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Benimaru Nikaido (二階堂にかいどう 紅丸べにまる) is a character from The King of Fighters series. He debuts in The King of Fighters '94 as a member of the Hero Team, and as one of Kyo Kusanagi's longest rival and friend. His official nickname is "The Shooting Star"[1] (シューティング・スター).


Benimaru's appearance was loosely based on Jean Pierre Polnareff from the third part of the popular manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, right down to his outfit in The King of Fighters '94 and The King of Fighters '95. Even after Benimaru's name was decided, the game developers continued to refer to him as Polnareff.[2][3] Additionally, his taunt in The King of Fighters XI mirrors Polnareff's stature from the manga. His vocal performance was initially deemed by his original designer to have nothing to do with the character's original image.

The idea for his electric powers—as well as the other elemental powers for the rest of the Japan team—was derived from the anime Getter Robo. In the show, there were three featured heroes who served as the inspiration for the KOF trio: the protagonist had a "fiery" persona, his friend was "edgy and daring", and the third hero was the "down-to-earth giant". It is also a homage to a Japanese phrase of giving birth to fire (roughly translated: lightning strikes the earth which sparks the flame).[4]


Benimaru, while sometimes outspoken and flamboyant, means business in battle as he's very proud of his skills and doesn't want anyone to look down on him for his good looks. He also respects ladies though he tends to be more than a flighty flirt. Although he seems to have an indecisive mind, Benimaru has a heart of gold. His loyalty and respect can go a long way.

Despite his American heritage, he carries many Japanese mannerisms. Though he would never openly admit it aloud, his pride as a professional fighter was shaken when Kyo beat him before 1994 and he secretly trains for a rematch.


  • Electrokinesis - Benimaru can control electricity.
    • Static - Benimaru can create static around his body. This is what makes his hair upwards.
    • Electric Fist - Benimaru can create an electric ball around his fist.
    • Thunder - Benimaru can summon lightning from the sky. Benimaru can also form sparks on the ground and move them upwards.
    • Discharge - Benimaru can release an electric discharge by touching his enemy.
    • Electric Attacks - Benimaru can fuel his attacks with electric energy, especially from lightning he summons.
  • Super-Speed - Benimaru can move himself so quickly that he leaves several images of himself when he moves.

  • Cooking - Benimaru is an accomplished cook.
  • Modeling - Benimaru is a professional model by occupation.
  • Shooting - Benimaru has interests and has practiced shooting with rifles.

Fighting style

Benimaru specializes in shooting techniques and electricity, though his fighting style is more focused on agility and less on actual submission and raw power, focusing on agile kicks and decent range.


  • Esaka - The King of Fighters '94
  • Funky Esaka - The King of Fighters '95, '98 Ultimate Match (with Daimon and EX Kyo)
  • Esaka? - The King of Fighters '96, '98
  • KD-0079 - The King of Fighters '99
  • Inner Shade - The King of Fighters 2000, EX
  • Flame of Invincibility - The King of Fighters 2001
  • J - The King of Fighters 2002
  • Joyrider - The King of Fighters 2003
  • Queen - The King of Fighters XI
  • ESAKA!! - The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
  • Esaka Continues... - The King of Fighters XIII
  • Esaka ~Acid Remix~ - The King of Fighters XIII (when the music is set to "Type B", console version only, shared with Kyo and Daimon)
  • Yappari ESAKA - The King of Fighters XIV
  • Under the Control of... - The King of Fighters XV
Image songs

Voice actors






Similar characters


  • The name Benimaru means "crimson, deep red" (べに) (beni) and "circle, pills, purity, suffix for ship names, complete" (まる) (maru).
  • Benimaru's surname Nikaido means "two-storied, upstairs" (二階にかい) (nikai) and "hall" (どう) (do).


  • Benimaru's straight hair stays up during fights due to a rather exaggerated case of electrostatics.
  • When Goro Daimon uses Jirai Shin in KOF '95-'98, Benimaru and Kyo Kusanagi are the only background characters who will jump.
  • Benimaru has canonically is the biggest winner of the KOF tournaments. He, Kyo Kusanagi and Goro Daimon were the winners of the four hosted in the Orochi Saga; he won in KOF '99 alongside K', Maxima and Shingo Yabuki, KOF XI alongside Elisabeth Blanctorche and Duo Lon, and most recently in XIII, XIV and XV (with Shun'ei and Meitenkun). These victories are confirmed in team stories, light novels and cutscenes.
    • His win in XIII is considered given the canonical events of the game, with his team in this entry (Japan Team) having an cannonical ending which confirms their victory.
    • He is also the only character to be part of almost every formation of the Hero Team in the game series. The only exception is the Tales of Ash saga, where he is part of the Rivals Team.
    • Benimaru is also the only character to being part of the two main teams of the series: the Hero Team (6 entries) and the Rivals Team (1 entry).
  • Due to the particular pitch in his voice, some fans have voiced question to Benimaru's sexuality to developers, to which they respond, "It's not what you think. (Not that there's anything wrong with that)." [3] A developer also responds that he's a man's man who loves women.[2]
  • Benimaru is the second character of the series with more changes of looks and outfits, the first being Athena Asamiya. He is also the only male character to do this.
  • In Neo-Geo Freak 1998, the characters in KOF '98 have their own interviews. Here are Benimaru's answers to the questions.[5]
    • What is your aspiration in this competition? - "To stand out more than anyone. That is all."
    • Who would you like to fight the most? - "Kyo Kusanagi. I've only had one fight with him. Although it was my loss."
    • Who would you like to team up with? / Who would you not like to team up with? - "I want to fight alone if I can. The rest of the guys don't feel comfortable with just being companions?"
    • What is "KOF" for you? - "Something like a stage for actors...Huh?"
    • Finally, please give a word to your fans. - "I LOVE YOU!"
  • It has been mentioned in an interview that Benimaru has many girlfriends.[6]
  • It can be noted that Benimaru and Jean Pierre Polnareff, his character inspiration, does share more elements than just the hairstyle: being a gentleman and their sense of justice.[3] Polnareff also inspired the creation of the CAPCOM's character Guile from Street Fighter series (to a degree) and the character Paul Phoenix from Bandai Namco's Tekken series.
  • One of Benimaru's many quotes is "Yare, Yare." This is possibly another reference to the Jojo's Bizarre Adventure series.
  • His character also pays homage to the Tatsunoko character, Hurricane Polymar. The attacks Shinkuu Katategoma (Vacuum One-Handed Top), Handou Sandan Geri (Recoiling Three-Stage Kick) and Gen'ei Hurricane (Phantom Hurricane) take their names and functions directly from the aforementioned character.
  • Several other of his moves also take their namesakes from various anime and manga, including:
    • Benimaru Coleda/Benimaru Collider from Gunbuster;
    • Elec-Trigger from Super Robot Red Baron;
    • Flying Drill, Raijiken (Thunder Quiver Fist) and Raikouken (Lightning Fist) from Casshern's Denkou Punch (Voltaic Punch);
    • Iai Geri (Re-sheath Kick) from Kako Teito: Ore wa Shubei!.
  • Benimaru dislikes otakus, which is ironic given all of the anime-based references in his moves.
  • In Gamest's 1997 Heroes Collection, Benimaru was voted as the staff's thirteenth favorite character. He tied the spot with Samurai Shodown character, Shizumaru Hisame. In the character popularity poll on Neo Geo Freak's website, he was voted as the sixth favorite character with a total of 1,269 votes.
  • Benimaru is one of the few KOF characters who has never changed his voice actors since debut.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Official character profile from KOF XII website.
  2. 2.0 2.1 - "The King of Fighters '94 – Developer Interview" Archived from the original
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Official character profile from KOF anniversary website.
  4. Akihiko Ureshino, ed. (2005). The King of Fighters Perfect Reader (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications, Inc. pp. 136~139.
  6. The King of Fighters XII for novices from Kotaku.

The King of Fighters characters
KOF '94 Logo Sprite.gif Kyo KusanagiBenimaru NikaidoGoro DaimonTerry BogardAndy BogardJoe HigashiRyo SakazakiRobert GarciaTakuma SakazakiRalf JonesClark StillHeidernAthena AsamiyaSie KensouChin GentsaiKingMai ShiranuiYuri SakazakiKim KaphwanChang KoehanChoi BoungeHeavy-D!Lucky GlauberBrian BattlerRugal Bernstein
KOF '95 Logo Sprite.gif Iori YagamiBilly KaneEiji KisaragiSaisyu KusanagiOmega Rugal
KOF '96 Logo Sprite.gif Leona HeidernMatureViceKasumi TodohGeese HowardWolfgang KrauserMr. BigChizuru KaguraGoenitz
KOF '97 Logo Sprite.gif Shingo YabukiYashiro NanakaseShermieChrisBlue MaryRyuji YamazakiOrochi IoriOrochi LeonaOrochi YashiroOrochi ShermieOrochi ChrisOrochi
KOF '98UM Logo.png Nightmare Geese
KOF '99 Logo Sprite.gif K'MaximaWhipBaoLi XiangfeiJhun HoonKyo-1Kyo-2Krizalid
KOF '99 Evolution Logo.png VanessaSethSyo KirishimaAlfredFiolina GermiGai Tendo
KOF 2000 Logo Sprite.gif RamónLinHinako ShijouKula DiamondClone ZeroFoxyCandy DiamondAnother K'Another IoriAnother BenimaruAnother RobertCosplayer KyokoKang Bae DalSmart ChangCool ChoiKaoru WatabeBaitangDuck KingLilly KaneKim Jae HoonKim Dong HwanUnknownKing LionKim Sue-ilKaedeDuke EdwardsRockyAthenaNeo & GeoG-Mantle
KOF 2001 Logo Sprite.gif May Lee JinjuK9999ÁngelZeroRonGluganIgnizMistyNests
KOF 2002 Logo Sprite.gif Kusanagi
KOF 2002UM Logo.png Nameless
KOF 2003 Logo Sprite.gif Ash CrimsonDuo LonShen WooTizocGatoMalinMaki KaguraAdelheid BernsteinMukai
KOF XI Logo Sprite.gif OswaldElisabeth BlanctorcheMomokoB. JenetShionMagakiSilberSho HayateJyazuHotaru FutabaTung Fu Rue
KOF XII Logo.png Raiden
KOF XIII Logo.png Hwa JaiSaikiEvil AshMr. Karate
KOF XIV Logo.png Shun'eiMeitenkunGang-ilLuongXanaduSylvie Paula PaulaKukriMianNelsonZarinaBandeiras HattoriKing of DinosaursHeinNakoruruMamahahaMui MuiLove HeartAlice Garnet NakataAntonovVerseNajd
The King of Fighters XV Logo.png IslaDoloresKrohnen McDougallRe VerseOtoma=Raga
KOF EX Logo.png Moe Habana
KOF EX2 Logo.png Reiji OogamiJun KagamiMiu KurosakiSinobu Amou
KOF MI Logo.png Alba MeiraSoiree MeiraLien NevilleMignon BeartChae LimDukeRock Howard
KOF MI2 Logo.png Luise MeyrinkNagaseJivatmaNinon BeartHyenaHanzo HattoriKyo Kusanagi ClassicWild WolfMr. Karate IIArmor RalfRichard Meyer
KOF MIRA Logo.png Xiao LonMakoto Mizoguchi
SNK vs. Capcom Characters
SNK Characters Kyo KusanagiIori YagamiLeona HeidernOrochi IoriTerry BogardMai ShiranuiGeese HowardRyo SakazakiYuri SakazakiAthena AsamiyaHaohmaruNakoruruJubei YagyuRimururuAkari IchijouMarco RossiFiolina GermiMars PeopleGenjuro KibagamiKim KaphwanMr. KarateKasumi TodohChoi BoungeEarthquakeShikiGoenitzHonki ni Natta Mr. KarateAthenaKingViceBenimaru NikaidoRaidenRyuji YamazakiRugal BernsteinChang KoehanRyuhaku TodohHibiki TakaneGod Rugal
CAPCOM Characters RyuKen MastersChun-LiGuileDan HibikiSakura KasuganoMorrigan AenslandFeliciaAkumaBaby Bonnie HoodM. BisonEvil RyuKarin KanzukiArthurRed ArremerDhalsimVegaSagatBalrogHugoTessaDemitri MaximoffZeroViolent KenShin AkumaRed ArremerBlankaCammy WhiteEdmond HondaEagleRolento SchugergMaki GenryusaiYun LeeKyosuke Kagami
Card Games Characters ShinKeiCapCometThe KidFoKanaHarumiZombieYoshikiNishiTakaNoriSakiYukiAkiTakeMikaNonakaKeikoYuriMikamiThe MaskRikuto ArataHaruna HatenaLip AyahaSasuke FuwaKido YoshijiRyugai TorawoAsō ShūkoDogou SōkenShin DaichiKei KikkaForu GottonYashichi FuwaCap ComComet ComNanako NijiiroZet Charles DetroitSys TemNeomantleRobomantleG-Lady
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