15 min read


Context

Mr. Kim is one of the characters who originally featured in the Fatal Fury brawling video games, then carried over to the King of Fighters video game series.

He’s both the tae kwon do world champion and a sort of paladinHeroic fantasy warrior fighting for good fighting for truth, justice and the Korean way.

Advertisement

Background

  • Real Name: Kim Kaphwan, spelled 김갑환.
  • Known Relatives: Kim Hye-Ryen (ancestor), Myeng Swuk (wife), Kim Dong Hwan (son), Kim Jae Hoon (son), Kim Sue II (descendant).
  • Group Affiliation: Originally Korea Team, most recently Fatal Fury Team.
  • Base Of Operations: Seoul, Korea.
  • Height: 5’9″ (1.75m) Weight: 178 lbs. (81 kg).
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown.

Powers and Abilities

Kim has been the Tae Kwon Do world champion for 20 years.

He can do some incredibly impressive kicks and acrobatics. Some moves appear to defy gravity, some can even shake the earth.

When he’s really going all out, he’s been shown to be able to manifest the power of a mythological bird of fire. This creature, similar to the Western phoenix, likely is akin to the Korean bonghwang (봉황) – called fenghuang (鳳凰) in Chinese.

Kim Kaphwan (King of Fighters) (Fatal Fury) challenge

Other assets

He’s also an ardent warrior for justice. So strong is his conviction that he can even sense the presence of evil doers. He therefore will call them out when he confronts them.

He’s a sports superstar in Korea. This makes him wealthy, admired and influential.

Lastly, he’s a huge K-pop fan. He frequently attends concerts in his free time. In fact he’s such a super-fan that he spent enough time in karaoke booths (well, noraebang) to become a proficient singer.

History (part 1)

Fatal Fury 2

Kim was the world renowned and undisputed Tae Kwon Do champion. He set out to prove the might of Korea and TKD.

Being an unabashed warrior of justice, he also sought to halt evil fighters in their tracks. And befriend and learn from other heroic fighters.

He didn’t play a major part in the story. But he did meet and forge a friendship born out of mutual respect with FF champion and fellow crusader for justice – Terry Bogard.

Pretty generic and not exactly a fleshed-out origin, huh?

Well, actually…

Fatal Fury: The New Battle

(This is the second animated movie based on the games).

(It isn’t official SNK canon. But it was well received. And it seems to have so seeped into fan consciousness that many consider it to be the best account of the events in the second game).

Kim had heard about Terry’s victory over crime lord Geese Howard. He longed to spar with such a powerful fighter for justice. He travelled to dangerous South Town, and formally challenged Terry to a match.

Terry had grown bored after his victory over Geese, and had been drinking too much. So he readily welcomed the diversion.

Advertisement

Kim vs. Bogard

The two squared off at an abandoned construction site. But what was originally intended as a friendly sparring match got heated. The fighters accidentally knocked loose stray I-beams.

Some street kids watching the match were underneath. But the pair managed to kick the falling steel aside before anyone got hurt.

Terry actually injured his leg kicking aside the final I-beam. But he still had enough fight left in him to beat Kaphwan.

In the end, both fighters expressed mutual respect. They parted on friendly terms after promising to fight again in the future.

Unexpected consequences

After Kim left, Geese’s younger half-brother, Krauser, appeared out of nowhere. He soundly thrashed Bogard.

But before he permanently injured Terry or worse, one of the street kids called Krauser a bully and a coward. The urchin pointed out how Terry had been injured in the match against Kaphwan, minutes before.

This ultimately kicked off a worldwide fighting tournament. Krauser briefly was the champion, but Terry made a comeback and defeated him.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kim presumably was challenging other strong fighters worldwide.

Soundtrack

My K-Pop Lore skill level ain’t the greatest, I’ll admit.

But as it happens there was something fitting during the recent-as-of-this-writing SuperBand 2 (슈퍼밴드2) TV musical contest.

A charismatic and… fighty version of a League of Legends musical theme.

Kim YeJi (김예지) on vocals, Hwang Leen on lead guitar, Park Daul on conch horn and harp, Hwang Hyunjo on various instruments.

History (part 2)

Fatal Fury 3

The Fatal Fury 3 storyline was about :

  1. Stopping the powerful Jin twins.
  2. Preventing Geese Howard from taking their three sacred scrolls. These were said to hold the secrets to immortality and some powerful fighting techniques.

Kim participated in this tournament. But his actions didn’t have any effect on the major overarching plot.

The FF games that came after this are retellings and/or updates of the previous games. As such, they’re not considered canon. Even if they were, Kim was still the same guy fighting for the same reasons and lacking a major impact on the story.

King of Fighters 94

Notorious criminals Chang Koehan and Choi Bounge escaped from prison together. However, Kim managed to track them down and beat the crap out of them.

But he wasn’t done with the pair just yet. Since he was basically considered a Korean national hero, he had no problems convincing the authorities to release the criminal duo into his custody. So that he could personally reform them.

Kim, being the strict disciplinarian he was, put them through a hellish training regimen. All while constantly drilling his lofty ideals of truth, justice, and the Korean way into them.

It didn’t take long for them to literally start begging to go back to prison. But they were forced to enter the KoF tournament as a three man team.

Koehan and Bounge were just thugs with gimmicks, with Kim the only real fighter of the team. They finished second to last. They only beat the hapless, incompetent American Sports Team.

Kim however was a man on a mission. He vowed to train the two even harder for the next tournament.

King of Fighters 95

Chang and Choi were still miserable being Kaphwan’s wards. They challenged him on several occasions for their freedom. But each time they were soundly defeated by his sweet feet of justice.

Team Korea Justice ended up last, or perhaps second-to-last, at the following year’s tournament.

King of Fighters 96

Chang and Choi resigned themselves to the fact that their painful tutelage under Kim might be their normal for a very long time.

Both secretly bid their time, hoping to escape. But neither being too bright, they couldn’t spot or seize opportunities.

Kim thus came to think that they were serious about redemption. But they were just parroting back his years of moral lessons, and giving them lip service.

The team did as badly as you’d expect during the 96 tournament. The only reason they didn’t finish last was because the Boss Team self-destructed when Mr. Big tried to assassinate Geese Howard.

Kim Kaphwan readies a kick

King of Fighters 97

Rehashed plots of the previous games for this entry as well. 97 marked the end of the Orochi Saga, but the Korean team certainly had nothing to do with that as they finished dead last.

Yet Choi and Chang actually started to legitimately, grudgingly respect Kim. And they had been putting up a better front of buying into his teachings.

So Kim finally declared them reformed and released them of their own reconnaissance.

King of Fighters 98

The Korean team took part in this tournament. However, this game was a non-canon dream match.

In the actual continuity, Choi and Chang predictably reverted to their old habits. They went on a crime spree. Kim once again tracked them down, beat the stuffing out of them and vowed he would reform them if it took him another century.

Wash, rinse, repeat, recycle, and revert back to square one.

History (part 3)

King of Fighters 99

The tournament changed the format to four-fighter teams

Kim Kaphwan’s rival and former training partner Jhun Hoon joined to fill the spot. The ill-fated criminal duo can be heard groaning something to the effect of “Oh, great ! Now there’s two of them !”

The team once again never fails to underwhelm and finishes dead last.

King of Fighters 2000

Same recycled storyline from the last game.

King of Fighters 2001

Jhun Hoon was accidentally injured in unspecified circumstances. Kim’s star pupil May Lee Jinju replaced him.

The team finished second to last place, thanks to the NEST Team flying apart over ethical concerns.

Now lacking several of their enforcers, the crime syndicate the NEST Cartel was taken down by K’s anti-hero team. Thus marking the end of the NEST Saga.

King of Fighters 2002

Another non canon dream match.

This one featured three-man teams, so the Korean team reverted back to the original three.

Kim Kaphwan delivers a high kick

King of Fighters 2003

This tournament was the start of The Tales of Ash.

Jhun Hoon had recovered from his injuries. He rejoined the team, which meant that Choi was sidelined. And suddenly, with two real fighters on the team, the Korean Justice Team didn’t suck anymore.

They achieved a respectable ranking in the middle of the pack.

King of Fighters XI

After more than a decade of languishing away with a team of losers Kim finally got his shot at the big leagues. His good friend Terry Bogard invited him to join him on the Fatal Fury Team.

The third fighter was the break-dancing DJ Duck King. The DJ is an old timer from the original Fatal Fury game. Though fans had largely forgotten about him due to his sporadic appearances.

Kim and Duck King were filling the spots left by:

  • Andy, Terry’s younger brother, who had gone on a training sabbatical.
  • Joe Higashi, who had to defend his Muay Thai champion belt.

Kim Kaphwan (King of Fighters) (Fatal Fury) drinking tea from the kettle chopped wood

Fearsome fighting from fatal fury friends

The team placed third behind Ash’s Team – and their rivals the, erm, Rival Team led by Elisabeth Blanctorche.

After the tournament Choi and Chang finally convinced Kim to let his hair down a little. The group headed to the Pao Pao Café to celebrate. There, Kim consumed alcohol – for quite possibly the first time ever. He was unable to handle the liquor.

He continually pestered Terry about getting married, as he considered him too old to be a bachelor. His antics greatly annoyed wealthy patron Bob Wilson. Owner Richard Meyer, himself a capable capoeira fighter, was forced to throw Mr. Kim out.

Even Choi and Chang were horrified by this. His teammate Duck King may have well been the only person who was amused by his antics.

(Technically, this ending only happens if Team Fatal Fury wins. This isn’t canonically the case, but then the events at the Café do not contradict anything. And it was one of the more famous and memorable possible ending scenes).

King of Fighters Maximum Impact 2 and Regulation A

Kim makes a cameo appearance in this game. He comes to congratulate his new number one disciple Chae Lim’s on training so hard to master Tae Kwon Do for justice.

This offshoot of the main series was, tonally and storyline wise, a very different game from the rest of the KoF series. It seemingly exists in its own, separate continuity.

Regardless the series has been abandoned and it seems unlikely that there will be another entry, so the storyline will likely remain unresolved.

King of Fighters XII

A non-canon game only released as a beta. To recoup costs from a failed attempt at adopting a new game engine.

Kim is playable as a single entry, with no other members from his team.

King of Fighters XIII

Kim declared his charges Choi and Chang to be officially rehabilitated and released them.

But a hero’s work is never done. He set out to reform two other known criminals.

His first target was the pro wrestler known as Raiden. But while he had been a ruthless henchman for hire and Geese Howard employee, he had already reformed. Raiden now fought as a face wrestler called Big Bear, and no longer used dirty tricks during matches.

(Raiden’s evolution isn’t easy to follow, due to appearances in non-canon games. But generally he’s an expyFictional character heavily based on another character for wrestler Big Van Vader).

The other character was Hwa Jai, Muay Thai champion Joe Higashi’s rival. Once a win-at-all-costs type and drunken pub brawler, Hwa Jai had since became more ethical, had largely quit drinking, and was now on friendly terms with Mr. Higashi.

Kim Kaphwan (King of Fighters) (Fatal Fury) portrait

Kim Team for the win (or maybe not)

Both men has thus seen the light and reformed on their own. But they also saw Kim as their chance to play in the big leagues once again, after years of obscurity.

They thus pretended to still be flawed persons in need of guidance, playing up their old habits. Mr. Kim took them in.

Yet, they still were obscure C listers. The Kim Team placed third from the bottom.

This game also marked the end of the Tales from Ash Saga. Which Kim’s Team had little impact on anyway.

King of Fighters XIV

Choi and Chang got into an unspecified altercation in a bar. It landed them back in prison – their criminal record presumably did not help.

There, they encountered criminal mastermind Xanadu. The pair quickly fell under this mysterious figure’s charismatic sway. They reverted to their old villainous ways.

Kim was left without a team to enter the tournament. But two allies came in:

  • Gang-il, his former teacher and the president of the Tae Kwon Do World Federation.
  • Gang-il’s mysterious new girlfriend Luong.

Very much unlike Kim, Gang-il was a notorious womanizer, known for his hard partying and carousing. He had always felt that Kim’s strict adherence to an austere, disciplined life style held him back.

This new Kim Team did quite well for themselves. They came in at fifth place, right behind Ryo Sakazaki’s Art of Fighting Team.

It’s assumed, but never officially stated, that they defeated the Villains Team consisting of Xanadu, Choi, and Chang. Since that team likely placed sixth.

This game also kicked off the new story arc The Shun’ei Saga. But Kim’s team didn’t seem to have a role in that.

King of Fighters XV

This game was delayed due to the Covid outbreak. As of this writing, it’s scheduled for in a few months – Q1 2022.

Kim hasn’t been confirmed as a playable character. But Luong is on the Secret Agent Team. And Kim has been in every single game so far. Time will tell…

Kim Kaphwan (King of Fighters) (Fatal Fury) high kick

Garou: Mark of the Wolves

Despite the fact that this game came out way back in 1999 it is still considered to be the epilogue of the series. It thus still takes place in the future.

Mr. Kim isn’t a playable character there. But his two sons, Kim Dong Hwan and Kim Jae Hoon are playable characters. And Kaphwan makes cameos in some of their win poses and endings.

It seemed most likely that Kaphwan has retired from fighting, but considers himself responsible for training the next generation. Chief amongst them his sons.

There are currently no plans for a sequel to this game either.

Description

Kim is a rigid and polished do gooder. He always has a very serious look on his face. His teeth are also extremely white.

He always wears his Tae Kwon Do dobok (도복) – looking roughly similar to Japanese gi martial arts uniforms. Presumably because he’s always training.

The dobok has blue trim, plus a patriotic red and blue circle. Found on the Korean flag, this circle — the taegeuk (태극) — is closely related to the ying/yang symbol.

Quotes

“Evil is unforgivable !”

DC Universe Adaptation

(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).

Korea is basically empty in the DC Universe, so Kim could be inserted as is.

He would have likely petitioned and been accepted as a member of the Justice League.

It seems likely that he would idolize boyscout heroes such as Supes, but sternly disapprove of the more rough in your face vigilantes such as Batman and Green Arrow.

His work with reforming criminals would also very likely bring him to the attention of the Suicide Squad. But he would never for a second even consider some of the black ops, the ends justify the means type of rationale.

So he may well wind up opposing them and duking it out with some of the semi-reformed minor villains along with his comedy side kicks of course.

DC Heroes RPG

Kim Kaphwan

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 05
Int: 06 Wil: 07 Min: 07
Inf: 06 Aur: 08 Spi: 07
Init: 024 HP: 060

Powers:

Adrenaline Surge: 04, Air Walking: 02, Detect (Evil): 04, Earth Control: 02, Flame Being: 02, Gliding: 02, Jumping: 03, Running: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Adrenaline Surge only works with Air Walking, Gliding, and Martial Artist.
  • Air Walking is Minor Marginal.
  • Detect (Evil) has the Discerning bonus.
  • Earth Control is Diminishing.
  • Flame Being is Catastrophically Marginal – and he may not be touching the ground when he uses it.

Skills:

Acrobatics (Athletics, Dodging): 07, Artist (Singer): 04, Martial Artist: 09

Advantages:

Familiarity (Karaoke and K-pop), Iron Nerves, Languages (Korean), Leadership, Lightning Reflexes, Local Hero (Korea).

Notes:

Kim has a special version of Leadership that only allows him to give HP to criminals that he’s reforming. They are only allowed to spend it on heroic deeds.

Connections:

Terry Bogard (High), Chang Koehan (High), Choi Bounge (High), Jhun Hoon (High), Mae Lin (High).

Drawbacks:

SIA (reforming criminals), MPR (Mr. Kim has zero resilience toward inebriation), Married (Myeng Swuk).

Motivation:

Upholding the Good.

Occupation:

Dojang owner, Tae Kwon Do master.

Wealth:

009.


Previous stats

Kim’s kids would also be listed as Dependents in any game prior to Garou: Mark of the Wolves – where they are capable fighters.

In the completely non canon Fatal Fury the Motion Picture, he had Insta Change.

Writeups.org writer avatar Tom Eilers

By Tom Eilers.

Source of Character: Fatal Fury and King of Fighters video games.

Helper(s): SNK wiki  , Darci, Ethan Roe, Sébastien Andrivet.

Writeup revised on the 28th of July, 2021.