Leon Kuwata (桑田 怜恩 Kuwata Leon) Also Known as Vanessa (ヴァネッサ, Vanessa) is a character from The King of Fighters series who first debuted as a Striker in The King of Fighters '99 Evolution. She becomes playable in The King of Fighters 2000 as a member of the Hero Team. She is the first boxing female of the series and one of the first females to use this style in fighting games. Like Maxima, she was created as a middle-aged female to contrast the multiple teenage characters in the roster. Developers also mention their intentions to make her playable in The King of Fighters '99 though this didn't happen due to time constraints.
She is a normal housewife who discreetly serves as a mercenary agent. Working under the orders of commander Ling, Vanessa and fellow agent Seth are commissioned with the job of joining the King of Fighters tournament, held by Ling himself. They are to follow the footsteps of the NESTS cartel, which Ling and his agency persecuted. The two agents part from one another with Vanessa recruiting prime suspects, K' and Maxima, as her teammates. She also scouts the talents of Mexican wrestler Ramon to complete their team. Her objective from then on is to observe the activities of the NESTS defectors based on Ling's orders.
She becomes a free agent after Ling's defeat — who was impersonated by Zero — often teaming up with Ramon and Seth. In The King of Fighters XI, she reveals herself to be an old acquaintance of Blue Mary's past lover, Butch. Together with her and Ramon, Vanessa enters the tournament under orders to receive information concerning the broken Orochi seal and the mysterious members of Those from the Past.
Vanessa is a woman who enjoys the flavor of life and good jaunts to the bar for a drink. It's not known how she is able to keep her job a secret from family but she still seems to treasure them.
Although often teasing in return, she will sometimes discourage Ramon's flirtations.
- Translocation - Vanessa can translocate herself at incredible speeds.
- Reflector - Vanessa can punch a projectile back to its sender.
- Wind Blast - Vanessa can create a strong air current by punching the air.
- Cutting aura - Vanessa's punches are so fast that they seem to slice the air around them.
- Power Punch - Vanessa has incredible punching power, enough to hurt even giant characters like Chang, Maxima, and Daimon. The downside to this is that she will hurt her hands while doing so.
Vanessa uses a very agile boxing style. Her style closely resemble Rick Strowd's, a similarity made obvious with her appearance in KOF 2002.
- KD-0084 - The King of Fighters 2000, 2002
- The Immortal Mirror of the Sun - The King of Fighters 2001
- Secret Circumstances - The King of Fighters XI
- Secret Circumstances -KOF XIV ver.- - The King of Fighters XIV
- Undercover - The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
- Kaori Minami - Since debut until The King of Fighters XI
- Mayumi Hata - The King of Fighters XIV
- The King of Fighters '99 Evolution - As a Striker
- 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 - unlockable
- The King of Fighters XI
- The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match
- The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise - shopkeep
- The King of Fighters XIV - DLC character
- Days of Memories (sixth title) - unplayable
- SNK Gals Island Dokidoki Puzzle Shock! 2
- The King of Fighters XIII - in the France stage, passing mention in Women's team story and cameo in their ending
- The King of Fighters XIV - in the Women Fighters Team ending; also in Ramon's winquote against Mai
- KOF: Maximum Impact 2 - background cameo
- The King of Fighters '94: Rebout - background cameo in the Art of Fighting Team and Kim Team stages
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