Joe Higashi (ジョー・ヒガシ, Jō Higashi or 東丈, Higashi Jō) is a character in both the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series, used mainly for comic relief. He is currently dating Lilly Kane, a relationship which her brother greatly disapproves. His official nickname is The Young Champ of Muay Thai.
In Gamest's 1997 Heroes Collection, Joe was voted as the staff's thirty-ninth favorite character. He shared the spot with four other characters, including Fatal Fury character, Jin Chonrei, and Street Fighter character, Zangief. In the character popularity poll on Neo Geo Freak's website, he was voted as the second favorite character with a total of 3,654 votes.
Although Joe's place of origin is Japan, he spent the majority of his time in Thailand, where he trained Muay Thai. It was through his victories that he earned the nickname "Hurricane Upper" Joe Higashi. He seems to have a running gag of sorts where his legend is "just beginning" in his endings throughout the series.
After Joe earned his title as the Muay Thai champion, he heads toSouth Town to prove himself in the King of Fighters tournament. On his way, he spots Andy and Terry Bogard, who were on the hunt for their father's killer, Geese Howard. As soon as he informs them that Geese is hosting the tournament, they became steadfast companions. In the tournament, he met with a bitter Hwa Jai and was able to defeat him. After this, they eventually became friends and rivals back in Thailand. In his ending for Fatal Fury 2, he also avenged Hwa's defeat by Wolfgang Krauser.
Before the events of Fatal Fury 3, he learns about the Jin brothers and Yamazaki and asks Hwa to come with him to South Town. Sometime after these events, he humorously takes Lilly Kane away from her brother since Geese was out of action. As a call back to this, Billy "rescues" her in his Real Bout ending.
Joe in the Mark of Wolves timeline was busy protecting his title in the Muay Thai championship. According toUreshino's personal blog, he gained an apprentice in the yet to be released Mark of Wolves sequel from the old SNK team. Her name, as mentioned by Terry and Andy in a original story, was "Kuan" (クアン) and she even had a finished idle sprite. Her age wasn't particularly stated though he comments that she was a particularly "cute lady". Although she has yet to appear in any games, she first meets Joe in his profile story for The King of Fighters XII. She is a thief who tries to pickpocket Joe. Impressed with her top class physical strength and her daring, he immediately dubs her his disciple and inspires the girl to live a new life learning Muay Thai.
Joe is a mainstay of Terry's team throughout most of the King of Fighters tournaments. He is often the motivating factor in getting Terry and Andy to join with him as a team. In this series, he developed somewhat of a rivalry withKing. Joe is seen taunting her with his Muay Thai belt in The King of Fighters '98. In 2001, he enters the tournament with hopes to use the prize money to keep a gym from closing down.
He is absent from KOF XI because a Muay Thai tournament is being held at the same time. Wanting to live their old times together as a team, the trio agree to meet up once more. Before the tournament, Joe is annoyed by both of his teammates being late for their meeting. Knowing Hwa Jai's entry with Kim and upset by Terry's carefree attitude, an intoxicated Joe vents his frustrations against the team leader in a sparring match in Paopao Cafe. In his team's ending, he humorously gets his congratulation kiss from the same infatuated male fan from his team's 2003 ending.
At first, Joe was a stoic character who lived for fighting and training. As time passed, he became a pretty goofy man who self-proclaims himself to be a genius with mostly everything. He doesn't take battles as seriously as the Bogards, but he loves to fight. If Joe could, he would fight every fighter he sees. He loves the spotlight and the glory of victory.
- Multiple Attacks: He can deliver several punches at almost the same time.
- Energy Attack: He can use energy to increase damage of his kicking and knee attacks.
- Explosive Punch: Joe can deliver a punch of tremendous strength that explodes upon contact.
- Aerokinesis: Joe is able to create air, as he uses hurricane attacks.
- Hurricane Attack: He can create a small hurricane that moves forward with an uppercut. He named this attack Hurricane Upper. The stronger version is Screw Upper. He also contains an SDM that is an even stronger version of the Screw Upper: Double Cyclone..which is seen in numerous Dream Match games such as Capcom vs. SNK 2
- Survival: Joe learned his way to survive in Thailand's jungles.
Joe uses traditional Muay Thai moves.
- Chotto Koikki na Kenka Yarou (A Somewhat Stylish Brawling Punk) - Player VS. Player BGM from Fatal Fury, shared with Andy and Terry.
- Thai nanbu no tsutaetai atarashii shi - Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special
- Wani no Mi - Fatal Fury 3, Real Bout Fatal Fury
- Thai nanbu ni tsutawatta sp no shi - Real Bout Fatal Fury Special and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2
- Napolitan Blues - Fatal Fury Team theme in The King of Fighters '94
- Club M ~Flute in the Sky~ - Fatal Fury Team theme in The King of Fighters '95
- Big Shot - Fatal Fury Team theme in The King of Fighters '96
- The River - Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition
- Kurikinton ~Gomame Guitar Ver.~ - Fatal Fury Team theme in The King of Fighters '98
- 176th Street - Fatal Fury Team theme in The King of Fighters '99
- Terry 115 - Fatal Fury Team theme in The King of Fighters 2000
- All OK! - Fatal Fury Team theme in The King of Fighters 2001
- Kurikinton (Chestnuts and Mashed Sweet Potatoes) - Fatal Fury Team theme in The King of Fighters 2002
- Prolongation - Fatal Fury Team theme in The King of Fighters 2003
- Wild Street - The King of Fighters XIII
- Sun Shine Glory - The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
- Muay Thai - Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle
- Sharakusee ze - Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture
- Katsuhisa Namase - Fatal Fury (2+Special); The King of Fighters '94
- Nobuyuki Hiyama - Fatal Fury 3~present
- Masaaki Satake - Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf
- Jason Gray-Stanford - animated films (English voice)
- Greg Irwin - The King of Fighters XII (English voice)
- Kazuki Yao - Dengeki Bunko drama CD series
- Benny Wong - Fatal Fury Special live action commercials
- Fatal Fury
- Fatal Fury 2
- Fatal Fury Special
- The King of Fighters 94
- Fatal Fury 3
- The King of Fighters 95
- Real Bout Fatal Fury
- The King of Fighters 96
- Real Bout Fatal Fury Special: Dominated Mind
- Real Bout Fatal Fury Special
- The King of Fighters 97
- The King of Fighters: Kyo
- Real Bout Fatal Fury 2
- The King of Fighters 98
- Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition
- Fatal Fury: First Contact
- The King of Fighters 99
- Capcom vs SNK Pro
- Capcom vs SNK 2
- The King of Fighters 2000
- The King of Fighters 2001
- The King of Fighters EX
- The King of Fighters 2002
- The King of Fighters 2003
- The King of Fighters Neowave
- The King of Fighters XII
- The King of Fighters XIII
- The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match
- Garou Densetsu The Legend of Wild Wolf
- Garou Densetsu Special
- Garou Densetsu Sougeki
- Days of Memories (fourth and ninth title) - unplayable; text only cameo in the fourth
- Garou Densetsu vs Fighter's History Dynamite - boss character
- SNK Dream Battle
- The King of Fighters XI - during the Fatal Fury team's ending
- KOF: Maximum Impact 2 - background cameo
- SNK vs Capcom: SVC Chaos - passing mention in Terry's ending
- Athena On Stage - during mini-game
- The King of Fighters (pachinko)
- The King of Fighters 2
- KOF Sky Stage - in-text cameo in Terry's ending
Fatal Fury artworkFatal Fury Special artworkFatal Fury Rebout Special artworkThe King of Fighters '99 artworkThe King of Fighters 2000 artworkThe King of Fighters 2001 artworkThe King of Fighters XII artwork