“A New Beginning” once again leans heavily of prior King of Fighters lore as the NESTS arc from KOF 99-01 is pretty much given a sequel here and all connections to KOF XIV is nearly dropped, if it weren’t for Team South America’s presence. Is this a bad thing? Not for me, it was the NESTS arc that drew me into the series proper, but for a manga titled “A New Beginning”? Probably, yeah… Let’s take a look anyway!
The fourth match of THE KING OF FIGHTERS tournament is underway as the cyborgs of Team K’ go head-to-head against Team South America. Both teams are soon in mortal danger when their fight is interrupted by NESTS, a nefarious secret society. In order to bring about the return of their master Igniz, there’s nothing they won’t do. While the fighting rages, Athena Asamiya charges headlong into NESTS headquarters, hoping to avert catastrophe!
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
This is probably what our author dreamt leading to NESTS getting such a big role again…
As mentioned the focus of this volume is entirely on the NESTS group from two arcs ago, computer game timeline-wise. Athena and the rest of the Psycho Soldiers team have broken into a NESTS hideout and found a whole army of Kyo Kusanagi clones wandering about and begin to fight them and NESTS experiment Sylvie Paula Paula, an idol who idolized Athena. Meanwhile K’ has to contend with his own teammate as Kula falls under the influence of NESTS and attacks him, leading to a full on ice vs. fire showdown. There is more great artwork filling whole pages for the fight, and eventually K’ manages to knock his opponent unconscious.
K’ topples Kula by using his finger like a gun…. and then blasting lots of actual fire, to be fair…
Back at NESTS HQ Paula Paula falls to Athena and the real Kyo arrives to take out his fakes, which he does with ease but finds out they’re robots rather than clones. He also finds out that Igniz uploaded his brain digitally before his death and was now able to gain a physical body again but is stopped by Kyo… until he then begins to appear out of the arm of Team South America’s boxer Nelson, as his false arm was a NESTS creation. When I say “begins to appear” I mean his head literally begins to poke out the arm, it’s… really weird. Anyway, Team South America and Team K’ manage to destroy the digital Igniz and put an end to NESTS… again.
The final chapter of the volume is a comedic non-event as I’ll get to down below but it does end on a cliffhanger showing Geese Howard and his men scheming, which is always a good thing!
….. ….. This is just weird.
The final chapter, “Round 25”, pits Team Villains against Kim’s Team (normally called “Korea Team” or some such, but whatever) but it’s just comedy. Quite funny comedy as Kim tries to be a streamer with his martial arts lessons then his master Gang-il comes in and becomes an internet sensation instead, leading to Kim going off drinking. Meanwhile Chang and Choi come to the realisation that their leader Xanadu is literally insane so also go off drinking, leading to the original trio of Kim, Chang and Choi to end up drinking together, waking up on a deserted island and missing the competition. Back at the tournament Xanadu easily loses to Gang-il giving Kim’s Team the win. It’s a shame to see two teams hastily thrown out like that after a good showing up to this point, but there you go… At least it was funny, I guess!
Kyo takes centre stage one last time! …. Or maybe second-to-last time, I don’t know yet!
The King of Fighters: A New Beginning Volume 5 finishes this pull towards creating a sequel to the NESTS arc and manages to deliver a fun end to the odd sidestep, then drops a comedy chapter on us before foreshadowing what is sadly the last volume in the series. Overall it’s fun for a fan like myself but otherwise it’s just some (very) pretty pictures. Let’s see if they can actually wrap everything up in a satisfying manor in a single volume next time!