The King of the Fighters: A New Beginning – Volume 6 Review

What is it with written / drawn adaptations of fighting game franchises and finishing in a rush? Yes, here we are with King of Fighters: A New Beginning, which after five volumes of showcasing each team (for better or worse) we suddenly reach the end and the teams that haven’t had any spotlight yet are suddenly thrown in for a quick cameo as the story wraps up just as quickly. Annoying? Yes! Still, what’s it like overall? Let’s find out…

Synopsis:

With two more opening round matches left to go all the fighters have been called to the KOF Arena for an unknown reason. This reason, as it turns out, is Geese Howard…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Samurai Showdown ghosts fight King of Fighters ghosts while living KOF fighters join in?! Read on to find out more!

I will say this: for a rushed ending it was at least a lot more fun to read than the two rushed endings featured in the UDON comics I’ve been reading recently. All the fighters (well, minus a couple of members of the “Other Worlds Team”) gather at the KOF arena for Team Fatal Fury vs. Women’s Fighters Team but it turns out to be a ruse as the power of all the fighters gathering in one place causes an interdimensional rift to open up and a god-like being known as Verse to appear. This was the plan all along for Geese Howard, who fights and defeats Verse on top of the arena roof and starts to absorb its “power over life and death”. As Terry Bogard and his two Fatal Fury teammates rush to fight their old enemy everyone else has to deal with a bunch of “ghosts”, or black shadows of dead past KOF characters. This led to some of the characters not featured previously to get some panel time, plus more time for popular characters to show some moves. It also saw Nakoruru summon spirits of the Samurai Showdown characters to help battle the black ghost warriors, which was… odd, but a fun bunch of cameos anyway!

I love how they managed to include a fantasy alternate costume into the actual narrative.

While Team Fatal Fury fights off Geese’s two fellow teammates in Billy Kane and Hein our central character Shun’ei just… appears in full transformation and does battle with the now “Nightmare Geese” version of, well, Geese. It’s a fun but brief fight that ends with the Verse energy being knocked out of the Fatal Fury antagonist and everything returning to normal. Well, apart from the epilogue which reveals several dead characters have now come back to life, which was also the post-credits tease of KOFXIV, so it makes sense. The manga though makes special mention of Ash Crimson and how no-one who competed in the KOF13 tournament can remember who won but now suddenly they have a name attached to it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that ties strongly into KOFXV when it releases next year, given Ash has already been revealed as a playable character…

The Bad:

The Female Fighters appear! … Briefly.

As much as it was a good laugh and had the usual New Beginning great artwork, there is no getting round how rushed it all was. The Female Fighters Team, Fatal Fury Team and Official Invitation Team members Kukri and Mian were kind of screwed by only getting a few panels during the ghost fighting, and “Another World” team members Mui Mui and Love Heart didn’t appear at all. Mr. Satan-a-like Anatov, the sub-boss before Verse in the game, also made a brief appearance in finding out Geese had gathered all the fighters and being okay with it, and that was it. No mention of the tournament ending before even the first round finished, or the stadium being destroyed…

The first chapter of the volume was entirely characters talking with each other in the stands or backstage, which is an odd decision when you’re suddenly rushed to do an ending, and the final chapter being entirely an epilogue rather than stretching the final fight across two chapters was odd as well, leave a few pages for epilogue obviously, but a whole chapter seems odd when you have so little time left…

Overall Thoughts:

Anyone else getting serious Gohan vs. Cell vibes here?

The final volume of King of Fighters: A New Beginning was disappointingly rushed to a final conclusion, and although the artwork was still spectacular and some of the match ups and SNK continuity was fun, it doesn’t take away from how hurried it feels. A shame to see it end like that, but it was still a fun read overall…

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