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Iori Yagami - Japan
- MODE OF COMBAT: Yagami style of ancient martial arts + pure instinct
- BIRTHDAY: March 25
- HEIGHT: 182cm
- WEIGHT: 76kg
- BLOOD TYPE: Type O
- BIRTHPLACE: Japan
- HOBBY: Playing in bands
- PERSONAL TREASURES: None (in older games, his girlfriend)
- FAVORITE FOOD: Meat
- DISLIKES: Violence
- FORTE IN SPORTS: Everything
"There's no value in a broken toy. Which is exactly what you losers are!"
Voiced by: Kunihiko Yasui ('95 - XIII), Takanori Hoshino (XIV, The King of Fighters: Destiny), Eric Summerer (Maximum Impact series, English), Jack Merluzzi (XII, English), Shou Shudo (KOF live-action movie Japanese dub)
Portrayed by: Will Yun Lee (live-action movie)
Iori is the latest descendant of the Yagami clan, formerly the Yasakani. His family was a former ally of Kyo Kusanagi's, but they became jealous of the Kusanagi clan's power, and entered into a blood pact with Orochi, their former enemy. They were granted newer, blue-tinted flames, but at with three huge downsides: suffering extreme pain when using these powers, each mother of a newborn would die in childbirth... and most importantly, they were now susceptible to the Riot of the Blood, a state in which under special circumstances, the user is driven insane until they become nothing more than mindless zombies, killing and destroying everything in their path. When the Kusanagi clan found out about this, they waged war against the Yasakani clan, who changed their name to Yagami prior to the blood pact.
Iori himself enters the '95 tournament to fight Kyo, but fails to do so, and ruthlessly beats his teammates into the ground. In '96 he finally faces Kyo, but is approached by Chizuru to ally with them. He fights Goenitz and kills him, but his flames turn crimson. Chizuru explains that this is the true power of the Yagami clan that has long been hidden inside him, and also warns him about the Riot of the Blood, but he brushes it off. While conversing with Vice and Mature, he is suddenly stricken with blindness and nausea, and starts to cough up blood. He is finally wracked with extreme pain, and he ends up killing both Vice and Mature as he enters the Riot of the Blood for the first time. In '97 he is about to face Kyo in the finals, but then he enters the Riot of the Blood along with Leona, who attacks her teammates while Iori attacks Kyo. Both are snapped back to their senses and Iori teams up with Kyo and Chizuru to fight Orochi. Orochi attempts to drive him back into the Riot, but the plan backfires when he attacks Orochi instead of Kyo, and then he holds Orochi in place long enough for him to be struck down by Kyo and resealed by Chizuru.
Iori resurfaces in '99, once again searching for Kyo, and overhears about the various Kyo clones around the world. He finds the real one and fights with him in the collapsing base. In 2000 he is also a single entry, again looking for Kyo. In 2001 he joins with Vanessa, Seth, and Ramon, under the premise that he will fight Kyo again. He teams up with Kyo and Chizuru in 2003, and witnesses Ash's theft of Chizuru's powers. In XI, he teams up with Kyo and Shingo, but due to the increased presence of Orochi, he enters the Riot of the Blood once again and attacks his two teammates; Ash intervenes and takes the opportunity to hit Iori In the Back, taking his powers. His fate afterward was unknown, but in Maximum Impact he is searching for Ash Crimson to regain his powers. In XIII he doesn't have his flames but has somewhat compensated via becoming a Badass Normal, and after a brief talk with Chizuru he is back alongside none other than Vice and Mature, who are temporarily Back from the Dead to keep Those From The Past from breaking the Orochi seal. In the end, Iori regains his powers, forsaking his chance for a normal life.
- Amplifier Artifact: Had the Yasakani-no-Magatama inside of his body until Ash pilfered it in XI. He regains it at the end of XIII.
- And Then What?: If playing as Flames Iori in XIII, Mature will prod at his unending goal to kill Kyo, claiming that Iori's stuck in the past because he's afraid of where the future may lead if he does end Kyo's life.
- Animal Motifs: A venomous snake, befitting his connection to Orochi. Reflected in his animal transformation in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: And a dick about it, too. Iori isn't shy about letting his opponents know they're too weak for him, purple flames or not.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: He's a musician and so, he combines formal dress codes (long sleeved white shirt and shoes), with fashion elements (his haircut, leather jacket and red pants)
- Ax-Crazy: In Blood Riot mode he's just a violent psycho who will attack anyone in his path. His Eight Maidens DM also has shades of this, especially the SDM version from '96 through '98.
- Badass Baritone: Iori's voice is deep and threatening, putting him in even sharper contrast with the much lighter-voiced Kyo.
- Badass Boast: His usual opening pose ("Sugu raku ni shite yaru") translates to "I'll make it easy for you" or "I'll end your pain soon." If you believe Iori's claim that he hates violence, the quote then potentially turns into Iori backhandedly giving the opponent his condolences for having the misfortune of running into him, thus promising to give them a quick death for their troubles.
- Badass in Distress: In the KOF: KYO manga's last volume, he's captured by Goenitz and tied up to a metal cross. Then Goenitz severely injures Kensou and, when Chizuru steps in, he runs away with both Iori and Yuki as hostages; for worse, he tortures Iori via using his powers to intermittently cause him to go into the Riot of the Blood as he's is still in chains and completely defenseless. Kyo has to rescue him and Yuki with Chizuru's help.
- Badass Longcoat: Another Iori (Iori's striker from 2000, which represents how Iori dresses outside of KOF) has one. His new design for KOF XIV has him wearing a red duster.
- Badass Normal: He was brought down to this after Ash stole his flames. Even without the Magatama, the clawing and slashing techniques employed by the Yasakani martial arts are brutally effective and vicious enough to decimate an opponent. Combine this with Yagami's ridiculous speed and strength, and suddenly the loss of his flames do not appear to be anything more than a minor handicap.
- Bare Your Midriff: His outfit from XII and XIII.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Quite a few drama CDs hint at an Orochi-like presence that resides inside him, irritating him to the point that Iori usually reacts violently. His XII profile seems to confirm this, as Iori seems to be suffering from a slight identity crisis. This is presumably the reason behind his refusal to associate with others and his solitary lifestyle.
- The Berserker: For some reason, losing his flames causes Iori's bloodlust and violent tendencies to intensify up to the point where the cast of KOF XIII can feel it just by being around him.
- Blood Knight: In KOF XIV, Tung Fu Rue implies that Iori actually enjoys his rivarly with Kyo, which is why he never actually killed the guy. Iori finds the idea preposterous.
- Bonus Boss: To the Japan Team in KOF '97, but only if Kyo beats Orochi. He's also this in KOF '99. Shares this status with Kyo, and you can only fight him if your battle points are over 190, and you fight Kyo if they are over 280.
- Breakout Character: Something of a meta example. While Iori was a main character from the beginning (being The Rival to Kyo), he was of such a different mold from other video game characters at the time (such as his trademark Evil Laugh) that he became an instant hit with fans (and not just the female ones). Thus, most subsequent games have shoehorned him to a role of at least some significance.
- It is said Iori's design from the start sought this end, so he may have been an invoked example.
- Call-Back: His Dual Assault with Kyo in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum is a homage to the Sacred Treasures Team's ending in 97 where he holds his foe in place with a Neck Lift before Kyo does his 182 Shiki to his opponent.
- Can't Stay Normal: In his ending in XIII, Iori decides to reabsorb the Yasakani-no-Magatama into his body, despite Mature and Vice warning him that he has the chance to live a normal life without needing to worry about the Riot of the Blood or his bloodline's curse. Ultimately, they go along with his choice and return to the afterlife, telling Iori that they'll perhaps meet again on a moonlit night.
- Chick Magnet: In the CD dramas, having a very pretty prospect girlfriend who's infatuated with you is probably not much to boast about... but having her also beautiful little sister to become even more infatuated with you is definitely no small feat. And that's not mentioning the numerous amount of fangirls (and maybe even some fanboys) he managed to charmed.
- Clothes Make the Legend: Unlike Kyo, he didn't change his clothing until KOF XII and even then, the change is rather slight. His KOF XIV outfit is a bigger change, but it's still recognizably him.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Very anti-heroic, though.
- Deadly Upgrade: The pact his clan made with Orochi to acquire power reduces his life span, hurts him when he summons flames, and subjects him to the Riot of the Blood, which causes him to lose control of himself and makes him vomit blood.
- Depower: Happens at the end of XI, leaving him to fight with his slashing hands for XII and its sequel. Unlike Chizuru, at least he stayed on the roster despite losing his flames. Though, considering the mobility and priority of Iori's movelist when exhibiting the full extent of the Yasakani martial arts, one has to wonder whether losing those flames can even constitute a depowerment or not...
- Downloadable Content: "Iori with the Power of Flames" in XIII (i.e. his original, pre-XII moveset). In XIV, it's his classic outfit.
- The Drifter: he doesn't seem to have any home to go to.
- Emo: Again, the fans are mistaken. Let it be said that Iori's debut in 1995 predates the mainstream popularity (and common idea) of the word emo by a margin of five years. Also, while he (to an extent) has the look, it's quite clear that Iori does not match up to the emotional stereotypes.
- Easily Forgiven: Although he killed Mature and Vice (albeit not of his own volition), they say that they don't hold a grudge against him and ask to accompany him as his teammates in XIII. At least Mature is slightly more willing; Vice apparently is angry at Iori doing it and she'd at least want to "relieve pent-up hostilities" before she would ally with Iori again.
- Enemy Mine/Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Happens on no less than four occasions with Kyo ('96, '97, 2003, and XI). Luckily, Chizuru or Shingo is there to keep the team from falling apart.
- He teams up with Kyo and Chizuru once again to put down Orochi in his team ending in XIV. This time around, Kyo is more than willing to help out his rival, even if Iori feels otherwise.
- Enemy Within: Orochi Iori.
- Evil Counterpart/Foil: Initially started as the former for Kyo before his status as The Rival turned him into the latter. Enforced by the fact that much of Iori's design is meant as direct opposite of Kyo's during '95, from his iconic symbol (a crescent moon instead of a sun's corona) as well as his moveset (i.e. He throws his swings arm downward for his projectile where Kyo waves his leading arm upward and outward, his special throw pins his opponent onto the ground rather than lifting them into the air); their namings in most of their moves are even inverted of each other as well, especially with Iori adding extra suffixes named after mythological figures with a dark motif (his CD attack's name in more-in-depth sources has the name "asura", while his axe kick has "shinigami/death god", etc).
- Evil Redhead: At least, that's how his debut portrayed him. '96 and beyond have shifted Iori towards an antagonistic, but more anti-heroic role.
- Face Palm Of Doom: His Kototsuki In special ends with him putting his palm on the foe's face, then releases a flame explosion point blank. A few of his super moves also involves him doing the same.
- Fingerless Gloves: Again, not normally, but Another Iori has 'em.
- Freudian Excuse: Besides the ancient Kusanagi-Yasakani feud, it's assumed by fans that Iori had a craptastic childhood, possibly killed/lost his girlfriend, and is pissed off by having to enter KOF every year to kill Kyo because he explicitly hates violence.
Kensou: "Athena... That time when you and Yagami's heart had a spiritual response... What did you feel?"Athena: "An incurable loneliness... no, I should say, grief."
- Confirmed in the semi-canon KOF: KYO manga. When Athena attempts to use her Psycho Reflector to stop him and Kyo from going into a Duel to the Death, she has a view of a very young Iori (no older than ten) in tears and covered in injuries and dirt. She's driven to tears and a brief Heroic BSoD, and later she explains to Kensou that she could feel an aura of sadness and loneliness coming from him. While the KOF 2000 manga has Iori explaining his own backstory to Kyo, it's not known if it stands for other continuities as well.
- Gorn: Downplayed to keep the franchise's rating, but after losing his flames his moves become a lot bloodier. Back then he'd just incinerate you with his flame, now he'll rip your throat apart or maul your entire body.
- Gory Discretion Shot: When he killed Vice and Mature in KOF '96 only their silhouettes could be seen. Used again in SNK vs. Capcom: Chaos for his Exceed, which is a Riot of the Blood-induced attack and in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum as a leaping grab super similar to Vice.
- And again in XIII with his Neo MAX, which is reused for his Climax DM in XIV.
- Grapple Move: His Kuzukaze (Scum Wind) special is a simple one that slides his foe behind him while leaving them open to combos. Another is his Tsuchi Tsubaki (Mallet Camellia) special in XII.
- Guest Fighter: Iori appears in the console version of Square Enix 2D fighting game Million Arthur: Arcana Blood. In exchange, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy gets Thief Arthur from that series.
- Hidden Depths: If SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos is anything to go by, he's well-versed in the works of Shakespeare, particularly Hamlet.
- He also has his own Jazz band, which is reflected in his various themes over the years.
- I'll Kill You!: He practically tells this to every one he comes across. That or to go away.
- Iconic Outfit: From his debut, Iori has had the least wardrobe changes of any major King of Fighters regular; consisting of a short black jacket, a long white shirt underneath, red pants with the legs bound, and black shoes. However in XII, as part of his overhaul as result of losing his Yasakani powers, he also gained a new outfit for the first time outside of non-canon appearances (same black jacket but now with a short red shirt under it, white pants with a loose black belt, and white shoes). He also gains a new outfit for XIV (consisting of a dark red longcoat, maroon undershirt, leather pants, and white shoes) so they're finally getting around to changing him up like his fellow KOF cohorts.
- Iconic Sequel Character: The guy debuts in the second game and then becomes another big icon of the series.
- Image Song: Not counting the one he shares with Kyo, he has four: "Kaze no Allegory" ("Allegory of the Wind"), "Never Lose My Way," "Moon of Crazy Flame," and "Monochrome."
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: At least, his initial clothes are. XII and XIV has him changing to plausibly cooler ones.
- Improbable Hairstyle: To the point that it's mocked in the Maximum Impact series, with a few characters noting that his hair resembles that of a rooster.
- Also mocked by Raiden in XIII, who says he wants to give Iori a Traumatic Haircut if he loses.
- Kyo and Chizuru's treasures and the primary virtues they represent make a fair amount of sense: the headstrong but justly good-natured Kyo gets the sword symbolizing valor, whereas the calm and fair-minded Chizuru, usually the guiding magnetic force between the three clans, possesses a mirror that stands for wisdom. Iori? His jewel signalizes benevolence. Unless one believes Iori's claims of hating violence, there is a gaping dichotomy present.
- After losing his flames, he'd finish the Eight Maiden super by ripping his target's throat rather than blasting them with his flames. This makes it a carbon copy of Goenitz's own super, TRUE Eight Maiden, meaning only by losing his flames does Iori learn the 'correct' way to perform the move.
- Irrational Hatred: He absolutely LOATHES Kyo with a passion. Why? Aside from probably wanting to prove himself as being better than him, we will never know. The manga and audio dramas sometimes would rationalize the hatred, but they're questionably canon.
- I Was Just Passing Through: How Iori aids Kyo during the fight with Goenitz in '96. 'Cause, y'know, Iori's the only one that gets to kill Kyo. Arguably happens again in '97 when the Three Sacred Treasures Team faces Orochi.
- Jerkass: Let's face it, he is one of the biggest ones in the whole friggin' series (or in fighting game history), ranging from beating the ever-loving shit out of his teammates in his '95 ending to his unreasonable hatred against Kyo, and almost any of his exchanges with other characters (whether he's regular or Flames) in XIII just screams "douchebag", if anything.
- Lead Bassist: Since he has his own jazz band and he's a bassist, he's presumably this. Oddly enough, the only theme of his where the bass is prominent (as opposed to primarily the saxophone) is "Cool Jam ~ Arashi no Saxophone 3" in '97, and that's only more so in the arranged version. It's unknown if, additionally, Iori's the lead singer (or if the band even has a lead singer to begin with), but he at least can presumably sing, as Iori's various Image Songs can attest.
- Leitmotif: While he's given new themes each game, they are usually jazz-themed with a sweet saxophone solo. Many of these tunes have the words "Arashi no Saxophone" ("Stormy Saxophone") in the title.
- Lightning Bruiser: During Riot of the Blood, Iori experiences a large boost in his agility (enough to make him almost impossible to anti-air on reaction because he can jump across the screen in the blink of an eye).
- Maniacal Laugh: His famous victory pose, as well as one of his super desperation moves.
- Meaningful Name: His family's previous name, Yasakani, comes from the Yasakani-no-Magatama, legendary prayer beads symbolizing benevolence that were used in tandem with the Yata-no-Kagami. Much like the other members of the Sacred Treasures Team, Iori plays a crucial role in the battle with Orochi, especially considering that he fights against Orochi's mind control and snares him just long enough for Kyo to finish the job. His Ya Otome DM (also known as the Maiden Masher or literally, the "Eight Maidens") refers to the part of the Orochi myth where Orochi had already devoured seven of a family's eight daughters and was coming to eat the final daughter, who's saved by the clan leaders.
- While the family name Yagami—Iori included—is usually written out as 八神 ("eight gods"), corresponding with the various references to the number eight in Iori's moveset, if the kanji was different (夜神, like a certain other Yagami), it'd instead spell out "night god." The Yagami clan is represented by the moon.
- His DM in older games Ya Sakazuki (meaning "Eight Sake Cups") is another reference to Orochi myth, where Orochi was dazed by having each of its heads drink sake. The move itself stuns his foe if they're hit, furthering the similarity.
- Lunacy: Heavily associated with the moon, and definitely one of the more unhinged members of the cast.
- Monochromatic Mind-Control Eyes: As Orochi Iori. Crosses over with Glowing Eyes of Doom and Supernatural Gold Eyes Depending on the Artist.
- Moveset Clone: with Kyo, 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.
- Mr. Fanservice: Word of God admits to making him one on purpose, giving him outfits that frequently emphasize his muscles and which are evocative of Casual Kink. A lot of supplementary material points out the fact for all his cruelty he does have a softer side, not to mention all the Ship Tease between him towards Kyo as a bone to Yaoi Fangirls.
- Neck Lift: His LDM in 2003 and XI has him lift his foe with both hands as he burns them with a pillar of flame. He also did something similar to Orochi in 97's canonical ending. In XII his new Grapple Move (which is adapted to his normal throw in XIV) has him lift his foe's neck with one hand.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: his ever-popular Ya Otome is a ranbu-styled DM.
- Nominal Hero: Even now, after years of showing Iori's personality soften up ever so slightly, he can only be written off as amoral and largely neutral on his best days. He also tends not to be motivated with "saving the day" as he only wants to take Kyo's life.
- The One Guy: In SNK Gals Fighters.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: How he views his rivalry with Kyo.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: His "Miss X" alter ego in Gals Fighters. Subverted, as the girls were not fooled.
- The Paralyzer: In some games he has the DM Ya Sakazuki, a projectile attack that stuns the foe in place while slowly draining their health. In later games, his EX Yami Barai can do the same thing.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Given that he's somewhat of a tribute to Yasuhiro Nightow's character designs, Iori has them to an extent.
- Perpetual Frowner: Usually depicted as stoic and moody. When he is smiling... run.
- Pet the Dog: Both his interactions with Chizuru in XIII and his drama CD The Sun and The Moon ~ Prologue verge on the brink of painting Iori in this light. Also, this official art.◊ Didn't think he had it in him, did you?
- Pillar of Light: More like Pillar of Fire, but still, his unique DM Saika (done after Ya Otome) ends with him firing a tall pillar of purple flame. Also present in some of his other supers, especially his (Flames Iori's) Neo MAX in XIII.
- Playing with Fire: Bluish-violet fire.
- Flip-Flop of God: Are the flames blue or purple? Make up your damn minds, SNK!
- Primal Stance/Limp and Livid: As Orochi Iori.
- The Rival: Was more or less the Arch-Enemy to Kyo earlier on, but has regressed to this, especially in the wake of his and Kyo's mutual archenemy, Ash.
- Rule of Symbolism: Iori skirts the line. There are lots of references to the number eight in his moves and other areas. His signature super/Desperation Move, the Ya Otome, is frequently translated in English as "Eight Maidens". The move also hits exactly 8 times in its base form. Iori's other super, the Ya Sakazuki ("Eight Wine Cups"), launches a fire spark that can explode into eight advancing columns of fire at its maximum; the DM that replaces that is the Yashiori (Eight Ferments), a reference to the Yashiori/Yashio'ori no Sake (Sake of Eight Salt Snappers), the type of wine used by Susano'o to intoxicate the Orochi. All of this is related to Orochi being an 8-headed demon and the legend that he sought out eight maidens to devour. As his family made a pact with the Orochi, this has some meaning but ultimately does not contribute to his character in any significant way, unless one refers to his Villain Override Neck Lift done to Orochi himself at the end of '97...
- There is also the way his design invokes himself as Kyo's opposite in several ways. See Evil Counterpart above.
- Sarcastic Confession: The fans are torn on whether or not Iori really hates violence, given his moves often involve slashing at his foes and the fact he cackles with sadistic glee upon winning. Some would say he's simply easy to anger.
- Kyo asks the same question to Iori in the KOF 2000 manga. Iori explains that even if he doesn't care about their family feud now, Iori changed when he wanted his father to stop being overdepressed. Kid Iori would rather play piano and read than learn to fight. His own father was depressed because Saisyu was the stronger one in their rivalry and he heard rumours that Saisyu's son had even more potential than his father. His respect for his father drove Iori to seek power. One night Orochi's spirit came to Iori and he asked if the boy wanted to grow stronger; Iori nods and thus Orochi gives him more power and complete control over his flames. Back in the present, Iori tells Kyo, "It's true that I hate violence, but I'd hate even more seeing my own family being disgraced, so if I have to use violence to destroy you, then so be it." But now, Iori just hates Kyo's guts. Thus, it became...
- Screw Destiny: Like Kyo, Iori doesn't care about his family's history (although he is somewhat prideful about it); he just seems to instinctively hate Kyo. He also is uninterested in rectifying the mistakes of his ancestors.
- He subverts this (and so does Kyo). Nothing he does in the Orochi saga is with the intent of preventing the release of Orochi yet everything that he actually gets involved with ends up working towards that end anyway. So ultimately, You Can't Fight Fate.
- Shoryuken: his Oniyaki special, one of the few things he shared with Kyo. There's also his Nue Uchi special in XII.
- Signature Move: His Aoihana special (and arguably Yami Barai and Oniyaki) and his Ya Otome DM, which he can do even without flames.
- Skyward Scream: Heard only in Orochi/Riot of the Blood mode.
- Slave Collar: Symbolically, the collar worn around his neck is likely a visual representation of his clan's unending ties to Orochi. The fact that Iori has RotB'd three times so far and a particular drama CD has an image of Orochi mock him from within Iori's mind can't be coincidental. He loses the collar in XIV, though.
- Smoking Is Cool: According to his team's story in XIII, Iori smokes frequently.
- SNK Boss: Orochi/Bousou (Rampaging) Iori. In this form he's roughly twice as fast and twice as strong. With him moving around so quickly it's easy to confuse players. When you play as him, his defense is severely weakened, and you'll be horribly surprised at exactly how hard it is to control him.
- Solar and Lunar: With Kyo. It's easy to guess who's who.
- The Stoic: And if you do manage to set him off, God help you.
- Superpowered Evil Side: The Riot of Blood, the manifestation of the Orochi's corruption within him. It gives him inhuman strength and speed but at the expense of his sanity and restraint.
- This Cannot Be!: His trademark K.O. quote ("Kono mama dewa owaranzo!") translates to "It can't end like this!"
- Three Strike Combo: his Aoihana special is a 3-hit rekka.
- Too Many Belts: In his canon, flameless outfit in XII and XIII only. He has an extra one hanging loosely around his waist in addition to the one keeping his pants up.
- Troubled, but Cute: Really, really troubled.
- Tsundere: Platonic (?) version. Miss X's ending in SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy implies that despite all his antagonism towards Kyo Iori secretly wishes they could be best friends, and gets highly embarrassed over the fact that he even entertained the thought in the first place.
- Unstoppable Rage: Orochi Iori. Not even Mature and Vice, two heralds of the Orochi, could stop him when he entered Riot of the Blood.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In the KOF: KYO manga, Iori shows up in Kyo's school to challenge him. Their fight becomes increasingly violent to the point that Athena fears this will be a Duel to the Death; the fact that Yuki and later Athena step in to stop Iori from killing Kyo start triggering Kyo's own insecurities about his motives to fight.
- Villain Override: Orochi Iori, again. In the Sacred Treasures Team's ending in 97, however, when Orochi attempted this for one final time, Iori instead holds Orochi in place for Kyo to deal the final blow.
- Vocal Evolution: Iori's voice work in '95 was a bit odd compared to Yasui's take on the character in the following years: Iori's voice was slightly higher in pitch, his "Doushita?" chant during Yami Barai was almost mocking as opposed to the harsh yell later on, and the delivery of his Signature Laugh (among other lines) was strikingly different.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: In the handheld Spin-Off game Gals Fighters he enters the tournament disguised as a schoolgirl. He changes his name to "Miss X" and wears a mask to conceal his identity. The girls don't buy it.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity/This Is Your Brain on Evil: When his Orochi blood awakens, Iori's strength and speed increase greatly but he becomes violently unhinged and untamed, which is how Mature and Vice died in '96.
- With My Legs Tied: The pants legs of his original outfit are tied together by a belt. His Impossibly Cool Clothes don't stop him from having swift, amazing footwork, including overhead kicks.
- Wolverine Claws: what he got is natural claws, but still, his fighting style with is is pretty brutal. Especially when he loses his flames in XII and has to resort to more clawing.
- You Have Failed Me/You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A downplayed (read: Kick the Dog) version in which Iori thrashes Billy and Eiji after the 1995 tournament. It is for this reason that they carry a grudge against Iori to this day.
Billy Kane - England
- MODE OF COMBAT: Bojutsu
- BIRTHDAY: December 25
- HEIGHT: 179cm
- WEIGHT: 78kg
- BLOOD TYPE: Type B
- BIRTHPLACE: England
- HOBBY: Washing clothes
- PERSONAL TREASURES: His kid sister (Lilly)
- FAVORITE FOOD: His kid sister's cooking
- DISLIKES: Dirty clothes
- FORTE IN SPORTS: Pole vaulting
"How does it feel to be well-done? But I bet you taste terrible."
Geese's loyal right-hand man ever since the first Fatal Fury. A punk from England whose skill with a staff is second to none, he's nonetheless committed to his sister Lilly, and when Geese was killed, returned to England to support her. When Geese resurfaced, he went back to Southtown to carry out Geese's request to investigate the Orochi power in the '97 tournament. Loathes Iori Yagami, since he was on the receiving end of a beating dished out by him once. In the Maximum Impact series he's trying to convince Rock to follow in his father's footsteps. In the console version of XIII and in Climax, he returns and sports his original attire; this time he's in a personal "mission" to find and kill Iori. He returns in XIV, now fighting alongside Geese for the first time in the series' history, along with a recently-hired bodyguard named Hein.
- Ambition Is Evil: Averted. Billy serves Geese because he genuinely likes the guy and wants to provide for his sister, not due to any ulterior motives on his part. This is why he hangs up his coat and relocates to the English countryside after Geese's death in the MI series (until, of course, he hears words of a new group leading Southtown).
- Badass in a Nice Suit: His "Another" costume in the Maximum Impact series. It depicts how he dresses while serving Geese.
- Badasses Wear Bandanas
- Berserk Button: Four of these. One, don't insult Geese. Two, don't bring up his sister Lilly (and worse if the other person tries to shame him because of her). Three: don't be Iori. Four: don't smoke near him.
- Best Served Cold: Towards Iori Yagami, whom both he and Eiji hate for beating them up for their failure.
- It's Personal: His hatred of Yagami is so great that XIII currently marks the only time he's entered KOF for reasons other than Geese's orders.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Lilly.
- Bald of Evil:: It depends on the game, actually. In the original Fatal Fury games and KOF '95 he has his head shaved bald. In '97, '98 and Maximum Impact, he has let his blond hair grow. And in XIII, he shaves his head bald again. From what can be seen in XIV, it looks like he grows it again.
- Boring, but Practical: His Santsetsukon Chuudan Uchi special attack simply involves a long poke from his staff. Thanks to its ridiculous range and stun properties, it also makes Billy the most broken character in The King of Fighters-i 2012, to the point where he can solo Team Battle Mode and get perfect victories on Ash Crimson.
- Counter Attack: in some games he has 2 types of counter specials.
- The Dragon: To Geese Howard.
- Evil Brit: he's of the British hooligan type.
- Fingerless Gloves: In 95 and XIII he wears a pair.
- Gratuitous English: Notable for this, especially his infamous "I'MMA GONNA BATCHES 'N BURN!" line from Real Bout (Translation: I'm gonna bust you so bad!)
- Surprisingly Good English: Consider his intro against Iori in '97 and '98 which had him shouting "I wish I could tear him apart!" (complete with additional Eiji backing in '98), his eponymous "Hey-hey-hey!" intro and his "Who's turn is it?" quote.
- All in all, which side of the English/Engrish fence Billy falls upon depends on two things: a) who's voicing him and b) which installment of the series this is.
- Hammerspace: Maybe. In his 2002 HSDM, if Billy is attacked while he doesn't have his staff, he'll pull out a second staff from underneath his jacket.
- Hitbox Dissonance: While his Weapon of Choice gives him great range (sometimes propelling him into Game-Breaker status), Billy is probably the one character in KOF most notorious for adhering to being on the wrong end of this trope. One great example can be found here.
- Morality Pet: Lilly. Lampshaded in XIII: Climax when people like Kim or Athena bring her up in their pre-fight talks and Billy gets PISSED OFF.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: He doesn't like it one bit that Joe Higashi is seeing Lilly. It's even to the point that the moment Joe identifies him as Lilly's brother, he reacts shortly but extremely aggressively.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: His outfit in KOF '95 (carried over from the first Fatal Fury game) appears to be modeled after former English pro-wrestler, Dynamite Kid. Later games have Billy resembling Axl Rose.
- No Smoking: It's one of his pet peeves. He even wears the sign on the back of his outfit and will assault anyone who blows cigarette smoke in his face. The only exception to this is when Geese smokes.
- Nice Bandana
- Odd Friendship: With Eiji and Blue Mary. The former is more so due to their mutual hatred of Iori. He's even something of a Friendly Enemy to Terry and co. nowadays.
- Playing with Fire/Incendiary Exponent: He has the ability to charge his staff with fire.
- Ring of Fire: His Chou Kaen Senpuu Kon DM has him do this, twirling his staff first to build up the fire then whipping it forward and thrusting the flame as a rolling flame ring towards his foe
- Precision F-Strike: He screams "Go to hell!" during his Great Windmill DM.
- Punny Name: Subverted. His last name isn't pronounced "cane" (as in, the weapon he uses), but "kon" or "kaan."
- Double subverted: "Kon" in Japanese roughly means "cane."
- Shoryuken: His Kyoushuu Hishou Kon special, with an added attack where he falls down at a range from his initial position.
- Signature Move: His Sansetsukon Chuudan Uchi and Senpuu Kon specials, as well as Chou Kaen Senpuu Kon DM.
- Simple Staff: One that separates and combines, to boot.
- Super Strength: Relatively speaking, it would take a great deal of might to properly utilize a three-section staff held together by chains with great tensile strength.
- Undying Loyalty: In the Maximum Impact series, even with Geese dead, Billy still serves no one other than Geese. This is why he's returned to Southtown; he believes that no one is more fitting to rule over the city than Geese.
- Weapon of Choice: A sansetsukon that can also be held together as a single rod and set alight with flame.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Wore an Union Jack shirt in his Fatal Fury 2/Special appearance. His bandana in XIV (above) has a Union Jack pattern with a reversed color scheme.
Eiji Kisaragi - Japan
- MODE OF COMBAT: Kisaragi-style ninjutsu
- BIRTHDAY: December 25
- HEIGHT: 172 cm
- WEIGHT: 70 kg
- BLOOD TYPE: Type B
- BIRTHPLACE: Japan
- HOBBY: Practice for new techniques
- PERSONAL TREASURES: My own fist
- FAVORITE FOOD: Preserved food, well-kept food
- DISLIKES: Kyokugen Ryu
- FORTE IN SPORTS: A Ninja never plays sports
"I'm a ninja! I have no pity for losers!"
Voiced by: Yoshinori Shima
A ninja assigned by Mr. Big to assassinate the Sakazaki family. He has failed repeatedly to do this, but nonetheless still pursues his goal. He joined up with Billy and Iori in the '95 tournament to form the Rival Team, but the three failed to reach the finals; Iori beat the two ruthlessly for their failure, resulting in a lifelong grudge from them. He also joined up with Kasumi and Malin in the eleventh tournament to form the Anti-Kyokugen team. If the KOF: Kyo manga is canon, he may have had a hilariously nasty run-in with Kyo's mother Shizuka at one point, too.
- '80s Hair: Unlike Ryo, Eiji still has that mullet from Art of Fighting.
- Arch-Enemy: To the Kyokugen school of karate. It's apparently a generational feud.
- Attack Reflector: His Ryu Kagejin gains this property in XI. Timed properly, it can even deflect (L)DM-level fireballs.
- Best Served Cold: Towards Iori. See Billy's entry for the reason.
- Butt-Monkey: In XI and KOF: KYO. The second goes loses comedic value when both he and Saisyu are curb-stomped by Goenitz around the end.
- Dash Attack: His Kotsu Hazaki Kiri special has him running towards his foe and then slashes once with his hand.
- Diving Kick: his Tenba Kyaku special is a multi-hitting version.
- Doppelgänger Attack: The SDM version of his Zantetsu Tourouken, as well as his Yami Kari LDM in XI (which is directly lifted from Zantetsu's super).
- Dramatic Wind: His special intro against Iori in XI.
- Flash Step: His Kage Utsushi special moves him forward quickly.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Wields two tanto, Kage and Nagare. The weapons were presumably handed down from Zantetsu.
- Ki Attacks
- Ninja: Descended from Zantetsu, to boot.
- Ninja Run
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: his Zantetsu Tourouken DM.
- Punched Across the Room: His Kikou Hou in XI causes his opponent to slam against the wall on their side. A counter hit forces them to rebound off of it for a juggle.
- The Quiet One: His special skill is his ability to not talk.
- Razor-Sharp Hand: in a number of his specials he can slice his foes with just his hand.
- Sword Beam: more like Hand Beam, but still, his Zantetsuha DM in XI is this.
- Wall Jumper
Saisyu Kusanagi - Japan
- MODE OF COMBAT: Kusanagi-style martial arts
- BIRTHDAY: November 27
- HEIGHT: 177 cm
- WEIGHT: 69 kg
- BLOOD TYPE: Type B
- BIRTHPLACE: Japan
- HOBBY: Fishing, Hunting Oyaji-Hunters
- PERSONAL TREASURES: Pride of Kusanagi family, His wife (Shizuka Kusanagi)
- FAVORITE FOOD: Curry Udon, Strawberry Charlotte
- DISLIKES: Afraid of heights
- FORTE IN SPORTS: Golf
"Defeat is defeat. Fighting's no picnic, kid."
Voiced by: Toshimitsu Arai ('95, The King of Fighters: KYO), Keiichiro Sakagi ('98, Neowave), Haruo Yamagishi (The King of Fighters: Destiny)
Portrayed by: Hiro Kanagawa (live-action movie)
The father of Kyo Kusanagi, and the current head of the clan. After the events of the '94 and '95 tournaments, he handed off the responsibilities of the clan to Kyo, claiming it was Kyo's time to face his destiny. He hasn't done much since then, aside from training Shingo.
- Badass Mustache: Along with a Badass Beard.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: In '95, done by Rugal through his secretary Vice. He resisted as much as he could, which gets Vice to hate him.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lazy, eccentric, a slacker... and an extremely powerful fighter and mentor when he bothers to get serious. The KOF: KYO manga is really good at this.
- Cannot Spit It Out: He was so moved by Shingo's courage and determination that he couldn't reveal the fact that the Kusanagi flames are hereditary powers, meaning that Shingo would never be able to use fire.
- Cool Old Guy: He's essentially Kyo with a more cheerful disposition and more lifetime experience.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He first appeared in '94, in the cutscene before the Japan Team fights Rugal. Apparently, he fought the villain before you got there and lost badly, lying bloodied on the ground.
- Happily Married: As shown in KOF: Kyo. Also, his wife is listed as one of his personal treasures in his profile.
- Henpecked Husband: In the Destiny animated series. It's revealed that he didn't enter the first King of Fighters tournament because his wife wouldn't allow him to go.
- It's a Small World After All: He and Takuma have known each other for years. It comes handy in KOF:KYO when Yuki mysteriously disappears and Saisyu ropes the Sakazakis plus Robert into helping Kyo to find her. Also, Takuma often talks about Saisyu when around Kyo, as shown in XIII.
- Lazy Husband: In Destiny. His wife Shizuka is shown complaining that he never helps out around the house and spends all his free time either training or relaxing.
- Moveset Clone: If anything, it's said he relies on the basics much more than his son, and makes very good use of it. Which would make sense since both he and Shingo share most of the same normal attacks, and considering what "basics" Kyo taught Shingo...
- Old Master: Despite being somewhat younger than the standard, being 50 years old.
- Open-Minded Parent: Due to his status within the Kusanagi clan and the fact that his son can't avoid his destiny.
- Playing with Fire: Just like his son, he is a member of the Kusanagi bloodline, so he gets to wield and control fire.
- Retired Badass: After '95, he passes on the duties and responsabilities of the Kusanagi clan to Kyo. XIII reveals that he asked Takuma to train Kyo in his absence.
- Shotoclone: he has his son's Yami Barai and Oniyaki for his projectile move and Shoryuken. For his rush-forward move, he has the Shinken special exclusive to him.
- SNK Boss: In '95, he can read your inputs and counter almost anything you attack him with.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Saishu?
- This is when you consider that his name has been written on screen ever since as "Saisyu."
- Both "shu" and "syu" are accepted Romanizations for the syllable しゅ, so either spelling is technically correct. SNK seems to prefer Saisyu for whatever reason. Then we have both the final part of his name in romaji; either with a single "u", double "u" ("uu"), or with a circumflex ("ū").
- Three Strike Combo: His DM Toubougai starts with him doing a punch like his son's Aragami, then an uppercut and finally a pillar of flame.
- The Worf Effect: Twice. First he's beaten to near death by Rugal before being captured and then Brainwashed and Crazy, which pisses the fuck out of Kyo. In the KOF:KYO manga he and Eiji are both curb-stomped by Goenitz.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Downplayed. He is not exactly ugly, but is visibly aged, while his wife Shizuka looks very fine for her age.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: According to his profile, he has a fear of heights.