|Guilty Gear character|
Ky Kiske in Guilty Gear Xrd
|First game||Guilty Gear (1998)|
|Created by||Daisuke Ishiwatari|
|Voiced by||Takeshi Kusao|
Ky Kiske (Japanese: カイ＝キスク Hepburn: Kai Kisuke) is a fictional character in Arc System Works's Guilty Gear video game series. He first appeared in the 1998 video game Guilty Gear. In the series, Ky Kiske is the captain of the International Police Force, and later the king of the nation of Illyria. Talented with both sword and magic, he was the former commander of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights during the Holy War that was fought between mankind and the Gears, man-made bio-organic weapons.
Despite criticism about being a generic character or "nancy," the video game reviewers has commended his fighting abilities and some of his personality traits. Additionally, his relationship with his main rival, Sol Badguy, that was compared to that of other notable video game characters, has been mostly met with positive critical reception.
Ky Kiske is named after German band Helloween's former members Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske. Ride the Lightning and Rising Force, two of his moves, had inspiration on albums by Metallica and Yngwie Malmsteen respectively. His theme song, "Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead)", is a reference for Iron Maiden's "Be Quick or Be Dead".
Orphaned at the age of 10 during the Holy War, a 100-year-war between mankind and bio-organic weapons called "Gears", he met the then-commander of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights (Seikishidan), Kliff Undersn. Ky was told to come back after five years of training if he really wanted to fight, and it was what he did. Due to the Undersn's retirement, the 16-year-old Ky Kiske was named the new chief of the Order. With the appointment, he was given the Fuuraiken (封雷剣, Thunderseal Sword), one of the Order's holiest treasures and a weapon that allows the wielder to manipulate lightning. He led them to win, ending the war, and with its aim reached the Order was disbanded. Five years later, Ky entered the International Police Force, where he is the captain.
Ky enters a tournament that will select members for a second Sacred Order of Holy Knights at the start of Guilty Gear (1998) after hearing rumors of the possible resurrection of Justice, a Commander Gear who was in the leadership of the Gears during the Holy War. In Guilty Gear X (2000), Ky hears new rumors, these ones of a new Commander Gear that does not wish to harm humans—Dizzy. He sets out to find the flaws of his own concept of justice. In Guilty Gear X2 (2002), he returns to his normal duties as a captain of the IPF after rescuing a beaten Dizzy and entrusting her to Johnny's care. When he returns to work, Ky is thrust into a new conspiracy which includes robot clones of himself—called Robo-Ky (ロボカイ Robokai)—, a secret organization, I-No, and his rival, Sol Badguy. On its sequel, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus (2008), after discovering Post-War Administration Bureau's interest in Dizzy, Ky abandons his post in police, protects her, and helps Dizzy to control her power.
In Guilty Gear 2: Overture (2007), Ky is the king of a land called Illyria. He has a new sword as he is keeping his love—Dizzy—sealed within the Thunderseal's power to preserve her existence. Having grown much more mature and composed over the years, his rivalry and animosity towards Sol has diminished, having entrusted his half-Gear son, Sin, to Sol. However, he is at constant conflict towards his own ineptitude of being a father and a husband due to its bias regarding Gears.
Ky is a playable character in Guilty Gear Xrd (2014). He entrust his old friend Leo as his replacement of being a current king of Illriya. After Dizzy's return, his son, Sin begans to call him, "dad", much to Ky's happiness to hear it from his son. In the final chapters of the story mode during the Conclave's ambush in using Justice to attack Illriya, Ky was ambushed and being shot by the Conclave's member, Axus to death. However, Ky gets back on feet immediately to finish Axus. Upon awakened from Axus' fatal shots on him, Ky's left eye becomes red and has a gear mark, leading Ky's true species of having a Gear Cells remained unknown, either just a human implanted with Gear Cell or another human/Gear hybrid like his wife and son. It was explained before revealing himself to have a Gear Cell, his hair keeps growing fast many times because of that cells' rapid progress, and was originally meant for Dizzy's return.
In a 2013 poll conducted by Arc System Works, Ky was voted as the fourth most popular character from the series. IGN called Ky one of the cast "more generic characters". Also, they described him "the appalling bishonen horror of the 'nice guy'", and "just a bit of a nancy", citing his blond hair, soft voice, teacup hobby, and the fact that he is French as the reasons to qualify him with such adjective. However, they noted him as "one of the more well-rounded G[uilty ]G[ear ]X characters" and praised his fighting abilities as a character. Writing about the different fighting styles in the series, Siliconera stated he has a "more direct, hitstun-heavy playstyle" than other characters. Comparing him to BlazBlue's Jin Kisaragi, Todd Ciolek from Anime News Network, though had found some similarities between Ky and Jin, declared they are not the same character "because Ky was amusingly over-earnest and sympathetic" which Ciolek claimed Jin is not.
His relation with Sol Badguy has also been commended. Ciolek described it as a "true relationship", and IGN's writer Ryan Clements qualified them as "a legendary pair", while Vincent Ingenito of the same site said "Ky and Sol might very well have been the next Ryu and Ken...or at least the next Scorpion and Sub-Zero". Writing for GameSpy, Benjamin Turner, who also praised his "great name", commented that the duo "are the closest you'll get to a Ken and Ryu, but they look approximately a thousand times cooler." On the same subject, but in other article, Clements, however, wrote that their clashes are "great melodrama".
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