The TW Network
King of Fighters Fighters
Fighter ID:
Password
Age
17
Birthdate
April 8, 1980
Birthplace
Japan
Blood Type
O
Eye Color
Brown
Full Name
Shingo Yabuki
Hair Color
Brown
Hates
Milk
Height
179cm
Occupation
Student
Weight
71kg
Hobbies
Collecting figurines
Best sport
Swimming, water polo
Personal Treasure(s)
Life, student handbook, gloves from Kyo Kusanagi
Favorite Food(s)
Frozen Japanese wheat flour noodles, sardines, chocolate
Fighting Style(s)
(Self-styled) Kyo Kusanagi direct-taught style, Kusanagi style of ancient martial arts

Games
King of Fighters '97, The
Neo Geo
Solo Entry
King of Fighters '98, The
Neo Geo
Solo entry
King of Fighters R-1
Neo Geo Pocket
King of Fighters R-2
Neo Geo Pocket
Kusanagi Team member.
King of Fighters '99, The
Neo Geo
Hero Team '99
King of Fighters 2000, The
Neo Geo
King of Fighters 2001, The
Neo Geo
King of Fighters EX, The
Game Boy Advance
King of Fighters 2002, The
Dreamcast
Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, and Xbox versions only
King of Fighters 2003, The
Neo Geo
King of Fighters Neowave, The
Atomiswave
King of Fighters '98, The: Ultimate Match
Arcade
King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match, The
Playstation 2
Member of the Jhun Team.
King of Fighters 11, The / The King of Fighters XI
Arcade
King of Fighters 15, The / The King of Fighters XV

Storyline
King of Fighters II
King of Fighters '97
SHINGO: "I've brought you some rolls and stuff!"
Lunch time at school. A lone young man is in a corner of the school ground that is hidden away from prying eyes. Shingo cradles some bread and runs toward a boy who is reclining against a leafless tree and catching a few Z's.
SHINGO: "Let's see, today I got the chow mein sandwich and the croquette roll."
BOY: "Huh? Uh..."
SHINGO: "I brought you one of those coffee-latte deals, too. I'll put it here, OK?"
BOY: "Yeah, whatever."
It's been more than three months since Shingo has been bringing lunch to this spot.
BOY: "Well, then, I guess you're going to teach me a new move today, then...?"
The boy removes the chow mein sandwich from its wrapper, stands up after taking a sizable bite, and moves to a suitable distance from the tree he had been lying up against.
BOY: "OK, I'm only going to do this once."
SHINGO: "I got you...."
The boy unleashes a sudden series of punches against the tree.
BOY: "Hey, pal? Where's your defense now?!!!"
Ceeee-rack!!!
The tree shakes violently. A careful inspection would reveal that this tree's rather scruffed up and scorched in places. The reason for the absence of its leaves can be chalked up to the fact that it has always been used in place of a sand bag.
SHINGO: "Ah! So that's the Wicked Chew move, eh?!!!"
BOY: "Whoa, way to go, Shingo. You've really been studying, haven't you."
SHINGO: "Uh, I saw it on TV last year! I'm pretty sure it was the move you used to knock out Kensou in the semifinals, wasn't it?!!"
BOY: (How would I remember something like that...?)
SHINGO: "Let's see...first this way...then that way...and this way...."
Shingo simulates the boy's moves in his head, trying to memorize them.
SHINGO: "But yesterday I thought you said you were going to teach me the Rainbow Energy Dynamite Kick-you know, the R.E.D. Kick...
BOY: "Did I say that?"
SHINGO: "Uh, whatever. So, what style is the Wild Chew move anyway?"
BOY: "Uh...I think it's style one hundred...fifteen...isn't it?"
SHINGO: "No, no. That's the Poison Bite you showed me before."
BOY: "Ah, yeah, that's right. So it must be style 114-yeah, that's the one."
SHINGO: "Oh, Mr. Kusanagi. How could you get that wrong?!"
His words sound angry, but Shingo looks as if he's thoroughly enjoying this.
SHINGO: "Let's see...the 114 Wild Chew...yeah, that's it."
As Shingo hastily jots this down in his student's pocket notebook, he emulates the actions of the Wild Chew move.
SHINGO: "Is that how you do it?"
KYO: "Y-yeah. That's it. That's the way you do it."
SHINGO: "Oh, really?! Thank you, Mr. Kusanagi!!! Next, the "flames," eh...?"
KYO: "Right...the flames...."
SHINGO: "I've never been able to do it up till now, but I got the feeling that this time if I concentrate a little harder, I think I make some flames with this move!!!"
KYO: (I think your just imagining is getting the better of you...)
SHINGO: "So I'm going to keep practicing until I can shoot flames like you, Mr. Kusanagi."
KYO: "OK. I think you just might do it. Keep practicing. Well, I got to go back."
Taking the lunch Shingo bought for him, Kyo heads back to school, finishing off the sandwich he had taken a bite out of.
SHINGO: "Thank you, Mr. Kusanagi!!!"
Shingo sees his him off with a deep bow.
KYO: "He's got a good memory, but...you know...."
Kyo reluctantly waves his right hand without looking back and returns to school.
KYO: "See ya. Work hard!"
As Kyo disappears into the school, Shingo starts practice while he tries to remember the move he has just been taught.
SHINGO: "All-rightey!!! Let's master the "Wild Chew" move!!!"
Incidentally these two students had had nothing in common other than being upper and lower classmen at the same school. But one day two months ago, the young Shingo Yabuki suddenly appeared before Kyo....
SHINGO: "You are the Kyo Kusanagi, aren't you?"
KYO: "Yeah, I am...Who the hell are you?"
SHINGO: "I'm Shingo Yabuki in the sophomore class. Kyo Kusanagi! Please teach me your moves! I'm begging you!!!"
KYO: "Say what?"
This was Kyo's first conversation with Shingo. It seems Shingo saw him in the KOF '96 tournament and became an instant fan. At first Kyo blew him off, but Shingo subsequently wore him down and he agreed to teach him his moves. In spite of this instruction, however, since Shingo is not a descendant of the Kusanagi clan, he is only able to emulate the punches of the Wild Chew moves he learned today sans the trademark flames. In spite of this, Kyo continues to teach the dedicated Shingo for a lark, but mainly for the lunches.
SHINGO: (...This way...now that way...and....)
Since he's used this method up till now, it seems he's gotten used to it and even though he only sees a move once, he masters its actions immediately.
SHINGO: (OK. I've got the main actions down...This is it, right?)
Shingo readjusts his stance, focuses his mind, and unleashes his punches with all his might.
SHINGO: "Hey, pal? Where's your defense now?!!!"
Any onlooker would assume this was just another body blow.
Bing-bong, bing-bong, bing-bong, bing-bong.
The school chimes signaling the end to the lunch time recess reverberate through the schoolyard. The students who spent their time outside again flow back into the school from every which way.
SHINGO: (Well then, I guess I'd better go back...)


After school. The weather has taken a sudden turn for the worse, and the drizzle of the early afternoon is now a steady torrent. Students react to the downpour in a variety of ways: some open up their umbrellas and head home, others without dash home and soon get drenched, and still others hang around the entrance, waiting for the rain to let up.
SHINGO: "Hey, pal? Where's your defense now?!!!"
While the rain pours down, Shingo works on the moves he learned from Kyo where he always does, in the quadrangle. Practicing in the deserted quad after school has become part of his daily regimen and he goes through every move from the first he learned to today's "Wild Chew," and he does this every day regardless of the weather. But he's become vaguely aware that there are limits to simply practicing.
SHINGO: "Huff, puff, puff...I still don't got it..."
Taking a little break, Shingo plops down on the drenched ground. He goes over the doubts he's had since noontime and contemplates his future training.
"The King of Fighters."
Because he happened to see KOF on TV last summer,@Shingo is who he is today, on his way to be like his hero, Kyo. And another tournament is coming this summer.
SHINGO: (Enter the King of Fighters...but can I do it?...Me?)
A few months before, he wouldn't have imagined raising his fists against another human being; that's not why he took up this pursuit. But now things are different....
SHINGO: (I do so want to enter and be more like Mr. Kusanagi!)
He anguishes over this in his mind, and then, as if inspired, he makes up his mind.
SHINGO: (That's it...The worst I can do is lose!!!)
Shingo shoots to his feet, psyches himself up, and resumes his practicing.

Later Shingo makes his way through the individual preliminaries of the King of Fighters without any trouble, and goes on to the finals.
King of Fighters '99
The image expands grows through the camera lens.
First the crowd appears and then, zooming in, the lens focuses on a lone man.
"I've got him in my sights. What do I do?"
A big goon calls to the man next to him.
"Bring those here."
"Put on those goggles over there. They're directly linked with my eyes."
The man lazily puts on his goggles.
He gazes blankly at the man that appears within the goggles.
"Who is this, bozo?"
He lights a cigarette as he asks the question.
"It seems he's...Benimaru Nikaido, the genius shooter who can manipulate lightning. He seems like something out of science fiction, doesn't he?"
There is no reaction to this man's answer, and he asks the next question.
"Isn't this stalking? If this is all there is, I'm going."
"No, soon the trap is about to be sprung."

After bringing an end to his overseas tour, a long-awaited return to Japan.
Benimaru walks through the crowd, feeling the familiarity of being a fish returning to familiar waters.
BENIMARU: "In spite of my trip extended trip overseas, I'm tired of the scent of my fellow countrymen. At least I killed some time before my meeting.... Shingo sure is insensitive, choosing a place like this for us to meet."
Benimaru appears in a small courtyard. Shingo arrives shortly thereafter.
SHINGO: "Long time, no see, Mr. Nikaido!"
BENIMARU: "Yeah, it's been a while. But I wish you'd have chosen a more suitable place to meetÑyou know I hate crowds, don't you?
SHINGO: "Huh?"
BENIMARU: "What do you mean, 'Huh?'"
SHINGO: "Didn't you write me this letter that said you'd be arriving in Japan today so meet me here? See. I got an invitation to KOF with it too, right?"
BENIMARU: "A letter? An invitation? To KOF?"
Shingo points to the invitation and letter.
"You are cordially invited to this year's King of Fighters. We hope you, Benimaru Nikaido and Shingo Yabuki, will honor us with your presence on the Special Team consisting of these appointed members...."
A letter is included with the invitation.
It is just like his, but of course he cannot make out whose hand it's in.
BENIMARU: "Oh, how droll."
SHINGO: "What?"
BENIMARU: "We've been had. But how did they know I'd be returning to Japan today...?!"


Interference causes the notice screen in the square to hiss dissonantly. Snow covers the screen.
In spite of the loud noise, people pass by as if nothing is going on.
BENIMARU: "Do you see that...?! Who is it...?"
He looks around but doesn't understand. Benimaru is befuddled.
Meanwhile, the big man and his partner resume their discussion.
"He plays his part well. They'll make fine additions to our syndicate. They melt right into the rest of the crowd."
"I'm out of here."
"Just hold on a minute. It's almost finished, OK?!"
He pushes the terminal button at his fingertips.
In an instant, letters appear on the screen on the other side of the lens.
Benimaru scrutinizes the letters appearing on the notice screen.


BENIMARU: "S-T-R-I-K-E-R M-A-T-C-H...What's that all about?"
SHINGO: "Huh, that...?"
BENIMARU: "You know about it?!"
Shingo points to the contents of the invitation letter.
SHINGO: "It's all here in the invitation. It says that this is the format for this year's tournament."
BENIMARU: "The format for the tournament? What is it?"
SHINGO: "I don't know. I think we'll catch on once we get there, though. It seems this year's tournament consists of 4-on-4 team battles."
BENIMARU: "Did you say four team members?!"
SHINGO: "Doesn't it say so there?"
BENIMARU: "You, me...and who are the other two clowns?"
SHINGO: "That's written here too."
Benimaru quickly checks over the contents of the invitation.
BENIMARU: "K' and Maxima...?"
Examining the image through the lens, the sound of Benimaru's voice saying his own name synchronizes with the movement of Benimaru's lips.
"Yup. I'm looking forward to it, Benimaru Nikaido."
A giant "Hooo" sound is heard next to him.
When he shifts his glance, the man previously sucking on his cigarette extinguishes the butt in the hand wearing that red glove.


MAXIMA: "You really should stop that, nasty habit."
K' "I'm out of here."
MAXIMA: "OK, see you at the tournament then. That glove's important. Use it sparingly, OK?"
K' "Jeesh...!"
K' gives Maxima a big tut-tut and leaves.
The notice screen resumes its display of announcements, as if nothing had happened.


SHINGO: "So what're you going to do?"
BENIMARU: "All we can do is go, I guess."
SHINGO: "Mr. Kusanagi isn't around and Daimon is busy, it seemsÑI've got a bad feeling about this."
BENIMARU: "Kyo...? We just may meet up with him soon...."
SHINGO: "Why do you say that?"
BENIMARU: "I don't know for sure...I just've got a feeling."
SHINGO: "A feeling...you say?"
BENIMARU: "OK, let's get going. I'm leaving Japan today."
SHINGO: "Uh, yeah, I'm coming with!"
King of Fighters '00
Airport...A lone man (Seth) boards a plane bound for China...He checks the seat number on his ticket and arrives in first class.
"Thank you for riding JAR today. This is flight 149...."
The "Fasten Your Seatbelts" sign flashes on with the announcement, and the plane takes off for China.
Shortly after, a stewardess comes over and talks to Seth.
"Excuse me. Sir, would you like to watch a video?"
Seth contemplates turning her offer down but takes the video when he notices a picture of his dog, Chinchilla, engraved on the video she holds in her hand.
He thanks the stewardess and immediately pops the video into the player. A man appears on the screen.
The man's face is digitally blurred out.
"Your mission is to take custody of the individual known as ÔRon.' Naturally I want you to lead him here without him catching on. The fighting tournament known as ÔKOF' will soon begin. Since we have learned NESTS is likely to appear in this tournament and is probably involved, we want you to get inside. Two entry tickets have been prepared for you. The envelope is wedged under your seat."
Looking around to check no one is watching, he reaches down under the seat and pulls out a white envelope.
Seth opens the envelope to find two tickets and a wad of bills. He shoves it into the inner pocket of his suit.
"You are completely free to use any measures and methods you see fit. Should you make any mistakes, this agency will take no responsibility for you. This tape will destroy itself automatically."
The screen goes black, the video begins to smoke, and is destroyed.

China. The Hebei province. Two ninjas streak through the forest like a pair of falcons.
"At last...information about the inner sanctum of the Flying Brigands...!! If we strike them now...!"
The ninja in front drips with sweat and runs at full speed. A pig-tailed ninja with a black band around his arm pursues him. The ninja in front then turns back to toss a dirk at his pursuer. He senses that it hit its mark. Something crashes down in the forest behind.
"Yes...Gah...!!!"
The instant he turns back around he sees the ninja with the black band he thought he had just brought down seconds before standing in front of him.
His black band now covers his hand and glows with a ghostly aura. He lunges but the pursued ninja manages to narrowly avoid the attack. The wound is not lethal, but it leaves a wound on his chest. The ninja tosses down a smoke bomb and flees. The ninja with the black band does not chase him.

Seth walks around asking the locals the way to Hebei province.
But the people turn silent and appear to quake with fear at the mention of Hebei. Seth runs into a kindly old man, and succeeds in learning the way to Hebei. As he follows the road per the old man instructions, he finds himself in a remote area where not a soul stirs.
As he presses further on, he reaches the foot of a large waterfall. Here he finally runs into another human. But the figure totters from side to side. Seth senses something is afoot, and as he closes in while remaining unnoticed, he's able to see that the figure is a ninja. His wound looks shallow, but his face is pallid, drool runs from his mouth, and his eyes stare off into nowhere at nothing in particular.
As Seth looks on behind a boulder, a gush of blood suddenly issues from the ninja's mouth along with a scream.
"!!!...What in blazes...is going on...?!"
The ninja collapses into an unrecognizable mass. When Seth runs to check out the ninja, he notices him breathing slightly and his mouth is gasping for air.
"...P...Poison...Flying...Brigands...Bwaaaagh!"
As he finishes, the ninja heaves up another torrent of blood and expires.
"Flying Brigands! ...I knew it...!!!"
At that instant the man with the pig tail and the black band appears.
"You, too, know the name of the Flying Brigands and thus must die..."
The man, without warning, attacks.
"Hoo, hoo, hoo...You are as fast as they say.... Very well...let's dispense with the pleasantries, eh?"
For a while, the two exchange fierce blows. Seth lets his guard down for a second, looses his balance, and falls flat on his back.
"It's over...."
A magical aura issues from his band and the man aims at Seth's chest.
"It ends here!"
Seth makes a special move of his own and barely manages to evade the attack.
"Hoo, hoo, hoo...So that was the Poison Punch of ÔLin,' one of Four Devas of the Flying Brigands, was it...?"
"...Why? ...Why do you...know my name...?"
"Hoo, hoo. I know of your code, too. All who know anything of the ÔFlying Brigands' must die-that's why no one knows anything of your inner sanctum and the name "Flying Brigands" remains unknown to the rest of the world. You're a real crack band of assassins, you are. It appears that your Four Devas are quite a force to be reckoned with."
Lin is confused by the inquisitive Seth. He cannot fathom how this man knows so many details concerning the inner sanctum of the Flying Brigands.
"...I will not let you live...."
"Just why do you think I know so much about you and your group anyway?"
Lin attacks Seth, ignoring the question, but Seth, unfazed, continues his story.
"Just where is your chief ÔRon' now, anyway?!!!"
Lin's attacking hand stops.
"...How? ...How do you know of Ron, too...?!!! Just who are you...?!!!"
"Wouldn't you like to know?"
"...Enough to wait until I kill you...."
"Very well...You're chief is now missing, isn't he...? I know exactly where your chief Ron is right now."
"...Where...?"
"...Ah, ah, ah. First I want you to agree to a few conditions of mine."
"...Don't mess with me! ...If you don't tell me quickly, you shall die...very slowly."
"Tut, tut, tut...Kill me, and you'll never find out where Ron is. Can you live with that?"
"...Why, you...."
Lin must resign himself to the fact that the inner sanctum of the Flying Brigands is on the brink of total collapse. Just who is this ÔRon' person anyway...?"
"I want you to enter the fighting tournament called KOF with me. Then if we go on to win, you will find out just who Ron is. You'll be able to see with your own eyes."
"...Impossible. ...I will kill you...!"

A few days later, in an abandoned baseball field...there is no sign of anyone and steel girders are strewn all about.
"He should be arriving soon...."
Benimaru glances at his wristwatch as he mutters this.
"Benimaru! Why did you ask me to meet me in this creepy place? This place...gives me the heebie-jeebies!"
"...I've summoned someone for whom a place like this is appropriate."
Benimaru bruskly replies as he lights his cigarette.
"Benimaru...I've been meaning to ask you this, but...is the reason you called me here...could it be?"
Benimaru produces two tickets to KOF and passes one to Shingo.
"So they did come, did they...?!!! But just why are you waiting for K' in a place like this?"
Benimaru exhales a puff of smoke and answers,
"We're not joining up with those clowns this time around...."
"Huh? Then who are the other two members...? Kusanagi still missing, and...."
"This time I'm going to choose the members I want. One of them is an old comrade of mine, and the other is a rather touchy type it seems.... He's the reason why we're meeting here. He seems to prefer...out of the way places."
Benimaru has a bad feeling that something wicked is about to happen.
Crashing scrap metal clatters in the distance. Shingo shrinks back in fear. The figures of two men suddenly appear from behind a steel column.
"Hey, Benimaru...Long time, no see, eh? ...I'm honored to be invited to join your team. Looks like we're going to bust some heads together again!"
Seth extends his right hand, giving Benimaru a firm handshake. Lin stands behind him.
"So this is the guy...?"
Benimaru asks Seth, trying to keep the question out of Lin's earshot.
"...You should keep your distance from him...I told you about him before, but this guy's necessary to find Kyo Kusanagi and crush NESTS...."
"What about Kyo...? Have you come up with any leads?"
"...All I've been able to come up with is that he's probably going to enter KOF as usual...but everything will become apparent once we enter, I guess...."
"I guess so...."
Benimaru shoots a glance at Lin. Just at that moment, Shingo innocently approaches Lin to greet him-he shouldn't have done this.
"Uh...My name's Shingo Yabuki!!! Nice to meet you. What's that band for?"
The moment Shingo tries to touch Lin's band, Lin's eyes begin to glare brightly and he motions to attack Shingo.
"Cut that out...!"
Benimaru quickly snags Lin's attacking hand in the nick of time.
"...Let go...."
u"They call me Benimaru.... Don't be messing with my team. ...Do you got me?"
Seeing Lin all worked up over his interrupted attack, Benimaru senses that he won't be able to avoid a showdown with this clown.
As predicted, a strange aura bursts from his hand and Lin attempts to run Benimaru through.
In an instant, Benimaru zaps Lin with his Electrigger move, rendering him temporarily paralyzed.
"...!!!..."
"...Never get any strange ideas like that again, got me?"
"That was magnificent, Benimaru!"
Seth is impressed at the speed of Benimaru's lightning swift judgment.
"But...a few ticks later or if my Electrigger move was late, I would have been dead. It seems that he wasn't that serious. To take a full-force Electrigger move and still be alive... You sure brought one tough cookie to our little party, Seth...."
As a matter of fact, this is the first time Lin has tasted defeat outside his band of Flying Brigands.
Along with Lin's animus toward him going up a notch, so too does his respect for Benimaru's moves.
"...Hmph...fascinating...."
Lin lets out an audacious laugh.
It looks like this year's KOF is going to be another doozy. An it's about to begin.
...Meanwhile, Shingo, the reason fro all this commotion, stands petrified, alone in the middle of the abandoned baseball field.
"Mr. Benimaaaaaaaru! Help me! I'm scared!"
King of Fighters '01
"Oomph."
Bam!
A large man stands out conspicuously in the gym, and he tosses one Olympic athlete after another down on the mat.
"That's enough for today!"
"Thank you very much!"
The giant removes his judo clothes and begins to wipe the sweat dripping from his granite-firm body.
Then, all of a sudden...
"Hey, long time no see, Daimon! This time, more than I care to."
"Well, if it isn't Benimaru!"
"Must be tough being a coach, isn't it...Or are you the manager?"
The two leave the gym, sit on a bench, and begin talking.
"...Benimaru, judging from the circumstances, I don't think you've come to talk about the good old days, have you?"
"Well...as a matter of fact, I got one of these."
Benimaru dramatically offers the envelope to Daimon.
"Is this...an invitation to the King of Fighters tournament...?"
"Yup, that's it. I won't beat around the bush, Daimon. I want you to enter with me."
After a considerable silence, Daimon comes to his conclusion.
"Benimaru...I...."
"I know. It's Kyo, isn't it?"
"That's it...."
"Well, then, what if I told you that Kyo is entering the tournament, too?"
"Kyo, in the tournament?! Have you heard from Kyo, Benimaru?"
"Yup, but we just talked on the phone...It seems that he's in Japan. He told me he's officially entering the tournament."
"Hmm..."
"Care to be teammates again? Eh, Daimon?"
"...Benimaru. Lead the way."
"That's the old pepper, big guy!"

Shingo sits and fidgets on a park bench, illuminated by the moon's rays.
"Mr. Kusanagi. We didn't have to meet in a place like this..."
There's no trace of another human around. To be honest, Shingo is shivering with fear. He's the only one in this park at midnight....
"Oh wow, it's past twelve o'clock. I wonder if Mr. Kusanagi's really going to show up...."
He mutters this while looking up at the moon. ...Then in that instant, Shingo feels the presence of someone behind him. He quickly swivels around.
"...What? ...Guess it was just my imagination...."
"Hey, Shingo."
"Dwaaaagh!"
Shingo panics and looks back in front of him as his name is called. It turns out to be the person that Shingo has been dying to meet all this time.
"Mr. Kusana-aaaaaaagi!"
Shingo, overcome with sheer joy, tries to embrace him, but Kyo bats him away with a single hand. Shingo, carried by his own inertia, crashes "neatly" into the ground, face first.
"...Jeesh. I see you haven't changed for the better, have you?"
"Ow! That's going to leave a mark. Uh, you too, Mr. Kusanagi! What have you been up to all this time?! I was worried sick!"
"Well, a lot has been on my plate. So, Shingo, just where's Benimaru at?"
"Yeah! Benimaru should be coming along any time now. ...Ah, here he is!"
Benimaru walks toward the two, his blond hair gleaming in the moonlight. The judo giant walks behind him.
"Th-That's...."
Kyo is surprised.
"Kyo, it's been a while. It's not much of a souvenir, but I brought Daimon along with me."
"Benimaru...Daimon..."
"Long time no see, Kyo. It seems you've been through some tough times."
"I've seen a few...."
"Hey you two, lighten up. More important, I have a message for you, Kyo. You haven't been by Yuki's have you? She's been pretty worried."
"Yuki? Ah...yeah. Once this is over...."
"Jeesh...Why don't you...ah, whatever. So...I've been looking after your self-appointed disciple. I don't know how much my word means, but he seems to have improved a little during your absence."
"A little? That's harsh, Benimaru!"
Everyone lets out a brief laugh, but the mood quickly changes.
"Kyo...do you feel it?"
"Yeah...we're surrounded. ...I'd say three, four, five, probably more."
"Hmm..."
The three-Kyo, Benimaru, and Daimon-change their mood previously friendly one and they appear poised for combat, their adrenalin increasing. Only one, only Shingo, seems to dither about, not grasping what is about to go down.
"U-Uh...What's the problem, guys?"
As Kyo puts his glove back on, he lets out a scream!
"How about breaking a few heads together, for old times sake?!! Are you up for it, Benimaru?! Daimon?!"
"Sounds like a plan! Team Japan is back in business!"
"All right!"
Kyo, Benimaru, and Daimaru dash into the darkness as one.
"Hey ev-everybody! Don't leave me alone here! Heeeeey!"
King of Fighters '03
"Hello, I am speaking to Goro Daimon, aren't I? This is the police and..."
Hired by his alma mater as a special instructor, Daimon has no choice but to cancel practice with this sudden summons and rush to the police station. He links up with Benimaru Nikaido who happens to be on his way to the station for reasons of his own.
"Hey, Daimon, tell me what the heck's going on here. Or have you only heard the same yadda-yadda that Shingo's been taken into protective custody that I have?"
"Yup. That's right."
"Jeesh.... Just what's that clown done this time?"
Without reaching any definitive answer to Benimaru's question, the two arrive at the police station.
Right away they are led to a room deep in the bowls of the station, and there sits Shingo Yabuki, who, even now, looks as if he is about to burst into tears.
"Daimon, and Benimaru! I haven't done anything! You've gotta believe me!!!"
"Sorry to put you through this hubbub, Mr. Daimon. This guy was screamin' at us to have you come here."
The officer in charge and Daimon seem to have met before. In spite of his aloof disposition, Daimon, who also moonlights as a special judo instructor at the police academy, is well-connected. But the one who lays into Shingo is Benimaru.
"So why did you call for Daimon?! Calling your mommy and daddy would have been more apropos, don't you think?"
"Are you kidding?! If my parents knew about this...they'd ground me for life and no KOF this year!"
"What a putz. ...So, what's this guy in for? Murder? Armed robbery?"
Benimaru continues to rake Shingo over the coals. This joking is due to the very fact that he knows Shingo is innocent, but naturally no one finds his attempts at levity very funny.
"He's in here for attempted arson."
The stern-faced policeman answers Benimaru's question. Any looks of amusement on Benimaru and Daimon's faces subsequently vanish.
"I'm telling you it's all a big misunderstanding!"
"I got you dead to rights, punk! I saw you with my own two eyes in front of a house in the wee hours of the night and heard you say stuff like, "This time I'll make fire for sure." "I got a little flame there." And the coup de grace: 'Burn, baby, burn!'
The police officer slams an open hand on the table; Daimon and Benimaru take a glance at each other then look up at the ceiling as if to say, "Good grief."
(So that's what this is all about.)
The two know Shingo well. They are sure for the most part that he's incapable of a criminal act, and the various bad premonitions they had on the way to the station in spite of this have now faded away. They are assured their fears were groundless, and now they are relieved...and a little bit ticked off.
"Looks like this has all been one big misunderstanding. Daimon and I can vouch for this guy's character. Isn't that right, Daimon?"
"Yup. That's right."
"Well, if Daimon says so..."
The evidently dissatisfied police officer nevertheless promptly releases Shingo in deference to Daimon.

The three exit together from the police station's main entrance. But Shingo takes up the rear, plodding behind them as if trying not to step on their shadows. And after a brief time walking...
"Uh...excuse me you two.... I'm sorry for making such a nuisance of myself!"
Benimaru smacks the back of the head of the deeply bowing Shingo.
"You got that right. I know you were probably giving yourself a crash course in the fighting arts of Kusanagi, but even I would suspect someone ranting about fire and flames in front of houses in the middle of the night of being an arsonist."
"Yup. That's right."
"I'm sorry. I just got carried away.... I just know I made some fire."
"It had to be static electricity or something. If not that, it was a hallucination. A...hal-lu-ci-nation!"
"Hmm...I guess so, huh?.... No, I know I..."
Benimaru and Daimon ignore Shingo's babbling and head back to the university.
The two turn to the topic of joining the next KOF tournament.
Yes, the two intend to join the competition once again this year.
As Shingo catches scraps of the conversation, Daimon discusses how he wants to see the results of his training. Benimaru speaks of wanting to see what he's made of...And another reason is it seems one of the new contestants has caught their attention. When it comes to the crucial reason, the level of Benimaru's voice drops, but Shingo can make out fragmentary words like Lin, flying brigands, and Seth.
With his head drooping down, Shingo continues to follow behind the two. Shingo's house, mind you, is in the opposite direction.
"...Hey, uh, Shingo."
Benimaru turns to look behind him.
"Y-Yes?"
"It doesn't seem like you to be moping around like that, don't you think?"
"Yup. That's right."
"R-Really?"
"Yeah. You endure Kyo's ribbings with laughter, cheerfully suffer his bullying, and happily obey his commands. You're a guy who rushes in where angels fear to tread with spunk and stamina. That's you to a tee, isn't it?"
"Yup. That's right."
"Is that supposed to be a compliment?"
"Whatever. Snap out of it because for the next KOF, Daimon, me and you are going to be a team."
"Yeah, telling me to meekly resign myself to my just deserts...are you?! You're going to let me join your team?"
"Why? You got a problem with that?"
"But what about Kusanagi? I thought for sure...."
"That bozo Kyo is traveling abroad. I can't get in touch with him."
"Yup. That's right."
Certainly this seems to be the case.
After the end of the previous tournament, Shingo periodically trained under the guidance of Kyo's father - Saisyu Kusanagi.
The training took place in a corner of the Kusanagi house, but during that time the figure of Kyo was nowhere to be seen.
"Well, with a guy like that, he just may be planning to storm in at the last minute, but we can't afford to wait for that."
With a swish, Benimaru's body turns and his fist suddenly stop short of Shingo's face. Shingo moves his body a few centimeters to narrowly avoid the blow.
A small flash of lightning emanates from Benimaru's left hand, and he momentarily flashes a fearless expression from below. Though eclipsed by Kyo and Iori, Benimaru Nikaido is one of the world's preeminent fighters.
"Well now, you have improved, haven't you? Am I hearing right? You've been getting special training under a true slave-driver coach, haven't you?"
"U-Uh, yeah, well..."
"Cheer up there, pal. When you get all gloomy, it puts me down in the dumps. To add insult to injury, teaming up with Daimon here, our team image will be pretty off-putting, so I'm begging you."
"Yup. You got...hey, wait a minute!"
"Very well. I'll do anything you want today and today only. Just tell me what you'd like."
"Huh?"
"I'm sick of seeing you get knocked around all the time. So, any request - just to psyche you up before the tournament."
"R-Really?"
"Yeah. Whatever you want. How about something you've always wanted to eat?"
When it seems apparent that Benimaru is sincere, Shingo thinks over all sorts of possibilities with a glint in his eyes.
"Well, then.... Ah, that's it! There is something I've always wanted to do! Benimaru!"
"What is it?"
"Bring me some tiramisu! And make it snappy!"

Daimon and Benimaru cringe for a moment that seems like an eternity.

"Oh, yeah?! Eat this: Heaven Blast Flash!!!"
"Hee-gyaaah!"
Suffering a massive electric shock, Shingo, burnt to a crisp, rolls to the ground and moans.
"Ow-oooch...I knew it was a bad idea not to have said, please."
"Putz."
"Uh, but just now...I'm sure I thought I saw bursting flames. ...From my eyes, that is."

And from that moment on the participation of these three in KOF was written in stone.
King of Fighters XI
"So, Miss Kagura, you're sure you're not going to participate in the next KOF?"
"I'm sure... certainly not in my current state..."

Chizuru Kagura, or rather Chizuru Yata, lay feebly on the hospital bed.
Shingo didn't really understand it all, but since Ash Crimson had claimed one of the powers of the three sacred treasures, she could not accompany Kusanagi and Yagami.

"The only thing left I can do is pray.
I don't have the strength to fight alongside Kusanagi and Yagami again..."
"D-don't worry about that!"

Though he thought there was actually a great deal to worry about, Shingo did his best to reassure her anyway.

"But..."
"You can depend on Shingo Yabuki! If you'd allow me, I'd do everything I could to help both of them!"


***

"...so come on, Kyo! Let's enter with Iori! We can do it!"
"Have you completely lost your mind?"

Shingo had happened across Kyo in the middle of a busy intersection, and had virtually prostrated himself in begging for the Kusanagi's cooperation, to little avail. Kyo did his best to just ignore him and continue on his way.

"But we've fought on the same team before!"
"That's just because Kagura practically begged me to. What choice did I have? Why the hell do you think Yagami ever agreed to it before?"

Kyo, Iori and Kagura had entered the tournament together once. That the three of them had cooperated at all had seemed miraculous to begin with; to think that such circumstances might recur was simply absurd. Plus, without the mediating presence of Kagura herself, it was highly unlikely that they would be able to agree on a third teammate.

"Uh, if that's the issue, then I have an idea!"
"...All right then. Spill it, but I'm not making any promises."
"I can join up with you!"

Shingo gave a smile so earnest that, if he was trying to be funny or lighten the mood, one certainly couldn't tell. In other words, he actually meant it.

"...I shouldn't have bothered listening."


***

At the end of a long summer day, the waning moon began to rise in the eastern sky.
The air was humid and heavy.
With the wind becalmed as it was, two entwined trails of smoke rose from the gravestone.
A man stood before the small memorial, and the shadow of another drew near.

"Are you going to leave some incense, Yagami?"
"..."

In front of the stone, the incense smoke mingled with that of a cigarette.
Iori Yagami held it in his mouth, and both strands of smoke wound up into the sky.
Without meeting each others gaze, both men stood before the grave.

"How many years has it been now?"
"...You've gotten even less tactful. What business is it of yours?"

The two muttered quietly to one another, quite unlike their usual sharp words.
The small stone monument seemed to negate their typical antagonism, and all that could be heard was the ever-present chirping of cicadas in the setting sun.

"That student of yours has been pestering me every day. You need to do something about him."
"I'm not his keeper. You can handle it however you want."
"...Very well."

Iori took his now-spent cigarette and crushed it under his foot, then took another one and placed it in his mouth.
Shortly after, Kyo produced a lighter.
It looked to be an antique, with metal plating which was, for some reason, roughly inscribed with English phrases.
With a casual flick, he flipped it open and the wick burst into flame.
He held only his right arm out to Iori, keeping his gaze forward and the rest of his body still.

"Why do you feel the need to carry a lighter?"
"It was a gift."

Iori produced a lighter from his own pocket and, shielding the flame from the wind with his hand, lit his cigarette. Kyo softly clucked his tongue and flipped the cover shut. The area grew slightly darker.
Iori turned to the side and took several steps away.

"..."
"You still need something, Yagami?"

Just as before, Kyo spoke without taking his eyes from the gravestone.

"We still haven't settled this. I'm still going to be the one to kill you."
"..."
"This isn't the place for it, though."
"...I guess not."

Kyo once more heard the sound of Iori's footsteps. They gradually grew more and more distant, until finally fading away entirely.
The nearby streetlamp flickered into life.
The spot where Yagami had stood looked as though it were the focus of a bleak spotlight.
It was stained with the remnants of the cigarette that he had stamped out.


***

The first KOF match, in Japan.
Shingo was waiting for Kyo and Iori at Ootemon, a castle designated as a World Heritage site.
He hadn't exactly gotten promises out of them that they'd attend... in fact, Iori had threatened his life several times. It didn't stop him from trying, but eventually, he was forced to concede.

Shingo remembered his own words one week ago.

"Okay, I'm including both of your names on the signup sheet! You have to come! I believe in both of you!"

Fun Facts
Must Drink Less Milk
Shingo's dislike of milk is hinted at in his ending with Mature and King (in which he cries after being given a bottle of milk) in King of Fighters '98, as well as Tizoc's win quote against him in King of Fighters XI.