Iori Yagami is a character from King of Fighters. He marks the official debut in the Metal Slug universe in Metal Slug Defense as a KOF 20th Anniversary Collaboration Campaign.
"Remember me when you look at the moon." -Iori's pet phrase. One of the main objectives planned for The King of Fighters '95 was to properly introduce Iori as Kyo's rival. Creators have stated Iori's personality and other aspects to his character "broke the mold for characters in fighting games at that time". In several interviews for their official anniversary site for the series, several creators and developers—such as C.A.C Yamasaki and Mr. Marito—predicted that Iori would be popular on his release, which they admit happened during their observations of initial location testing for The King of Fighters '95.
Because of his popularity amongst fans, some of the main designers for the series have stated that he is "difficult to draw for".Illustrator Shinkiro thought Iori as one of the series's most wild characters because of his hairstyle, with similar sentiments being made by Last Blade illustrator, TONKO and manhua artists Wing Yan and King Tung.Additionally, KOF: Maximum Impact producer, Falcoon, stated that attempting to change an "untouchable" design such as Iori's put him under severe pressure. He stated that designing Iori's alternate (or "Another", as it is stated in the Maximum Impact games) outfit almost felt "unforgivable", unsure of fans' reaction to the change. In an interview with a group of the series's voice actors, Kunihiko Yasui, Iori's voice actor, explains that the staff for the games treat their characters as normal people, and are constantly changing their character line-up to reflect this. He adds that he feels responsible as a voice actor for his performances as Iori, taking care to sound different in each instalment as a means of developing, as well as "protecting", his character's humanity.
Another minor development to his character was his ever-changing "most valued possession/valued treasure" information. His bios from KoF '95 until KoF '98 listed various items such as a vintage guitar and chains. A girlfriend was also listed more than once, specifically in KoF '95, KoF '99, and KoF 2000 . However, starting in The King of Fighters 2001 and every entry onwards, the space is listed as "None". This has led to several fan theories as to why this is, many of which surrounds his girlfriend's possible death or disappearance. The issue is briefly touched upon years before in Iori's drama CD, The Sun and The Moon ~ Prologue, though a concise answer concerning this shade to his profile hasn't been made by SNK.
According to Nobuyuki Kuroki, Iori was one of the characters he wanted to change, however he wanted the hair to remain untouched.He had the designer Eisuke Ogura create his new outfit and the end result impressed him. Additionally, he asked the modeller to have the character exude a masculine sex appeal and to also pay close attention to the details of his eyes.This new design, alongside Kyo's, provoked major controversy during the time it was revealed. However, in an interview, The King of Fighters XIV director Yasuyuki Oda said the team wanted the characters to carry a new look due to the game being set in a new story arc.
In the Neo Geo Freak's 1997 Volume 8 character poll, he was voted as the sixth favourite character with a total of 1,292 votes.209 votes from the male fans and 1,083 votes from the female fans.In Gamest's 1997 Heroes Collection, Iori was voted as the staff's favorite character, claiming 1st place out of fifty other characters. And in Neo Geo Freak's August 1998 issue, he got 1st again in the 10 best character poll.He also received the same rank on Neo Geo Freak's website with a total of 3,792 votes. In a 2005 poll made by SNK-Playmore USA, he was voted as the eighth fan favorite character with 145 votes.