Karin Kanzuki (神月 かりん, born September 15, 1973) is a character from Street Fighter Alpha 3. She is a rival of fellow schoolgirl Sakura and has a similar outfit, complete with sailor fuku (this one being predominantly red and white with a blue bola tie), but uses the martial art style Kanzuki-ryū kakutōjutsu, a style that she created herself, instead of Sakura's imitation of Ryu's martial art. Because of her elite upbringing, Karin has a habit of acting snobby and dismissive and thinks lower-class people are "commoners" and thus below her.
Karin Kanzuki considers herself a rival of Sakura, who defeated Karin when challenged. Karin is from a very rich Japanese family (the Kanzuki family), whose motto is "all you need is victory" and alternately "the worst we'll ever be is the best". (A bonus short in the Street Fighter III: Ryu Final manga takes this further with "Victorious, therefore Supreme! Supreme, she is Karin Kanzuki!"). The Kanzuki estate, according to Sakura Ganbaru!, stretches across 200 acres, but it is unclear how big the mansion is or how many rooms are in the mansion. The Kanzuki corporation is threatened by Shadaloo, which then makes demands of the dynasty. She used the family fortune while attempting to track down a roving Sakura, to challenge her again. Along the way, she encounters Blanka and defeats him in a friendly match, musing that "the world is so vast" for such a beast to exist. She also encounters R. Mika and battles her, and is so impressed by Mika's ability that she offers the wrestler her sponsorship. Karin eventually found and defeated Sakura, but realized the victory was a fluke, and that the fight itself is more important, not winning or losing (Ken Masters told her this previously). The two then became good friends after that. She lives by her motto more than the rest of her family, as she takes majority control of her father's company from under his nose in a hostile takeover (ironic since he was the one to drive that philosophy into her). It's unclear how close she is to her mother Nadeshiko, though. Despite being in only a small number of games, Karin is one of the most popular characters in the Street Fighter series.
Karin is a playable character in Street Fighter V, and has taken over the role her father once held as head of the Kanzuki Zaibatsu. She is shown to have matured significantly, but still retained her fire for fighting, having further polished her abilities. When Shadaloo sets Operation C.H.A.I.N.S. in motion, she organizes a group of fighters to take the battle to them. While the party splits up in search of the "Pieces" (activation keys for Shadaloo's Black Moon EMP-emitting satellites), Karin decides to take it upon herself to scout the Shadaloo base, along with Ibuki, Mika and Shibazaki. Karin and Chun-Li manage to temporarily deactivate the Black Moons, but they reboot soon after, with the Descent Program engaged, by which they are to crash into Earth rather than emit wide-area EMPs. With Abel being affected by an unusual surge of Psycho Power leaking from his body, they have no option but to retreat for the moment. Later on, as Ryu joins the group, Karin leads them all into the base for a final assault, holding out against the Shadaloo troops while Ryu, Chun-Li and Guile deal with Bison directly and Rashid stops the Black Moons for good.
Karin's butler, Ishizaki, appears in her win poses. Ishizaki is a pudgy but engaging middle-aged Japanese man with burly arms and a warm, welcoming smile. He is always willing to do what Karin wishes of him (such as tending to the opponent's injuries or serving her a cocktail drink), though sometimes he wants to get in on the action and do battle (which usually causes Karin to throw a serving tray at him). In addition, Ishizaki was assigned the job of baby-sitting/watching over Karin while she traveled the world, in search of a rematch with Sakura. Since he and her have such a close albeit rocky bond, he can be considered to be her closest friend in the Kanzuki mansion, as he is very proud of her and takes such good care of her. His name means "stone cape".
Shibazaki is the Kanzuki family's steward. While steward usually means butler, it has many other definitions, such as a person who manages another's affairs and/or finances. According to Sakura Ganbaru!, he drives her to and from school, arranges and prepares her meals (she won't eat school cafeteria food, for obvious reasons), does background research on anyone she takes interest in (even straying into the TMI territory), and other odd jobs. While concerned for her welfare, especially in regards to her interest in street fighting, he is nonetheless in awe of her abilities as a martial artist and as the heiress of the Kanzuki zaibatsu.
Later on, she brings in Shadaloo defector Birdie as a sort-of (after all, she can perfectly hold her own in a fight) muscle-for-hire, after he proves his worth to her in battle. While Birdie accepted Karin's offer under the pretense that he can get three meals a day with her, she sees something more on him. She also has an entire army of ninjas on her payroll, among them Ibuki, who had been referenced to Karin by mutual acquaintance Sakura. Rainbow Mika is also part of Karin's entourage, in her efforts to achieve greater strength, serving as the brawn to Ibuki's brains even though they usually tend to bicker with one another.
Karin's personality is basically that of the typical rich, overindulged, snobby girl. Before every fight, she laughs haughtily as if she considers her opponent inferior to her. In Sakura Ganbaru (the comic in which she and her family originate from), the rest of her high school class appear to do exactly what she tells them to do, referring to her as "Miss Karin" at all times, despite being the same age. Karin, on the other hand, refers to them as "commoners" for obvious reasons. She fights for the sake of upholding her family's motto of absolute perfection and intolerance of failure.
However, despite her arrogant behavior, she is not without redeeming qualities; after fighting against R. Mika, she offered to become her sponsor, and after defeating Sakura she admitted that she won by chance, acknowledging her rival as the better fighter, also realizing was Ken had told her earlier, that winning is not as important as the challenge itself.
Karin matures significantly in Street Fighter V, now being the standing leader of her family, and the Kanzuki Zaibatsu. However, she enjoys fights and while still being able to dish unflattering remarks, she has a renewed respect for people with skills and strength, however minimal they may be.
Street Fighter Legends
Udon released a four-issue mini series in 2010 called Street Fighter Legends: Sakura. Karin is a main character in the story; her personality was somewhat different than in the other media, however, as she was portrayed as thoroughly obsessed with her revenge, and even capable of resorting to dishonourable tricks to win.
- Karin first appeared in the Street Fighter-based manga Sakura Ganbaru! by Masahiko Nakahira. Although originally not part of the Street Fighter canon, she was integrated into the games after Nakahira was hired by Capcom as a character designer.
- Karin's mother is named Nadeshiko, which means either "fringed pink" or "lovable girl". Her father is named Daigenjuro. Daigenjuro is likely to be based on the Tekken series' Heihachi Mishima, both in appearance and in personality, as he is in some ways rather strict - he constantly pushes his daughter into becoming a better heir to the Kanzuki family fortune, as he wanted a son (although this strictness is not described as darkly as Heihachi's). Nadeshiko, however, has never made any official appearances, so we don't know what she looks like, but she is described as being more lenient and caring towards her daughter than her husband is.
- Karin has been given several tests by her father to complete or else she is disqualified from inheriting the family fortune. Her first test was when she was 9, where she was taken to the woods with meager food and water; she had to come home safely or else she'd be disowned. (Her father struggled two weeks to accomplish this when he was her age, but Karin polished the trial off in 4 days.) Another test, based solely on her gender, was that if she didn't charm at minimum 5,000 of the world's gentlemen she cannot inherit the family fortune. She passed this test too, and her mother Nadeshiko is said to have charmed 50,046 gentlemen, including her husband, to see if Nadeshiko would qualify to be Daikenjuro's wife. Yet another test required her to stop a stampede of fifty wild bulls, single-handedly stopping a running of the bulls at age 14. Karin subdued fifty bulls in all, beating Daddy's record by one.
- Although she is usually depicted as an only child of the Kanzuki family in most SF media, in the Ryu VS manga by Masaomi Kanzaki, she has three sisters that at this time are unnamed.
- Although they're rivals, Karin and Sakura get along rather well. Sakura addresses Karin a little more distantly (Kanzuki-san) than Karin does Sakura (Sakura-san), possibly because Karin is a rich heiress, even though ironically, Sakura is a few months older than Karin is.
- As much as Sakura resembles a female Ryu, Karin can be said to represent a female Ken Masters (with her long blonde hair, predominantly red outfit, a rich family and sense of rivalry with Sakura). However, unlike Ryu and Ken (both practitioners of the same style), Sakura and Karin utilize different fighting styles. Additionally, unlike Sakura, Karin seems to look up to Ken, as indicated in her Street Fighter Alpha 3 dialogue with him, but wants to surpass him and makes no effort to emulate his style.
- Sakura Ganbaru! depicts the Kanzuki estate as so large, it doesn't just have its own rivers, mountains, and savannas, it has its own climate as well. Even though it's in the middle of Tokyo, visitors don't arrive by car, they arrive by chartered plane and land at the private airstrip near the mansion (however, in Ken's Story Mode in Street Fighter V, it is implied he drove his family there, and in A Shadow Falls, Rashid and some Shadaloo troopers are shown to enter the household without needing vehicles). The estate makes its first appearance as a stage in Street Fighter V.
- Karin is R. Mika's sponsor; she offered to become her sponsor after Karin became impressed with her martial arts ability..
- Her name is more properly pronounced "kah-rin", though many English-speaking fans usually pronounce it as "Karen."
- In the home versions of Street Fighter Alpha 3, her stage was changed from being a nighttime version of Sakura's stage, to a sailing yacht stage.
- According to the Japanese home version of Street Fighter Alpha 3, as well as the arcade game Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper, the name of her family's yacht is the "Queen of Victory."
- She is credited as being the inventress of the family's fighting style, and was given a "son's upbringing" because, according to her father, the birth of a daughter is considered a discouragement in the Kanzuki family. But despite this, however, Karin dresses very girlishly.
- According to the Street Fighter: World Warrior Encyclopedia, Karin's school uniform is of the same style as Sakura's, but colored in red and blue and custom-made especially for her.
- In stereotypical "rich girl" fashion, Karin calls Tamagawa Minami High School a "school for commoners" despite being a student there herself. She actually is attending the local high school to "observe the lifestyles of the less fortunate".
- For a girl who has only appeared in two canonical games and two other games (Capcom Fighting Evolution and Namco x Capcom, where she's paired with Sakura no less), she has a surprisingly large fan following. She was also one of the most fan requested characters for Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV, alongside Rainbow Mika, Elena, and Rolento. Sadly, the Capcom team did not listen, but pressure still builds for her to appear in Tekken X Street Fighter and Street Fighter X Tekken. This pressure resulted in her return in Street Fighter V.
- Between her appearances in the main series, the Kanzuki family motto changes (presumably by Karin herself, as a sign of her maturity): in Street Fighter V, she declares the new motto to be "You must get what you want on your own merit".
Karin is a playable character in the crossover game Namco x Capcom, where she is paired with Sakura.
In all of her appearances thus far, Karin has been voiced by veteran seiyuu Miho Yamada. In Street Fighter V, she is played by Aya Endo in Japanese and Lauren Landa in English.
- Lili Rochefort in Tekken 6 can be customized to vaguely resemble Karin, with or without the hair ribbon.
- According to Sakura Ganbaru!, Karin's fighting style is actually a combination of karate, judo, aikido, sambo, muay thai, taekwondo, amateur wrestling, koppo, Shaolin kung fu, tai chi chuan, bagua-zhang, etc. (Karin possesses 100 dan and 8 kyū so far).
- Karin was based off of the Little House on the Prairie character Nellie Oleson.
- Her family name, Kanzuki, might be based on Masaomi Kanzaki, who did the Ryu VS mangas, known in the West simply as "Street Fighter II".
- Karin has never lost her shoe.