Yuri Sakazaki (ユリ・サカザキ or 坂崎 百合, Sakazaki Yuri) is a character introduced in the Art of Fighting series as a damsel in distress and eventually as a playable character. Since then, she has appeared in many SNK fighting games, alongside her older brother, Ryo Sakazaki. She is the first female practitioner of Kyokugenryu Karate. Her official nickname is Wild Flying Swallow.
In the Neo Geo Freak's 1997 Volume 8 character poll, she was voted as the tenth favourite character with a total of 944 votes. In the character popularity poll on Neo Geo Freak's website, she was voted as the nineteenth favorite character with a total of 726 votes.
Art of FightingEdit
As a child, Takuma dedicated more time training Ryo to be next family heir rather than raising Yuri. When she was six years old, her mother died in a tragic car accident. Sensing his family was being targeted, their father leaves in order to protect them. With the loss of both parents, she becomes fearful and heavily dependent on Ryo for the rest of their childhood. When she first meets Robert, she does not trust him but eventually warms up to him.
When she was 17, Yuri was kidnapped by Mr. Big on behalf of Geese Howard as part of a ploy to blackmail her father. Ryo and Robert search Southtown to find her whereabouts and rescue her. While held hostage, she finds out the identity of Mr. Karate. When Ryo defeats her captors, she reveals it to her brother and the family is reunited.
In order to protect herself in the future, Takuma teaches her how to fight much to Ryo and Robert's chagrin. He trained Yuri in secret, but only taught her enough to defend herself.
She becomes worried about Robert when he doesn't appear for their date before Art of Fighting 3. Setting out with her brother, they search for him in Glasshill. During their trip, she is wounded by Sinclair and briefly hospitalized. If the player plays through Robert's story, a strained Yuri appears to assist his plight against Wyler. She is healthy enough to leave with Robert by the end of the game's events.
According to Ryo, she and Robert are still single by the time Buriki One takes place. She likely stayed at home to help the family business, as she is close enough to her brother to tell him to shave off the hair from his chin.
The King of FightersEdit
Yuri, now confident in her fighting prowess, decides to enter the tournament, but is denied to enter by her brother. She defies his wishes and enters with King and Mai. It isn't until the 1996 tournament that they finally form a team together to represent the prestige of Kyokugenryu to the world. She is forced to join when Takuma gives her an ultimatum to either enter with Ryo or leave the house.
After the 1999 King of Fighters tournament, Yuri wanted to once again show her independence. She begs King to take her place for the year and joins the Women's Team. In 2001, Robert reveals to the family that his family business is in trouble. They decide to all enter together to win the prize money and help out Robert's situation. Since 2001, Yuri then has been a regular for the Art of Fighting team alongside Ryo and Robert. In The King of Fighters XI, Yuri has a rival in the form of Malin. She stuns her father with her whimsical haircut before KOF XIII and is upset by her family's eccentric reactions. Since the rising skill of martial artists in the tournaments outclasses her basic training, Robert informs her of her brother and father's wishes to quit Karate for her own safety. Optimistic in her attempts to improve herself, however, she teams with Mai and King for the newest tournament.
Yuri Sakazaki is a friendly young girl who always cares about her family and friends. She is a strong believer of innovation and trends, constantly finding ways to improve herself through change. She is often arguing with her father and Ryo over matters regarding her newfound sense of independence.
In the Art of Fighting series, it is heavily implied that she has a romantic interest in Robert after her kidnapping. As of Art of Fighting 3, she is confirmed to be in a relationship with Robert. Thought still present to a certain degree, this attraction and relationship is downplayed in the King of Fighters series.
- Gather chi: Yuri can gather chi from Gaia, the mother-earth.
- Energy Projectile: Yuri can fire the Ko-Ou Ken and Haoh Shoukou Ken blast normally.
- Energy Reflector: Yuri can create a ball of energy in her hands to reflect projectiles.
Yuri uses the lowest-grade version of the Kyokugenryu Karate discipline, and is taught only the basic and low-level moves. To prove her own worth, she personally arranges the style to better fit her physique and persona. Among her own moves are the Slipstream Handslap/Hyakuretsu Binta (Hundred Rending Face Slaps), the Big Butt Press/En'yoku (Swallow Wing), Hien Hou'ou Kyaku (Flying Swallow Fenghuang Leg), and the more popular Yuri Chou Upper (Yuri Super Upper) with its added variations. Later in KOF 2002 UM, she even manages to create her own version of the Kyokugen-style's signature Ryuuko Ranbu (Dragon Tiger Wild Dance). Several of her techniques also have a flying swallow-naming motif.
Yuri's moveset is a running parody of various special moves from the Street Fighter series. This is very noticeable in The King of Fighters '96, when she received her Yuri Chou Mawashi Geri (Yuri Super Spin Kick), which was similar to Sakura's Shunpuu Kyaku. Yuri has since then received various moves and other mannerisms that are parodies of these (both Capcom and SNK alike):
- Sakura's Flower Kick: Senkai Kyaku (Swiveling Leg) in KOF '99~2001 and KOF: Maximum Impact series
- Ryu's Shin Shouryuuken (True Rising Dragon Fist): Shin! Chou Upper! (Wick/Staple! Super Upper!) in KOF '98 (UM) (as EX Yuri), KOF '99~XI / Neowave, KOF EX2: Howling Blood and KOF: Maximum Impact series
- The "Shin" here is written with a different kanji.
- Ryu's Denjin Hadouken (Electric Blade Surge Fist): Denjin Haou Shoukou Ken (Electric God Supreme King Soaring Howl Fist) in KOF 2003
- The "jin" kanji here is written with a different one.
- Ryu's Joudan Sokutou Geri (High-Level Foot Edge Kick): Yuri Chou Slash (Yuri Super Slash) in KOF 2002 Unlimited Match
- The kanji's literal reading is "Hien Sokutou" (Flying Swallow Foot Edge).
- Ken's Shouryuu Reppa (Rising Dragon Rending Blast): Hien Rekkou (Flying Swallow Violent Pit) in KOF '97~2001, KOF EX2: Howling Blood and Capcom vs. SNK series
- Also doubles as Yuri Chou Reppa (Yuri Super Rending Blast) in terms of the quote she spouts.
- Akuma/Gouki's Tenma Kuujinkyaku (Evil Spirit Air Blade Leg) and Hyakki Shuu (Hundred Demons Assault): Yuri Raijin Kyaku (Yuri Thunder God Leg) and Houyoku (Feng Wing) in KOF XIII, respectively
- Akuma/Gouki's Shun Goku Satsu (Blinking Prison Killer, known as the Raging Demon in international releases): Yuri Chou Enbu (Yuri Super Swallow Dance) in KOF 2001
- Chun-Li's Tenkuukyaku (Aether Leg): Shouyoku (Rising Wing) in KOF 2002~XI/Neowave
- Iori's Ge Shiki: Yuri Ori (Foreign Method: Lily Snapper): Yuri Ori (Yuri Snapper) in KOF 2003~XI
- Notice that the "Yuri" on her own version is not in written kanji but in katakana akin to her name.
- Terry's Burn Knuckle: Yuri Chou Knuckle (Yuri Super Knuckle) in KOF '96~2001 and KOF: Maximum Impact series
- The kanji is literally read as "Hien Shippuu Ken" (Flying Swallow Hurricane Fist), making it her own version of one of the Kyokugen Karate signature techniques used by Ryo (the Kohou Shippuu Ken; lit. Tiger Roaring Hurricane Fist).
- Kaede's Kuuga (Air Fang): Yuri Chou Upper (Yuri Super Upper) and Double Chou Upper.
- This attack's name eventually rendered respectively Chou Upper and Double Chou Upper as alternate readings to the kanji "Kuuga" (Air Fang) and "Ura Kuuga" (Air Fang) the year just after The Last Blade's release first in 1997 in Japan, despite this anti-air technique being different from Kaede's Kuuga.
- Dan's Shissou Burai Ken (Sprinting Ruffian Fist): Chou! Ryuuko Ranbu! (Super! Dragon and Tiger Wild Dance) in KOF XIV
It is notable that KOF '96 came out exactly one year after Street Fighter Alpha, where Dan Hibiki (a character that parodies both Ryo and Robert) was introduced. It is because of this that Yuri can sometimes be taken as the counter-parody character from SNK to Capcom, given the impression "even a basic level Kyokugenryu Karate can perform Ansatsuken techniques".
Likewise, her classic attacks also have alternate character readings which may or may not parallel the original Kyokugenryu's existing techniques; Yuri Chou Knuckle's literal kanji reading is "Hien Shippuu Ken" (Flying Swallow Hurricane Fist), Yuri Chou Upper's literal reading is "Kuuga" (Air Fang; the followup is Ura Kuuga/Reverse Air Fang, read by Yuri as "Double Chou Upper"), the Yuri Chou Mawashi Geri her own version of the Hien Shippuu Kyaku (Flying Swallow Hurricane Leg) and so forth.
In some games, when Yuri is knocked out with a special move, the top of her costume is torn off, exposing her bra. This happens in Art of Fighting 2, The King of Fighters '94, The King of Fighters '95, The King of Fighters XIII and The King of Fighters XIV, though in the latter case, her bra is not fully exposed.
In Capcom vs. SNK 2, when Yuri finishes a fight with a "Finest KO" (finish with a super move as a counter to an opponent's special or super move), she will attempt to tie her gi tighter. However, the belt becomes completely undone and her top opens, revealing a semi sheer undershirt. Yuri will then blush in total embarrassment and immediately cover herself. This victory pose first appeared in Art of Fighting 2 when Yuri scores a Perfect victory.
- Diet - Art of Fighting 2, The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match (as EX Yuri), The King of Fighters R-1, The King of Fighters R-2, The King of Fighters 2002, SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millenium, The King of Fighters XI (Yuri as leader, Console version)
- Ne! - The King of Fighters '94, The King of Fighters '98 and Ultimate Match (When teamed with Mai and King)
- Tsuchi o Hau Bass - The King of Fighters '95
- Kamikirimushi - The King of Fighters '96, The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match (When teaming EX Yuri with EX Ryo and EX Robert)
- Art of Fight - The King of Fighters '98
- Ryu-Ko - The King of Fighters '99
- Come up Smiling - The King of Fighters 2000
- Beauty and the Beast - The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood
- Fight to the Limit - The King of Fighters 2001
- Kyoku-gen - The King of Fighters 2003
- After a Long Absence - The King of Fighters XI (Normal Team Theme)
- Who is Queen? - The King of Fighters XIII
- I'm Hot for You - The King of Fighters XIII (When the music is set to "Type B", console version only, shared with King and Mai Shiranui)
- Tiger & Dragon - The King of Fighters XIV
- ART OF FIGHT ~ Ryuko to Tsubame (Art of Fight ~ Dragon, Tiger, and Swallow) - The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
- Cho Smile - Days of Memories (Kaze Maou Miyako de Tsukamaete!)
- Diet ~SNK Heroines Edit~ - SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy
- The Song of Fighters '95 - Shared image song from The King of Fighters '95 Arranged Soundtrack
- Heavy Baby's - Neo Geo DJ Station shared image song
- Harumi Ikoma - Art of Fighting
- Kaori Horie - Art of Fighting 2~The King of Fighters XIII
- Ai Kakuma - The King of Fighters XIV~present
- Amy Walls - Maximum Impact series (English voice)
- Ayumi Hamasaki - Art of Fighting anime
- Veronica Taylor - Art of Fighting anime (English voice)
- Sakura Tange - Dengeki Bunko drama CD
Live Action ActorsEdit
- Miki Hareyama - Art of Fighting commercial
- Ayumi Hamasaki - Art of Fighting 2 commercials
- Art of Fighting - Damsel in distress
- Art of Fighting 2
- Art of Fighting 3 - NPC in Ryo and Robert's story modes
- The King of Fighters '94
- The King of Fighters '95
- The King of Fighters '96
- Nettou The King of Fighters '95
- The King of Fighters '97
- The King of Fighters '98
- The King of Fighters R-1
- The King of Fighters R-2
- The King of Fighters '99
- SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millenium - Secret character
- Capcom vs. SNK
- Capcom vs. SNK Pro
- SNK Gals' Fighters
- The King of Fighters 2000
- Capcom vs. SNK 2
- The King of Fighters 2001
- The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood - As a Striker for the Art of Fighting Team
- The King of Fighters 2002
- The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood
- The King of Fighters 2003
- The King of Fighters Neowave
- KOF: Maximum Impact
- The King of Fighters XI
- KOF: Maximum Impact 2 - Both playable and Ryo Sakazaki's Another Outfit-Variation E
- KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
- The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match
- The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
- The King of Fighters: Kyo
- The King of Fighters XIII
- Ryuuko no Ken (Pachislot)
- CR The King of Fighters
- Quiz King of Fighters - Damsel in distress
- The King of Fighters XIV
- SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy
- Days of Memories (First, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth titles) - non-playable
- The King of Fighters Mobile
- The King of Fighters Mobile R-2
- The King of Fighters Volleyball
- SNK Gals Fighters
- SNK Gal's Open ~Cutey Shot~
- KOF Gals Mahjong
- SNK Gals Island Dokidoki Puzzle Shock!
- SNK Gals Rhythm Combo Yudanshinaide!
- SNK Gals Island Senkan Battle Gekichinshichaouzo!
- SNK Gals Island Beauty Dungeon Mimi to Kimashita!
- SNK Girls Island Beauty Dungeon Bibitto kimashita!
- The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Online
- Metal Slug Defense - unlockable
- Crash Fever
- Puzzle & Dragons
- The King of Fighters Destiny
- Kimi wa Hero
- The King of Fighters All Star
- SNK All Star
- The King of Fighters Go
- The King of Fighters XII - Passing mention
- Neo Geo Battle Coliseum - In-text cameo in Robert's win quote against Mr. Big and another in-text cameo in Mr. Karate's win quote against Robert
- The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise
- Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidou Retsuden (Neo-Geo CD version only)
- SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos - cameo in Ryo and Mr. Karate's endings
- Garou: Mark of the Wolves - In Hokutomaru's stage during the third round
- Koi no Iroha ~Momiji Iro Tsuku Aki~ Mobile game
- Dead or Alive 5 Last Round - as a DLC costume for Ayane and Hitomi
- Mabinogi Heroes - as an avatar
- Yuri notably breaks the fourth wall in KOF XI: in her win pose against Gai Tendo, she suggests he try saying "Hurricane Upper!", referencing that Gai and Joe Higashi have the same voice actor.
- In The King of Fighters Maximum Impact, Yuri can use an alternate costume which is similar to Eri Kasamoto.
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