Tekken 6 Character Countdown Part 25: Kuma (the Second)

Kuma. The One True Master of Bear-handed Combat.

As a way of counting down the time to the release of Tekken 6 for the PS3 and Xbox360, I’ve decided to begin this weekly series of lengthy, character-specific articles, each one featuring one of the 40 or so competing warriors in the latest and greatest King of Iron Fist Tournament. Hopefully, by the time we finish and reach character number 40, we’ll have the console version of Tekken 6 in our hands already.

Fighter number 25 is a relative newcomer to the series, a second generation entrant into the tournament. Taking over the role of his father, this participant seeks very simple things- to protect his master’s legacy, to find true love and, last but not least, to have fresh fish to munch on every day. Ferocious and inhumanly powerful, yet often smarter and more human than many others on the roster… he’s the Fighting Bear, Kuma.

Distinguishing Features: He’s a BEAR.

Strengths: STRENGTH OF THE BEAR! Kuma comes with oodles of deceptive attacks and maneuvers unique to his species that confuses the puny humans. Possesess extraordinarily long reach and deceptively fast for his bulk.

Weaknesses: His huge size makes him an easy target. Lots of his moves were apparently nerfed. Often wears his heart on his sleeve, usually leading to heartbreak. Fresh trout.

Affiliation: Anti-Jin Kazama. While fighting on his own, he should be loyal his master, Heihachi Mishima.

Background: When the first Kuma (the word is Japanese for ‘Bear’), Heihachi Mishima’s pet bear and bodyguard, died of old age while accompanying Heihachi on his travels, his son (also named Kuma, or Kuma II) took over his role. Smarter than his predecessor, Kuma proved to be a fine bodyguard. One day, while watching TV, Kuma became agitated as he saw a martial artist dressed in a red gi. The fighter was Paul Phoenix, sworn enemy to Kuma’s blood! Kuma joined the Third King of Iron Fist Tournament to defeat him. However, his debut in Tekken 3 ended in utter failure.

Realizing that he had become soft from living with humans, Kuma went off to the wilderness of Hokkaido and trained to his limit, far harder than anything he had ever experienced even under Heihachi. But despite his hardships, Kuma still managed to indulge in his favorite pastime, television, by visiting some nearby villages and peeking into the windows of some houses (to the surprise of the villagers). One day, Kuma found out that the King of Iron First Tournament 4 was about to begin. This time, he would succeed and defeat Paul.

Kuma indeed bested an overconfident Paul in Tekken 4, but his joy was short-lived as he soon learned of the apparent death of his master, Heihachi, after a surprise attack by Jack-robots in Honmaru. After a period of grief, Kuma decided that the best way to honor his fallen master would be to take over the Mishima Zaibatsu. However, he was thrown out by security as a new leadership had taken over. With no other recourse, Kuma returned to the mountains. But as news of the Tekken 5 Tournament reached his ears, Kuma took this as his chance.

When Kuma arrived at Mishima HQ, the new CEO, Jin Kazama, stood in his way. Jin dealt the bear a vicious beating to within an inch of his life. Kuma’s battered body was then unceremoniously dropped from a helicopter down into the unforgiving wilderness of Hokkaido. Despite the great height, Kuma survived, and his fighting spirit was still as strong as ever. When he recovered his strength, Kuma came down from the mountains seeking to reclaim the Zaibatsu, as the King of Iron Fist Tournament 6 was about to begin…

Character Analysis: Kuma is certainly one of the series’ unique fighters, but sadly he’s not one of the most popular characters. That’s not to say that Kuma is not interesting- from being a simple Jack clone in the early games, Kuma has since developed his own unique set of moves. He’s probably the only other fighter in the roster aside from Lei Wulong who’s as dangerous on his back as he is on his feet. However, it probably takes a special kind of player to want to play as a big, hulking bear.

Kuma’s story is entertaining, and certainly one of the most comedic threads in the twisted Tekken tapestry- obviously not something to take seriously on any level. His interactions are mostly with the other ‘joke’ or novelty characters, and with his personal rival, Paul.

What lies in the future for Kuma? There will probably be a bear in every Tekken to come, and Kuma the Second has quite a few years to him still. Will he earn the love of Panda? The admiration of his master? The servitude of the puny humans? Probably not. But it will be entertaining to see him continue to try.

Stay tuned as we delve into the story of Kuma’s supposed soul mate… Panda!

Tekken 6 is set for release on PS3, Xbox360 and PSP this Fall 2009.


One Response to “Tekken 6 Character Countdown Part 25: Kuma (the Second)”

  1. Gotta love the Bear’s, always make me laugh. But when playing them, I have no idea on what to do, ending in my loss! ^^

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