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Characters / The King of Fighters '94: Part 1

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Hero Team: Japan

    Kyo Kusanagi - Japan
Cleansing Fire

Voiced by: Masahiro Nonaka (94-XIII), Tomoaki Maeno (XIV-current), Andrew Roth (Maximum Impact series, English), Peter von Gomm (XII, English), Ryotaro Okiayu ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Tomokazu Sugita (Japanese dub of the live-action movie)

Portrayed by: Sean Faris (live-action movie)

  • MODE OF COMBAT: Kusanagi style of ancient martial arts + personal style of Chinese boxing (Kenpo)
  • BIRTHDAY: December 12
  • HEIGHT: 181cm
  • WEIGHT: 75kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type B (RH-)
  • HOBBY: Writing poems
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: His motorcycle. His girlfriend (Yuki).
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Broiled fish
  • DISLIKES: Effort
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Ice hockey

"Gotta bring the heat, y'know?"

The Protagonist of the series and one of SNK’s poster children.

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.

After having been missing for a year, he re-emerges and decides to invesitage NESTS, joining 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.

In XIV, Kyo learns that a friend of Saisyu, Tung Fu Rue, is participating in the tournament with some new students. Kyo is asked to participate in order to 'show the ropes' to these newcomers.

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the games and every other media he's featured in, he's always cocky, fight-happy, rebellious and really full of himself. In Destiny though, despite these afformentioned traits still being 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.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Wields the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, which is implied to reside inside of his body.
  • Animal Motifs: Most heavily associated with cats, including literally becoming one in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Just because he's The Hero and really cares for his friends, it doesn't stop him from being a cocky bastard when it comes to fighting. He'll boast non-stop in his interactions with other fighters and can leave some scalding remarks upon winning.
    "You're pathetic... How did I end up against someone with no fighting skills?!"
  • 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: His motorcycle is listed as one of his likes, implying this trope.
  • Badass Boast: He has a lot of these, especially early on where he's even more Hot-Blooded.
    "That was my fist! It's hotter than napalm!"
    "My fist has a 1800 years of history! I can easily break you!"
    "You were lucky! A bit longer and I would have turned you into cinder!"
  • Because Destiny Says So: Pretty much the underlying reason for why stuff happens to him, being the next successor of the Kusanagi clan. Several figures like Goenitz and Ash have targeted him because of his gifts, and that's to say nothing of when he was abducted and used to create pyrokinetic super soldiers. 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 piss him off endlessly for their repeated attempts to defeat him and use him in schemes respectively. 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.
  • Bishōnen: His appearance in XIV is much, much slimmer and more effeminate than he used to be. His new hairstyle only adds to it.
  • Blood Knight: Nothing gets Kyo more amped up than the promise of a good fight. He takes in every moment before a fight to roast his oppoenent and express excitement for the coming battle. Even when he's knocked down in-game, he'll sound like he's having a blast.
    (Getting knocked down in XIII): "That was a good one!"
  • 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: "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.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: When performing his 524 Shiki Kamukura HSDM, Kyo utters one of Iori's signature catchphrases.
    "Asobi wa owari da!" (Play time's over!).
  • Bring It: Quite prevalent in many of his selection and pre-battle quotes, and one of his favorite ways to goad his opponent.
    "Dokkara demo kina!" (Come at me however you want!)
  • 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.
  • The Cameo: He appears in the background of KOF Stadium in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and has a spirit battle based on him; the fight in question includes two fighters based on his teammates, Benimaru and Daimon.
  • Catchphrase: "Heh heh, moetaro?" note  and "Ore no... kachi da!" note 
  • Chick Magnet:
    • A somewhat muted example but he's in a relationship with Yuki, Athena (who is herself a Dude Magnet) is in love with him, and he gets a good amount of ship tease with others.
    • He's apparently an out-of-universe example as well as creators note he's popular with female fans. They even designed a playable Audience Surrogate for them named Cosplay Kyoko.
  • Cloning Blues: This gets done to him a lot. There are at least half a dozen characters directly meant as duplicates as him, most of whom are clones from the NESTS saga (Kyo-1, Kyo-2, K', K9999, Nameless), but there's also Yata Mirror's duplicate (Kusanagi). (There's also Syo Kirishima, who was originally an unused prototype of Kyo until the KOF game designers decided to use him as a striker).
  • Close-Range Combatant: His '96 overhaul turns him into this, with his chain flaming punch specials that guarantees Kyo to try to get close to the opponent as much as possible.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Kyo is very 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. XIII also adds the outfit as one of regular Kyo's possible palette swaps, and XIV adds it as a pre-order bonus/DLC.
  • Confusion Fu: His Aragami chain punches have multiple different follow-ups that could hit either mid, low or overhead, making blocking the attempt tricky.
  • Costume Evolution: He gets new garbs at the start of each saga. In the beginning, he has his trademark brown school uniform with a headband. At the start of NESTS saga, he changes it to a pair of jeans, white jacket and black inner shirt, as well as losing his headband. Come Tales of Ash, he changes his jacket to a black one with a white T-shirt. And XIV gives him a new jacket that's similar to the NESTS era one but with more pockets.
  • 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 projectile 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 only one move.
    • When Iori has lost his flames in XIII (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. In XIV, it's his classic high school garb.
  • Elemental Punch: His very first one is his Oni Yaki special, a fiery uppercut move. Starting from 96, he gains more and more of these, the signature being "114 Shiki Aragami" (Roughly translates to "114th form: Wild Bite"), an attack with several follow-ups that defines his Close-Range Combatant style.
  • 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 ('94-'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: Always a part of his outfits.
  • 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: Komahofuri is alternatively known as the R.E.D (Rainbow Energy Dynamite) Kick.
  • Ground Wave: His Yami Barai special (when he has it) is a flame projectile that travels along the ground.
  • Guest Fighter: For Lost Saga, Brave Frontier, and more.
  • Hellbent For Leather: Many of his costumes incorporate some kind of leather garment to emphasize his scrappy, Blood Knight attitude. His XII-XV designs all give him leather jackets for example.
  • The Hero: Of the Orochi Saga and the entire King of Fighters franchise.
  • 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.
  • Intergenerational Rivalry: With several older fighters like Terry and Ryo. He especially loves to goad Terry to get the most out of their fights.
    Terry: "Hey, what's happenin', man? Hope your precious flames haven't started gutterin' out yet!"
    Kyo: "You want to know how my flames are doing? Why don't I shove them down your throat, then?"
    Terry: "Wow! Someone got out of the wrong side of bed today! This is gonna be a really heated battle!"
  • It's Personal:
    • He suffers a painful defeat by Goenitz, prompting Kyo to spend time training himself and developing new techniques to eventually defeat Goenitz.
    • In XIII, he's determined to get back at Ash for the latter almost killing Chizuru and triggering Iori's Blood Riot which almost kills Shingo.
  • 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.) Lampshaded in said manga:
    Yuki: "He's just a guy who gets flaming mad at times."
    Sanae: "That's why everyone's afraid of him. They're just too scared to speak to him!"
  • Last-Name Basis: He and Iori almost never call each other by their given names, instead using to surnames to refer to each other.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: he's the fire to Benimaru's lightning.
  • Living MacGuffin: He becomes this post Orochi saga. He is used by the NESTS cartel to make clones (one of them being K'), which starts the '99-2001 arc. The Tales of Ash saga revolves around Ash seeking to steal the three Sacred Treasures, one of them being within Kyo.
  • 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 finally puts it back on for KOF XV.
    • 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 121 Shiki Ame-no-Murakumo, the "Ame no Murakumo" being the former name of the Kusanagi sword.
    • The NESTS incarnation of him in the same game has a different Neo MAX named "Saishuu Kessen Hiougi: Totsuka", which is the sword Susano'o used to slay Orochi.
    • His Climax Super in XIV is named Ura 1127 Shiki Yaegaki. Yaegaki Shrine is the place where Kushinada hid from the Yamata-no-Orochi.
  • 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.
    • XIII gives him (to be exact, NESTS!Kyo) another one as his Neo MAX named Totsuka, a punch so powerful it causes a screen-filling fiery explosion.
  • Moveset Clone: With Iori, but only in '95. Justified as the Kusanagi and Yasakani clans built their fighting styles together. In the games after that, Kyo starts to differentiate by using his trademark chain punches.
  • Mundane Wish: According to one of the endings of XIII his great Tragic Dream is to... graduate from high school.
  • Neck Lift: Kyo's Crescent Moon Flash/Crescent Slash (212 Shiki Kototsuki Yo) 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" Remark:
    • 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.
    • He and Joe quip with each other about how similar their desire to fight is.
Kyo: "So... uh... Are you sure that leaving the Muay Thai ring was such a good idea? You could've been an undefeated champ if you'd just kept fighting in the Muay Thai ring..."
Joe: "And you'd be undefeated if you just sat around protecting your ancient rituals. You're here for the same reason as I am. We both need to test ourselves against the best of the best!"
Kyo: "I hate to admit it, but you're probably right!"
  • Oh, Crap!: A big one dawns on him at the end of his Maximum Impact story. Why? He forgot to call Yuki.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe. He doesn't like being reminded of never having graduated high school. Some supplementary art pokes fun at the fact by having him daydreaming of finally graduating.
    Chin: "I'm just saying, you shouldn't worry about repeating a school year five or ten times. You'll get it eventually. Everything in its own time."
    Kyo: "Why you! I hate when you act like you're going to say something wise, but it's really just a wisecrack! Bring it on, gramps!"
  • The Only One Allowed To Kill You: 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).
  • Pillar of Light: More like Pillar of Fire, but still, his Mu Shiki DM has him start doing this before doing multiple punches. His Neo MAX in XIII, Ama-no-Murakumo, has him create multiple flame pillars.
  • Playing with Fire: Comes from his Heroic Lineage. He incorporates his flames in various martial arts moves like his flame "rekka", Oniyaki, and Crescent Moon Flash. He can also simply fire a massive blast of flame as a super move.
  • 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).
  • Pretty Boy: Naturally, with his looks. Several characters taunt him in-game using this as an insult.
  • 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.
  • 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 Once Done, Never Forgotten degree.
    Kyo: "Another clone? There's enough of me to start a baseball team!"
  • Shoryuken: His Oniyaki special, a spinning fist attack that sets his opponent ablaze.
  • Shotoclone: Somewhat, during his first appearances (and by proxy, in XII and XIII). With Yami Barai as the projectile move, Oni Yaki as the uppercut move, and Oboroguruma as a (sort of) flying kick move.
  • Signature Move: His Oni Yaki, 75 Shiki Kai and Orochinagi are the only moves of his that he retains in all games.
  • The Slacker: Never graduated from high school. "Effort" is even listed as his dislike in his bio. Lampshaded more than once in the games. He gets pissed off every time this is brought up.
  • SNK Boss: Along with Iori in KOF '99, Kyo is more difficult than Krizalid and Iori himself because the artificial intelligence is improved, compared to the other editions, responding better to each advance of the player and using his SDM when he has the best opportunitynote .
  • 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. About his school life, though...
  • 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 song 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.
    • Also, his special moves more often than not starts with "(number) Shiki".
  • Three-Strike Combo: His "flame punch rekka" specials are typically 3 strikes, except for the Dokugami chain which has 4 strikes. His HK version of Oboroguruma also has him do 3 kicks instead of 1 (the LK version).
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Broiled 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. The two clearly care for each other, but also love to goad one another with fihgting words.
    Benimaru: "Are you sure you're okay, Kyo?"
    Kyo: "Hm? What are you talking about?"
    Benimaru: "Your wounds. You escaped from the hospital before they treated you, am I right?"
    Kyo: "What, you don't trust me? I'm telling you not to worry. I'll be fine."
    Benimaru: "Well, I'm not exactly worried, per se... I just don't want you making excuses if you cause us to lose. It makes us all look bad."
    Kyo: "Oh, so you're a comedian, are you? Well, why don't you take me on, huh!?"
    Benimaru: "Don't mind if I do! Show me perfection, Kyo!"
    -Team Japan's intro in XIII
  • 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, and it may explain his moveset naming since '96 via his own tastes.
  • Wolverine Publicity: As the face of KOF, SNK has pushed him to the forefront of many of their biggest products. Not only is he in every mainlines KOF title, but also most crossovers and promotional tie-ins. This is even Lampshaded in his battle with Terry in XIII.
    Kyo: "Man, you are here every single time, aren't you? Are you going for a perfect attendance record or something?"
    Terry: "Not really. It's just that when I hear lots of strong people are getting together, I really have to join!"
    Kyo: "You're a sick individual, Terry... And I don't think there's a cure."
    Terry: "Don't act like you're any different! I keep running into you here every time too!"
  • Wreathed in Flames: His SDM version of Orochinagi (except in XIII and XIV) has him being covered in his own fire; the opponent who tries to attack him while he charges the move may get damaged by his burning body before he unleashes it. Also done in his Mu Shiki DM.
  • You Don't Look Like You: His design in XIV is so different from usual that some assumed he was a brand new character at first, what with ditching his trademark '90s Hair for something described as akin to a K-pop idol's, going from muscular to slender and feminine-looking, and for a time even changing his hair color completely. Oddly enough, the concept art for him still has him resembling his usual self even with the hair change.

    Benimaru Nikaido - Japan
Shooting Star

Voiced by: Atsushi "Monster" Maezuka (since debut), Eric Kelso (XII, English), Hikaru Midorikawa ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Genki Okawa (King of Fighters for Girls)

  • MODE OF COMBAT: Shooting (shoot boxing)
  • BIRTHDAY: June 6
  • HEIGHT: 180 cm
  • WEIGHT: 68 kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type O
  • HOBBY: Sky cruising. Cooking
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Himself. Pierce earrings
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Sashimi. Pasta. Coffee
  • DISLIKES: Nerds. Regrets
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Clay pigeon shooting. High diving

"My reason for winning? I'm just cool. Real cool."

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).
Despite being associated with the original Team Japan, Benimaru often finds himself teaming up with other fighters, teaming up with K`, Maxima and Shingo in '99, Shingo and Seth in 2000 and Elizabeth and Duo Lon in XI. As a result, he's also the fighter who has the most KOF wins. In XV, he finds himself with yet another team, this time with the new Hero Team alongside Shun'ei and Meitenkun.

  • Agent Peacock: Flamboyant, somewhat vain, and cares a lot about his looks, but there's a reason he's got the most KOF championships out of the whole cast.
  • Always Someone Better: In some non-official KOF media, it's speculated that while Benimaru does care for Kyo as a friend, at the same time he also resents being The Lancer and feels overshadowed by him. The aforementioned Alternate Universe KOF: G goes by this interpretation and it culminates with him falling in More Than Mind Control and severely injuring Kyo while in this state. It's also brought up in more than one fanfiction that has Benimaru as a main character.
  • Anime Hair: Lifted directly from Jean-Pierre Polnareff in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, as the creators confirm. He styles it with his powers in one intro. And when his hair isn't defying gravity, he's a Long-Haired Pretty Boy.
  • Bare Your Midriff: For most of the time, his outfit sports this. XIV marks the few times he doesn't have this, though it was predated by his debut in '94 until it ends in '97.
  • Big Brother Mentor: In XV where he's now taking care of Shun'ei and Meitenkun in the new Hero Team.
  • Bishōnen: One of the bishiest. He even models in his spare time.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Half American, half Japanese.
  • Butt-Monkey: He's usually the butt of jokes in the King of Fighters: Destiny animated series.
  • Camp Straight: A very flamboyant fighter, but also a lover of the ladies. So camp in fact that in the KOF 10th anniversary webpage the staff felt the need to say "It's not what you think, Not That There's Anything Wrong with That."
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Loves to flirt with female opponents, but is not a lech, since he will leave the girl alone if she tells him to cut it, even if he whines about it a bit. The best examples of this comes from Benimaru scolding Kyo on his (understandably neglectful) relationship with Yuki, and later all of his pre-fight talks towards female fighters in XIII.
  • Close-Range Combatant: To an extent in older games, but he's almost fully this in XIII where, with the exception of EX Benimaru Lancer (which tracks the opponent anywhere) and his Neo MAX (he shoots a thunderbolt directly forward), all of his moves have quite a short range.
  • Costume Evolution: At the beginning, his outfit is pretty much the same as Polnareff. In '96, he changes his top to a black full body sleeveless shirt while retaining his wrist bands. In '98 and the NESTS saga, the A-shirt turns into a T-shirt with a Cleavage Window while baring his midriff, and now wears fingerless gloves. In 2003 and XI, along with changing his jeans to a black one, the A-shirt is back... and it's now in leopard print. XII changes his outfit to an A-shirt that bares his midriff. In XIV, he (finally!) wears a yellow shirt. In Capcom vs. SNK, his '98 T-shirt becomes an A-shirt with long gloves baring his shoulders. In XV he switches to a Chinese-inspired top, fitting his new position as part of the hero team with Shun'ei and Meitenkun.
  • Death from Above: His Benimaru Lancer special in XIII is him doing a Badass Fingersnap to summon a lightning strike from above near his location (or directly on opponent's position as its EX version).
  • Diving Kick: His Flying Drill command normal, a diagonally-angled kick meant to emulate the rotation of a drill, similar in appearance and functionality to Dhalsim's Drill Kick/Head Drill, or as usual, a nod to another kind of drill kick seen on the series' Shout-Out section.
  • Elemental Punch: His Raijinken is pretty much a basic example, among other electric punches and kicks he has.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Not unlike Kyo. He sports them beginning from the NESTS Saga.
  • Fragile Speedster: In gameplay, Benimaru's one of the most notable examples of the quick-moving guys of the cast, despite the position often given to female characters. He has the one of the highest jumping heights and he doesn't look very bulky compared to others, but boy can he do a lot of stuff with his lightning, and his moves are a bit quick.
  • Grapple Move: In some games he has the Benimaru Collider, where he he grabs an opponent and electrocutes them.
  • Guest Fighter: In Xuan Dou Zhi Wang alongside Terry.
  • Hurricane Kick: His Shinkuu Katategoma special in some games, where he handstands and spins in place while kicking with both legs.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: A borderline example in his Iai Geri special, where he does a very quick knee-kick and then pulls his leg back just as quickly.
  • Image Song: "Show Time!"
  • The Jailbait 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.

    Goro Daimon - Japan

Voiced by: Masaki Usui ('94-XIII), Takahiro Fujiwara (XIV-current) Ryuzaburo Otomo ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

  • MODE OF COMBAT: Judo + Personal combat style
  • BIRTHDAY: May 5
  • HEIGHT: 204 cm
  • WEIGHT: 138 kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type A
  • HOBBY: Appreciating nature. Touring around Japanese gardens.
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: His family. Geta (Japanese clogs).
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Soba served on a bamboo sieve
  • DISLIKES: Precision machines


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
Legendary Hungry Wolf

Voiced by: Satoshi Hashimoto ('94-XIII), Takashi Kondo (XIV-current, Fighting EX Layer, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), Tony Carrol (Maximum Impact series, English), Takeshi Kusao ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Chiaki Takahashi (SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy)

Portrayed by: David Leitch (live-action movie)

  • MODE OF COMBAT: "Martial arts" (from his father's and Tung's, later self-taught)
  • BIRTHDAY: March 15
  • HEIGHT: 182cm
  • WEIGHT: 83kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type O
  • HOBBY: Video games
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: His father's keepsake. Vintage jeans.
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Clubhouse sandwiches
  • DISLIKES: Slugs
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Basketball

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

The hero of the Fatal Fury series and one of SNK’s poster children. 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.

In the KOF continuity, however, Geese did not die. Terry has been a constant participant throughout all KOF tournament, giving all the good fights. In XIV, however, Geese's return to the tournament raised his suspicion and he decided to enter with Andy and Joe to investigate and stop whatever Geese plans.

See Fatal Fury - Terry Bogard for tropes on him.

    Andy Bogard - USA
Human Weapon

Voiced by: Jun Hashimoto (94), Keiichi Nanba (95-XIII), Hiroshi Okamoto (XIV-current), Jeff Manning (XII, English), Ryo Horikawa ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Toshinari Fukamachi (King of Fighters for Girls)

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

  • MODE OF COMBAT: Koppo, ninjutsu (Shiranui-style)
  • BIRTHDAY: August 16
  • HEIGHT: 172cm
  • WEIGHT: 67kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type A
  • HOBBY: Training
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Pictures from his times in training
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Fermented Soybean (Natto) Spaghetti
  • DISLIKES: Dogs
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Short-Track Cycling

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.

See Fatal Fury: King of Fighters for tropes on him

    Joe Higashi - Japan
Young Muay Thai Champ

Voiced by: Katsuhisa Namase (94), Nobuyuki Hiyama (95-XIII), Kozo Mito (XIV-current) Greg Irwin (XII, English), Kazuki Yao ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Chiharu Sawashiro (King of Fighters for Girls)

  • MODE OF COMBAT: Muay Thai Kickboxing
  • BIRTHDAY: March 29
  • HEIGHT: 180cm
  • WEIGHT: 71kg
  • HOBBY: Fighting
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Fried alligator bits
  • DISLIKES: Dressing up
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: All forms of combative sports

"How's that? I'm the Satan of martial arts."

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.

See Fatal Fury: King of Fighters for tropes on him


Art of Fighting Team: Mexico

    Ryo Sakazaki - Japan
Invincible Dragon

Voiced by: Masaki Usui ('94-XI, XIII), Masayoshi Kozaki (XII), Daiki Takakura (XIV, XV, King of Fighters All-Star), Curt Gebhart (Maximum Impact series, English), Akira Kamiya ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Subaru Kimura (King of Fighters for Girls)

  • MODE OF COMBAT: Kyokugen-style Karate
  • BIRTHDAY: August 2
  • HEIGHT: 179cm
  • WEIGHT: 75kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type O
  • HOBBY: Japanese-style carpentry
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Motorcycle that he fixed up on his own. The horse he received.
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Rice cakes. Fermented soybeans
  • DISLIKES: Bugs with a lot of legs

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

The heir of the Kyokugen School of Karate and the main protagonist of the Art of Fighting series. Ryo is Takuma's son and Yuri's brother and best friend of 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 tournaments. He later takes up his father's title of "Mr. Karate."

In XIV, he and his teammates heard rumors about a fake Kyokugenryu school. To clear the legitimacy of the Kyokugenryu school, Ryo entered the King of Fighters tournament.

See Art Of Fighting I for tropes on him

    Robert Garcia - Italy
Mightiest Tiger

Voiced by: Kay Inage (94-'95, XI onward), Mantarō Koichi ('96-2003), Go Shinomiya (XIV, XV, King of Fighters All-Star), Greg Irwin (XII, English), Hideo Ishikawa ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Kazuhiro Okamoto (King of Fighters for Girls)

  • MODE OF COMBAT: Kyokugen-style Karate
  • BIRTHDAY: December 25
  • HEIGHT: 180cm
  • WEIGHT: 85kg
  • HOBBY: Producing futuristic concept cars
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: His car collection
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Sushi. Chow mein.
  • DISLIKES: Pickled scallions
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Motor sports

"Underestimate my strength, huh? You're dumber than you look!"

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.

See Art Of Fighting I for tropes on him

    Takuma Sakazaki/Mr. Karate - Japan
Click Here to see him as Mr. Karate.

Voiced by: Eiji Tsuda(94,'95, '98-'02, XIII), Hōchū Ōtsuka ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD), Takeshi Maruyama (King of Fighters: All-Star)

  • MODE OF COMBAT: Kyokugen-style Karate
  • BIRTHDAY: February 4
  • HEIGHT: 180cm
  • WEIGHT: 88kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type O
  • HOBBY: Making soba nodles
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: His 2 children, his disciples, Kyokugen Karate
  • FAVORITE FOOD: White rice, miso soup, kale pellets, vinegar-cured soybeans
  • DISLIKES: Snakes
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: All types of fighting

"Wow, you're a disgrace! You'd better hang it up, kid."

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 tournaments to promote his school. He sometimes likes to put the old mask back on just for kicks and giggles.

See Art Of Fighting I for tropes on him

Alternative Title(s): The King Of Fighters The Rugal Saga 01


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