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| File:Kunio-kun game flyer.png |
Arcade flyer of Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun, the first game in the Kunio-kun series.
|First game||Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun|
|Created by||Yoshihisa Kishimoto|
|Voiced by||Ryō Horikawa|
The Kunio-kun (くにおくん) series is a video game franchise started by Technōs Japan, the company that made the Double Dragon franchise. Million Corp., founded by former Technōs staff, purchased all of Technōs' assets (including the Kunio-kun game series) several years after Technōs went defunct. The first game in the series is fully titled Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (熱血硬派くにおくん), which roughly translates to "Hot Blood Tough Guy Kunio", with Nekketsu being the name of Kunio's high school. The kun suffix after his name is an informal Japanese honorific usually applied to young males.
The series originated in the arcades and the Famicom console; its title and its protagonist, Kunio (variously renamed "Alex" and "Crash Cooney" in the United States), were named after Technōs Japan's former president, Kunio Taki. Along with that, Kunio also later became Technōs Japan's main mascot, appearing on the company's logo in several games and television commercials. Although the original game was created by Yoshihisa Kishimoto — who later designed Double Dragon — many of the later games (particularly those under the Downtown Nekketsu moniker) were the handiwork of two men: Mitsuhiro "Yoshimitsu" Yoshida and Hiroyuki "Mokeke" Sekimoto.
A few of the early Kunio games for the NES were localized for the North American market. These includes Renegade, River City Ransom, Super Dodge Ball, Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge and Nintendo World Cup, which were heavily "Americanized" versions of the Kunio-kun games. Technōs Japan has released over twenty Kunio-kun titles for the Famicom, Game Boy, and Super Famicom in Japan. In addition, licensed ports of the games were made for other platforms such as the PC-Engine (through Naxat Soft), Mega Drive (through Pal Soft) and the Sharp X68000 (through Sharp). After Technōs went out of business, a company founded by former Technōs staff called Million purchased the intellectual rights for the games and characters.
List of games
The following is a list of characters appearing in most of the games, ordered by the games where they first appear.
- Kunio (くにお) - The protagonist of the series. Kunio serves as the guardian of Nekketsu High School against rival schools and is the captain of his school's Dodgeball team, although he excels at other sports (such as soccer and hockey). Kunio first appears in the original Kunio-kun, where he is described as a second year student at Nekketsu High School (in the Downtown Nekketsu sub-series, he is described as a third year student, establishing a loose continuity between later games). His birthdate is on November 27 (the same date as Bruce Lee 's birthdate) and has a blood type of AB. His surname is never revealed. In some games (such as Nekketsu Hockey Bu and Baseball Monogatari), he is the only student at Nekketsu to wear an all-white uniform, while at other games everyone at Nekketsu wears white. In the localized versions, he is known as Mr. K in Renegade, Sam in Super Dodge Ball, Alex in River City Ransom, and "Crash" Cooney in Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge. While the protagonist of the series, Kunio also later became Technōs Japan's main mascot, appearing on the company's logo in several games and television commercials.
- Riki (鮫島 力 Samejima Riki ) - Often described Kunio's eternal rival, Riki is the guardian of Hanazono High School and the second most recurring character in the series. In the original Kunio-kun, Riki appears as the first stage boss and serves as captain of the Hanazono dodgeball team. Nekketsu Monogatari was the first game where Riki teams-up with Kunio (although chronologically speaking, Shodai comes first). Since then, Riki's relationship with Kunio evolved from enmity to close friendship, and he appears in the later beat-em-ups as a secondary playable character. Riki's birthdate is on May 5 and is repeating his third year in the Downtown Nekketsu sub-series. In the localized versions, he is known as Jack in Renegade and Super Dodge Ball, Ryan in River City Ransom, and Crusher in Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge.
Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun
- Hiroshi (ひろし) - Hiroshi is Kunio's best friend in the original Kunio-kun game. He enrolls into Nekketsu High School during his second year and gets picked on a lot by bullies. He becomes fast friends with Kunio after Kunio defends him from his tormentors. In the arcade version of Kunio-kun, he is beaten by a different gang at the beginning of each time, whereas in the Famicom he is kidnapped by Sabu (with no explanation given). In addition to the Nekketsu Kōha sub-series, he appears as a member of the Dodgeball Club in Dodgeball Bu, as well as in Soccer Hen and Hockey Bu, where he shares the same sprite as the Sonokawa character from the Downtown Nekketsu sub-series. He is the only character not to appear in the American versions of the Renegade games.
- Shinji - The leader of a bōsōzoku gang known as "Yokohama Funky" in Kunio-kun (where he is the second stage boss) and the "Blue Emperor" in Kunio-tachi no Banka (where he is a recurring boss). He also appears as a playable character in the Neo Geo version of Super Dodge Ball. His counterpart in Renegade is named Joel.
- Misuzu - A giant sukeban from the Taiyō Academy, an all girl school. She first appears as the stage 3 boss in Kunio-kun. She reappears as Sabu's bodyguard in Kunio-tachi no Banka and as a playable character in the Neo Geo version of Super Dodge Ball. Her counterpart in Renegade is named Kim.
- Sabu - The leader of a yakuza gang known as the "Sanwakai". He is the gun-wielding final boss in the original Kunio-kun. He returns as the main antagonist in Kunio-tachi no Banka, where he hires a Kunio look-alike named Ken to frame him for a hit and run accident. He is also a playable character in the Neo Geo version of Super Dodge Ball. Sabu is the only character not to change his name, nor his appearance, in Renegade.
Nekketsu Kōkō Dodge Ball Bu
Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari
- Mami (島田 真美 Shimada Mami ) (Cyndi in River City Ransom) - 2nd Year High School Student of Hanazono High. Her birthdate is October 15th and her Blood Type is A. In River City Ransom, she is Riki's girlfriend who is kidnapped by Yamada when he and his gang took over River City. She is also the cheerleader of the Hanazono team.
- Hasebe (長谷部 和美 Hasebe Kazumi ) (Roxy in River City Ransom) - 3rd Year Student of Reihou High School. Her birthdate is March 1st and her Blood Type is O. She is the girlfriend of Yamada in River City Ransom and provides helpful hints to Kunio and Riki throughout the game. It is said that she, Kunio, and Yamada used to attend the same school together before Kunio transferred to Nekketsu High.
- Sonokawa (園川 薫 Sonokawa Kaoru ) (Harry in River City Ransom, Conan in River City Ransom EX)
- Kamijō (上條 恒男 Kamijō Tsuneo ) and Yamamoto (山本 憲之 Yamamoto Noriyuki ) (Benny and Clyde in River City Ransom)
- Sawaguchi (沢口 靖夫 Sawaguchi Yasuo ) (Moose in River City Ransom)
- Nishimura (西村 成孝 Nishimura Naritaka ) (Rocko in River City Ransom, Baldy in Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge)
- Kobayashi (小林 政男 Kobayashi Masao ) (Thor in River City Ransom, Monty in Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge)
- Mochizuki (望月 駿 Mochizuki Shun ) (Turk in River City Ransom, Wheels in Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge)
- Taira (平 清文 Taira Kiyofumi ) (Mojo in River City Ransom)
- Kinoshita (木下 忠 Kinoshita Tadashi ) (Blade in River City Ransom)
- Gōda (豪田 剛 Gōda Tsuyoshi ) (Ivan in River City Ransom, Sprecks in Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge)
- Onizuka (鬼塚 崇 Onizuka Takashi ) (Otis in River City Ransom)
- Godai (五代 奨 Godai Susumu ) (Tex in River City Ransom, Clint in Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge)
- Ryūichi (服部 竜一 Hattori Ryūichi ) and Ryūji (服部 竜二 Hattori Ryūji ) (Randy and Andy in River City Ransom) - The Hattori Brothers. They are also known in the series as the "Double Dragon Twins" due to not just their resemblance to the Billy and Jimmy Lee, the protagonists of the Double Dragon games (being twin brothers, having the same special moves, and having the Double Dragon Theme song played whenever they appeared), but also because of their names (Ryuichi and Ryuji can be translated as "First Dragon" and "Second Dragon"). They are the strongest fighters of Reihou Academy and are the fiercest opponents of Kunio and Riki. Aside from River City Ransom, the twins appeared in other Kunio games either as bosses or representing Reihou Academy.
- Yamada (山田 大樹 Yamada Taiki ) (Slick/Simon in River City Ransom, Skip in Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge) - The final boss of River City Ransom. His reason for kidnapping Mami was to lure out Kunio and defeat him in order to become the franchise's new main character. In other games, Yamada plays more of a comical sidekick to Todou. Yamada, along with Kunio and Hasebe, used to attend the same school together before Kunio moved to Nekketsu High.
Nekketsu Kōkō Dodge Ball Bu: Soccer Hen
- Misako (みさこ) - A student of Nekketsu High, Misako is the manager of the school's Soccer Club in Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu: Soccer Hen and asks Kunio for his help. In Kunio-tachi no Banka, she is Kunio's fighting partner.
- Takashi (たかし)
- Masa (まさ)
- Gen'ei (げんえい)
Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku
- Tōdō (藤堂 護 Tōdō Mamoru ) (Todd in Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge, Titus in River City Ransom EX) - A man of extreme wealth, he organizes the many tournaments in Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku, Crash n' The Boys Street Challenge, and Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu in an effort to humiliate Kunio. In all three games, he is Yamada's superior. In River City Ransom EX, he appears as a mysterious character who knows about the happenings of River City and of Yamada.
- Sugata (姿 三十朗 Sugata Sanjūrō ) (Cheese in Crash n' The Boys: Street Challenge, Gary in River City Ransom EX) - 2nd Year Student of Nekketsu High. Like Hiroshi, he is a friend of Kunio and looks up to him for inspiration. He becomes a major character in Downtown Nekketsu Baseball Monogatari as the leader of the Nekketsu High Baseball team.
- Nanase (七瀬 遥 Nanase Haruka )
- Momozono (桃園 里美 Momozono Satomi )
- Saotome (五月女 光 Saotome Hikaru ) (Nate in Crash n' The Boys: Street Challenge)
- Maeda (前田 亨 Maeda Tōru ) (Rick in River City Ransom EX)
- Yoshino (吉野 光明 Yoshino Mitsuaki ) (Dove in Crash n' The Boys: Street Challenge)
- Hayasaka (早坂 良麻 Hayasaka Ryōma ) (Knors in Crash n' the Boys: Street Challenge, Jesse in River City Ransom EX)
- Aihara (藍原 静 Aihara Shizuka )
- Kumada (熊田 重蔵 Kumada Jūzō ) (Barns in Crash n' The Boys Street Challenge, Ted in River City Ransom EX)
- Hayami (速水 武士 Hayami Takeshi ) (Milo in Crash n' The Boys: Street Challenge)
- Kirishima (霧島 裕子 Kirishima Yūko )
Ike Ike! Nekketsu Hockey Bu
- Yōichi - He is the team captain of Nekketsu High's Hockey Team. He seeks Kunio's help in improving and strengthening the Hockey Team and win the championship.
Bikkuri Nekketsu Shin Kiroku
Nekketsu Kakutō Densetsu
- Toraichi and Toraji - They head the tournament in Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu waiting to fight the strongest opponents in the game. Also called the "Double Tiger Brothers" because of them being both twins and wear Tiger Masks in combat. After the player defeats them, the Double Tiger Brothers would congratulate them, only to be attacked and badly beaten later on by the Hattori Twins.
- Yokoyoko - An original character. The player takes the role of Yokoyoko when using the game's Character Creation system. His moveset and style varies upon the data entered by the player, such as Birthdate and Blood Type.
Downtown Nekketsu Baseball Monogatari
- Tachibana (立花 辰巳 Tachibana Tatsumi )
- Rika (浅野 里佳 Asano Rika )
- Kuniko (芦野 久仁子 Ashino Kuniko ) (Shel in River City Ransom EX)
- Murasaki (紫 小次朗 Murasaki Kōjirō )
Kunio-tachi no Banka
- Ken - Kunio's lookalike. He is hired by Sabu to frame Kunio for a hit-and-run accident that landed the latter and Riki into jail at the beginning of the game.
- Kyōko - A student of Hanazono High, she is Riki's fighting partner in the game. There is conflict that she is Riki's girlfriend, which contradicts his relationship with Mami in River City Ransom.
Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari EX
- Himada (火間田 翔 Himada Shō ) (Rex in River City Ransom EX)
- Saori (豪田 砂織 Gōda Saori ) (Abby in River City Ransom EX)
- Shōko (Jenny in River City Ransom EX)
A gag manga based on the video games was produced titled Ore wa Otoko Da! Kunio-kun (おれは男だ! くにおくん). The manga was illustrated by Kosaku Anakubo and was serialized in the monthly anthology CoroCoro Comic from 1991 to 1996, lasting 11 collected editions. Ore wa Otoko Da! was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award for children in 1995.
- Kunio-kun series portal at Arc System Works (Japanese)
- Miracle Kidz - A dōjin soft developing team founded by Mitsuhiro Yoshida and Hiroyuki Sekimoto, the original developers of the Downtown Nekketsu series (Japanese)
- Yoshihisa Kishimoto's personal website (Japanese)