K' (K' (ケイ・ダッシュ), Kei Dasshu, pronounced as "K Dash"), sometimes known as "K Prime", is a character who 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, often letting his partner Maxima handle any social necessities in his stead. To contrast the previous protagonist of the series, K' was made to be the "dark hero". His official nickname is He who surpasses K (K を 超える もの, K wo Koeru mono).  
In a 2005 poll made by SNK-Playmore USA, he was voted as the fourth fan favorite character with a total of 338 votes. In an interview with one of the manhua artist and authors, King Tung, he replies that K' is his favorite original character in the series. 
The origins of both K′ and Maxima can be found in the Psikyo arcade game The Fallen Angels (堕落天使, Daraku Tenshi in Japan). This obscure 1998 release stars an emaciated goth in tight leather pants named Cool, along with a brawny, cybernetically enhanced US Marine named Harry Ness. The man responsible for the design of both characters, Shin'ichi Morioka, migrated to SNK shortly after The Fallen Angels was released, and elements of Cool and Harry Ness' design were used in the creation of K′ and Maxima. The end result is that K′ looks nearly identical to Cool.  The idea of K' wearing shades was taken by another Fallen Angel character named Haiji Mibu. His namesake was taken from a clone character in the light novel Blue Knight Berserga Monogatari (青の騎士ベルゼルガ物語), which is set in the same universe as the anime series 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 later scrapped. C.A.C Yamasaki predicted that K' would be popular on his release, however this prediction never came true, in an interview he comments that K' was "a little too plain." 
K' (real name unknown) was a normal child who lived happily with his sister, Seirah. One day, they were captured by NESTS, a crime syndicate who dealt with drugs, genetics, robotics and biotechnology. K' was kept under NESTS and trained to be some kind of weapon. In 1998, K' was made to participate in the Kusanagi cloning program. He was infused with Kyo Kusanagi's DNA, which gave him the power of pyrokinesis. During the program, K's memory was tinkered with, and he was made to believe that he was Krizalid's clone. Any real memories from his past has either been erased by NESTS, forgotten, or repressed.
Under NESTS orders, he and Maxima joined the King of Fighters tournament with Benimaru Nikaido and Shingo Yabuki. The team makes it to the finals and are sent to a place where Krizalid waits for them. He poses as the tournament's host and fights them to gather their battle data energy. He hoped to use the data to activate the thousands of listless Kyo clones around the globe. However, K' defeats him and the team learns that Krizalid was merely a pawn for NESTS. Shortly afterward, Krizalid is executed by his superior. When the base collapses, K' and Maxima are divided from their team and hunted down by the Ikari squad. They survive the ambush and continue their resistance by leaving the organization. K's personal reason for doing so is find a way to regain his lost memories.
The next year, K' and Maxima were joined by mercenaries Vanessa and Ramon. They entered the tournament to discover NESTS scheme, but Vanessa and Ramon were there to capture K' and Maxima at the end of the tournament, since they were working for Ling and Heidern. Their team makes it to the finals where they encounter Zero. Although K' defeats the traitor, they are unable to stop the Zero Cannon from firing. Unknown to them, Kula Diamond and her team destroy it and save the world from further damage. K' and Maxima are once again separated from their teammates after the tournament's climax. Whip finds them, reveals her relation to K', and joins their resistance effort.
They spend the remainder of the year hunting down NESTS's bases around the globe. Though they have stumped some of the syndicate's plans, none of the bases were the main headquarters they were hoping for. K' and company enter the 2001 tournament with Lin, who tracked their movements in his personal hunt for Ron. Once his team makes it to the finals, they are lifted into a spaceship and are confronted by the real Zero. He reveals to the frustrated K' that they are on their way to the syndicate's main headquarters and will meet the real leader to NESTS. Once they reach the satellite, they meet Nests, Misty, and Igniz.
Although Nests requests their neutral cooperation, he is quickly killed by Igniz. There, they learn that they are merely cyborgs (or clones) purely created for Igniz's personal entertainment (i.e. to become a new god). K' faces the villain and with some assistance from his team defeats him, which motivates Igniz to kamikaze the satellite to Earth. It harmlessly falls in the ocean - apparently thanks to Ron - with most of its passengers safe. Emerging from the wreck, K' forms an alliance with Kula and Diana. Both of them want to make their own future and make up for the time lost in their lives.
In 2003, Chin Gentsai visits K' and Maxima and requests that they enter the tournament. Chin, feeling a dark wave of energy around KOF that year, wants them to investigate it in his place. K' and company locate and face Mukai. K' Team defeats him, but K' was bothered by his taunts about regaining his memories, as well as reaching his true potential. Mukai's words continue to haunt him in the following tournament, leading K' to wonder if he can surpass his fate as "the second Kusanagi flame". At the end of the XI tournament, K' and his teammates were invited by Heidern to attend a lecture about the mysterious group known as Those from the Past. Heidern said he had Magaki's body, but they were attacked by two children who took the body away. K' had absolutely no interest in entering the KOF XIII tournament, and is upset when Chin calls him once more at his apartment with Maxima. Since he soon learns from Chin and Kula that they're in the newest tournament, K' is forced to enter against his own will.
In their ending, the team spend their vacation on a cruise ship; Maxima told K' to enjoy the fun, but the latter didn't seem interested, while Kula seems to have more fun, making a giant splash around the pool, washing other people ashore. Maxima orders a big ice cream treat in a giant glass cup with many cones around, despite his eatery for sweets, and manages to finish it off. After that, agents appear out nowhere in the cruise, and the 3 prepare to fight the agents with the power of NESTS.
After the events of the previous tournament, the majority of their wanted posters had now been taken down in exchange for their strategic aid to Heidern and his forces. While this ended their status as suspected terrorist fugitives, it did not put an end to the shadowy organizations pursuing them. After K' and Maxima dealt with the pursuers, Kula contacts the duo, passing on a message related to former members of NESTS participating in the upcoming KOF tournament.
In their ending, they were ordered to attend Heiderns meeting to pass on information related to Verse. Once K', Maxima and Kula board the helicopter Maxima informs his partner that several bodies have emerged from the fragments of Verse and that some of those bodies have records from previous competitions while some have no records at all.
K' has a very serious and arrogant personality but is very easy to enrage due to his more high-strung side. He is starting to treat Whip as a big sister and Kula as a little sister. He often calls Maxima names - like "stupid", "idiot", etc. - but he actually trusts his partner's reliability. He is hardly polite and is always gruff, even to those close to him. Because K' usually expresses his concerns in a "tough guy" manner, Maxima jokingly calls him dishonest or stiff. He sees Kyo as a rival and wants to prove he is better than him, not as only a clone.
In KOF XIII, several fighters often point out K's rather immature personality ("whiny", lazy, anti-social and constantly rude to others) in their pre-fight dialogues against him. It is also pointed out he feels trapped in his life and is also rather very lazy and hates involving himself in most things he finds trivial, making him not unlike Iori Yagami in terms of nihilistic mindset (and the two ironically very much hate each other and are prone to nasty dialogue between one another for little reason). He, of course, despite his disinterest to partake in the KOF tournaments, at times often boasts about his abilities to take on anyone anytime, anywhere, which is something not quite far off from his capabilities as he also finds engaging in tasks with expected results to be yet another chore.
- Pyrokinesis - K' can control fire.
- Create Fire - K' can create fire out of nowhere.
- Fire Projectile - K' can throw fireballs.
- Fire Attacks - K' can add damage to his normal attacks with fire.
- Explosion - K' can create an explosion by touching his enemy.
- Translocation - K' can translocate himself.
K's fighting style is said to be "Pure Violence", but it has several similarities with Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. He even uses some of his famous moves, such as the One inch punch and Flying Kicks. As a nod to hinting of said "violence", K's moves tend to show very brutal mannerisms due to his high-strung nature. This ranges from violent elbow strikes, enraged battle cries, and even resorting to throw his sunglasses at his foe and following up with a beatdown, no holds barred.
Most of his mannerisms are either somewhat lazy (due to his disinterest in fighting), even to dozing off in battle via his idle stance when a certain amount of time passes; some/most of his flames tend to come from his right hand due to his limitations, but K' can work around this handicap in combat regardless, and is regarded as one of the best fighters in the KOF universe (as well as a high/top tier character in terms of gameplay in more later installments of the series).
Despite his laziness, K' is shown to also be rather flexible (evidenced by his pre-KOF XI blowback attack, Second Shell, Minutes Spike, and Crow Bites Plus/classic jumping strong kick).
His HSDM/MAX2DM, Crimson Star Road, is named after an episode of the anime series Legend of Galactic Heroes.
- KD-0079 - The King of Fighters '99, 2002
- KD-0084 - The King of Fighters 2000
- Big Pain - The King of Fighters 2001
- KD - The King of Fighters 2003
- KDD-0075 - The King of Fighters XI, XIII (when the music is set to "Type B", console version only)
- KDD-0063 - The King of Fighters XIII
- KD-SR - The King of Fighters XIV
- KD-0079+ - The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match
- Cool Drive - Days of Memories
- KD-0079 ~KOF XIV ver.~ - The King of Fighters XIV (as Ralf's opponent)
- Yuuki Matsuda - The King of Fighters '99~XIII, The King of Fighters World
- Yoshihisa Kawahara - The King of Fighters XIV
- Andrew Scott - Maximum Impact series (English voice)
- The King of Fighters '99
- The King of Fighters 2000
- The King of Fighters 2001
- The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood - Hidden Striker
- The King of Fighters 2002
- The King of Fighters Neowave
- KOF: Maximum Impact
- The King of Fighters 2003
- KOF: Maximum Impact 2
- Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
- The King of Fighters XI
- The King of Fighters XIII
- KOF Maximum Impact Regulation A
- The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
- The King of Fighters 2
- Maximum Impact - versus character
- The King of Fighters XIV
- Days of Memories (first, fourth and seventh titles) - unplayable
- The King of Reversi
- The King of Fighters Mahjong
- Moeyo! KOF Daiundoka
- SNK Gals Island Senkan Battle Gekichinshichaouzo!
- SNK Dream Battle
- The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Online
- World Cross Saga
- Ultimate Heroes
- Tower of Saviors
- Kimi wa Hero
- The King of Fighters World
- The King of Fighters All Star
- Clash of Kings
- SNK All Star
- SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium - image cameo alongside Alex in a black and white Neo Geo Pocket error screen
- The King of Fighters '94: Rebout - background cameo
- Sister Quest
- Moeyo! SNK Gals Osuin Katoukai
- Nariyuki Quest
- SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy - in Kula's ending
- K's yell following his debut - "Dora!" or "Ora!" - was made due to Sha-V's suggestion. He reasoned that these shouts are K's equivalent to Kyo's "Kurei!" or Iori's "Doushita!". Konny jokingly wonders if he's trying to say the word "dry" since the first draft of his yell was "Dorei!".
- K' and Maxima are the champions of all The King of Fighters tournaments hosted in NESTS Saga. This is confirmed in the Light Novels.
- His team's backstory for KOF XI features lyrics from Karl Busse, a nineteenth century lied from Germany. The particular song is Über den Bergen, transcribed in Japanese as "you in the mountain" (山のあなた, Yama no anata).
- In Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, at the character select screen, when selecting K' with R1+X, he wears red clothes, has blonde hair, and wields green flames, just like Ash Crimson.
- ↑ Official character profile from KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
- ↑ http://game.snk-corp.co.jp/official/kof-xiii/arcade/character/index.html
- ↑ KOF 10th anniversary website Wing Yan and King Tung's interview.
- ↑ http://www30.atwiki.jp/niconicomugen/pages/2056.html
- ↑ https://darakutenshi.wikia.com/wiki/Cool
- ↑ https://darakutenshi.wikia.com/wiki/Haiji_Mibu
- ↑ KOF 10th anniversary website C.A.C Yamasaki's interview.
- ↑ Official character profile from KOF anniversary website
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