The Hakkesshu (八傑集 or 八傑衆, Haketsushu; lit. Eight Excellent Masses), also spelled as "Hakkeshu" or "Haketsu", is the name of the followers of Orochi in The King of Fighters series. They are also sometimes called "Yamata no Orochi".
In ancient times, there was a divine being calling itself "Gaia's Will": Orochi. Gathering worthy servants to its cause, Orochi's clan continued to protect earth for centuries. The clan's eight strongest followers were called the Hakkesshu, and the four wielding exceptional powers were known as Heavenly Kings. As civilizations grew, nature began to suffer and the natural balance in the world began to collapse due to humanity's hand.
1800 years ago, Orochi could no longer tolerate the destruction and wanted to completely wipe humanity from existence. The Orochi clan and the human race waged war until the Kusanagi, Yata, and the Yasakani defeated him with three mystical treasures. The Hakkeshu and Orochi were defeated and sealed.
660 years later, their master's seal began to weaken. The three clans decided to move its vessel into another location. The Hakkesshu, who were sealed separately, used this chance to free themselves. While the three clans were creating a new seal, one of the Hakkesshu sowed discord between them by killing the Yasakani leader's wife. Under a disguise, the murderer then approached the Yasakani head and reported that the Kusanagi clan was responsible, saying that it was "atonement" for letting the seal weaken. To add more fuel to the fire, the corpse of his wife was found in the Kusanagi homeland. Angered by the revelation, the Yasakani made a blood pact with Orochi to gain the necessary means for revenge. Gaining the forbidden technique, Forbidden Method 1211: Eight Maidens, the Yasakani renamed themselves as the Yagami clan.
Since Orochi continues to feel hatred for mankind years later, with constant intent to punish and destroy humans in spite of being from divine origins, the Hakkesshu is generally considered to be a force of antagonism. Their mission to someday resurrect their lord continues in The King of Fighters series.
The Hakkeshu has a western counterpart in the embodiment of Those from the Past, having identical interest in Orochi.
- The Eight Heads of Orochi - The eight strongest warriors with exceptionally strong spiritual powers. Each one was assigned with one of Orochi's powers. They are repeatedly reincarnated throughout the ages in different parts of the world, always in search of Orochi's seal.
- Goenitz - Wind: can control the currents of the wind.
- Yashiro Nanakase - Earth: has power over the earth
- Shermie - Lightning: can use electric currents
- Chris - Flame: can control blue tinted flames
- Mature - Light: heightened raw instinct; Is not affected by the Riot of the Blood.
- Vice - Darkness: unmatched physical strength; Is not affected by the Riot of the Blood.
- Ryuji Yamazaki - Death: increased brutality with unknown results. Has natural insanity triggered by life events, allowing his mind to completely resist Orochi's influences.
- Gaidel - Claw and/or water: slashing energy
- Nothingness / Matter - Assigned to no one, Orochi uses this power to appear in the physical realm. Rugal Bernstein tried to claim this power for his own but couldn't contain it.
- The Four Heavenly Kings of Orochi (四天王, Shiten Ou) - The four strongest warriors in the Hakkesshu among The Eight Heads. They control elements of nature, possess some of Orochi's original abilities, and can activate the Riot of the Blood in people who are susceptible to it. Orochi can probably incarnate in them, as he did with Chris. Their moves are all written using the Cyrillic alphabet.
- Goenitz of the Wildly-Blowing Wind
- Yashiro Nanakase of the Parched Earth
- Shermie of the Insanely Violent Lightning
- Chris of the Flaming Destiny
- Orochi Chris, Orochi Shermie and Orochi Yashiro act as counterparts to Kyo, Benimaru and Daimon, respectively.
- While deceased members of the Hakkesshu were confirmed to have been revived during the events of KOFXIV, Vice and Mature are still shadow phantoms whose human existence were not reinstated, unlike with Yashiro, Shermie, Chris, Gaidel and likely Goenitz.