Two shounen protagonists, a Tibetan monk, an Eternal Kunoichi, and a bonafide luchador
Fighting games are very old in terms of video game age, and through these decades, we've seen hundreds of games with thousands of characters come and go. Some of these characters become fan-favorites, while the others are forgotten. But there also are those whose legacy will remain etched in the history of the FGC forever. This is our third part of the new project that celebrates the Top 50 Most Iconic Fighting Game Characters.
However, it's essential to note that while this list aims to highlight some of the most iconic characters within fighting games, the inherent subjectivity of such rankings means that many other characters may not find themselves among these fifty names. Fighting games are as diverse as the amount of existing opinions, so pardon us if one your favorite isn't on the list eventually!
In the third entry, we have two shounen protagonists, a Tibetan monk, an Eternal Heroine, and a bonafide luchador.
Virtua Fighter has always been very particular in the way it’s presented and played. It tried to emulate real-world fighting styles with as much authenticity as possible, and Akira Yuki is the poster child and the main protagonist of the series.
Trained in the powerful and explosive Bājíquán martial arts, he epitomizes the constant strive to better oneself. Canonically, he’s the winner of the Second World Fighting Tournament, but ever since then, he has been unable to repeat the success, constantly losing to his rivals. The way he decided to combat this serves as an inspiration to any aspiring fighter – training, training, and more training. Akira is the shōnen protagonist in this grounded series!
The King of Fighters
Kyo Kusanagi is one of the most recognized King of Fighters characters, as well as the series’ protagonist. He also fits the shōnen main character archetype but with a much different flair.
He’s a descendant of the ancient Kusanagi clan that’s known for sealing Orochi. He inherited the clan’s power but also added his own Kenpo flair to the style he fights with.
Kyo is a typical delinquent who has problems with being told what to do, a complete lack of interest in anything that doesn’t catch his interest, and absolutely no academic success. However, he has a heart of gold and is more than protective of those he cares about.
Jago is the primary protagonist and the most recognizable character in the storied Killer Instinct series. He’s a warrior monk from Tibet who gets his powers from the Tiger Spirit that they worship. He participated in the Killer Instinct tournament to help cleanse the evil, but a cruel revelation made him question himself.
Jago is a quintessential badass, from his gameplay down to his looks. Somewhat resembling Scorpion, he has a blue mask and similarly-colored bodysuit, which he traded in for a more grounded look in the 2013 KI. If we ever get another Killer Instinct, there’s no question about who will be the game’s poster child. #KILives
Dead or Alive
Kasumi is the main protagonist and the mascot of the Dead or Alive series. She embodies the essence of a skilled kunoichi with a captivating blend of beauty and lethal combat prowess. She’s a ninja with a fluid fighting style and graceful movements that has become a symbol of both elegance and strength in a fighting game series that’s infamous for something else entirely.
Yet when people talk about Dead or Alive, they often forget its roots as a competent 3D fighter, and Kasumi is the character that embodies this the most.
The Eternal Heroine, as she is known by the development team, Kasumi is the centerpiece of the story throughout the franchise, and it will continue to be so unless the series goes entirely in the beach vacation direction.
King is the embodiment of the divisive grappler archetype that’s so popular in 2D fighting games but layered into the realities of the 3D format of Tekken. He’s a massive Mexican luchador in a jaguar mask who performs a huge variety of iconic wrestling holds, grabs, chokes, and slams. In a series known for the lengthy combos, he’s able to perform combos of throws – an ingenious idea.
But it’s not only his gameplay that sets him apart – despite not speaking a single human word and communicating entirely with grunts, roars, and other animalistic voices, he’s full of personality and character. His and his predecessor’s rivalries with Armor King and Marduk are the highlight of Tekken's side stories.
Join us next week to find out who the next five characters are!