Kula and told her that her friends (K', Maxima, Whip, etc.) had been caught in the space-time rift to recruit her into their cause. When Kula is contacted by said friends (who have actually been searching for her all over), Athena explains everything and apologizes; Kula doesn't mind, however, as the adventure was fun and she's happy to have been able to fly, even if just temporarily.
  • Image Song:
  • Innocently Insensitive - Several times in XIII. While she did more or less deliberately cut Kensou's declaration off in the Story Mode, she's shown to be genuinely unaware of how... sensitive the "school" theme is for Kyo in another Story Mode scene, and she also refuses to let Kula explain how come K' and Maxima allow her to fight in their pre-match talk.
  • Instant Costume Change - All the time. Hell, Athena has found a way to weaponize it. It would be unwise to turn her costume changes into a drinking game.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: It's implied that she's in love with Kyo. That said, she lets Yuki have him out of respect for both of them.
  • Joshikousei - Sailor Fuku - At first only in her intro animations, for fear of making her too risqué; fully embraced by XI.
    • Cynically lampshaded by Kyo (of all people) in XIII: "No one wears sailor uniforms at your actual age anymore." Athena isn't happy when he points it out.
  • Kawaisa
  • Keigo - Her "Athena, ikimasu!" Catch Phrase is actually this. She's a rather polite speaker by Japanese standards, but almost never goes to this extreme.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine - Barring her '99-2001 run, that is.
  • Magical Girl and Magical Girl Warrior - It's really not that big of a stretch to say that Athena could have her own anime.
  • Magic Skirt - Averted up until XII (except for 2003). Athena typically wore loose fitting clothes but it wasn't hiding anything indecent (even in her school uniform during XI, Athena still wore bike shorts under her skirt and SNK had no problem with it fluttering about as she fought). However, following her redesign in XII (and by extension, XIII for using the same sprite pool), it's played straight (and Athena definitely has some high kicks that would normally cause some looky-loos to occur).
  • Mascot
  • Mini Dress Of Power
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot - She is a high school girl/Idol Singer, who happens to be an incarnation of a goddess, has psychic powers, and knows Kung-Fu!
  • Odango Hair - Her hairstyle in 2000 and in Maximum Impact 2.
  • Older Than They Look - At age 18, she looks younger than the 14-year-old Kula in XII and XIII. Hilariously, Athena gets pissed when she sees Kula fighting out there... and Kula doesn't even seem to get why.
  • Onee-sama - To Momoko.
  • Plucky Girl
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt - Her KOF '97 outfit, as well as some of her alternate palettes from XIII.
  • Psychic Powers - Which include...
  • Reincarnation - Of the Goddess Athena. It's the reason that Athena is the only person in her family to have Psychic Powers.
  • Rolling Attack - Her Phoenix Arrow special and Phoenix Fang Arrow DM.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship - To a degree, with Kaoru and with Rika Kashiwazaki from Awakening from the Ordinary Life. Naturally, she doesn't take it well when Rika gets scared of Athena's powers, and later when she's shot to almost death few after their reconciliation.
  • Shoryuken - Her Psycho Sword.
  • Shotoclone - Sort of.
  • Supreme Chef - Implied to be one in the KOF:KYO manga. She's first seen making fried rice for Kensou, who really likes it; the last manga volume she makes dinner for him, Yuki and Kyo, and the three find the dish she made for them note  to be very good.
  • They Fight Crime
  • You Gotta Have Purple Hair - And it becomes pink starting in XII.
  • You Shall Not Pass - In Sky Stage, she's the first mid-boss. She only fights your party because she wants to face the dangers out there alone; once defeated, she apologizes and lets you pass.
  • Zettai Ryouiki - A couple of her outfits in KOF: Maximum Impact 2.

    Sie Kensou - China 

"New threads. New attitude. The new Kensou's coming at you!"

Voiced by: Eiji Yano, Yuki Ishii (Athena: Awakening from the Ordinary Life), Josh Keller (XII, English)

A student of Chin's who's skilled in kung fu and possesses the mysterious "Dragon Spirit". He's also hopelessly in love with Athena, although she views him as just a friend. Ron of the Hizoku clan is interested in him thanks to the Dragon Spirit, and hopes to take it for himself.

  • Aborted Declaration of Love - Tries to confess his feelings for the umpteenth time to Athena in XIII, only to be cut off by her. On two separate occasions. Poor guy.
  • All Love Is Unrequited - He likes Athena. She cares for him greatly as a friend, but if KOF: Kyo is canon, she has a crush on series protagonist Kyo, who in turn is already in a relationship with Yuki (which Athena respects since she's friends with Yuki as well). A slight twist: Athena is well aware of his feelings for her (as evidenced in 2000 and 2001: the former has Kensou blatantly proclaim his love; the latter has Kensou fuming at the fact that Athena didn't give him an answer the last year and then crying when he defeats her; her profile in Maximum Impact 2 also notes that she knows of Kensou's feelings), but as said above she views their relationship as Better as Friends and seems to either be embarrassed by his advances (as seen in XIII's Story Mode) or outright ignores them.
  • Amazon Chaser - One of the reasons why he likes Athena is her Badass Adorable charm. In XIII, his win quote against her has him explicitly saying "You're so strong, I couldn't hold back!"
  • Animal Motifs - The dragon. A likely Shout-Out the fact that he could transform into one in Psycho Soldier.
  • Badass Adorable - An earnest, somewhat child-like, spirited, slightly clumsy young man who can pack an incredible punch with his kung-fu skills and Psychic Powers.
  • Battle Aura - Extreme usage of the Dragon Spirit gives one to Kensou. As shown in KOF '99, it also doubles as a force field.
  • Big Brother Instinct - Towards Bao, who more or less is his adoptive brother.
  • Big Eater - To the point that one of his DM techniques has him eating pork buns to recover health (and sometimes choke on them).
  • Brought Down to Normal - Lost his powers temporarily, after Bao was taken in by the Psycho Soldiers. It's later revealed that they share said powers; whenever Bao's using the Dragon Spirit, Kensou loses his psychic abilities and vice versa.
  • Butt Monkey - If something bad and/or embarrassing happened to the Psycho Soldiers, Kensou was the most usual target.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in KOF: G, where his very first scene has him constantly distracted during his and Athena's training and getting punished by the monks that supervise both of them because his pants were ripped.
  • Call Back - The fact Kensou has a fandom in-universe for KOF doesn't sound that weird when one takes in consideration his Psycho Soldier incarnation; there Kensou actually acted as a guitarist for Athena's concerts and shows. With him being on stage from time to time performing along with Athena, this would eventually help the guy gather some devoted fans.
  • The Cameo - He appears in the Action RPG game Crystalis for the NES under the name Kensu, he is one of the four wise sages who must guide the protagonist into gathering four elemental swords to forge the Crystalis sword. In the Game Boy Color remake, he is the one who forged the Thunder Sword.
  • Characterization Marches On - Originally in Psycho Soldier Kensou was just an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, a Perpetual Frowner in contrast to Athena's Badass Adorable and Cry Cute, a generic attempt to cement his bad dude status to tag along her girly character. Come the KOF series, Kensou became a laid-back, funny guy, dropping his angry look from his early days.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass - Athena's independent and strong character is what makes Kensou look foolish in comparison, but when Athena does need help is where Kensou shows he is someone she can rely on. Kensou dropped the Idiot Ball when he had to awaken his Dragon Spirit powers to save Athena in KOF '99. Other situations can be found in Athena's exclusive game for PlayStation, Awakening from the Ordinary Life, where Athena is being constantly haunted due being quite a dark RPG; Kensou proves to be a great ally and support for Athena as he cheers her up in crucial events during the adventure.
  • Demoted to Extra - Happens to Kensou in some of Athena's games, specially the Dating Sim ones where the player character assumes the role of her manager or just an average guy seeking for love. Since said games are from the player character's POV, Kensou serves only as a cameo, in a continuity where apparently he won't compete with the given player character regardless of his feelings, or actually such affections aren't romantic at all. Exception goes Awakening from the Ordinary Life, as mentioned in this page before, Kensou gets the chance to be a great support to Athena.
  • Dogged Nice Guy - To Athena, though it happens more in the KOF: Kyo related media. It's taken to Flanderization heights in fanfiction.
    • In XIII, he's this close to confessing in his intro with her. Too bad Athena is way more concerned with their fight. In the Story Mode he also attempts to confess his feelings to Athena, causing an understandably embarrassed Athena to promptly cut him off. Cue the Women Fighters Team expressing their sympathies to him... which in turn leads to the ladies getting catty with each other over their love lives.
    • It should be noticed that, even when he does follow Athena like a borderline puppy and is very upset at the possibility of losing her to someone else, his affections for her are very genuine otherwise. He helps her when she needs it but NEVER demands love or sex from her in return, and he does show affection and care towards other people (Chin, Bao, Kaoru, Momoko, etc.) as well. (In XIII he shows next to no jealousy against Athena's old crush Kyo, instead telling him to relax and take care of himself.)
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower - In the Psycho Soldier Team's special ending for KOF '99. Kensou triggers his Dragon Spirit after Athena is in danger of being left for dead at the crumbling site, he saves her with a dose of Power of Love and Undying Loyalty. This doesn't actually do much for Kensou, game-wise, until he trains to control the Dragon Spirit's power several games later.
  • Energy Ball - Kensou's Choukyuudan. Originally the attack was a projectile Hadoken type ('94 to '98, XI and XIII); Kensou performed a crouching stance and fired the ball of energy from above. After losing his powers and later training to get them back, Kensou changed his to way to fire the Choukyuudan. From XII and on the attack evolved and was promoted to a Desperation Move, becoming bigger as normal projectile (XIII) and becoming the Shinryuu Choukyuudan (XII and on) which changes from a projectile to a close range Sphere of Destruction.
  • Fingerless Gloves - In XI.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation - His use of the Dragon Spirit, in story it can make Kensou fly, generate impregnable force fields, boost his powers to astonishing levels if Ron is to be believed, and when Bao used it could stop a Kill Sat instantly; now it is said that Kensou has total control over the Dragon Spirit. In gameplay, however, the Dragon Spirit has no significance whatsoever compared to how godly it is portrayed in cutscenes.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom - Basked in the power of the Dragon Spirit to save Athena in KOF '99, Kensou gets nice glowing eyes of blue energy.
  • Hero of Another Story : As mentioned above, he and Athena made their debuts in Psycho Soldier.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum - Kensou's Dragon Spirit powers by the time he mastered it in KOF XI, as by Kensou's own explanation for this in With Great Power Comes Great Insanity below (if we go by Ron's words in the NESTS Saga that the Dragon Spirit at full power can make SNK Boss Igniz and all of NESTS look like nothing in comparison) then Kensou does have a good reason not to show off his powers recklessly.
  • Inconsistent Dub - Although Kensou's ultimate energy attack is called Senki Hakkei, he will sometimes call it Chouryuudan, which isn't that strange since the Senki Hakkei is just a more powerful and close ranged Chouryuudan. It might the reason why in XII both attacks were merged and became the Shinryuu Chouryuudan, Kensou says Chouryuudan but it's executed as a more flashy Senki Hakkei; in XIII Kensou's new and improved DM is the Seigan: Senki Hakkei, but still he says Chouryuudan in the end.
  • Informed Ability - His forte in sports, the fact he has fans, and—of course—the Dragon Spirit:
    • Kensou is very good at sports in general, great at soccer in particular. This of course comes from All There in the Manual and related goodies; in the main games this is never brought up at all.
    • The fact he hangs around Athena much of the time, even when she's on tour (which might be a Mythology Gag to him being a guitarist in Psycho Soldier), helped Kensou gather his own fandom. He even has a collection of plushies and stuffed animals alike received from his fans.
    • Kensou did show off some of his Dragon Spirit powers in ending sequences twice (once in '99 and again in 2002), but the way Ron says the Dragon Spirit can make Igniz and all other SNK Bosses that NESTS created look like nothing in comparison; by XI and beyond Kensou should at least be referred as Psychic Powers Master status even if he is holding his powers back.
  • Kansai Regional Accent - Despite being Chinese.
  • Kiss of Life - In the team's 2000 ending, this is how he recovers his powers. More exactly: Bao has taken a massive energy beam from a NESTS Kill Sat to protect the team and Kaoru and is laying in great pain in Kensou's arms, seemingly very close to suffer a Superpower Meltdown. Kensou gives this to Bao and absorbs the remaining energy through his own body, which unleashes the Dragon Spirit and saves Bao's life; from then on his powers are restored, but Bao is Brought Down to Normal.
  • MacGuffin Boy - Has the Dragon Spirit sealed in him.
  • Martial Arts Headband - From XII onward as a nod to his Psycho Solider incarnation.
  • Plucky Comic Relief - Ever since his debut in Psycho Soldier, Kensou has fallen into this role. In KOF it usually pops up in the form of wardrobe malfunctions and hijinks involving baozi (the meat dumplings he's seen chowing down on before a match).
  • Power Floats - In his most extreme usage of the Dragon Spirit yetnote , Kensou could float around.
  • Psychic Powers - Shared with Bao. When he has them, Bao doesn't, and when Bao can use them, Kensou can't (which partially explains why Kensou is only able to use projectile attacks in certain games).
  • Older Than They Look - It's less noted than Athena and Yuri because changed they drastically, but Kensou has also been hit by this with the new character designs, or arguably he was always this. Kensou is 19 years old, and yet looks much younger than Kyo who is only one year older than him (20 years old); also there's Leona, who at 18 years old, in comparison to Kensou, looks like a mature woman in her early twenties whereas he seems more like a teenager.
  • Real Men Wear Pink - Kensou is proud and not afraid of showing his plushie collection which was mounted from the stuffed animals he received from his fans, and of course he is always open for more items to add to the collection. Additionally, his favorite manga, Seito Shokun!, is a classic Shoujo romance comedy.
  • Self-Proclaimed Love Interest - Drifts in and out of this depending on the continuity. Of course, his success rate currently rests at a respectable 0%.
  • Spam Attack - A few of his attacks. It's Played for Laughs in XIII, where the rapid firing of his fists in one of his DMs actually tires him out.
  • Spell My Name with an "S" - Due to his name being Chinese but being often rendered to fit the Japanese spelling, Kensou is the most used one to avoid confusion for the Japanese, but Kensu is arguably the closest romanized spelling to his Chinese name; it even appeared that way in his cameo for Crystalis.
  • Sphere of Destruction - The Senki Hakkei Kensou fires at the end of his Seigan Senki Hakkei Neo MAX in XIII, which is very similar to Chun-Li's Kikoushou.
    • Earlier in the series, Kensou had a DM (Senki Hakkei) of the same type that needed to be activated up close. The force of the SDM version was so great, that the recoil sends him flying into the corner.
  • They Fight Crime
  • Took a Level in Badass - After sitting out the 2003 tournament, Kensou returns in XI, having improved drastically by mastering his control over the Dragon Spirit. Ron seems to be very pleased by this. Many fans see his new look in XII as another level.
  • Trademark Favorite Food - Meat buns. Has a tendency to choke on them occasionally, though.
  • Trophy Room - Where Kensou keeps his collection of plushies and stuffed animals recieved from his fans, comic books (Seito Shokun! in particular), and his beloved autographed ball from Alessandro Del Piero.
  • Vocal Evolution - Around '96, Kensou's Tenor Boy-like voice became quite high-pitched for a guy past puberty. It has been toned back down around XII/XIII, however.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity - The only explanation so far why Kensou didn't become, canonically, one of the most powerful members of the cast after supposedly mastering the Dragon Spirit. Kensou himself, albeit comically and even suspiciously, said that he is consciously holding back his powers because of what happened to other powerful beings in the cast who tapped into their great powers too much, mostly final bosses like Rugal who all turned insane and/or died.

    Chin Gentsai - China 
"O-Ouch! Whew! I can beat you. But age is something different!"

Voiced by: Toshikazu Nishimura ('94-2002), Matsuo Matsuo (XII onward), Josh Keller (XII, English)

Chinese Drunken Boxing master and founder of the Psycho Soldiers team. He enters the tournaments primarily to investigate the circumstances around them and prevent any evil plots from going too far.

Women Fighters Team- England

    King - France 
"In battle, one's sex means nothing. Who's left standing is what matters."

Voiced by: Harumi Ikoma, Yumi Touma ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

A bartender who used to work for Mr. Big, but opened up her own place after his downfall. Skilled in Muay Thai, she disguised herself as a man to enter tournaments, as back then women were not allowed. She fights in the KOF tournaments to support her little brother Jean and to cover his medical expenses. Quite possibly the strongest Muay Thai practioner in the SNK 'verse next to Joe, he would later consider King a great rival to him.

    Mai Shiranui - Japan 
"With a body and strength like this, you thought you had a chance?"

Voiced by: Akoya Sogi ('94-XI), Ami Koshimizu (Sky Stage, XII onward), Sheryl Stanley (Maximum Impact series, English), Megumi Hayashibara ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)
Portrayed by: Maggie Q (live-action movie)

Mai is a very happy girl with the dream of several other girls: get married with her prince charming. She found that same Prince Charming in Andy, her childhood friend as well as her grandfather's disciple, and self-proclaimed herself his fiancé. Although her preppy fighting persona suggests otherwise, Mai is a traditional Japanese beauty and very proud of it. However, her pride as a Shiranui ninja and infatuation with Andy usually keep her from fitting the mold 100% of the time.

    Yuri Sakazaki - Japan 
"I'm Kyokugen! Face it, Ryo! You're not fit to sweep for me!"

Voiced by: Kaori Horie, Amy Walls (Maximum Impact series, English), Sakura Tange ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

Takuma's daughter and Ryo's younger sister. She was kidnapped in order for Mr. Big to use Takuma against Ryo and Robert, but after she was rescued by Ryo and Robert she trained with Takuma and started entering The King of Fighters tournaments, generally with King and Mai.

  • Accidental Innuendo/That Came Out Wrong: Seen when Yuri unintentionally makes it sound as if she'd like to marry King, when asked to describe her ideal husband, during their team ending in KoF XIII. Which causes King to Dope Slap her.
  • Action Girl
  • Armor-Piercing Slap - She has two throws revolving around this. The second one is an entire series of slaps.
    • She also has another one in the Maximum Impact games called "Chou Biirubin Giri" (Super Yuri Beer Bottle Cutter). It can also be charged up and feinted.
  • Ass Kicks You
  • Attack Reflector: Her Saiha (Smash Blast), in some games.
  • Badass Adorable: Would you expect someone this cute to deliver a world of hurt? Didn't think so.
  • Boyish Short Hair: As of KoF XIII, where she surprises her dad by cutting her braid. Though she subverts the trope since she's a Girly Bruiser, rather than a tomboy.
  • Braids of Action: She finally cut her hair in XIII, but you can still select her old look as an alternate outfit in the console version.
  • Bring It: Yuri's particular variant involves her making silly, mocking faces at her opponents before slapping her behind.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Like her brother, she's of mixed heritage being ½ Japanese and ½ American.
  • Clothing Damage: Like King, first two games only... and XIII.
  • Cute Bruiser/Girly Bruiser: Yes, she's cute, yes she's goofy, and she hits like a ton of bricks. That "Hardcore Super Upper" of hers has its name for a reason.
  • The Cutie: SNK has steadily regressed her appearance and mannerism, to where she's nearly as childlike as Kula by the time of XIII.
  • Cute but Cacophonic: It somehow got worse as the series progressed.
  • Damsel in Distress -> Cute Bruiser
    • Distress Ball: Caught one in the not very well-known game Quiz King of Fighters, when she's kidnapped in Quiz City. Ryo and Mai set out to rescue her (plus Takuma as a Secret Character), while Robert goes to impress her and the other two playable characters (Haohmaru and Nakoruru) have their own reasons.
  • Death from Above: Her Raiouken (Thunder Sparkle Fist) and her self-refined variants.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom - Simply put, her Haoh Raiouken Neo MAX in XIII is a portable nuke.
  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Genki Girl: Yuri has always been portrayed as cheerful and optimistic, but it gets dialed up in the KoF series — to the point of bodering on outright childish behavior, at times. She's even gotten snarky, albeit in playful fashion with her friends.
  • Hair Decorations: She ties the end of her braid with a red ribbon.
  • Ki Attacks: The same as her dad and her brother.
  • Martial Arts Headband: Worn as part of her default attire since her debut in Art of Fighting 2.
  • Megaton Punch: Her Hien Shippuu Ken (Flying Swallow Hurricane Fist) AKA Yuri Chou Knuckle (Yuri Super Knuckle), where does a wind-up lunging punch. It can be charged up, but even her wind-up portion can do damage before she even punches!
    • It can be taken to ridiculous combo extremes in 2006/Maximum Impact 2 due to the wind-up inflicting a very-worth while launch, even when it (along with her Chou Mawashi Geri) is classified as Stylish Moves instead as opposed to actual special moves.
  • Older Than They Look: Taken Up to Eleven. She's supposed to be 23 years old, but you'd never know it from the way she looks, acts, or sounds. You'd swear she was only 15.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome - Ryo and Takuma fear that her rudimentary knowledge of Kyokugen-ryuu will lead to this. Yuri, optimistic in her pursuit to improve herself, simply ignores them and joins King and Mai in XIII.
  • Plucky Girl
  • Rapunzel Hair in Braids of Action - Depending both on the sprites and the artist. Usually, her hair is long but falls just shy of making the cut.
    • Important Haircut - Subverted. In XIII, Yuri cuts her hair short, but she doesn't seem to have a reason behind it. Takuma's reaction is overblown, as usual.
  • Shipper on Deck - Much like Robert and her father, she supports Ryo/King, going along with Takuma's odd ploy at the end of XI. As you've probably noticed by now, Everyone Can See It.
    • She gets King all flustered when she directly asks what she thinks of her older brother in XIII. And seems to enjoy it thoroughly.
    • Not to mention, she also ships Kensou/Athena. In XIII she directly teases Kensou over him wanting to protect her and gets him rather flustered too.
  • Ship Tease: She still has a bit with Robert, though not if her dad has anything to say about it.
  • Take That: To Street Fighter, specifically the Shotoclones:
    • KOF '97: Her Hien Rekkou (Flying Swallow Violent Pit) AKA Yuri Chou Reppa (Yuri Super Rending Breaker) parodies Ken's Shoryu Reppa. This is made more obvious in Capcom vs. SNK.
    • KOF '98: Her Mekki Zankuuga (Destroying Demon Slaying Air Fang) AKA Shin! Chou Upper (Wick/Staple! Super Upper) parodies Ryu's Shin Shoryuken.
    • KOF 2001: Her Yuri Chou Enbu (Yuri Super Swallow Dance) parodies Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu; she even poses like him randomly after finishing the attack.
    • KOF 2003 gave her a desperation attack that parodies Ryu's Denjin Hadouken.
    • Since around '97 she also gained a spinning kick attack like the Hurricane Kick all three characters use.
      • Like many of her moves, it goes by another name. Instead of Hien Shipuu Kyaku (Flying Swallow Hurricane Leg), it goes by Yuri Chou Mawashi Geri (Yuri Super Roundhouse Kick).
    • And in 2002UM she did a Take That to her own family members by finally getting her own version of the Ryuuko Ranbu technique... which eventually parodies Ryu's Shin Shoryuken.
    • In the Capcom vs. SNK games, she copies Felicia's intro pose (when fighting against Sakura) and Makoto's intro pose (when fighting against everyone else).
    • Yuri also possesses an attack similar to Chun-Li's Kakuraku Kyaku (Crane Falling Leg).
    • XIII: Her Houyoku parodies that of Akuma's Hyakki Shuu (Hundred Demons Assault). Her EX Yuri Chou Upper also parodies that of Sakura's Shou'ouken (Blooming Cherry Fist).
  • Shoryuken: Her signature Kuuga (Air Fang), which is known more as Yuri Chou Upper (Yuri Super Upper). She also has a double version called Ura Kuuga (Reverse Air Fang) AKA Yuri Chou Upper Double, and several other personally refined variants.
  • Teen Genius - Subtle example, but still there. She only started training when she was 16-17, and yet she mastered the basics and low techniques of the Kyokugenryu Karate within a year. She didn't stop there, but started imitating other people's techniques as seen above - and developed her own, like the infamous Hyakuretsu Binta (Hundred Rending Faceslaps) and her own DM, the Hien Hou'ou Kyaku (Flying Swallow Fenghuang Leg).
  • Verbal Tic: Most of her sentences end in "-chi/-tchi" (for example, her trademark "Yoyuchi!" ["Piece of cake!"]).
  • Woman Child: She's 23, but doesn't act (or look, as of XIII) anything like it.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Much like King, her sprites and official artwork have started to change starting XII. She once looked like a reasonably athletic girl in her late teensnote . These days, she looks, sounds, and acts like a grade schooler.
  • Your Size May Vary: She has a tendency to be drawn so that she looks shorter than Mai (sometimes when they're together), despite the manual stating that Yuri is taller than her.

Korea Team- South Korea

    Kim Kaphwan - South Korea 
"Hey guys, how about it? Let's do the Tae Kwan Do thang!"

Voiced by: Satoshi Hashimoto ('94-XI), Kazuhiko Nagata (XII onward), Brett Beyer (Maximum Impact series, English), Hiroshi Isobe ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

Korean Taekwando master and arbiter of justice. He first showed up in Fatal Fury 2, and upon hearing that Terry Bogard was also invited to Krauser's tournament, declared Terry to be his rival and set out to beat him. Terry won, but the two have remained good friends since then. Kim is also a proud family man and has trained his sons Jae Hoon and Dong Hwan to be fine martial artists in their own right. Oh, and he Can't Hold His Liquor. At all. In XI, Choi and Chang convince Kim to enjoy himself, prompting him to take up Terry on his offer for joining that year's Fatal Fury Team. Impressed with his disciples' maturity, Kim believes that his first "rehabilitation" efforts have paid off and set his sights on two other villains from the past, Raiden and Hwa Jai.

  • Animal Motifs - The phoenix, but more so the Fenghuang (a Chinese firebird of made of of two others) due to the usage of the term Hou'ou (the Japanese on'yomi reading of Fenghuang) in his movelists. Can sometimes inexplicably summon one at the end of his Hou'ou Kyaku (Fenghuang Leg) DM.
  • Ascended Glitch - His ability to perform the Hou'ou Kyaku in midair was retained from a bug that affected certain command moves in '94 and '95.
  • Badass
  • Badass Creed - "Aku wa yurusan!" See below.
  • Badass Normal - All he knows is Taekwondo. That, and JUSTICE! Kim still manages to be a fierce competitor and is revered as a national hero in Korea.
  • Boxed Crook - Pretty much forces this on Chang and Choi.
  • Brick Break - He does a pretty neat spin on the trope in Capcom vs. SNK 2 by throwing up several wooden boards into the air and breaking them away before they touch the ground. Not quite as impressive as him breaking a large column of ice in the Real Bout Fatal Fury series, but still.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor - The whole reason this transpires.
  • Confusion Fu: Despite his simplistic moveset, Kim in gameplay has been solid space control and offensive pressure character due to the range and speed of his moves, and some solid mixup as well. He's pretty much one of the most notable staples of TKD practitioners in fighting games who love any form of physical offensive focus.
  • Detect Evil - "Aku wa yurusan! HA!!" ("Evil is unforgivable!") Usually coupled with a finger point that rivals Phoenix Wright or a gleaming Death Glare. And now, he's the God of this Trope.
    • Lampshaded in a group of bonus illustrations for KOF '99: Kim sees Anti-Hero K' lurking in the background and wonders if he's evil.
  • Extremity Extremist - He only uses punches with his normal weak punch moves—inputting a strong punch makes him kick, like the other two buttons.
  • Fighting Spirit/Animal Battle Aura - See Animal Motifs above.
  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Flash Step - Just when you thought the Hou'ou Kyaku couldn't be any more painful, his Neo MAX version of the attack (Rei Shiki Hou'ou Kyaku) involves Kim moving so fast that he's simultaneously whaling on his foe from both sides. He then jumps sky-high and brings his heel crashing down upon the opponent. OUCH.
  • For Great Justice
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom - Whenever he gets a creepy idea for his rehabilitation program or does the Death Glare as seen above. The former instance usually gives him a Cheshire Cat Grin.
    • Which makes his KOF 2001 victory render downright scary. Thanks a freaking bunch, Nona and Eolith.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Justice Will Prevail - Essentially, this is Kim's Catch Phrase (see Detect Evil).
    • Flanderization - Said upholding and love of justice, which now seems to be the topic of choice in every conversation. Duck King does not let this trait of Kim's go unnoticed. Needless to say, Kim is not amused.
    Duck: "Chill! We're drinking here. Teachings? Justice? Who needs to hear that crud now?"
    Kim: "...Crud?" (death glare)
    Duck: "No, it's a great theory on education. Let me stretch a bit, then I'll hear you out."
    Kim: ".........."
    Duck: "OK, let's hear it. Shoot."
    Kim: "In a nutshell! True jushtice... Itsh all in the hamana hamana teaching."
    • Let us note that Kim is completely hammered during that speech.
    • It should be noted that the International Taekwondo Federation's oath is "I shall be a champion of justice and freedom." and "I shall build a better and more peaceful world." Kim's demeanor (which extends to many of his cohorts) could be this philosophy taken to new heights.
    • Mocked mercilessly by just about everyone in XIII. Kensou, in fact, states that the word "justice" no longer has a meaning thanks to Kim.
    • However, to be fair, one of Kim's win quotes in XIII reconstructs this term. Kim is aware that people will call him a freak and he's a weirdo for his extremism. However, he'll stand by his philosophy that justice will prevail no matter and he'll continue to fight to uphold it.
  • Kiai - Kim seems to unleash his inner Kenshiro during some of his moves.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down - During his Haki Hyaku, he stomps the ground in front of him. If the opponent is standing, the attack hits their shin, momentarily stunning them. If not...
  • Last Name Basis - His name is usually rendered in Asian order, and as such, Kim is actually his family name. He's never been acknowledged by his given name and later games would drop the Kaphwan from his name, almost exclusively referring to him just as "Kim."
    • Rumors speculate that he was named after the president of Viccom (the Korean publisher of the SNK games), who had a similar pronunciation to Kim's name (金甲煥). Additionally, Kim's sons are also named after the real Kim's son (Jae Hoon) and younger brother (Dong Hwan). After the fallout of the first online game (KOF World), produced by Viccom, "Kaphwan" was removed from Kim's name.
  • Legacy Character - Chronologically speaking, maybe. It's implied that Kim Sue II from Kizuna Encounter is his descendant and Kim Hae-Ryeong from Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny is his ancestor due to the fact that they all possess the same family name (Kim), have a similar fighting style, and share several moves, notably the Hienzan, Hishou Kyaku, Hangetsuzan, and Hou'ou Kyaku. Hae-Ryeong even pulls an "Aku wa yurusan!" on The Dragon from his game. Given that Kim Kaphwan came first (game-wise), these two are probably expies.
  • Love Freak
  • Martial Pacifist
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown - His signature Hou'ou Kyaku DM. His HSDM, LDM and Neo MAX tend to be a variant of this, Up to Eleven.
  • Spam Attack: His Shakka Shuu (Miraculous/Scorching Fire Assault) attack in past Fatal Fury games (which makes a return in the Maximum Impact games).
  • Stance System: He compared to other TKD characters doesn't have much in the way of this, but some games give him stances where he faces the background much like his old stance in Fatal Fury (like in Capcom vs. SNK) or even have him turn his back (in the Maximum Impact games).
  • Team Dad - To Chang, Choi, his kids, May Lee, Chae Lim, and everyone in his TKD school.
  • Theme Deck - A more notable example. Kim's Hienzan (Flying Swallow Slash), Hishou Kyaku (Soaring Legs), Hangetsuzan (Half Moon Slash) and Hou'ou Kyaku (Fenghuang Leg) have been a staple part of not only Kim's repertoire (effective and popular enough to be retained in every game), but have nudged themselves into the movesets of his fellow Taekwondokas and disciples as well as that of Kizuna Encounter's Kim Sue II and Kim Hae-Ryeong from Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny. In the case of the latter two, the inclusion of these techniques, their names (the surname of Kim), and their general similarities to Kim in appearance and methodology are a large factor in the belief that they are blood-linked to Kim's family tree.
  • Twinkle Smile - One of his win poses. Complete with an Audible Gleam.
  • Vocal Evolution - Until KOF '96, Hashimoto gave Kim a rather soft, youthful voice. Since then and until XI, he voiced Kim with a much deeper tone — unless he went all "ATATATATATATATATA!! WATAAAA!!!" on his rivals. His new seiyuu, Kazuhiko Nakata, has kept the tradition.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy - If Kim is so much into justice, then he should know that some of the charas he deems as evil are... well, not necessarily villainous. Seems Kim tends to take MANY things at face value when he shouldn't!
    • In fact, Hwa and Raiden tried to use Kim's WGS nature to their own benefit in XIII via letting him think they were still under Geese's thumb, thus getting a chance to revive their careers through Kim's "rehabilitation" project.

    Chang Koehan - South Korea 
"A crushing victory! Eh, heh, heh, heh!"

Voiced by: Yoshinori Shima ('94-'95), Hiroyuki Arita ('96 onward)

A Korean criminal who was busted by Kim following a bank robbery and strong-armed into Kim's reformatory program. He found a friend in Choi, and the two have vowed to go on a big crime spree once they can get away from Kim.

    Choi Bounge - South Korea 
"A quick win. A quick victory. This time, I'm really free!"

Voiced by: Atsushi "Monster" Maezuka

A former serial killer who picked a fight with Kim Kaphwan, and subsequently got his ass handed to him. Instead of handing him over to the police, Kim decided to use him in an experimental "reformatory" program of his own, along with Chang Koehan. The two crooks became the best of friends, and they both anticipate the day they can escape Kim's watchful eye.

Sports Team- USA

    Heavy D! - USA 
"Slow. Your attack's too slow. I read you like a storybook."

Voiced by: Toshikazu Nishimura

A bare-knuckle boxer who formed the USA Sports Team.

    Lucky Glauber - USA 
"Wake up! It's too early for bedtime!"

Voiced by: Kazuhiro "Kay" Inage

Best friend of Heavy D! who uses basketballs in his own style of kung fu. Appears to be a L.A. Lakers fan, based on his colors (except if you pick him in another color scheme...).

  • Flash Step
  • Gentle Giant - Despite being quite as impressive as his teammates, in terms of height anyway, he is by far the most easygoing and fun-loving.
  • I Know Madden Kombat
  • Nice Hat
  • Put on a Bus - Hasn't made a canon appearance since '94, but still shows up alongside his teammates in cameos.
  • Running Gag - Lucky actually has it worse than his teammates, as he was defeated by Shermie and Makoto (in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum and Maximum Impact Regulation A, respectively) and had his invite stolen in addition to his team-affiliated loses. Ouch...
  • Spirited Competitor

    Brian Battler - USA 
"Your defense means nothing. Nothing to my tackling, that is!"

Voiced by: Eiji Yano

An MVP-rated football player who was invited by Heavy D! to join the USA Sports Team in '94. After their loss, he left to return to his football career. Despite being invited back to various tournaments, he and his teammates always get beaten up and their invitations stolen by others, such as the New Faces Team in '97.


    Rugal Bernstein - Unknown 
"Repeat this after me: I will never take on a god again!"

Voiced by: Toshimitsu Arai, Norio Wakamoto (2002), Banjô Ginga ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)
Portrayed by: Ray Park (live-action movie)

The series' most infamous Big Bad. Rugal was one of the most feared people in the criminal underworld, not only with his silver tongue but with his fighting abilities as well. Not one single person had been able to defeat him, and those he deemed as Worthy Opponents were bathed in liquid metal and showcased as his "trophies". He decided to revive the original KOF tournament held by Geese Howard previously. Before the tournament began, he faced Saisyu Kusanagi, the father of Kyo, and brutally maimed him, leaving him for dead. When he fought Team Japan in the finals, Rugal was defeated after taking down Daimon and Benimaru first. Unwilling to accept defeat, he blows up his aircraft carrier. He was believed dead but resurfaced in '95 under the pseudonym of "R." During this time, he brainwashes Saisyu (with Saisyu earning some... displeasure from Vice), and in the finals forces him to fight Kyo. After Saisyu is defeated and brought back to his senses, Rugal reveals a secret to the finalists: he has awakened his Orochi power, and promptly transforms into Omega Rugal, turning his hair silvery-white and his skin deathly grey, allowing him to nearly defeat Team Japan. Eventually however, he tries to use the full extent of his power, but cannot control it because he is not of Orochi blood. The power consumes him, and he dies. Chizuru reveals in '96 that Rugal received his Orochi power from Goenitz, who gouged his right eye out. Outside of the official storyline, he appears in every Dream Match game. In canon, he is succeeded by his son Adel and his daughter Rose.

  • A God Am I:
    "Repeat this after me: I will never take on a god again!"
  • Arms Dealer - To the extremity that he actually lived on a Nimitz-class supercarrier, and his kids have their own armored fortress airship.
  • Artificial Limbs - His right hand from KOF '95 onward, and his glowing red eye.
  • Attack Reflector
  • Audible Sharpness - The Genocide Cutter. And it comes from his legs.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis - A talent he apparently has. Initially this was meant to be a part of his fighting style, as using any special move on him in '94 would have granted him the ability to do the same move to you. However, this turned out to be far too unfeasible for the game to handle and thus was only given some moves from Geese and Krauser along with a few unique moves.
  • The Backwards R - His normal theme in '98, "The ЯR."
  • Badass in a Nice Suit - That elegant red tuxedo he wears when you first face him in '94. He loses it in all subsequent installments (the only exception is if Omega Rugal is waiting on the sidelines in '95), but always wears it in the Capcom vs. SNK series, even as God/Ultimate Rugal.
  • Badass Longcoat - His suit evolves into this in Capcom vs. SNK.
  • Badass Mustache
  • Battle Aura - Omega Rugal gains one in his '98 Victory Pose.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil - His Omega Rugal form has silver hair, though.
  • Blood Knight - His original motivation for reviving the tournament.
  • Bootstrapped Leitmotif - As SNK's sound team likely wanted to avoid heavily reusing themes, Omega Rugal was given "Guitar, Omega and Rugal" in '95 as opposed to another arrangement of "Ketchaku R&D." Rugal would gain another theme in the form of "The ЯR" from '98, but his original song was just as emblematic of Rugal's claim to SNK Boss infamy as the man himself that it became the music of choice for Omega Rugal's reappearances, albeit under different titles ("XXX" in '98, "Unlimited R" in 2002UM).
  • The Coats Are Off - When Rugal takes off the shirt and jacket of his tuxedo for Round 2, it's a sign he's about to get serious on your ass.
  • Cool Ship - The BlackNoah.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond - As Omega Rugal and as God/Ultimate Rugal from Capcom vs. SNK 2.
  • Deadly Upgrade - Using the Orochi power without being of the Orochi bloodline was apparently the ultimate cause of his death.
  • Disappeared Dad - To his children, Adel and Rose. Adel idolizes his father enough to mimic his fighting style, and both copy his fashion sense, but Adel remarked about never being able to do things with him. On the other hand, Rugal granted them access to his vast wealth and they live quite lavishly.
  • Disproportionate Retribution - Perhaps one of the most unholy examples ever and bleeds over with Kick the Dog. Heidern was apparently annoying him with his probes into his operation (not even talking thorn-in-the-side bad, simply getting Rugal's attention) and his response is to kill his entire family and mercenary squadron of fifty men. From Rugal's view, it was meant as mockery and provocation. Unconventionally, also counts as his Moral Event Horizon (as this is the first genuinely heinous thing he does in the series).
  • Everything's Better with Spinning - His "Dead End Screamer" DM (KOF '98 move only).
  • Evil Laugh - The prime example in KOF. He even does it as he is about to die (again) in KOF '98.
  • Eye Scream - Goenitz sliced out Rugal's eye when trying to kill him. Impressed that Rugal survived a fatal attack, Goenitz then gave him some of the Orochi power. Regardless... Rugal still died.
  • Fingerless Gloves - He loses one glove (and the corresponding hand) after surviving the explosion of the Black Noah, but later installments either restore it or simply give him regular gloves.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe - Under the tuxedo, Rugal wears a skintight body shirt with mesh.
  • For the Evulz - The underlying theme of his actions, sadistic humor, and snark. At least some of the other villains had more (relatively) altruistic goals.
  • Flash Step - One of his '98-only specials as Omega Rugal. Notable in that Rugal actually hits you while dashing past you.
  • Flung Clothing - Tosses the top part of his tuxedo off in KOF '94 in Round 2, and in 2002 his jacket falls off, along with the wires on his shoulders.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom - His cybernetic eye since KOF '95 (back in '94, the eye was pitch black) and as God Rugal. And both are red.
  • Kamehame Hadoken - The Kaiser Wave, taken from Krauser. Can be charged to become unblockable.
  • Narcissist - The first clue was the portraits of himself adorning the command room of the BlackNoah.
  • Near Villain Victory - In '94. If Kyo didn't assume the worst when he saw his unconscious father, he would have never gone into an Unstoppable Rage-induced Heroic Second Wind and Rugal would have won. Kyo gets lucky for a second time in the next game when Rugal's own power destroys him.
  • Neck Snap - His KOF '98 (non-boss) incarnation has the "Dead End Screamer," which in its SDM/MAX version starts with Rugal doing this to the opponent neck (then he follows by spinning over him/her while laughing manically. Ouch).
  • Not Quite Dead - Survived detonating his ship in KOF '94. Strongly hinted to have survived his apparent death in '95.
  • One-Winged Angel - Omega Rugal.
  • Phlebotinum Overload - Leads to his Plotline Death. See Deadly Upgrade and Superpower Meltdown.
  • Pillar of Light
  • Poisoned Weapons - His hands. One of Omega Rugal's '98-only DMs involves impaling the opponent and supercharging them with green, poisonous Orochi energy. This attack is made even cheaper in Capcom vs. SNK 2, where God Rugal receives this move as a normal special. And it involves flash stepping.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair - Rugal's hair goes from blond to silver.
  • Power Echoes - As God Rugal in Capcom vs. SNK 2.
  • Recurring Boss - Pops up in two consecutive games in the series' canon. Afterwards, he was seen as the ultimate end-boss and is so well-loved by fans, that Rugal became the Final Boss of every subsequent Dream Match.
  • Red Bionic Eye Take Warning
  • Replacement Goldfish - When Mature and Vice became Ascended Extras in '96, Rugal received two additional secretaries named Aya and Hermione in '98.
  • Right-Hand Cat - His panther Rodem, who acts as Rugal's "partner" in '94 and '95.
  • Running Gag - A meta example; his penchant for "dying" (although it only canonically happened once) has been Played for Laughs to the point that Rugal's hobby in his official bio is listed as "resurrection."
  • Slasher Smile - Omega Rugal from KOF '98 onwards.
  • Slouch of Villainy - The end credits of 2002.
  • SNK Boss - Trope Codifier and Co-God.
  • Sore Loser - See Villainous Breakdown below.
  • Spell My Name with an "S" - "Luger" popped up infrequently in the first two games. This is arguably Woolseyism, as a Luger is a German weapons brand while Rugal is a (presumably) German arms dealer.
  • Starter Villain - Every Story Arc in The King of Fighters has the first boss inferior to the subsequent ones from a storyline standpoint in some capacity, whether it be on the Sliding Scale of Villain Threat or simply a matter of title/rank, although this doesn't always hold up from a gameplay perspective (not all SNK Bosses are equal; Krizalid, for example, is rivaled only by Igniz gameplay-wise in the NESTS Chronicles and remains one of the hardest KOF bosses period). Rugal is no different, as he was taken out rather nonchalantly by Goenitz (who gave him a portion of Orochi's power as a reward for surving a fatal attack, losing nothing but his eye from the attack), who is in turn subservient to Orochi, a deity with world-destroying powers. Rugal was the low man on the KOF totem pole originally and really existed only as a force responsible for kickstarting the series in the first place. What makes Rugal unique is that he not only came back in a stronger form in the next game (even if it was mostly done to set up the overlying plot with Orochi in '96 and '97), but he's seen as the boss in KOF lore and held up high by characters in the story post-death as an evil and powerful villain in both the main games and spin-offs like Sky Stage where he becomes The Chessmaster behind all the villains. (It doesn't hurt that he's one of the biggest examples of a SNK Boss in not only this series, but for SNK as a whole.) It is for this reason that Rugal enjoys his long tenure as the ultimate end boss in the series' dream match games.
  • Status Quo Is God - He is always the end boss in every KOF game he appears; only in KOF '98: Ultimate Match was he the default boss with Goenitz and Orochi being of higher levels.
  • Superpower Meltdown - Omega Rugal, both in KOF '95 and the original 2002.
  • Take Over the World - Omega Rugal's hobby is "World conquest." This, combined with the lingering question of if Rugal is truly dead and his appearance alongside the members of NESTS in 2002, has the fans scratching their heads.
    • 2002 is a Dream Match Game, so it's non-canon. Still, when you beat him in Unlimited Match, the game drops you a subtle little hint:
    Omega Rugal become extinct... ?
  • Taking You with Me - As mentioned above, in KOF '94; also used in '98, R-2 and 2002: Unlimited Match.
  • This Cannot Be! - Gets one in '94 when you beat him.
  • True Final Boss - His second round in KOF '94. Even more fittingly, him in 2002UM; you can only fight him by not losing more than 2 teammates against the "Final Boss," and you can't unlock your team's ending picture unless you beat him. Oh, and you can't continue if you lose against him.
  • Useless Useful Spell - His Kaiser Phoenix HSDM in 2002, in which he spams Kaiser Waves over and over. It sounds good in theory, but if the first one hits, it can launch you into the air and the others tend to miss while you're airborne or on the ground, though its damage is comparable to other HSDMs. In 2002UM, it was given OTG properties... but its damage output was drastically lowered. He also tends to stop it prematurely.
  • Villainous Breakdown - Happens twice. The first time, he blows up his own aircraft carrier with himself still on it. The second is his Superpower Meltdown, and proceeds as follows:
    Omega Rugal: "Even with my new power I lost. What? My body.....????? NO! To meet such a fate! But I'll be back... YOU JERKS!"
  • Walking Shirtless Scene - Omega Rugal ('95 only).
  • We Can Rebuild Him
  • Willfully Weak - When you first face him in '94. Then, his Rubber-Band A.I. kicks in... Oh god...