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  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Ryuhaku Todoh. Despite only appearing in the very first game (with a single special move!), he has a large number of cameo appearances under his belt and was eventually added to the roster of Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium. He also had his daughter Kasumi—herself an example of this trope—to pick up the slack for the Todoh family in the third game and The King of Fighters.
    • Eiji Kisaragi from 2. When he returned to KOF in XI (after a hiatus spanning eight games and several cameos in the backgrounds of said games), the fandom went bonkers.
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  • Game-Breaker: Wyler. Then again, he is the boss of 3...
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Jin Fu-Ha from 3 is quite popular among the Japanese fanbase, who have been clamoring for him to make it into a KOF game (perhaps the reason behind his cameo in XII?); elsewhere... wait, who are we talking about again? Oh yeah, the nondescript musclebound ninja whose spinning lariat special move is turned into a mini-version of an amusement park ride for children in the background of a KOF 2002: Unlimited Match stage.
  • Good Bad Bugs: In at least some arcade versions of Art of Fighting 2, it was possible to win a match by making a lock on your opponent followed by hitting him with a Ko'ou Ken or equivalent special attack just when they are getting up from the floor. note  That move would stun the opponent allowing you to give them another lock. Lather, rinse, and repeat.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: During the time of its original release, Art of Fighting was often derided as being a knockoff of Capcom's Street Fighter II. But years later, several of the features first introduced by AOF were integrated into Street Fighter's gameplay.
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    • The main example is, of course, the use of Super Combos and super meters to regulate them. And, by Street Fighter IV, Capcom had even adapted AOF's Desperation Attacks in the form of Ultra Combos.
    • Taunts were also first seen in AOF and later used in the Alpha series (as popularized by AOF parody Dan Hibiki). However, the taunts wouldn't gain any practicality until the Personal Actions seen in 3rd Strike (whereas taunts in AOF drain the opponent's Spirit Gauge).
    • Ryo is often mocked as a "Ryu clone", yet his upper and lower body parries which he's had since AOF3 have now become Ryu's V-Skill in Street Fighter V. And Ryu's Shinku Hadoken becomes closer in appearance to Ryo's Haoh Sho Koh Ken with each iteration.
    • Likewise, Robert was seen as SNK's answer to Ken. Yet, years later, Capcom started borrowing aspects of Robert's character. Such as giving Ken a ponytail (starting in the Alpha series), adapting Robert's propensity for kicks, even lifting Robert's backstory verbatim as Ken's note .
  • It Was His Sled:
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    • King is a woman. The second game and The King of Fighters games don't even bother to hide it.
    • Mr. Karate is Takuma. It's even a running gag in their KOF endings.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Yuri holds the distinction of being SNK's most shipped character, in both doujinshi and fanfiction.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I must use Haoh Sho Ko Ken," spawned from the intermission scene of Ryo in the first game riding his motorcycle while still wearing his dogi and geta sandals, which was then made fun of and spoofed through a variety of other games. SNK themselves referenced it in The King of Fighters XIV, though it's uttered by Richard Meyer—who quickly remembers he can't use the Haoh Sho Ko Ken—during his misfortunes in the Women Fighters Team's ending.
  • Narm:
    • The live-action Japanese commercial for Art of Fighting 2, complete with 80's theme song. Try watching it with a straight face, we dare you.
    • The US version of Art of Fighting 2 redubs some of Robert's, King's and John's lines with English-speaking actors, and Mr. Big and Geese are voiced in English in either version. The problem is, nobody can act or kiai worth a damn. "Ha-HA! Piece of... cake!"
  • Sequelitis: Art of Fighting 3 is generally considered to be the weakest entry in the series, with many critics citing the poor balance as a major problem.
  • Uncanny Valley: While the new animation in Art of Fighting 3 was very impressive for the time, the fluidity looks weird and unnatural at times.
  • Video-Game Movies Suck: The TV special.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Art of Fighting 3 is easily one of the most graphically impressive fighting games ever made. The character animations are amazingly smooth (since they were made via Rotoscoping), the background art is immensely detailed, and it features both sprite scaling and parallax scrolling at the same time. Did we mention this game came out in 1996?
  • Woolseyism: The English translation of the second game was almost a Gag Translation, changing the serious tone of most endings into jokes, which are arguably much more enjoyable than the originals. Curiously, the Spanish-translated version of the game retains the serious tone of the original Japanese dialogue.
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