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|Game Series||King of Fighters series|
|First Appearance||The King of Fighters '99|
K′ (ケイ・ダッシュ, Kei Dasshu?, "K Dash", also pronounced as "K Prime")is a character who debuted as the leader of the Hero Team in The King of Fighters '99. He stars as the reluctant hero in the NESTS saga of the series, often letting his partner Maxima handle any social necessities in his stead. To contrast the previous protagonist of the series, K' was made to be the "dark hero". He also appears as a playable character in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum.
The origins of both K′ and Maxima can be found in the Psikyo arcade game The Fallen Angels (Daraku Tenshi in Japan). This obscure 1998 release stars an emaciated goth in tight leather pants named Cool, along with a brawny, cybernetically enhanced police officer named Harry Ness. The man responsible for the design of both characters migrated to SNK shortly after The Fallen Angels was released, and elements of Cool and Harry Ness' design were used in the creation of K′ and Maxima. The end result is that K′ looks nearly identical to Cool. His namesake was taken from a clone character in the light novel, Blue Knight Beluzaga Monogatari, which is set in the same universe as the anime, Armored Trooper Votoms. During the early phases of development of The King of Fighters '99, K′'s introduction to the series was meant to remove popular characters Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami from the roster -though this idea was scrapped in the game's release.
His style of play is a tribute to his namesake. Fast and unpredictable, K' is unfortunately often overlooked as a character. K′ possesses what may very well be the oddest HDM in the game The King of Fighters 2002, the Crimson Star Ride has K′ slide forward a very short distance, and if he touches the opponent, he teleports behind them, angrily throws a "thumbs-down" (one of his winposes) and the opponent explodes in a ball of fire for considerable damage. This move returns in KOF: Maximum Impact 2, only working as a "reversal-type" super instead. K's Chain Drive super (now his LDM as of The King of Fighters 2003) undergoes an aesthetic change each game, but always works the same way with K' throwing his sunglasses at the opponent before rushing in with a powerful combination attack.
Another K′ (K′'s Another Striker in The King of Fighters 2000) is commonly believed and mistaken to be what K′ used to look like before he was injected with the DNA. Quoting from the KOF 10th Anniversary website, it was the final rendition of K′ outside of a last-minute hairstyle change