The Orochi (オロチ) in The King of Fighters is a version of the Kusanagi legend. He is the final boss of The King of Fighters '97. He has white hair, white trousers, and a tattoo across his chest, though this appearance is mainly due to his possession of Chris. The tattoo on his chest represents the eight-headed serpent from the legend. Orochi's form as seen in KOF97 is merely Orochi changing Chris' form to represent the strong-willed fighters of the tournament. His origins are unknown except from the legends told about him.
Orochi's true form, as the multi-headed serpent of myth, is seen in Iori Yagami's ending in SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom, in which Orochi speaks to Iori, tempting him to give in to the Riot of Blood. Orochi's storyline, linking itself to Gaia, and being called "God's Messenger," appears to have been inspired from a mix of Neopaganism, Shinto (with Orochi having a direct preference for nature, represented by Gaia), and some Christianity (its urge for humans to change their ways or be destroyed). It is among the few depictions of this mythological serpent that does not show its intents as an outright villain.
Though in the series, the name Orochi is written in Katakana, the name typically translate as The Great Serpent.
The Orochi, a serpentine being that could cause incredible amounts of destruction and death was originally defeated 1,800 years ago by the members of the Kusanagi, Yasakani, and Yata clans. After rescuing the Sacrificial Maiden, Princess Kushinada, the Yasakani held Orochi in place, the Kusanagi dealt the final blow, and the Yata sealed it off.
However, 1,140 years later, when the Kusanagi clan was considered to be the strongest of the three clans and the Yasakani the weakest of the three, the Yasakani clan made a blood pact that allowed them to use the power of Orochi. Such power came at a cost: the Yasakani, now known as Yagami, wielded purple flames and were doomed to live very short lives, with their matriarchs dying in childbirth. This action led to a violent feud between the Kusanagi and the Yagami, and many members of both clans lost their lives.
The murder of the leader of the Yata clan in the present day released the seal that had kept Orochi bound away. Hearing of this, the heiress to the Yata, Chizuru Kagura, organized the 1996 King of Fighters tournament in order to unite the two warring clans, represented by Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami. In the 1997 KoF tournament, the Sacred Warriors of the Orochi rise and directly try to resurrect Orochi itself, who is reincarnated as an adolescent boy named Chris. Also, they kidnap Kyo's girlfriend Yuki, who is believed to be the last descendant of Princess Kushinada. After saving Yuki, Kyo deals the final blow to Orochi as Iori holds the serpentine messenger in place, and Chizuru seals it off... just like 1800 years ago...
In 2003, a strange group called "heralds" made an attempt to break the seal, thus putting humanity in peril yet again. It seemed there were more entities other than the Hakkeshu themselves who were interested in the power of Orochi, and thus made attempts to release him from his current ensealment. Although unable to completely release Orochi, they damaged the seal, enough to make Orochi's influence felt in the world. The heralds intend to siphon the power of the Orochi for their leader's use.
Orochi is extremely critical towards humans, accusing them to be ignorant, or have not changed through the years. Even though continuously defeated by the 3 forces, Kusanagi, Yasakani and Yata, Orochi has little faith in the capabilities of humanity. The reason for this is arguable; some say that this is because of how humans have treated nature, while others (and also implied in KOF97) mention that he sees no hope in the sins of humanity, and that their destruction is the only way to clean the earth.
As Orochi is merely avenging the suffering humanity has mindlessly caused nature and the world, and being some sort of check-and-balance in the world of the humans, it can be seen, though not canon to the storyline (Team Edit ending), that Orochi has the capability to forgive as well, where he conceded to the strengths of the fighters after being defeated, but not without saying that they still have a chance and that he looks forward to see the change it wants or again seek destruction.
Orochi is far from being a dark or evil entity, despite his true monstrous form, and Kim Kaphwan's branding. In fact, Orochi pays allegiance to Gaia, the mother of the Earth, and should probably be thought of as being chthonic in nature, rather than demonic or heavenly.
What the Orochi feels and thinks seems to seep towards the The 4 Devas. Leopold Goenitz, Yashiro, and Chris, and to a somewhat lesser degree Shermie, also possesses the same degree of hatred towards humanity as Orochi would, sharing as far as actual emotions and thoughts of the Orochi itself, especially with Goenitz. (With the proof of this being his dialogues with certain characters in SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom). The same cannot be said with the others of their bloodline, like with Vice and Mature, who either lives against their mandate of the bloodline, or rebelled against it.
Mizuchi, a clone of Orochi from NGBC sports the same personality, without the awareness of having followers, and is portrayed to be more messiah-like, making humans realize their error first; however, Mizuchi has identical destructive tendences as the original.
Followers of the Orochi Edit
The Orochi has eight mortal followers that fights for this serpentine entity. Curiously, this coincides with the amount of heads this serpent of legend has; four of his warriors are Heavenly Kings, two are Assassins, and two are Elementalists.
Of these eight followers, the Four Devas or the Four Heavenly Kings are the most loyal to Orochi, working to set him free from the ensealment by the Yata clan. To revive Orochi, they perform a ceremony that sacrifices the life of a maiden, particularly from the Kushinada clan.
The Four Devas (Four Heavenly Kings)Edit
- Goenitz - Elemental of the Air and Wind — He is known as Fuki Sasebu Kaze no Leopold Goenitz (Leopold Goenitz of the wildly-blowing wind). Defeated by Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami's crimson flames. Presumed to have killed himself with his own power rather than being defeated by the 3 forces (Kyo, Iori and Kagura), but some say he merely disappeared and is alive and well.
- Shermie - Elemental of Thunder and Lightning — She is known as Arekuuruu Inabikari no Shermie (Shermie of the Berserk Lightning). Sacrificed herself for Orochi's revival.
- Yashiro Nanakase - Elemental of the Earth — He is known as Kawa Ita Daichi no Yashiro Nanakase (Yashiro Nanakase of the Parched Earth). Also sacrificed himself for Orochi's revival.
- Chris - Elemental of the Flames and imbued with Orochi's soul by Goenitz — He is known as Honou No Sadame no Chris (Chris of the Flames of Destiny). Was absorbed and became Orochi's embodiment.
The Assassins Edit
- Mature - Steel/Metal Elementalist — Minor Orochi Contributor, deployed by Goenitz to watch over Rugal Bernstein and his leased Orochi power, which destroyed him in the end. She was thought to be killed also by Goenitz, through Iori Yagami's hands, when they tried to back out. Mature can still make a phsyical manifestation despite death, as seen in KOFXIII.
- Vice - Death/Sleeping Arrow Elementalist — Minor Orochi Contributor, also deployed by Goenitz to accompany Mature in watching over Rugal Bernstein. She was the one who Rugal sent to brainwash Saisyu Kusanagi. Was killed by Iori Yagami, under Goenitz's influence of Riot of The Blood, but she appears alive, due to her ability to make a phsyical manifestation despite death, as seen in KOFXIII. Vice has a notable hatred towards Saisyu Kusanagi, both for being an enemy by blood and for his resistance during his capture.
- Ryuji Yamazaki - Insanity/"Ten Thousand High" Elementalist — the only known and confirmed person with full Orochi blood alive as of this update. Currently works as an assassin/bodyguard for hire. Unlike the abovementioned characters, Yamazaki lives by his own will, uninfluenced by Orochi, despite wielding the bloodline and its power.
- Guidel (Never appears, having died before the events of the series) - Water Elementalist — A member of the Orochi clan who betrayed his own lineage - he fathered Leona with a human woman, and refuses to work with the Hakkeshu in reviving Orochi - so Goenitz induced the Riot of Blood on his daughter so she'd kill her parents and their followers in their village.
Orochi Bloodline Characters Edit
- Leona Heidern - The daughter of Guidel to a normal woman, being a half-blooded Orochi. Goenitz awakened her Orochi blood to punish her father, Guidel and his community for his refusal to cooperate with the revival of Orochi, an obligation that all of their bloodline (Orochi) are sanctioned with. She is later adopted and trained by Heidern.
- Iori Yagami - The Yagami were traditionally the enemy of the Orochi clan until Iori's ancestors, the Yasakani Clan, forged a pact with the Orochi clan in the 1330's. The Yasakani sought to gain more strength and to defeat their rival, the Kusanagi clan. The Orochi clan used this feud to their advantage, and gave them the strength they desired. However this power came at a fatal price. All of the Yasakani, now Yagami clan are doomed to wield the Orochi blood. Along with that power came pain, Yagami matriarchs dying during childbirth, and their short lifespans. Somehow though the Yagami blood has managed to triumph over the Orochi blood to perform their tasks successfully.
In 1997 Iori Yagami manages to seal off Orochi despite being under the influence of Riot of the Blood. Iori demonstrated that it was possible to defeat the Orochi blood within and break the curse of the Yagami, when he wielded crimson flames, the original power of the Yasakani, instead of the purple flames that were a result of his ancestor's pact with the Orochi.
Yagami had a chance to redeem his family bloodline, when Ash Crimson stripped him of the Yasakani Magatama during KOFXI. Iori is the last heir of the Yagami line, and by freeing himself of both the power and Orochi influence, he had a chance of living normally again. However, for reasons vaguely understood, he once again embraced the power and its perils in KOFXIII.
The Riot of The BloodEdit
The Riot of The Blood (called Chi no Bousou in Japan) is a frenzied state of a human being where he/she loses total control, physical faculties and sanity to the Orochi blood within. This only happens to people who are not born with 100% Orochi blood in their veins. Any of the Orochi clan or even the Orochi itself can trigger this state at mere will.
The basis behind this condition is due to the resistance of the other half of the blood to the power of the Orochi. A person under the influence of Riot of The Blood can be subdued in due time, as the outburst does not last long, and as long as there is no presence of Orochi power nearby.
The only characters known susceptible to this condition are Rugal Bernstein, having a little of Orochi blood gave by Goenitz at the cost of Rugal's right eye and later, his own life; Leona Heidern, half-Orochi on account of her mother's non-Orochi blood; and Iori Yagami, whose Orochi blood was transfused into the bloodline of his ancestors.
As a playable character, Orochi possesses immense power, and borders extreme cheapness due to his mostly unstoppable techniques. He can stop just about anybody using his two super moves alone; Return to Nothingness and Enhanced Soul Stealer. He is the first SNK Boss to have a screen-filling super and a one-hit kill. Later KOF bosses like Zero and Magaki would adapt the attack concept of Return to Nothingness.
Orochi is among the SNK bosses that do not have crouching attacks, until the game was ported to the Sony Playstation, with severe frame cuts. He was slightly toned down, although still possessing the power that he is known for.
Orochi also uses signature attacks that some KOF characters have. Rugal's Genocide Cutter attack is similar to Orochi's hard kick, and his Double Tomahawk command attack (f + B) is identical to Orochi's close hard kick (found in Playstation version, and in Mizuchi, see trivia).
In the arcade version of KOF97, he had an infinite combo that involved his reflector move. This was because the said move had zero recovering time, making it possible to cancel into several moves and deal high damage to the enemy. This flaw was fixed in the Playstation version by changing the animation of the move altogether.
As of KOF97, all of his DM (Desperation Moves) are considered SDM (Super Desperation Move) caliber and strength.
Prior to his finalized appearance, SNK planned earlier in KOF97's production to make Orochi's incarnation as a naked Chris, surrounded with light.
- The King of Fighters '97 (Arcade/Playstation/Sega Saturn)
- The King of Fighters 2000 (PS2) - Leona's unlockable Maniac Striker
- The King of Fighters 2002 (Arcade/PS2/XBOX) - Temporary transformation, as part of Orochi Chris' Hidden DM.
- Neo Geo Battle Coliseum (Arcade/PS2) - Represented as Mizuchi, with different movesets and voice, and greater difficulty.