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The King of Fighters: Destiny is a 2017 Chinese animated CGI television series based on the popular fighting game series by SNK. It portrays the events of The King of Fighters '94 mixed with those of the first Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting.

It was originally conceived to have 24 episodes total to promote a new KOF-inspired MMO mobile game. After the first season finished airing in China, it was confirmed by series animators IDragons Creative Studio that two more seasons of the show would be produced as well as a full-length animated feature, which would explore the Orochi Saga from KOF '95 through KOF '97.


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Tropes featured in this work include:

  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Jeff got killed on Terry's 14th birthday party.
  • Absentee Actor: Takuma Sakazaki is nowhere to be seen in the series, although a still render of him can be seen in Episode 11, indicating that he is a participant in the tournament on the Art of Fighting team. He's only brought up when Yuri notices that he's not on the cruise ship like everyone else, and is told by her brother that their dad ate something his stomach disagreed with and went home. Yuri doesn't buy it, thinking he was mad that his team lost to hers.
  • Adaptational Badass: Downplayed. The Sports Team, who were regarded as a joke in the games, become legitimately threatening to the Hero Team thanks to being Geese's lab puppets. They still get taken down, but it takes quite an effort.
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  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Kyo Kusanagi. In the games and every other media he's featured in, he's always cocky, fight-happy, rebellious and really full of himself. Although these traits are still present, he's more noble, shows great respect to Master Chin and is less of a jerk towards the others (he was never respectful to him or anyone higher than him), putting him near Terry levels of Nice Guy by comparison.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The Kyokugenryu Team, touted as the Bogards' rival team in the '94 game, suffered massive Flanderization to focus on Kyo and Terry's teams. Aside from Takuma being written-out, it was mentioned that they were defeated by the Queens Team. Since most of their endings in the games were comedic, Ryo and Robert were sidelined as comic relief.
  • Adaptation Deviation: King's side-story has the loosest adaptation of the first Art of Fighting's events compared to how faithful the series was with regards to Fatal Fury. Ryo fights her instead of Mr. Karate to save his sister Yuri, and King's Gender Reveal is completely omitted.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The series faithfully recreates and merges the core backstories and plots of Fatal Fury (anime included) and The King of Fighters '94, with the final bosses Geese Howard and Rugal Bernstein serving as a Big Bad Duumvirate. It also combines the characters' modern outfits and powersets, team leitmotifs and subsequent players from later games into a cohesive narrative.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Terry's hair is a darker strawberry blond rather than the typically bright golden blond in the games.
    • Billy has been changed from having blond hair to black.
    • Angelina is depicted as a brunette in The King of Fighters World, but she's a blonde in the animated series.
    • Rugal has grey hair instead of blond. Perhaps deliberate, as his white hair is usually reserved for his super-powered forms.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Every five episodes is a side-story episode showing the backstory of various characters.
    • Episode 5 focuses on Geese Howard - how he went from being banished from Stroheim Castle to being passed over for ownership of a secret scroll in favor of Jeff Bogard, the man he would later kill in front of his sons.
    • Episode 10 focuses on Benimaru and how he and Kyo became friends over a street brawl.
    • Episode 15 focuses on Angelina and the last time she saw Terry as a kid before being adopted by Geese Howard.
    • Episode 20 focuses on King, the lengths she goes to for her brother Jan, and how she met Ryo and Yuri, who helped her turn her life around.
  • A God Am I: Rugal, of course. After he infuses himself with the power of a Black Crystal, he boasts that he has the power of a god. He's not wrong.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Kyo and his team use this to escape from one of Rugal's traps, and the next episode has him and Benimaru having an argument as they crawl through it. Daimon is not too pleased.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Jeff initially turns down Geese's challenge for the Secret Scroll, but quickly changes his mind when Geese gives him an ultimatum: Accept his challenge or it'll cost young Terry and Andy their lives.
  • Arc Villain: While Geese and Rugal are working together, Geese is the focus of the first 16 episodes while Rugal works in the shadows. Following Geese's defeat, Rugal takes center stage as the show's villain.
  • Art Shift: Although the series is primarily in 3D, side story episodes are comprised entirely of 2D illustrations.
  • Attack Reflector: Rugal's Dark Barrier. After he sends Mai's and Yuri's attacks back at them, Athena quickly steps up and deflects them with her Psycho Reflector.
  • Attempted Rape: In Episode 7, Matt, one of Geese's mooks, tries to blackmail Angelina via embezzlement in exchange for her...time. He doesn't take her rejection lightly and nearly has his way with her before Terry's timely involvement.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Billy kicks more asses than all of Geese's Mooks and Geese himself is stronger than most of the cast, though there might be an additional reason for the latter.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Angelina's affection towards Terry is based on the fact that he considered her a friend. As she's dying, she tells Terry it's also the reason she shielded him from Geese's fireball.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Geese Howard is the host of the King of Fighters tournament and Terry's archenemy, but this time he is working together with Rugal Bernstein, the original villain in the KOF games, who is operating behind the scenes. Both men are also harnessing the power of Orochi.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • When Terry and Kyo are cornered by Geese's men in a parking garage, Heidern crashes a hummer through the gate and rescues them.
    • Before Rugal can finish both Terry and Kyo off with a fully-powered Kaiser Wave, Heidern repels it with a Cross Cutter, but is injured in the process.
    • Kyo, Terry and Heidern are badly beaten by Rugal... only for Benimaru, Athena, Mai and Yuri to arrive and distract Rugal long enough for Kyo to get back on his feet and continue the fight.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Angelina shares one with Terry in her debut episode.
  • Big Good: Heidern, who's investigating the disappearance of the Black Crystals and how they're connected to the King of Fighters tournament. He also helps the other heroes out when they're in danger. He's also the one who has the biggest vendetta against Rugal Bernstein.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Characters under the influence of the Black Crystals have completely black eyes with red pupils.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Frequently seen during the duel with Geese, and even gets on the camera at some point.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Rugal succeeds in capturing various teams of the tournament and infusing them with the Black Crystals' Orochi Power. The victims will fight to the death until the nearby crystals influencing them has been destroyed, as Kyo learns in his fight against brainwashed!Daimon and Benimaru.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Nobody takes Benimaru seriously.
    • As usual for their status in the games, the Sports Team was captured by Geese and subjected to his Orochi power experiments. This makes them far more competent than normal.
  • Buxom Is Better: When Mai shows off for the cameras at the KOF press meeting, Yuri is seen showing her envy of her teammate's bust size.
  • Calling Your Attacks: It wouldn't be KOF without it.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Angelina, Geese's daughter-in-law who finds herself drawn to Terry.
    • Matt, one of Geese's henchmen who lusts after Angelina and tries to blackmail her.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Before Rugal's duel against Kyo and Terry, Mature takes off with the Orochi power source. He later recognizes her betrayal, and we later find out who her true allegiance lies with: Leopold Goenitz.
  • Combined Energy Attack: It takes two of these to take Rugal down. The first is done by Athena, Yuri and Mai that breaks through his Dark Barrier, and after Benimaru's Electrigger sends Rugal flying, Kyo, Benimaru, Yuri and Mai launch another combined attack that puts him down for good. Or so they thought.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When the Hero team finds brainwashed!Ryo and Robert, Benimaru thinks they're angry because Kyo owes them money or touched that "lolita girl". Kyo retorts by stating the obvious.
  • Damsel in Distress: Angelina. Terry saves her from her Attempted Rape by Matt in Episode 7, and has to save her again when she's used as bait for a trap in episodes 13 & 14.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Angelina dies in Terry's shortly after saving him from Geese's Orochi-powered fireball.
  • Disney Villain Death: Once again, the fight between Terry and Geese ends with the villain falling from the roof of Geese Tower.
  • Dodge the Bullet: After Matt's Attempted Rape of Angelina, he pulls a gun on Terry and pulls the trigger. Terry stares at the bullet, unfazed, and waits until the last moment to move aside. Matt's Oh, Crap! face is completely justified.
  • Epic Fail: Ryo tries to ride a motorcycle towards Geese Tower but ends up ripping the throttle off. Kyo and Goro take their time interrogating one of Geese's goons while Ryo runs off and still reach the tower ahead of him by taking a taxi. To cap it off, Ryo arrives while comically riding a seemingly stolen bicycle.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: After Kyo says that everyone else helped except for Benimaru, his partner's reaction causes everyone to laugh as they all ride into the sunset.
  • Expy:
    • Angelina is essentially Lily McGuire from Masami Obari's Fatal Fury OVAs, as her scenes with Terry are directly lifted from the anime. She also shares the same fate as Lily, and while Angelina is also killed by Geese, he kills her indirectly; she throws herself in front of an Orochi-powered fireball meant to finish off Terry.
    • Simon, one of Geese's underlings, bears a striking resemblance to a cleaned up Jack Turner from Art of Fighting.
  • Eye Scream: Episode 7 gives us the first-person view of Rugal claiming Heidern's eye.
  • The Faceless:
    • Shizuka Kusanagi. We're only given a silhouette of her as she makes short work of her husband.
    • Rugal's face is hidden and cropped in most of the episodes he appears in, but is finally revealed in Episode 19.
    • Iori Yagami.
  • Facepalm: Terry does this right before his fight with Chin after Mai forces his fallen teammates to cheer him on with her.
  • Fanservice: The entire series serves as one to longtime KOF and Fatal Fury fans, featuring several fan favorite characters, choreographed fight scenes that showcase their moves, and remixed music from the series. According to IDragons Creative Studio, while many other fighting games had received anime adaptations throughout The '90s, this series is intended to make up for the lack of one based on The King of Fighters that they had wanted to see years ago.
  • Finger Wag: When Terry accuses Rugal of wanting to use the Black Crystals on the other fighters so he can make them his statues, Rugal does this gesture as he denies this, preferring to use his own monstrous strength to kill them instead.
  • Foreshadowing: As this is a retelling of KOF '94, there are several instances that serve as a nod to future events.
    • Geese has his former henchman Matt executed for his betrayal by dropping him off of Geese Tower to his death. Sure enough, he meets the same fate as he did in the games during Episode 16, getting knocked off of his own tower by Terry to his death. Additionally, before he launches some of his attacks, the symbol of Orochi can be seen behind him, alluding to not only Orochi's presence, but also the fact that he will survive his fall.
    • There is a certain symbol that Kyo ends up burning into Rugal's chest during their fight. It's the Greek letter Omega.
    • When Goenitz appears and utilizes Rugal's Black Crystals to empower Orochi, a certain red-haired man is seen playing the guitar. Then he suddenly reels over and screams in agony as the shot pans out to a blood-red moon.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Before Jeff's Death, Angelina and Terry apparently knew each other. However, Terry doesn't seem to recognize or remember her in the present when they meet, but finally does right before her death.
  • Gratuitous English: Terry's attack names, as per usual. It's also sprinkled throughout the dialogue.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Yamata no Orochi. The ending also provides us Goenitz, who recovered Rugal's body.
  • Groin Attack: Angelina kicks Matt square in the jewels when he tries to blackmail her in exchange for a little one-on-one. He doesn't take it well.
  • Guns Are Worthless:
    • While Billy is fighting Ryo off from Geese's Tower, one security guard remembers the existence of firearms. Goro sneaks on him and knocks him out before he can make any use of that.
    • While Joe is fighting Simon's bodyguards off, Simon pulls a gun at him but has enough trouble aiming that Terry knocks the gun off with a thrown bottle before he can fire.
  • Henpecked Husband: Saisyu Kusanagi. He even wants to join the tournament if it means not being pushed around by his wife.
  • The Hero: Kyo and Terry. Despite Kyo being the series protagonist, Terry receives the most focus; he is the one with a detailed tragic backstory and a grudge towards one of the main antagonists. While the second half of the season focuses more on Kyo, Terry still plays an important role throughout.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Angelina throws herself in front of Geese's Orochi-powered fireball meant for Terry, saving his life at the cost of hers.
  • Hope Spot: When the fighters are on the cruise ship and attacked with Knockout Gas, Ryo tries to force open a steel door. It opens just as he's about to give up, only for more gas to enter the room.
  • Hotter and Sexier: King from the games is dressed in tight male formal wear to hide her femininity. Her outfit in the series became a half-open cleavage-baring dress shirt, and her entire Gender Reveal from Art of Fighting was omitted as Ryo identifies her as a woman right off the bat.
  • It's All About Me: Benimaru tries to make everything about him. And fails.
  • Knockout Gas: Rugal uses this on the fighters as they're traveling on his cruise ship.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In episode 4, Terry, Andy and Joe become surrounded by Geese, Billy and several guards. Terry punches the ground to create some debris, and Joe combos it with a hurricane as a distraction for them to run away.
  • Lady in Red: Angelina wears a red dress throughout the series.
  • Last Chance to Quit: During Terry's fight with Geese, the leader of South Town tempts him into working under him.
    Geese: Throw away your hatred and obey me. Let's leave the past behind us. I'll give you as much money and as many women as you want.
    Terry: Sorry, but I was born to be poor. And this hatred towards you won't disappear until I kill you.
  • Make an Example of Them: Matt's execution doubles as this towards Angelina, serving as a clear message that anyone who dares to betray the likes of Geese Howard signs their own death warrant.
  • The Man Behind the Man: As a member of the Orochi Hakkeshu, Mature's real allegiance is under Goenitz, the deity of wind.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Benimaru meddles in a fight between Ryo and Billy.
  • Mooks: Security guards can't land a hit on anyone in this series.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The characters occasionally perform the special attacks they have in the games. Some even get Boss Subtitles.
    • At one point Kyo dodges a punch by stepping out of the way in a fashion that seems to be specifically referencing the sidestep mechanic the early KOF games had.
    • Jeff raises a fist at Geese and shouts his name, like one memorable intro Terry and Geese had in some Fatal Fury games. During his fight with Geese, Jeff also uses the Ultimate technique, the Senpuuken, which turns him into a spinning whirlwind. Terry learned the same technique from Tung Fu Rue in the first Fatal Fury OVA, and uses it in Episode 16 in this series in his fight against Geese.
    • Ryo attempts to drive a motorcycle as he did in the cutscenes for the first Art of Fighting, but rips off the throttle by accident.
    • Billy's jacket says "The Future Is Now", SNK's longtime slogan.
    • During Terry and Geese's fight in Episode 14, one of the shots mimics the cover of Real Bout 2.
    • On the cruise ship, Rugal has the fighters taken out with Knockout Gas, a technique he employed on the winning team in KOF '95.
    • Although hinted at in KOF '98, Mature shows affection towards Rugal. Episode 22 makes it very clear that it's also one sided, and probably for good reason.
    • Ryo's team getting sidelined as goofballs mirrors how they were Demoted to Extra in the games as their endings became Denser and Wackier.
    • In the climactic battle, Rugal is shown to copy the moves of his opponents, which was how he was originally envisioned to work in KOF '94 before technical limitations made SNK change their plans. He was given Geese's Reppuken and Krauser's Kaiser Wave as compensation, which happen to be the first two moves he uses in his fight against Kyo and Terry.
    • Much of the Rugal battle is highlighted by Kyo's red fire and Rugal's purple Orochi fire, foreshadowing Kyo's rivalry with Iori.
  • Naked People Are Funny: After Terry saves Angelina, Matt is thrown out of Angelina's room wearing nothing. After being noticed by another woman, he sheepishly scampers off covering himself with his hands.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: Early in their fight against him, Rugal avoids Kyo's and Terry's attacks simply by stepping aside with his arms behind his back. They eventually land a few hits which forces him out of it.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Matt fires his gun at Terry, this is his reaction after the lone wolf dodges the bullet.
    • In Episode 22, when Mature questions Rugal after they've gathered enough Orochi power, his wine glass hits the floor, he gives her a Death Glare, and immediately stands up. She quickly bows with total fear in her eyes.
  • Only in It for the Money: King. Although she's still competing so she can use the prize money for her brother Jan's surgery, she also wants whatever extra prize money she gets for herself as well.
  • Parental Neglect: Terry meets a boy who's father pretty much left him alone to fend for himself, having to steal from a restaurant to eat and, when caught, tries to get a stranger (Terry himself) to pretend to be his father. The ending credits identify the boy as a young Rock, making his father Geese.
  • Parental Substitute: Terry plays along with the above boy. And then gives him enough money to feed himself until he's done with the KOF Tournament. And then ends up promising to meet him again after the Tournament.
  • Power Copying: Rugal is capable of copying the others' moves, and after putting his opponents in a bind, he performs Heidern's Cross Cutter against him, performs Terry's Crack Shoot on him, but is interrupted before roasting Kyo with his Orochinagi.
  • Product Placement: Several SNK games are shown like a mobile version of King of Fighters '98. One ad in the show has Mai playing that game on her phone.
  • Psychic Powers: Athena, naturally, which allow her to sense the dark energy within the Black Crystals, those corrupted by it, and after a long charging period, can unleash an attack that negates its effects. She even forms a Psychic Link with Kyo when they're on Rugal's ship, allowing her to tell him the location of a statue utilizing the crystals so he can destroy it.
  • Rags to Riches: Geese Howard, who reveals to Terry that he was a penniless kid twenty years prior, and made a promise to himself that he would rule the city of Southtown and its people.
  • Really Dead Montage: One is shown right after Angelina dies, showing her interactions with Terry in the past and when she meets him again in the present.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • Those under the influence of the Black Crystals have red and black eyes.
    • Rugal's prosthetic right eye gives off a menacing red glow.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Matt ends up executed by Geese for forcing himself upon his adopted daughter Angelina and also attempting to extort money from him.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Our heroes do this on boats following the destruction or Rugal's ship.
  • The Rival: Terry is set up as this for Kyo.
    • Rivals Team Up: After taking care of the brainwashed fighters on the cruise ship, Kyo and Terry put aside their rivalry and head to the bridge to take on the tournament's host.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Geese fights Terry (and later Andy and Joe) on the roof of Geese Tower.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: While Shizuka Kusanagi punishes her husband for wanting to join the KOF tournament, Kyo escapes through the back window, quickly getting Benimaru and Daimon to go with him to South Town before he's subjected to his mother's wrath.
  • Self-Deprecation: When Yuri announces the formation of the "Women Fighters Team", a name that has been used across several (if not all) games, Mai thinks it doesn't have a good ring to it, and King comes up with "Queens Team" instead, which they all agree to.
  • Sequel Hook: Episode 24 concludes with Rugal blowing up the Blacknoah as in the games. But beforehand, Mature has stolen the Orochi black crystal. We later see Rugal in a stasis chamber with Mature conversing with her true boss... Leopold Goenitz.
    • A certain red-haired musician plays his electric guitar, only to drop it as he enters the Riot of the Blood.
  • Setting Update: The King of Fighters '94, Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting was set in the 1990s while Destiny updated the story to the early 2010s. This can be seen where everyone has smartphones and use social media sites like Facebook.
  • Skyward Scream: Done by Terry the moment Angelina dies.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Rock Howard has the hair color and eye color of Geese, his father. Terry appears to have noticed and might've identified his neglectful father by their similarities, yet he still decides to become his Parental Substitute despite, or likely because, of his father's identity.
  • Taking the Bullet: Angelina takes a fatal blow intended for Terry during his fight against Geese.
  • Taking You with Me: When Rugal is finally beaten, he pulls out a detonator and blows up his ship in hopes to take everyone on board down with it. Everyone escapes in time, while the others had been evacuated earlier.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: When Kyo awakens to take on Rugal after getting beaten down, "Esaka" begins to play as the final battle is about to begin.
  • This Is Unforgivable!:
    • Terry tells Geese he'll never forgive him for the death of Angelina.
    • After Benimaru is kicked by a Brainwashed!Robert, he gets mad about his beautiful face getting scratched, and won't forgive him for it.
  • Three-Point Landing: Rugal does this right before his fight with Terry and Kyo.
  • Throwing the Fight: When Chin finds that his sake gourd is cracked, he suddenly pretends his age is getting to him and admits defeat, shocking both teams and the audience.
    Chin: You did well, young man. But don't take it that I Let You Win. We all have our own ways of judging the results.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: In Episodes 13 and 14, Geese lays a trap for Terry with Angelina's life on the line. Despite everyone's warnings, Terry refuses to walk away and let her die.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Before their match, Joe tells Athena that he can't go all out on her because she's a girl, and decides to go easy on her. Displeased, the psychic idol completely unloads on him, and the Muay Thai champ learns very quickly that she's not someone to be underestimated.
  • Victory Fakeout: The remaining fighters team up to defeat Rugal in Episode 23, and begin to head out following their victory. Then the doors close and Rugal says he won't let them go. How else was Episode 24 supposed to go?
  • Villain Episode:
    • Episode 5 serves as one for Geese, which explores his past and rivalries with Jeff Bogard and his half-brother Wolfgang Krauser.
    • Episode 20 serves as one for King while she was still working for Mr. Big, which ends with the beginning of her Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Benimaru accidentally springs this trap on his team in episode 18.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Heidern explains to the Fatal Fury team that the radiation from the stolen Black Crystals can enhance a person's potential ability for a short time, but those affected will inevitably lose their minds. Because they can easily brush off attacks that would otherwise cripple them, anyone affected becomes exceptionally dangerous.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Matt slaps Angelina after she kicks him in the groin and tries to force himself on her.
  • You Have Failed Me: Before Geese tasks Angelina with poisoning Terry, he has Matt killed in front of her to warn her of the consequences should she fail.
    Geese: Only the sheep that obey their master will escape death.
  • You Killed My Father: As in the source material, Jeff Bogard got killed by his rival Geese Howard while trying to protect the information from a secret scroll. His sons Terry and Andy swear revenge and spend the next 10 years training until they can kick Geese's ass.

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