K′ (ケイ・ダッシュ, Kei Dasshu, "K Dash"), sometimes known as "K Prime", is a character who debuted as the leader of the Hero Team in The King of Fighters '99. He stars as the reluctant hero in theNESTS saga of the series, often letting his partner Maxima handle any social necessities in his stead. To contrast the previous protagonist of the series, K' was made to be the "dark hero". In a 2005 poll made by SNK-Playmore USA, he was voted as the fourth fan favorite character with a total of 338 votes.
The origins of both K′ and Maxima can be found in the Psikyo arcade game The Fallen Angels (Daraku Tenshi in Japan). This obscure 1998 release stars an emaciated goth in tight leather pants named Cool, along with a brawny, cybernetically enhanced police officer named Harry Ness. The man responsible for the design of both characters, Shinichi Morioka, migrated to SNK shortly after The Fallen Angels was released, and elements of Cool and Harry Ness' design were used in the creation of K′ and Maxima. The end result is that K′ looks nearly identical to Cool. His namesake was taken from a clone character in the light novel Blue Knight Berserga Monogatari (青の騎士ベルゼルガ物語), which is set in the same universe as the anime series Armored Trooper Votoms. During the early phases of development of The King of Fighters '99, K′'s introduction to the series was meant to remove popular charactersKyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami from the roster, though this idea was later scrapped.
He is voiced by Yuuki Matsuda and Andrew Scott.
K' (real name unknown) was a normal child who lived happily with his sister, Seirah. One day, they were captured by NESTS, a crime syndicate who dealt with drugs, genetics, robotics and biotechnology. K' was kept under NESTS and trained to be some kind of weapon. In 1998, K' was made to participate in the Kusanagi cloning program. He was infused with Kyo Kusanagi's DNA, which gave him the power of pyrokinesis. During the program, K's memory was tinkered with and he was made to believe that he was Krizalid's clone. Any real memories from his past has either been erased by NESTS, forgotten, or repressed.
Under NESTS orders, he and Maxima joined the King of Fighters tournament with Benimaru Nikaido and Shingo Yabuki. The team makes it to the finals and are sent to a place where Krizalid waits for them. He poses as the tournament's host and fights them to gather their battle data energy. He hoped to use the data to activate the thousands of listless Kyo clones around the globe. However, K' defeats him and the team learns that Krizalid was merely a pawn for NESTS. Shortly afterward, Krizalid is executed by his superior. When the base collapses, K' and Maxima are divided from their team and hunted down by the Ikari squad. They survive the ambush andcontinue their resistance by leaving the organization. K's personal reason for doing so is find a way to regain his lost memories.
The next year, K' and Maxima were joined by mercenaries Vanessa and Ramon. They entered the tournament to discover NESTS scheme, but Vanessa and Ramon were there to capture K' and Maxima at the end of the tournament, since they were working for Ling and Heidern. Their team makes it to the finals where they encounterZero. Although K' defeats the traitor, they are unable to stop the Zero Cannon from firing. Unknown to them, Kula Diamond and her team destroy it and save the world from further damage. K' and Maxima are once again separated from their teammates after the tournament's climax. Whip finds them, reveals her relation to K', and joins their resistance effort.
They spend the remainder of the year hunting down NESTS's bases around the globe. Though they have stumped some of the syndicate's plans, none of the bases were the main headquarters they were hoping for. K' and company enter the 2001 tournament with Lin, who tracked their movements in his personal hunt for Ron. Once his team makes it to the finals, they are lifted into a spaceship and are confronted by the real Zero. He reveals to the frustrated K' that they are on their way to the syndicate's main headquarters and will meet the real leader to NESTS. Once they reach the satellite, they meet Nests, Misty, and Igniz. Although Nests requests their neutral cooperation, he is quickly killed by Igniz. There, they learn that they are merely cyborgs (or clones) purely created for Igniz's personal entertainment. K's team faces the villain and defeat him, which motivates Igniz to kamikaze the satellite to earth. It harmlessly falls in the ocean -apparently thanks to Ron- with most of its passengers safe. Emerging from the wreck, K' forms an alliance with Kula and Diana. Both of them want to make their own future and make up for the time lost in their lives.
In 2003, Chin Gentsai visits K' and Maxima and requests that they enter the tournament. Chin, feeling a dark wave of energy around KOF that year, wants them to investigate it in his place. K' and company make it to the finals and face Mukai. K' defeats him but is bothered by his taunts about regaining his memories as well as reaching his true potential. Mukai's words continue to haunt him in the following tournament, leading K' to wonder if he can surpass his fate as "the second Kusanagi flame". At the end of the XI tournament, K' and his teammates were invited by Heidern to attend a lecture about the mysterious group Those from the Past. Heidern said he hadMagaki's body, but they were attacked by two children who took Magaki's body away. K' had absolutely no interest in entering the KOF XIII and is upset when Chin calls him once more at his apartment with Maxima. Since he soon learns from Chin and Kula that they're in the newest tournament, K' is forced to enter against his own will.
K' has a very serious personality but is very easy to enrage. He is starting to treat Whip as a big sister and Kula as a little sister. He often calls Maxima names -like "stupid", "idiot", ect.- but he actually trusts his partner's reliability. He is hardly polite and is always gruff, even to those close to him. Because K' usually expresses his concerns in a "tough guy" manner, Maxima jokingly calls him dishonest or stiff. He sees Kyo as a rival and wants to prove he is better than him, not as only a clone.
In KOF XIII, several fighters often point out K's rather immature personality ("whiny", lazy, anti-social and constantly rude to others) in their pre-fight dialogues against him.
- Pyrokinesis - K' can control fire.
- Create Fire - K' can control fire out of nowhere.
- Fire Projectile - K' can throw fire balls.
- Fire Attacks - K' can add damage to his normal attacks with fire.
- Explosion - K' can create an explosion by touching his enemy.
- Translocation - K' can translocate himself.
K's fighting style is said to be "Pure Violence", but it has several similarities with Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. He even uses some of his famous moves, such as the One inch punch and Flying Kicks. He also tends to throw his sunglasses at his foe during battle.
Most of his mannerisms are either somewhat lazy (due to his disinterest in fighting) and/or are relentless as a nod to his more frustrated side of his personality. Most of his flames tend to come from his right hand due to his limitations, but K' can work around this handicap in combat regardless, and is regarded as one of the best fighters in the KOF universe (as well as a high/top tier character in terms of gameplay in more later installments of the series). And despite his laziness, K' is shown to also be rather flexible (evidenced by his pre-KOF XI blowback attack, Minutes Spike, and Crow Bites Plus).
- KD-0079 - The King of Fighters '99, 2002
- KD-0084 - The King of Fighters 2000
- Big Pain - The King of Fighters 2001
- KD - The King of Fighters 2003
- KDD-0075 - The King of Fighters XI
- KDD-0063 - The King of Fighters XIII
- KD-0079+ - The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
- Cool Drive - Days of Memories
- The King of Fighters '99
- The King of Fighters 2000
- The King of Fighters 2001
- The King of Fighters 2002
- The King of Fighters Neowave
- KOF: Maximum Impact
- The King of Fighters 2003
- KOF: Maximum Impact 2
- Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
- The King of Fighters XI
- The King of Fighters XIII
- KOF Maximum Impact Regulation A
- The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
- The King of Fighters 2
- Maximum Impact - versus character
- Days of Memories (first, fourth and seventh titles) - unplayable
- The King of Reversi
- The King of Fighters Mahjong
- Moeyo! KOF Daiundoka
- SNK Gals Island Senkan Battle Gekichinshichaouzo!
- SNK Dream Battle
- SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium - image cameo in the black and white Neo Geo Pocket
- The King of Fighters '94: Rebout - background cameo
- Sister Quest
- Moeyo! SNK Gals Osuin Katoukai
- K's yell following his debut - "Dora!" or "Ora!" - was made due to Sha-V's suggestion. He reasoned that these shouts are K's equivalent to Kyo's "Kurei!" or Iori's "Doushita!". Konny jokingly wonders if he's trying to say the word "dry" since the first draft of his yell was "Dorei!".
- His team's backstory for KOF XI features lyrics from Karl Busse, a nineteenth century lied from Germany. The particular song is Über den Bergen, transcribed in Japanese as "you in the mountain" (山のあなた,Yama no anata).
- Also, his Eins Trigger move is written somewhat in German, with Eins being German for one.
- In Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, at the character select screen, when selecting K' with R1+X he wears red clothes, has blonde hair and wields green flames, just like Ash Crimson.