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Psycho Soldiers Team: China

    Athena Asamiya - Japan
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Psychic powers + Chinese kung fu
  • BIRTHDAY: March 14
  • HEIGHT: 163cm
  • WEIGHT: 49kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type B
  • MEASUREMENTS: 83cm, 57cm, 82cm
  • HOBBY: Creating home pages. Shopping by catalog/online
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Peter Rabbit tea set
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Maple-leaf-shaped bean cakes. Things with sesame flour dissolved in milk
  • DISLIKES: Grasshoppers
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Lacrosse

"Sorry about that! Are you hurt? I guess I got a bit carried away!"
Voiced by: Reiko Fukai ('94), Moe Nagasaki ('95), Tamao Satou ('96), Yukina Kurisu ('97, The King of Fighters: KYO), Haruna Ikezawa ('98 onward, The King of Fighters: Destiny), Robyn Gryphe (Maximum Impact, English), Lily Kong (Maximum Impact 2, English), Miwa Gardner (XII, English)

The star of Psycho Soldier and one of SNK’s mascots (a spot shared with Goddess Athena); Athena Asamiya is a bright and cheerful young girl who was born with Psychic Powers, dubbed in-verse as Psycho Powers, for she is a descendant of Goddess Athena and possibly her Reincarnation due no other member of the Asamiya Family ever possessing special powers before Athena.

For being a special girl Athena was taken in by Chin Gentsai as one of his disciples, initiating a team of fighters who are gifted with psychic powers, molding them to be prepared for any threat the world may face, to be defenders of justice; Athena has a strong sense of righteousness so she fits right in.

Athena’s trademark characteristic, that is being a Japanese Idol Singer, has its origin in ’97; Athena and Kensou’s charisma and notable prowess in martial arts has been earning them fans since ’94, but this rise in popularity made Chin become worried about his disciples losing their humble spirit and lose focus on being heroes, with that he tried to talk them off participating in the ’97 tournament, meanwhile Athena has received a letter from a fan, an ill-girl who wrote a heartwarming letter to the Psycho Soliders, saying they are her source of inspiration to overcome her illness, she hoped to see them again in action for the ’97 tournament.

Athena felt she had to answer such a devoted fan, she shows the letter to Chin, convincing him to follow his disciples and see how they take being popular and also being defenders of justice; Athena, Kensou and Chin didn’t win that tournament but still did great nevertheless, at the end the team is surprised by the visit of a wheelchair bound girl, she is Kaoru Watanabe the ill-girl who sent that letter prior the tournament, Kaoru introduces herself and congratulates Athena in doing well again at KOF, she says the team gave her strength to also fight hard, Kaoru gets up from the wheelchair trying to show her progress by walking, she stumbles but before falling Athena hurries to her side and supports Kaoru, with that Kaoru asks Athena if she could be their friend, Athena and the team gladly become friends with Kaoru.

Showing that at the end of ’97 made Chin reevaluate his students, thinking he was wrong about them, now feeling Athena and Kensou have their hearts in the right place; Athena tells her master that being popular and a good source of inspiration also is one way of helping others, with this Chin loses all his worries about his disciples losing their way. This eventually develops into Athena becoming an Idol, extremely popular and inspiring all, but still being a hero of course.

The other part of Athena’s character is being on the receiving end of Kensou’s long lasting romantic feelings, he tried to confess to Athena multiple times, sometimes succeeding in expressing himself (many) other times not, Athena’s reaction is mostly always the same, that is getting embarrassed and dodging an answer; while what she really feels about Kensou may not be love, she does think well of him as a great friend, always sticking with him.

In XIII during a conversation with the Women Fighters Team, upon seeing that Mai, Yuri and King all have a special someone in waiting, Athena hopes one day she will find her other half as well, Kensou immediately tries to say she already has him, Athena gets embarrassed and scolds Kensou, telling him not to say it in front of so many people.

In the CD Dramas from ’96 to ’99 it is shown that Athena has one-sided feelings for Kyo goes to great lengths to move to a place near the Kusanagi household. In other SNK media, Athena’s feelings for Kyo have never been shown, not even hinted in the games proper, raising a case towards its actual place in canon.

  • Action Fashionista/Unlimited Wardrobe: Every single game gives Athena a completely different outfit. The only exception is XIII, which is justified because the game is reusing the sprites from XII.
    • XIII is something of an in-between. She's wearing her XII clothes but bears the default color scheme of her XI attire. Not a new outfit in any one aspect but together comes together to create something different.
    • Lampshaded in '98, where her intro involves her changing between her previous four outfits before settling down on her current attire.
    • Lampshaded again with her Psychic 8 HSDM/LDM, where Athena changes her outfit (progressing from '94 to the current costume at the time (in 2002), and sometimes adding her Princess Athena bikini) with each hit.
    • Overkilled in XIII with her Neo MAX version of the above attack, Psycho Medley 13 (also known as Psychic 12), where she uses all twelve of her previous outfits and is then aided by what appears to be Princess Athena's royal guard.
    • Almost averted in '95, where she wears a slightly modified version of her '94 outfit.
    • Lampshaded in-game by Maxima in their single-player intro in XIII.
    Maxima: "You're wearing something new every time I see you. Do you know what a pain it is to keep my data updated?"
  • Action Girl and Barrier Maiden
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Downplayed. In the official art for the original Psycho Soldier, Athena's skin was a very pale pink, which was more obvious next to Kensou's human skin tones. When she transferred over to KOF, she lost any pink skin to be a normal-looking human girl.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Athena has successfully managed to avoid answering Kensou's Anguished Declaration of Love since KOF 2000, either clumsily or obliviously. That said, she has by definition yet to answer in the negative, and her remaining particularly friendly to Kensou has gotten the notice of at least a couple of other girls. Luong even calls her out on it in SNK Heroines.
    Athena (XIII): You're like a friend, or an ally, or something.
  • Animal Motifs: The Phoenix. Most likely a Shout-Out to her ability to become one in Psycho Soldier. Her LDM in XI (Super Phoenix Infinity) also alludes to this.
  • Ascended Extra: Ryo Takamisaki's The King Of Fighters G has Athena as the main character, teaming up with Kyo and Iori and pretty much stealing Chizuru's place in the story — despite starting as a borderline Faux Action Girl.
  • Ass Kicks You: One of her aerial command attacks.
  • Badass Adorable: Super cute and sweet-looking, but plucky as Hell and more than able to back-up her fame as an Action Girl.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her '99, 2002, and 2003 outfits.
  • Berserk Button:
    • She's livid when she sees that a girl like Kula is participating in the tournament, given her young age, and is mad at K' and Maxima for thinking only of themselves. (...That said, she's expressed no objection to Bao, who is younger than Kula, participating and ignored the point when Kula brought it up, and later she personally recruited Momoko, a teenager with the physical appearance and emotional maturity of an elementary schooler, and beat Kensou up for objecting).
    • She may be a popular Idol Singer with many fans, but don't underestimate her fighting skill because of it. It only makes her more determined to wipe the floor with you.
  • Boyish Short Hair: For 2001.
  • Breakout Character: Had her own game back in the 80s, but only after debuting in the fight scene did Athena's popularity start to pick up again. A notable game is the 3-disc RPG game for the PlayStation, Athena: Awakening from the Ordinary Life, with its gameplay sharing many similarities with Parasite Eve. The less known one is Athena On Stage, a mobile game centered around rising Athena's career as a successful pop idol, pretty much a simulation game.
  • Break the Cutie: The Awakening from the Ordinary Life plot is not easy on poor Athena. She must struggle with her newborn powers, face a Government Conspiracy, fight dinosaurs, try to keep her friendship with Rika Kashiwazaki and deal with the new one she strikes with Creepy Child Masato Kurihara, etc.
  • Call-Back: Athena being a good cook and Kensou loving her meals is finally referenced in the games proper; in XIV Athena mistakes Kensou’s self-encouragement to confess his feelings to him being worked over her eating his meat bun earlier that day, she then promises to cook a full serving of meat buns just for Kensou to make up, this makes Kensou so happy he completely forgets about confessing.
  • Cleavage Window: Her 2003 attire sports a heart-shaped one.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Her eyes and her hair are both purple.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic:
    • Her '95 incarnation. It can be argued that she's this anytime she yells "Saikou Baaru!"
    • Also happened in KOF '98 when Haruna Ikezawa took over her voice for the rest of the series.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In-universe, she's the only character who does distract people. Ironically, she's one of the most clothed characters in the cast.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: It happened when SNK started to use the Goddess Athena again in their merchandise in modern times; prior to that many people assumed Idol Singer Athena and Goddess Athena had the same personality, or even were the same person, which isn't entirely unfounded since the original Athena had little to no canon characterization all. Now both Athenas are polar opposites to each other:
  • Dull Surprise: In the team story for XI, Athena responds quite blandly to Kensou's return from a year of training, being more interested in finding Momoko with him.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Her stance in XIII has her start out surrounded by sparkles. Her win pose also produces some as she winks. Not to mention most of her attacks.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Athena's hair was cut for KOF '99, apparently as a reaction to Kensou's loss of powers. It lasted until (and including) 2001.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Shown in KOF: Kyo related media and then in XIV, Athena is a good cook and Kensou loves eating anything she makes, meat buns in particular.
  • Fingerless Gloves: A staple of her outfits. No matter how much it changes, she always wear fingerless gloves.
  • Flung Clothing: She changed/disposed of almost complete attires. Was often used to dispose of her school uniform and reveal her fighting outfit.
  • Genki Girl: Always cheerful and optimistic.
  • Girly Bruiser: Super girly looking but completely unafraid of fighting her way in KOF and anything else.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak:
  • Grapple Move: Her Super Psychic Throw special.
  • Healing Hands: Rarely used, though. It's seen in Athena: Awakening From the Ordinary Life (heals her muggle friend Rika), in KOF:G (attempts to heal Chizuru but is interrupted by Goenitz), in the XII manhua (heals Kyo), as a Striker in '99 and 2000 (heals the playing character when called upon), or as an optional part of her Psychic 10 Desperation Move (heals herself).
  • Hero of Another Story: She and Kensou made their debuts in Psycho Soldier.
  • Hypocrite: As point out above, she get's angered at the sight of 14-year old Kula participating in the KOF tournament, but Kula is quick to point out that she allowed Bao, who's even younger, to participate.
  • Iconic Item: No matter how much she changes her clothes, one piece is constant in Athena: the star tiara. XIV adds a bow to it.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: In Sky Stage, the Kula and Athena common ending says that Athena lied to Kula and told her that her friends (K', Maxima, Whip, etc.) had been caught in the space-time rift to recruit her into their cause. When Kula is contacted by said friends (who have actually been searching for her all over), Athena explains everything and apologizes; Kula doesn't mind, however, as the adventure was fun and she's happy to have been able to fly, even if just temporarily.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: She is definitely aware of Kensou’s feelings towards her, evidenced by her embarrassment when Kensou blows a kiss in 97, when Kensou declares he is her knight in 2000, when Kensou flat out screams his love in 2001; Athena’s reaction is always to get fidgety and try to dodge the matter as quickly as possible.
    • This is also the reason why she doesn't openly admit her feelings to Kyo; not only she's friends with him, but with his girlfriend.
  • Image Song:
  • Important Haircut: According to the character stories for '99, Athena cut her hair short as her own way of acknowledging Kensou's unexplained De-Power.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • A side-effect of the Running Gag about Kensou's unrequited love is the fact that not every instance of Athena ignoring him is intentional.
    • In the ending of '98, Athena rushes to catch Kaoru (a wheelchair-bound Meganekko) from falling after trying to stand on her feet for the first time... and completely fails to notice that Kensou, who also rushed to catch Kaoru, was trampled underfoot in the process.
    • In XI, Athena is so taken with Momoko that she barely notices Kensou's return from a year of training.
    • Several times in XIII:
      • While she did more or less deliberately cut Kensou's declaration off in the Story Mode, she's shown to be genuinely unaware of how... sensitive the "school" theme is for Kyonote .
      • In another Story Mode scene, and she also refuses to let Kula explain how come K' and Maxima allow her to fight in their pre-match talk.
  • Instant Costume Change: It would be unwise to turn her costume changes into a drinking game, because nearly every game she's ever been in feature it. Hell, Athena has found a way to weaponize it — she uses it as an instant segue between attacks, creating her Psycho Medley super. As a matter of fact, she may have given this trait to her Goddess Athena incarnation, who started doing it after the Psycho Soldier started.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: On the Special Ending for 99 Athena’s leg gets stuck on fallen debris, when the Team was escaping a crumbling NESTS base; Athena and Kensou were lagging behind so only he noticed, Athena tells him to go on without her, to save himself, Kensou gets desperate and awakens his Dragon Spirit, saving Athena and himself.
  • Joshikousei + Sailor Fuku: At first only in her intro animations, for fear of making her too risqué; fully embraced by XI.
    • Cynically lampshaded by Kyo (of all people) in XIII: "No one wears sailor uniforms at your actual age anymore." Athena isn't happy when he points it out.
  • Kawaisa
  • Keigo: Her "Athena, ikimasu!" Catchphrase is actually this. She's a rather polite speaker by Japanese standards, but almost never goes to this extreme.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Barring her '99-2001 run, that is.
  • Magical Girl and Magical Girl Warrior: It's really not that big of a stretch to say that Athena could have her own anime.
  • Magic Idol Singer: Probably one of the straightest examples.
  • Magic Skirt: Averted up until XII (except for 2003). Athena typically wore loose fitting clothes but it wasn't hiding anything indecent (even in her school uniform during XI, Athena still wore bike shorts under her skirt and SNK had no problem with it fluttering about as she fought). However, following her redesign in XII (and by extension, XIII for using the same sprite pool), it's played straight (and Athena definitely has some high kicks that would normally cause some looky-loos to occur).
    • Thanks to XIV using 3D graphics, where clothing behavior can't 100% be controlled through animation, this had to be averted. Athena now wears gym shorts under her miniskirt instead.
  • Male Band, Female Singer: In the special credits sequence for Team Psycho Soldier, Athena sings with Kensou rocking away on guitar and Master Chin beating on some kind of large hand drums, perhaps congas.
  • Mascot: An early one for SNK. It was even believed that she had a grudge against Terry Bogard when he seemingly took the title from her. XIII demonstrates otherwise, as dialogue between the two shows that they have nothing but respect for each other.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: As part of her Magical Girl figure, she wore those in some of her appearances.
  • Mistaken for Romance: In the Special Intro Athena has with Love Heart, she seems to think Athena and Kensou are quite close to each other thus asking if they are a couple, Athena says that it isn't like that, they are just good friends, while being slightly embarrassed; Love Heart finds Kensou similar to Earth, reversing the blushing and embarrassment to herself when Athena asks if Love Heart has someone she likes.
  • Modesty Shorts: Her solution to wearing a school uniform skirt in XI. Likewise in XIV she wears gym shorts, similar to Sakura Kasugano.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: She is a high school girl/Idol Singer, who happens to be an incarnation of a goddess, has psychic powers, and knows Kung-Fu!
  • Oblivious to Love: When Athena doesn't find Kensou's outloud affections embarrassing, it's usually because she failed to notice them. On a few occasions, he's been frustrated with her about where they stand and she's even misinterpreted that; at least twice she thought he was mad because she stole his meat dumplings.
  • Odango Hair: Her hairstyle in 2000, EX2 and in Maximum Impact 2.
  • Older Than They Look: At age 18, she looks younger than the 14-year-old Kula in XII and XIII. Hilariously, Athena gets pissed when she sees Kula fighting out there... and Kula doesn't even seem to get why.
  • Onee-sama: To Momoko.
  • Out of Focus: Athena’s crush on Kyo stopped being mentioned after SNK’s first death circa 2001... which was the time where they made CD Dramas and related material, aka the works where Athena’s crush was born and given focus. Being reborn at the hands of other companies made SNK stop releasing those expanded universe materials, so this part of Athena’s character wouldn’t move on to be mentioned in the games proper. Their interactions in more modern titles replace this with a more platonic dynamic, often playing on Athena's friendship with both Kyo and Yuki.
  • Plucky Girl: She's always feisty, determined and cheerful.
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt: Her KOF '97 outfit, as well as some of her alternate palettes from XIII.
  • Psychic Powers: Which include...
  • Reincarnation: Of the Goddess Athena. It's the reason that Athena is the only person in her family to have Psychic Powers.
  • Relationship Upgrade: She starts dating Kensou in the Maximum Impact 2 continuity. For a variety of reasons, she's forced to keep it a secret from the public.
  • Rolling Attack: Her Phoenix Arrow special and Phoenix Fang Arrow DM.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: To a degree, with Kaoru in the main games and with Rika Kashiwazaki from Awakening from the Ordinary Life. Naturally, she doesn't take it well when Rika gets scared of Athena's powers, and later when she's shot to almost death few after their reconciliation.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Athena has already graduated High School but keeps a Schoolgirl Uniform Theme for promotional purposes, both in-universe: for her image as an Idol, and out-of-universe: Athena in a school uniform rethreads the classic look from her Psycho Soldier days.
  • She's Got Legs: Her redesign in XII and XIII gave her a very prominent pair that her Sailor Fuku costume helps show off.
  • Shoryuken: Her Psycho Sword.
  • Shotoclone: Sort of. She only lacks the Hurricane Kick equivalent.
  • Signature Move: Her Psycho Ball, Psycho Sword and Shining Crystal Bit.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Her new DM in KOFXIV has her throw a big Energy Ball from above that creates a large spherical explosion.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Athena is a KOF regular by popular demand, but SNK has acknowledged that she's had the inadvertent effect of stealing the show from her own teammates. Kensou's redesign in XII and XIII was meant to help him stand out more, in fact.
  • Supreme Chef: Implied to be one in the KOF:KYO manga. She's first seen making fried rice for Kensou, who really likes it; the last manga volume she makes dinner for him, Yuki and Kyo, and the three find the dish she made for them note  to be very good.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: She has purple hair in almost all games, except in XII and XIII where her hair color is pink. In XIV it goes back to purple.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: In Sky Stage, she's the first mid-boss. She only fights your party because she wants to face the dangers out there alone; once defeated, she apologizes and lets you pass.

    Sie Kensou - China
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Psychic powers + Chinese kung fu
  • BIRTHDAY: September 23
  • HEIGHT: 172cm
  • WEIGHT: 61kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type B
  • HOBBY: Reading comic books
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Stuffed animals from his fans
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Meat dumplings
  • DISLIKES: Training

"New threads. New attitude. The new Kensou's coming at you!"

Voiced by: Eiji Yano (94' to XIII), Yuki Ishii (Athena: Awakening from the Ordinary Life), Yuto Kaname (XIV, The King of Fighters: Destiny), Josh Keller (XII, English)

The other half of the Psycho Soldiers main face, Sie Kensou is a lively young man born with Psychic Powers, referred to as Psycho Powers in-universe, for this reason he caught Chin Gentsai’s attention who then took him in to be his disciple; Chin believes his students must be honed to face any future threat the world may face, he uses the King of Fighters Tournaments as a mean to improve Kensou and the others.

Kensou is mainly the source of comic relief and relaxing moments for the Psycho Soldiers, however he has his own serious sub-plot that has been developing since 99; he is also in love with Athena, going to great lengths to confess his love and declare that he is her knight, however Athena seemly only sees Kensou as a friend, getting extremely embarrassed each time Kensou confesses.

In 99 Kensou mysteriously lost his powers, seemly destroying Chin’s hopes for his future, but Kensou still participated in that editon of KOF; at the end of it the powerless Kensou awakens an immense new power in desperation for Athena’s life was at risk, that power would be called the "Dragon Spirit" which Kensou somehow shares with Bao, meaning when Bao has powers Kensou doesn’t and vice-versa.

After some ins and outs with his powers Kensou decides to pass up the 2003 tournament in order to master the Dragon Spirit, eventually coming back in XI seemly having mastered his powers. In XII Kensou is graced with a complete overhaul in his fighting style, sporting a more serious kung-fu and donning his Classic Attire from his original Psycho Soldiers appearance, in XIII he is eager to show everyone how much capable he has become and try to confess to Athena once more of course.

The Dragon Spirit apparently is one of the greatest powers in the King of Fighters universe, Ron of Hizoku clan expressed great interest in taking it for himself, claiming that all of NESTS is nothing compared to said power, later he would even warn Saiki that the Dragon Spirit is something that could be a threat to Those From the Past.

  • Aborted Arc: Downplayed; Kensou's dragon spirit was promised an arc, but the idea has been stuck in limbo. The Dragon Spirit was set up in 2001 to be especially powerful and to be the focus of an arc involving Ron of the Hizoku, only for 2002 to be a plotless Dream Match Game, which was followed by SNK finally reclaiming the rights to KOF from Eolith and sending Kensou away for a year in 2003 — the start of the "Tales of Ash" saga — only to bring him back in XI and joke about how he hadn't really changed (both games had ending cameos by Ron). XII was also plotless, and not until XIIIfive games and eleven years later — did SNK get around to acknowledging the dragon spirit regularly, though only in a few bits of dialog. XIV has also neglected to do much about it.
  • Aborted Declaration of Love: Tries to confess his feelings for the umpteenth time to Athena in XIII, only to be cut off by her. On two separate occasions. Poor guy.
    • In XIV it reaches the point where Kensou technically interrupts himself; in yet another chance to confess his feelings for Athena, in a match against her, Kensou mutters to himself he is really going to do it this time, but Athena thinks Kensou is somehow worked up over her eating his Meat Bun earlier that day, apologizing and promising to cook a serving of meat buns just for Kensou later; that makes Kensou so happy for being graced with Athena’s home cooking that he completely forgets about confessing.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: King of Fighters: KYO (both the game and manga) depicted him as Athena's obnoxious and whiny fanboy, which traits quickly found a place in the games.
  • All Chinese People Know Kung-Fu: Kensou’s Kung-Fu imparted on him by Chin, clearly based around the famous Northern Shaolin Style, often seen in Wuxia films, packed with many acrobatic movements and jumps.
  • All Guitars Are Stratocasters: Kensou is in fact a guitarist, and every once in a blue moon can be seen rocking out on a red stratocaster, as he did in the credits of the original Psycho Soldier game. In King of Fighters, he's only seen playing guitar in the Team Psycho Soldier special credits for KOF 95, but he briefly cameos with Chin in Athena's Dream Sequence from SNK Heroines doing the same.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: He likes Athena. She cares for him greatly as a friend, throughout the series she has feelings for series protagonist Kyo, who in turn is already in a relationship with Yuki (which Athena respects since she's friends with Yuki as well). A slight twist: Athena is well aware of his feelings for her (as evidenced in 2000 and 2001: the former has Kensou blatantly proclaim his love; the latter has Kensou fuming at the fact that Athena didn't give him an answer the last year and then crying when he defeats her; her profile in Maximum Impact 2 also notes that she knows of Kensou's feelings), but as said above she views their relationship as Better as Friends and seems to either be embarrassed by his advances (as seen in XIII's Story Mode) or outright ignores them.
  • Amazon Chaser: One of the reasons why he likes Athena is her Badass Adorable charm. In XIII, his win quote against her has him explicitly saying "You're so strong, I couldn't hold back!"
    • He's also rather impressed by Leona's looks in XIII and by Luong's Heroic Seductress charms in XIV
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Kensou's got a long and storied history with this trope.
    • In KOF 2000, Kensou confesses outright, only for Athena to blatantly and clumsily avoid the subject. He remains frustrated with her refusal to answer him in 2001, and in 2002 she starts off with an apology, which terrifies him, only for her apology to actually about stealing his meat bun earlier, which makes him collapse to the floor. In his win quote against her he ultimately gives up.
    • It was dropped for a couple of games, but he tries confessing yet again in XI only for her to apparently not pick up on his intentions. In XIII, however, the intro to a Team Psycho Soldier match against Team Women Fighters includes Mai teasing him for being in trapped in "'Just Friends' Jail", prompting him to try again... only for Athena to tell him "Not in front of everyone!", which Yuri immediately latches onto.
  • Animal Motifs: The dragon. A likely Shout-Out the fact that he could transform into one in Psycho Soldier. Exemplified with his hidden mystic power Dragon Spirit.
  • Ascended Extra: Kensou in his classical Psycho Soldier getup, it was first seen in the Special Team: Classic Characters Ending (Ralf, Clark, Athena) in 97, where the classic trio is seen in their original appearances from their debut games, although Athena is dressed like Goddess Athena; Kensou is seen on the side asking to not be forgotten. In 2000 Psycho Soldier Kensou became a Striker, resulting in XII and XIII where it became his main look.
  • Assist Character: For Athena in Gals Fighters. Kensou was playing the leading lady's hapless Human Shield before Toad made it cool.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The most prominent new move Kensou had in his comeback for XI to signify his mastery over the Dragon Spirit, the DM Seigan Rairyu, Kensou fires an energy dragon that comes back to him, making Kensou glow for about 10 seconds boosting his damage output for every attack; unfortunately it isn’t much practical since the move can be easily cancelled (flooring Kensou before the Dragon comes back to him), probably being the reason it didn’t come back for Kensou’s full badass overhaul in the two following entries.
  • Badass Adorable: An earnest, somewhat child-like, spirited, slightly clumsy young man who can pack an incredible punch with his kung-fu skills and Psychic Powers.
  • Badass Normal: Kensou did not pass down the chance of participating in the tournaments when he lost his powers, he canonically went through three editions: 99, 2000 and 2001 completely powerless, still carrying his own weight with raw skill on Kung-Fu. The only time Kensou passed a tournament, 2003, was to train in order to control his Dragon Spirit.
  • Battle Aura: Extreme usage of the Dragon Spirit gives one to Kensou. As shown in KOF '99, it also doubles as a force field.
  • Battle Cry: "NIKUMAAANNNN~!!!" upon being selected in XIII, he really loves those Pork Buns.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Bao, who more or less is his adoptive brother.
  • Big Eater: To the point that one of his old DM techniques has him eating pork buns to recover health (and sometimes choke on them). His intro animation in the older games also had him stuffing down a pork bun before entering battle.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Lost his powers temporarily, after Bao was taken in by the Psycho Soldiers. It's later revealed that they share said powers; whenever Bao's using the Dragon Spirit, Kensou loses his psychic abilities and vice versa.
  • Butt-Monkey: If something bad and/or embarrassing happened to the Psycho Soldiers, Kensou was the most usual target.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in KOF: G, where his very first scene has him constantly distracted during his and Athena's training and getting punished by the monks that supervise both of them because his pants were ripped.
  • Call-Back: The fact Kensou has a fandom in-universe for KOF doesn't sound that weird when one takes in consideration his Psycho Soldier incarnation; there Kensou actually acted as a guitarist for Athena's concerts and shows. With him being on stage from time to time performing along with Athena, this would eventually help the guy gather some devoted fans.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The only attack Kensou has consistently called in all the iterations in which he had the move, the Choukyuudan. Kensou calls it out with that heavy Kansai dialect of his ("Choukyuudaya!"); you are not to blame if you can’t discern what Kensou is calling it while pulling the move.
  • The Cameo:
    • He appears in the Action RPG game Crystalis for the NES under the name "Kensu", he is one of the four wise sages who must guide the protagonist into gathering four elemental swords to forge the Crystalis sword. In the Game Boy Color remake, he is the one who forged the Thunder Sword.
    • Kensou’s Meat Bun is Athena’s PRETTY CHARGE ability in SNK Gals Fighters, it refills her health.
    • In the end expect to see him in any game Athena has a major role or is The Protagonist herself; with very few exceptions.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: While in earlier games, Kensou was downright loud with his feelings for Athena, in XIII he has to force himself to get confessions out, and even then Athena's quick to avoid shut him down as quickly as she can. Maybe all those early years of rejection did a number on his confidence.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Kensou has always been a Butt-Monkey, but it was most prominent in the art from the Japanese Psycho Soldier manual, while the only clue in-game was the easily-missed fact that he'd land on his face in the drop between each level. His official art didn't depict much personality outside of confidence.
    • Then he came to King of Fighters and he became (from '96 to '98) laid-back Plucky Comic Relief. Throw in his perennially frustrated attempt to be Lady and Knight with Athena (up to and including a straight-up ignored Love Confession), and you have the laughingstock characterization that defined him through KOF XI.
    • XII and forward moved him back towards his roots, putting him in a green and red kung fu uniform much like his original incarnation and re-characterized him as Just a Kid still finding his way and learning to deal with the Dragon Spirit, with several characters offering patronage and commenting on him "coming out of his slump". (Not that his silliness is entirely gone — use his Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs attack for too long and Kensou becomes exhausted).
    • XIV has nudged him back in the direction of his early KOF days, blending his old street clothes with some of the dragon stylings of his kung fu uniform.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Kensou simply does not exist in almost all Days of Memories games, understandably since he is quite literally the most prominent character in the whole series about proclaiming his love to another major character, only Ramon comes close; Kensou had to make way for the Player Character to win Athena’s heart. The two DoM games Kensou appeared he was pretty much a completely different character who had no feelings for Athena.
    • They pretty much do that as well in the Isekai spin-off "The King of Fantasy" so they can pair up Athena's expy...with Iori of all people. Talk about bad luck.
  • Combat Parkour: Kensou’s Kung Fu is extremely acrobatic, Chin likely disciplined him in Northern Shaolin Style; the range of Kensou’s maneuverability is best seen when couldn’t tap into his powers, his moveset was adjusted with more jumping kicks and punches, backflips as well.
  • Commonality Connection:
    • He gets along pretty well with Robert Garcia of the Art of Fighting team, as they're both chasing specific girls and speak Japanese in Kansai-ben. Robert's even asked Kensou for updates on him and Athena a couple of times.
    • Being themed after Dragons and loving Meat Buns couldn't have ended any other way, SNK had Mui Mui and Kensou have a Special Intro; Mui Mui says this world's Meat Buns aren't as good as the ones in her world, Kensou begs to differ, telling Mui Mui he will take her to a place that serves some really good Meat Buns.
  • Composite Character: In XIV he maintains his more serious Kung-Fu introduced in XII/XIII (stance, walking, running animation, etc.) but Kensou’s looks is a throwback to the casual wear he wore upon debuting in King of Fighters 94. Most of his move set in XIV is pretty much a direct copy of what he had in KOF 2002.
  • Compressed Vice: In the backstory of XI. Kensou, who has been around since '94 and is therefore well-acquainted with a number of powerful women, and who is on a team led by a girl, brings up Momoko's sex in a list of objections about adding her to the team, presumably so the story can discredit his otherwise accurate criticisms of her character.
  • Costume Evolution: He gets new-old Chinese duds in XII to show his advancements in his power. He went back to a blue casual getup in XIV although it's a different design compared to his clothes in earlier games.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Athena's independent and strong character is what makes Kensou look foolish in comparison, but when Athena does need help is where Kensou shows he is someone she can rely on. Kensou dropped the Idiot Ball when he had to awaken his Dragon Spirit powers to save Athena in KOF '99. Other situations can be found in Athena's exclusive game for PlayStation, Awakening from the Ordinary Life, where Athena is being constantly haunted due being quite a dark RPG; Kensou proves to be a great ally and support for Athena as he cheers her up in crucial events during the adventure.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The Dragon Spirit is used for vastly more dramatic and impressive things in the ending sequences of KOF '99 and 2000 than anything in the games themselves; in the first Kensou is able to rescue Athena from the inferno of the collapsing NESTS base and in the second, he's able to absorb the Dragon Spirit from Bao, who nearly died after absorbing the power of a Kill Sat, without any sign of pain at all.
  • Dance Battler: His Signature Move all the way back to '94, the Shinryuu Tenbu Kyaku (roughly "Dragon God Sky-Dancing Kick"), consists of him doing a flying spin-kick during a handstand. The official translation is Holy Serpent Breakdance.
  • Death from Above: his Ryuusogeki special is him doing a diving palm strike from above.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: His attacks tend to be weak, but he's got some long combos with multiple hits, especially in XIII.
  • Declaration of Protection: Kensou declares himself to be Athena’s Knight, even though he sees her as someone strong enough to fend for herself; it has more to do with Kensou wanting to be someone whom Athena can always rely on when things get too tough, however there are times Kensou just wants to be strong enough to protect Athena from something he considers too much.
    • A straighter example comes with the team’s Special Ending in 99, where Kensou awakens his latent abilities to save Athena from imminent death, her telling him to go and save himself alone didn’t tick well on Mr. Knights’s mind and his desperation awakens the Dragon Spirit in its fullest.
    • Used for comical effect in 2000, the special intro he has with Athena is Kensou proclaiming loudly he is Athena’s Knight, Athena doesn’t even get flustered like the similar Intro in 2001 where it is a Love Confession instead, she just strikes her usual Idol pose and starts the match as if she didn’t even notice Kensou’s presence, understandably Kensou drops his shoulders in depression.
  • Demoted to Extra: Happens to Kensou in some of Athena's games, specially the Dating Sim ones where the player character assumes the role of her manager or just an average guy seeking for love. Since said games are from the player character's POV, Kensou serves only as a cameo, in a continuity where apparently he won't compete with the given player character regardless of his feelings, or actually such affections aren't romantic at all. Exception goes Awakening from the Ordinary Life, as mentioned in this page before, Kensou gets the chance to be a great support to Athena.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The Credits Roll for 2002 is composed of funny bloopers made with the cast’s animations repurposed for completely different situations, Kensou’s shocked animation is used to represent him being completely mesmerized by Shermie’s provocative taunts, following her at every angle; Kensou showing interest in any other girl but Athena is non-canon of course as it is the case for 2002.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: To Athena, though it happens more in the KOF: Kyo related media.
    • In XIII, he's this close to confessing in his intro with her. Too bad Athena is way more concerned with their fight. In the Story Mode he also attempts to confess his feelings to Athena, causing an understandably embarrassed Athena to promptly cut him off. Cue the Women Fighters Team expressing their sympathies to him... which in turn leads to the ladies getting catty with each other over their love lives.
    • It should be noticed that, even when he does follow Athena like a borderline puppy and is very upset at the possibility of losing her to someone else, his affections for her are very genuine otherwise. He helps her when she needs it but NEVER demands love or sex from her in return, and he does show affection and care towards other people (Chin, Bao, Kaoru, Momoko, etc.) as well. (In XIII he shows next to no jealousy against Athena's crush Kyo, instead telling him to relax and take care of himself.)
  • Drunken Master: Averted. One of the images from XIII, "Drunken Fighters", features Kensou being used as a Human Shield by King, who is holding a wine glass, against Hwa Jai, Big Bear, and Chin himself, who are carrying apparently harder liquors. Kensou himself is hunched over one of Chin's gourds and stark-white in the face, though it's uncertain whether he Can't Hold His Liquor or drank a Gargle Blaster unwittingly.
  • Dub Name Change: In Japan, the kanji making up his name are pronounced known as Shii Kensuu.
  • Eating Contest: The only Special Intro he ever had with Chin, Kensou will chow down on many Meat Buns, while Chin chugs down many doses of sake from his Urns.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the Psycho Soldier Team's special ending for KOF '99. Kensou triggers his Dragon Spirit after Athena is in danger of being left for dead at the crumbling site, he saves her with a dose of Power of Love and Undying Loyalty. This doesn't actually do much for Kensou, game-wise, until he trains to control the Dragon Spirit's power several games later.
  • Energy Ball: Kensou's Choukyuudan. Originally the attack was a projectile Hadoken type ('94 to '98, XI and XIII); Kensou performed a crouching stance and fired the ball of energy from above. After losing his powers and later training to get them back, Kensou changed his to way to fire the Choukyuudan. From XII and on the attack evolved; his normal Choukyuudan becomes larger and he gets its more powerful version, Shinryuu Choukyuudan, as a DM.
  • Fingerless Gloves: In XI.
  • Flanderization: According to Word of God, Kensou was originally meant to be cool and particularly appealing to women. (We know, surprised us, too). In sequence:
    • Originally, the only thing he had to say about Athena was that while the ladies of Team England were cute, Athena was cuter.
    • Then 96 happened, introducing his love of meat buns and his habit of eating them too quickly and creating promotional art depicting him dreaming about being Athena's boyfriend, and KOF: KYO happened simultaneously, extrapolating it into a crush Kensou had on Athena while she liked Kyo. (Hell, the KOF: KYO game had Kensou make such a nuisance of himself that Athena actively and openly tried to distance herself from him).
    • And then 98 happened after that and had him flagrantly and showily demonstrate his affection for Athena, much to her embarrassment, and it's only gotten worse from there. (A character story for Kensou set prior to XII on the Japanese website featured him spying on what he assumes was a date between Athena and Kyo and getting arrested for it).
    • At this point, his love for Athena is such a huge Running Gag that at times it risks eclipsing every other aspect of him; if Kensou didn’t have his "Classic" SNK character status and the dragon spirit plot on the back burner, his love for Athena would basically be his whole character.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: His use of the Dragon Spirit, in story it can make Kensou fly, generate impregnable force fields, boost his powers to astonishing levels if Ron is to be believed, and when Bao used it could stop a Kill Sat instantly; now it is said that Kensou has total control over the Dragon Spirit. In gameplay, however, the Dragon Spirit has no significance whatsoever compared to how godly it is portrayed in cutscenes.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Basked in the power of the Dragon Spirit to save Athena in KOF '99, Kensou gets nice glowing eyes of blue energy.
  • Hero of Another Story: As mentioned above, he and Athena made their debuts in Psycho Soldier.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Kensou's Dragon Spirit powers by the time he mastered it in KOF XI, as by Kensou's own explanation for this in With Great Power Comes Great Insanity below (if we go by Ron's words in the NESTS Saga that the Dragon Spirit at full power can make SNK Boss Igniz and all of NESTS look like nothing in comparison) then Kensou does have a good reason not to show off his powers recklessly.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Done through his Niku Man O Kuu DM: he eats one of his meat buns and it recovers some of his health. There is a SDM variation where he chokes on it and loses health.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Downplayed. In the Team Story for '99, Kensou is afraid that the loss of his Psychic Powers means he no longer has any business being part of the Psycho Soldiers and considers it a lucky break that the newest tournament allows four members to a team so he still gets to participate.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: SNK has yet to be forthcoming on why the decidedly Chinese Kensou speaks with the accent, but he's been doing it as far back as the original Psycho Soldier, which means he has seniority over Robert and Choi in this category.
  • Imagine Spot: In the Psycho Soldiers ending for XIII, they are congratulated all around, some reporters say companies are competing to get the rights to make a show out of the Psycho Soliders, Kensou thinks of how great this could be and starts day dreaming of them being in a Sentai show.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Although Kensou's ultimate energy attack is called Senki Hakkei, he will sometimes call it Choukyuudan, which isn't that strange since the Senki Hakkei is just a more powerful and close ranged Choukyuudan. In XIII Kensou's new and improved DM is the Seigan: Senki Hakkei, but still he says Chouryuudan in the end.
  • Informed Attribute:
    • The fact he has fans. He hangs around Athena much of the time, even when she's on tour (which might be a Mythology Gag to him being a guitarist in Psycho Soldier), which might have helped Kensou gather his own fandom. He even has a collection of plushies and stuffed animals alike received from his fans. In the '97 Psycho Soldier Team Story, he got exactly one (1) fan letter for his performance in the previous tournament, and a pile of razor-filled hate mail from Athena's male admirers.
    • The Dragon Spirit. It gave him some Cutscene Power to the Max in ending sequences twice (once in '99 and again in 2002), but the way Ron says the Dragon Spirit can make Igniz and all other SNK Bosses that NESTS created look like nothing in comparison has yet to be substantiated; by XI and beyond Kensou should at least be referred as a Psychic Powers Master, even if he is holding his powers back.
    • Related to the Dragon Spirit, Kensou was supposedly on a training journey for a whole year during 2003, but his return showed no real change, which is repeatedly joked about. Athena's win quote against him in XI chastises him for accomplishing nothing, and the ending jokes about how Chin's training was to teach Kensou how to not use his power... though it also tries to have its cake and eat it, too, by also having Ron praise Kensou from afar for mastering the spirit in only a year. Some characters indicate he's been training with Chin again in XIII, though if they beat him they'll note his new training also didn't accomplish much.
    • Occasionally he gets hit with an Informed Flaw — supposedly he hates training, but while that would normally imply his skills are prone to atrophy, he's always been a viable contender against everyone else in the cast.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Kensou's forward throw, the Sunda, or "Inch Blast", (originally Hakkei, "Release", in '94) technique, is Kensou nailing the enemy in the face with a burst of psychic power from his palm. Later games gave him the Senki Hakkei, "Hermit Power Release", super move, which is a quick succession of about five Inch Blasts, and a powered up version of a dozen that sends even Kensou flying, though he's mastered it by XI and can stand his ground. His final desperation move in XIII is the Seigan: Senki Hakkei, "Waking Eye: Hermit Power Blast", technique, which, due to the light show, resembles a buzzsaw more than anything else.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Despite being Chinese. It's actually a holdover from his origin game. This is lampshaded through the special "Kansai Dialect Team" in '98 (him, Robert and Choi).
  • Kiss of Life: In the team's 2000 ending, this is how he recovers his powers.More exactly: Bao has taken a massive energy beam from a NESTS Kill Sat to protect the team and Kaoru and is laying in great pain in Kensou's arms, seemingly very close to suffer a Superpower Meltdown. Kensou gives this to Bao and absorbs the remaining energy through his own body, which unleashes the Dragon Spirit and saves Bao's life; from then on his powers are restored, but Bao is Brought Down to Normal.
  • Love Confession: Blurts out loud, echoes included, on the Special Intro he has with Athena in 2000, Athena gets fidgety and dodges an answer by trying to start the fight, Kensou gets down in the slumps because of it.
  • Magic Knight: While he's had Psychic Powers like Athena as far back as the first game, Kensou's moveset has always been dramatically more physical than hers, and plot developments related to the Dragon Spirit forced him to do spend a few games purely as a Bare-Fisted Monk. After he returns from his training abroad, he's back to using a blend of both.
  • Martial Arts Headband: For XII and XIII as a nod to his Psycho Soldier incarnation.
  • Minor Major Character: Kensou isn’t someone who has been in the center of every conflict during the Orochi Saga, NESTS Saga and and the Ash Saga, and up until 99, wasn't that important at all. However, the introduction of the Dragon Spirit made him a lot more noticeable, as did how one shady figure, Ron Hizoku, kept appearing to foretell his antagonist status by only showing interest in Kensou’s powers. And if the leaks for XIV are to believed, the upcoming arc is going to be all about the Dragon Spirit and its' Dragon Power, which means that Kensou in all likelyhood is going to go from a Minor Major Character to a straight up Major Character. All of this shows how much Kensou is truly worth when considering the larger scope of things, despite constantly getting overshadowed by Athena and everyone else.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Downplayed. From XIII forward, Kensou has taken a distinct dislike to facing Athena in combat, and he absolutely hates winning in terror of having gone overboard.
  • Mythology Gag: During his cameo in Athena's dream sequence in SNK Heroines, Kensou is playing a guitar for the first time since the original Psycho Soldier back in 1987.
  • Next Tier Power-Up: Subverted. With its immense Cutscene Power to the Max, the Dragon Spirit looked almost certain to bestow one on Kensou, but even after supposedly training extensively to "master" it, the only visible sign is SNK tinkering slightly with Kensou's moveset, which it does to everyone on a game-by-game basis. Worse, given that the cast has started treating him like Just a Kid in XII and XIII, Kensou's effectively suffered a narrative downgrade.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Athena tells Kensou to escape by himself when she got her leg stuck underneath fallen debris, during the team’s Special Ending in 99; Kensou of course isn’t fond of the idea, his frustration for being without his powers at the time and the fear of Athena dying is so great that he awakens his Dragon Spirit, saving both of them in the process.
  • No Respect Guy: His Retool in XII and XIII recast him as Just a Kid still in the midst of training, which got him some fairly patronizing comments from other members of the cast, who don't particularly care to acknowledge that he's been on even footing with them since the very first game. This occasionally crops up in other games, but not to the same extent as in XIII.
  • Number Two: Tried to be this in XI, during Gentsai’s absence, trying to be a (un)wise mentor for Momoko as well, Athena doesn’t put her foot down just letting Kensou have his fun and Momoko sort of goes along with it but only trusting what Athena says.
  • Older Than They Look: It's less noted than Athena and Yuri because they changed drastically, but Kensou has also been hit by this with the new character designs, or arguably he was always this. Kensou is 19 years old, and yet looks much younger than Kyo who is only one year older than him (20 years old); also there's Leona, who at 18 years old, in comparison to Kensou, looks like a mature woman in her early twenties whereas he seems more like a teenager.
  • Out of the Inferno: Kensou’s first and most extreme usage of the Dragon Spirit, he is seen by Chin, Bao and Kaoru carrying Athena on his arms while walking away from a NESTS’ Base in flames.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: The two Days of Memories games Kensou appears he is a borderline different character; he was aged up to his mid-twenties, he is Athena’s Producer instead, and has no romantic feelings for her; what was kept for him was his Kansai accent and easy going personality, leaving the way completely free for the Player Character to win Athena’s heart. Funny enough this older Kensou looks nearly identical to Kyo.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Ever since his debut in Psycho Soldier, Kensou has fallen into this role. In KOF it usually pops up in the form of wardrobe malfunctions and hijinks involving his meat dumplings.
  • Power Floats: In his most extreme usage of the Dragon Spirit yetnote , Kensou could float around.
  • Power Glows: Kensou glows during the 10 seconds power boost from the Seigan Rairyu he had in XI.
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: The power loss that hit Kensou for three tournaments straight made him rely solely on his Kung-Fu skills to get by; it consequently made way for Kensou to discover his Dragon Spirit and get serious about his training, it resulted in him getting his powers back and since then sporting a more serious Kung-Fu style.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Kensou faints after he takes Athena to safety out of the fallen NESTS base; he took the toll from awakening the Dragon Spirit, it extended to Bao who also fainted at the same time.
  • Product Placement:
    • Kensou’s favorite Manga, Seito Shokun, is a real series; quite possibly why it hasn’t been mentioned by name as the years went by, lately it is just said Kensou likes reading Manga / Comic Books.
    • He also had the debut album of J-Pop singer Yuu Hayami as a prized possession early in the series.
    • Kensou’s hoodie for XIV, it’s clearly an Adidas hoodie; it has one of the brand logos upside-down. Given his love for soccer, it is definitely intentional on SNK’s part.
  • Psychic Powers: Shared with Bao. When he has them, Bao doesn't, and when Bao can use them, Kensou can't (which partially explains why Kensou is only able to use projectile attacks in certain games).
  • Put on a Bus: Kensou, Chin, and Bao are all absent from the 2003 tournament, presumably on a year's journey for Kensou's training. Athena teamed up with Hisako and Malin, instead.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Kensou’s new move introduced in XIII, Ryuubokko, he breaks into a storm of mid-punches, continuous usage will tire him out in a comic manner; the EX Ryuubokko however has Kensou performing all the possible hits without getting tired, ending it knocking down the opponent. His Shinryuu Seioushou DM is its more powerful version.
    • Before that there's his Ryuu Renda special, which looks much less refined.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Kensou is proud and not afraid of showing his plushie collection which was mounted from the stuffed animals he received from his fans, and of course he is always open for more items to add to the collection. Additionally, his favorite manga, Seito Shokun!, is a classic Shoujo romance comedy.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Kensou is apparently carrying around a very powerful spirit, which has been a data point going almost completely unexplored for about twenty years now. It would almost be an Aborted Arc, except it keeps getting offhand mentions in XI and XIII.
  • Self-Proclaimed Love Interest: Drifts in and out of this depending on the continuity. Of course, his success rate currently rests at a respectable 0%.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: The Seigan: Rairyuu (roughly "Waking Eye: Returning Dragon", officially "Dragon Awakening") technique, which in 2002 UM is a variant of the Choukyuudan that returns to Kensou after being released — at its higher level the returning energy will take the form of a dragon, hence the name. In XI, the move works essentially the same, though Kensou instead unleashes a shockwave through the ground and the attack always returns in dragon form. If Kensou is able to collect the returning energy, he gets a Power-Up.
  • Shoryuken: His Ryuugakusai special is this, mixed with Hurricane Kick. There's also his Senkyuutai special in older games, although it's more to juggle an opponent.
  • Shotoclone: His projectile is the Choukyuudan (at least in the games where he has it), his uppercut move is... well, see directly above, and his rush-forward move is either Ryuu Renga (older games) or Shikkuu Zanryuu Kyaku (XIII).
  • Signature Move: His Ryuugakusai, Ryuusogeki, Choukyuudan (though he doesn't always have it) and Senki Hakkei.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Zigzagged. Kensou has acknowledged on several occasions that there are many attractive women (the Women Fighters team, Leona, Luong) around... but he considers Athena to be the only one for him.
  • The Slacker: If the bio is to be believed, he actually hates training. But starting in 2003, he starts taking his training more seriously to master his Dragon Spirit.
  • Smug Smiler: Kensou has put on all kinds of smiles through the many artists who penciled him, from innocent good spirited ones to these clear smug ones to show his (over)confidence; XIV has a text book overconfident smug in Kensou’s hand drawn draft, shown in 3D for his Winner Screen, packed with a raised eyebrow to complete the smug expression.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Many of Kensou's special moves invoke circular motion in some way. His repertoire of Hurricane Kicks speaks for itself, but he also has a few high-powered Ki Manipulation that are initiated with Kensou making a large circle with his hands. One or two of the latter even launch a tornado.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Being a Chinese character in a Japanese game will do that to you. The characters that make up his name have a Mandarin pronunciation of "Chui Quanchong", but in Japan are read as "Shii Kensuu", the latter of which is re-rendered into English as "Sie Kensou", which is the most common result in games translated into English. However, games released before that standardized translation would sometimes refer to him as "Kensu" in a fairly direct transliteration of his Japanese name, such as when he cameoed in Crystalis.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Earlier in the series, Kensou had a DM (Senki Hakkei) of the same type that needed to be activated up close. The force of the SDM version was so great, that the recoil sends him flying into the corner.
  • Status Quo Is God: Kensou's suffered his second-stringer status and humiliating lack of success in love for years, and what hope he did have of rising to prominence (i.e. the Dragon Spirit) is on the verge of becoming a Running Gag itself, having been on the sidelines for nearly as long.
  • Super Mode: Kensou’s exclusive move for 2002 and later (canonically) XI, the HSDM/LDM Seigan Rairyu, which if it connects will grant Kensou a super mode that increases the damage he can deal for 10 seconds.
  • Three-Strike Combo: his Ryuu Renga special in older games hits 3 times by default. In XII, his new special Ryuu Touda is a classic 3-hit rekka chain special move.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After sitting out the 2003 tournament, Kensou returns in XI, having improved drastically by mastering his control over the Dragon Spirit. Ron seems to be very pleased by this. Many fans see his new look in XII as another level.
    • XIII is the next logical step in his badassery progression. Holy...
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Meat buns. Has a tendency to choke on them occasionally, though. He also has a Trademark Unfavorite Food, too — pizza. One of his joke specials is to actually scarf a "pizaman" and gag on it.
  • Translation Style Choices: Kensou’s name in China would actually be Chui Quanchong, Sie Kensou is his name being rendered to its Japanese reading.
    • Kensou’s favorite food has been translated in just about every way possible: Baozi, Meat Dumplings, Meat Bun, Pork Bun, “Kensou’s Lunch”; XIV goes an extra mile and just calls it Dim Sum, which is actually the name of varied bite-sized Chinese dishes of which a Meat Bum is one type. In Japan though it has always been called Nikuman.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Kensou awakened his Dragon Spirit when Athena was likely to die stuck in a crumbling NESTS base; it is the most impressive and seemly most powerful usage of his latent ability so far.
  • Trophy Room: Where Kensou keeps his collection of plushies and stuffed animals recieved from his fans, comic books (Seito Shokun! in particular), and his beloved autographed ball from Alessandro Del Piero.
  • Verbal Tic: Continuous usage of “~ya” at end of his sentences to outright warping certain words and ending them with ya, this is Kensou’s trade mark Kansai Dialect.
    Kensou: "CHOKYUDAYA!" (Chokyuudan!)
  • Vocal Dissonance: Kensou always had a good spirited young boy’s voice, despite debuting on the series as a 18 years old guy then stopping at 19 years old as the series progressed, it doesn’t fit someone of his age but it does fit his easy going personality; with XIV retiring the voice Kensou had for a good two decades, SNK still didn’t stop with the theme, Kensou still sounds like someone way younger than he actually is, arguably sounding younger than ever before.
  • Vocal Evolution: Around '96, Kensou's Tenor Boy-like voice became quite high-pitched for a guy past puberty. It has been toned back down around XII/XIII, however.
  • Undying Loyalty: Towards Athena, Kensou’s love is sincere and being shot down, more than once, did not manage to make things go sour between them, Kensou declares himself to be Athena’s Knight without asking anything immediate, just quietly hoping one day Athena will return his feelings, to top it off the fear of Athena dying in ’99 was enough to make Kensou awake a power he never knew he had to avoid the seemingly inevitable fate at the time.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The only explanation so far why Kensou didn't become, canonically, one of the most powerful members of the cast after supposedly mastering the Dragon Spirit. Kensou himself, albeit comically and even suspiciously, said that he is consciously holding back his powers because of what happened to other powerful beings in the cast who tapped into their great powers too much, mostly final bosses like Rugal who all turned insane and/or died.

    Chin Gentsai - China
  • MODE OF COMBAT: All types of Chinese Kung Fu (mainly uses the Drunken Fist)
  • BIRTHDAY: April 27
  • HEIGHT: 164cm
  • WEIGHT: 53kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type A
  • HOBBY: Mah-jong, taking naps
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Lemon-marinated salmon, fried rice with lettuce ...etc
  • DISLIKES: Panda bears
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Walking, yo-yos

"O-Ouch! Whew! I can beat you. But age is something different!"
Voiced by: Toshikazu Nishimura ('94-2002), Matsuo Matsuo (XII - XIII), Shintaro Tanaka (XIV, The King of Fighters: Destiny), Josh Keller (XII, English)

Chinese Drunken Boxing master and founder of the Psycho Soldiers team. He enters the tournaments primarily to investigate the circumstances around them and prevent any evil plots from going too far.

  • The Alcoholic: carries a sake gourd all the time, because he's a Drunken Master. His special intro against Kensou in '98 consists of him trying to outperform his eating with his own drinking.
  • Animal Nemesis: Giant pandas. According to Athena in XIII, when he gets drunk he'll go out and find some to fight with.
  • Badass Beard: Typical for a chinese old master in a fighting game.
  • Badass Mustache: It goes along with his Badass Beard.
  • Blinding Bangs: His eyes are always hidden by his hair.
    • Peek-a-Bangs: In '98 through 2000 and XIII, we actually get to see one of his eyes in character portraits.
  • Booze-Based Buff: In gameplay, drinking his sake can power up his specials and/or DM. Nakoruru seems to also believe that he's using this trope, comparing his empowering sake with that of Haohmaru.
  • Breath Weapon: Booze Flamethrower, to be exact. Sometimes he can just spit the booze itself.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: His reasoning behind preventing Athena and Kensou from competing in the '97 tournament. When they later return with the resolve to compete for the sake of Kaoru Watanabe, an ill fan of Athena's, Chin relents, impressed at his disciples' maturity.
  • Confusion Fu: More or less. Some of his moves involve pretending to be dizzy and then following up with other attacks.
  • Cool Old Guy: At 89, he's the oldest character in the series. Doesn't stop him from putting up a good fight against the younger ones. His gameplay somewhat reflects it: though short and thin, he's rather slow and can't jump too high.
  • Counter-Attack: His Suiho special in XIII.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He apparently was one hell of a badass in the past (or still is, maybe), many fighters in XIII, including the monster that is Takuma, tell Kensou how lucky he is to have Chin as his master, expressing great respect towards him.
  • Detect Evil: Not to Kim Kaphwan's level, but some of his win quotes comments about how much evil he can feel from his opponet's spirits.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: His Tetsuzankou DM in XIII is him charging forward, hitting his opponent with his Badass Back.
  • Gag Nose: The extent of which varies from artist to artist (although it's fairly consistent overall).
  • Gonk: His face is drawn in a slighty more cartoony and unflattering style, particularly his nose.
  • Happily Married: He's said to have a wife. Although he doesn't have any biological children, Bao is his adopted son and he serves as a father figure to both Kensou and Athena (more so to the former). He only has a granddaughter named Lei-len. This raises some interesting questions as to HOW he has a granddaughter, unless she's a step-granddaughter.
  • Henpecked Husband: Humorously implied by some of his winquotes, where he seems afraid of the old lady.
  • Improbable Weapon User: He may sometimes use the gourd to directly attack his foes.
  • Irony: Dislikes pandas. Three guesses on who (or better yet, what) his Maniac Striker in 2000 is.
  • It's a Small World After All: He's an old acquaintance of Tung Fu Rue. He also knows Takuma well, and he has some kind of history with Shen Woo, who tends to get riled up whenever Chin is around.
  • May–December Romance: Humorously mistaken by Kensou to be attempting this with Kula, since the two became cell phone and e-mail buddies before the XIII tournament.
  • Mentor: Primarily to Athena And Kensou, but also has been acting like this toward K' since 2003.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Downplayed. While his official height isn't actually that short (164 cm, or 5'5''), he's consistently drawn and modeled to be one of the shorter characters. For example, despite there only being a 4 cm (1 inch) difference between him and Angel, his sprites only reach up to around her chest.
  • Nice Hat: Always a part of his outfit.
  • Old Master: For the Psycho Soldiers.
  • Parental Substitute: To both Kensou and Bao. Bao is actually his adopted son.
  • Playing with Fire: Not only his Gou Ran Enpou DM is a massive Booze Flamethrower, his Gou En Shourai DM also has him on fire.
  • Rolling Attack: His Kaiten Teki Kuutotsu Ken special and Toukuu Hiten Hou DM.
  • Running Gag: In XIII he often tries to weasel his way out of fighting via saying he's getting too old for this. No one buys it. (One wonders if this is Obfuscating Stupidity or not, though.)
  • Slide Attack: Quite infamously so.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Some of his less-dressed looks can make him look like a homeless drunkard, but he's still as canny as they come.
  • Stance System: He specializes in this, usually having more than 1 alternative stance in each games.
  • Team Dad: Figuratively but also literally, being a Parental Substitute to Kensou and Bao.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: His outfits usually have him wearing only a short jacket while exposing his torso. The exception is the NESTS saga, where he is fully dressed.

Women Fighters Team: England

    King - France
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Muay Thai kickboxing
  • BIRTHDAY: April 8
  • HEIGHT: 175cm
  • WEIGHT: 59kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type A
  • MEASUREMENTS: 86cm, 57cm, 86cm
  • BIRTHPLACE: France
  • HOBBY: Collecting wine glasses. Making original cocktails.
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Her kid brother. Her pet cat (named Marron).
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Vegetables. Wine.
  • DISLIKES: Grubby guys
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Billiards

"In battle, one's sex means nothing. Who's left standing is what matters."
Voiced by: Harumi Ikoma (games, The King of Fighters: Destiny), Yumi Touma ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

A bartender who used to work for Mr. Big, but opened up her own place after his downfall. Skilled in Muay Thai, she disguised herself as a man to enter tournaments, as back then women were not allowed. She fights in the KOF tournaments to support her little brother Jean and to cover his medical expenses. Quite possibly the strongest Muay Thai practioner in the SNK 'verse next to Joe, he would later consider King a great rival to him.

  • Badass Decay: invoked This is what Eiji thinks of her come XI.
    Eiji:: "From bouncer to Kyokugen cuddle bunny? Fighters without pride are fighters not!"
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Befitting a classy bartender, she tends to dress sharply in the tournament.
  • Beam Spam: Her LDM in XI is her firing a lot of Venom Strikes in succession.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Prior to meeting Ryo, King hated being a woman because it prevented her from ever being allowed to compete for the Muay Thai championship title. Which is also the reason she began disguising herself as a mannote . It's implied that Ryo's concern over possibly injuring her, upon realizing she was a woman, is what caused King to develop feelings for him and re-embrace her femininity.
  • Bifauxnen: Of course, it's common knowledge here in KOF. As seen below, King does break out of this on occasion.
  • Bouncer: It was her former occupation at the L'Amour, which was one of many fronts for Mr. Big. King cut ties with his syndicate after being freed from his conscription, thanks to Ryo and Robert.
  • Boyish Short Hair: She even provides the trope's page image.
  • Bring It: Another trait she shares in common with Robert are their respective taunt animations. In most games, they'll both beckon their opponent with their finger, though their taunt quotes differ. Robert's is Something wrong?" (translated from Japanese), whereas King will either say: "C'mon baby." or simply laugh.
  • Clothing Damage: Added to the first two games as an homage to how players discover that she's a girl in Art of Fighting. Comes back in XIII and XIV.
  • Cultured Badass: Being the owner of her own bar, King has a great affinity for fine wine and is skilled at mixing cocktails. She can also smash you eight ways from Sunday.
  • Deadpan Snarker: At times, when someone else snarks at her. She's a pretty nice person otherwise.
  • Depending on the Artist: The level of King's Bifauxnen can vary greatly depending on who is in charge of the character designs: in the early 90s installments of the series some people could actually mistake her for a man; from 2000 and on, new artists made her feminine traits more and more visible; finally in her appearance for XIII any ambiguity her gender may have caused on people both in game design and sprites has been dropped, basically throwing out the concept she was supposed to surprise the players when they realize King is a woman.
  • Distaff Counterpart: For the most part, King's fighting style is distinct from the Kyokuugen characters but, in several games (such as KOF '97 and 2000), she's more like a feminine version of Robert (this is typically due to Robert's own overhaul than King's) and shares many of the same attacks, albeit with different names. Her Trap Shot in particular is very reminiscent of the Geneikyaku — Robert's signature special.
  • Dope Slap: She gives one to Yuri, when she says she'd consider someone like King to be her ideal husband, during their team ending in XIII.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: It's bad enough that she'll never be allowed to officially hold the Muay Thai championship title, because of her gender. But, several of her pre-fight dialogues in KoF XIII rubs salt in the wound, when characters like Hwa Jai and Joe refer to her Nak Muay style as "fake".note  She doesn't let it get to her however.
    Joe: "Let me tell you in advance: that fake Muay Thai of yours is not gonna work against me!"
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In the Tatsuya Shinjyouji '94 manga, King has let her hair grow to her shoulders, having decided to take care of her bar rather than fighting. When Jean retrieves her KOF invitation from the trash and asks her to fight in there she cuts it short with a knife.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Mostly. She wears full-hand gloves between 2000 and XI.
  • Flung Clothing:
    • Kicks away her hat in the first Art of Fighting and Capcom vs. SNK. There's a borderline example with the handkerchief she throws to the ground in her win poses.
    • In '99, she has a special intro against Ryo where she wears a hat before throwing it away.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Over time, King's bifauxnen traits have been downplayed in favor of more effeminate, sexual features. When she finally received new vocal lines in 2k3, they were at a much higher pitch, her height was reduced in XIII and her breasts no longer hidden, and the Clothing Damage KO animation from the Art of Fighting games returned both for XIII and XIV.
  • Hurricane Kick: Her Tornado Kick.
  • Ki Manipulation: Her standard projectile attack, Venom Strike.
  • Kick Chick: So much in fact, that her Ki Manipulation are performed via her legs.
    Kensou (in XIII, if he defeats King): "I might have won the match, but this lady kicked my butt all over the place!"
  • Lady of War: Said kicks are incredibly strong as well as elegant.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: King is well-known for being cordial towards her opponents, including her enemies. In many games, she'll even precede her matches with a glass of vintage wine (which Elizabeth brings to her). King then marks each victory by either tossing a rose, or her handkerchief at her KO'd opponent.
  • Luminescent Blush: The Art of Fighting's team ending for XIII. When Yuri none too subtly drops hints that she wants her as a sister-in-law (with Ryo standing right next to her and everything), King's face eventually becomes beet red.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Her Illusion Dance DM, which becomes her Climax DM in XIV.
  • Promotion to Parent: Towards her brother, Ill Boy Jean.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: May we direct you here and here.
  • Ship Tease: With Ryo. Several intro poses hint at an attraction between the pair. Additionally, this plot point has been stressed in 2000 and XI (the former having Takuma believing King would become pregnant with a Kyokugen heir note  and the latter involving Takuma, Yuri, and Robert spying on their awkward chemistry and trying to get the duo to go to a penthouse together). Neither her nor Ryo are amused by the latter one, to say the least.
  • Shipper on Deck: She, Mai and Yuri ship Kensou/Athena in XIII.
  • Shoryuken: her Surprise Rose move is a somersault kick variant, followed by a Diving Kick. Her Silent Slash is a DM where she does 2 powerful somersault kicks.
  • Shotoclone: Off and on again depending on the game. She always has Venom Strike as her projectile move and Tornado Kick as her Hurricane Kick, but she may not always have the uppercut move; when she does, it's usually the special move variant of Surprise Rose.
  • Signature Move: Her Venom Strike, Trap Shot and Surprise Rose.
  • Slide Attack: She has this as a command normal move.
  • Something About a Rose: One of her winposes has her throwing a rose at the direction of her fallen opponent.
  • Spam Attack: Her Trap Shot is a kick variant. Also her Surprise Rose, when that move is a DM.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Among the tallest women of the cast.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Justified, unfortunately: Until few years ago, among Muay Thai practitioners it was considered bad luck for a woman to compete in fights. Such attitudes ARE starting to change, but there's a long way to go to kick them off the ring.
  • Team Mom: Often takes up this role in the Women Fighters Team. Mai picks on her about this during their ending in XIII.
    • Not So Above It All: There are times, few but noticeable, where King reaches her breaking point. Poking fun of her status as the above is usually a good way to go.
  • Tomboyish Name: A probable alias used to further disguise her gender.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Despite her masculine choice of standard attire, King is not above donning a dress if the time calls for it, and, in fact, has been doing so more frequently of late. She also owns a pet cat and, aside of her dealings with the rest of the Women Fighters Team, showed her maternal instincts by rearing her kid brother on her own.
  • Vocal Evolution: Her voice gradually changed over the years from tomboyish in '94 and '95, to classy and ladylike from '96 to 2001 and changed again in 2003 to be much hgiher and more feminine. As of XIV it now resides somewhere in-between her 94-95 and 96-2001 tone.
  • Waistcoat of Style: This is sometimes part of her classy bartender attire.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Up until 2001, her sprites and official arts gave her the build of a tall, athletic woman, as would be appropriate for her occupation as a female bouncer. Starting with XIII, she began looking like a waif with noodle-like arms. It isn't until XV where her build is back to the way it was, due to larger character models.

    Mai Shiranui - Japan
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Shiranui style of ninja arts
  • BIRTHDAY: January 1
  • HEIGHT: 165cm
  • WEIGHT: 48kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type B
  • MEASUREMENTS: 87cm, 55cm, 91cm
  • HOBBY: Cooking (making Japanese lunch boxes)
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Ornamental hairpin that's her grandmother's keepsake.
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Rice cake soup, sweet-red-bean-covered rice balls
  • DISLIKES: Spiders
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Japanese badminton

"With a body and strength like this, you thought you had a chance?"
Voiced by: Akoya Sogi ('94-XI), Ami Koshimizu (Sky Stage, XII onward, The King of Fighters: Destiny), Sheryl Stanley (Maximum Impact series, English), Megumi Hayashibara ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)
Portrayed by: Maggie Q (live-action movie)

Mai is a very happy girl with the dream of several other girls: get married with her prince charming. She found that same Prince Charming in Andy, her childhood friend as well as her grandfather's disciple, and self-proclaimed herself his fiancé. Although her preppy fighting persona suggests otherwise, Mai is a traditional Japanese beauty and very proud of it. However, her pride as a Shiranui ninja and infatuation with Andy usually keep her from fitting the mold 100% of the time.

In XIV, Mai is pissed that Terry and Andy are teaming up with Joe, and is getting short of candidates for the Women Fighters team aside of King because she turned down other invitations (like Kasumi and Hinako) thinking that she'd be able to team up with Andy (she was too late), while the other candidates (Yuri, Mary and Vanessa) are busy with their own activities and jobs. Luckily for her, she quickly came across Alice Garnet Nakata, who proved her skills (even if it's a modified attacks of the Bogard brothers) and the Women Fighters Team rises again.

  • Absolute Cleavage
  • Action Girl: Like all of the female fighters of the series.
  • Ass Kicks You: Her Wild Cherry attack.
  • Berserk Button: One; if she asks you about Andy, don't refuse to reply her question. Two: don't you ever comment negatively on her Stripperiffic clothes.
  • Big Fancy House: We see the Shiranui dojo in KOF: KYO. It's located in a gorgeous Japanese traditional complex.
  • Bilingual Bonus/Visual Pun: While her Shiranui-ryuu Kunoichi no Mai Neo MAX from XIII isn't exactly a new technique (it involves Mai flying through her opponent multiple times and then striking a pose and chanting her trademark "Nippon ichi!" as they're engulfed in flames) the attack spells out both the kanji for the Japanese words onna and kunoichi.note 
  • Boobs of Steel: She can both play this straight and avert it at the same time (also read Informed Attribute below):
    • In the first two games, she was probably the strongest female gameplay-wise, and had looks to match, but no Word of God behind (King measured larger).
    • In the rest of the games, she still looks as big as ever, but while still a competent fighter has become slightly weakened; females with larger busts by Word of God now tend to give her competition, or at least have stronger moves (by being grapplers), even if their sprites give them chests that are equal or smaller than Mai's (Elizabeth, Vice etc.). Overall however, Mai still remains stronger (tier-wise) than most of them (Angel, Blue Mary, Shermie, etc.)
    • Back to playing this straight gameplay wise in XIV.
  • Brainless Beauty: By Flanderization. One particularly bad example occurs in the English translation of KOF '95, during her team's cutscenes: When Rugal uses somniferous gas to kidnap them the following dialogue occurs:
    Yuri: It's gas, you bimbo!
  • Breakout Character: Mai was formerly just another character (albeit close enough to be the heroine) of Fatal Fury and not exactly involved within the main plot between the Bogard brothers and Geese Howard. Over time, she grew into one of the most iconic 'sexy video game character' and as of now, she might be even be the most known female of The King of Fighters, frequently appearing in covers even without Terry.
  • Catchphrase: "Nippon Ichi!" ("Japan's No. 1!")
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Can go from a kimono or wedding dress into her stripperiffic outfit in a blink, and then back into a flashy kimono for her Victory Pose, just as fast.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Except for some very subtle changes, her outfit has remained the same since her debut, and now that she's back we can see that it has not changed much (save for losing some fabric on the back); in fact, her most current outfit is based on the one from Real Bout Fatal Fury Special/2, which was in turn based on her original one. With exception of one homage to Andy Bogard in the Maximum Impact 2/Regulation A games, her "Another" models played safe and were heavily based on her classic outfit. XIV has her go back to her old outfit.
  • Combat Hand Fan: Paper fans are her weapon of choice. Aside from whacking her foes with one in her melee attacks, she can also throw them forward in her Kachousen special. She also sometimes has a DM (Mizudori no Mai) where she throws 3 flaming fans at her foe.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Her voice was becoming increasingly more high pitched until reaching an extreme in KOF 2003 and SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos when it became ear-grating. Fortunately, later games restored her voice to a more reasonable pitch.
    • Averted with her new seiyuu, whose pitch seems to fall into a much more bearable range.
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: She may sometimes hold her fan with her mouth.
  • Dance Battler: At least nominally. Mai means "dance" in Japanese, and a lot of her moves are named as "dance of the x" ("x no mai").
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Mai's footwear in her ninja outfit consists solely of instep guards and tabi socks. Taken a step further in a couple of the Fatal Fury games, where she lacks the socks.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    (2001 winquote) "I wanted to feel it more. I'm a little disapointed..."
    (2002 winquote) "Hey, don't touch the talent!" (Seems to be a reference to the Sailor Moon dub-based meme of talent = bust, of which Mai has quite a lot)
  • Dogged Nice Girl: To Andy, so much.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Fiery doppelgangers (KOF '98 Ultimate Match alternate version only).
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: In The King of Fighters 2002, Mai wears one in a finishing move (see here).
  • Gainaxing/Jiggle Physics: Lost in the American home versions of '94 and '95, as well as reduced (even in the arcade) American versions of 2000 and beyond (at least for the Neo-Geo versions). For most of the time it's applied to her bust, but you can sometimes see her butt jiggle too in a few animations. Funny thing is, Mai isn't even the bustiest character of the series; Shermie and Angel beat her by a good two inches.
  • Guest Fighter: In one of the most appropriate crossovers Mai could make, she pays a visit to the well-endowed fighters of Dead or Alive as a Downloadable Content character for Dead or Alive 5: Last Round.
  • Hammerspace: Where does she keep all those fans? And that's not even touching the umbrella, the kimono, the wedding dress, etc. This seems to overlap with Victoria's Secret Compartment for the paper fans.
  • Hand Seals: She sometimes performs this with her moves, particularly her Kagerou no Mai DM.
  • Hidden Depths: Seeing her personality and her love for the Yamato Nadeshiko trope, who would think she's a fan of Heavy Metal, musically speaking?
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Lampshaded heavily in her intros for the SNK vs. Capcom games.
    Ryu: "People can see you coming miles away!"
  • Hypocritical Humor: In Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, her win quote against Shiki has her criticizing Shiki's lack of clothing.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: In the Fatal Fury Team ending of XIV, when Joe calls her a praying mantis, Mai protests by lifting her arms into a mantis pose and hissing.
  • Informed Attribute:
    • Her famous bust has a measurement much smaller than what you'd imagine from her sprites/models, which were so well endowed since the start that almost any female with a larger bust by Word of God fell themselves into Informed Attribute because of her. In the official art, however, she varies from average to huge, not only Depending on the Artist, but also on said artist's mood apparently as well.
    • Word of God states that her hips are 91cm with a 55cm waist (in 2003 and XIII; 90/54 for previous games, i.e. largest hips and smallest waist of the series). Supposedly larger than Shermie's, but that would be hard to draw, so it's only apparent in a few of her sprites, like those for her Wild Cherry attack mentioned above.
  • It Was a Gift: Wears an ornamental hairpin, a keepsake from her late grandmother.
  • Lady in Red: she usually wears red and she's pretty sultry.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Even when tied up, her hair extends to her hips and she is one of the most feminine ladies in the series.
  • Male Gaze: Her bust is the first thing that you see of her in the animated intros of KOF '94 Re-Bout and KOF '98: Dream Match 1999; also in Maximum Impact 2/Regulation A, the camera focuses very often on it. And if that wasn't enough, her new sprite for KOF XIII shows her hunched towards the screen, making her cleavage even more noticeable than before, in an apparent effort to enforce this trope.
  • Master of Disguise: She's capable of performing Instant Costume Changes without any sort of supernatural means, and even disguises herself as Chun-Li during their shared intro in Capcom Vs SNK 2.
  • Ms. Fanservice: You don't say?! She knows it and flaunts it!
  • More Than Mind Control: Falls into this in Ryo Takamisaki's The King Of Fighters G. Mai had just fallen into a brief Heroic BSoD after the Fatal Fury Team loses badly (including Andy being totally curbstomped by Benimaru) and left the battlefield to try calming herself down. Goenitz showed up and confronted her: thanks to the combination of a Breaking Lecture, a Curb-Stomp Battle and some bits of his powers, poor Mai totally lost it and savagely attacked Kyo and Athena when they found her. It took Athena pulling a Diving Save to stop Kyo from burning Mai with an Orochinagi to bring her back.
  • Murderous Thighs: Originally just "Murderous Ankles" for the way she sometimes throws her opponent; then in KOF '99 gained a more appropriate move that seemed to be more an apology for removing Shermie and Vice than anything.
  • Ninja: Specifically a kunoichi, a female ninja.
  • Ninja Run: Well, she is a Ninja...
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: More often read (in the Japanese versions, anyway) than heard; used in the first two games as part of her taunt.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: No one in-universe seems to notice Mai for her Stripperiffic outfit and assets. If anything, nearly everyone is shocked at how brazen her outfit is, as well as wanting her to cover up more. And she doesn't like it.
  • Playing with Fire: Her Ryuuen Bu and several of her DM's are fire based attacks that set her opponent ablaze, when she connects with them.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On:
    • KoF XIII mercilessly lampshades the fact that she's half-naked, by having the majority of the cast point out the indecency of what she's wearing. Mai's reaction ranges from trying to justify it, by explaining it's the traditional garb worn by the women of the Shiranui Ninja Clan, to being insulted.
    • In SVC Chaos, Chun-Li actually threatens to arrest Mai for violating public decency laws. Mai is of course offended, taking this as an insult to her clan's traditional ninja garb.
  • Proud Beauty: She wouldn't call herself "Japan's number one woman" if she didn't believe it to be true.
  • Put on a Bus: To the shock and surprise of her fans; she returned in the home version of KOF XI, but not for KOF XII (though if some sources are to be believed, she was planned to be). Has come back for KOF XIII, finally.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Her only mentioned relatives are her grandfather and trainer Hanzou and her dead grandmother, which implies that her parents died while she was a child and she was raised by her grandparents in their stead. The hairpin that she wears is hinted to be a Tragic Keepsake from said grandma, and according to Mai and Takuma's intro conversation in KOF XIII, Hanzou Shiranui recently passed away. Takuma straightforwardly asks Mai if she and Andy are up for the challenge of keeping up with the Shiranui school of ninjitsu now that Hanzou is gone, and Mai calmly tells him not to worry since they're ready for it.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Even though she usually has her hair tied up into a hig ponytail, many of her sprites and official art images depict it as being still long enough to reach her waist; if she let it hang free, it would probably extend well past her buttocks.
  • Relationship Upgrade: is finally together with Andy as of KOFXIV. However, this does not affiliate with the Fatal Fury continuity or other games outside the KOF timelines as it seems they never will be together and Andy in most of them only sees Mai as a younger sister since they were both raised and trained by her grandfather.
  • Say My Name: "ANDYYYYYYYY!!!" when she's defeated. Too bad for her, he can’t hear her.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: As if her outfit weren't stripperiffic enough, she now has her whole back naked for her return for KOF XIII.
  • She-Fu: Massive backflips and acrobatics are a key part of her fighting style.
  • She's Got Legs: Usually, although it sometimes depends on who's drawing her.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: Some of Mai's special moves are named after different branch styles of the Nanto Seiken martial art from Fist of the North Star. Specifically she has the Kōkaku no Mai (Dance of the Crimson Crane), Hakuro no Mai (Dance of the White Heron), Suichō no Mai (Dance of the Waterfowl), and Hō-ō no Mai (Dance of the Phoenix). SVC Chaos added the Koshū no Mai (Dance of the Lone Eagle) to the mix.
  • Sideboob: More so with every Fanservice Pack; as of KOF XIII, her bust is practically begging to spill out of her top from all directions.
  • Signature Move: Many of her moves are memorable, but especially her Kachousen, Ryuuenbu and (Chou) Hissatsu Shinobi Bachi.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Oh, Andy...
    • Flanderization: She was gaga for Andy from the get-go, but it's become absurd in later games. In XII, Terry's pre-battle dialogue with her has him furiously denying where Andy is before Mai uttered a single word.
  • Stripperiffic: Somewhat more than in the Fatal Fury games. She is topped by the alternate costumes of several Maximum Impact characters, though.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: In the Fatal Fury series, she's pretty smart and snarky against opponents. In later games...well, not so much since she's arguably gotten a lot quirkier.
  • Tsundere: Mostly a Type B. Though nice and loving overall, you won't like to see her angry. Terry is well aware of this.
  • Vocal Evolution: Read Cute, but Cacophonic above.
  • Wall Jump: she can jump off the wall normally; she also has it as (part of her) Musasabi no Mai (Dance of the Flying Squirrel) special, which she can then follow by varying attacks from above.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Some of Mai’s standard hits involve whapping her opponent with the tails of her kimono, which is outlandish in itself but her ‘Musasabi no Mai’ special, in which she flies face-first at her opponent with her fan clenched between her teeth, takes the cake.
  • Wreathed in Flames: Her Chou Hissatsu Shinobi Bachi DM has her doing a flying elbow thrust forward while covered in flames. Also in her Kagerou no Mai DM where she covers herself in a large flame aura that burns the nearby foe.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: She takes huge pride in her YN qualities, and acts quite like one when Andy's not around and/or she's outside the ring. The KOF: Kyo RPG game her diligently cleaning up around the HUGE Shiranui dojo with Andy, and she also wears a kimono note  as she gladly hosts a tea ceremony for Kyo and his girlfriend Yuki.


    Yuri Sakazaki - Japan
  • MODE OF COMBAT: Kyokugen-style karate + arrangement of personal styles
  • BIRTHDAY: December 7
  • HEIGHT: 168cm
  • WEIGHT: 53kg
  • BLOOD TYPE: Type A
  • MEASUREMENTS: 85cm, 58cm, 86cm
  • HOBBY: Karaoke
  • PERSONAL TREASURES: Earrings that are a keepsake of her late mother's
  • FAVORITE FOOD: Shortcake
  • DISLIKES: Octopuses. Indecisive men.
  • FORTE IN SPORTS: Softball

"I'm Kyokugen! Face it, Ryo! You're not fit to sweep for me!"
Voiced by: Kaori Horie ('95-XIII), Ai Kakuma (XIV onward, The King of Fighters: Destiny), Amy Walls (Maximum Impact series, English), Sakura Tange ('94 Dengeki Bunko drama CD)

Takuma's daughter and Ryo's younger sister. She was kidnapped in order for Mr. Big to use Takuma against Ryo and Robert, but after she was rescued by Ryo and Robert she trained with Takuma and started entering The King of Fighters tournaments, generally with King and Mai. However, in some installments she would switch teams, sometimes running with Robert and her family note  and other times with Mai and Kingnote .

  • Action Girl: Though her family didn't have much faith in her at first, she has always proven herself a capable fighter, like all of the others.
  • Alternate Character Reading: Not only for her name, but several of her attacks may or may not actually be named after the preexisting techniques of her family's fighting style. E.g she does have her own Hien Shippuu Kyaku, but the alternate reading reads as "Yuri Chou Mawashi Geri" (Yuri Super Spinning Kick).
  • Animal Motifs: Like her brother has the tiger and Robert the dragon, Yuri has the swallow in her techniques.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: She has two throws revolving around this. The second one is an entire series of slaps.
    • She also has another one in the Maximum Impact games called "Chou Biirubin Giri" (Super Yuri Beer Bottle Cutter). It can also be charged up and feinted.
  • Ass Kicks You: Her En'yoku (Swallow Wing) command normal.
  • Attack Reflector: Her Saiha (Smash Blast), in some games.
  • Badass Adorable: Would you expect someone this cute to deliver a world of hurt? Didn't think so.
  • Boyish Short Hair: As of KoF XIII, where she surprises her dad by cutting her braid. Though she subverts the trope since she's a Girly Bruiser, rather than a tomboy.
  • Braids of Action: In most of her appearances. She finally cut it in XIII and kept it short in XIV, but it's back in XV.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Like her brother, she's of mixed heritage being ½ Japanese and ½ American.
  • Charge Attack: In some games, her Kou'ou Ken can be charged to turn it to Haou Shoukouken, although it tends to be weaker than a proper DM Haou Shoukouken. Her Yuri Chou Knuckle special (also in some games) can also be charged.
  • Clothing Damage: Like King, first two games only and then returns in XIII and XIV.
  • Cute Bruiser/Girly Bruiser: Yes, she's cute, yes she's goofy, and she hits like a ton of bricks. That "Shin Chou/Super Upper" of hers has its name for a reason.
  • The Cutie: SNK has steadily regressed her appearance and mannerism, to where she's nearly as childlike as Kula by the time of XIII.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: It somehow got worse as the series progressed.
  • Damsel in Distress: At first in the first AOF, then she Took a Level in Badass ever since.
    • Distress Ball: Caught one in the not very well-known game Quiz King of Fighters, when she's kidnapped in Quiz City. Ryo and Mai set out to rescue her (plus Takuma as a Secret Character), while Robert goes to impress her and the other two playable characters (Haohmaru and Nakoruru) have their own reasons.
  • Death from Above: Her Raiouken (Thunder Sparkle Fist) and her self-refined variants. Some versions of the base technique are treated outright as a Meteor Move instead of the primary projectile version (like in 98).
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: Simply put, her Haoh Raiouken (Supreme King Thunder Sparkle Fist) Neo MAX in XIII is a portable nuke.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Always a part of her outfits.
  • Genki Girl: Yuri has always been portrayed as cheerful and optimistic, but it gets dialed up in the KoF series — to the point of bordering on outright childish behavior, at times. She's even gotten snarky, albeit in a playful fashion with her friends.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Her standard one has her look over her shoulder and pat her backside at her opponent. By KOF XIV, she includes it right before the final blow of her rendition of Ryuko Ranbu. Then finishes by striking a goofy pose, where she sticks out her tongue and gives a thumbs up.
  • Kawaiiko: Really the only explanation for her Verbal Tic.
  • Ki Manipulation: The same as her dad and her brother. Unique to her is the Saifa move: a small ki shield she projects upwards.
  • Martial Arts Headband: Worn as part of her default attire since her debut in Art of Fighting 2.
  • Martial Arts Uniform: Wears a white one; in addition, she also wears dark blue leggings and red shoes.
  • Megaton Punch: Her Hien Shippuu Ken (Flying Swallow Hurricane Fist) AKA Yuri Chou Knuckle (Yuri Super Knuckle), where does a wind-up lunging punch (think Terry's Burn Knuckle). It can be charged up, but even her wind-up portion (where she flails her arms while facing backwards) can do damage before she even punches!
    • It can be taken to ridiculous combo extremes in 2006/Maximum Impact 2 due to the wind-up inflicting a very-worth while launch, even when it (along with her Chou Mawashi Geri) is classified as a Stylish Move instead as opposed to an actual special move.
  • Missing Mom: her and Ryo's mom died from a car accident.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In a few games she may have a modified Ryuuko Ranbu as her stronger (i.e HSDM or Climax DM) supers.
  • Older Than They Look: Taken Up to Eleven. She's supposed to be 20 years old, about the same age as Kyo, but you'd never know it from the way she looks, acts, or sounds. You'd swear she was only 15.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Ryo and Takuma fear that her rudimentary knowledge of Kyokugen-ryuu will lead to this. Yuri, optimistic in her pursuit to improve herself, simply ignores them and joins King and Mai in XIII.
  • Plucky Girl:
  • Rapunzel Hair in Braids of Action: Depending both on the sprites and the artist. Usually, her hair is long but falls just shy of making the cut.
    • Important Haircut: Subverted. In XIII, Yuri cuts her hair short, but she doesn't seem to have a reason behind it. Takuma's reaction is overblown, as usual. It is said that it's because this is just like her late mother used to cut her hair.
  • Shipper on Deck: Much like Robert and her father, she supports Ryo/King, going along with Takuma's odd ploy at the end of XI. As you've probably noticed by now, Everyone Can See It.
    • She gets King all flustered when she directly asks what she thinks of her older brother in XIII. And seems to enjoy it thoroughly.
    • Not to mention, she also ships Kensou/Athena. In XIII she directly teases Kensou over him wanting to protect her and gets him rather flustered too.
  • Ship Tease: She still has a bit with Robert, though not if her dad has anything to say about it.
  • Shotoclone: Off and on again; she tends to be the "parody" version (see Take That! below for details).
    • Kamehame Hadoken: Her Kou'ou Ken special and Haou Shoukouken DM.
    • Shoryuken: her Yuri Chou Upper (aka Kuuga) special, as well as Yuri Chou Reppa DM and Shin! Chou Upper SDM.
    • Hurricane Kick: Her Hien Shippuu Kyaku is closer to the original Hurricane Kick than the one used by her colleagues.
  • Signature Move: Her Raiouken and Saiha specials, as well as her Hien Hou'ou Kyaku DM.
  • Sphere of Destruction: In XIV she gains a DM counterpart of her Saiha special; downplayed in that it's just a half-sphere.
  • Take That!: To Street Fighter, specifically the Shotoclones:
    • KOF '97: Her Hien Rekkou (Flying Swallow Violent Pit) AKA Yuri Chou Reppa (Yuri Super Rending Breaker) parodies Ken's Shoryu Reppa. This is made more obvious in Capcom vs. SNK.
    • KOF '98: Her Mekki Zankuuga (Destroying Demon Slaying Air Fang) AKA Shin! Chou Upper (Wick/Staple! Super Upper) parodies Ryu's Shin Shoryuken.
    • KOF 2001: Her Yuri Chou Enbu (Yuri Super Swallow Dance) parodies Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu; she even poses like him randomly after finishing the attack.
    • KOF 2003 gave her a desperation attack that parodies Ryu's Denjin Hadouken. Hers is called the Denjin Haou Shoukouken (Electric God Supreme King Soaring Howl Fist).
    • Since around '97 she also gained a spinning kick attack like the Hurricane Kick all three characters use.
      • Like many of her moves, it goes by another name. Instead of Hien Shippuu Kyaku (Flying Swallow Hurricane Leg) in some sources, it goes by Yuri Chou Mawashi Geri (Yuri Super Roundhouse Kick).
    • And in 2002UM she did a Take That! to her own family members by finally getting her own version of the Ryuuko Ranbu technique (Chou/Super! Dragon Tiger Wild Dance)...which eventually parodies Ryu's Shin Shoryuken once more for the finisher.
    • In the Capcom vs. SNK games, she copies Felicia's intro pose (when fighting against Sakura) and Makoto's intro pose (when fighting against everyone else).
    • Yuri also possesses an attack similar to Chun-Li's Kakuraku Kyaku (Crane Falling Leg).
    • XIII: Her Houyoku (Phoenix Wing) parodies that of Akuma's Hyakki Shuu (Hundred Demons Assault). Her EX Yuri Chou Upper also parodies that of Sakura's Shou'ouken (Blooming Cherry Fist).
    • XIV: Her Climax move parodies Dan's Shisso Buraiken (Sprinting Ruffian Attack), a parody Of Ryo and his own parody attack!
  • Teen Genius: Subtle example, but still there. She only started training when she was 16-17, and yet she mastered the basics and low techniques of the Kyokugenryu Karate within a year. She didn't stop there, but started imitating other people's techniques as seen above: and developed her own, like the infamous Hyakuretsu Binta (Hundred Rending Faceslaps) and her own DM, the Hien Hou'ou Kyaku (Flying Swallow Fenghuang Leg).
    • She also enjoys experimental cooking, which unlike her father's infamous soba noodles, has somehow had more positive results.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Seen when Yuri unintentionally makes it sound as if she'd like to marry King, when asked to describe her ideal husband, during their team ending in KoF XIII. Which causes King to Dope Slap her.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak:
  • Verbal Tic: Most of her sentences end in "-chi/-tchi" (for example, her trademark "Yoyuchi!" ["Piece of cake!"]).
  • Womanchild: She's 20, but doesn't act (or look, as of XIII) anything like it.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Much like King, her sprites and official artwork have started to change starting XII. She once looked like a reasonably athletic girl in her late teensnote . Her more recent appearances have had her looking more like a girl in her early teens.
  • Your Size May Vary: She has a tendency to be drawn so that she looks shorter than Mai (sometimes when they're together), despite the manual stating that Yuri is taller than her.

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