Friday, August 27, 2010

Know Your Tekken, Part 4: Kuma

Kuma is a bear, a fighting bear. As just a young cub, Kuma was discovered living in the woods on the Mishima estate. Heihachi took Kuma under his wing, provided him with living quarters, and taught him to fight. Kuma was an incredible learner, but never truly mastered these fighting techniques due to his laziness. In spite of his poor work ethic, Kuma was employed as Heihachi's bodyguard and was greatly feared for his taste for human flesh. Kuma's rival was Paul Phoenix, who defeated him in the first two Tekken tournaments. After Tekken 2, Kuma died of old age.

Kuma's son, also Kuma, takes up his father's mantle for the subsequent Tekken games. He too is Heihachi's pet and bodyguard. In fact, he is noticeably smarter than his father, making him an even more effective bodyguard. He also views Paul Phoenix as his rival.

After his loss to Paul in Tekken 3, Kuma feels that he has lost touch with his animal instincts. In an attempt to grow stronger, he leaves his domestic habitat for the wild mountains of Hokkaido. He does grow stronger and develops his own original fighting techniques, despite his love of watching way too much TV. His training paid off, and he finally beat Paul in Tekken 4.

After Heihachi's supposed death, Kuma enters Tekken 5 to honor his master and defend the Mishima Zaibatsu. And just as Rufus always wants to run it back against Ken, he also wants a rematch with Paul. He fails miserably, being defeated by both Paul and Jin. Kuma still doesn't give up and seeks revenge against Jin in Tekken 6.

Fighting Style
Kuma's style is called Heihachi-style Kuma Shinken, or Advanced Bear Fighting. Kuma's general strategy is to pressure the opponent with lunging swipes of altering heights. Many of his attacks start with a similar-looking wind-up that makes it tricky to know where to block. Though he usually fights standing upright, he can enter a stance where he walks on all fours. He is not very popular in high-level play, probably due to his lack of speed. His signature moves include:
  • Rock N Roll Circus, a command throw that has Kuma lie on his back, roll the opponent into a ball, and spin him with all fours
  • Dance With Me, a moonwalk that can step on downed opponents
  • Fatal Wind, the most damaging move in Tekken, an unblockable flatulence attack (with nearly no range) that is a 1-hit KO
I'm not sure how Kuma would function in a Street Fighter game. His command throw would translate well, but I'm not so sure about the moonwalking and farting. If I had to guess, his normals would be most like E. Honda's slow, damaging strikes. He'd probably make a good charge character, having some powerful lunges dedicated to down-up or back-forward motions. I'll be very interested to see how he turns out.

Likelihood of Appearance in SFxT
I'd say he's 90% likely to be in Street Fighter X Tekken. Harada has made a toy Kuma his official calling card on Twitter. It's also a good sign that both Harada and Ono have said that it would be very interesting to see bear-wrestler Zangief face off with Kuma.

(Sources: Tekkenpedia, YouTube)

1 comment:

  1. This is by far the worst character i ever seen in a fighting game. You fuckin kidding me???