K', pronounced as "K Dash" (K'ケイ・ダッシュ, Kei Dasshu), 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. He is the protagonist of the NESTS Saga (KOF 99-KOF 2001). To contrast the previous protagonist of the series, K' was made to be the "dark hero".[2] 

His official nickname is "He who surpasses K" (Kをえるもの, K wo Koeru mono).[3][4]


The inspiration for the appearance of K′ and Maxima can be found in the Psikyo arcade game The Fallen Angels (堕落だらく天使てんし, 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′s oufit looks nearly identical to Cool.[5][6] The idea of K' wearing shades was taken by another Fallen Angel character named Haiji Mibu.[7] 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.[8] 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." [9]

K' would later receive a slight redesign on his hair due to the protagonist of Garou: Mark of the Wolves looking just like K'. This caused the supervising designer to panic after realizing this.[10] For The King of Fighters XIII, the producer Masaaki Kukineo mentions that the team were pursuing a more "cooler" version of K' where he now keeps his sunglasses on during the fight. He wanted fans to pay close attention to his new animations.[11]


K' has a very serious and arrogant personality but is very easy to enrage due to his more high-strung side, though 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. Also, if there is something K' hates above everything else it is to be compared with Kyo which often results of him being labeled the inferior kusanagi, and because of that K' started to have some sort of rivalry with Kyo. Believing that he is more than just a mere imitation of Kyo, K' is always looking for a way to escape his fate as the "second kusanagi flame". [12]

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. Much of his dislike of trivial things is likely due to the trauma of often serving as one of NESTS's agents in regards to various shady assignments, as seen in his pre-battle dialogue against Daimon in XIII where he states "I have enough blood on my hands already".


  • 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)

Voice Actors



  • 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!".[13]
  • K' and Maxima are the champions of all The King of Fighters tournaments hosted in the NESTS Saga, which was confirmed in the Light Novels.
  • Early English promotional posters for The King of Fighters '99 originally had K' named "K Prime".
  • 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 a 2005 poll made by SNK-Playmore USA, he was voted as the fourth fan favorite character with a total of 338 votes.
  • 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.
  • According to former The King of Fighters director Toyohisa Tanabe, a "guest character" from KOF would make an appearance in the cancelled 2003 Capcom fighting game Capcom Fighting All Stars, with an obscured silhouette as the only hint to who this character's guest appearance was. Due to the visage of the character, many believe that it was supposed to be K'.
  • 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.[14]
  • In the KOF 2003 manhua K' explicitly states " I gave my best punch to my best friend", its also reveled he grows deep feelings for Kula (although its not explicitly stated if this are feelings of "love" or just concern for her safety") (as she is captured by Rugal and used as a source of power for his Kaiser wave attack).
  • His HSDM/MAX2DM, Crimson Star Road, is named after an episode of the anime series Legend of Galactic Heroes.

Similar Characters


  1. Official character profile from The King of Fighters 2001 website
  2. Akihiko Ureshino, ed. (2005). The King of Fighters Perfect Reader (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications, Inc. pp. 139.
  3. Official character profile from KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
  4. http://game.snk-corp.co.jp/official/kof-xiii/arcade/character/index.html
  5. http://www30.atwiki.jp/niconicomugen/pages/2056.html
  6. https://darakutenshi.wikia.com/wiki/Cool
  7. https://darakutenshi.wikia.com/wiki/Haiji_Mibu
  8. Official character profile from KOF anniversary website.
  9. KOF 10th anniversary website C.A.C Yamasaki's interview.
  10. Official character profile from KOF anniversary website
  11. 早く遊んでほしい! 『KOF XIII』開発スタッフ2人が稼働直前の気持ちを告白! interview for The King of Figthers XIII.
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named KOFXI
  13. KOF 2000 Diary". Neo Geo official website
  14. KOF 10th anniversary website Wing Yan and King Tung's interview.
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The King of Fighters '94

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

The King of Fighters '95

Iori YagamiBilly KaneEiji KisaragiSaisyu KusanagiOmega Rugal

The King of Fighters '96

LeonaMatureViceKasumi TodohGeese HowardWolfgang KrauserMr. BigChizuru KaguraGoenitz

The King of Fighters '97

Shingo YabukiYashiro NanakaseShermieChrisBlue MaryRyuji YamazakiOrochi IoriOrochi LeonaOrochi YashiroOrochi ShermieOrochi ChrisOrochi

The King of Fighters '99

K'MaximaWhipBaoLi XiangfeiJhun HoonKyo-1Kyo-2Krizalid

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