Monday, 21 September 2009

King of Fighters Character Encyclopedia

Was fortunate enough to have my friend help me pick up the King of Fighters Character Encyclopedia from Japan for me recently, and thought i would write up my impressions of it for those who might be interested in it.

The encyclopedia opens with an introduction each of the KOF games. With brief explanations of the story, original release dates, and pictures of each game's opening intro for each of the main games as well as some information about the spinoff games (such as the UM games, NeoWave, the Maximum Impact series, and also 94:Rebout.).

It also has a page explaining in brief all three Sagas/Chapters of the KOF story, though i'm not sure myself as to why 94-95 aren't included as the 'Rugal Saga'.

The next part of the encylopedia, which also takes up the bulk of the book, is pretty much just a profile section for each of the characters in the series.
Since i am not fluent in Japanese, i cannot read it all, though it doesn't really seem very detailed.
From what i can tell it has some basic information about each character, a bit about their back story, and their relations to other characters in the series.
It seems a shame they didn't bulk this area up with more information, though if like me you can't understand much Japanese i guess this shouldn't matter too much.

Before i move onto the next section of
the book, there are two things which i did find fairly interesting about the profile section. The first is from what i could tell, the artwork for each character's profile was chosen from the last game in which they were in.
What is odd about this, is that Mai Shiranui is shown in her new artwork as shown on the KOF Anniversary site. Whether this was a design choice, or whether Mai was planned to be in KOFXII but scrapped at the last minute i'm not sure.
The second thing is that all images of K9999 have been blacked out, i remember hearing regarding this that SNKP did not like his character design and there were some concerns with possible copyright infringement. (Which is also why he was replaced in 2002UM with Nameless.)

(K9999 R.I.P 2001- 2009)

Moving on, the next part is a whole section dedicated to the character designs throughout the years. Athena probably being the most interesting here since she changes costume every year, and the least interesting probably being one of the characters like Ryo...
Also i noted here that the game with probably, in my opinion, the worst character art is probably 2002.

The encyclopedia also documents the country in which characters in the series come from, with Japan having the most character entries.
Probably the most amusing thing here was the fact they had Nameless listed as coming from Mars (火星), i haven't read much on the character's backstory but it seems pretty silly. (Not sure if you can see the image to the right very well?)
There are also alot of other random facts in this section, such as a tallest character chart and heaviest character chart (Any guesses as to who this might be...?).

There are also some more obscure facts such as 'Which character has the longest name?', 'Which bloodtype do most characters have?' and the one we all really want to know about 'Who has the biggest bust size?'

The final section of the encyclopedia closes with an artwork section, including concept art, character designs and some pretty interesting characters who never made it into the game. There are some really obscure character designs here too, one of them being a character who is dressed like a giraffe and practices 'Giraffe Martial Arts'.


(Early design of the main Character, Sho Kirishima who was later redesigned as Kyo Kusanagi)

Early design of the Rival Team in KOF95 (Iori's team)

(some of the strange character designs i mentioned earlier...)

(KOFXII designs, Kensou with short hair...)

So in closing my thoughts on whether this encyclopedia is worth a buy ? I think if you're a hardcore KOF fan you'd enjoy this book, it is fairly expensive outside of Japan though.
The artwork section alone makes it worth the purchase in my opinion.

Playasia has it here for £29.94, and that's of course without shipping/customs fees, i think the actual retail price in Japan is around about Y28,00.

Also the KOFXII BradyGames guide is now available on for those of you who still haven't bought it, only £8.39, which is the cheapest i've seen it going for.

See my previous review of the US and JPN guides here.


  1. i love the part about mai!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. more images,more images :)

  3. I don't know...
    I liked K9999's style and story too (maybe because I'm a big Akira fan too). He was cool, but his new form (called Unknown) is pretty lame, I mean, that Emo'd Metrosexual Bishounen type... I just don't like it.
    Angel deserve a better one! :P

  4. Did you know, why Nameless come from Mars? Because he's one of the last clones that come from another NESTS base on Mars. This story include in his character profile of KOF 2002UM.