|“||Why must I make friends with the hated and make enemies of the respected... It's times like these when I miss the days of the war. The days before I discovered the little space between good and evil...||”|
–Ky Kiske, Guilty Gear XX
Ky Kiske is the deuteragonist of the Guilty Gear series and Sol Badguy's rival. A former member of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights during the Crusades, Ky is a very charismatic young man who possesses a strong sense of justice and a devout religiosity, which sustain and guide him through all manner of shaking uncertainties.
Ky is a handsome young man with blond hair and blue eyes. His hair has grown in the timeline of the series, to the point where he sports a ponytail in the Xrd games, although he goes back to a short hairstyle in -STRIVE-.
His usual outfit is a loosely-fitting, blue base version of the white uniform worn by the Sacred Order of Holy Knights that consists of white trousers and shirt below a longcoat with a elbow-length cape. It is fastened together by a belt buckle inscribed with the word "HOPE", and a drape of blue cloth hanging down beneath. Ky invariably wears dark fingerless gloves.
He wields a white sword known as the Thunderseal that he usually keeps sheathed to his left side. Due to events prior to Overture, he had to replace it with several other swords, but has since gone back to wielding the Thunderseal, which now sports a more elaborate design.
Ky is a deeply religious man, the adjective describing both his devotion to God, as well as his commitment to the ideals of law, order, and honor. He is diligent, scrupulous and believes in fair play, although quite inflexible as well. Despite his faith and strong convictions, he is not beyond doubt, and is not entirely incapable of seeing the colors between black and white.
He is compassionate, as well as chivalrous, being known to hold back against female opponents. While others may mock Ky for his beliefs and idealism (especially Sol) due to usually being on opposite sides of the law, he is regarded as a trustworthy individual. Loyal to his ideals more than his surroundings, Ky will not hesitate to investigate his superiors if he believes them to be undermining his conception of justice.
Though Ky's strong beliefs once tended to color his moral world black and white, his experiences have changed that. His position as king, from Overture onwards, made him lose some of his zeal: his view has broadened significantly, and has learned to see the world from the perspective of others. Ky was initially conflicted by his appointment, but Ky has steadily become more confident and willing to defy conventions, being the "problem child" according to Leo. Although Ky is generally a cautious person, he is prone to taking rash actions when he gets angry.
Forged by war, Justice once remarked that Ky had the "eyes of someone who knew nothing yet but battle". Ky is firmly committed to the public good and to bringing hope to others, and actively wishes to move on from the "killing machine" (in Sol's words) that he was during the Crusades. Likewise, Sol admitted he was afraid of the "said killing machine" he witnessed from long ago at a later point in both his and Ky's life, and Ky answers that he saw Sol more of an opponent to overcome in a fair duel rather than a monster to be slain in war, which was the unwritten basis throughout their many encounters.
Born in 2157, Ky lost his mother to the Crusades at the age of 9 circa 2166 according to Guilty Gear Xtra. Half a year later, during a Gear attack Ky decided he would no longer run and told Commander Kliff Undersn of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights that he wanted to join. Kliff told the young Ky to survive for five years and to come back then if he really wanted to fight. Ky did as ordered and, around 2172, he joined the Order. Ky was soon recognized as a "prodigy swordsman" and promoted to the rank of Captain. He became a source of inspiration to other knights, like Leo Whitefang, and often challenged his comrades to duels to hone skills together.
That same year, Kliff recruited Sol Badguy into the Order. One day, Ky challenged Sol to a duel; Sol was prepared to go all out, but Ky fought Sol as if he were a human and lost. Sol took it as an insult, thinking Ky hadn't taken their fight seriously, which led to a growing tension between the two. In 2173, Sol decided to steal the Fireseal, one of the Order's Sacred Treasures. Ky caught Sol during the act and fought him, but Sol defeated him once again and got away. Ky was to follow suit, but Kliff stopped him, leaving Ky with a score to be settled. Entrusting the future to both Sol and Ky, Kliff decided to retire and 16-year-old Ky was given leadership of the Order. As a symbol of his new status, Ky was granted the Thunderseal.
In 2175, Kliff challenged Justice to one last battle, and Ky stepped in to save him, pushing Justice to retreat. Ky pursued her trail only to find "lava and flames" (Sol's work) that made Justice lose power. Ky then ordered all support units to engage and seal Justice in a dimensional prison—thus bringing the war to an end. The Order was soon dissolved, but Ky continued his life of public service by entering the International Police Force, where he was promoted to the rank of captain.
In 2180, one day while on duty, the Second Holy Order Selection Tornament is announced. Permission to shed blood during matches, an absurdly large grand prize, and talk of Justice's resurrection make Ky suspicious of a conspiracy. He thus dons the Order's uniform for the first time in five years and decides to enter.
Canonically, Ky gets to speak some last words with the wounded Justice—who was freed by Testament—after her defeat at Sol's hands. Ky says that evil has no place in their world, but she rejects that label. Born a slave and a weapon, she lived for her assigned role: she was created to kill, and so she did, for that is "justice". Ky says that justice is what God ordains and wishes for, the order of the world. Justice wonders if his unwavering faith in the concept would continue if he met That Man, who is still alive. Ky wants to know more, but she dies, leaving Ky to ponder if he was doing the right thing.
Guilty Gear X
After hearing Justice's last words at the conclusion of the tournament, Ky hears rumors of a new Commander-type Gear, whose name is Dizzy, that doesn't wish to harm humans. He sets out to find the truth in Justice's final words and the flaws within his own concept of justice.
Guilty Gear XX
After entrusting Dizzy to Johnny's care, Ky returns to his normal duties as a captain of the IPF. As soon as he is returned to work, Ky Kiske is thrust into a new conspiracy which includes robot clones of himself, a secret organization, a woman in red named I-No, and Sol.
In Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus, Ky investigates the Post-War Administration Bureau and fights its minions, ultimately separating from the police but continuing his labor as a banner of justice. He later helps out Dizzy control her power, and protects her. The two grow close to one another, marking the beginning of their romantic relationship. Depending on if players defeated Dizzy with an Instant Kill or not, Ky will either look after Dizzy (Path 1), or he will leave Dizzy in Johnny and May's care again before going his own way (Path 2).
Material Collection stories
Hoping to learn more about herself and to fit among humans, Dizzy went to live with Ky, and it wasn't long before they fell in love. Because of the lack of official records and her concealed identity, they could not get officially married, but nevertheless Ky proposed to Dizzy and they pledged their love for each other.
After a year, their son Sin was born. While Ky loved Dizzy and Sin, he was also filled with guilt: he was unable to provide them a world where Gears could live openly. The downcast Ky avoided eye-contact with Sin, which created a rift between them that made Sin hate him, despite Dizzy telling Sin of Ky's duty.
When Sin was six months old, Ky was invited to a meeting by the United Nations; in said meeting, he was told that he must participate in the upcoming elections and serve as a puppet king. When Ky declined their offer, he was told that they knew about his wife. Once again conflicted by his "justice", Ky's turmoil came to a breaking point and went to church to pray, so Dizzy called Sol to help Ky out. A fight broke between the two rivals; while light returned to his eyes, Ky was losing as usual. Sin told Sol to stop, and Ky was moved to tears at his son's gesture. Ky and Dizzy then entrusted Sin's care to Sol in order to keep him safe.
Guilty Gear 2: Overture
In 2186, as Gears begin to disappear throughout the kingdom, so does Dizzy. To keep her from completely vanishing, Ky converts the Thunderseal to settle her in a frozen state. In his desperation, he "rushes" her sealing and is unable to release her. He would have his men investigate the cause, but then, the capital is attacked by the Vizuel. Ky immediately issues a bounty on Sol to summon him. The battle ends with his soldiers defeated and Ky himself sealed.
He is freed days later by Sol, Sin, Izuna and Dr. Paradigm. Sol asks Ky if Dizzy is safe, but Ky doesn't know what to say; Sin lashes out, calling him a "shitty king" who can't protect anything, and storms out. Ky shows them Dizzy's state, and Paradigm says she can be unsealed but they must first defeat Valentine. Paradigm then realizes that Justice's cells are the "key" to enter That Man's Cube, and says Dizzy should be destroyed. Ky vehemently refuses, declaring his love for her and shocking Paradigm.
The castle sieged by Gears, Ky and Paradigm stay to protect Dizzy while Sol and Izuna go rescue Sin. Ky helps Paradigm undo the Gears' brainwashing, his compassion moving the doctor. Ky later leads his men into battle against the Vizuel so that Sol's party can enter the Backyard. Before leaving, Sol punches Sin to stay with Ky. Ky apologizes to Sin, acknowledging he wasn't a good father. Sin reflects that he will protect Ky because he is irreplaceable to Dizzy. They fight side by side, but Ky soon lets Sin go help Sol, as he just wanted to see how much Sin had grown; Sin leaves, saying Ky doesn't need to be "formal" if he wants to act like a dad.
After the incident, Ky invites Paradigm to live in the castle so that he can study Dizzy's state. In The Unseen Sign, Ky publicly announces—for Dizzy and Sin's sake—his wish for human-Gear coexistence in Illyria.
Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-
In 2187, Elphelt Valentine teleports before Ky and warns him of her sister's future threat. She is imprisoned as a precaution, but Ky bears her warnings in mind. A month later, Ramlethal Valentine declares war on the entire world. Ky, distrustful of the government, decides to operate from the Royal Fleet One. Ky, Sol and Sin fly over to confront Ramlethal in Japan, but she is a distraction, as the Cradle is retrieved from Babylon.
As Ramlethal moves in to kill Sol, Ky releases Elphelt despite Leo Whitefang's refusal, and she helps them take Ramlethal into custody. After another Cradle incident, Leo advices Ky to go to Zepp. Meanwhile, Sin befriends Ramlethal. En route to Zepp, Ky privately tells Sol not to run away from the truth, "tomorrow always comes", and that he, Dizzy and Sin will wait for him to come home. They meet with President Gabriel and Zato-1, who reveals the Conclave wants to resurrect Justice.
After a failed ambush on the Cradle, Ramlethal finally talks: they will use St. Elmo's Fire and Illyria Castle to awaken Justice. During the evacuation, Ky and Sin are able to see Dizzy (who was unsealed while they were gone) once again, and Sin is finally able to call Ky "Dad". Leo, Sin and Ky defend the control room from the Opus while Dizzy overloads Justice and Sol removes Chronus. Ky easily takes care of the hostiles in his area, but Axus ambushes Ky, shooting him several times. However, Ky—with a crimson left eye—gets to his feet and kills Axus. In the aftermath, Elphelt reveals that her mission to activate Justice was complete, and cannot disobey her "Mother" before she and Justice are recalled by her "Mother".
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-
They begin a search for Elphelt and the Information Flares start. With Potemkin, Ky finds proof of the Opus' danger that he shows to Sanctus Maximus Ariels. Heeding Chipp Zanuff's words, Ky asks Ariels if she loves humanity, but she refrains from answering. Ky also inspects the Thunderseal (still repairing itself) and spars with Dizzy, who has improved due to having a 'chair' in her heart thanks to Ky. In the downtime, Ky and Sol reflect on their past rivalry; Ky again insists that Sol has a future, and acknowledges Sol as a friend. They later meet with That Man and Jack-O' Valentine, and Ky, Sol, Paradigm and Leo learn about the Absolute World, That Man's reasons, and Ariels being the Universal Will. At the celebration of victory, Ky and Leo briefly face Ariels as she publicly announces her identity and disappears.
They leave Illyria's defense to Dizzy and their allies, and go to the final fight on Johnny's Gullinkambi Dark. When Sin brings up if Dizzy is related to Sol, Ky quickly realizes (comically horrified) that Sol may be his father-in-law. Finally, Ky, Sin and Sol ambush Ariels while Jack-O' positions herself to fuse with Justice. Sol defeats Ariels and Elphelt is reunited with Ramlethal. Despite Daryl's intervention, Jack-O' and Justice are fused thanks to Axl Low and a dying Ariels.
In REV 2's After Story A, Ky tells Sin, Elphelt and Ramlethal that they may have to move out of their estate once he makes public his marriage to Dizzy, but Elphelt shows them an article in which people praise Dizzy for her heroics in the latest battle. Ky later takes a walk with Sol, with the latter asking if their score is truly settled. Ky says it is, but Sol claims Ky was never "serious" in their fights; he admits to him that when they were both part of the Holy Order, Sol was fearful of Ky's fighting style on the battlefield against multiple Gears. However, throughout their long-time encounters, Sol was annoyed that Ky wasn't fighting to try and kill him. Rather, Ky admits he didn't see Sol as a monster to be slain on the battlefield as his reasoning behind this mentality.
As Ky demonstrates a small bit of what he's truly capable of, Sol then decides to calls Dizzy a monster to upset Ky in order to further goad him on his mark. Ky wins easily by fighting dirty and going all-out, ending with Sol lying down on the ground. When Sol wakes up, Ky pieces together the purpose of the battle: Sol is learning how to truly combat and face others on the level of monsters to prepare for his final showdown with That Man—who, as they speak, surrenders himself to the U.S. government.
Guilty Gear -STRIVE-
To be added...
Ky is stated to be an extremely talented strategist, swordsman, and magic practitioner. In Lightning the Argent, his ability to create lightning projectiles from his sword is said to be extremely hard, as lightning is the most difficult element to control. He is adept at performing other forms of elemental magic, but prefers to use lightning. In Overture, he rather quickly grasps a blessing that protects his soldiers from the Vizuel's foreign Divine Steps and magic.
Ky's weapon of choice is the Thunderseal sword, a Sacred Treasure that channels and magnifies lightning magic, but requires tremendous physical and mental stamina to be wielded. Although it eases the use of lightning, Ky's skills are not reliant on its power, as he has shown the same level of mastery over said element with normal swords. In Vastedge, Ky is able to wield a lightning-charged gunblade.
Ky's battle ability has been noted to be out of the ordinary, and attempted to be replicated via the Robo-Ky imitation series. At age 15, he was considered a "prodigy" amongst the war-hardened Holy Knights. He claims to use basic Order techniques (unfairness, deceit), but even so, Ky stood out in the Order as a brutally efficient fighter uninhibited by emotion, mercy or honor in the face of monsters. Justice was pushed to retreat by Ky in their first encounter, and noted afterwards that mankind was "blessed with much greater skills as a fighting species than mere Gears". The first time Ky challenged Sol to a duel, Sol was actually frightened, thinking Ky had figured out that he was a Gear. Outside of the battlefield, Ky does not employ such tactics and, in his duels, he seeks to best others fairly and without the possibility of death.
As revealed in Xrd, Ky seems to have acquired Gear cells through unknown means, possibly in connection to Sin and/or Dizzy. When his left eye becomes red with a Gear-like sigil inscribed on the iris, he can regenerate fatal wounds in mere seconds, and his strength vastly increases, as Ky was able to prevent the titanic Justice from falling in -REVELATOR-. His lightning magic takes on a violet hue. It seems he can only maintain this state for short intervals. While he is thought to be human, Ky's hair (like Sin's) keeps growing at a rapid pace, and Elphelt can use her power to teleport to Ky's location, although she expected to find Sol or Sin.
Akin to his rival Sol, Ky is a fundamental jack-of-all-trades character with intuitive normals with some acting as good pokes and/or decent anti-airs. He comes with a standard projectile (in the form of Stun Edge), a rising invulnerable-anti-air (Vapor Thrust), and expansion gap-closers (Stun Dipper, Needle Spike, Greed Sever, and his signature Overdrive, Ride the Lightning). The aforementioned Stun Dipper is an advancing low that can setup knockdowns, Greed Sever is a slow-yet-rewarding overhead, while his iconic Stun Edge Charge Attack (a mainstay product leftover from the original GG1's Charge mechanic) is a useful pressure-zoning tool. Overall, Ky is an average zoner and blockstring-pressure fighter rolled into one. Unlike Sol however, Ky is less on raw damage output and more on safe frame data, as he seemingly has to work more harder for his overall damage while losing out to pure specialists, yet is still well-rounded and easy to apply projectile lockdowns with.
In X, his moveset becomes far more refined with the removal of Needle Spike and the inclusion of the rather gimmicky Crescent Slash. However, as of XX, Crescent Slash is removed and replaced with the recurring Greed Sever as a practical overhead, as well as giving him his iconic setdown projectile mote in the form of his jumping and his new projectile Overdrive, Sacred Edge. XX Slash on the other hand, revamps his Stun Edge Charge Attack input, but also at the cost of rocketing him into the higher tiers with his Stun Edge frame advantage 50/50s on block (due to the increased travel speed and animation). In later games, he has been toned down since then.
In Λ Core, it in this game he gains far more extra tools. Lightning Javelin as a followup to Vapor Thrust works as an amazing finisher via the wallbounce it produces (which can be RC'd for further combo potential), his Force Break Lightning Sphere provides much frame advantage on block and can also lead into the Charge Drive followup for further damage on hit, with his Lightning Strike being able to provide the option to further forego his wakeup offense or not for extra damage. Likewise, his jumping also receives a Force Break variation in the form of Stun Rays, where Ky can plant a longer lasting projectile mote for further purposes. Despite being a beginner-friendly character, Ky has a fairly big number of FRC's, one for each his projectile attacks which make him adept at lockdown zoning.
In Plus R, he also gains the Force Break version of Greed Sever as a punishing fully-low-invulnerable overhead that serves as a great converter, as well as a new version Lightning Javelin for a faraway knockdown or for a wallstick near the corner instead.
Xrd -SIGN- however, massively reworks him in that while his base moveset is the same with his Force Breaks and other Λ Core additions removed, he gains a new gimmick known as Grinder Creation, where when connecting with any of his -based moves and his new Split Ciel, he leaves behind a "Grinder" that appears as a ring on the field where Ky last left it. Firing a projectile at it (Stun Edge, Stun Edge Charge Attack or Sacred Edge) enhances it through the use of Durandal Call, which increases the size, length and amount of hits (and by proxy frame advantage on block) depending on the projectile used. Durandal Call-based projectiles are elongated in the shape of a sword-shaped projectile extension. Due to the appearance of the DC-based projectile taking a while to emerge, Ky can effectively multi-task with delayed-disjointed zoning, allowing him to effectively oppress careless foes with well-placed Grinders+Durandal Call activations while still maintaining his old gameplan.
In STRIVE however, Durandal Call is then replaced with a new mechanic called Shock State, where Ky can effectively inflict increased untech-time with his lightning-based moves for extra extensions on his combos. His brand new Foudre Arc and Dire Eclat moves serve as a testament to this, with the former move being his new overhead that replaces Greed Sever and compliments Stun Dipper's low-hitting nature as a tandem mixup tool. His Stun Edge and Stun Edge Charge Attack inputs have also been reverted back to their pre-Slash commands.
In EX Mode via the XX games, Ky becomes a bit of a mirror to some of Sol's base moveset, while re-adding old moves such as the aforementioned Needle Spike and Crescent Slash. Likewise, his new Elegant ni Kiru (Elegantly Beheading) is his version of Sol's command throw, and his Grand Vapor Thrust also mirrors the Grand Viper in a similar vein. Both Grand Vapor Thrust and his Kiriharai (Cutting Sweep), the latter being Ky's prior version of Sol's Tataki Otoshi/Knockdown, reuse motions from the first version of Robo-Ky (the Impala Hunt and Aces High respectively). Also in Λ Core, Lightning Strike in EX Mode in converted into a Force Break.
- Holy Orders (Be Just Or Be Dead) - Guilty Gear
- Holy Orders (Be Just Or Be Dead) II - Guilty Gear X, Guilty Gear XX
- Pillars of the Underworld - Guilty Gear XX ♯Reload Korean OST
- Holy Orders (Be Just Or Be Dead) III - Guilty Gear 2, Guilty Gear Xrd
- Sheep Will Sleep (If You Become Fatigued) - Guilty Gear Isuka
- Magnolia Éclair (Magnolia Lightning) - Guilty Gear Xrd
- Rivalry themes
- Conclusion (vs. Sol) - Guilty Gear
- No Mercy (vs. Sol) - Guilty Gear X, Guilty Gear XX
- Noontide (vs. Sol) - Guilty Gear XX
- Revelations (vs. Sol) - Guilty Gear XX ♯Reload Korean OST
- Faith Shall Save Thee (EX vs EX Sol) - Guilty Gear XX ♯Reload Korean OST
- Keep the Flag Flying (vs. Order-Sol) - Guilty Gear XX Λ Core
- Re-Coming (vs. Sol) - Guilty Gear 2
- Reunion (vs. Sol) - Guilty Gear Xrd
- Communication (vs. Sin) - Guilty Gear 2, Guilty Gear Xrd
Ky Kiske's quotes reflect his respectful personality towards others and his sense of authority as a man of the law. They don't fall short of praises towards his opponents even if he's very competitive.
- Ky owes his name to two musicians, Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen, former Helloween members.
- The name of Ky's classic leitmotif, "Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead)", probably originates from Iron Maiden's song "Be Quick or Be Dead".
- Ky's Ride the Lightning is the name of one of Metallica's albums.
- Ky's Rising Force might be an allusion to Yngwie Malmsteen's album of the same name.
- Ky's theme "Magnolia Éclair" is a homage to the song "Hellion/Electric Eye" by Judas Priest.
- The "HOPE" inscription on his belt is probably taken from the lyrics of Iron Maiden's "Revelations" song, given Sol's own "FREE" belt buckle:
- Bind all of us together
- Ablaze with hope and free,
- No storm or heavy weather
- Will rock the boat you'll see.
- The "HOPE" inscription may also be a reference to Trunks from the Dragon Ball series, since he and Ky share the same Japanese voice actor.
- Ky has the most themes of any other character in the series, having six of his own as well as eight rivalry songs—sharing six with Sol, one with Order-Sol and one with Sin—for a total of fifteen themes. Only Sol comes close with fourteen.
- Despite Ky being French and barring some of his moves being written in Japanese, his first Instant Kill is rendered in German. It is not until Xrd and STRIVE that Ky gains more French-named attacks in his arsenal.
- One of Ky's shouts during battle is ここだ (koko da?), meaning "right here/there", commonly used for his Hard Slash and Stun Edge. Because of the lack of an English dub before -SIGN-, players often mishear this as "coconuts", which became a fan nickname for his Stun Edge.
- In Xrd, if he is knocked down during his opponent's match point, his hair will become loose and the Overture version of "Holy Orders" will begin to play.
- According to Answer's Voice System, Ky's approval rating is at a "surprising" 92% as the founding king.
- A costume based on Ky's Xrd look appears in Border Break X Zero.
- Ky has made guest playable appearances in the following games: Lord of Vermilion III, Star Ocean: Anamnesis, Mabinogi Duel, Fantasy War Tactics, Chaos Heroes Online, Brave Frontier, Seven Knights, Chain Chronicle, #COMPASS, Crusaders Quest, Elemental Battle, Code Shifter.