Benimaru Nikaido (二階堂 紅丸, Nikaidō Benimaru) is a The King of Fighters character and one of Kyo Kusanagi's friends. His straight hair stays up during fights due to a rather exaggerated case of electrostatics. His official nickname is The Shooting Star.
"Are you ready for this?" - Benimaru's pet phrase
Benimaru's appearance was loosely based on Jean Pierre Polnareff from the manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, right down to his outfit in The King of Fighters '94 and The King of Fighters '95. Even after Benimaru's name was decided, the game developers continued to refer to him as Polnareff.Additionally, his taunt in The King of Fighters XI mirrors Polnareff's stature from the manga. His vocal performance was initially deemed by his original designer to have nothing to do with the character's original image.
The idea for his electric powers -as well as the other elemental powers for the rest of the Japan team- was derived from the anime Getter Robo. In the show, there were three featured heroes who served as the inspiration for the KOF trio: the protagonist had a "fiery" persona, his friend was "edgy and daring", and the third hero was the "down-to-earth giant". It is also a homage to a Japanese phrase of giving birth to fire (roughly translated: lightning strikes the earth which sparks the flame).
Due to the particular pitch in his voice, some fans have voiced question to Benimaru's sexuality to developers, to which they respond, "It's not what you think. (Not that there's anything wrong with that)." A developer also responds that he's a man's man who loves women In Gamest's 1997 Heroes Collection, Benimaru was voted as the staff's thirteenth favorite character. He tied the spot with Samurai Shodown character, Shizumaru Hisame. In the character popularity poll on Neo Geo Freak's website, he was voted as the sixth favorite character with a total of 1,269 votes.
In Metal Slug
Benimaru is a playable unit in Metal Slug Defense as part of KOF's 20th anniversary event.