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Bao (Chinese: 包; Pinyin: Bāo; Japanese: 包 Pao) was an active member of the Psycho Soldier Team through The King of Fighters '99 and The King of Fighters 2001. With his debut, he became the youngest playable character in the series.
Bao was an abandoned orphan left by his parents in the care of a mountain temple in China. Asked by the head priest to adopt him, Chin Gentsai agrees as Bao exhibits psycho power. Before it could get out of control, Chin decided it necessary that Bao should train with him in order to control such power, introducing the boy to Sie Kensou, his other adoptive student, and Athena Asamiya. As Bao trains with them, Kensou gradually loses his powers until they become obsolete. It is unknown how it happens, but Bao and Kensou continue to lose and gain their powers as the years progress as both of them share the same source of energy: the Dragon Spirit. It is unknown exactly how this magnificent energy works, but Ron and Misty (sole survivors of the fallen NESTS organization) seem to take an interest in it, revealing a probable importance of the Dragon Spirit in future KOF storylines.
Bao was created by developers to fill in the missing gap for the team caused by the newer gaming mechanics introduced in The King of Fighters '99, specifically the expansion of teams from 3 to 4 members.
The staff went through various concepts of a character to insert into the Psycho Soldier Team, including counterparts for its existing members (an idol younger than Athena, Kensou's love rival, an old woman who looks after Chin) as well as one concept involving "a mighty male character with a scary appearance but a heart of gold and a love of nature." Eventually, they settled on the young boy who shared the same powers as his teammates.
Because of his addition to the cast, it is remarked on the 10th Anniversary site that the average age of the Psycho Soldier Team dropped from 42 to 34.
Bao is a relatively small target and his attacks can be weak, but his special moves allow him to be very mobile. Most of his attacks, known as the Psycho Ball Crash attacks, involve consuming himself in an aura of Psycho power, rolling into a ball, and launching himself in various directions. The mobility of these moves can allow him to attack and evade at the same time and can even be used to finish matches with a time-out.
He also has projectiles that match the trajectories of his Psycho Ball Crash attacks, as well as an SDM that launched a small projectile that traveled slowly across the screen but could be "detonated" into a large burst for high damage. However, the power of these were adjusted according to Psycho Soldier Team's storyline; in The King of Fighters 2001, Kensou had regained more use of his powers, namely his Psycho Ball projectile, but this severely reduced Bao's Psycho Ball to a slow, small, and weak ball with incredibly short range. The projectile in his SDM also burst automatically at short range.
In all of his appearances, Bao wears an orange Chinese outfit with a large cap, long sleeved shirt and mid-thigh length shorts with white trim, black socks, and white shoes. His cap became much, much larger in The King of Fighters 2001 for unknown reasons. He is also among the shortest characters in the whole series, though he and Choi Bounge are exactly the same height.
- The King of Fighters '99
- The King of Fighters 2000
- The King of Fighters 2001
- The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match
- SvC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom (cameo; he appears briefly, sticking out of Hugo's hair and disappearing within it again in Hugo's intro animation)
- Athena Asamiya (friend, teammate, and training partner)
- Sie Kensou (friend, teammate, training partner, and a bit of an older brother figure; they both share the Dragon Spirit's power)
- Chin Gentsai (teammate and master; he adopts Bao from a mountain temple)