Scion of Fire, Kyo Kusanagi
Used by
His family, Iori Yagami (rival), others
Iori Yagami (rival), others
5'11 ½
I'll burn you a little... „ 

— Kyo

Kyo Kusanagi (草薙 京, Kusanagi Kyō) is the main protagonist in SNK's The King of Fighters video game series. He was first introduced in The King of Fighters '94 as the leader of the Japan team. He is the rival of Iori Yagami.

About Kyo

He was first introduced as a cocky delinquent high school student who is the heir of the Kusanagi clan, one of the three clans that sealed the legendary snake entity, Orochi, 1,800 years ago. His clan wields pyrokinetic powers, an inherited power that few members obtain. They, along with the Yasakani and Yata clans, keep one of the three sacred treasures used to contain Orochi long ago. His family's treasure is the Kusanagi Sword (草薙の剣, Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi), and his family crest is the sun, represented in a stylized halo of fire. His official nickname is Scion of the Flame.

Since then, Kyo acts as a hotheaded and hotblooded hero of The King of Fighters, and a proud warrior of his clan and the fighting world.


Clan Background

660 years ago, the Kusanagi and Yasakani clans were once allies. However, due to a horrible misunderstanding, the Yasakani struck a blood pact with Orochi for more power. They renamed their family name to Yagami, and their flames, previously red like their former allies, changed to violet from Orochi's taint. Since then, the clans have waged a generation long grudge with casualties made from both sides. It continues in The King of Fighters series with Kyo and Iori Yagami.

Orochi Saga

The Orochi saga takes place between The King of Fighters '94 and '97. Kyo surpassed his father at the age of fifteen and was designated as the clan's leader. Shortly after the completion of his training, Kyo competes in a preliminary held in Japan to determine the members of the country's representative team in the King of Fighters tournament. He bests Goro Daimon and Benimaru Nikaido to become the leader of the team, the two becoming his teammates and eventual friends. They reach the finals, where they met the host of the tournament, a powerful fighter named Rugal Bernstein. Rugal boasts his desire to fight powerful opponents and challenges them. After his defeat, he self-destructs his ship in attempt to bring them with him, but the team escapes unharmed. Afterwards, Kyo decides to travel abroad in order to train.

In the following year, Daimon and Benimaru were waiting for Kyo's ship to dock, when they were attacked by a masked assailant. Kyo returns and throws a fireball at the mysterious person, only to destroy her mask and reveal her to be Rugal's secretary. She hands over an invitation letter to another King of Fighters tournament, organized once again by Rugal, who survived his craft's self-destruction. This time, Rugal also brainwashed Kyo's missing father, Saisyu, into attacking his son. Kyo's father regains his senses after he was subdued by the team. To counter the team's strength, Rugal challenges them with power sapped from Orochi. However, Rugal's body was overwhelmed by the power's immensity and he was vaporized after his defeat. Pleased with his son's prowess, Saisyu leaves unnoticed, insinuating that he entrusts the clan's duty to Kyo.

Prior to the events of The King of Fighters '96, a mysterious man -later revealed to be one of the "Four Heavenly Kings" of Orochi, Goenitz- challenges Kyo to a fight. Kyo arrives, powered by his overwhelming confidence in his fists, only to be defeated soundly by his challenger and sent to the hospital. In spite of his injuries, his anger and spirit from his loss drove him to invent powerful new techniques (this is the canon explanation for Kyo trading his projectile attack-based technique set for his now trademark flame-laced melee attack strings). He enters the year's tournament to prove his strength to his unknown attacker. In the tournament's finals, he meets the host of the tournament and the younger heiress of the Yata clan, Chizuru Kagura. At the tournament's end, he vanquishes Goenitz with Iori and Chizuru's help. Though he is warned by Chizuru of his clan's destiny with Orochi, Kyo ignores her and promptly departs.

Before The King of Fighters '97 takes place, he is pestered by fellow high school student, Shingo Yabuki, to teach him how to create his flames. Though annoyed and flustered by his persistence, Kyo partially agrees to mentor him as a means of gaining free meals. He also experiences nightmares of a strange man defeating him at the King of Fighters tournament, but continues to participate. Before the tournament, his girlfriend, Yuki was kidnapped by the Hakkesshu, in order to be used as the last of the sacrificial maidens for Orochi's revival. Though it's ambiguous as to which team he enters during the tournament, it is canonly accepted that Kyo joins with Iori and Chizuru for its conclusion.

He advances into the finals, where he confronts the remaining "Four Heavenly Kings" of Orochi, Yashiro Nanakase, Shermie, and Chris. The Hakkesshu also mention the plan to sacrifice Yuki in order to revive Orochi. Fueled by these turn of events, Kyo fights an emotional and heroic battle. 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 (manifested in Chris' body) causes Iori to enter the berserk Riot of the Blood state, expecting him to turn on Kyo and Chizuru. Instead, Iori snares Orochi by the neck, and Kyo obliged his rival by crippling the great demon with one last deathblow, allowing Chizuru to reseal Orochi. Exhausted, Kyo passes out. The last thing he sees is Yuki, saying that she will wait for him.


The King of Fighters '99 took place immediately after the events of The King of Fighters '97. Still knocked out from his previous battle with the godlike Orochi, Kyo was taken by the NESTS syndicate and his DNA was used to make various clones beings for their purposes. He awoke one day to find himself surrounded by bizarre gadgets and needles. Deciding to search for answers, Kyo broke out of captivity and managed to escape the hidden fortress despite the sedatives. While escaping, he constantly heard references to the NESTS cartel. He tries to personally gain answers from his captors, but is forced to retreat when the base around him begins to collapse. He decides not to come back home before NESTS is taken down and attempts to investigate privately again the following year but learns very little.

As the fiasco of South Town's destruction ensued, Iori confronts him and they fight to an unknown outcome. In The King of Fighters 2001, Kyo reunites with his old teammates and Shingo to make a comeback in the Japan Team. They join the now NESTS-sponsored KoF tournament to relive their time together as a team and to fight NESTS. Once they are deployed in space with the rest of KOF's cast, he along with his teammates watch the battle between K's team and Zero.

As Zero appears to be winning, other fighters jump in and eventually Kyo Kusanagi does as well, but Zero is surprisingly able to hold multiple fighters back. However, Kyo is able to make the finishing blow and defeats Zero. Zero tells them to go to Igniz, the leader of NESTS, to end NESTS and their terror, as they leave off the crashing ship and go straight to the NESTS cartel.

K' and his team appear to Igniz first, and eventually Kyo and everyone else appears to combat Igniz after he easily beat K' and his team with no effort. A fight against 50 and one man unfolds, and while Igniz wins the first round, he loses the second after everyone is motivated by Kyo to unlock and unleash their potential, and to give everything they got to save the Earth and the people they love. Kula surprises Igniz with an attack, followed by Kyo and Iori beating Igniz senseless with no remorse, and K' finally deals the finishing blow.

As Igniz calls himself a demon as he can no longer use his powers because of his damaged soon, he uses a device to plummet the NESTS cartel into Earth's waters to take everyone down with him. Everyone is saved by Ron, including Kyo Kusanagi.

After NESTS' cartel crashes and explodes in the waters, Kyo Kusanagi is disbanded from his team and is seen in a city. He rightfully reclaims his title as the true Kusanagi heir after all the clones have been finally vanquished, although he wonders about K's whereabouts and decides to keep him alive since he too has the Kusanagi flames. The lingering pain of NESTS is now gone forever. Kyo is greeted by his girlfriend Yuki, who is tearfully glad to see him again.

Ash Saga

In The King of Fighters 2003, Chizuru appeared to both Kyo and Iori, requesting that they form a team and investigate suspicious activities concerning the Orochi. Kyo initially protested allying with Iori (though Iori apparently did not do likewise), but relented to form the Sacred Treasures team. After the defeat of Mukai from K' and his team who departe after, the team then investigated the weakening Orochi seal that they had been transported to before fighting Mukai, but were ambushed by Ash Crimson, who stole the Yata Mirror from Chizuru and absorbed her powers, promising to go after Iori next. Ash escaped, and Kyo swore vengeance.

In The King of Fighters XI, Shingo has volunteered to join Kyo and Iori, in Chizuru's name. After several attempts, Kyo abides to Shingo's requests and joins forces with his groupie and his rival, in order to stop Ash. However, the growing presence of the Orochi (namely, the appearance of Magaki) caused Iori to snap and enter the Riot of the Blood state, and he trashed Kyo and Shingo in a berserk fit in an abandoned raining city away from the tournament. Ash appeared thereafter and stole the Yasakani Jewel within Iori's body, fully absorbing his powers. The Rival Team (Benimaru, Duo Lon, and Elisabeth Blanctorche) arrived after the incident, to whom Ash tells them that Kyo will be next.

The incident had Kyo hospitalized, but he escapes rather than wait for his recovery. As he wanders the city, he encounters a mysterious boy and his female partner (who are Adel and Rose--Rugal's children), who try to attack him. Showing them his flames, they hand him the "R" invitation before taking their leave. Soon after the encounter, Benimaru and Daimon find him. Seeing no need to visit the hospitalized Shingo or Chizuru, he reunites with his old team members to relive his past glory days together with them. They win the tournament, and are revealed to combat Saiki, the true antagonist of the Ash Saga.

After the rose gate abruptly begins to close, Saiki's own soul is crushed and powers are absorbed before his descendant Ash, but Saiki's soul manages to take over his body and possess him, merging the two to form Evil Ash.

The KOF cast and Kyo's team fight Evil Ash to an intense brawl, but they eventually win by finally knocking Evil Ash back with an attack from Kyo's team. Evil Ash reveals he has more than enough energy to keep fighting, but Ash's presence shockingly takes over his own possessed body, as Saiki uses all his power to unleash a time wave, stopping time but continuing the rose gate.

After Ash takes the liberty to erase Saiki and himself from existence, Kyo and his team are finally relieved. They spend some brief time together before they disband--as Kyo is met by Iori who has regained his powers. The two gladly continue their intense rivalry as the fight comes to an undetermined outcome.


When the tournament was announced, Saisyu informs Kyo of a new threat, Verse, which will cause untold chaos. At his father's request, Kyo enters the tournament once again with his old teammates.

After the tournament's conclusion, Kyo advices Shun'ei to keep training to control his power. At the airport, after sending his teammates off, he heads to Hungary. Chizuru had called him there for his assistance in dealing with a weakened Orochi.

Kyo, Iori and Chizuru appear in a grassland-mountainous area at night, 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.

Kyo currently resides at his home, continuing to train.


Kyo stands at 5'11 1/2 and has smooth chocolate brown hair and eyes. Kyo is considered an attractive and handsome man. Kyo has a slim but athletic and muscular build.

Kyo's clothing has changed several times throughout the series, although they now consist of a loose black undershirt, a white leather jacket, blue jeans, a brown belt and a pocket chain, black fingerless gloves and brown shoes.


Kyo is the very over-confident but well meaning protagonist of the series, more interested in enjoying life than having to partake in any particular responsibilities. He is quick to dismiss subjects that don't interest him and will often carry out his actions with a devil-may-care attitude. Despite his seemingly arrogant and rude demeanor, he treasures his friends and family, enjoying their presence and particularly doting on his girlfriend, Yuki. His extreme disinterest in studies has led to his chronic inability to graduate from high school (which has become subject to in-jokes). Although he is confident in his poetic talent, most of his poems aren't considered to be good by his listeners.

Kyo takes his clan's responsibilities on a more personal level, disregarding ancient legends and predestined events as any reason for his actions. His strong sense of justice and his zeal to fight stronger opponents are what he believes to drive him to carry out his destiny. His rivalry with Iori is one of mutual hatred and was hardly spurred by their clans' history. When Kyo and Iori join forces, it is often begrudgingly and as a last resort solution to the conflict at hand.


Kyo Kusanagi
  • Kusanagi Fighting Style - Kyo uses his clan's legendary fighting style, a Japanese style of empty handed combat taught only to the Kusanagi clan members.
  • Kenpo - Kyo also knows Kenpo, and mixes it in with his fighting style.
  • Enhanced Strength - Kyo is considerably very strong, as his strength is much higher than the best human athlete.
  • Enhanced Speed - Kyo is also considerably pretty fast.
  • Kusanagi Pyrokinesis - Because he is a part of the Kusanagi clan, Kyo has full control, complete power and mastery over the sacred Kusanagi flame.


  • It is stated Kyo legitimately has the chronic inability to focus in school, which is worsened by his extreme disinterest in any studies. It thoroughly explains Kyo's past high school status, and his status as a high school dropout.

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