Yuri started her career as a cute little sister and convenient hostage. But as the Art of Fighting brawling video games series progressed, she became a playable character and capable fighter.
She is related to or otherwise has close ties with many high-profile martial arts champions.
She developed quite a bit of staying power in Art of Fighting, and returned in the King of Fighters series.
Yuri-chan is always improving and always ready to show her friends and family that she has what it takes – despite the lack of respect she often gets.
- Real Name: Yuri Sakazaki.
- Known Relatives: Ryo Sakazaki (older brother), Takuma Sakazaki (father), Ronnet Sakazaki (mother, deceased).
- Group Affiliation: Women Fighters Team aka Team Gorgeous and occasionally The Art of Fighting Team.
- Height: 5’6” (1.67m). Weight: 130 lbs. (59 Kg.).
- Eyes: Brown. Hair: Brown.
Powers and Abilities
Yuri uses the lowest-grade version of the Kyokugenryu Karate discipline, known as the Raiou (“Lightning Sparkle”) principle. That teaches only the basic and low-level moves, and encourages personal instinct to be used in conjunction with the tutelage.
Among Yuri’s personally-crafted moves are the Slipstream Handslap and the Big Butt Press. Many of her moves are parodies of Street Fighter attacks.
Yuri can gather energy from the earth (“chiA sort of universal life force/energy in Chinese-influenced cultures.”) to hurl energy projectiles or create hand-held energy spheres that reflect projectiles.
This tune offers the right vibe, era and attitude.
But you clearly don’t have to listen to it, oh no.
Not at all.
Run, you fools.
Yuri and her brother were born either in Japan or the fictional (but dangerous) American city of South Town. This is unclear, as it seems to have been retconnedMaking changes to a character or story after the fact a few times.
It doesn’t really have much of an impact on her origin, anyway. Just know that she has a Japanese father and an American mother. And that she’s been living in (dangerous) South Town from an early age.
Her mother tragically died in a car accident when Yuri was quite young. Her father disappeared shortly after that. As a consequence, her older brother left school to work construction and other odd jobs to support her.
She’s a background character at this point.
Art of Fighting
While captive, Yuri-chan learns that her father has been blackmailed into working for Mr. Big’s crime syndicate as an enforcer. Of course, Sakazaki-san had only agreed to protect his children. Takuma was now wearing a tengu (Japanese crow demon) mask and calling himself Mr. Karate to preserve his family’s honor.
Ryo eventually defeated Mr. Big. The crime lord then played his trump card by calling out his heavy hitter Mr. Karate. Ryo also defeated him. But the lad was so enraged at this point that he continued to wail on his beaten opponent.
Meanwhile, Yuri freed herself. She begged her brother to stop, shouting that Mr. Karate was none other than their long lost father. The family was finally united after more than ten years apart.
Art of Fighting 2
Either it comes to the attention of the Sakazaki family… or they receive a formal invitation… the story has been retconned several times and isn’t clear… but this conflicts with the Fatal Fury canon that FF1 is actually the first King of Fighters tournament that Geese Howard holds… so the details are left up in the air, but…
Either way the Sakazakis and their allies come into conflict with Geese. It is revealed that he was the puppet master running Mr. Big’s and other crime syndicates in the area.
Howard had a sterling reputation as a high profile business owner and philanthropist. He therefore used others to insulate himself from his crimes that made the real money. Regardless, the family goes after Geese and his empire and emerge victorious.
Yuri outgrew being a damsel in distress. She became a playable tournament character with decent fighting skills.
When exactly she started learning how to fight isn’t explained. Either:
- She was taught martial arts when she was younger, but was still unable to defend herself in the last game. And now has come into her own as a late bloomer.
- Her father and brother thought it prudent to teach her how to defend herself after she was kidnapped.
It seems likely, given her family’s attitude in later games, that they tried to keep her away from all the fighting.
Art of Fighting 3
(This game got poor reviews and has thus been declared non-canon by SNK).
Robert — Ryo’s training partner and Yuri’s boyfriend — travels to Glass Hill, Mexico. He’s looking into the disappearance of a childhood friend.
Yuri is a Non-Player CharacterRPG characters not played by a player, but by the gamemaster or the computer. in this game and is really only seen in the intro and ending. It seems that she followed Robert to Mexico, but arrived too late to get in on any of the action.
King of Fighters series
(Art of Fighting and King of Fighters officially take place in different universes. But while there are discrepancies, there’s nothing major separating the two. In fact, it actually makes a lot more sense to have a long drawn out mythos showing different aspects of their vast universe that having a few self-contained pocket dimensionsOther realms of existence that are not our universe that share some characters.)
The Sakazakis start off by opening a satellite dojo in Mexico in 1994. But this is quickly forgotten about. This branch is not really mentioned after a year or two and it’s repeatedly stated that the dojo is always hard up for cash. So the odds of the Mexican dojo still being around are pretty slim.
They then receive an invitation to the KoF fighting tournament, which features three-person teams. Their original team is Ryo, Robert, and Takuma.
Yuri feels snubbed at being left out as by this point she’s a capable fighter in her own right. But her father would rather keep her away from serious tournaments. Out of protest, Yuri joins the Women’s Team. She thus fights alongside her friends King and Mai Shiranui.
Yuri is similarly snubbed in 1995, before finally being allowed to join the team in 96.
She fights alongside her family until 2000, when she rejoins the women’s team to try to show her independence. After that she’s with her family again on the Art of Fighting Team.
During KoF XIII, her relatives request that Yuri sits this tournament out as the competition is too strong. The lass once again joins the Women’s Team in protest.
In KoF XIV it’s revealed that the family has opened up a barbeque restaurant with the help of friend and fellow fighter Richard Meyer. Yuri is reportedly quite happy working there.
Where is she now?
Possibly still working in the family restaurant, and likely still dating Robert.
The last game in continuity is Garou: Mark of the Wolves. While none of the Sakazakis are playable characters it’s stated that Knushnood Butt is the heir apparent to their dojo and has set up a school in his native Brazil. So it’s possible that Yuri relocated there.
Yuri is about average height and somewhat slim. She looks fairly Eurasian.
She typically wears her brown hair either tied back in a ponytail or a single braid. Although in later games she sports a shot bob.
Her typical uniform is black yoga pants and an athletic bra over which she wears a short sleeveless upper gi. Plus a brown belt, red headband, trainers (most of the time) and black fingerless gloves. (Yes, she’s only a brown belt.)
When not fighting she tends to wear whatever is fashionable at the moment. Though generally on a bit of budget since her family isn’t super wealthy she does however wear the occasional luxury brand item when it’s a present from her wealthy boyfriend Robert.
She also tends to dress in more kawaii style such a bright T-shirts with cute designs and animal characters on them.
Yuri is very much a spunky, energetic fun loving young woman.
She’s also big into following trends and the latest fashion and tries to enjoy her independence. This often leads to conflicts with her more traditional father and brother, who would like to see her be less active and take a bit of a backseat.
She’s also very warm, friendly, and outgoing. Yuri tends to get along very well with other likeminded women who strive to be more independent. Such as those of the Women’s Team.
“Like, lighten up. If you want to try again, I’m available !”
“Oh, stop moping. Even in defeat, smile, smile, smile !”
“Tough and a babe ! I’m just toooo much !”
“Any monkey can fight ! Like, ya gotta use your intellect !”
“Not too shabby. But you’re still a wimp !”
Yuri: “Oh, that’s right ! I always meant to ask…”
King: “What is it ? I hope I can be of assistance…”
Yuri: “Be honest with me here. What do you think of my brother ?”
King: “What !? Wh-What are you asking me that for !? Is this the time or place to be talking about that !?”
Yuri: “Hmmm ? What’s the matter, King ? You seem flustered all of a sudden !”
ing: “N-No, I’m not ! It’s… I just… Let’s… uh… Let’s do this !”
Yuri: “Teehee, I can read you like an open book ♪! Looks like I already won this one !”
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
Yuri can be inserted as is, but it is highly likely that she has a rivalry with a young female martial artist about her age and is always out to prove herself.
DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 07||Str: 03||Bod: 04|
|Int: 04||Wil: 03||Min: 04|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 05||Spi: 06|
|Init: 019||HP: 040|
Adrenaline Surge: 05, Energy Blast: 03, Jumping: 03, Running: 05, Reflection/Deflection: 02
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Adrenaline Surge only works with Jumping and Running.
- Energy Blast is Diminishing.
Acrobatics: 06, Artist (actress, cook, dancer, singer): 03, Artist (Gymnastics): 05, Martial Artist: 07
Expansive HQ (dojo), Iron Nerves, Languages (Japanese), Lightning Reflexes, Financial Backer (Millionaire – Robert Garcia).
Ryo Sakazaki (High), Takuma Sakazaki (High), Robert Garcia (High), King (High), Mai Shiranui (High), Kasumi Todo (Low), Hinoko (High).
Innocent, MIA (Robert Garcia), MIA (Proving herself), Unluck.
Martial arts student.
Source of Character: SNK brawling games.
Writeup revised on the 30th of October, 2020.