Well, if all the closet homos/pedos are done ranting I figured I’d revive this topic because it seems some people are actually starting to get interested in the KOF story and I find even long-time fans are often confused or misled about certain things.
The thing that makes the overall story of KOF so engaging isn’t the plot at all (as mentioned before, most of the main plots of the games are pretty fucking stupid–see especially: all of NESTS, MI2, hell just about anything Falcoon is responsible for).
Instead it’s the characters…most of the character themselves have fairly detailed personalities and histories. Most of all, some can change dramatically throughout the series…they get mature, they change their attitudes, they fall in love, they get married, they respond to changes, they get stronger, they become weaker, and even popular characters actually DIE and DON’T COME BACK (except for dreammatches).
Rather than going into that right now, I’d like to try to rank the character’s storyline power. Since for some reason, some people want to know why some characters beat certain characters in the plot.
Orochi Saga characters:
Kyo (before 96’): S-
Kyo (96 & 97): S+
Kyo (99’ on): S
Benimaru (before 99): A
Benimaru (99’ on): A+
Shingo (before 2003): D
Shingo (after 2003): C-
Orochi Iori: S+
Iori (after XI): ???
Orochi Yashiro: S
Orochi Shermie: A
Orochi Chris: A-
Vessel of Orochi: Immeasurable
–Kyo in the early saga was definitely not quite as strong. After he got beaten down by Goenitz before 96’, he actually trained for the first time in his life and improved his fighting style by mastering some new moves (Aragami, Dokugami, etc.). After Orochi was defeated, he had no real reason to train anymore so his power kind of slumped a little (as seems evident in how badly Orochi Iori kicked his ass in XI).
–Benimaru got a minor power boost after NESTS mostly because the story writers gave him a ‘push’, seeing as Kyo wouldn’t be available to fight in KOF in 99 or 2000. It’s also explained as after 97’ he vowed to train a little harder in order to match Kyo. He got to lead his own teams for a few tourneys.
–Shingo obviously got a power boost after 2001, due to his training with Saisyu. However, he is still definitely not that strong…sadly, he may already be at his max potential…
–Saisyu might seem a little low, but I can’t justify him being much stronger as he is supposed to be many years past his peak. In his prime, he might have been close to as strong as Kyo (although during his era, he didn’t have the same threats that Kyo has to face…so it’s unlikely he was stronger).
–Iori is supposed to be a step behind Kyo. Orochi Iori is obviously a boost…he fought a fairly even match with Kyo in 97’, beasted Kyo in XI, but then got tossed easily by Ash. So S+ seems about right.
–CYS without their Orochi powers are NOT * that *strong, sorry to disappoint their many fanboys. The only thing regular CYS ever accomplished was handing Heavy D, Lucky, and Brian their own asses…which is something ANYBODY in KOF should be able to do.
Their lives were fairly ordinary before KOF 97’–their awakened Orochi powers are supposed to be a MASSIVE boost.
[FF/RealBout Terry: S]
[Garou Terry: A+]
Yamazaki: A- (A when enraged/Orochi)
–Sadly, Terry is somewhat nerfed in KOF in order not to steal the glory of the precious Japanese girly boys that the East Asians love so dearly. The classic SNK storyline is now separate from the KOF storyline, but I ranked FF Terry and Garou Terry just as comparison
–Some people may argue that Andy deserves to be a little higher. I argue that Andy has always intentionally been deep under Terry’s shadow and never did SHIT in Fatal Fury and has done even less in KOF.
–Krauser may be a little better than Geese, but I think they’re close enough. Geese has a minor inferiority complex towards Krauser, but that only stems from the past. In the FF timeline, Krauser and Geese are cleanly beaten by Terry but in KOF 96 they never lost to anyone. Therefore, I think it’s accurate to say that they stay the same between FF and KOF.
Art of Fighting:
[Future Mr. Karate: S]
[Max power as Mr. Karate: SS]
Mr. Big: A-
–In the classic FF/AOF timeline, Terry and Ryo never met–Ryo is also much older so there’s no way to make a fair comparison between the two. In the KOF timeline, I believe that Ryo is meant to be a notch below Terry. In the classic timeline, Ryo as Mr. Karate is probably better than Garou Terry.
–Ryo is close to his prime while Takuma is past his. Overall, Takuma at his maximum potential is still one of the very strongest there is (as seen in KOF 2000), although he can’t exert that much energy over a long period of time.
–Robert has always been a step below Ryo…but unlike Andy, at least he’s actually done a FEW things. Like Ken compared to Ryu, Robert has too many responsibilities to devote himself to training full-time like Ryo does. So at least their difference in strength is due to Robert’s schedule…unlike Andy where he trains like 10x harder than Terry and STILL lags far behind him. Yeah, Andy sucks the big one all right.
–Mr. Big, while a boss, had never been implied to be as strong as Ryo nor Takuma (which is why he needed Yuri as a hostage in AOF).
May Lee: C+
–Kim has always been portrayed as a serious fighter who keeps up his training consistently. Though he’s never been on the same level as the main characters, he can beat Chang & Choi together any day of the week and he’s been a leader for several years so that’s at least better than B-rank.
–Jhun is supposed to be Kim’s equal, or at least just a smidge beneath him. Not much to go on, since Jhun never really did anything, but he has to be at least better than Lin in order to get his team in KOF 2002UM named after him.
–May Lee is supposed to have the most potential out of Kim’s many students. Chang and Choi kinda recognize her as being better, plus she’s the leader of the Girls team in KOF 2002 so her being a tiny bit better than Xiangfei puts her about this level.
–King has always been the leader of the Women’s team when she’s been on it (except for when Chizuru was on it), so she’s without a doubt the strongest. Plus, she’s actually fought in the men’s ranks in the Muay Thai circuit and fought Robert to a draw in a duel before KOF 2000.
Orochi Leona: S
–Heidern is a tough one to gauge. He’s probably not at the same S-level as the main characters, but he’s undoubtedly the strongest of the Ikari warriors plus he has always been the leader of the Masters Team.
–Ralf and Clark nearly died stopping Orochi Leona in 2003 while she was barely fazed. I think S-Rank is a good fit.
Kensou (before 99): B-
Kensou (99-2000): C
Kensou (2001-XI): B
Kensou (after XI): B+
Kensou (Dragon Spirit): ???
Bao (before 2001): C+
Bao (max potential): SS(???)
Bao (after 2001): C-
Momoko: Get the fuck outta here
Heavy D!: D+ (or D!)
NESTS–Cyberpunk/Cowboy Bebop ripoffs
Kula (Max potential): S+ or maybe even SS
Ash and his merry band of homosexuals
Ash (before 2003): S+
Ash (after 2003): SS
Ash (after XI): ???
Duo Lon: A
I didn’t do the final bosses because since they are always defeated (as is necessary for the plots), there is no real point in ranking them.
Also, I won’t do the MI or EX-exclusive characters because fuck 'em.