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Hero Team: Japan

    Kyo Kusanagi - Japan
  • 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

"You just ain't got it. So stop whining and get lost."

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)

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. A year later he decides to find out about NESTS, and joins K' in combating the organization. In the Tales of Ash saga, he joins with Iori and Chizuru once again to stop a group of people trying to resurrect Orochi, but Iori and Chizuru have their powers stolen by Ash Crimson, leaving Kyo as the final target. Due to Ash fully managing to unfurl his plan, however, Kyo never has his powers stolen.

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 despited these traits are still present, he's more noble, shows great respect to Master Chin and is less of a jerk towards the others (he was never respectful to him or anyone higher than him), putting him near Terry levels of Nice Guy by comparison.
  • 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, doesn't stop him from being a cocky bastard when it comes to fighting.
  • 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.
  • Because Destiny Says So/You Can't Fight Fate: Pretty much the underlying reason for why stuff happens to him. Kyo vehemently refuses to believe that fate plays an integral role in his life, but will fight people like the Orochi and Those of the Past so they'll leave him and his loved ones alone.
  • Berserk Button: Ash Crimson and Iori Yagami. On a less serious note, being too nosy about the fact that he never graduated from high school is a sure-fire way to get smoked. (Kim is particularly good about rising his hackles in regards to this. Hilarity Ensues every time they meet.)
  • Big Fancy House: In the KOF:KYO media, we see that Kyo and his parents live in a traditional Japanese complex located atop of a small hill from the outskirts of Osaka.
  • Bishōnen: His appearance in XIV is much, much slimmer and more effeminate than he used to be. His new hairstyle only adds to it.
  • Bonus Boss: Along with Iori in KOF '99. You can fight him if your end points are over 280. Win, and he becomes playable.
  • Bootstrapped Theme/Recurring Riff: "Esaka?" from '96 is so popular a song that it's probably the song of the series. It has seen multiple renditions over the years, whether it's being used for the original Japan Team, Kyo's clones, or even as a bridge in a completely different theme for Kyo.
  • 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!).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 one move.
    • And now that Iori has lost his flames (and possesses a more physical moveset not unlike post-'95 Kyo), Kyo's back to his original moveset.
  • Downloadable Content: In XIII, the "NESTS-style" Kyo, which is him with his more iconic Rekka-style combos. 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.
  • 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 projectile that creeps along the ground.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • 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 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: Although semi-canon at best, other media adaptations (most notably the '98 drama CD, KOF: Kyo, and the Hong Kong manhua) insinuate that should the Kusanagi lose themselves to their darker side, they'll end up just like the followers of Orochi.
  • Oh, Crap!: A big one dawns on him at the end of his Maximum Impact story. Why? He forgot to call Yuki.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Clothes Make the Legend: Arguably. Kyo is more recognizable as the schoolboy from the Orochi Saga. Most of his appearances outside of KOF have Kyo in his uniform as well. In fact, the creation of Kyo's clones were fueled by a desire among some of the developers to include Kyo's older and more iconic look. XIII also adds the outfit as one of regular Kyo's possible palette swaps, and XIV adds it as a pre-order bonus/DLC.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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, in earlier incarnations. Also with Kensou in KOF: KYO, to a smaller degree.
  • Vocal Evolution: Kyo sounds more laid-back and relaxed in later games (as compared to his almost Hot-Blooded characterization at the beginning of the Orochi Saga) and his voice has grown somewhat deeper to match this, perhaps to show his maturity over the years. Nonaka has said he feels slightly detached and disappointed by this, as he saw his younger days in Kyo's more cocksure personality.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Benimaru Nikaido - Japan
  • 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."
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)

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).

  • Agent Peacock: Flamboyant and cares a lot about his looks, but can kick quite an amount of ass.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Most fans at first thought he was gay (because of the voice and the poses); so much 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 shocks his enemy after he grabs 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 Jail Bait Wait: For Kula, judging by his dialogue with her in XIII's story mode and his win quote for her. Immediately subverted in the former when he calls himself a horrible person for bringing it up and then tells Kula to forget what he said when she has no understanding of what he meant by waiting five years for her.
  • More Than Mind Control: Briefly happens to him in Ryo Takamisaki's The King Of Fighters G. Goenitz starts using his powers to drain people of Life Energy while he and Kyo are fighting in the finals; this affects Benimaru by proxy and he goes Blood Knight at Kyo, injuring his eyes. When Kyo wins the fight anyway, Benimaru comes back to his senses and apologizes. It qualifies as this trope instead of Brainwashed and Crazy because of a subplot where Benimaru was very angry at Kyo after a massive fight, which led him to team up with Iori and Mature (while Kyo teamed with Athena and Vice); Goenitz's appearance and powers simply amped up the bad feelings that already were there Up to Eleven.
  • The Lancer: If the Japan Team's original configuration has Kyo as The Hero and Daimon as The Big Guy, then Benimaru is definitely this.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: He's the lightning to Kyo's fire.
  • Shock and Awe: His exaggerated case of electrostatics is the reason his hair rivals Paul Phoenix and Guile.
  • Shoryuken: A kick version with his Super Inazuma Kick.

    Goro Daimon - Japan
  • 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

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

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

Fatal Fury Team: Italy

    Terry Bogard - USA
  • 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."
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)

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. However, 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.
  • Adaptational Dye Job: Throughout the games, Terry has Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold. In Destiny, however, his hair is strawberry-blonde, making him a Fiery Redhead.
  • All-American Face: Very USA-centric motifnote . His traditional outfit even has a red, white, and blue color scheme (red and white hat, red jacket over a white shirt, and blue jeans).
  • Animal Motifs: The wolf. Everything about him, right down to his nickname.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Despite his discomfort about it, Terry makes for a very attractive woman in SNK Heroines. Every other woman he meets there makes sure to tell him that.
  • Badass Boast: His "Wolves never sleep. Never" line to Nightmare Geese in Maximum Impact 2.
  • Bash Brothers: Literally with Andy.
  • Blithe Spirit: He spends his non-fighting days going from one temporary job to another (this can even be seen in the Fatal Fury 2 anime, where he is seen working at a construction site at the beginning) and travelling through the world without settling down anywhere, save for coming back to Southtown regularly. In XIII he turns down offers from the prestigious Taekwondo dojo run by his friend Kim and from the Ikari Warriors group, explicitly telling them that he hates being tied down to a regular schedule.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Along with liberal usage of Gratuitous English.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: After meeting Geese's daughter-in-law Angelina, Terry becomes uncharacteristically nervous and shy. He even chugs his beer bottle to impress her but fails. But after saving her from a bottle that was about to hit her head, he earns a French kiss... and falls head over heels for her. Nice one, Terry.
  • Catchphrase: "OK!" and "Are you OK?! [insert follow-up attack name]"
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Had his Mark of the Wolves clothes for a couple of games, then returned to his classic attire.
  • Chick Magnet: Unfortunately he as most Fatal Fury fans know he has the Cartwright Curse, but he currently has Blue Mary, Bonne Jenet (though it's implied she's more interested in Rock), and Alice which is more than anyone else in the series except Kyo and Iori, who are equal.
  • Cool Pet: His pet monkey, Ukee, who served as the Mascot of SNK before Terry. He seems to have inherited Terry's fighting spirit and usually greets his owner by punching him. He pops up in one of Terry's win poses in '99.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Terry's fighting style has some basis (learning Hakkyokuseiken techniques from Tung Fu Rue, particularly how to use ki) but ultimately his fighting style boils down to "grew up fighting and learned the trade".
  • Costume Evolution: Aside from his MOTW look he briefly put on, in XIV he now sports a sleeved red jacket with a slightly different hat, but it's still based on his original costume.
  • Disappeared Dad: Jeff, again.
  • Elemental Punch: "Burn Knuckle!" Despite the name, it doesn't set the opponent on fire. Also his Buster Wolf.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In 2003 and XI, he sports his more rugged looks from Mark of the Wolves, including the much shorter hair.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Typically leather biker gloves, although in XIV he sports padded training gloves instead.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: The Power Charge special he has in some games.
  • Gratuitous English: Terry is known for this, considering he's an American-born in a Japanese-developed game. All of his attacks and many of his phrases are English words written in Katakana, even if he can speak Japanese normally (without any weird quirks). It gets memetic fast.
  • Ground Punch: His signature Power Wave special and High Angle Geyser and Power Geyser DMs, as well as its Neo MAX version, Trinity Geyser. His LDM in 2003 and XI (Power Stream) also starts like this.
  • Guest Fighter: Terry's first stint as a guest fighter (meaning not part of an explicit crossover event) was in Chinese free-to-play fighting game Xuan Dou Zhi Wang, along with Benimaru. In addition he has also made stops in Fighting EX Layer and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as Downloadable Content in both.
  • Hero of Another Story: Of the Fatal Fury series, to be exact.
  • Humble Hero: Terry doesn't boast as much as he rightfully could do, at least in his later years (where he seems to channel his MOTW self more). He's proud of his fame, yeah, but also quite level-headed if his XIII quotes mean anything.
  • Hunk: Not quite as Bishōnen like Andy or Pretty Boy like Joe, but he's still definitely fine-featured. He's quite popular among Gamer Chicks and gay/bi male gamers. One wonders the reasons why.
  • Iconic Outfit: By and large Terry's most recognizable look is a red and white trucker's hat (usually emblazoned with "Fatal Fury" on the face), a white shirt with either a red jacket or a red vest over it (the vest is the most iconic of his outfits), and a pair of blue jeans and red and white classic sneakers. For his appearances in Garou: Mark of the Wolves, The King of Fighters 2003 and XI, and NeoGeo Battle Coliseum he drops the hat and anything that was red becomes brown (which turns his red jacket into a brown bomber jacket). In the Maximum Impact games this look is separated into its own character and dubbed "Wild Wolf".
  • I Know Madden Kombat: His Power Dunk is a modified basketball dunk.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold : Played with, Terry is by far the nicest of the SNK protagonists, even going so far as to try and save the man who murdered his father in cold blood. However Terry can be a real asshole when he feels like it. His pre and post match banter is just as often dickish as it is considerate; from calling Robert a constant loser despite his many achievements in his home series to mocking his own brother for his relationship issues just to get in his head before the fight Terry can be even meaner than the series poster villains. He's even the only character that get's under Ash Crimson's skin.
  • Ki Manipulation: Based off of sports moves, mostly. The ki often takes shape of fire, although they don't actually burn the opponent.
  • Living Legend: Terry's reputation precedes him, due to his staggering list of accomplishments. Most notably, for defeating Geese Howard and, later, Wulfgang Krauser who was even more powerful than Geese. As a result he's earned such monikers as: "Lone Wolf Bogard" "Hungry Wolf Bogard" and "the Legendary Wolf".
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Not quite as bishie as Andy, but still very handsome.
  • Male Gaze: In-Universe. His bio states that Terry has a knack for being able to accurately guess a woman's measurements by merely glancing at her.
  • Mascot: He replaced Athena as SNK's mascot after he proved more popular, which is lampshaded in the series, as Athena isn't too fond of him. Popular enough that he was chosen as the SNK representative for Super Smash Bros., his third non-KOF fighting gaming guest appearance after Xuan Dou Zhi Wang and Fighting EX Layer.
    • Though judging by their rather friendly pre-fight dialogues in XIII, Athena has seemingly forgiven him.
  • Nice Guy: Unlike just about every lead from KOF, Terry is one of the nicest and most cheery guys you'll ever meet. Doesn't stop him from being one of the biggest badasses in both Fatal Fury and KOF though.
  • Nice Hat: Said hat is a parting gift from his dying adopted father. Doesn't stop Terry from tossing it to the ground in two of his win poses.
  • Parental Substitute: He becomes the legal guardian of Rock, Geese's erstwhile son, and is a better father for the kid than Geese could have ever hoped to be.
  • Pervert Revenge Mode: A rare male example in SNK Heroines given the circumstances, but he's really unhappy with being turned into a woman and doesn't hold back his anger against Kukri.
    "Hey, you damn pervert! I'm going to smash your ambitions along with all the recordings you took! Hope you're ready!"
  • Pillar of Light: His Power Stream LDM from KOF 2003/XI.
  • Red Baron: "The Legendary Hungry Wolf," which is a Stealth Pun for the Japanese title of his debut series.
  • Red Is Heroic: The standout feature of his signature outfit is the bright red jacket/vest.
  • Red Oni to Andy's Blue.
  • Ship Tease: With Blue Mary, not as much as with Mai/Andy and Ryo/King, but it's there. Nothing will actually come of it, however; only intended to be mild fanservice.
  • Shotoclone: he's got a projectile move (Power Wave), a Shoryuken-esque move (Rising Tacklenote  and/or Power Dunk depending on the game) and a rushing move (Burn Knuckle, Power Charge, and Crack Shoot).
  • Signature Move: Nearly his entire core move set, though he's most famous for his Power Wave and Burn Knuckle, the latter of which is implied to be the move he used to defeat Geese Howard. He's also well-known for the Power Geyser and the Triple Geysernote .
  • Spirited Competitor: Terry's been a regular at the KOF Tournament ever since the original Fatal Fury and is still acknowledged as one if its top competitors. He's also known for travelling the globe in search of strong opponents to test himself against.
  • Taught by Experience: While he has some basis for his skills, this is the where the bulk of Terry's fighting prowess comes from, having spent many years of his youth as a street fighter.
  • Technician vs. Performer: See Andy's entry. He's also one to Ryo, who trains using the traditional Kyokugenryu style of karate made by his father, Takuma.
  • Vocal Evolution: Compare the Terry of yesteryear to his current incarnations. Over the years he became less and less energic, culminating in KOF XIV with the most laidback and calm Terry has ever been. Which doesn't please many fans.
  • Walking the Earth: Terry's lot in life is an unending quest to better himself through practical knowledge of fighting. To that end, rather than take his brother's hardline approach to a disciplined, grounded schooling in martial arts, Terry gets into fights and learns as he goes then moves onto the next one. This has enabled him to be a better fighter by comparison, as he finds creative and new ways to come out on top vs. his brother's rigid training that doesn't give him as much flexibility.

    Andy Bogard - USA
  • 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

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

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

  • Always Someone Better: It doesn't get in the way when the rubber meets the road (the duo will always have each others' back) but there is some definite yearning on Andy's part to become the kind of fighter his brother is seen as.
    • This even applies in a meta sense. Andy Bogard is an American ninja, who can move at lightning speeds, can plant ki bombs on people, and is in a relationship with Mai Shiranui. Yet despite all this going for him, Andy Bogard is not particularly popular character by KOF standards. In fact, to many fans playing him up as a Memetic Loser is a very common inside joke in the community. And this is all because in spite of everything he has going for him, he is the younger brother to Terry Bogard. And as the younger brother to a Memetic Badass with one of the most recognizable designs in fighting games, that is so beloved for his charm and engrish that he got into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, There was never any question that Andy would get grossly overshadowed by Terry, no matter what he did. KOF 2003 didn't bother making a deal over the fact that this would be the first KOF where Andy wouldn't be playable, because Terry wearing his Garou outfit garnered infinitely more attention and hype.
  • Badass in Distress: The reason why Terry and Mai join the party in Sky Stage is that Andy is among the fighters who got caught in the time/space paradox that the group has to fix.
  • Bash Brothers: Literally with Terry.
  • Bishōnen: In contrast to his brother's hunky looks.
  • Blue Oni to Terry's Red.
  • Chaste Hero: His reason for not shacking up with Mai
    • Alternatively, Andy can easily be seen as a Celibate Hero. In the Fatal Fury series, He is aware of Mai's interest, he just considers Mai to be more of a younger sister since he started training with Hanzou when he was very young and devoted his life to martial arts. Mai's luck is surely bad. Further proven in Garou: Mark Of The Wolves
    • However, in The King Of Fighters current storylines make it clear that they definitely are a couple, so it looks like that he's at the very least gotten over that.
  • Deadly Lunge: his Zan'ei Ken is him doing a quick slide while elbowing his foe.
  • Disappeared Dad: Jeff.
  • Diving Kick: In NESTS saga he gets this in form of Gen'ei Shiranui, although it's more of a Diving Knee. It also has a "high" followup and "low" followup.
  • Flash Step: Finally gains one in the form of his Chou Shinsoku Zan'ei Ken Neo MAX from XIII.
  • Henpecked Boyfriend: Mai has Andy by her finger once they become an item in XIV, granted Andy was pushing Mai away in all previous King of Fighters so the girl has her reasons; Joe jokes about Andy being completely whipped.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: He's a skilled fighter but lacks diversity fighting against varied opponents. His brother has Seen It All, by comparison, so when they fight, it's Terry's "taught by the streets" sensibilities that win the day.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Yes, white is good for camouflage in the winter, but how many times have you seen snow in KOF? No wonder Mai can easily find him... And what need is there for stealth in a fighting tournament anyway? At least alternate palettes are available... And they carry some questionable choices, too.
    • And then Eolith went and put a black bodysuit underneath his uniform in 2001 and 2002. Glaring color clash = even higher visibility.
  • McNinja: American, but lived in Japan for a good portion of his life.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Is finally together with Mai as of KOFXIV.
  • Running Gag: A short-lived one during the NESTS Chronicles; in both '99 and 2001, Mai shows up with a tyke of her own in her arms, which then acknowledges Andy/crawls towards to him while shouting "Papa!" Andy's stricken with a look of pure horror and disbelief, only for Mai to reveal that the baby is just a puppet. Andy then nervously attempts to save face. The meaning behind Andy's reaction, of course, is up to interpretation, but them having slept together isn't totally out of the question since Andy wouldn't freak out that badly if he didn't think the "kiddo" isn't his's...
  • Shotoclone: Only in some games, due to Hishoken not always being a proper projectile move. Otherwise his Shoryuken is the Shoryudan and his frontal attack being Zan'ei Ken or (perhaps more appropriately) Kuuha Dan.
  • Signature Move: It's usually Zan'ei Ken or Kuuha Dan.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Seen during his pre-fight dialogue with Yuri, in KoF XIII. When she asks about how things are going between him and Mai, he turns the tables on her and asks what she thinks of Robert. Which causes Yuri to giggle and quickly change the subject.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Andy has dedicated the better part of his adolescence studying Koppoken and spent his adulthood being taught the ways of Shiranui Ninjitsu under Mai's grandfather. Whereas Terry is largely Taught by Experience, having honed his skills by surviving the crime ridden streets of South Town. Though he did receive formal training from Tung Fu Ru for a brief time. Whenever Andy challenges his brother, Terry's natural talent and past experience gives him the clear advantage.
  • This Is a Drill: His Kuuha Dan is him doing a drilling kick while leaping forward. It has a DM version called Chou Reppa Dan where he spins much faster.

    Joe Higashi - Japan
  • 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."
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)

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

  • Anime Hair: Has a similar tower-styled hair that Benimaru has.
  • Arrogant Muay Thai Guy: He's actually more arrogant and boastful than Hwa Jai, who's supposed to be the bad Muay Thai user. It helps that Hwa, in XIII, is actually faking his supposed "bad-ness"; It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Blow You Away: In the form of a myriad of Tornado Moves. Hurricane Upper and Screw Upper DM being examples.
    • In XIII, he gets the Screw Straight as his Neo MAX. It's a horizontal tornado.
    • Games such as 2002 and CvS2 give Joe the even more destructive Double Cyclone, which creates two Screw Uppers that surround Joe on both sides and utterly rips anyone who's foolish enough to approach a new one.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Oh, so much. He's very loud and he loves fighting (it's even his hobby).
  • Butt-Monkey: SNK isn't above having fun at his expense, especially in the endings.
    • His return in KOF XIV is "announced" in the 10th trailer but you wouldn't know it if you weren't looking for it as his only appearance is in a very brief scene scattered among several scenes of Geese Howard countering various Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting characters. What's worse is the trailer is dedicated to announcing Geese and Ryo Sakazaki, as Joe gets no billing during the trailer.
    • When the Team Story is out, in spite of the whole Tales of Ash retconned, some 'filler' events is still considered 'canon' and apparently, Joe's run-in with the Camp Gay fan still stays and it became an in-universe Memetic Mutation via the internet, causing lots of hilarious grief to Joe.
  • Flung Clothing: One of his intros has him dispose of a robe.
  • Hot-Blooded: One of the earliest fighting game examples, although given his seiyuu, how could he be anything but?
  • I Shall Taunt You: Used to taunt King for her not having a single title in Muay Thai, therefore assuming she isn't all that compared to him, by either sporting his champion belt before a match or just the disrespectful Bring It; from 2002 onward he became more respectful towards King as their special intros have become quite friendly, there is even a occasional polite bow before they fight. However, Joe seems to have moved back in the opposite direction, given his snide remarks to her in XIII (which King takes via snarking back at him).
  • Martial Arts Uniform: Like most Muay Thai fighters, he's got a headband, boxer shorts, armlets, anklets and Handwraps of Awesome.
  • Megaton Punch: He received one as his LDM in KOF 2003.
  • Mooning: His very, very infamous Taunt Button animation. (And his winning portrait in 2001!) Too bad it was suppressed around the start of the NESTS saga.
  • Out of Focus: His relationship with Lilly Kane, and his beef with Billy because of it, simply does not carry over to KOF, quite jarring in comparison with his friends Terry and Andy whose love interests, Mary and Mai, are still on their tail.
    • Made all too frustrating for Joe in his team's ending for XIII, both Terry and Andy get their women, Mary and Mai, embraced in their arms congratulating them for winning the tournament, the logical course of action would be Lilly appearing to congratulate Joe as well, but no, what happens is Joe being chased by the fan he saved in 2003 (named Okama), which appears to be turning into a Running Gag. This carried over into XIV, with the Fatal Fury team ending seeing Joe left alone in the Pao Pao Cafe after the Bogard brothers leave with their girls.
    • However, confronting Billy with Joe has Billy talk about keeping her away from Joe and their respective win quotes against one another have them decide to look the other way for Lilly's sake, so Joe and Lilly's on-and-off relationship is perhaps underplayed in KOF more so than non-existent.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: His Bakuretsu Hurricane Tiger Kakato is basically him chaining 4 of his specials in quick session.
  • Playing with Fire: On occasion.
  • Pretty Boy: Good-looking all around.
  • Pretender Diss / My Muay Thai Is Stronger Than Yours: Directed towards King, during their pre-fight dialogue in KoF XIII, when he calls her Nak Muay style "fake" and says he won't lose to her because of it (seen at 2:26-2:37).
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs/Spam Attack: His Bakuretsu Ken (Explosion/Dynamite Fist) is of this kind.
  • Shotoclone: He's got Hurricane Upper for his projectile, Tiger Kick for his Shoryuken and Ougon no Kakato/Golden Heel or Slash Kick for his forward rush move.
  • Signature Move: Most of his moves are memorable, but especially his Hurricane Upper and Screw Upper.
  • Slide Attack: He has a sliding kick for a command normal.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: The Tiger to Hwa Jai's Dragon.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: A staple for a traditional Muay Thai fighter.

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