|“||This is the prelude to your last breath.||„|
Iori Yagami (八神 庵, Yagami Iori) is a character who made his first appearance in The King of Fighters '95. He is the secondary central recurring character in KOF, and the initial enemy (and eventual rival) of Kyo Kusanagi.
He is the heir to one of the three clans that sealed the legendary snake entity, Orochi, 1,800 years ago. His clan, formerly known as the Yasakani(八尺瓊, Yasakani), wields pyrokinetic powers. They keep the seal over Orochi intact with help from the Kusanagi and Yata clans using three ancient artifacts. His family's treasure is the Yasakani Jewel (八尺瓊曲玉, Yasakani no Magatama) and his family crest is the crescent moon, which he wears on the back of his old jacket. He also wears a plain silver ring around his left middle finger; the significance of the ring, if any, is unknown. His official nickname is Unbridled Instinct.
Since then, Iori acts as the one to end violence when he encounters it, and will finish anyone who dare goes in his way.
660 years before The King of Fighters takes place, Orochi's seal began to weaken. The three clans decided to move its vessel into another location. Wanting to disrupt their unity, one of the Hakkesshu killed the leader of the Yasakani's wife. Under a disguise, the murderer then approached the Yasakani head and reported that the Kusanagi clan was responsible, saying that it was "atonement" for letting the seal weaken. To add more fuel to the fire, the corpse of his wife was found in the Kusanagi homeland. Angered by the revelation, the Yasakani made a blood pact with Orochi to gain the necessary means for revenge. Gaining a forbidden technique called "Kin Sen Hyaku Juuichi Shiki: Ya Otome" (Forbidden Method 1211: Eight Maidens), the Yasakani renamed themselves as the Yagami clan.
As a side-effect of the Orochi's curse, the once crimson flames of the Yagami have become completely violet. The curse also causes each heir to die young and each mother to die in childbirth.
Before the events of The King of Fighters '95 tournament, Billy Kane and Eiji Kisaragi end a sudden duel in a draw. Billy then introduces Eiji to Iori who comes in dragging the body of one of Geese's assassins. Overwhelmed by Iori's strength, Billy invites both Eiji and Iori to form the Rival team to enter the tournament. Iori joins them as a means to meet his rival. At the finals, he helps the hero team defeat Rugal Bernstein. Before Rugal dies, Iori mocks him for trying to use the power of Orochi. Claiming that such power could only belong to him, Iori severely injuries his fellow team members. He then declares Kyo and his clan will be next.
Before the King of Fighters '96 tournament, Iori is visited by two mysterious women who introduce themselves as Vice and Mature. They tell him of Kyo's entry in the tournament and try to coerce him to join as well. After a brief fight, he agrees to enter once the two submit to be his servants, intending to use them to help him kill his rival. When he leaves, Vice and Mature contact their employer, Goenitz, ensuring him everything was going to their plan.
During the finals of the tournament, he helps his rival and Chizuru Kagura, heir to the Yata clan, to defeat Goenitz. The former dies leaving a warning to not underestimate the power of Orochi or Yagami. Vice and Mature are left shaken by the ill omen. It is then when Iori suddenly undergoes symptoms of the Riot of the Blood. Unable to control this surge of Orochi power, Iori violently kills his companions.
Before the events of the King of Fighters '97 tournament, Iori learns of his rival's entry from the local news. Later that night, he has a nightmare of two women mocking his inability to defeat Kyo. The women disappear with the promise of meeting him again soon. When he awakes, he coughs up blood. Filled with a sudden hate and rage, he declares to defeat his rival. However, at the tournament's conclusion, he joins both Kyo and Chizuru again.
He advances into the finals, where he confronts the remaining "Four Heavenly Kings" of Orochi, Yashiro Nanakase, Shermie, and Chris. When they are beaten, Orochi possesses Chris' body and attempts to destroy the three clans at once. As was done in the legends of their clans, the trio successfully defeat him. In a last-ditch effort, Orochi causes Iori to enter the Riot of Blood, expecting him to turn on Kyo and Chizuru. Instead, Iori snares Orochi by the neck, and Kyo obliges his rival by crippling the great demon with one last deathblow, allowing Chizuru to reseal Orochi.
Shortly after discovering the creation of clones of Kyo, Iori gained word of another King of Fighters tournament, and he began to suspect that the person responsible for cloning Kyo might be there. Iori followed the battles from the shadows, and eventually found an abandoned warehouse where Krizalid had fought K' and his team.
The whereabouts of Iori were unknown after KOF '99, and it is assumed he cared little about Southtown and the events of KOF 2000, instead focusing on the opportunity for a fight against his rival.
The next year, an agent named Seth invited Iori to join his team for the next King of Fighters tournament, under the presumption that he would get his shot against Kyo if he entered. Iori made it clear from the beginning of the tournament that teamwork was irrelevant, as he could take on whole teams by himself. However, near the climax of the tournament, he assisted K', Kula Diamond, Kyo and the rest of the KOF cast in defeating Igniz and finally ending NESTS. Iori's whereabouts immediately after this are unknown.
In The King of Fighters 2003, Iori reluctantly teamed up again with Kyo and Chizuru Kagura at the latter's request, as it seemed that the current tournament might be linked to the Orochi. After their battle with Mukai, Ash Crimson stole Chizuru's powers. He then made an offer of servitude to Iori, who answered with a fiery attack, which prompted Ash to disappear while Kyo swore revenge. With the defeat of Chizuru and the crippled Orochi seal spelling possible catastrophe, it seemed that the Yagami clan would soon be changed forever.
In The King of Fighters XI, Iori agrees on Chizuru's request to team up with Kyo and Shingo Yabuki in hopes of opposing Ash. At the end of the tournament, the strengthening presence of Orochi caused Iori to enter the Riot of Blood, in which he trashed Kyo and Shingo in an abandoned raining city, before Ash Crimson appeared and stole Iori's sacred treasure, the Yasakani Jewel, and thus, his powers. Iori was reverted back to his base form and unconscious, and found himself awake in an unknown location later before continuing to move on his own.
Before the KOF XIII tournament, Iori pays a visit to Chizuru to see if she needs her treasure to use her power. Realizing that his predictions are true, she presents Iori with the prospect of ridding the Orochi curse from his bloodline since he is no longer hindered by his treasure. Uninterested in rectifying his family's mistake, he remarks that Chizuru's mirror will return in due time and leaves. With Mature and Vice haunting him to join the tournament with them, they perk his interest to settle matters with Ash.
At the tournament's climax, he and the rest of the KOF cast in KOF XIII face Evil Ash. After Ash shockingly takes control of his own possessed body, Saiki unleashes a final time wave to stop time but at the cost of the rose gate continuing to close. Ash takes the liberty of erasing Saiki and himself from existence, and returning the powers he stole. Iori regains his treasure once Ash disappears. Mature and Vice remark that he can still choose to refuse the treasure, saving himself from the Orochi curse once and for all. He questions what will happen to his teammates if he should accept the treasure again, but they voice that he should choose whatever he thinks is right. He decides to reclaim his flames, his teammates disappear and he gleefully challenges Kyo to an undecided outcome.
KOF XIV Saga
Mature and Vice warn him of a new threat, Verse. During Verse's invasion, Iori senses the souls trapped within Verse.
Kyo, Iori and Chizuru appear in a grassland-mountainous area at night in Hungary after they defeated Verse and were alarmed by Chizuru, to see a very weakened Orochi who just emerged from being released by Verse. Kyo, Iori, and Chizuru perform their special seal and seal Orochi once more. The three briefly talk, but Kyo chooses to leave soon, as Iori leaves as well followed by Chizuru looking at the night.
Iori's current whereabouts are unknown.
Iori is a serious, blunt and rude character. He is not interested in making friends or enemies, only showing investment in getting results that appeal to him.
In various drama CDs, Iori is frequently tormented by an Orochi identity that resides within him, which mocks and belittles him as its "master". Iori can be sympathetic to other people, but his Orochi persona often threatens to take over and harm them. Iori tries to ignore it until it angers him, causing him to physically snap in a usually violent manner. In his KOF XIIprofile, he seems to have trouble knowing which identity is actually his and suffers from a slight identity crisis. It's due to this personal trait that he doesn't like to associate with others and he lives as a lone wolf. He still retains pride for his humanity and won't let himself die under any circumstances. The matter of losing his flames has not personally scarred or affected him in any way.
Regarding his family duties and his ancient family feud, Iori doesn't care much for them. If the Orochi seal is threatened, however, Iori doesn't back down from the challenge of re-sealing it. His participation often provokes Kyo's pride enough to begrudgingly bring the Three Sacred Treasures together. Iori seems to want to clash with his rival whenever they meet; he can't recall the reasons why he hates Kyo. Like his rival, Iori just seems to instinctively hate him.
In regards to whomever he is partnered with, at best, he can be dismissive, distant and blunt but cooperative, and apathetic and treacherous at worst. Eiji Kisaragi and Billy Kane have seen the worst of Iori, while Kyo, Kagura and Shingo has seen reasonably civil treatment from him despite being distant. He is notably dismissive, confrontational and even borderline traitorous when it comes to Vice and Mature, being his natural enemy; however, Vice and Mature have ironically shown some concern and care for his welfare.
Iori stands at 6'0 and has bright scarlet hair in which he dyed the color of. Like Kyo, he has a slim but athletic and muscular build, although he is significantly more slimmer than Kyo is, but less than Ash. His eyes are a chocolate brown.
Iori's appearance has changed a few times in the series, but his usual attire now consists of a dark crimson leather jacket with a black fur at the neck area. He wears a (usually unbuttoned) white button-up shirt, and a loose black shirt underneath it. He wears two black necklaces, a white belt with a silver buckle, black jeans, white shoes and light brown gloves.
Abilities and Forms
- Yasakani Fighting Style - Through unknown means, Iori was taught the original Yasakani fighting style which is a violent offensive style incorporating use of claws. This fighting style largely makes up almost all of Iori's skills in his fighting skill.
- Forbidden Yagami Techniques - Through secret means, Iori taught himself on how to perform the forbidden but extremely powerful techniques of the Yagami clan after they made the blood pact.
- Kenpo - Iori also knows Kenpo.
- Enhanced Instincts - Iori has enhanced human instincts, as he also usually relies on this in his fighting style.
- Razor Hand - Iori's hands and nails are applied with so much force that they can be used to slash, stab, or be used as weapons against an opponent.
- Enhanced Strength - Iori is considerably very strong, as his strength is much higher than the best human athlete.
- Enhanced Speed - Iori can move at enhanced speeds, and is faster than Kyo.
- Brief Supernatural Speed - Iori can do short bursts of moving at the speed of sound.
- Orochi Pyrokinesis - Due to his Yagami heritage, Iori has full control, complete power and mastery over the Yagami/Orochi flames.
- Brief Yasakani Pyrokinesis - Rarely, when Iori uses his flames, they may alter to the original crimson color of his clan because of the blood pact. Iori cannot do this intentionally and has no control over it.
— Orochi Iori
Iori is able to access the Riot of the Blood state against his will, a state hidden in individuals with Orochi blood within them and naturally have no control over. This can be triggered by Orochi's presence becoming too strong, or someone related to Orochi is able to trigger the state.
In this state, Iori's skin darkens to a light purple and his eyes are a glowing, menacing red and a shadow is displayed from his forehead. His hair also darkens, and his nails extend while his mouth constantly emits heavy, visible bouts of breath.
- Violent Yasakani Fighting Style - Orochi Iori's fighting style has become much more violent, savage and bestial. Interestingly, he is still able to use some of the Yasakani fighting style.
- Forbidden Yagami Techniques - Orochi Iori still has access to the forbidden Yagami techniques, and they are much more powerful than before.
- Kenpo - Orochi Iori still knows Kenpo.
- Enhanced Instincts - Orochi Iori's instincts have taken a much more predator-to-threat turn, and is even more enhanced.
- Enhanced Razor Hand - The force of Iori's claws and hands augment further, able to slice through anything.
- Enhanced Orochi Pyrokinesis - Orochi Iori's flames become several times more stronger and are extremely hot.
Over the course of the years, Iori has finally displayed some control over the form, able to control his extreme desire to kill and control himself somewhat, although he still does not have full control to this day. Iori is able to access this form at a short burst, and revert right back as well.
- Iori plays the bass guitar very well, and is seen playing guitar as well in some incarnations.