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Template:Infobox VG character K′ or K Dash (ケイ・ダッシュ Kei Dasshu?, also known as K Prime in certain English language materials), is a video game character from The King of Fighters fighting game series developed by SNK Playmore (formerly known as "SNK"). He debuted as the leader of the Hero Team in The King of Fighters '99 released in 1999. He stars as the reluctant hero in the NESTS story arc of the series. He was created to be a "dark hero" in contrast to the previous protagonist from the series, Kyo.

K′ is a young man who lost all his memories when the NESTS syndicate captured him and injected the DNA of the powerful fighter Kyo Kusanagi into him to copy Kusanagi's pyrokinetic abilities. K', wanting to prove that he is more than just an artifact, betrays NESTS and decides to destroy them for using his body and deleting all his memories. Although he hates tournaments, K' uses the King of Fighters tournaments to find the NESTS members and defeat them. In his search, he meets allies who have the same goal and join forces. Aside from the main series, K' also appears in several other media series, such as spin-offs and crossover video games, as well as printed adaptations of the series.

Ever since introduced in the series, K′ has received both positive and negative comments by video game publications. The character's gameplay has been praised for its style and differences from previous known fighting styles. His absence in The King of Fighters XII was found controversial to the point his return in the following game was made mainly due to popular response from the character.


K' is a former subject from an experiment made by the NESTS organization. In their attempt to create powerful soldiers, NESTS kidnapped K' and injected him with DNA from the fighter Kyo Kusanagi, giving him his pyrokinetic skills. Unlike Kyo, K' is only able to create fire from his right hand, which he is sometimes unable to control. He wears a glove to protect his body from being accidentally burned. During the program, NESTS repressed the memories of K', and he was made to believe that he was Krizalid's clone. While in NESTS, K' became enraged with how the organization played with human lives, and escaped to recover his memories. As he could not even remember his name, K' decided to destroy NESTS in order to stop their experiments.[1]

In the process, he allied with Maxima, a cyborg whose best friend was killed by NESTS agents and tries to take revenge. While Maxima sees K' as a friend and his partner, K' is stoic and cynical.[2] He also meets Whip, who is revealed to be a clone of his sister, Seirah. Even though Whip reveals her identity to K', he ignores this, saying he will do what he pleases.[3] Although he hates The King of Fighters tournaments, he commonly enters there, being asked by someone or to find NESTS.[4] After destroying NESTS, K' starts recovering his memories, but he suspects he could forget all the people he has met. He also becomes determined to prove he is better than Kyo, instead of being only a clone.[5]

Conception and creation

To contrast the previous protagonist of the series, Kyo Kusanagi, K' was made to be the "dark hero".[6] During the early phases of development of The King of Fighters '99, the introduction of K' to the series was meant to remove popular characters Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami from the roster—though this idea was scrapped in the game's release.[7] Eiji, one of the game's designers, commented that he thought K' would be more popular than he turned out to be, noting that K′ was too plain.[7] Music composer Sha-V suggested that K' should yell "Dora!" or "Ora!" to mirror Kyo and Iori's shouts, "Doushita!" and "Kurei!" respectively. Konny, another music composer, jokingly wondered if K′ is trying to say the word "dry", since the first word of his yell was "Dorei!"[8]

K' has been noted by several of the series' designers as being one of the most difficult characters to illustrate, since his look is very different when he is drawn by different illustrators.[9] In early development from the game, K′ had a slicked back hairstyle, but as it was nixed by his powers, the character's hair was changed. They also jokingly mentioned that the reason for his hair being bushier than need be may be a reflection of the conditions around him. The King of Fighters '99 was developed at the same time of Garou: Mark of the Wolves; developers noted several similarities between K' and Mark of the Wolves' main character, Rock Howard, which caused K′'s designer to become very nervous.[10] The producer of The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match, Neogeo Hakase, advised advanced players to use K′ as he commented once the player has learnt well how to control him, the character would become very strong during fights.[11]

For The King of Fighters XIII, K′'s design was worked with the concept of his cool appearance. Developers like the result as his moves were carefully detailed, such as one in which he puts his sunglasses.[12] His gameplay mechanics were worked so that gamers who used to use him would not find him weird. His "Narrow Spike" special move was removed due to developers considering it too powerful to the game. In contrast to Kyo's flames, K′'s flames were designed with intent of making them look more violent. As a result of various The King of Fighters endings showing K′ removing his red glove, a special move was meant to show him doing the same action. After thinking of several methods that would show that, the staff was inspired by The King of Fighters HK Comics printed adaptations in which the character's glove once broke after defeating his opponent, leading to his winpose that happens exclusively after using his strongest technique. Following various revisions of K′'s "Chain Drive" (チェーンドライブ?) technique in order to better follow the material that inspired the move, the staff decided to make K′ fight while wearing his sunglasses.[13]


In video games

In The King of Fighters '99, K' and Maxima hear of a King of Fighters tournament being held by NESTS itself, and decide to participate, facing NESTS head-on. They form a "Hero Team" along with Benimaru Nikaido and Shingo Yabuki.[2] The Hero Team is taken to a NESTS base, where they meet NESTS agent Krizalid, who claims that K′ was cloned from him, but both are ignorant to the fact that K′ was the original.[14] After Krizalid rrequests K′ to join him, the two end up fighting.[1] Following Krizalid's defeat, K′ and Maxima become targets of NESTS.[15] In The King of Fighters 2000, K' and Maxima enter a new tournament, along with the mercenaries Vanessa and Ramon. K' and Maxima enter the tournament to discover NESTS's scheme, but Vanessa and Ramon are using them to find NESTS.[16] K' and his team make it to the finals and face the NESTS agent Zero. They eventually defeat Zero, while Kula Diamond, a clone designed to be the Anti-K', manages to stop Zero's weapons. K' and Maxima are separated from their teammates, but are joined by Whip.[3]

In The King of Fighters 2001, K', Maxima, and Whip are joined by Lin, a Hizoku assassin who has a grudge against Ron, who betrayed the Hizoku to join NESTS.[17] During the tournament, K' and his team face the original Zero—the one they met during the events of The King of Fighters 2000 having been a clone—and the new NESTS leader, Igniz, with the latter having the secrets to unlock his memories.[18] After Igniz commits suicide, K' forms an alliance with Kula and her guardian Diana to continue their lives.[19][20] In The King of Fighters 2002, a game without a storyline, K' is a playable character, along with Maxima and Whip.[21] In The King of Fighters 2003, K' and Maxima are given an entrance to that year's tournament by Chin Gentsai, to investigate a dark wave around the King of Fighters.[4] In the finals, K' faces Mukai, a demon that belongs to the group "Those from the Past". Although K' defeats Mukai, he is bothered by Mukai's taunts about reaching his true potential.[22] In The King of Fighters XI, K' enters the tournament with Maxima and Kula, in order to surpass his limits.[5] The King of Fighters XIII retains the same team from The King of Fighters XI, with K' teaming with Kula and Maxima.[23]

Aside from the main series, K' has also appeared in other media from The King of Fighters series. K' appears in the spin-off video game series The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact and Neowave. In Neowave, K' is playable, along with Maxima and Whip; while in Maximum Impact, he fights alone (as do all characters in the game).[24][25] In the Maximum Impact series, he enters into the King of Fighters tournaments searching for the host who sponsored it. In the crossover video game Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, K' is featured as a playable character.[26]

In other media

In the anime The King of Fighters: Another Day, K' is featured prominently in the third chapter. K' also appears in the manhua adaptation of The King of Fighters: Zillion that was created by Andy Seto. He stars in further manhua for the games, starting in The King of Fighters 2001 through 2003, along with the Maximum Impact series.[27] He also appears in the CD dramas KOF 2000, in which he confronts Kula Diamond, and KOF: Mid Summer Struggle, in which he appears in a fake King of Fighters tournament.


The character K' has been well received by fans; in a 2005 poll by SNK Playmore USA, he was voted the fans' fourth favorite character, with a total of 338 votes.[28] His character has also been used as the mascot for The King of Fighters's 15th anniversary.[29]

K' has received praise and criticism from several video game publications and other media. Scott Daylor from labelled him a "lame" addition to the character roster in The King of Fighters '99.[30] Jeff Keely of Gaming Age liked playing with K', as he is able to use various flame attacks that differ from other fire-using characters.[31] praised K' as among the most inspired new character designs in The King of Fighters series since Iori Yagami in The King of Fighters '95, noting his unique fighting style: merely "Violence" which contrast other known fighting styles. Additionally, it was stated that anything involving the character's sunglasses qualified as the best pose from the game.[32] In another review, Jeremy Dunham from IGN noted that Eolith had revoiced K' in The King of Fighters 2001 for PlayStation 2, listing the character among those that provided "plenty of old-school enjoyment".[33] FileFactory Games commented that K' appears in a "fun to watch" CG movie in KOF: Maximum Impact 2, even though "neither of these movies actually make any sense at all".[34]

Critics have also commented on the character's role in the printed adaptations of the franchise. A. E. Sparrow, reviewing the graphic novel King of Fighters 2003: Volume 4 for IGN, commented that K' is "sufficiently heroic" with the comic allowing to explore his motivations.[35] Reviewing volume five, Mania Entertainment's Ben Leary said the K'-heavy storyline makes "one of the wildest transitions I've seen in a comic yet" with K' involved in a conflict related with Japanese mythology for no apparent reason. However, he said that the way K' receives new powers to defeat Mukai is "self-contradictory" and that "nothing really happens as a result" of such event.[36]

On the official SNK Playmore King of Fighters anniversary website, an image of K' drawn in the style of the other The King of Fighters XII participants appeared, along with a similar image of Mai Shiranui, leading speculation that they would appear in the game.[37][38] UTV Ignition Entertainment's business development director Shane Bettenhausen refused to answer to this rumors, but noted fans asked more about Mai's absence.[39] None of them made it into the game which caused discontent within gamers.[40] In official press releases by Atlus regarding The King of Fighters XIII, it was stated that K′'s return was due to popular demand.[41][42]


External links

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