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Kuma in Tekken Tag Tournament 2
|First game||Tekken (1994) (Kuma I)
Tekken 3 (1997) (Kuma II)
|Fighting style||Kuma Shinken|
Kuma (Japanese: クマ Hepburn: lit. meaning "Bear"?) is the name of two characters within the Tekken fighting game series released by Namco Bandai Games. Kuma I was introduced in first Tekken and he has returned for Tekken 2, while Kuma II was introduced in Tekken 3 and he has returned for all subsequent games. Both of them were bears, bodyguards to Heihachi Mishima as well as father and son towards each other.
The first Kuma was once an abandoned cub in the forests of the Mishima estate. Heihachi Mishima found Kuma and took him in as his pet. When Kuma reached adulthood, Heihachi built him an outhouse to cater for his impressively large frame. Heihachi taught the bear simple commands and hand signals, which Kuma picked up at an alarming speed. Kuma was even taught rudimentary Japanese. After two years, Heihachi realized the power contained in Kuma, and so he trained Kuma in the arts of Kuma Shinken. None of Heihachi's associates could understand why Kuma was so intelligent, which led to a lot of them fleeing the estate in fear of the bear's intellect. This was further reinforced by Kuma's penchant for the taste of human flesh. Despite Kuma's unflinching loyalty to his master, Kuma liked to leave the side of Heihachi to sleep, even during the summer. This lazy approach means that Kuma's fighting style has never really matured and is very disjointed. This was demonstrated in The King of Iron Fist Tournament, where Kuma was easily defeated by Paul Phoenix. Kuma was very impressed with Paul's fighting prowess, as he thought that the only strong human was Heihachi. Heihachi was defeated in the last tournament by Kazuya Mishima, and so the two retreated into a mountain dojo to re-train. Kuma traveled to the The King of Iron Fist Tournament 2 with his master, vowing to destroy Paul Phoenix this time. If anyone gets in his way, he would eat them. He was defeated by Paul again.
During Kuma's travels with Heihachi, Kuma died of old age. Before he passed away, he had a cub, which was also named Kuma by Heihachi, perhaps in homage of beloved first pet. Eventually, Kuma II became Heihachi's pet, and Heihachi trained him in Kuma Shinken, as he did Kuma II's father years ago. Kuma II is more intelligent than his father, but is also lazier. One day, while he was immersed in a television show, Kuma suddenly went wild at the sight of a Martial Artist with a scarlet go-gi. The fighter was the original Kuma's old rival, Paul Phoenix. Since that day, Kuma trained intensely in order to defeat Paul in battle. Not interested in defeating Ogre, the fighting God, Kuma enters The King of Iron Fist Tournament 3 with the sole intention of defeating Paul Phoenix. During the previous tournament, Kuma lost to Paul Phoenix. Kuma realized that he had lost touch with his animal roots, and that as long as he remained Heihachi's pet, he would be restricted in harnessing the power of his natural power and instincts. Determined to revive his animal instincts, Kuma began training in the mountains of Hokkaido, and for the first time in his life, he trained alone, without Heihachi. While training, Kuma found life in the wilderness more intense than anything Kuma went through with Heihachi. Despite this, Kuma continued his training, and felt his skills improving, and even developing his own attacks. Although he had made some massive strides in his life to revive his animal instincts, Kuma kept one quirk - he could not live without television. He would frequently go down to nearby villages to watch TV through the windows of the villagers' houses. One day, Kuma went down to the villages to watch some TV, as per usual, but when he looked through the window of one house, he saw a commercial announcing The King of Iron Fist Tournament 4. With his animal instincts raging, Kuma headed to the tournament, once again, with the sole intention of defeating Paul Phoenix. Kuma finally defeated Paul in the King of Iron Fist Tournament 4. However, his master Heihachi was dead. Kuma was alone without Heihachi. Then he realized the Mishima Zaibatsu was in trouble he knew what he must do. When Kuma reached headquarters, he heard someone was taken control and announced the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5. Kuma vows revenge to save the Zaibatsu for his master and enters the The King of Iron Fist Tournament, but he was defeated by Paul. After the death of his former master, Heihachi Mishima, Kuma believed no one but he could rescue the Mishima Financial Group (MFG) from its captor. Eager to do just that, Kuma confronted the MFG. However, the MFG's new CEO, Jin Kazama, was waiting. Kuma was easily beaten and discarded in the Hokkaidō wilderness. Though defeated, his fighting spirit was not lost and he found his former master Heihachi.
Kuma appears in Capcom-made crossover fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken with Heihachi Mishima as his official partner. His Swap Costume is modeled after R. Mika. According to the download blurb, Kuma has joined R. Mika's wrestling league. Apparently this was the only costume that could fit him. Kuma appears as a support character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. He is summoned by Heihachi Mishima's level 2 Super, where he runs around the stage slashing at fighters with his claws, pounds the ground and despawns. He also appears as a minion, and can be unlocked by reaching rank 8 with Heihachi.
In other media
Kuma I made a cameo in Tekken: The Motion Picture, climbing down a tree. Kuma appears in comics Tekken Saga (1997), Tekken 2 (1998) and Tekken Forever (2003). A dossier on Kuma II is briefly seen in the CGI film Tekken: Blood Vengeance when Anna Williams opens a file containing dossiers on various persons of interest.
In Tekken, Kuma I was represented as a Sun Bear; however in Tekken 2, Kuma is either a grizzly bear or a polar bear, depending on which costume is used. Kuma II is always depicted as a large, grizzly bear with brown fur. He almost always wears a red scarf and red spiked wristband on the left hand. In Tekken 4, however, he wears red T-shirt with a design on the back and red-white paw rubber shoes. Later, he also gains red spiked anklet on the left leg instead of red wristband.
Kuma fights using an "original" fighting style called Kuma Shinken, a move set closely resembling Mishima family's style of karate. In the earlier games, Kuma Shinken took many elements from the Jack models' fighting style. However, in later games, the art started to gain some originality with unique strikes and even a "hunting" mode which puts Kuma on all fours for more attacks. This fighting style is considered one of the most unique, as it does not rely on straight attacks, but instead uses tricks such as rolls, dodges, and various other stances. Because of this, Kuma is one of the hardest characters to master, as he is quite slow and not very flexible.
Panda (パンダ Panda?) was introduced in Tekken 3 as a palette swap of Kuma, and she returned for all subsequent games. Panda is the pet of Ling Xiaoyu. Kuma is in love with her, but Panda is not interested in him romantically. She is cared for at Ling Xiaoyu's high school. To participate in the tournament, Ling moved to the Mishima Industrial College in Japan. Heihachi taught Panda advanced bear fighting so that she could act as a bodyguard for Xiaoyu throughout the series. Panda is, as her name implies, always depicted as a giant panda with pink or orange glowing bands and a green holster wrapped around her shoulder. The holster has grass inside of it. Since her introduction, she has always been a palette swap of Kuma, and thus has the same move set as him. In Tekken Tag Tournament 2, she is separated from Kuma and is given her own slot, even though she still has the same move set as Kuma's. They have the same moves, stance, and animations (shown before a fight and after a fight), but their endings are always, in some way, different.
Panda also appears in Tekken Card Challenge, Tekken Tag Tournament, Tekken 3D: Prime Edition and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. She is briefly seen in Xiaoyu's Street Fighter X Tekken promotional art where she is seen on the roof of what appears to be Mishima Polytechnic. In the same game, Chun-Li's Swap Costume is based on Panda's appearance. Panda appears in the CGI film Tekken: Blood Vengeance, as a supporting character, voiced by Taketora, who also voices Akuma in Street Fighter.
GameSpy named Kuma as one of the "25 Extremely Rough Brawlers" in video gaming, commenting "This one is simple – Kuma is a bear. An actual bear. A wild animal." UGO Networks listed Kuma as one of the "The 50 Cutest Video Game Characters", adding "It’s always adorable when bears try to do human things". 1UP.com listed Kuma as one of the characters they wanted to see in Street Fighter X Tekken, stating "you can't have Tekken in the title without some sort of animal that is ready for a throwdown". In a GamesRadar article, a fight between Kuma and Zangief was written as one of the ones players wanted to see in Street Fighter X Tekken, commenting "In what will certainly be the most anticipated and, bizarrely, logical of these match ups, The Red Cyclone will finally be able to prove himself against his eternal arch nemesis, a bear." FHM listed Kuma and Zangief as one of the "10 Awesome Fantasy Fights in Street Fighter X Tekken, adding "Dude’s strong enough to take on bears, but Kuma here is no ordinary bear.". PlayStation Official Magazine ranked Heihachi as the " 7th best tag team finisher" in Street Fighter X Tekken, adding "Team the hairy great brute up with Kuro for the ultimate little-and-large comedy double act." In 2012, Game Informer named Kuma as one of the most "ridiculous" Tekken characters, adding "All you really need to defeat Kuma is give him a honey pot or a trout to eat. After all, he's a bear." Complex named Kuma's spinning backwards and his proposal to Panda as one of the "15 craziest moments in the Tekken series". 4thletter placed Kuma's (alongside Heihachi's) Street Fighter X Tekken and Tekken 4 endings at 200th and 76th places, respectively in their list "Top 200 Fighting Game Endings". NowGamer listed Panda and Blanka as one of the rivalries they want to see in Street Fighter X Tekken, commenting "Think about it; a green feral man-beast versus a trained panda skilled in the martial arts. It just defies logic, which is why it’d be such a riot." Game Informer also named Panda as one of the most "ridiculous" Tekken characters, adding "Panda clearly isn't even taking fighting seriously – he's playing on a tire swing and wearing tacky bracelets, for crying out loud."
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