The Man, the Myth, the Maniacal Laughter
The King of Fighters XV has dropped another character trailer, and we are living for it. After the introduction of the new Hero Team, we assumed that KOF poster boy and original protagonist Kyo Kusanagi would be showing up next. After all, he’s the series’ first leading man and remains one of its most popular characters to this day–also, new protagonist Shun’ei used Kyo as a punching bag in his character trailer, and in a fighting game that sort of challenge can’t be left unanswered. SNK shattered all our expectations by unveiling Iori Yagami instead, complete with a new outfit reminiscent of The King of Fighters 2000‘s Another Iori design and some gorgeous saxophone in the background. Congratulations, SNK, you have our attention.
Iori is Kyo’s rival, not just because he’s the scion of the Yagami clan which has loathed the Kusanagi clan for centuries, but also because he really wants to murder Kyo. His cursed bloodline and connection to the evil god Orochi mean that Iori’s life will be short and bloody no matter what he does, so he’s chosen to spend his remaining years playing music, feeding stray cats, and stalking Kyo with deadly intent. He also had a bad track record of either brutally beating or outright killing his teammates if he loses. Despite his tendency to lash out at his opponents with brutal efficiency and laugh cruelly whenever he wins, Iori claims to hate violence. That little hypocrisy might explain why he seems so unhinged at times–his own cursed blood is forcing him into battles he never wanted to fight. They could totally explore that plot threat in the anime, hint hint.
A-anyways, we’re absolutely thrilled to see Iori in action again, especially if he’s avenging Kyo’s honor. The bondage pants have still not made a reappearance, but his new character model looks pretty damn cool regardless. If there’s one thing we could ask for, it would be a little more stylization on his more… violent moves. We understand if they don’t want to animate blood in 3D, but can they please do the fade to black silhouettes again while he viciously rips into his victim, er, opponent? That was cool.
The King of Fighters XV is expected to come out in 2021 on undisclosed platforms.