The Story Of Kyo Kusanagi (And His Clones) - The King of Fighters

The Story Of Kyo Kusanagi
The Story Of Kyo Kusanagi

Without the shadow of a doubt, Kyo Kusanagi is the most recognizable character in the King of Fighters series. And we are talking about a franchise that includes characters like Terry and Ryo, 2 of the most famous main protagonists made by SNK. 

Legend of Kusanagi Clan

Cocky, arrogant but kind-hearted and well-meaning, Kyo is the heir of the Kusanagi family, One of the three clans that defeated Orochi 1800 years ago. The other 2 clans being Yata and Yagami, the swore enemies of the Kusanagis

Due to his bloodline, Kyo inherited one of the 3 sacred treasures that were used to vanquish Orochi, the sword of Kusanagi. From his young age, he was subjected to very strict training by his father Saisyu. And although his mother, Shizuka, was initially against her husband's harsh education, she ended up being proud of her son's remarkable prowess in combat. 

But when it came to his scholarship, Kyo was far less genius. In fact, he had no interest in studies and was unable to graduate from high school. Though he considered himself a pretty skilled poet, most of his listeners do not agree with him. 

Despite his delinquent attitude, Kyo treasures his friends and enjoys being around them. He would do anything to defend them, especially his girlfriend Yuki, who has a special place in his heart. If there was someone that Kyo hates above anything, it would be without a doubt his arch-enemy the heir of the Yagami clan, Iori

He seems to detest him as much as the red-haired man does regardless of their families past. But he can also show signs of maturity. On multiple occasions, Kyo managed to put aside his differences with Iori and ally with him especially when they had to face a common strong foe. But their alliance never lasts for long, before they both jump to each other throat.

The King of Fighters '94 

In 1994, Rugal Bernstein, a notorious crime lord, organized his own version of KOF for the purpose of entertaining himself. Rugal had this sick hobby of turning strong fighters into metal statues to add to his gruesome collection and he intended to do the same with the future winners of his competition. With the help of his secretaries, he sent invitations to the most powerful warriors in the world the rules were that the participants had to team up with each other, forming 8 teams composed of 3 fighters each. 

Just before the tournament started, Rugal was challenged by Saisyu who embarked on his own quest to fight strong opponents. but he was easily beaten and severely injured. Against all odds, the rookies of team Japan, composed of Kyo, the Judo champion Daimon and the model with electrical power, Benimaru, made it to the finals. 

They were invited by Mature, who posed as Rugal's secretary, to board an aircraft carrier called Black Noah. It was then when Kyo saw the defeated Saisyu lying on the ground and learned about Rugal's true intentions. 

With the help of his teammates, he beat the crime boss and avenged his father. but being a sore loser, Rugal initiated the self destruct mechanism of the ship. luckily, Kyo and his friends succeeded to escape and avoided the explosion. 

Rugal was believed dead and the fate of Saisyu was unknown. Little do they know, Rugal survived as well thanks to his Orochi powers and managed to revive Saisyu

He ordered his second secretary, Vice, to brainwash him, as he planned to have a surprise for our heroes.

The King of Fighters '95 

The next year, he sent invites to the same teams, hoping that team Japan would make it to the finals again so he can have his revenge against them. Intrigued by the seal on the invitations, the heroes team entered the 95's tournament to know more about its host. 

Kyo faced his rival Iori during one of the matches and won against him. At the end of the competition, the team Japan was kidnapped and brought in front of Rugal. 

He introduced the brainwashed Saisyu and forced them to fight him. Kyo had to use force to subdue his father and helped him regain his senses. Unhappy with the combat result, Rugal decided to settle things himself transforming into Omega Rugal by using his Orochi powers. 

But even that was not enough to avoid his second defeat. he tried to use more of the Orochi energy, but he ended up vaporized by its overwhelming power. 

The King of Fighters '96

1996, Kyo's peaceful life was suddenly interrupted when he was challenged by a mysterious individual, who turned out later to be the leader of the Hakkesshu, Goenitz. the same man that gave Rugal his mysterious powers. 

Drunk with overconfidence, Kyo rushed toward his opponent only to be instantly beaten and sent to the hospital. 

Humiliated, Kyo trained hard after his recovery and invented new fighting techniques in order to have his revenge against this unknown assailant. He had a feeling that he will show up during 96's edition of KOF, and so he convinced Benimaru and Daimon to enter the competition with him forming team Japan again. 

They reached Chizuru, the host of the tournament, and defeated her. then suddenly, a windstorm arose and destroyed the stadium. Goenitz was behind it and he was there to finish the heirs of the 3 clans that defeated Orochi in the past. Kyo, Iori, and Chizuru had no choice but to team up with each other if they wanted to have a chance against Goenitz and his monstrous strength. 

Once defeated, Chizuru tried to warn Kyo of his clan's destiny. but he just ignored her, seemingly uninterested in his duties as the Kusanagi heir. 

The commercial success of the 96 edition of KOF had quite an impact on Kyo's life. He became very popular in high school and started to have his unwanted share of annoying fans. The most persistent one among them was a student named Shingo Yabuki who pestered Kyo whenever he could to teach him how to fight like him. 

Under the pressure of his relentless requests, Kyo ended up making Shingo his pupil as long as he can get free meals from him. 

The King of Fighters '97

When KOF 97 was announced to be sponsored by famous corporations, Kyo and his fateful teammates entered the tournament hoping that this time it would just be a healthy competition with no bad intention behind its organizing. 

They couldn't be any further from the truth. As usual, they reached the finals, but they were suddenly attacked by Iori and Leona who were in a berserk state called the Riot of the blood. After vanquishing the wild Iori, Kyo and his friends learned that the new faces team were actually the remaining members of the Hakkesshu and that they used the competitor's energy to awaken Orochi.

Yashiro told Kyo that they also kidnapped his girlfriend Yuki in order to be used as a sacrifice for their lord's resurrection. However, Kyo and his teammates stopped them before they could finish the ritual which forced Orochi to use Chris's body instead to materialize while Yashiro and Shermie sacrificed themselves to provide the last bit of energy to the demon. 

With the help of Iori and Chizuru, the sacred team repeated what their ancestors did 1800 years ago and won the fight against Orochi, though it was just for a brief moment. 

Orochi stood up again and tried to make Iori turn against Kyo and Chizuru. But the red-headed fighter resisted Orochi's mind control and instead, subdued the demon by the neck. Without wasting time, Kyo gathered all his strength and gave the death blow to Orochi, creating an immense explosion that knocked him out as well.

The King of Fighters '99

Kyo was not going to wake up anytime soon, as some mysterious men took advantage of his unconsciousness and kidnapped him so they can use the man that just defeated Orochi for their own shady goals. 

The men that kidnapped Kyo were agents of the criminal syndicate known as Nests. For 2 years, they used his DNA to create thousands of clones in order to take over the world. They also infused the said DNA in other fighters giving them the ability to create and manipulate fire. 

When Kyo woke up, he had no idea where he was or how much time had passed while unconscious. He managed to escape and learned about Nests. He decided to stop them on his own. When Nests learned about his escape, they summoned 2 of his clones, Kyo 1 and Kyo 2 perfect copies who had the same abilities as the original Kyo including the Pyrokinesis. 

The first clone was known to be serious and never underestimates his opponent while the second one was cocky and arrogant. However, they both share the same hatred for the original Kyo. and so Nests ordered them to find and kill him. 

But they could never fulfill their mission, as they were both presumably destroyed with the other clones when K' and his team defeated Kryzalid and put an end to his clones project. 

The King of Fighters 2001

When Nests officially announced that they organized the KOF 2001 for the sake of gathering all their enemies in one place and crashing them, Kyo joined his old friends and entered the tournament. 

Later on, helped to defeat their boss, Ignis, and miraculously survived the crash of the satellite into the ocean. But before he could move on from this chapter of his life, he had one last fight with his eternal rival, Iori.

The King of Fighters 2003 

2 years later, they both were contacted by Chizuru to help her investigate suspicious activities related to the Orochi's seal. It was Kyo who aggressively expressed his refusal to team up with Iori which, a few days later, led Chizuru to be a victim to a mind-control technique from a group called those from the past, who had the intention to use the Orochi powers for their own goals. 

Under their control, Chizuru created a copy of Kyo, she called him the Kusanagi. Although he was very similar to the aforementioned Kyo 1 and 2 he was not the product of Nests cloning technology but rather the result of the Yata mirror's magic, Chizuru's sacred treasure. Kusanagi was made to love combat and lived only to test his skills against strong opponents. 

He mastered all Kyo's techniques from KOF 95 and even invented new moves that the original never had. His mission was to test the participants of KOF 2003 and see if they were fit to be part of the new age. 

The new world order that those from the past were working to establish. During the competition, Kusanagi was defeated by K's team and was never heard of again. Freed from the control of those from the past, Chizuru was at last joined by Iori and the real Kyo

But before she could repair the broken seal, Ash Crimson attacked her from behind and stole her treasure. Frustrated by this turn of events, Kyo swore to avenge the young woman.

The King of Fighters 2004 

Unwilling to repeat the same mistake as before, Kyo and Iori teamed up and entered the following KOF tournament with the intention to find Ash and make him pay for what he did. 

They were joined by Shingo as a substitute for Chizuru who could no longer fight. However, there were others beside them who were also looking for Ash. 

The new rivals team, composed of Benimaru, Duo Lon, and Ash's childhood friend Elisabeth, joined the competition for that purpose as well and it was them who managed to make it to the finals and defeat its hosts Shion and Magaki

Though it did not matter at all, the goal of this tournament was already achieved and the goal was gathering enough energy for the resurrection of Orochi. The growing presence of the demon led Iori to enter the Riot of the blood state and severely injured his teammates. 

He was going to finish Kyo if it wasn't for Ash who, just like with Chizuru, attacked the enraged man from behind and stole his sacred treasure.

The King of Fighters XIII

Before he disappeared, he left a message with the rivals team, Kyo was going to be next. But Kyo wasn't going to wait patiently for anybody to steal his Kusanagi sword and run from the hospital before his complete recovery. 

He didn't go far before he was attacked by 2 members of those from the past. Intimidated by his fiery attacks, the aggressors chose to end the fight and gave him the invitation to the next KOF tournament before running away. 

Even though he knew that Ash was after his sacred treasure, Kyo chose to confront him rather than hiding and convinced his all-time friends Benimaru and Daimon to Join him forming team Japan once again. But he was wrong about Ash, the young lad was just pretending to work for those from the past. 

He stole the Yata mirror and the Yasakani jewel only to have enough power to defeat their leader Saiki. He had no longer the need to take the Kusanagi sword. Team Japan won the tournament unaware of Ash's sacrifice. Their celebration was interrupted by Iori who, after regaining his purple flames, came to challenge Kyo for another undecided match.

The King of Fighters XIV 

Before the events of KOF 14, the Kusanagi patriarch  Saisyu and the Kung fu master Tung Fu Rue summoned Kyo and his friends and warned them about the arrival of a new threat that will cause untold chaos. 

Saisyu then gave them the invitations to the tournament and tasked them to work together with the new students of Tung in order to stop this new enemy. Kyo and his teammates made it to the finals and vanquished the host of the tournament Antonov. 

Unlike most of the people present in the stadium, they were not surprised when the entity known as Verse appeared. They followed Saisyu's request and destroyed the demon. Before they left, Kyo encouraged Shun'ei to keep training to fully control Verse's powers within him. 

Once in the airport, he received a message from Chizuru asking him to join her in Hungary. He met Iori there and discovered that Orochi was resurrected when Verse was destroyed. 

Luckily, the legendary being was still in a weakened state and without hesitation, the three members of the sacred treasured team finished Orochi for the second time.

Fighting Style & Powers

Kyo is a practitioner of the Kusanagi ancient martial arts, a style of combat taught only to members of the Kusanagi clan. He also uses his new version of Kenpo for his normal attacks Just like his father, and mother, Kyo can create and manipulate flames out of thin air. his fire techniques include fireballs, pillars of fire and even putting his own body on fire. 

However, this does not make him immune to other types of fire, and also, his rival's purple flames remain superior to his as they have the extra ability to immobilize their victim. 

To compensate for this disadvantage, Kyo invented a huge variety of moves like his series of chain punches with several different follow-ups. His clones Kyo 2 and Kusanagi use modified versions of his fighting styles. 

More specifically, his move sets from KOF 97 and 95. The most interesting clone though is Kyo 1 whose style is heavily modified and arranged. Compared to Kyo 2 and Kusanagi, Kyo 1's attacks are more original. 

Besides fighting, Kyo likes driving his motorcycle, and Ironically he enjoys Ice hockey despite being a fire user. He's also famous for changing his outfit with each new chapter of the series. 

So if you ever wondered what saga your favorite game belongs to, just look at what Kyo is wearing. Although many protagonists have been established for each arch of the series, no one can deny that Kyo was and always will be the real hero of the king of fighters.

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