Benimaru Nikaido (KoF '02 UM)

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Kyokyo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Steel Ball Lion


Benimaru Nikaido is one of the major characters in Part III: Stardust Crusaders, and makes a further appearance later on in Part V: Vento Aureo. He went with Kyo and Saisyu to get revenge for his sister, who was raped and murdered by Chris. He is the only non-Kusanagi to have survived the third adventure. Under Rugal's influence, Benimaru attacked the Kusanagi party in Hong Kong. He was confronted by Daimon and defeated after some difficulty. While Benimaru conceded his defeat, Kyo sensed Rugal's cells in the man's forehead and removed the implant. Afterwards, Benimaru joined the Kusanagi group in their quest to destroy Rugal, with his ultimate goal being to find his sister's murderer. Later, Araki retconned Daimon's death by turning him into Benimaru's stand.

Move list

At a glance:

Normal Throws
Catch and Shoot (throw) f./b. + C
Front Suplex (throw) f./b. + D
Spinning Knee Drop (air throw) any direction except u./uf./ub. + C
Command Moves
Jackknife Kick f. + B
Flying Drill (air) d. + D
Special Moves
Iaigeri qcf + K
┗ Handou Sandangeri (during Iaigeri) d., u. + K
Benimaru Collider (throw) hcb, f. + P
┗ Benimaru Shoot (during Benimaru Collider) qcf + K
Raijinken (air OK) qcf + P
Super Inazuma Kick dp + K
Shinkuu Katategoma qcb + P
Desperation Moves
Raikouken qcb x2 + P
Genei Hurricane qcb x2 + K
Max Desperation Moves
Raikouken qcf x2 + PP
Max 2
Raijinten f. db. df. b. f. + A or B or C or D

Normal Moves

Close Standing Normals

  • Close A
cl.A – Quick jab with the elbow. It's one way of establishing pressure from close up without much committal. It only makes contact upon medium height crouching opponents such as Kyo and taller. Characters such as K' shrink underneath this move, thus limiting the overall effectiveness of this attack since there are other moves that do the same job but better.

  • Close B
cl.B – Fast kick high kick. Unlike Close A, this attack hits shorter crouching characters with the exception of the smallest height class such as Choi and Bao. Even then, characters such as Choi and Bao will be hit by Close B if they're already in hit stun. Generally this move is used as filler in hit-confirms and combos than as for an attack with an actual application.

  • Close C
cl.C – Downwards elbow strike. It is like any other typically fast Close C attack. It may seem faster than Close D, but it isn't. The advantage to use this attack rather than Close D is by the off chance the opponent tries to jump out for whatever reason, and the higher vertical hit box may tag the opponent where Close D would not.

  • Close D
cl.D – Fast knee strike. This is one of Benimaru's main pressure and confirmation tools. This is what the player would want to use when making a big punish. The push back and frame advantage/disadvantage on block is decent enough for Benimaru to trap afterwards with something like a Far B, Far D, or sweep. A great normal move overall.

Far Standing Normals

  • Far A
Straight Jab. It's a decent anti-hop tool but is overshadowed by all of the other great anti-air tools that Benimaru has. Far B is very comparable with better range and similar recovery so this anti-air doesn't get to see much usage outside of very specific and weird angular situations.

  • Far B
Quick side kick. This is one of Benimaru's main poking tools and anti-hop check assets. This attack generally whiffs over most crouching characters, but larger characters such as Daimon are force to take this move even during crouch. It's a fast snappy move with very little risky and most characters can't run underneath it and it's hard to play footsies against it. This is a good tool to force opponents to get uncomfortable and try to find other ways to get around it such as full jumping, which could be reacted to and anti-air'd easily, or reposition themselves on the ground allowing for Benimaru to gain more initiative. Once again, this is a very powerful asset.

  • Far C
Straight punch. Think of it as a heavier hitting, slightly slower recovering Far B. What's great about this attack is that against medium-height crouching characters, Far C connects against them unlike characters of small crouching hit boxes. Within that context, not only is the damage chunky but there is very little the opponent could do against Far C especially if it's well placed. Sweeps generally can shrink underneath and punish Benimaru but it's hard for characters with shorter ranged sweeps. Also opponents would be more wary off tossing out sweeps since Benimaru's Far D crushes most low attacks, thus making it a wonderful complement to Far C.

  • Far D
Spinning sobat kick. Benimaru's furthest grounded poke that also goes over most low attacks. This is one of the biggest tools in Benimaru's arsenal that helps establish ground dominance. Since the recovery is somewhat larger than his other attacks, Far D is more prone to jumps and floatier hop approaches during the recovery. A good player should be a bit more patient and perceptive of when to toss out this attack and when to be ready to anti-air with a Far B, Super Inazuma Kick, air-to-air, or air throw when appropriate. With all of Benimaru's grounded normals, he can effectively be a huge defensive wall that is hard to approach.

Standing Blowback

st.CD – Roundhouse kick. It's like a slower version of Benimaru's Far B that has the tendency to go over some low attacks. Some players use the max range of this attack against an opponent's wake up to stuff any antsy reversal super jumps or reversals with terrible hit boxes that would get stuffed. Like other moves in its category, it can cancel into other specials and desperation moves on whiff, block, or hit.

Crouching Normals

  • Crouch(ing) A
cr.A – Small, crouching jab. It's a standard, crouching light punch that one could find in most fighting games. Low committal, doesn't hit low but is a pressure tool to a certain degree. It can be chained into from other light attacks but can't chain out. The biggest plus to use this move over Crouch B is that some characters can reversal super jump or hop out from certain ranges when Crouch B is used, but Crouch A in those cases would stop those characters. For Benimaru, if this move hits meaty it can link into Close D and further combo into something else. At point blank and on block, this move can trap into sweep against players that try to jump out after Crouch A or try to walk away/alternate guard against an excepted command throw. Though limited in application as a pressure tool since Crouch B pressure is better, it still has its uses.

  • Crouch(ing) B
cr.B – Crouching kick. This attack has great speed, in regards to start up and recovery, for the range it reaches. It can abuse other characters by attack outside the range of their light attacks and the speed stuffs out most sweeps and slower grounded attacks. Crouch B for Benimaru is great for confirming into knockdown combos and for breaking alternate guard. Once opponents start respecting the pressure and also hesitate to alternate guard, it gives Benimaru the chance to go for a tick throw using Benimaru Collider.

  • Crouch(ing) C
cr.C – Janky-looking uppercut. Benimaru's second furthest ranged, crouching attack. What makes this attack neat over sweep is that it doesn't knockdown giving Benimaru opportunity to low profile under certain attacks and can be confirmed into either desperation moves. It's not really used as an anti-air but as long as it can low profile under jump-in attacks, it could hit jumping opponents as they land into the decent amount of active frames Crouch C has. Like Crouch A, Crouch C has limited applications but still has particular purposes.

  • Crouch(ing) D
cr.D – Sweep. It's a standard sweep and is pretty fast for the range it covers in comparison to the rest of the cast. Like other sweeps it's cancelable on whiff, block, or hit. This is another great poke in conjunction with Far B and Far D during the ground game.

Jumping Normals

  • Jump(ing) A
j.A – Jumping elbow. It's an infrequently used air-to-air attack. Benimaru's other jumping attacks cover around the same range but for better damage, safety, and utility. Almost never seen at all in real, competitive play. The only plus side seems to be that it covers around the same space as Jump C but comes out slightly faster. Generally by the time Benimaru is close enough to use this move as an air-to-air, Jump C would be preferred anyways thanks to the air throw option select built in that is inherently faster than Jump A anyways.

  • Jump(ing) B
j.B – Downward knee attack. Another standard jumping knee attack. It has a pretty good cross-up hit box towards the front side of Benimaru and is a nice way of mixing up Benimaru's cross-up approach. Also it has a decent downward hit box making it an effective jump-in but still has the tendency to lose to good anti-air attacks since Benimaru is very floaty.

  • Jump(ing) C
j.C – Jumping uppercut. A great air-to-air especially against opponents that approach from above while Benimaru is simply hopping forward. Try to do this attack while holding any directional input other than up, up-forward, or up-back. With this, the player may have a chance to air throw option select while approach or retreating. If the opponent is too close, the air throw will catch. If the opponent stays on the ground, Benimaru may come down from the hop and still have enough active frames to for the opponent to take the hit or block the Jump C. If the opponent is too far out, the Jump C has a strange hit box that makes it generally with in air exchanges. The main fault of this attack is the lack of downward hit boxes, and if used improperly, Jump C may be susceptible to trip anti-air attacks into big combos.

  • Jump(ing) D
j.D – Jumping Kick. One of Benimaru's main tools and functions well as a swiss army knife. It works well as a cross-up, as a jump-in, and as an air-to-air. Spacing for the cross-up is a bit more difficult than other KOF games but is still do-able. Even as good as this move is, it's still pretty easy to anti-air with good vertical normals or "dragon punch" types of moves due to Benimaru's floaty and react-able hop and jump arcs.

  • Neutral, Full Jump(ing) A
nj.B – Straight up vertical punch. Very little use for this normal as there are very opportunities for Benimaru to use this attack. May be used in some weird ST-like anti-air situation but largely not needed and impractical due to all of the assortment of anti-airs Benimaru has.

  • Neutral, Full Jump(ing) D
nj.D – Weird looking kick. It's similar to Jump D but seems to curved up-wards and has less horizontal range. Generally it's less useful than normal Jump D and seems to serve the purpose of making sure Benimaru doesn't have a good Jump D during his full neutral jump.

  • Jump(ing) Blowback
j.CD – Crossed legs kick. This is Benimaru's most vertically downward attack that serves as his best air-to-ground attack. Although it may not hit overhead because it's a Blowback attack, it serves the purpose of allowing Benimaru to approach and pressure as it's hardest move to react to and anti-air from a grounded perspective. Since it's angled more downward, it's also more susceptible to air-to-airs from the side and such so be careful when using this attack.

Normal Throws

  • Catch and Shoot - (throw) f./b. + C
A standard forward throw that the opponent can recovery roll from. Close C has a slightly higher vertical hit box that could tag opponents on the way out a bit better than Close D and that would be the main reason to go for this throw just in case the opponent tries jumping/hopping in expectation of a command throw.

  • Front Suplex - (throw) f./b. + D
A good backwards throw that causes hard knockdown and causes back turn on the opponent's wake up. If Benimaru throws the opponent into the corner with this, Benimaru has access to devastating, strange cross-up set ups thanks to the back turn and hard knockdown. Otherwise from mid screen it still sets up for normal cross ups and simple safe jumps.

Command Normals

  • Jackknife Kick – f + B [8%]
A slow step-kick. It kind of goes over low attacks but doesn't serve that purpose very well since Far D does it more safely and better. Jackknife Kick doesn't even combo from heavy attacks, making the purpose of this attack very limited. The main use of this attack is to serve as a frame trap since it can be canceled into from other normal attacks. Most players use this as an occasional block string tool that can be canceled into command throw safely due to the long block stun induced by the attack and the quick recovery of Benimaru's command throw.

  • Flying Drill – air d + D
A drill, dive dick. It's a decent tool for Benimaru to use to change his aerial momentum to trip up the opponent's expectations. After hit and on block, Benimaru is pushed out to a distance where he has the advantage to push a button. Against most grounded options that opponents choose after a blocked drill, Benimaru should use Far D to stuff out the opponent cleanly. Against opponents that try to jump afterwards, Benimaru could quickly check the opponent with a Far B after the drill. If the opponent chooses to do nothing and wait or block, Benimaru could start up pressure again or also be patient. It has moderate recovery on whiff so it's still susceptible to chunky punishes so don't try to use this move overzealously. For whatever reason and purpose, Jump C can cancel into Flying drill.

Special Moves

  • Iaigeri
  • qcf + K [B: 7%] [D: 9%]
  • Almost like a special version of Far B that can't be crouched under. It's generally one of the safest specials Benimaru could cancel into but does the least amount of chip. There is a sweet spot in the hit box that causes a sliding effect when used as an anti-air attack. Mainly players used this to combo into the follow up that does knockdown and one of the best meterless damage Benimaru has.
  • Handou Sandangeri
  • (during Iaigeri) d u + K [B: 16% (Total. 2 hits) / 10% (Total. 1 hit)] [D: 18% (2 hits) / 12% (Total. 1 hit)]
  • This is the knockdown follow up after Iaigeri. Handou Sandangeri is mainly used as a combo finisher but may act as a relatively safe frame trap after a blocked Iaigeri. The B and D Versions have different heights upon the last kick but there isn't any difference in damage. So generally, the B Version of Iaigeri with the B Version of Handou Sandangeri is the way to go since the D Version of Handou Sandangeri is more unsafe.

  • Benimaru Collider
  • (throw) hcb f + P [12%]
  • A very fast command throw with an equally as fast recovery. The limitation of this attack is the short range this command throw has in comparison to other command throws in the game with the same type of motion. This is mainly used as a tool to open up opponents that are too scared to try to mash out buttons, too scared to jump or hop, and too scared to alternate guard. It does decent damage for the type of tool it is.
  • Benimaru Shoot
  • (during Benimar Collider) qcf + K [17% (Total.)]
  • The kick follow up to Benimaru's command throw. It adds considerable amount of damage and still induces hard knockdown like when Benimaru Collider is left alone. The main, if not then only reason to "not" use this follow up is if the player wants to have more frame advantage after Benimaru Collider to do a roll mix-up on the opponent's knockdown. Otherwise, the hard knockdown from Benimaru Shoot is enough for a safe hop, allowing the player to continue pressure and offense in addition to the extra damage.

  • Raijinken
  • (air OK) qcf + P [A: 12%] [C: 18%]
  • Benimaru's signature lightning ball attack invented by Nikola Tesla. The A Version has Benimaru throw a straight punch directly in front while the C Version attacks upwards at a 45 degree angle.
  • Overall the preferred version is the A Version since it still catches most jump attempts while cleanly stuffing any hop attempts as long as Raijinken comes out first. Also, the A Version hits all crouching characters, making it a difficult pokes to deal with since it induces large enough chip damage to make an opponent antsy.
  • The C Version serves more of a vertical anti-air but there are better options to choose from for that purpose since the C Version comes out too slowly compared to something like Super Inazuma Kick. Most players just use the C Version when they're feeling themselves and know for sure it will hit when it comes out.
  • Against cornered opponents, there is a sweet spot near the tip of the attack to use as a meaty on their wake up. If they try to roll forward to avoid chip, they'll recover towards the other end of the Raijinken and take the hits. So other than being a good pressure, chip tool, Raijinken serves as a good checkmate tool.
  • There is an air version of Raijinken, but on block it leaves Benimaru at a considerable disadvantage but not enough to necessarily make him unsafe in most situations. Benimaru can use Raijinken at almost any height from the peak and descent of his full and super jumps. From hops and hyper hops, Benimaru could only use Raijinken from the apex. Benimaru could also cancel Jump CD into air Raijinken, but still under the same limitations it activates from hops and jumps. Most players also use this as a round ender to finish off opponents since losing momentum due to the frame disadvantage isn't usually worth it during the course of the match.

  • Super Inazuma Kick
  • dp + K [B: 8%] [D: 9%]
  • A standard "dragon punch" type of attack that takes its name from the Gainax classic, Gunbuster. The D Version seems to have more invulnerability than the B Version and knocks down grounded opponents. In contrast, the B Version only knocks down airborne opponents but has less recovery and moves Benimaru backwards a bit, making it semi-difficult for newer players to punish than the D Version. Overall, the D Version of Super Inazuma Kick is the one that's mainly used for both anti-air, reversal, and in combos.

  • Shinkuu Katategoma
  • qcb + P [A: 12%] [C: 12% (3 hits) / 13% (4 hits) / 14% (5 hits)]
  • Benimaru suddenly thinks he's a West Coast power-head and breaks. This is another pressure tool Benimaru could use to whittle down the opponent. Mainly the A Version is preferred since it's safe on block and causes knockdown on hit. The C Version generally isn't used because the heavy hitting normals it combos from pushes out the opponent too far for the last hit to knockdown. This leaves Benimaru spinning while the opponent could recover and punish. So the best range to use the C Version is near point blank although it would be best if this was done to finish the round. Overall, the A Version is better but is more susceptible to guard rolls and is fully punishable under those circumstances. Both versions may super cancel and is the main reason why players choose this move during bread and butter combos.

Desperation Moves

  • Raikouken
  • qcf qcf + P [21%]
  • A large Raijinken that does a lot of damage and knocks down. Easily combos from the last hit of A Version of Shinkuu Katategoma or just simply from a heavy normal move. It's unsafe on block as are other desperation moves. The C Version attacks from an anti-air angle but still is slower than other anti-air attacks Benimaru has that covers that range.

  • Genei Hurricane
  • qcb qcb + K [23%]
  • Benimaru sends out Silver Chariot to quickly and stylishly beat the opponent. It combos from heavy normals as well as from the second to last hit of A Version of Shinkuu Katategoma. Many experienced players have the tendency to super cancel this from the first hit of Handou Sandangeri as the main starter. Overall all, the damage is more than Raikouken but each combo is about comparable in damage. As like many other desperation moves, it is also unsafe unblock.

Max Desperation Moves

  • Raikouken
  • qcf qcf + AC [34%]
  • The MAX version of Raikouken that comes out much faster than usual and has the tendency to work well as a reversal because of it. So, it's a faster, more damaging version of Raikouken that lunges straight forward. It is still largely punishable on whiff and on block. The biggest plus is that it could also combo from light attacks unlike the other Raikouken.

Max 2

  • Raijinten
  • f db df b f + P/K [1% (Each hit.)]
  • The closest thing to a new Gradius or new Zone of the Enders. Benimaru sets out an option either in front of his head, in front of his front leg, behind his head, or behind his rear leg. Benimaru could only set out two at a time and each option has a duration of 8 hits. It's a great way to set up check mate situations or impose a line of defense that the opponent has to deal with. Having two options on top seals jump and hop approach while Benimaru can focus with grounded pokes/footsies. Two options in the back makes sure an opponent can't just cross up or roll around Benimaru, forcing the opponent to deal with Benimaru's great frontal control. Two options in the front is creates a wall that an opponent can't really poke or approach other than forcing the opponent to take the chip if Benimaru gets close enough. Two options below makes sure the opponent can't play grounded footsies nor roll behind Benimaru, but has to deal with Benimaru's great anti-air game, making easy aerial targets. Although this is not an attack to rely on, it's a fun away of securing the Vic Viper's weaknesses and rack up points.


  • cl.C >
    • qcf + B/D > [17%/19%]
      • d u + K (Point blank.) [25%/27%]
      • d u + K (1) >>>
        • (S)DM qcf qcf + A/AC {2/4 stocks}
        • DM qcb qcb + K {2 stocks}
    • hcb f + P > [22%]
      • qcf + K [26%]
    • qcb + A (C version will leave you vulnerable for just +~1% damage.) [22%]
    • qcb + A (2) / qcb + C (2-4) >>> DM qcb qcb + K (Each extra hit from qcb + C adds +1%, and super will only connect after 4 hits from point blank.) [43-45%] {2 stocks}
    • qcb + P (3) >>> (S)DM qcf qcf + A/AC [43%/56%] {2/4 stocks}
    • dp + B/D [17%/19%]
    • qcf + A [22%]
    • (S)DM qcf qcf + A/AC [30%/43%] {1/3 stocks}
    • DM qcb qcb + K [32%] {1 stock}

  • cr.B x 3 >
    • dp + K
    • (S)DM qcf qcf + A/AC {1/3 stocks}

  • cr. B x 2 > qcf + K

  • cr.B >
    • hcb f + P > qcf + K
    • qcf + K >
      • d u + K
      • d u + K (1) >>>
        • (S)DM qcf qcf + A/AC {2/4 stocks}
        • DM qcb qcb + K {2 stocks}

  • cl.D >> BC > run, cl.D > qcb + A (3) >> (S)DM qcf qcf + A/AC {2/3 stocks}

  • Max Mode: ... hcb f + P > qcf + K >>
    • qcf + K > d u + K (OTG. 1st and 2nd hit will miss.)

The Basics

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