Fire users, we sure had plenty of them in fighting games in general, and in KOF in particular. I even made a top ten list of fighters using this element of nature. On the other hand, characters using the opposite element are very rare for some reason. Which makes the star of this article, Kula Diamond, a one of a kind as the only ice user in KOF.
Introduced for the first time in 2000, her creation was meant to counterbalance the presence of the Nests saga's protagonist K'. And since then she became a stable character in the following installments, with the only exception of KOF 2003. And while I did briefly tackle her story in the previous article, here is just a lot more going on with Kula that a dedicated episode had to be made for her.
The Story of Kula Diamond
We know nothing about Kula's origins. Her birthplace and nationality are a total mystery. She was most likely kidnapped at a very young age by Nests. Like many other unfortunate children, she was destined to become a human test subject.
Kula was raised in a research facility belonging to the evil Syndicate. Her memory was erased and emotions were repressed. They wanted to make her a clod killing machine, and they succeeded. Kula used to felt nothing when she ends the lives of countless of her employer's enemies. At some point, she was forced to enter the anti-K program. A procedure that aimed to create the perfect weapon to counter the traitor K'. She was genetically enhanced to master the power of creating and controlling ice. Kula was the first and, to our knowledge, only successful test after a big deal of failed attempts that resulted in the death of many young girls who weren't as lucky. The most famous among them was Nameless's girlfriend Isolde.
To avoid committing the same mistake they made with K', Nests created an android and named her Candy. She was tasked to assist and monitor Kula in her mission. Even though she was a Robot, Candy wasn't deprived of emotions. For some reason, Nests built a semblance of personality within her circuits. Ironically, they regressed Kula's own personality to that of a child. Not that she was a mature woman, to begin with. She was technically still a kid. At the age of 14, Kula was given the mission to infiltrate KOF 2000 and eliminate Nests enemies.
The King of Fighters 2000
Kula was not an official participant in KOF 2000. While the matches between the different fighters were raging, she, on the other hand, was secretly looking for her targets along with her robotic friend. But Candy wasn't the only help Kula could rely on. Nests ordered two of their most trusty agents, Foxy and Diana, also known as the Bee and the Butterfly, to supervise Kula, and most importantly, keep a close eye on her. While they were serious and determined in completing their mission, both women grew attached to Kula over time. They never saw or treated her as a weapon like the rest of Nests personnel. She was in a way like a daughter to both of them. And even though it's true that they were the ones who always ordered her around and chose her next target, they made sure to prioritize her safety above all and assist her if needed.
Kula ended up finding K' and his team just coming out victorious from one of their matches. Immediately, her overseers ordered her to take action. She unleashed the full extent of her powers causing the entire area to freeze. That was the only time we saw Kula ready to fight with all her potential. The combat between the two natural enemies was ferocious. A brutal clash of ice and fire.
Their dual ended in a draw, however, and Kula was ordered to abort her mission for a more urgent task. Clone Zero, the former top operative who had betrayed Nests was finally located. It was up to her and her companions to find and eliminate him. But most importantly, they had to secure the weapon he stole from Nests, the Zero canon.
While Foxy and Diana decided to deal with the traitor personally, Kula went to space with Candy to reach the weapon. Her orders were clear, she was to stop the weapon from firing another shot and take possession of it. But for the first time, she willingly disobeyed her orders and made her own mind. Kula decided to sabotage the Zero canon which led to its destruction.
However, the explosion knocked her out and she was going to fall to her imminent death. But in an unexpected twist, Candy sacrificed herself to save her by protecting Kula's body during the fall. Kula miraculously survived, but the price was heavy. Candy was damaged beyond repair. She may have been a robot, but she was also Kula's only friend. The trauma she felt that day, made her start questioning the meaning of her own existence.
The King of Fighters 2001
2001 Saw Nests setting their plans in motions to settle scores with all their enemies. They publicly organized that year's edition of KOF and formed their own team. The said team was composed of Foxy, an enhanced agent named Angel, the latest Kyo clone K9999, and of course Kula Diamond. Everything was going smoothly during the tourney until a new betrayal happened within that very same team. After he learned the origin of his creation, K9999 decided to turn against Nests, and Angel joined him. Kula and Foxy were not expecting an act of treason from their other two companions. Just as she let her guard down, Foxy was attacked from behind. The two culprits discouraged Kula from any retaliation. She was strong, true.
But taking on two of Nests top agents at the same time was too much, even for her. Even though she was furious for what they did to Foxy, somewhere deep within her heart, she understood their actions. They just wanted to be freed from Nests, just as she did. With the two new traitors gone and foxy heavily wounded, Kula was left on her own. She wanted to learn the origin of her existence, and know if she really wanted to do Nests bedding for the rest of her life.
K''s team was qualified for the finals, and they were taken away aboard a blimp to meet the sponsor of the tournament in person. Kula managed to sneak up on the aircraft and kept hiding during the ride. The blimp turned into a space ship and arrived at a satellite in space where the main headquarters of Nests were located. No wonder Heidern and the Ikari warriors never succeeded in finding it.
Kula stumbled upon unexpected passengers. Kyo and Iori were also trespassing. The former was there for his personal vendetta against Nests. He wasn't going to forgive kidnapping him and using his DNA without saying please. Iori was there, for Kyo. They all heard Igniz's megalomaniac speech about how everyone was mean for his own amusement, and witnessed K' and his teammates getting smashed by the 56 years old man.
Kula had always questioned her loyalty to Nests, but after seeing and hearing all that, there was no more room for hesitation. Joining her Kyo, Iori, and her Nemesis K', the final battle against Igniz began. The handsome old man ran out of luck this time and lost the fight.
As if he took lessons from Rugal in the art of sore loserness, he proceeded to crash the satellite on earth and kill everyone on board. Fortunately, it didn't explode as intended and fell into the sea. Kula was going to drown for sure if it wasn't for K' who saved her.
With Nests gone, there was no reason for the hostility to remain. They both decided to make peace with each other and turn the page on their past lives. Whip chose to take care of the young girl, becoming, in a way, her big sister.
The King of Fighters 2003
Before she entered the 2003 tournament with her brother and Maxima, Whip entrusted Kula to Diana, who had cut all ties with Nests, to take care of her during her absence. But even though she knew Diana from before, it appears that Kula grew more attached to Whip. She kept complaining all the time about being treated as a kid, but in reality, she just messed her big sister.
The King of Fighters 2011
After she rejoined the Ikari warriors, Whip asked Kula to take her place beside K' for KOF 11. Her team was working indirectly under Heidern's orders and was tasked to report anything they could find about Those From The Past during the tournament. Once the competition came to a close, they were invited to Heidern's meeting about the malevolent clan. Getting bewildered by all the people present did not stop Kula from sensing the presence of their enemy moments before they made their appearance. As strange as it may sounds, she became a cell phone friend with Kung-Fu master Chin, who at some point, promised to buy her a lot of ice cream if she does what he asked her.
The King of Fighters XIII
Chin's request was to convince K' to enter KOF XIII after he turned him down previously. As it turned out, the old man was just as concerned about Those From The Past as the Ikari Warriors and wanted someone helping him investigate.
Tempted with the ice cream, Kula just went ahead and enlisted herself, K' and Maxima without their permission, leaving them no choice but to enter the tournament. That suited Heidern too, who took advantage of their presence to order them to explore an ancient site believed to have some connections with Those From The Past, located in the freezing of Saudi Arabia. It was probably at that moment when Kula regretted entering KOF 13.
The King of Fighters XIV
The next tournament had many surprises for the young woman as she wasn't expecting to meet remnant figures from her past life. First, there was Sylvie, an unfinished experiment of Nests whom Kula bonded with immediately. After all, they were roughly at the same age and shared a common tragic past.
The second figure was a lot less friendly. It was clear that there was still bad blood between Kula and Angel when they faced each other. Angel hated Kula and kept insulting her for being a creation of Nests. and the latter still held a grudge against the white-haired woman for what she did to Foxy before. When the tournament ended, they headed to the Ikari's warriors base and reported what they learned about Verse. At least that's why her two partners went there, Kula tagged along mainly for the ice cream.
KOF Maximum Impact
But you would be wrong to think that her motivations are always related to her appetite for sweetmeat. Despite her apparent selfishness, Kula is a caring ice girl with a warm heart. That was shown in an alternate timeline, when her uncle figure, Maxima, was in trouble. When his nuclear core, which is the equivalent of a heart, was damaged in Maximum Impact 2, Maxima was in a dire need of help from the scientist who had originally turned him into a Cyborg, a certain Dr. Makishima. Rumors were that he was kidnapped by Added, the evil syndicate behind the organizing of KOF Maximum Impact.
Kula entered the tournament in search of the said scientist. During her adventure there, she met one of Addes agents, a young assassin named Nagase, who tried to stop her advance. Nagase was also genetically enhanced and had more or less the same age as Kula. They became rivals instantly and heated combat burst out between them. Kula came out victorious and left the defeated agent, but not without leaving a souvenir on her unconscious face. Sadly, she couldn't fulfill her objective as she learned that Makishima was taken to another castle, I mean to another base.
With a promise of an Ice cream waiting for her, she rushed back home, with Nagase hot on her heels, determined to make her pay for the unwanted makeup.
Fighting Style & Powers
One thing that is interesting about Kula, is that despite her relatively small stature, her normals reach is pretty long. They also resemble those of K', just like her outfit which is almost the same as his. Obviously, her main source of power is Cryokinesis.
Unlike other elements, Kula is the only ice user in KOF, which makes her a very unique character. Her control over this element is simply outstanding. When she is ready to fight, she hears hair color changes from light brown to blue upon activating her powers. Kula can create ice out of thin air, with her hands, feet, hair, and even her breath.
Her ice breath acts as a fast and short-ranged projectile. It can be delayed to trick her opponent and be followed by other attacks.
She is able to empower her punches with ice to give them more strength or enhance their range. As said before, she can turn her hair into sharp pointy spikes to counter aerial attacks, but that's far from being her only anti-air move.
Kula's defensive options are quite good. She is capable of freezing her enemy's projectiles and kicking them back where they came from. Speaking of her kicks, she is good at ice skating and uses this strength point to enhance her mobility. Kula doesn't run, she slides by freezing the floor and creating ice skates at the bottom of her shoes.
Kula blocks by creating a barricade of ice that is perfect to stop most attacks. Though that doesn't mean the barricade is perfect. She can still suffer from chip damage if the attack is too powerful.
Her super, Diamond edge, where she creates a pillar of ice, is perfect as an anti-air move as well. Kula's throws show her freezing her opponent upon touching them, but you would be wrong to think that she needs to be close in order for that to happen. Kula is in fact totally capable of freezing her opponents in a giant ice cube from distance.
Depending on the game, she can be seen assisted by other characters, and that goes from a simple throw to her devastating super Freeze Execution. It is one of the most impressive supers of the series. Her two overseers attack her adversary first before Kula freezes the entire air around them, causing them a huge deal of damage. The super looks a lot like Orochi's return to nothingness, and that's saying something.
The Funny thing about Kula is that she never fights with 100% of her powers, out of fear of harming others accidentally, and that includes her opponent as well. She just wants to win a match, without killing anybody.
So yeah, considering all the techniques mentioned before, It's scary to imagine that Kula wasn't even serious. However, she can be very naive and upfront sometimes. If she hates someone, she'd straight out tell them to their face, and if she likes them, she'd share her ice cream with them. Something she rarely does.
Her origins are unknown, and she doesn't even remember her real family if she ever had one. But she did find a loving old sister figure in Whip, a caring uncle in Maxima, and a reliable brother K', although the latter is a bit too grumpy for her taste. At the end of the day, Kula is just a carefree kid whose childhood was ruined by Nests.
She gets easily excited over trivial things as if she is discovering the world for the first time. And only gets mad when she is treated like a kid or called a weapon. But the most important thing, Kula is no longer the cold-blooded murderer she used to be. I mean she is still cold but in a warm and friendly way, if that makes any sense. I hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks for reading.