- Aug 3, 2014
- New Jersey
- Switch FC
First Appearance: The King of Fighters 95 (1995)
Latest Appearance: Million Arthur Arcana Blood (2018) [Guest Appearance]
Iori is one of the central characters of SNK's long-running King of Fighters series, one of the core fighting game franchises on the Neo Geo. As a descendant of the Orochi clan, he can wield the sacred Orochi flame. His main goal in the series is to track down the main protagonist Kyo and defeat him in battle. Despite this however, Iori has often found himself working together with his rival on numerous occasions.
Who is Iori?
Who is Iori?
Appearing in every KoF title since his 95' debut, Iori is easily one of SNK's most popular characters. This is due to both his cool design and dominant playstyle (he is high tier in just about every KoF game). Outside of KoF, he has also battled Capcom fighters such as Ryu in the Capcom vs SNK and has appeared as a guest character in various mobile games.
Role in the King of Fighters Series:
Iori first appears in KoF 95, debuting as Kyo's rival. He forms the rival team along with Fatal Fury's Billy Kane and Art of Fighting's Eiji Kisaragi. After Rugal is defeated by Kyo, Iori remarks how Rugal was too weak and that the Orochi power could only be used by those of its bloodline. He then proceeds to greatly injure his two teammates and promises to hunt down Kyo.
In KoF 96, Iori forms the Yagami team with Vice and Mature, Rugal's former assistants who were secretly members of the Orochi clan. After Iori helps Kyo defeat Goenitz, the riot of blood overtakes him and he goes out of control. In this possessed state, Iori brutally kills Vice and Mature.
Fearing of the revival of Orochi which will essentially doom all of Earth, Iori temporarily joins Kyo and the maiden Chizuru in the KoF 97 tournament to seal Orochi away for good. Despite being controlled by Orochi's riot of blood, Iori is able to grab onto Orochi while Kyo deals the finishing blow. After Orochi is defeated, Iori challenges Kyo to settle their rivalry at the same spot they just fought Orochi. The two clash and the winner of the fight remains a mystery.
It is later revealed that Iori's fight with Kyo resulted in the latter being knocked out and abducted by the evil organization known as NESTS. Using Kyo's DNA, NESTS are able to make clones of Kyo so that they may spread biologically terror across the world. Although NESTS itself means little to Iori, he does infiltrate their bases in KoF 99 and 2000 to track down the real Kyo. In KoF 2001, Iori is asked by a secret agent named Seth to join his team in hopes of finding Kyo. Iori reluctantly joins the team and ultimately tracks Kyo. With Igniz's space station about to destroy the Earth, Iori teams up with Kyo, K', and Kula to defeat the crazed leader of NESTS.
Ash SagaA new group known as Those from the Past emerges in KoF 2003 and manages to steal Chizuru's powers. Fearing that the group will try to revive Orochi, Iori once again teams up with Kyo and Kyo's #1 fan Shingo in KoF XI. Although Iori's team is able to stop TftP's attempt to revive Orochi, Ash Crimson appears and steals Iori's Orochi powers. Now powerless, Iori begins training using new claw-based moves. At the end of the KoF XIII tournament when Ash and his leader Saiki are defeated, Iori is able to reclaim his powers.
Iori appears in this saga and again competes in the KoF XIV tournament. In Iori's ending, he is shown to be stopping a weakened Orochi from reviving along with Kyo and Chizuru. It is said that Ash's death from the previous game will result in many of the past KoF bosses being revived.
Current Saga (unnamed as of this writing)
Current Saga (unnamed as of this writing)
Gameplay of Iori to get an idea of how he'd play:
- Iori is one of SNK's most popular characters, arguably even more so than Kyo.
- The King of Fighters series is incredibly popular in China and Latin American countries. The series is so popular in China that viewings of KoF 97 tournaments have often reached over 500,000 viewers (source). For a fighting game this number is insane.
- SNK played a giant part in the arcade growth during the 80's/90's with their Neo Geo arcade machines. This - along with their healthy relationship with Nintendo through Neo Geo ports and the Switch exclusive 40th anniversary collection - means at least one SNK rep will most likely enter Smash one day.
- Many of his specials are similar to Kyo's, meaning he could potentially be an echo or a semi-clone should Kyo somehow make it in. That way not too much time is wasted making him. Iori is so popular on his own that they might not even bother putting Kyo in and just go for Iori instead.
- Sakurai has played KoF 95 before and would even win about 50 matches in a row (source). KoF 95 was Iori's debut game, so there's doubt Sakurai at least knows of Iori's existence.
- Like Ryu, he could have the directional inpt mechanic to make him stand out from other fighters.
- One of the main themes of Ultimate is the inclusion of villains. Although he is more of a rival/anti-hero, he would fit in well along with the rest of the antagonists.
- It is rumored that Heihachi from Tekken will be making it. If true, this shows that you don't need to be the main hero to represent your series.
- Iori is no stranger to making guest appearances, as he will be appearing as a guest character in the PS4 port of Million Arthur Arcana Blood. He's also appeared along with many SNK fighters in the Capcom vs SNK series.
- Third party slots are limited.
- Like Kyo, he has competition with Terry Bogard as an SNK rep.
- He has competition with someone from Tekken.
Here are what I think his specials (note how they are similar to the ones I made for Kyo).
Standard projectile that travels fast on the ground. This version would be weaker than Kyo's but stun the enemy for a bit longer.
Iori moves forward and can land up to 3 punches depending on how many times you press side B. The hits can combo into each other, and the final hit could break shields.
Standard recovery. Height distance could be greater or smaller than Kyo's.
Iori charges his meter like he could in the pre-97 games. When the meter is max, pressing down B activates Max mode. In this mode, Iori would be able to cancel between moves that he normally couldn't do. He could also maybe gain a temporary attack boost like the max mode in KoF 98, since his rekka system is less complicated than Kyo's.
Iori's well-known Maiden Masher super. Sends the opponent flying high.
Possible Color Palettes
Kirby hat (source):
Possible alternate outfit (Ms. X from SNK Gals' Fighters):
Want to support everyone's favorite red-haired FG rival, or offer up ideas/opinions? Comment below to join the supporters list or chat about Iori!
Followers of the Orochi clan (supporters)