K' or K Dash (also known as K Prime in certain English language materials), is a video game character from The King of Fighters series developed by SNK Playmore. He debuted as the leader of the Hero Team in The King of Fighters '99. He stars as the reluctant hero in the NESTS saga of the series. He was created to be a "dark hero" in order to contrast the previous protagonists from the series.
K' is a young person who lost all his memories when the NESTS syndicate captured him and inserted in him the DNA of the powerful fighter Kyo Kusanagi to copy his fire abilities. K′, wanting to prove himself more than object, betrays NESTS and decides to destroy them for using his body and deleting all his memories. Although hating tournaments, K′ uses the The King of Fighters tournaments to find the NESTS members and defeats them. In his search, he also meets a person named Maxima who has his same purposes and become partners. Aside from the main series, K′ also appears in several other media series such as spin-offs and crossover video games as well as comic adaptations of the series.
K' was ranked 4th in the 2005 SNK Playmore USA fan popularity poll.
Conception and creationEdit
To contrast the previous protagonist of the series, Kyo Kusanagi, K′ was made to be the "dark hero". The origins of both K′ and Maxima can be found in the Psikyo arcade game The Fallen Angels (Daraku Tenshi in Japan). This obscure 1998 release stars an emaciated goth in tight leather pants named Cool, along with a brawny, cybernetically enhanced police officer named Harry Ness. The end result is that K′ looks nearly identical to Cool. His namesake was taken from a clone character in the light novel, Blue Knight Beluzaga Monogatari, which is set in the same universe as the anime, Armored Trooper Votoms. During the early phases of development of The King of Fighters '99, K''s introduction 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. Eiji, a designer from the video games commented he thought that K' would be more popular than how he resulted and also noted K′ was too plain. Music composer Sha-V's was the one who suggested that K' should yell "Dora!" or "Ora!". He reasoned that these shouts are K''s equivalent to Kyo and Iori's shouts, "Doushita!" "Kurei!", respectively. Konny, another music composer, jokingly wonders if he is trying to say the word "dry" since the first word of his yell was "Dorei!".
Another K', a striker character from The King of Fighters 2000, was the final rendition of K' outside of a last-minute hairstyle change. He had brown hair and sported a violet costume. 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. They also mentioned that the reason for his hair being bushier than need be may be a reflection of the conditions around him. KoF 99 was developed at the same time of Garou: Mark of the Wolves; developers noted several similarities between K' and Garou's main character, Rock Howard, which caused K''s designer to become very nervous.
K' is a former subject from an experiment made by the NESTS organization. In their attempt to create powerful soldiers, NESTS kidnapped K' and infused 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. This causes him to wear a glove to protect his body from being burned. During the program, K''s memory was repressed 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.
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. He also meets Whip, who is revealed to be his sister, Seirah. Even though Whip reveals her identity to K', he ignores this, saying he will do what he pleases. Although he hates The King of Fighters tournaments, he commonly enters there, being asked by someone or to find NESTS. 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.
In video gamesEdit
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 to face it right on. They form a "Hero Team" along with Benimaru Nikaido and Shingo Yabuki. The Hero Team is taken to a NESTS base where they meet the NESTS agent Krizalid, a clone of K' who requests that he join NESTS. K' refuses and defeats Krizalid. 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 scheme, but Vanessa and Ramon were using them to find NESTS. During the tournament, the team is attacked by the NESTS agent Kula Diamond who was there to kill K'. K''s team defeats Kula and makes it to the finals and face the NESTS agent Zero. K' and his team eventually defeat Zero, while Kula manages to destroy Zero's base. K' and Maxima are separated from their teammates, but are joined by Whip, who joins them.
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. K''s team win and are put in a ship to fight the original Zero (the previous being a clone from the original). When Zero and his comrades are defeated, K's team enter a satellite to fight the last NESTS member, Igniz. After Igniz commits suicide, K' forms an alliance with Kula and her guardian Diana to continue their lives. In The King of Fighters 2002, a game without storyline, K' appears playable along with Maxima and Whip.
In The King of Fighters 2003, K' and Maxima are given by Chin Gentsai an entrance to that year's KOF to investigate a dark wave around KOF. 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 his taunts about reaching his true potential.
In The King of Fighters XI, K' enters the tournament with Maxima and Kula, in order to surpass Kyo and recover his memories. At the end of the tournament, they are invited by Heidern to attend to a lecture about the mysterious group Those from the Past. Heidern says he had Magaki's body, but they are attacked by two children who take Magaki's body away.
Aside from the main series, K′ has also appeared in other media from The King of Fighters series. K′ appears in the spin-offs video games of the series Neowave and Maximum Impact series. In Neowave, K' is playable along with Maxima and Whip, while in Maximum Impact he fights alone like each character. In the crossover video game Neo Geo Battle Coliseum K′ is featured as a playable character.
In other mediaEdit
In the anime, The King of Fighters: Another Day, he 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. He also appears in the CDs dramas KOF 2000, in which he confronts Kula Diamond, and in KOF: Mid Summer Struggle, in which he appears in a fake KOF tournament.
K′ has received praise and criticism from several video game publications and other media. Scott Daylor from CultureCuartel.com labelled him as a "lame" addition to the character roster. Diehardgamefan.com commented that the story of K′ signaled the downward slide in interest in the series. However, 1UP.com praised K′ as the best addition to the The King of Fighters series since Iori Yagami in 95 and regarded him as a cool character remarking his fighting style and his appearance. IGN commented that K′ is sufficiently heroic and praises how the comic The King of Fighters 2003 explores his motivations. In other reviews they considered him as enjoyable character to play with and praised his revoice in following games. Insertcredit.com praised that it is pretty amusing how K′ interacts with other clones such as Kula Diamond or K9999. Gwn.com commented that K′ has one of the funniest videos in The King of Fighters 2006 remarking they do not have sense as he "kicks butt on screen". In a 2005 poll made by SNK-Playmore USA, he was voted as the fourth fan favorite character with a total of 338 votes. Jeff Keely from Gaming Age liked playing with K' as he is able to use flame attacks by different methods.
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