Von Kaiser in Punch-Out!! (2009)
|First game||Punch-Out!! (1987)|
|Designed by||Makoto Wada (Punch-Out!! 1987)
Eddie Visser (Punch-Out!! 2009)
|Voiced by||Horst Laxton|
Von Kaiser (フォン・カイザー Fon Kaizā?) is a fictional character from the Nintendo-produced Punch-Out!! series of video games. He first appeared in Punch-Out!! for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Von Kaiser is a German boxer from Berlin. He has been viewed as a major character in the series, but several outlets have noted him as an example of negative stereotyping, especially with his indirect connection to Nazism.
Concept and appearances
Von Kaiser is a German boxer, hailing from Berlin, Germany. He first appeared in Punch-Out!! for the NES, and again in the Wii video game of the same name. While he speaks in English in the NES game, he speaks in German (without subtitles) in the Wii version. Von Kaiser's musical theme is based on the Ride of the Valkyries. He has brown hair and mustache, and wears military-style pants and combat boots. His opening cutscene in the Wii version reveals that he is a children's boxing teacher. His militant personality, as demonstrated by one of his mid-bout line "Surrender! Or I will conquer you!", is depicted as a facade hiding his true nature of cowardice, as he cries for his mother upon sustaining physical harm. However, upon adopting a military haircut, he toughens up for his second encounter with Little Mac.
Von Kaiser has received mostly positive reception and has been called by the New York Daily News, Kotaku, and Hardcore Gamer as a well-known figure of the series. While considered to be more difficult than Glass Joe, Von Kaiser is still considered to be a weak opponent. G4TV editor Sterling McGarvey stated of the season finale of Split Second: Velocity was a "bit sour" and that it "telegraphs a sequel with all the predictability of a Von Kaiser punch."
Von Kaiser has been called a stereotype of German people. The Guardian described him as a "shamelessly politically incorrect character," citing how he would say to Little Mac "Surrender! Or I will conquer you!" Editor Sumantra Lahiri claimed that Punch-Out!! gave "encyclopedic knowledge of ignorant American sentiments" and stated that Von Kaiser represents the stereotype that Germans are "ultra-militaristic." In discussing the stereotypes of Punch-Out!!, GamesRadar editor Brett Elston commented that Von Kaiser embodies several German stereotypes, such as them being "militaristic, goose-stepping nationals obsessed with victory to a fault." He added that his name was stereotypical as well, commenting that he "might as well be Wolfgang von Sauerkraut." He stated that Kaiser was just one step above Glass Joe in the "Punch-Out!! hall of infamy." He adds that Nintendo was "trying to imply he’s a goofy Nazi without actually saying he’s a Nazi." 1UP.com, in discussing how Soda Popinski was once known as Vodka Drunkenski, jokingly stated that Von Kaiser used to be known as "Greasy Pork Sandwich Served in a Dirty Ashtray." They added that they were "making that last one up, but just barely." In an interview, German edition of GamePro brought up the ethnic stereotypes of Punch-Out!!, noting the stereotype of the "ambitious German." GamePro Germany called him a "mustachioed "Deutschman"," describing him as a disciplined boxer. He added that the only thing missing in his character was a spiked helmet.
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