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This page includes English translations for the team stories found on The King of Fighters Official Web Site.

Hero Team

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=hero

Daimon's judo gym. Daimon stand with his arms crossed and looks down at the man kow-towing at his feet.


DAIMON: "Master...would you please stand up?"
MAN: "No, I'm staying here until you agree to my request. If you don't, it will mean the end to the sport of judo in Japan. I beg you. Come back. Save Japanese judo!"
DAIMON: "Master...!"

Daimon frantically tries to bring his master to his feet but the man does not budge. Daimon begins to brood, a desperate crosses his face.


DAIMON: "...All right then."

The man springs to his feet and gazes into Daimon's eyes.


MAN: "Are you serious?"
DAIMON: "It is true that I entered this world of fighting competitions because I realized the limitations to judo's power, but I never once renounced it. Judo made me what I am today. And if judo is in danger, then I can't just stand by and watch. Though I'm not up to the task, Master, please let me help you."
MAN: "Thank you. Thank you so much, Daimon!"
DAIMON: "But I have a favour to ask of you."
MAN: "Huh? What is it?
DAIMON: "Y-you've probably already heard but the King of Fighters begins tomorrow. It's important for me to finish what I began, so I ask you to wait until the King of Fighters is over for me to help you."
MAN: "I knew you'd say that. I understand. Knock 'em dead, Daimon."
DAIMON: "Thank you. You know I will."

The port. Benimaru is lost in thought, looking off into the horizon at nothing in particular. He lights a cigarette. He stares at the glimmering fire of his lighter, lighting and extinguishing it over and over. The flickering of the flame triggers a flashback.


BENIMARU: "Since that fateful day, I've never taken that guy on...."

Memories of Kyo cross dance in his mind's eye. He recalls the last time he and Kyo fought, and Kyo served him up a stinging coup de grace.


BENIMARU: "I almost forgot I lost to that guy..."

Benimaru blows a puff of smoke up at the sky.


BENIMARU: "I can't keep going on being this chummy all the time...Maybe the opportunity to avenge myself has come. Kyo Kusanagi...."

Panting and gasps reverberate through the area. Kyo assumes a fighting position. He fights an unknown opponent.


KYO: "Nuts...!!!"

His opponent moves slightly. Kyo finds an opening.


KYO: "Victory is mine!!"

Flames shoot from his hands.


KYO: "Eat this!!!"

The flames rush forward. The flames engulf his opponent. The flames then suddenly contract and a shadow grows in their place. The shapeless, formless void continues to grow. It threatens to swallow up not just the flames but Kyo as well.


KYO: "Gah! ...Ah!!! ...!!!"

Kyo's body, voice, and breath are all swallowed by the void. All Kyo can see is darkness. In this state, a ringing in his ears gradually increases in volume. He covers his ears but to no avail. He gradually becomes aware of what the noise is.


KYO: "The din...it's...singing?!"

The moment the ringing in his ear reaches its peak, the void suddenly collapses. A stadium becomes visible before him. In the distance he sees the message: "KOF."


KYO: "...!"

Kyo opens his eyes. His body is drenched in sweat.


KYO: "A dream...When did I fall asleep?"

Suddenly his gaze shifts to his desk. An invitation with "KOF" emblazoned on the envelope rests there.


KYO: "The King of Fighters? ...What's going on...?"

In the judo gym. Daimon folds up his judo gear. At the port. Benimaru crushes out his cigarette. Kyo stares at the invitation.
KYO, BENIMARU, DAIMON: "So it all begins...tomorrow."


Fatal Fury Team

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=garou

Aboard an international flight. Joe, for some reason, looks like he's having fun. Andy, on the other hand, wears his usual mask of gloomy.


JOE: "Hunh? What's the deal there? What's with the sourpuss?"
ANDY: "Sourpuss, shmourpuss. You know what's eating me. You forget the purpose of this little trip is for me to visit my father's grave. So what's your story? Why are tagging along for no reason?"
JOE: "No reason? That's harsh! Come on, you and me. The King of Fighters!"
ANDY: "No way. Last time didn't you brag about entering the next tournament alone and showing the world just who Joe Higashi really was. What happened to that?"
JOE: "No, no, that was no lie, Goldilocks! I really did want to do that. But the pieces of the puzzle don't always fall where you want. This time it looks like I'll have to eat a little crow. Why? Because it's fate...ah, whatever. Anyway, I'm just going with the flow. That is, since my plans got tripped up out of the starting block, I threw in the towel on the whole thing. I'm not exactly facing things positively, am I?"

Andy sighs deeply.


ANDY: "I guess I can't argue with that. Be that as it may, how, then, does entering KOF on a team become a decision for "facing things positively?" If you think about it, it doesn't make much sense."
JOE: "Au contraire, the only way into KOF is on a team. Entering alone is hopeless. But I want in! If I approach the matter positively, entering with you two clowns is the natural solution. I'm not telling you to go all out. If you don't want to fight, then don't. I'll take care of the whole thing myself. At any rate, if I don't have any teammates, then it's all academic. Do you get that?"
ANDY: "I don't remember agreeing to enter! Neither did Terry. What's more...!"

Joe clamps his hand over Andy's mouth and tries to get him to fasten his seatbelt.


ANDY: "Hey...! Joe!"
JOE: "Pipe down! We're about to land. Think about the other passengers, for crying out loud!"

Andy takes a look around the plane. The other passengers are giving him the stink eye. Andy clams up to avoid their collective wrath. Segue to the cemetery. Terry prays at the foot of the grave of his father, Jeff Bogard. He becomes aware of the sound of approaching footsteps. A woman's voice calls out.


MARY: "Well, well, to what do I owe this pleasure? Fancy meeting you here."

Terry calmly opens his eyes and turns in Mary's direction.


TERRY: "Well, well, Mary. It's been a while, hasn't it? I should be saying the same about you, shouldn't I?"
MARY: "I just happened to be passing by, came across a familiar face, and thought I'd say hello. So what's the story? Whose grave is this?"
TERRY: "Uh, today's the anniversary of my father's death. By the way, when did you blow into town? Are you here on business?"
MARY: "I got in last night. I came here today to discuss the details."
TERRY: "Business, then? Idle hands are the devil's workshop, I guess."
MARY: "Idle hands, eh...? Well, that's not exactly the case."
TERRY: "What? Is it that big of a deal, this little project of yours?"
MARY: "It's no cakewalk. Hasn't it arrived at your place yet? This little surprise?"

As she speaks, Mary pulls out an envelope and passes it to Terry.


TERRY: "The King of Fighters, eh? Nope, haven't got it yet. Are you planning on entering?"
MARY: "Uh-huh. But entering KOF isn't what brought me here. I'm here to investigate one of my teammates this time around."
TERRY: "Investigate a teammate? That sounds pretty dicey. Just who is this...teammate?"
MARY: "You're going to flip!"
TERRY: "?"
MARY: "Ryuji Yamazaki...."
TERRY: "Yamazaki?! Get out of town!"
MARY: "And it sure is tough to find out what rock that creepy-crawly is lurking under. Just thinking about having to follow that freak around gives me the heebie-jeebies. And while I'm looking for this clown, my client informs me of another surprise: Yamazaki has teamed up with Billy."
TERRY: "Billy?! You mean Billy Kane?"
MARY: "The one and only. Billy Kane. If my intel is right, I thought it would be quicker to team up with them. And it looks like my instincts are right."
TERRY: "So you've done it-teamed up with them?"
MARY: "Yup. And it was quite easy."
TERRY: "Yamazaki and Billy.... That sounds pretty fishy."
MARY: "A rotten fishy, more like it. That's what's sticking in my craw. I usually don't worry about my client's identity, but this time...you know? I just have a feeling there's a major syndicate involved... perhaps one like...."
TERRY: "Geese!"

Mary nods without saying a word.


TERRY: "Geese is planning on entering?"
MARY: "No. Not this time. In his stead, he's dispatching Billy, or that's how I could read the situation, huh?"
TERRY: "To what end?"
MARY: "If I knew that, I could go home now, but I just can't say."
TERRY: "If Geese is pulling the strings behind the scenes, maybe I should do a little investigating myself, huh...?"

Before he realizes it, Mary is off on her way. As he looks back, he notices her cranking up her motorcycle which is parked at the cemetery gate.


MARY: "At any rate, I'll enter the tournament and keep my eye on the situation. So...I guess the next time we meet will be at the tournament."
TERRY: "Yeah, maybe. Don't knock yourself out. You will be my opponent."
MARY: "Thanks. And I hope no one special stops you from winning this year!"

Mary leaves the cemetery. Terry, too, begins to head back home. Over his shoulder Terry hears the shouts of a familiar voice.


JOE: "Hey, Terry!"
TERRY: "Joe! What brings you here?"

Overtaking Joe, Andy shouts:


ANDY: "Terry! Don't listen to him! Don't pay any attention to what he has to say!"

The two finally reach Terry. Getting the better of Andy, Joe starts his pitch.


JOE: "Terry-you, me, and Andy! The King of Fighters!"
ANDY: "Absolutely not. Your motives are all whack, Joe!"
JOE: "Oh, you sound like a wimp. Mai'll lose interest with that kind of attitude!"
ANDY: "Don't you dare bring Mai into this!"
JOE: "You're up for it, aren't you? Terry?"
ANDY: "No way! You can count me out, Terry!!!"
TERRY: "Sounds like a plan, that proposition of yours."
JOE, ANDY: "Huh?!"
TERRY: "Let's get going. The King of Fighters awaits!"
JOE: "OK! Good to know someone gets me. Terry, you rule!"
ANDY: "What the...? ...Et tu, Terry?"
TERRY: "Aw, Andy, lighten up. Anyway, you two must be hungry, eh? How about a little lunch at the Pao Pao Café? We can go over the particulars there."
JOE: "OK, let's go. Let's go, go, go. Hey, Andy! We're in!"
ANDY: "Good grief, both of those guys are totally loopy. Joe and Terry...."

Art of Fighting Team

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=ryuuko

Southtown. Takuma walks back to his gym.


TAKUMA: "Boy, sure is crowded today. I think I'll take a little shortcut...!"

Off the beaten path, Takuma becomes aware of a suspicious presence.


TAKUMA: "What the...? This is...without doubt, one evil individual!"

Noting his surroundings as he presses on, he cannot discern from where this presence emanates. The sensation gradually fades.


TAKUMA: "It's leaving..."

The instant he lets his guard down, the menacing presence returns along with the pungent scent of blood to pounce on Takuma.


TAKUMA: "Ooogh!!"

Takuma involuntarily assumes a fighting stance. A man from which the murderous sensation appears to be emanating quickly rushes past Takuma's side.


TAKUMA: "!!"

Takuma is temporarily rendered immobile. Returning to his normal self, he looks around and realizes that the man has disappeared into the crowd.


TAKUMA: "So, I lost him, did I...? Who was he? It's been a long time since I've seen a man with such murderous rage as he seemed to have...."

The Kyokugen Karate gym. Robert gets out of his car and makes his way inside.


ROBERT: "So, I guess I have to supervise the training of the disciples today. Huh? It sure sounds pretty quiet. Is anybody here?"

An eerie silence permeates the usually clamorous gym. The moment he opens up the front door, a sign set on its side begins to creak.


ROBERT: "Huh? What's going on?"

The moment Robert's gaze shifts to the sign, it splits into hundreds of shards.


ROBERT: "!!"

Robert rushes inside the gym. As he enters the gym, he smells the scent of blood permeating the air. Looking around he sees the disciples scattered all about.


ROBERT: "What the? What is going on here?"

He picks up one of the disciples and speaks to him. He's not dead, but the disciple does not respond. It's then that Takuma returns.


TAKUMA: "!! Robert! What happened?!"
ROBERT: "Master! That...I don't have a clue... It was like this when I got here."
TAKUMA: "Who...! That smell!"

As he heads for the gym, the figure of the man that rushed by him crosses his mind.


TAKUMA: "It's him!"
ROBERT: "Him. Master, who are you talking about?"

Takuma stands there motionless and doesn't answer Robert's question.

A few days later at the Kyokugen Karate gym. Ryo is kneeling down facing Robert and Yuri.


YURI: "Ryo, what's going on with Pop?"

Ryo answers gently, keeping his eyes closed.


RYO: "He left the gym. Early this morning."
ROBERT: "Left the gym? Where did he go?"
RYO: "I don't know. It seems he's going to challenge the members of another gym to a duel, all by himself."
ROBERT: "Did you say, it seems...?' He told you that and you didn't lift a finger to stop him or help him?"
YURI: "Yeah, Robert's right. Not telling us about it is just wicked!"

Ryo slowly opens his eyes.


RYO: "I didn't just let him go. He told me what we're supposed to do for him."
ROBERT: "What we're supposed to do?"
RYO: "Yup."

He takes out an envelope from his breast pocket and presents it to the two.


YURI: "What's this...?"
ROBERT: "It's an invitation to the King of Fighters!"
RYO: "Yup. It's up to us to enter the King of Fighters. And we're supposed to win the tournament and restore the prestige of the Kyokugen style of karate! This is what father instructed us to do."
YURI: "Restore the prestige of Kyokugen karate...."
ROBERT: "So that's it, is it...? But is it okay? The Master is looking for someone we've never heard of nor do we know where he is.... Do you have any clues?"
RYO: "He didn't go into details, but he saw someone briefly who could be the assailant. He probably will go downtown to smoke him out."
YURI: "I hope everything goes all right...."
RYO: "It'll be all right. Pop will see to that. We should stop worrying about him and start thinking about us. What'll we do? What about our entry?"
YURI: "I don't mind."
ROBERT: "Yeah, me either. If the Master requested it, then his will be done."
RYO: "OK, then I'll let's confirm our resolve. We three, Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Yuri Sakazaki, under the auspices of Takuma Sakazaki, head of the Kyokugen Karate Hall, swear to enter the King of Fighters, win the tournament, and restore the prestige of the Kyokugen style of karate. Moreover, during the absence of the head of our hall, Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia both agree to assume the position of substitute head and manage the operations of this gym. Agreed?"
YURI, ROBERT: "Agreed!!!"


Ikari Warriors Team

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=ikari

A battlefield in one of the world's hot spots. Ralf, Clark, and Leona are in the midst of a mission.
RALF: "How far to our destination?"
CLARK: "Thirty seconds."
RALF: "Where's Leona? Do you think she'll be able to rendez-vous with us?"
CLARK: "I suppose. What are you all jumpy about?"
RALF: "Uh, nothing. Nothing at all."

Leona has already reached the destination before her comrades. She scopes out the surroundings.


LEONA: "...!"

She sees a young boy lying near the collapsed house.


LEONA: "Is he still here...?"

She runs to him and scoops up the young boy.


LEONA: "Hey, wake up...."

The gasping boy opens his eyes. Seeing Leona, a look of fear seizes the boys face.


BOY: "N-no...! Please...don't kill me...!!!"
LEONA: "..."

All of a sudden, Leona loses her grip on reality. The boy's voice echoes in her head.

--- "Please...don't kill me...!!! Don't...kill...me!" The tone of the boy's voice has clearly changed in quality. Leona fights to regain her lucidity.


LEONA: "Kill...? Who...? Kill who...?"

She snaps out of her trance. But a clearly different scene than before comes into view. Along with that, the form of the owner's voice becomes distinct. --- "Don't...kill...me...Leona!!!"

The figure of a blood-covered young girl sears itself into Leona's retina.


LEONA: "...! M-Mama...!? Why...?!"

A disagreeably warm sensation is felt around her feet. The area of the feeling gradually begins to grow.


LEONA: "Papa...!!!"

Leona's father clings at her feet. He opens his mouth as if trying to say something.


LEONA: "No...! Not that...!!!"

All of a sudden something grips her shoulders. She looks back to see Goenitz standing there.


GOENITZ: "Now...relieve your father of his pain as you did with your mother...."
LEONA: "No...it wasn't me...."
GOENITZ: "No. It was you. You killed her."
LEONA: "N-n...ohhhh!!!"

Leona feels the sticky warmth of blood throughout her hands.


GOENITZ: "Yes, it is so! Look closely. Look at your own hands!!!"

Leona looks at her hands. Both of them are drenched in blood. She can see the figure of her father who has breathed his last breath.


LEONA: "Ah...Aaaaaah...."

Ralf and Clark have arrived at the rendez-vous point. They see the motionless Leona's in view.


RALF: "...? What's she doing spacing out like that?"
CLARK: "Ralf, watch out!!!"

The sound of artillery passing overhead comes from behind the two.


RALF: "Oh, no! Get out of there, Leona!"

Leona remains frozen. Ralf and Clark rush toward her.


RALF: "Get out of there, Leona! Leo-naaaaaah!!!"

All of a sudden Leona comes to her senses. A vision of the battlefield flashes before her. The sound of artillery approaches.


LEONA: "...I...!"
RALF: "Leo-naaaaaaah!!!"

Leona can see Ralf rushing toward her. Once again Leona mind goes blank. The sound of explosions echoes in her head.

Heidern's office. Heidern takes in the view outside his office window. Ralf has the floor. His hands are wrapped in bandages.


HEIDERN: "So, just what do you have to tell me?"
RALF: "I want you to tell me just what is going to be done about the failure of our mission...."

Heidern looks around to face Ralf, who stands behind him.


HEIDERN: "Failure of your mission? Granted, there was an accident. But you fulfilled the objective of your mission...."
RALF: "No, that's just a product of our efforts, but in actuality we failed: we failed to save the survivors. We failed as professionals."
HEIDERN: "You're pretty hard on yourself. The bodies of those survivors of which you speak, however, are still unaccounted for. Our investigations revealed no bodies. Only Leona confirmed the presence of any survivors at that time. And as far as Leona goes.... That's that, isn't it? So, what more do you want?"
RALF: "For the time being, I want you to remove me from active duty...."
HEIDERN: "Are you telling me to suspend you?"
RALF: "If that's the way you want to interpret it, that's copasetic with me."
HEIDERN: "...Very well. But there's one condition. If I'm going to suspend you, I must suspend the whole team. If you agree to that, I'll accede to your demands."
RALF: "Are you asking for our collective responsibility?"
HEIDERN: "That's what I'm asking. I'll inform you of the period of suspension subsequently. That will be all."
RALF: "Sir! Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!"

Ralf takes his leave. Heidern calmly reclines back in his chair.


HEIDERN: "Concealing one's intentions from a superior and taking such an insolent attitude.... Do you actually think I don't get what you're up to?"

Heidern takes out an envelope from his drawer.


HEIDERN: "The King of Fighters...hmmm."

Ralf heads for the briefing room. Clark appears around the corner.


CLARK: "So how did it go?"

Ralf begins to remove his bandages.


RALF: "He bought it hook, line, and sinker."
CLARK: "Oh, really...? But do you think he really bought it? What'll we accomplish by entering KOF during our suspension?"
RALF: "Think of it as rehabilitation."
CLARK: "Rehabilitation? Leona's? Ralf, are you willing to go to those pains for her...?"
RALF: "Don't get me wrong. If she keeps going in this manner, I just may find myself pushing up daisies. I'll have no part of that. No how, no way."
CLARK: "Is that...all you're worried about?"
RALF: "Yeah, so?"

Clark can't help but smiling.


CLARK: "Hey, I've got no problem with that...."

The briefing room. Leona waits for the two. Shortly after, the two enter.


RALF: "Our punishment has been decided. All of us have been suspended."
LEONA: "Really...?"
RALF: "But were not going to be idle during that time. Our "mission" during our suspension has already been determined."
LEONA: "What are we going to do?"
CLARK: "We're going to enter the King of Fighters."
LEONA: "...?"
RALF: "We can't let ourselves get out of shape, can we? Clark, show her the files."

Clark hands Leona the files.


RALF: "It appears that all of the entrants have been determined. We're not listed, but we got a genuine invitation."

Leona looks over the materials. Her gaze freezes on the figure of an unfamiliar boy.


LEONA: "Who's this boy...?"
CLARK: "Oh, a new face. He's young, but he's one tough cookie. Look familiar?"

The entrant and the boy she recalls from the battlefield overlap in her mind's eye.


LEONA: "...Not particularly...."
RALF: "We don't have much time until the tournament begins. We should leave as soon as possible. Any complaints?"
CLARK: "Understood."

Ralf takes a peek at Leona who appears to be staring off at some far place.


RALF: "Leona, is that all right with you?"
LEONA: "Understood."

Leona responds as if nothing is bothering her. Ralf exchanges glances with Clark and shrugs his shoulders. Leona once again looks to some distant horizon.

Psycho Soldier Team

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=psycho


KENSOU: "Whoa, there's a mountain of them this time."

For the two of them so far, mail was something that only came once in a while, but recently things have changed. Whenever Chin has come back from the city these days, he has returned with mountains of mail.


ATHENA: "Since we appeared in last year's KOF, we've been getting loads of mail."
KENSOU: "Of course. That's because we showed the world our heroics on TV."
CHIN: "But there's no mail for you in this batch, sonny."
KENSOU: "That's not true, Master. I've got quite a bit myself."
CHIN: "So you're happy to get hate mail and envelopes with razor blades from Athena's twisted male admirers, are you?"
KENSOU: "...But..."

Kensou shrinks a few inches from shame.


KENSOU: "...So why does the Master get fan letters too while I only get letters from guys telling me to stay away from Athena? ...Mumble, grumble...."
CHIN: "Here we go again with the mumbling. Guess I better give him some space."

Just then Athena finds one letter for the dejected Kensou.


ATHENA: "What's this? Hey, Kensou, it looks like you got a letter from a female admirer."
KENSOU: "Grumble, mumble...What's that? A female admirer? ...Woo-hoo! All right! I got a letter from a girl. A letter!"

Kensou takes the letter from Athena and when he scans over the content, his expression changes completely, his face beams with a big smile on it.


CHIN: "But...I didn't enter you in KOF to have you become a couple of celebrities."
KENSOU: "We know, Master."
ATHENA: "That's right, Master."
CHIN: "Well, then, as long as you know that."

Chin becomes troubled by what he sees. The two have trained thoroughly since the end of the last year's tournament, of course, and, if anything, they've worked harder at it than before, so there's no problem there, but the youth of these two does worry him. If they keep this up, Chin is anxious that they may one day misunderstand their calling.


KENSOU: "So what about this year? What about the King of Fighters?"
CHIN: "I'm contemplating that very matter now, but this year I think we should sit it out."
ATHENA: "Whatever for?"
CHIN: "The last time around you two were so hungry for it and I entered you for the sake of training. Mind you, I was pleased with your performances you both did so well. Your training has proven more effective than I could have dreamed. I can't praise you two enough."
KENSOU: "Then we should do it again this year and see how much more we've improved, shouldn't we?"
CHIN: "But last year's event was so big and everyone made such a fuss over you."
ATHENA: "This mountain of mail is certainly evidence of that and we got all those requests from magazines and TV for interviews, and a whole bunch of other stuff."
CHIN: "I want you two to train at your own pace in a quiet environment, cut off from the stimulus of the outside world. And if I've said it once I've said it a million times, your power is to be used when the time comes to save people, so I have my reservations about you two becoming media superstars."
KENSOU: "Yeah, you do have a point. Well, if that's the way you feel, Master, there's no point in going out of the way to enter the tournament."
ATHENA: "You're right. Training is what's the most important to us."
CHIN: "So, you do understand me."

Chin, his disciples having passed his test, realizes KOF is something that Athena and Kensou, who spend their entire time training at this old temple, is the one thing they look forward to each year. It pains Chin to hear the lack of enthusiasm in their responses.

Evening. Having finished their days training, everyone takes a little free time of their own. Chin sets out for a walk, and the remaining two scan over the day's mail. Athena's glance falls on one letter in particular. It's a letter from a girl her own age. Athena reads the letter and reflects on it. Clearly moved, she shows it to Kensou.


KENSOU: "Wow, there are fans like this, too, I guess."
ATHENA: "I have to talk to the Master about this."

Athena takes the letter back from Kensou and approaches Chin, who has just returned from his walk.


KENSOU: "Ah, Athena, hold on."
ATHENA: "Master, may I have a word with you?"
CHIN: "What's the matter, Athena? Why so serious?"
ATHENA: "I've thought things over, and I think we should enter this year's King of Fighters." Having said this, she hands Chin the letter.


Dear, Athena. I watched you fight in last year's King of Fighters and became a fan of yours. As a result of a certain disease, I have become unable to walk, and after I was left the hospital, I became afraid to leave my house and stopped going to school. But one day a few months later I turned on the TV and saw the figure of a girl my age fighting against fearsome opponents. Some days later, I learned that girl was you, Athena, and no matter how many times you were knocked down you always got right back up. When I saw that you didn't get discouraged, I realized what a baby I had been and vowed to stop feeling sorry for myself. I resolved to work hard and started going to school again. From the fall I studied hard and was able to enter my first choice for high school I owe this all to you. Thank you, Athena. By the way, I hope you will enter this year's tournament, too. I'd like to be in the crowd and cheer for you in person. I wish you all the best. And never give up.



ATHENA: "This letter made me realize that through our efforts we're emboldening people to do other things. Isn't that what we have been training for, Master? Isn't this one way to save people?"
KENSOU: "You said it. Naturally we can't save people if we just stick around here and train, but if we can inspire people to help themselves just by entering KOF, we'd be chumps to twiddle our thumbs here."

Kensou puts in his two cents, entering the room after hearing Athena's story in the adjoining room.
CHIN: "Hmm."
ATHENA: "And I think even if the environment for our training changes, there'll be no problem if we maintain a peaceful place within our hearts."
KENSOU: "Yeah, I'm with Athena."
CHIN: "OK, now you're just getting schmaltzy. But if you're that headset on it, then you just may be able to win this year."
ATHENA: "Well then, Master..."
CHIN: "It's good to follow your own beliefs, and I'd be a poor teacher to hinder you own self-discovery. You two seem to realize what you must do, so I have nothing more to say."
ATHENA, KENSOU: "Thank you."
KENSOU: "OK, this year I'm going to work hard so I get mountains of fan letters."
ATHENA: "Kensou! What are you saying? That's not the reason we're entering!"
CHIN: "I knew I was making a mistake...."
KENSOU: "Ah, lighten up, Master. I was just joking around."
CHIN: "Were you really...?"

Chin looks at Kensou doubtfully.


KENSOU: "I'm serious! Right, Athena?"
ATHENA: "Hmph, how should I know?"
KENSOU: "Geez, not you, too, Athena!"

Laughter echoes through the red sky of sunset. Chin takes a moment to reflect in the warmth of the moment.


CHIN:(I guess I don't have to worry about these kids having malleable minds susceptible to the vices that surround them. Those two kids have grown wiser without me knowing it, so I guess I'd better wise up, too. It's time to see how much they've grown in the past year. I just hope, though, we don't get caught up in some strange incident like the last time...Ah, man, I need drink.)


Women Fighters Team

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=women

A press conference with Chizuru Kagura about this year's KOF tournament is currently playing on the TV in "Illusion," King's bar in England.



CHIZURU: "...I know this has already been mentioned in the various media, but once again I'd like to take this opportunity to announce the beginning of the King of Fighters '97."
REPORTER 1: "What exactly is the scale of this year's tournament?"
CHIZURU: "We plan a larger scale than last year for this year's tournament."
REPORTER 2: "As the scale of the tournament gets bigger, I think it will be more difficult to handle any occurrences like those of last year, so what comment do you have about that?"
CHIZURU: "We've strengthened security far above that of the previous tournament and are doing our utmost to provide everyone with a safe tournament."
REPORTER 3: "Didn't you fight at the end of KOF '96? According to the rumors, you plan to enter this year's competition as well. Care to comment on that?"
CHIZURU: "As far as that goes, I can't say that the particulars regarding my team have been decided, but, yes, I will most certainly be entering this year's tournament."

Click, click. Mumble, mumble. Flash, flash.


REPORTER 4: "What's the reason for your entering the competition?"
CHIZURU: "I am, after all, a fighter, and I want to see just how I stack up."
REPORTER 5: "You said things haven't been decided, but just who do you plan to team up with?"
CHIZURU: "Let's just say that for the time being I can't give any names, but I'm going to be negotiating with fighters with whom you are all quite familiar."


KING: "Hmm, so Kagura will be entering, too...Doesn't matter to me, though..."

King watches the press conference broadcast from behind the counter. Just then, Sally the waitress comes toward King, holding something in her hand.


SALLY: "King, you have a letter. Here it is."
KING: "Th-thanks."

The air-mail letter is addressed to King, and Mai Shiranui's name is written in the return address space.


KING: (From Mai? What could this be?)

King takes a quick peek at the contents.


KING: (An airplane ticket?)

Inside the envelope there is a letter and an airplane ticket for Japan. The contents of the letter read: "I have to talk to you about this year's KOF. See you in Japan."


KING: (...This is weird. Ah, well, I guess I'll go since I have something to discuss with Mai as well.)

A few days later, King is in Japan. Relying on the map that was enclosed in the letter, King sees that Mai has already arrived at a modest coffee shop and sits at a seat by the window.


MAI: "King, it's been ages."
KING: "It has been a while, hasn't it?"
MAI: "So, have you got the shop covered?"
KING: "Yeah, I left everything to Sally and Elizabeth."
MAI: "Those twin waitresses of yours. Is that so? Well, I'll just jump keep you up to speed about the King of Fighters, then. It looks like I not going to be finding a third member."
KING: "What about Kasumi?"
MAI: "I tried to contact Kasumi, but she said she's still looking for her father so she took off after him."
KING: "...Ah-hah...Is that so?"
MAI: "And Yuri has to team up with her brother, it seems. I tried a number of other possibilities, but they came up empty too."
KING: "Is that so?"
MAI: "So, it looks like this time, I think I'll give up entering."
KING: "That doesn't sound like you. You're always so gung-ho about gathering up teammates and now you just give up?"
MAI: "I'd like to enter, but it doesn't look like we'll be able to find a third member. And Andy'll probably enter as one of the three stooges again, so maybe I'll just go cheer him on."
KING: "Great, then it all works out. I was thinking of sitting this KOF out too."
MAI: "Oh, really?"
KING: "As a matter of fact, I had planned to take the summer off and travel with Jan. Since Jan was, you know, up till now, I haven't been able to take him anywhere. And since I entered last year, my bar got famous and I've just been so busy, so, since Jan has gotten better, and we haven't spent any time together..."
MAI: "I see.... Jan must be excited."
KING: "Well, no, I haven't told him yet, it's still just in the planning stages."
MAI: "Ah, I see. But if you've decided so quickly, wouldn't it have been faster to call me?"
KING: "I suppose. But you went to all the trouble of getting me a ticket."
MAI: "Huh? A ticket? What're you talking about?"
KING: "Yeah, it was in your letter."
MAI: "Letter? But I got a letter from you...."
KING: "Impossible, I didn't send you any letter...."
WOMAN: "I called you two here."
MAI, KING: "?!"

Mai and King turn in the direction of the voice to find the woman who appeared at the press conference on TV a few days ago standing there.


WOMAN: "It's been a while, hasn't it King and Mai?"
KING: "You're...Chizuru Kagura...it all makes sense now. I had a feeling."

King shows the letter addressed to her to Mai.


MAI: "This is it...?"
KING: "That's the letter that came with the airplane ticket. I thought something was queer about it...I'm sure you got a letter similar to this one, right?"
MAI: "Yeah. I thought it was pretty bizarre too."
CHIZURU: "Forgive me. I thought that if I didn't resort to such a ruse, you two would never have come."
MAI: "Well, the last KOF was no picnic, I'll give you that."
KING: "It's doubtful that I would have come without your name written on the envelope. I'm in no mood to get caught up in some freaky blood feud. But since we're all buddy-buddy now...This must be what you were talking about at the press conference."
MAI: "Ah, the story about her team, yeah!"
CHIZURU: "Yes. I was counting on the power that you showed me in the previous tournament and hope you'll enter with me this year."
MAI: "Unh...well...it's all right with me. How about you, King?"

King takes a moment to think it over and formulate an answer.


KING: "...Can't you try someone else? I would have liked to have entered with you, but this year I'd like to devote my time to Jan and give him something special to remember."
MAI: "...Well, if King won't enter, I think I'll pass, too."
KING: "Mai..."
CHIZURU: "Very well.... I guess I'll have to cancel the four sets of tickets I prepared for each venue..."
KING: "Four sets of tickets?"
CHIZURU: "Yeah, an extra set for your brother."
KING: "Tickets for Jan?"
MAI: "Ah, I see. That means you can enter the tournament and Jan can join you, too."
KING: "...But...do you think he'd enjoy traveling around for KOF?"
MAI: "Are you kidding? Didn't he tell you how proud he was to see you fight? If that's the case then he should really be glad to actually see you in action."
CHIZURU: "How about it? Will you do me the honor?"
KING: "..."
MAI: "King...."
KING: "...OK...I'm in. I'll enter. But in return we'll have to do our best to win our matches and go on to all of the venues to show Jan around the world. If we don't, it won't be worth it."
MAI: "Leave it to me. We're in this to win."
KING: "OK.... Well, then, Chizuru, it looks like I'm in."
MAI: "It'll be my pleasure to enter with you."
CHIZURU: "No, the pleasure will be all mine."


Korea Justice Team

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=kim


CHANG: "...Boy, that Kim sure is a great guy. He really is looking out for us."
CHOI: "He sure is, buddy boy. You don't find guys like that often."

The Mutt and Jeff combination are uncharacteristically nervous before the cameras, and behind the two stands the figure of their counsellor in combat listening on.

Once again these two find themselves in the position that Kim has reconsidered their training and felt it lacking, so their release from this life of harsh life has been postponed. And one day, during their daily training, they find themselves in the midst of another unfolding surprise.


CHOI: "Phew! How long has it really been since we came here, Chang?
CHANG: "I told you last year, didn't I, Choi?"
CHANG, CHOI: "...Hmph..."

While these two have gone through almost every kind of training menus for who knows how many years, the two can't help but let out a deep sigh at their plight.


CHOI: "In the first place, the reason why were still here is because you just had to say it, right before we were about to be let free, buddy boy!"
CHANG: "But I didn't think Kim would hear it, and heaped onto that you just had to say, ヤYou said it, buddy boy!' and laugh along with me, didn't you?"
CHOI: "What I meant was...."
KIM: "Hey, you two, cut the chatter and start training properly, OK?! ...Excuse me; now, if I may continue...."

A little farther from the area in which Chang and Choi are conducting their training, Kim shares a conversation with an unknown man.


CHANG: "Just who is that guy yammering with Kim for so long?"
CHOI: "Beats me, buddy boy."
CHANG: "A visitor here; now there's something you don't see every day."
CHOI: "You said it, buddy boy."

Without being too fazed, the two, figuring the visitor has nothing to do with them, resume their training, and then all of a sudden Kim calls the two toward him.


KIM: "Hey, you two, come here for a second."
CHANG: "What is it?"
CHOI: "Yeah, what's the deal, buddy boy?"

"Does it have anything to do with us?" they question as they make their way to Kim.


CHANG: "What is it, Master?"
CHOI: "Yeah, what is it, buddy boy?"
KIM: "I wanted to introduce you. This man here is from the network."

With that, Kim introduced the man with whom he had been previously talking to for so long.


CHANG, CHOI: "?"
TV GUY: "Nice to meet you. You must be Chang and Choi, right?"
CHANG, CHOI: "Uh, yeah."
TV GUY: "You guys knocked me out in the previous King of Fighters. I saw you then and learned you're going through rehabilitation designed around the representative fighting style of our country, tae kwon do, so we came up with a plan to make a documentary about you two with Kim's cooperation and follow you around for a couple of months."
CHANG, CHOI: "Uh-hunh? ...Say what?!"
KIM: "I wasn't going to go through with it at first, but I thought that if we were by some way able to influence the citizens of the world for good through our appearance on TV, then why not help out? Furthermore, we can show the viewers the wonder that is tae kwon do."
CHANG: "B-but Master Kim...."
KIM: "Huh?"

As Chang tries to say something, Kim's shoots him an ominous glance.


CHOI: (No matter what you say, we're in one big pickle, buddy boy.)
CHANG: (Yeah, but....)
CHOI: (If we get on Kim's bad side, we'll pay for it later.)
KIM: "What's the matter? What's all your grumbling about?"
CHOI: "N-not a thing, buddy boy. Everything's just fine."
KIM: "And one more thing, King of Fighters is going to be held again this year, and we're going to enter as part of the documentary coverage on us."
CHANG, CHOI: "Ah."

It's not surprising that the two have either given up on or are unable to continue the conversation.


TV GUY: "I hope your going to show us with a great performance during KOF. It'll be killer for our documentary."
KIM: "So there you have it. Don't let us down."
CHANG, CHOI: "Y...Yes, Master."

So thus our trio came to be covered by a major television network.


KIM: "...That's right. At birth and infancy, there is no such thing as a bad human being. I just want everyone to get that through their heads, and furthermore...."

Chang and Choi's story ended, the filming moves on to Kim ardently talking about his theories in front of the camera The two sit back and watch Kim give his spiel a safe distance away.


CHOI: "Well, Chang, I've thought this over long and hard, buddy boy, and this is our chance!"
CHANG: "What are you talking about?"
CHOI: "With Kim appearing on TV, there's no way he's going to say something like, But the rehabilitation didn't hold,' would he, buddy boy?"
CHANG: "Yeah."
CHOI: "What's more, on the day when we win the King of Fighters..."
CHANG: "If we win the tournament, we'll be set free for sure!"
CHOI: "It's natural to think so, eh, buddy boy? And when Kim tells the whole world we've been rehabilitated, we'll be given a hero's welcome when we get back home along with all sorts of perks."
CHANG: "Yeah. But even if we're freed, it'll be tough for us to do any jobs."
CHOI: "That's the beauty of it, buddy boy. Kim'll probably provide us with all of the prize money to set us off on a fresh start, and we can use that to go overseas, buddy boy."
CHANG: "And then we can do jobs overseas!"
CHOI: "That's it, buddy boy. Provided that no one catches on to us."
CHANG: "Good point. There never going to catch me again."
CHOI: "But if things get a little touch-and-go in the country we go to, we can just pick up and go to another, and another, and so on, and so on, eh, buddy boy?"
CHANG: "Oh. And what's more, we'll never have to see Kim's mug again!"
CHANG, CHOI: "Goo, hoo, hooo, hoooo."

Kim's story finally comes to an end, and the TV station staff begin to move.


KIM: "Hey, you two over there. Get ready and fall in cause we're going to start working out now."
CHANG: "Kim's calling us."
CHOI: "OK, let's get this done, buddy boy."
CHANG: "Yeah, I'm with you."

New Faces Team

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=newface

A local live house. A number of young people are banging away at each of their instruments. During the interlude of the piece, a large man whips the crowd into a frenzy with a guitar solo. Then, all of a sudden, the man stops playing.


YASHIRO: "No, no."

The band members screw up their faces in a familiar "not again" look. Some of the crowd in the club make their way toward the door. After seeing off the leaving members, a young boy looks at Yashiro.


CHRIS: "I thought it sounded kind of good. But then what do I know, huh? Ah!"

A woman pulls back Chris's head from behind.


SHERMIE: "Something's still missing. Right, maestro?"

Yashiro ignores Shermie, who asks her questions with a chiding tone, and takes a seat at the counter.


CHRIS: "What's eating you...? You've already made the grade, haven't you?"
SHERMIE: "Yeah, the song does, at least. But there's some other reason, isn't there?"
CHRIS: "Some other reason?"
SHERMIE: "Didn't you notice it? It happened, you know, before."
CHRIS: "Before?"
SHERMIE: "Look, at the club's line-up...."
CHRIS: "Oh, you mean the cancellation."
SHERMIE: "Yup, that's it. He's been like that ever since that day. Stuff like this often goes on when two bands with the same hair color and notoriety bump up against each other, but the exact same combination...it's just weird."
CHRIS: "Uh...who is it? Um...."
SHERMIE: "Hey, come to think of it, I've forgotten, too... He did have red hair...."
CHRIS: "Yeah, that's the guy. ...But there's only two months until the concert."
SHERMIE: "Yeah, yeah, I know..."

Shermie sits at the counter next to Yashiro, who appears lost in thought, and switches on the TV. A commercial for the King of Fighters tournament appears.


SHERMIE: "The King of Fighters, huh...?"

Without moving, Yashiro shifts his gaze to the TV and stares at the screen.


YASHIRO: "What's...that?"
SHERMIE: "Beats me? Hey, what's that all about?"

Shermie shakes Chris, whose mouth for some reason is filled with ice cream. He continues to eat the ice cream without giving the two so much as a glance.


CHRIS: "It's some kind of fighting tournament. They were showing the preliminaries on TV just before this."
YASHIRO: "Can anyone enter these preliminaries?"
CHRIS: "If they've got what it takes, I think anyone's eligible."
YASHIRO: "Hmm...!"

A digest of the participants now appears on the TV. After a feature on Kyo Kusanagi, the man with red hair pops up on the screen.


SHERMIE: "Hey...Chris!"

Chris leans against the counter.


CHRIS: "Hey! That's him.... Huh, so he's taking part in the tournament too?"
SHERMIE: "Do you think that's the guy?"
CHRIS: "Isn't it? There aren't many people who look like that?"

Biting his bent index finger, Yashiro glares at the screen.


YASHIRO: "So that's where you are...?"
SHERMIE: "So he's not just a musician.... I guess you really can't judge a book by its cover."
YASHIRO: "...We're entering too."
CHRIS, SHERMIE: "Huh?!"
YASHIRO: "Yeah, I want to enter."
SHERMIE: "Enter? That?"
YASHIRO: "Yeah. It looks kinda fun. Let's do it. You guys and me and KOF."
SHERMIE: "Are you serious?"

Shermie looks at Yashiro, confusion contorting her face.


YASHIRO: "Nothing but. I'm going to pay that guy everything I owe him and more and I'll do it during that fighting tournament."

The look of confusion dissolves and Shermie smiles as if everything has become crystal clear to her.


SHERMIE: "That sounds pretty...interesting maybe...."
CHRIS: "...Regardless, the prelims are already over."

Shermie makes a gesture to illustrate her disappointment. Yashiro opens his mouth while staring at the TV.


YASHIRO: "I've got an idea."

Shermie looks at Chris as if silently asking, "What's going on?" Chris shrugs in befuddlement.

Somewhere in the United States. Yashiro and another man are facing off against each other on a dead end street against a brick wall. It appears to be shortly after their battle has begun, and in contrast to the calm and collected Yashiro, his opponent is kneeling on one knee. Shermie and Chris appear. The two combatants face off against each other and lean against the wall.


CHRIS: "So did it go all right?"
SHERMIE: "Yeah, he was a pretty solid opponent. But calling the seed team to a duel...is it worth all this effort? Is this all kosher?"
CHRIS: "He's got his mind set on this and he won't listen to me, so what're you going to do?"
SHERMIE: "Unbelievable."
CHRIS: "At any rate, I'm rather enjoying this. Aren't you?"
SHERMIE: "Don't ask a question you already know the answer to...Here it comes."

The man finally rises to his feet. Yashiro addresses him with a wicked stare.


YASHIRO: "It's over. I'll count to three. Before I finish, I want you to put the invitation down on the ground in front of you."
MAN: "...Shove off..."
YASHIRO: "One."

Shermie and Chris give each other a glance and let out a little titter.


YASHIRO: "Two."

Yashiro drops uncrosses his arms and drops them to his side. He gives the man an even chillier look than before. The expression on the man's face becomes rigid.


MAN: "Bring it on. I've still got a few surprises left."
YASHIRO: "Three!"

The man begins to release a special move once he confirms that Yashiro has begun to rush toward him.


MAN: "Hah, you dare! Hell Bou....Nah!!"

Yashiro covers the few meters that separated them within seconds and comes to a stop right in front of the man. Yashiro apparently grins and rolls right into the man, rising in front of him. He seizes him with an arm and raises him up into the air.


YASHIRO: "It's a sad state of affairs when one with your paltry talents is able to make it into KOF. I guess you could call it simply "luck" that you've gotten this far.
MAN: "You...just who are you?!"
YASHIRO: "I'm Yashiro Nanakase from the Hall of Nanakase Bushin Karate. The athlete that will show whose strongest this year is not Kyo Kusanagi or any of the Bogards, or none of the Kyokugen. It is I, Yashiro Nanakase."
MAN: "Yashiro...Nanakase...!"

The man is tossed aside. He shows no sign that he'll be getting up. Yashiro picks up the invitation that had fallen to the ground and looks toward Shermie and Chris.


YASHIRO: "When did you get here?"
SHERMIE: "A little while ago. Boy, when you say you'll do something, you do it. I'm shocked."
YASHIRO: "Yup."
SHERMIE: "But why the U.S.? Why not someone from Japan?"
YASHIRO: "I just thought that if I'm going to beat a team, it may as well be from another block. It's good to have that kind of rep behind you, don't you think? The reason why I chose the U.S. is I heard this is where a suitable opponent happened to be, and that's that. By the way, how did things go with you?"

Each of the two pulls out their own invitation.


CHRIS: "Well, we have all of our invitations."

Yashiro passes by him, muttering, "Hmph." Chris follows him.


SHERMIE: "Hey!"
YASHIRO: "?"
SHERMIE: "Is there really a Hall of Nanakase Bushin Karate?"

Yashiro rolls his eyes back into his head and sticks out his tongue.


YASHIRO: "Get with the program."
SHERMIE: "...!!!"

Shermie's shoulders shake as she laughs silently at her maestro's hubris.

'97 Special Team

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=97sp

Geese Tower, the only building that commands a full view of Southtown. Geese regards the immutable view of the city, sunken deep down into his chair. A knock comes at the door.


GEESE: "Enter."
BILLY: "Excuse me, sir."

As if in synch with the pace of the approaching Billy, Geese slowly turns his back to his guest.


BILLY: "How may I serve you today?"

Geese produces an envelope that appears to contain an invitation from a desk drawer and passes it to Billy.


GEESE: "Read it."

Billy takes the envelope and opens it.


BILLY: "Hmm. So it's on again this year, is it? The King of Fighters."
GEESE: "Yup. In spite of last year's incident, it seems to have succeeded commercially. And this year you know the corporations will want a piece of this pie."
BILLY: "Do you plan to enter?"
GEESE: "I think I'll sit it out this time. I don't have time for such trivialities."
BILLY: "And so I..."
GEESE: "You're a quick study. Did you expect me to ask you to go bowling? But I jest. You're going to enter the event. Another entrant has caught my attention...."
BILLY: "And you want me to check him out. Sounds like a plan. So, who is it...? Must be Terry Bogard, right?"
GEESE: "Nope. Iori Yagami. Or, to be more precise, I should say the power that he possesses."

An odious memory comes to mind. Billy just barely manages to suppress his rage.


BILLY: "Iori...Yagami! ...But the power he commands is that of the Orochi, and a pale imitation of it at that.... Why do you want me to watch him now...? I thought your curiosity in the power of the Orochi had been sated, no?"
GEESE: "It may very well be that the power he commands is but an epigone of the Orochi; however, the rage he displayed in the last tournament is something I've never seen in the Orochi, something that may exceed its power. He's a true descendant of the Orochi.... Yagami may be something quite formidable."
BILLY: "Because of his mixed blood...? I see. Then if that's the case.... But as you know he and I aren't exactly drinking buddies. Did you think of that when you decided to enter me? I just may be liable to...annihilate him."
GEESE: "Suit yourself.... If he dies, he dies."
BILLY: "Very well, sir. That's that, then. By the way, who's on my team?"

Geese's grins menacingly and stares at Billy.


GEESE: "One of your teammates is Ryuji Yamazaki. The other, one Blue Mary."
BILLY: "Yamazaki and Blue Mary? There's a surprise...."
GEESE: "Yamazaki intrigues me, too.... But you won't need to bother with him. That's Blue Mary job, thanks to me arranging an investigation through one of my dummy corporations. Focusing on Yagami is all you need to think about."
BILLY: "Just what's so intriguing about this Yamazaki clown?"
GEESE: "Hmph, you'll know it when see it. If you see it.... I know where he's hanging out. Before you leave, check your hopper."
BILLY: "I understand. Well, then, I guess I'd better get crackin'...."

Billy exits the room. Geese gets up from his seat and stares out the window again.


GEESE: "This year's KOF looks like it'll be more interesting than I had thought."


In the gym. Men dressed in the gym's uniform surround a mysterious figure. A little ways away, Billy stands at a place that affords a full view of the gym.


BILLY: "It looks like it's begun."

Without uttering a word, the uniformed men lunge at the cornered man.
BILLY: "It's no good. With that timing, they'll be putty in his hands...."

The lunging men are abruptly blown every which way.


BILLY: "...The "Serpent Slash" move."

Next barrage of bursts reverberate through the gym. One man after another is blown back every which way. The "wall" of men vanishes in an instant; a lone figure appears in the centre of the gym.


BILLY: "Ryuji Yamazaki.... Just what does Geese find so interesting with him, anyway...?"

Billy's mind races as he scrutinizes the scene. A lone man, apparently grazed by the outburst, pounces at Yamazaki out of nowhere. Yamazaki appears unfazed.


MAN: "You nub! You're going to regret that...! Ah!"

Yamazaki grins. In the blink of an eye, a dagger pierces the attacker's belly. Billy looks on calmly.


BILLY: "This guy's no more than a vicious little punk."
MAN: "You...sneaky...bastard...."

Yamazaki's grin grows larger.


YAMAZAKI: "Sneaky? Hey, it's just a game, isn't it? Who made it serious...?"

He twists the dagger to open the wound further. The man screams out in agony. Yamazaki intones in a low voice:

YAMAZAKI: "...Bada bing, baby."

The man crumples to the floor. Yamazaki sheaths his dagger in disgust. Billy, meanwhile, stealthily enters the gym. Yamazaki takes notice of his presence.


YAMAZAKI: "...! Huh, one of Geese's lapdogs, is it? What do you want with me?"
BILLY: "That was quite a little hissy fit you threw there. Such high jinks in a place like this must mean you have more free time than you can manage."
YAMAZAKI: "I don't know what you mean. What? Do you care to share their fate?"
BILLY: "Hah! That's rich. Me lose to you, eh? Impossible. I'd even bet on it!"
YAMAZAKI: "Why you. Come to pick a fight with me, have you? Eh?!"
BILLY: "Just hear me out. I didn't come here to fight. I have a proposition for you."
YAMAZAKI: "A proposition? What do you got in mind?"
BILLY: "The King of Fighters will be beginning soon. We're going to enter it and win. That's my proposition."
YAMAZAKI: "The King of Fighters? Hmph, that fighting dilletante's ball? I'm not interested. Go get some other sucker...!?"

Suddenly something seizes Yamazaki's feet. He looks down to see the man he'd just carved a new navel for holding on to him. A grin even more vicious than before appears on Yamazaki's face.


YAMAZAKI: "Hoo, hoo, hoo. You're quite a little trooper!"

In an instant, a fountain of blood shoots up. Yamazaki lets out a scream that could be interpreted as madness or a cry for help.


BILLY: "What was that? That was something well beyond his previous homicidal rage...!"

Geese's words pop into Billy's head.


GEESE: "You'll know when you see it. If you see it...."
BILLY: "So that's it...that's what he meant."
YAMAZAKI: "How much...?"

Yamazaki's voice yanks him back to reality.


BILLY: "What's that?"
YAMAZAKI: "I'm asking you how much you're going to pay me. I've changed my mind.... I'm entering. The King of Fighters, that is!"
BILLY: "Double the prize money for the tournament."
YAMAZAKI: "Don't forget your promise...."

Yamazaki leaves the gym alone. Shortly after that, a woman's voice calls from behind.


MARY: "It looks like the plot thickens. Mind if I put my two cents in?"
BILLY: "You? What are you up to?"
MARY: "Nothing special.... I've put out my nets, and I thought this would be a good way to kill some time."
BILLY: "Would we happen to be caught in one of your little nets?"
MARY: "You got it."
BILLY: "...Hmm. Well, whatever. It looks like all our team is here. Do as you like."

Billy exits the gym. As he passes by Mary, she calls to him again.


MARY: "Thanks. I just may do that."

As Billy leaves the gym, a car draws up along side him. Without hesitation, he climbs into the car and shuts his eyes as if to ward off any followers.


BILLY: "All the players are on stage. I'm a little psyched about my little mission. I'm coming for you, Iori Yagami. And you're going down this time for sure!"

The gym. Mary looks over the pile of bodies.


MARY: "It looks like I've established contact with my target. But there's something fishy about this job. It looks like Yamazaki isn't the only one I'll have to investigate. I better find out just exactly whom I'm working for."


Iori Yagami

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=yagami

Red hair and red spandex pants.... One look would make one think they were looking at a some pop musician. But this man gives credence to the saying that you can't judge a book by its cover. There's something more to him than meets the eye. Even in his drenched clothes, the man's eyes glare fiercely. Just what are his eyes, gleaming with a magical light, gazing upon...?

The man stops abruptly before a giant LCD display.

"...And the regular entrants for King of Fighters '97 are as follows."
"......."

The man begins to leave. But the contents of the broadcast thereafter make him stop in his tracks.

"...The for the Japanese team, Kyo Kusanagi, Benimaru Nikaido, and Goro Daimon are slated to enter. Iori Yagami is also scheduled to enter as a seeded competitor...."
"!?"

The man laughs when his own name is read.

"Heh, heh, Kagura. So this is all her work.... And Kyo...once again you plan to enter this silly tournament...?"

Muttering this, the man takes his leave. Strong feelings of hate seize the man's soul. A hate that almost assumes the quality of pleasure throbs in his body. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate.... Hate. Hate. Hate....

"Goo-aaah...."

The man begins to moan.

"Hoo, hoo...."

From somewhere the sound of laughter filters into the man's ears.

"Who is it...?"
"Iori...It seems you still cannot defeat Kyo...Hoo, hoo, hoo...."

Out of the darkness float a pair of glowing eyes.

"Hmph, so it's you?"

All of a sudden, the presence appears at the man's feet and squirms. There are two women. Unfamiliar faces. Strangely, the two women crawl naked along the ground. And their slippery movements resemble those of serpents.

"Hoo, hoo, you've outlived your time...."
"Hoo, hoo...if that's all you're capable of, Kyo will most certainly defeat you...."
"Silence!"

Bwaagh! He unleashes his "Exorcism" move. The blue flames, however, pass through the two without effect.

"Whoo, hooo, hoo...Iori...we'll meet again...you know where...you know when...."

The woman disappear into the darkness along with their fading laughter.

"Whoo, hoo, hoo, Kyo! Thanks to you I'm seeing monsters now!"

The man lets out a scream.

"Kyo-ohhhhhhhhh!"

Creeeeeeeeak!

The man rises from his bed.

"Wheez...wheez...."

The man looks around. There is nothing in the room. Yes, there is nothing else but his bed in this room. It's the usual vacant room, containing nothing....

"...A dream...Wah, gaaack!"

The man coughs. He looks at the hand he brought to his mouth, and notices blood spattered on his palm. Not wishing to trouble himself with wiping it off, the man simply lies back down on the bed. He then looks up at the dirty ceiling above him.

"Hmph, Kyo, you and our destiny...who will be the first to fall...?"

A pale smile comes over the man's lips. Woo-hah, hah, hah! Kyo! Your voice! Your face! More than anyone! More than anyone in the world! The thing I hate most of all is you! Kyo! My only desire! My only desire is your defeat!!! Hah, hah, hah!!!" The man laughs.

The pathetic laughter fills the room and continues interminably.

Shingo Yabuki

http://kofaniv.snk-corp.co.jp/english/history/kof97_story/index.php?num=shingo


SHINGO: "I've brought you some rolls and stuff!"

Lunch time at school. A lone young man is in a corner of the school ground that is hidden away from prying eyes. Shingo cradles some bread and runs toward a boy who is reclining against a leafless tree and catching a few Z's.


SHINGO "Let's see, today I got the chow mein sandwich and the croquette roll." BOY: "Huh? Uh..."
SHINGO "I brought you one of those coffee-latte deals, too. I'll put it here, OK?"
BOY: "Yeah, whatever."

It's been more than three months since Shingo has been bringing lunch to this spot.


SHINGO "Well, then, I guess you're going to teach me a new move today, then...?"

The boy removes the chow mein sandwich from its wrapper, stands up after taking a sizable bite, and moves to a suitable distance from the tree he had been lying up against.


BOY: "OK, I'm only going to do this once."
SHINGO "I got you...."

The boy unleashes a sudden series of punches against the tree.


BOY: "Hey, pal? Where's your defense now?!!!"

Ceeee-rack!!!

The tree shakes violently. A careful inspection would reveal that this tree's rather scruffed up and scorched in places. The reason for the absence of its leaves can be chalked up to the fact that it has always been used in place of a sand bag.


SHINGO "Ah! So that's the Wicked Chew move, eh?!!!"
BOY: "Whoa, way to go, Shingo. You've really been studying, haven't you."
SHINGO "Uh, I saw it on TV last year! I'm pretty sure it was the move you used to knock out Kensou in the semifinals, wasn't it?!!"
BOY: (How would I remember something like that...?)
SHINGO "Let's see...first this way...then that way...and this way...."

Shingo simulates the boy's moves in his head, trying to memorize them.


SHINGO "But yesterday I thought you said you were going to teach me the Rainbow Energy Dynamite Kick-you know, the R.E.D. Kick..."
BOY: "Did I say that?"
SHINGO "Uh, whatever. So, what style is the Wild Chew move anyway?"
BOY: "Uh...I think it's style one hundred...fifteen...isn't it?"
SHINGO "No, no. That's the Poison Bite you showed me before."
BOY: "Ah, yeah, that's right. So it must be style 114-yeah, that's the one."
SHINGO "Oh, Mr. Kusanagi. How could you get that wrong?!"

His words sound angry, but Shingo looks as if he's thoroughly enjoying this.


SHINGO "Let's see...the 114 Wild Chew...yeah, that's it."

As Shingo hastily jots this down in his student's pocket notebook, he emulates the actions of the Wild Chew move.


SHINGO "Is that how you do it?"
KYO: "Y-yeah. That's it. That's the way you do it."
SHINGO "Oh, really?! Thank you, Mr. Kusanagi!!! Next, the "flames," eh...?"
KYO: "Right...the flames...."
SHINGO "I've never been able to do it up till now, but I got the feeling that this time if I concentrate a little harder, I think I make some flames with this move!!!"
KYO: (I think your just imagining is getting the better of you...)
SHINGO "So I'm going to keep practicing until I can shoot flames like you, Mr. Kusanagi."
KYO: "OK. I think you just might do it. Keep practicing. Well, I got to go back."

Taking the lunch Shingo bought for him, Kyo heads back to school, finishing off the sandwich he had taken a bite out of.


SHINGO "Thank you, Mr. Kusanagi!!!"

Shingo sees his him off with a deep bow.


KYO: "He's got a good memory, but...you know...."

Kyo reluctantly waves his right hand without looking back and returns to school.


KYO: "See ya. Work hard!"

As Kyo disappears into the school, Shingo starts practice while he tries to remember the move he has just been taught.


SHINGO "All-rightey!!! Let's master the "Wild Chew" move!!!"

Incidentally these two students had had nothing in common other than being upper and lower classmen at the same school. But one day two months ago, the young Shingo Yabuki suddenly appeared before Kyo....


SHINGO: "You are the Kyo Kusanagi, aren't you?"
KYO: "Yeah, I am...Who the hell are you?"
SHINGO: "I'm Shingo Yabuki in the sophomore class. Kyo Kusanagi! Please teach me your moves! I'm begging you!!!"
KYO: "Say what?"

This was Kyo's first conversation with Shingo. It seems Shingo saw him in the KOF '96 tournament and became an instant fan. At first Kyo blew him off, but Shingo subsequently wore him down and he agreed to teach him his moves. In spite of this instruction, however, since Shingo is not a descendant of the Kusanagi clan, he is only able to emulate the punches of the Wild Chew moves he learned today sans the trademark flames. In spite of this, Kyo continues to teach the dedicated Shingo for a lark, but mainly for the lunches.


SHINGO: (...This way...now that way...and....)

Since he's used this method up till now, it seems he's gotten used to it and even though he only sees a move once, he masters its actions immediately.


SHINGO: (OK. I've got the main actions down...This is it, right?)

Shingo readjusts his stance, focuses his mind, and unleashes his punches with all his might.


SHINGO: "Hey, pal? Where's your defense now?!!!"

Any onlooker would assume this was just another body blow.

Bing-bong, bing-bong, bing-bong, bing-bong. The school chimes signalling the end to the lunch time recess reverberate through the schoolyard. The students who spent their time outside again flow back into the school from every which way.


SHINGO: (Well then, I guess I'd better go back...)

After school. The weather has taken a sudden turn for the worse, and the drizzle of the early afternoon is now a steady torrent. Students react to the downpour in a variety of ways: some open up their umbrellas and head home, others without dash home and soon get drenched, and still others hang around the entrance, waiting for the rain to let up.


SHINGO: "Hey, pal? Where's your defence now?!!!"

While the rain pours down, Shingo works on the moves he learned from Kyo where he always does, in the quadrangle. Practicing in the deserted quad after school has become part of his daily regimen and he goes through every move from the first he learned to today's "Wild Chew," and he does this every day regardless of the weather. But he's become vaguely aware that there are limits to simply practicing.


SHINGO: "Huff, puff, puff...I still don't got it..."

Taking a little break, Shingo plops down on the drenched ground. He goes over the doubts he's had since noontime and contemplates his future training.

"The King of Fighters."

Because he happened to see KOF on TV last summer, Shingo is who he is today, on his way to be like his hero, Kyo. And another tournament is coming this summer.


SHINGO: (Enter the King of Fighters...but can I do it?...Me?)

A few months before, he wouldn't have imagined raising his fists against another human being; that's not why he took up this pursuit. But now things are different....


SHINGO: (I do so want to enter and be more like Mr. Kusanagi!)

He anguishes over this in his mind, and then, as if inspired, he makes up his mind.


SHINGO: (That's it...The worst I can do is lose!!!)

Shingo shoots to his feet, psyches himself up, and resumes his practicing.

Later Shingo makes his way through the individual preliminaries of the King of Fighters without any trouble, and goes on to the finals.

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