Main series: MK1 (Part 1 | Part 2) | MK2 | MK3 | MK4 | Deadly Alliance | Deception | Armageddon | MK vs. DC Universe | MK9 | MKX | MK11
Spinoffs: Mythologies: Sub-Zero | Special Forces
Non-videogame: The Movie | Conquest | Defenders of the Realm
Individual Characters: Scorpion | Johnny Cage | Liu Kang | Raiden | Shang Tsung | Sub-Zero II | Shao Kahn
Spinoffs: Mythologies: Sub-Zero | Special Forces
Non-videogame: The Movie | Conquest | Defenders of the Realm
Individual Characters: Scorpion | Johnny Cage | Liu Kang | Raiden | Shang Tsung | Sub-Zero II | Shao Kahn
Spoilers for Mythologies will be unmarked
For tropes relating to Liu Kang, Raiden, Reptile, Goro, and Shang-Tsung, see Part 2.
- An Ice Person: Chinese Ninja Warrior with your HEART SO COLD!
- An Ice Suit: His leather ninja gear wouldn't protect him from the cold, if he wasn't naturally immune to that.
- Anti-Hero: Of the Nominal Hero and Only in It for the Money sort. Especially plays this to a hilt in Mythologies, which entirely focuses on him. This aspect of him seems to get a little bit better, but he still remains a Jerkass and gets killed by Scorpion.
- Badass Baritone: In MK9. His MK: Mythologies voice was more akin to Guttural Growler.
- Black Screen of Death: His Spine Rip Fatality in UMK3, as none of the fighters had animations in place that would make it feasible to show, as well as to mock the controversy the move causes in the original game.
- Bullying a Dragon: In 9, after Scorpion defeats Cyrax and Sektor in the tournament. Granted, Sub-Zero did (canonically) defeat Scorpion twice in Mythologies, but it's not a good idea to piss off the one hellspawn who seriously wants you dead.
- But Not Too Foreign: He was originally the son of an American woman and a Chinese man. Said father was also descended from the Cryomancer race, thus making the Sub-Zero brothers not fully human. 9 retcons this by showing the parents of both of the brothers in a region that is pretty clearly in East Asia. It also explicitly states that both Bi-Han and Kuai-Liang were abducted as children which contradicts the earlier backstory of the brothers having been born to an American woman with a sister and then later on being taken by their father to China.
- Canon Name: 9 reveals that his birth name is Bi-Han.
- Death by Irony: Somewhat. Scorpion claims his spine as a trophy after defeating him in battle, similar to how he died by his hand, but the actual killing was seemingly done by Scorpion's breathing hellfire upon him.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In Mythologies, he beats the tar out of all four of the elemental gods. Sub-Zero also has the chance to defeat Shinnok, which would put his total up to 5.
- Face Death with Dignity: In stark contrast to Scorpion, who essentially begged for his life before he killed him, Bi-Han was remarkably composed about meeting his death-by-hellfire at the former's hand. The only umbrage he seemed to take was when he found out that Scorpion was going to kill him for a crime he didn't commit, and pointed out this fact in vain before he was killed.
- Foreshadowing: Mythologies serves as one big build-up for his eventual fate as Noob Saibot.
- Harmless Freezing: His ice blasts deal rather weak damage, but they do set enemies up for devastating further attacks.
- Heel Realization: Raiden's words that darkness existed in his soul deeply troubles Sub-Zero. Too bad he didn't do much to change anything.
- Hero of Another Story: Mythologies retroactively makes him into one by revealing he stopped Shinnok and Quan Chi's plot to conquer earth long before Liu Kang did.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In the movie, he's pitted in a fight against Liu Kang. He seems to get the upper hand when he starts to freeze his surroundings and is rapidly cornering Liu Kang; unluckily for him, his chilling power backfires when Liu throws a bucket of water at him, which freezes, impales, and kills him.
- I Did What I Had to Do: His justification for killing Scorpion, and presumably, for every other murder he's likely had to commit. It is somewhat reasonable in Scorpion's case, as not killing him probably would have gotten Bi-Han killed by his own Grandmaster, given their clans' rivalry.Scorpion: You killed me in cold blood.Sub-Zero: I had no choice.Scorpion: You could have let me live!Sub-Zero: Then I would be the dead one.
- Insistent Terminology: Justified in that they're Chinese assassins, not ninjas, and he dislikes being called one."Let's get something straight here: I am not a ninja. I am Lin Kuei!"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's rather coarse when seen alive in MK9, but shows a softer side around Sareena and Kuai Liang's idolization of him would indicate this.
- Has a tendency to repeatedly show up during 9's story mode to get beaten up.
- The trailers for 9 and X show him fighting Scorpion and losing, getting killed gruesomely.
- Kill It with Ice: His preferred method of killing.
- Legacy Character: The codename "Sub-Zero" has been handed down from father to son (and from brother to brother) for years. He is the fifth to bear the name.
- Meaningful Name: While Chinese names are not usually hyphenated, "Bi-Han" has multiple translations depending on the characters used. These include "forced cold," referring to his obvious Cryomancer powers, "corrupted man" referring to the darkness Raiden sensed in him that led to his eventual downfall, and "avoid regret" describing his openly ruthless and uncaring personality as Noob Saibot.
- Mis-blamed: An In-Universe example: he (and, by extension, the Lin Kuei) wasn't the one who killed Scorpion's clan. It was Quan Chi.
- Nominal Hero: Bi-Han's motivation in life is about self-preservation (hence why handing the amulet to Quan Chi didn't invoke any sensation of transgression on his part when Raiden admonished him for it). He'll do some heroic things (like sparing Sareena) but in the end, he's not someone who acts because it is the "right thing to do" (his brother is keener on being the heroic type).
- Off with His Head!: His infamous "Spine Rip" Fatality, which involved ripping out the opponent's head and spinal cord from their shoulders. Ironically, this is how he dies in the original timeline.
- Only in It for the Money:
"I was just earning my living."
- He entered the MK1 tournament just to assassinate Shang Tsung and collect the large bounty on his head.
- He also tells Raiden in Mythologies that he was just earning his living after Quan Chi escapes with Shinnok's amulet.
- Palette Swap: Of Scorpion. Interestingly, he is not a mere Palette Swap of his own character in Mortal Kombat 9. If you choose Sub-Zero's alternate outfit, he also gains the voice samples of Bi-Han instead of Kuai Liang, which means the alternate outfit is Bi-Han.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Very devoted to the Lin Kuei.
- Retirony: In his MK1 ending, it's revealed that assassinating Shang Tsung would've been his last job for the Lin Kuei and he would retire from his dangerous job afterwards. Unfortunately, by canon, Scorpion puts the trope in full effect, and possibly by Retcon, Bi-Han is shown to be so devoted to the Lin Kuei that he wouldn't even think about retiring.
- The Rival: Of Scorpion.
- Ship Tease: In Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, there was a briefly hinted love interest between him and Sareena, which passed on to his brother in Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition.
- Slide Attack: His "Slide" move.
- Tragic Hero: Though "hero" is a bit of a stretch, seeing as he was an unrelenting assassin in life, unlike his little brother who was more compassive.
- Trickster Archetype: In Mythologies, Sub-Zero is noted to be the most clever and most skilled of all the Lin Kuei.
- Unexpected Character: Treated in-universe as this in his UMK3 ending.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Raiden chews a large bite of Cyromancer pie out of Sub-Zero when it turns out that he's supplied Quan Chi with the means of freeing Shinnok from his imprisonment in the Netherrealm.
- You're Insane!: Once he discovers the true purpose of the Amulet of Shinnok, he is quick to call Quan Chi this - plus, to say that the amulet is worth nothing.
- 0% Approval Rating: By the time of the eleventh game, it's expressed through character banter that no one, not even the worst villains, trust or like Kano.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Not a single female kombatant is charmed by him, and his lecherous comments often mutate into a more murderous statement afterwards.
- Abusive Parents: His ending in MKX shows him torturing and beating the crap out of his son as part of the Black Dragon initiation.
- A Lighter Shadeof Black: Several interactions with Raiden have Raiden express he never takes action against Kano because, in his eyes, he is simply a petty crook compared to the likes of some other villains in the series. However, he voices his regret in certain other intros and expresses he should have killed Kano long ago.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Averted. While he does many cowardly things to often save his skin, he is never going to stoop to this with his enemies or rivals.Shao Kahn: Beg my forgiveness.
Kano: Sorry mate, I don't grovel.
- And Show It to You: His infamous "Heart Rip" Fatality. He holds the heart up for everyone to see, including the victim in several games.
- Animal Motifs: 11 has a dog motif going on for him. He gets called such by Jade, calls himself a "dog with a bone" against Sonya and, against Kitana, says his pissing is a form of marking his territory.
- The Special Forces. He's quite... "invested" in his rivalry with Sonyanote , and Jax is responsible for the metal plate on his face.
- The Red Dragon clan. They're a longtime enemy of Kano's Black Dragon Clan.
- Since he has an eye for Sonya and Cassie, he becomes this with Johnny Cage as well.
- Arms Dealer: The primary market for the Black Dragon's operations are in weapons dealing. Kano is always looking for buyers for his wares, regardless of how they'll be used. He frequently deals with Outworld customers and sells weapons to any party in the realm, even if they're in conflict with one another or intend to use them against Earthrealm.
- Asshole Victim: Given everything he'd done up to that point and that he was threatening to kill the younger Johnny Cage and prevent Cassie from being born, no one would fault Sonya for wiping him from existence by killing his younger self.
- Awesome Aussie: A brutal killer who comes from the land down under. 11 adds a significant amount of references to Australian slang and culture to his character.
- Bad Boss: In Special Forces. The other Black Dragon clansmen (barring the possibility of Jarek) are unquestionably loyal to Kano, who exploits them as distractions for Jax to deal with (and unlike Jarek, they might all be dead by Jax's hands, too).
- Benevolent Boss: A twisted example. Despite his backstabbing tendencies, Kano cultivates certain loyalty in his clan through charisma and profit. Kabal trusts his lies without a doubt in 11, and other Black Dragons are seen to be decently loyal to him throughout the series. Even when being badmouthed or facing inevitable mutiny, Kano hardly drops his jovial demeanor and tries to recruit his underlings back. The only thing that makes Kano lose his cool is the prospect of his subordinates attempting to usurp him.
- Bald of Evil: His appearance in MK3. The younger version of himself in 11 also has this appearance to contrast the more grizzled and bearded present self.
- Beard of Evil: In most of his appearances. Started as a 5 o'clock shadow (shaven clean in MK3), and became a full beard since MKvsDCU.
- Beat Still, My Heart: The heart still beats when he first rips it out of the body.
- Berserk Button: Little ever fazes Kano. Even defecting Black Dragons that threaten or beat the crap out of him doesn't make Kano lose his snarky demeanor. However, what truly does make Kano murderously angry is being confronted for leadership over his clan.
- Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Kano's counter move in 11 has him flex his arm to catch the opponent off guard and ram a knife through their arm.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Has elbow blades in MKX, yet they appear to be mostly for show.
- Boring, but Practical: His Fatalities as a whole tend to lack the over-the-top spectacle of some of the other Kombatants, being simple, brutal, and sadistic.
- The Brute: Serves as this somewhat to Outworld, selling them weapons. He's a go-to-guy in terms of direct combat and weaponry.
- Bullying a Dragon:
- Sure, Kano. Go ahead and threaten Cassie in Sonya Blade's presence, while on her base and surrounded. That sounds like a great idea. It goes about as well as you'd expect.
- During his fight with Sonya in the movie, Kano says "Gimme a break" after getting caught in Sonya's signature leg grab. This proved to be a poor choice of words.
- Does it again in 11. Let's go ahead and remind Past!Sonya that Past!Johnny's murder would erase Cassie from existence, while she already has her boot pressed down on Past!Kano's neck. It's not like she isn't in prime position to simply draw a gun, barely have to move it to aim, and blow his past counterpart's brains out and kill them both at once. Worse for him, his threat about Cassie's Cessation of Existence is precisely what reminds her she can do this. This time, it comes back to fatally bite him.
- Certain opening interactions with Raiden indicate Kano is aware the god does not see him as much of a threat. Kano is determined to make him think otherwise.
- Card-Carrying Villain: 11 has him proud of being immoral. He agrees with Raiden's assessment that he lives a life of "sin and licentiousness", admits against Nightwolf that he hasn't and never will care about others and, against Geras, advises him not to "double-cross a double-crosser". Against Kotal, he bluntly says that, yes, his business is about cheating buyers.
- Carpet of Virility: Since Trevor Goddard's portrayal in the live-action film, Kano has usually been shown having a rather hairy chest.
- Censored for Comedy: A variant; as a probable Take That! to Australia's censorship laws prohibiting Mortal Kombat 9 from being sold there, Kano in 11 has a number of expletives bleeped in his base game intro dialogues.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He will take any offer that allows his own preservation. Sonya even calls Kabal out in a Mortal Kombat 11 intro for being dumb enough to believe him.Sonya: Who said I tortured you?
Kabal: Kano. He's got no reason to lie.
Sonya: Except, y'know, he's KANO!
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: His different Variations in MKX give his bionic eye and heart different colors. Cybernetic gives him his classic red eye, his Commando variation colors it yellow, and his Cut-Throat variation colors it blue.
- Combat Pragmatist: The appropriately named "Dirtbag" variation Kano has in 11 sees him using every dirty street fighting trick to win.
- Composite Character: Notably, Kano's adoption of a cybernetic heart of sorts gives him a shared trait with Red Dragon enemy Hsu Hao, who also utilized a cybernetic heart.
- Counter-Attack: The main thrust of his "Commando" fighting style in X, which allows him to catch-and-return enemy attacks with a range of grapples.
- The Corrupter: Kano promises extravagant wealth and a place of belonging to those he handpicks into the Black Dragon. He is so effective at this he instilled Undying Loyalty in Kabal, to where his past self couldn't fathom Kano lying to him. He was also almost successful in corrupting Grey Cloud in the past before the latter barely broke free from his influence.
- Cyborg: Only insomuch as needing a synthetic eye that has also been outfitted with a heat-emitting beam (justified as the surgeon who gave it to him has a high proficiency in areas of technology). The rest of him is human. However, in Mortal Kombat X, a lot more of his body has been cybernetically enhanced, in particular, his heart and right ear. His robotic eye is also different due to a bad altercation with Kuai Liang about a decade prior. "Cybernetic" is even the name of one of his three Combat Variations. His younger self retains it in 11 and it can be customized with gear.
- Deadpan Snarker: He would give Johnny a run for his money in this department. At the end of the day, Kano rarely takes anything seriously despite his life of danger.
- Dead Guy Puppet: A variant; one fatality in 11 has Kano dance with the victim's body as they spew blood out of a beer bottle he stabbed into their throat.
- Death by Pragmatism: Kano has the bright idea to kill young Johnny Cage so that both older Johnny and Cassie cease to exist, taking out three enemies at once. Unfortunately for him, Sonya exploits this idea as well and kills younger Kano, causing the old one to die as well.
- Did Not Do the Bloody Research: In Mortal Kombat 11, Kano uses a lot more Australian slang than before but occasionally Netherrealm misses the mark; such as referring to money with 'quid' (a British expression, a 'quid' is £1)
- Disney Villain Death: His fate in the Battle of Armageddon.
- Dirty Communists: His Kold War outfit in ''MKX' evokes the image of one by giving him a trench coat and Red Star capped beret.
- The Don: With the Black Dragon more or less having become The Mafia of the Mortal Kombat universe, Kano is this.
- Dual Wielding: His weapon style has him wielding a pair of Butterfly Knives.
- Electronic Eyes: His right eye was replaced with a cybernetic prosthetic following an unfortunate battle with Jax. It's customizable in 11 as part of the gear system.
- Excrement Statement: His Brutality win pose and an intro in 11 have him lazily urinating on the floor.
- Eye Beam:
- It took three games, but he finally showed he was capable of doing it, in Fatality form, and later as a special move from Deadly Alliance onwards.
- In the intro to Armageddon, he kills Stryker with one.
- Eye Scream: Jax disfigured his eye once, hence his metal plate. It happens again in Mortal Kombat X issue 9 when it's shown Sub-Zero froze his cybernetic eye and shattered it, forcing Kano to get an upgrade.Baraka: What happened to your eye?
Kano: Special Forces bastard took it.
Baraka:I'll take the other one!
- In Mortal Kombat 11, Sonya kills the past version of Kano by shooting him through his left eye. Present Kano then stumbles around, a gaping hole through his head and eye, before crumbling into dust.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Entirely Played for Laughs. When Cassie makes a hilariously atrocious impression of an Aussie accent in front of Kano, he negatively remarks of American tourists and their penchant for doing the same.
- Evil Laugh: Though Kano frequently chuckles, he lets out an especially menacing laugh in one of his outros in 11.
- A Father to His Men: A VERY VERY low-end version of this but while he is a complete sociopath who would subject his own son to gruesome and sadistic torture to harden him, he doesn't take kindly to his fellow Black Dragons being harassed or killed. He especially seems to take a liking to Kabal, even if the feeling there isn't mutual.
- Faux Affably Evil: His casual demeanor towards his foes belies a nasty streak as wide as Outworld. For female fighters, it slips into perversion and feigned admiration, even if it's clear he intends on killing them.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He may seem like a lazy and uneducated brigand, but Kano certainly has some skill with surgery and technology, as he creates Kabal's respirator and is hinted to regularly upgrade his eye and battery.
- Gatling Good: He attempts to gun down Sonya and Cassie with a minigun during the events of 11, and it nearly works, too.
- Giant Spider: Kano's Animality in MK3.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: One of his Fatalities in 11 has him chug a beer bottle in one, smash it against the opponent's head and drive the broken bottle into their neck so that blood spews out of it while Kano dances with their corpse.
- Guys Are Slobs: 11 plays up the trashy side of Kano's personality. He's seen relieving himself in one of his intros and Brutality victory animations, takes a big swig out of a beer bottle in several of his animations, and his arcade ending has him overlook cage matches between Sonya and Cassie while the two are dressed in skimpy clothing. His disgusting habits are negatively lampshaded by Kitana and Shang Tsung.
- Handwraps of Awesome: He often wears these.
- Honest John's Dealership: If one of his intros with Baraka is any indication, he's not above selling faulty weaponry.
- Happily Adopted: In the original arcade game, it mentioned in his origin that he was adopted by a rich Japanese woman and it doesn't appear that he holds any dislike for her.
- Hunk: Of the Aussie, villainous kind.
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: Subverted. One of his dialogues with Mileena in X suggests that he likes to align himself with the party that has the most advantage regardless of who it puts him up against (which explains why he's so ready to jump over to whatever invading force is visiting Earthrealm) but the reality is he'll play for any team that can line his wallet (hence why he's actually been selling weapons and consultation services to both Kotal Kahn and Kahn's enemy, Mileena, as regardless who comes out on top he'll be the one who profits from it).
- I Am the Noun: In one match intro, where Kabal announces his intent to assume leadership, Kano threateningly tells him he is the Black Dragon.
- Image Song: "Kano, Use Your Might" where the vocalist sings about how great Kano is, how she is on his side, and describes him as a fallen angel. Also doubles as "The Villain Sucks" Song.
- Irony: Kano was cut from MKII due to being unpopular. And he's now one of the most popular baddies in the franchise.
- Jerkass: Kano tends to be rather snide and selfish with any casual and affable moments being a cover for his nasty habits of greed and betrayal.
- Kick the Dog:
- Taunts Cassie's parents about her possible fate while she's kidnapped. Sonya actually has to hold Johnny Cage back from beating him up.
- In Story Mode, "Uncle Kano" threatens to visit Cassie. Johnny's the only reason Sonya doesn't straight-up murder his ass. You'd think he'd learn...
- Present Kano throws Past Sonya into a fighting ring without her gear, throws Past Johnny in there with her and orders them to fight to the death, then later abducts Past Johnny and threatens his and Cassie's lives while Sonya has Past Kano pinned by his neck. Three strikes and you're dead, Kano... ...know what? That was strike three.
- Killed Off for Real: Within the rules of Kronika's shenanigans, the current Kano undergoes a Critical Existence Failure after Sonya kills his past self and subsequently fades from existence.
- Knife Nut: In particular, the "Cutthroat" variation in Mortal Kombat X is centered around Kano's knife fighting skills. The knives are a customizable option through gear in 11, and he also has hidden blades in his boots.
- Lack of Empathy: This has been present through most of his story, but is made clearer in 11. When Nightwolf accuses him of thinking nothing of others, Kano replies that he never has and never will.
- Large Ham: Rich Divizio has stated he played Kano as over-the-top as possible. Trevor Goddard's portrayal in the live-action film famously makes him a boastful character who loves grandstanding. Michael McConnohie doesn't do too bad in 9 either, although he's more toned down in MKX.
- Laser Blade: MK3 turned his knives into laser blades.
- Laser-Guided Karma: X finally ends with him behind bars after he and the other rebels are apprehended by the OIA (and it's fully canon) giving Sonya's grudge against him some true closure.
- And after years of being a thorn in everyone's side and being a constant threat to Sonya, Cassie and Johnny, Past!Sonya puts a bullet in Past!Kano's head in 11, causing the Present!Kano to fade from existence, forever.
- Loony Fan: If the comic book is anything to go by, he was a huge fan of Johnny Cage's movies before the first tournament. Johnny didn't take this well, especially after Kano picked a fight on the way there, and Kano's admiration ended quickly.
- Made of Evil: According to Noob Saibot and Cetrion, Kano is so evil his soul has decayed to become pitch black and void of light. It surprisingly unsettles him to hear it from Noob, but other intros have him broodingly claiming that it doesn't matter.
- Millionaire Playboy: He boasts to Shang Tsung he is the richest man in Earthrealm. Considering Kano can afford his cybernetic enhancements and a nuclear bomb, it's somewhat believable he is insanely rich.
- The Mafiya: His fight club in 11 is stated to be in Russia. Although none of the named Black Dragon members is stated to be Russian (with Kano himself being Australian), an interaction with Johnny Cage has Kano say they set up there for his fans. Something which Johnny can't help but admire.
- Moe Greene Special: How Sonya kills both Kanos off in 11, the older Kano being Ret Goned thanks to his younger self suffering this, complete with lovely view of the hole on both.
- Neck Lift: His Chokehold move.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
- In his MK3 ending, his attempt to replace Shao Kahn's tyranny with his own backfires when, after annihilating Kahn and his forces, he is unable to take control of all the souls and suffers a violent death for his troubles. He dies unaware that "he saved the world he tried to conquer", his actions creating a power vacuum that the good can fill.
- In the rebooted timeline, he ends up being responsible for Kabal joining Raiden's champions. Stubbornly believing that Kabal will drop his quest to redeem himself for the atrocities he committed as a Black Dragon and join Outworld, Kano takes Kabal's body after it is mauled and burned by Kintaro and has him revived through technology and Outworld sorcery. The sorcery grants Kabal super speed, and Kano's actions give Outworld a new enemy.
- In 11, after Past!Sonya defeats him, his modern self tries to pull a hostage gambit by threatening to kill a wounded Past!Johnny and reminding her that if he dies so does Cassie since she'll never be born. Once Sonya was clued into this she used it to her advantage, resulting in Sonya shooting Past!Kano in the head through his good eye. Subsequently killing his modern self as well.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis:
Johnny: Stay away from Cassie and Sonya.
- Cassie Cage will mock and degrade any of the other fighters, up to and including Shinnok. When she's up against Kano, she's as dead-serious as her mother.
- Even Johnny has little patience with Kano in 11.
Kano: Can't. I'm like a dog with a bone.
Johnny: You're gonna be a dog with a fist up its ass.
- Nuke 'em: He wiped out over half of Kintaro's besieging forces with a handheld device that launched a nuclear scaled blast.
- Older Than They Look: He's 60 come the events of MKX (as he was 35 during the first tournament). Despite still fitting the Trope, he clearly hasn't aged as well as Sonya or Cage, although in 11 his present self is rather youthful-looking.
- Only in It for the Money: His reason for joining Shang Tsung's tournament and for siding with Outworld and selling stuff for them.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: There are a few interactions where he drops his attitude and snark to actually consider what his opponent says. Best seen in one interaction with Noob, who is Made of Evil, says that Kano has no light within his greed-blackened soul. Kano is taken aback by this.
- Pet the Dog:
- In 9, he's the one who saves Kabal (his former Black Dragon cohort) from dying and surgically implants him with his mask and breathing apparatus after Kintaro roasted him alive.
- When he heard of Kabal's apparent demise at the hands of Mavado, it is said that he would have most likely hounded the Red Dragon leader and had his head if not for his post in Outworld as the leader of Shao Kahn's armies. Kabal had long since forsaken the ways of the Black Dragon at that point though.
- In his arcade ending in 11, he lets Kronika go after defeating her. Considering most other characters kill her and easily take control of her hourglass afterward, there's no real reason for him to do this.
- He reacts negatively to Erron Black telling Kano that he killed a fellow Black Dragon member, Kobra, to his face.
- Playing Both Sides: Combines with War for Fun and Profit. According to his Mortal Kombat X bio, Kano has taken the role of technical adviser and weapons supplier to Kotal Kahn after Mileena was deposed as Outworld empress but also gives Mileena's rebel armies the exact same support in their campaign to reclaim her throne. Prior to that he had also been involved in moving guns into Outworld to fuel regional conflicts around the realm.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Kano is Only in It for the Money, and expresses wanton anarchy is bad for business when the Joker invites him in spreading chaos.
- Psycho for Hire: He likes to get paid huge amounts of money, but also loves the killing.
- Quality over Quantity: Unlike the Red Dragon, Kano's Black Dragon clan is comparatively very small and exclusive with membership. He outright rebukes the Joker's attempt at joining.
- The Quisling: Basically, he's willing to sell out all of humanity.
- Race Lift: After Trevor Goddard's portrayal in the movie, he was changed from American-Japanese descent in the games to Australian.
- Resignations Not Accepted: Of course, it doesn't stop most Black Dragons, but Kano tries to uphold this when confronting a defecting Tremor.
- Reduced to Ratburgers: One of his mid-fight taunts in 11 has him stab a lizard that was crawling nearby and munch on it for a bit."Nice bit of tucker!"
- Ripple Effect Indicator: Just like Johnny Cage's example below, when his past self takes a notable injury in 11, the damage appears on the future self too. Unfortunately for Kano, a bullet blowing out half one's brain is decidedly more fatal than a bullet grazing the cheek, and Future Kano Dissolves into dust for it.
- Rolling Attack: The Cannonball attack, in which he tosses himself at the opponent while keeping arms and legs folded into his body.
- The Sociopath: Of the sadistic kind completely lacking in any empathy. Nightwolf calls him out for how unfeeling he is, and his response is to brag about it.
- Sore Loser: Even though a past encounter with Kuai Liang ends in a stalemate with the man fleeing, Kano is incredibly sore over the fight still ending in Kuai's favor. He hasn't gotten over it in the present, where he moans he would have won with his new cybernetics.
- Shout-Out: He quotes one of his movie lines in his intro dialogue against Sonya."Hello, baby. Did you miss me?"
- Sigil Spam: In Deadly Alliance and Armageddon, the back of his vest sports the emblem of the Black Dragon clan.
- Slasher Smile: In his 11 fatality as he is beating his opponent's head in, it switches to a POV shot from the victim's perspective before the final blow. Kano has a wide and manic grin across his face. The final shot of his other fatality in that game has one grow across his face as he dances with the victim's corpse.
- Stance System:
- Straw Nihilist: A few interactions in 11 say that he lives his villainous life without regret because he doesn't think to be noble or heroic matter in the end.
- Tattooed Crook: In MK vs. DC, he has a tattoo of the Black Dragon emblem on his left bicep; but the trope was employed in full force since 9, where he has both upper arms and chest tattooed.
- Throat-Slitting Gesture: A victory pose for him in 3 and 11.
- Too Dumb to Live: He holds Past!Johnny hostage in order to stop Sonya from killing him, not a bad idea. He then reminds her that if he kills Johnny, then Cassie will have never been born because Johnny will be dead in the present. It doesn't even take Sonya ten seconds to piece together how to kill him for good.
- Took a Level in Badass: Ingame, he gets a huge one compared to his debut. In the first Mortal Kombat, he had two special moves (since everyone was almost the same in terms of normal attacks, it's the special moves that are the deciding factor), his iconic cannonball and knife toss attacks. And they both carried heavy drawbacks. The cannonball required a 360 motion with the joystick that was rather clumsy to do and doing the knife toss relied on a strange back and worth wiggle (improvements to this were made in the home versions). To top it off, his knives looked intimidating but did the least amount of damage for a normal projectile (Sub-Zero and Scorpion's did less but more than made up for it with special properties). After being brought back in MK3, Kano becomes a lot more versatile with his different cannonball attacks and melee moves. Plus his attacks became more damaging compared to most other Kombatants. Later games would give and take away his laser eye, but he's certainly much better than his first incarnation.
- Trademark Favorite Food: According to Richard Divizio (the actor who portrayed Kano in all of the titles using digitized actors), Kano enjoys White Castle hamburgers (it's probable that this is Divizio's favorite meal as well).
- Troll: While Kano has shown these traits before, 11 made it a huge part of his personality along with a penchant for Black Comedy, seen in his intro dialogues and the "Last Dance" fatality, where he dances with his opponent's corpse.
- Unwitting Pawn: Realizes this and more during his mirror match in X.
- Use Your Head: Kano has a hard noggin that he uses to inflict massive damage to his opponent and is even able to smash heads by headbutting people. Having a metal-plated eye probably helps, too.
- Victory Is Boring: His arcade ladder in Mortal Kombat 11 depicts him sparing Kronika for her powers over time, and for a while, he enjoys things like subjecting Cassie and Sonya to cage matches against each other. He eventually comes to recognize this as monotonous and seemingly gives up his powers to resume his original thrillseeking way of life.
- Vocal Evolution: His younger and older selves in '11' have notably different inflections, with his older self sounding much more grizzled and weathered.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Has had more than a few costumes, particularly in the live-action film, MKX and MK11 that either have him go shirtless or wear a vest to expose his chest.
- Wrestler in All of Us: One of his special moves in MK11 is an exact replication of the "Lumbar Check" move used by wrestler Cedric Alexander, to the extent of being given the same name.
- Absolute Cleavage: Her default attire in 9 manages to pull this off with a bulletproof vest.
- Absurd Phobia: MX11 reveals that she gets freaked out over having papercuts, of all things. Her daughter Cassie is not pleased to find out that she shares this particular fear with her mother.Sonya: Sorry, Cass. Must be genetic.
- Action Mom: She's a badass Special Forces soldier, and stays that way even after giving birth to Cassie.
- Action Girl: The first one in the series and consistently a tough fighter. She actually manages to make it through the events of 9 alive.
- Amicable Exes: She finally warms up to Johnny after Cassie kicks Shinnok's ass in MKX. To the point that they basically get back together by the time 11 rolls around.
- Arch-Enemy: To Kano, since he killed one of Sonya's partners before the series started.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: In her 11 tower ending, defeating Kronika promoted her from Major to goddess, as the protector of Earthrealm. She soon realized however she cannot do it alone, so she turned her friends and family to gods as well as part of her "God Squad": Cassie, Jax, and Jacqui. Oh, and Johnny too.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: She's promoted to Major and given field command of the Special Forces after Jax's death in MK9. In MKX, she is a General and she still can throw down with the best of them.
- Attack Drone: Her "Special Forces" variation in X, gives her one that floats next to her until a command is given. If not used, its lights will flash after some time and then it will disappear. Her "Demolition" variation causes a drone to appear to give her more grenades.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Her concern comes to the fore whenever Johnny or Cassie's life is at stake.
- Badass Bookworm: One mirror match dialogue in 11 implies she has an interest in marine biology, with one of them coming from a timeline where she actually fulfilled that dream.
- Badass in Distress: Spending the Outworld tournament chained up did nothing to reduce her badassitude.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Her alternate in Deadly Alliance and Armageddon has her wear a military dress uniform.
- Bare Your Midriff: Every game has at least one outfit with her abs on display.
- The Baroness: Her Kold War costume in MKX invokes the look of a classic Russian Sexpot villainess.
- Berserk Button: If her fight dialogue with Jax in X is an indication, she does not ever want to be called "Mrs. Cage."
- Big Damn Heroes: shares this with Raiden in saving Johnny's life from Quan Chi.
- Biker Babe: In her Arcade Ladder ending from 9.
- To serve Onaga in Deception.
- In Malibu Comics' non-canon Mortal Kombat series, Sonya was kidnapped and hypnotized by Reptile into marrying Shao Kahn.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Corrupted by the Blood Code by Cassie in the MKX comics.
- Braids of Action: Cammy would be proud of the single long braid Sonya rocks in both the comics and the game proper.
- Colonel Badass: In the MKX comics.
- Combat Stilettos: One alternate outfit in Deadly Alliance features this.
- Counter-Attack: Her "Covert Ops" variation in Mortal Kombat X has a lot of parry moves that let her intercept opponent attacks. As an interesting twist, the parries have different attacks that can be branched out of them once you catch an opponent's attack, giving you varied responses once you've intercepted their offense.
- A Day in the Limelight:
- Da Chief: She commands the Special Forces' Earthrrealm Strategic Defense.
- Death Glare: Whenever Johnny is in the room making wisecracks and witty remarks, she directs them at him.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Her younger self in 11 wonders aloud just how on Earth did she end up shacking up with Johnny Cage after the guy shamelessly wanted to "tap" her. The entire room full of SF operators and her own daughter didn't appreciate having to hear that.Past!Sonya: How the hell do I ever sleep with that guy?...Who's your father. I can't believe I just said that.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Heavily implied in her '11' tower ending. After defeating Kronika and becoming a goddess, she realized she needs help in governing Earthrealm for eternity, but soon found out that in order to make a new god, an old one must be killed first in order to make room, so she searched for the oldest one, a god worshipped in a realm with an unpronounceable name, and killed it. It didn't help that the imagery used was that of a planet-sized squid monster.
- Disappeared Dad: According to 9, she's been searching for her MIA father, although she fears that he might already be dead. In her Arcade Ladder ending, she encounters a ghost claiming to be that of her father, but it's unknown if the apparition is real or if it's an aftereffect of her PTSD in the aftermath of the battle with Shao Kahn.
- Despair Event Horizon: In her Arcade Ladder Ending in 9 she almost falls into this after the deaths of her friends and companions. Fortunately, an apparition claiming to be her father helped pull her out of it and encourage her not to give up. (This is later proven non-cannon, given the events of X.)
- Divorce Is Temporary: By the time of Mortal Kombat 11 she is very happily back with Johnny again.
- Doing In the Wizard: In the original games, Sonya's "Armed Forces", "Energy Rings" and "Kiss of Death" moves seemed to be a result of Supernatural Martial Arts. In the reboot games, her energy blasts are due to a laser blaster she wears on each arm and her Kiss of Death is a powder she takes out of a pouch.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty:
- Her intro dialogues shows this to her (ironically) sergeant:Sonya Blade: Sergeant...
Cassie Cage: Damn it, Mom! I'm Cassie!
Sonya Blade: Right now, you're just a disrespectful soldier.
- And again to the Tarkatan in 11.Sonya: How do I earn your respect?
Baraka: Beat me unmercifully.
Sonya: Drill Sergeant Blade reporting.
- Her intro dialogues shows this to her (ironically) sergeant:
- Dual Wielding: In Deadly Alliance and Armageddon, she could use a pair of kali sticks in battle.
- Dude Magnet: A lot of men have given her their attention, almost all of them have flirted with her in their intro dialogues.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: At least Johnny would like to think so.
- Family Versus Career: In MKX. Career won, which is the cause of much of the familial strife with her ex-husband and daughter.Johnny: There was a time when you cared more about your family than your job... General.
- In Mortal Kombat 11 she has reconciled the two options. She is very close with her daughter again and she's back together with Johnny.
- Fanservice: Her shirt and pants tearing in exactly the right places.
- Fanservice Pack: In the original, she was played by a dancer. In 3, she was played by a Playboy model. This trope is most prevalent in 9, since she manages Absolute Cleavage with a bulletproof vest. X and 11 have given her more modest outfits.
- First-Name Basis: Hardly anyone refers to her using her last name and when not this, she usually goes for a Full-Name Basis.
- Four-Star Badass: As of MKX, she's been promoted to General.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Not drastic as most examples, but Sonya is very much aware that Cassie prefers to be with Johnny than her. This may be the source of her animosity towards Johnny during the MK X storyline.
- Green Thumb: In her friendship in Ultimate MK3, Sonya would salute and flowers would grow all over the floor.
- Groin Attack: Sonya gets in on the act by stepping on Quan Chi's Netherrealm nethers in her chapter of the Mortal Kombat X story to detain him while Raiden undoes the revenant spell.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Her fate in the Battle of Armageddon. (It is not known who did it to her.)
- Heroic Willpower: Here's the situation: You're tied up, hanging by a hook over The Dead Pool, with Sheeva watching you, and her boss has signed your death warrant, so it's clear what's likely going to happen here soon... And you still haven't lost your Deadpan Snarker attitude. ("What is it with you Shokan and underground cesspools?") Yeah, she definitely qualifies for this.
- Hidden Depths:
- In Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge, Sonya appears to be able to read Simplified Chinese. In the movie, she reads an invitation to the Mortal Kombat tournament and asks her contact if Kano will be there.
- A Mirror Match pre-match intro in 11 shows that Sonya once dreamed to become a marine biologist.
- Hot Scientist: Had aspired to become one if she didn't graduate from a military academy.Sonya Blade 1: You graduate from the academy?
Sonya Blade 2: Nope. Got my degree in marine biology.
Sonya Blade 1: That was my dream.
- Hotter and Sexier: She has a much more revealing outfit in MK9 than in previous games. Inverted by MKX.
- I Did What I Had to Do: A dilemma she faces in MKX. As a General Commander of the Special Forces is a demanding and rigid career, repelling Outworld enemies at bay and protecting Earthrealm's safety, she sacrificed being a family woman and time spent raising her daughter, a decision she isn't happy with, but ultimately satisfied.Sonya: I gave up my daughter's childhood to make her world safe. That was the right thing to do.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Like Kano, Sonya's model in the 3D games resemble her actresses in the movies. From Deadly Alliance to Armageddon, she takes after Sandra Hess, whereas in Mortal Kombat 9, she takes a lot after Bridgette Wilson-Sampras. This tradition even carries on into Mortal Kombat 11, where she takes after her newest voice actress, Ronda Rousey.
- Irony: She's the Jerkass of the heroes in MKX, taking over for Johnny who was the biggest example of this (especially in MK9).
- Kiss of Death:
- Her main fatality; it comes in fiery, crushing, poisonous, and slicing varieties. In a variant on the trope, she blows her kisses at her foes.
- From Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance to Mortal Kombat 9, she was given a short-ranged stun move where she blows pink dust into the opponent's face the same way.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Whenever she shouts "Kombat Time!" in Defenders of the Realm'.
- Lonely at the Top: By the time she's a Colonel, she and Johnny are divorced, and her relationship with Cassie is strained.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Her energy rings are either supernatural (one of the MK3 guidebooks states it's her focused chi) or one of her weapons (MK9 onwards had her equipped with wrist bands that visibly shoot lasers, which are customizable as a gear option in 11).
- Majorly Awesome: Her rank during Shinnok's invasion of Earthrealm.
- Mama Bear:
- In issue 9 of Mortal Kombat X, she leads an expedition into Outworld to rescue Cassie.
- Kano threatens to harm Cassie if Sonya does not negotiate with him. Sonya ends up almost strangling him to death before Johnny steps in and tells her not to go through with it.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Inverted. Her influence makes Johnny wiser and less insufferable. Cassie even tells her past self that she rubbed off on him.
- Married to the Job: What cost her her marriage to Johnny and earned Cassie's resentment. One particular example is seen in the MKX comics, in which she chose to rescue Kenshi rather than attend Cassie's birthday party.
- Missing Mom: Becomes this to Cassie due to her job. Johnny calls her out on this.
- Mom Looks Like a Sister: In 11, since her future self died and her past self was transported to the future. Cassie lampshades this.
- Murderous Thighs:
- One of her fatalities was a leg scissor hold that literally cut the opponent in half.
- The movie has a more restrained version of the leg scissor, which merely broke her opponent's neck.
- Ms. Fanservice: She's stunningly beautiful, never visibly ages, and all of her outfits either reveal or accentuate her athletic physique. This came to a head in 9, and was dialed back for X, where her default costume is a military outfit showing very little skin.
- My Greatest Failure: Sees choosing her job over spending time with her daughter as this. She even admits this to Johnny in the comics.Sonya: "All I know for certain is if we fail, if we don't save her, then I gave up all those years for nothing. I never knew my own daughter, and she never knew how much her mother cares."
- Neck Snap: A move from 4. She also uses a variant with her legs to break Kano's neck in the first movie.
- Nice Hat: Usually present in her military-themed outfits.
- No Flow in CGI: Her ponytail in Mortal Kombat 4.
- Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Despite being put through the wringer during the events of 9, she does eventually get together with Johnny Cage, as evidenced by their daughter Cassie Cage appearing in Mortal Kombat X. They reconcile by 11 only for her to perform a Heroic Sacrifice in the opening chapter. Her past self's chapter leaves hope for their relationship to still happen and survive this time around.
- Off with His Head!: She does this to Kintaro while under the Blood Code. With her bare hands.
- Her second Fatality in 9 has her pop off her opponent's head with a garrote and both of her finishers in X involve decapitation (for the first a drone blows off their head with a grenade and the second she garrotes their head off then feeds it to her drone's machine gun before taking it as a trophy on her belt).
- Older Than They Look: She's 51 in MKX (as she was 26 during the first tournament), but you really can't tell.
- Painted-On Pants: Her earlier appearances.
- Rage Breaking Point: In MKX's story, Sonya intends to beat Kano into submission and get him to reveal the whereabouts of Shinnok's amulet, but when he makes the mistake of threatening Cassie's life, she throws caution (and the plan) to the wind and nearly kills him had not Johnny interfered.
- Rank Up: Several are mentioned in the various pieces of Mortal Kombat X. First, in the time of the Netherrealm War (before the prequel comics and the main story of the game), she's Majorly Awesome. Second, after the war but before the main story of the game, she's a Colonel Badass. Third, by the time of the main story of the game proper, she's a Four-Star Badass who is also a Frontline General.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: She's the red To Jax's blue in general and the blue to Johnny's red in MK9. In MKX however, the red and blue between her and Johnny Cage switches.
- Relative Button:
- We get this gem between Sonya and Jax:Sonya: Mr. Briggs.
Jax: Mrs. Cage.
Sonya: You're gonna pay for that.
- Also between her and Geras. Not that she'll admit it openly.Geras: I will kill Johnny Cage.
Sonya: Do it. He's a pain in the ass.
Geras: You bluff poorly, Sonya Blade.
- We get this gem between Sonya and Jax:
- Rescue Romance: Her relationship with Johnny starts after they both took turns saving each others' lives: He saved her from Shinnok and then she returned the favor against Quan-Chi. Past! Sonya starts warming up to Past!Johnny after he took a bullet trying to defend her and she saved his life against both Kanos.
- The Rival: With Frost, although neither of them has ever given a reason. The rivalry is given a small nod in MKX in her pre-battle dialogue with Sub-ZeroSonya: Why no female Lin-Kuei?
Sub-Zero: There are, Frost chief among them.
Sonya: I'll kick her ass next.
- Sadistic Choice: She is given one in her X arcade ending where, in a dream, Kano gives her the choice between Cassie or Jax. She chooses the former and wakes up to Johnny Cage, who tells her that Jax was killed by an assassin's bullet. (Exactly how canon this ending is has not yet been revealed.)
- Her signature move starts with her doing a backflip, grabbing the opponent between her legs, and throwing them.
- In both 4 and 9 she has a fatality where she does a handstand and tears the opponent in half with her legs.
- She's Got Legs: As we can see in the first movie, and in her alternate outfit in 9.
- Ship Tease:
- Silver Vixen: For a woman in her early fifties, she surprisingly has a lack of grey hairs, stretch marks, and has a surprisingly still athletic body.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: It's implied that she fell for Johnny when he selflessly took a blast from Shinnok's amulet and fought Shinnok himself to defend her. She even started calling him Johnny from there on, signifying that she now sees him in another light.
- The Smurfette Principle: She was the only female character in the original game. She is also the only surviving woman at the end of the story mode in MK9.
- So Proud of You: Both the older and younger versions of Sonya make it known they're proud of Cassie.
- Spam Attack: Her Bicycle Kick move.
- Stance System:
- Statuesque Stunner: Her official bio has her at 5'9".
- Stripperiffic: Her costumes tend to show her chest and midriff and emphasize her legs, but she dresses somewhat more modest than the other women. Subverted in MKX.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Shown to be cold and judgmental towards most people but has a soft spot for the people that she cares about.
- Super Cute Super Powers: She has a Kiss of Death fatality where she blows a kiss at her opponent. Sometimes the kiss takes the form of a floating fireball, but other games has it be a little pink heart that flitters towards the opponent, and once it hits, the enemy explodes bloodily.
- Tank-Top Tomboy: She wears some variation on a tank top, muscle shirt, or some kind of vest similar to either in each game.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With her ex. With a healthy dose of Belligerent Sexual Tension and hints of lingering affection
- The Protagonist: The first and only female main character to be featured and one of the few female characters to appear in almost every Mortal Kombat game.
- Throw Down the Bomblet: Her "Demolition" variation in X is focused around grenades. She can toss frag or stun grenades and when she runs out, she can summon a drone who is able to supply her with more. The drone itself is also able to toss grenades (with the Enhanced version) and she has a back roll that lets her drop grenades on wakeup.
- Tomboy: The way she dresses seem to suggest this.
- Tomboyish Ponytail: More often than not since 3.
- Took a Level in Badass: Happens gamewise, when she first debuted she may be the worst character in gameplay and certainly the worst to use against Goro. The only move she had that really worked on him was her energy rings and that move was clumsy to do in the arcade (you had to hold punch and then make your joystick motion). After being brought back for MK3 and the games after, she gained a number of special moves that eliminated the previous gaps in her gameplay and her character was generally made faster.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Dear God, with the way she treats both Johnny and Cassie in MKX, it appears she took several. You'd think she was an understudy for General Ross or Colonel Moore with her degree of jerkass-ness.Sonya: (upon finding out that Kano is hiding in the camp) Kenshi, continue with Li Mei. I'm going to the refugee camp. Gotta get to him before he finds a way out.
Johnny: I'll come with.
Sonya: Go get an update on camp security from Colonel Flagg.
Sonya: Because then you won't be here.
- Took A Levelin Kindness: Her older self loses all of her hostility towards Johnny and strictness towards Cassie after the events of X. 11 has her warmly congratulate her daughter while promoting her and smile proudly as Johnny throws in a congratulatory hug; and she's openly affectionate towards her husband.
- Tsundere: In her interactions with Johnny, as part of the Ship Tease. Better seen in the movie, where she mostly acts annoyed at him, but Everyone Can See It.
- Tuckerization: Sonya is named after one of Ed Boon's sisters, as he confirms in a video interview in the special edition of Deception.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: She's had some quite different outfits from time to time.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: When Johnny gets stabbed and is on the brink of death, her reaction and subsequent beatdown of Quan Chi speaks volumes.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Sonya can morph into a hawk to finish her opponents as her Animality in MK3.
- Will They or Won't They?: In regards to her hooking up with Johnny, she does. And they get divorced down the line.
- Working with the Ex: She divorced from Johnny at some point. As much as he pisses her off (A LOT), it doesn't stop her from stepping up with him in Earthrealm's defense.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: During her rooftop battle with Kano in 3, Sonya feigned defeat in order to lure him to the edge of the building and throw him off of it.