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Karin Kanzuki (神月 かりん Kanzuki Karin?) is a fighting game character from the Street Fighter series who was originally featured in the 1996 manga Sakura Ganbaru! before appearing as playable fighter in Street Fighter Alpha 3. She is the elitist rival of Sakura, and head of the Kanzuki Zaibatsu.



As a self-styled rival of Sakura, Karin naturally has a similar outfit, complete with sailor fuku, except hers is predominantly red and white with a blue bola tie. She stylizes her blonde hair into long, oversized Victorian Europe-style ringlets, with two small forelocks and braids encircling her head, and occasionally wears a blue bow in the back. She wears black shorts and completes her outfit with matching black socks and short, red boots. She also wears brown fingerless gloves. Her Alpha appearance became her "Nostalgia" costume in Street Fighter V.

In Street Fighter V, her outfit appearance has been altered from her original school uniform into a business suit-esque outfit but has still a resemblance to the original in palette and design. She wears a red long sleeve jacket with a blue frill shirt and white frill folded sleeves underneath and a white ascot tie at the center of her collar, a red frill skirt, and black tights.

Her first alternate costume consists of a black turtleneck dress and matching black flats. She also wears a matching black watch on her right wrist and a silver necklace on her neck with the emblem of her family. Her ribbon is pink. Her second alternate costume is mostly identical to her main outfit but with a pink sweater vest on her top, a white frilled skirt and white tights. Her boots are red and white, her hairstyle remains the same but in a full fringe along with longer ringlets.


Karin's laugh and mannerisms are derived from the unpleasant "ojou" stereotypes common in anime and manga as well as the "rich person"/"popular schoolgirl"/"spoiled brat" stereotypes of Western fiction; while she typically remains snobbish and haughty as per the standard, other aspects of her personality can vary wildly in other media. In Namco x Capcom, Karin is calmer, more level-headed and cynical, and serves as the voice of reason for the impulsive Sakura (though she still retains her trademark laugh and condescending comments during battle sequences). In the UDON comics, on the other hand, she is extremely hateful and competitive to the point of obsessiveness, making her much more of an antagonist. Throughout the franchise, she does retain her mannerisms and snobbiness and a habit of acting before thinking.

Typical of some rich girls in fictional media, Karin usually refers to other people as "commoners", or inferiors. She lives by her family's 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).

After Karin finds and eventually defeats Sakura in a rematch, she feels that she won only "by chance" and finally admits that Sakura is actually the best of them. Karin then decides to ditch her family's motto of "always winning" (at least when concerning martial arts) and starts to praise fighting itself as more important than victory or defeat, showing a bit of humility.

One of Sakura's Versus mode win quotes in the Street Fighter IV games implies that she and Karin have become friends sometime after Street Fighter Alpha 3.

In Street Fighter V, her character has somewhat changed. As new head of the Kanzuki Zaibatsu, she is proper and polite at all times, but her haughty demeanor has been replaced, to a degree, by a new respect towards her opponents, and an interest in new and unique fighting styles; while still capable of making unflattering comments towards them if they don't meet her expectations, she seems to have lived up to her previous realization that it is the challenge, not the victory, that is important. By this time, her friendship with Sakura is confirmed, although their rivalry is very much present still. It is shown in the character stories of some characters that she is truly interested in fighting and usually greet people with a fight, even when they didn't really want it, like Ibuki or Dhalsim.


While her character basis is rooted in Japanese manga and anime concepts of ojo or rich princess like heiresses and debutantes in modern settings, her first appearance in the late 1980s setting of Street Fighter Alpha 3 and her then depiction as a rich schoolgirl rival is evocative of the character Blair Warner of the 1980s private all girls school life sitcom series The Facts of Life, as portrayed by Lisa Whelchel, which is also believed to have further influenced manga and anime settings of high school into the 1990s with the great influx of interest of American media into Japan during the 1980s. In turn, Blair's rich and influential background also had her take interest into Japanese culture as per the American cultural climate at the time, especially amongst big business and corporate lifestyles due to the 1980s Japanese bubble boom economy; some media and characters further reflective of this are that of the katana wielding killer and billionaire fortune heir Charles Lavall of the 1986 Michael Dudikoff action movie Avenging Force, Rick Johnson of Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Barry Goldberg of The Goldbergs, and Geese Howard of Fatal Fury.

Karin may have been intended to be the female counterpart of Ken Masters since they both are blonde rich fighters who wear red clothing and their respective rivals (Sakura and Ryu) are the reason why Karin and Ken are motivated to becoming stronger. Furthermore, Karin looked up at Ken as her inspiration in martial arts and she considers Sakura as her greatest rival just like the friendly rivalry between Ken and Ryu.[citation needed]

Characters Relationships

Although initially portrayed to be elitist and an obnoxious ojou-type charcter, Karin ultimately reveals herself to be a well-rounded elite personality with an open mind, enabling her to mingle with those lower than her social stature. This has enabled her to gather many sincere allies and friends to thwart a common enemy. Her most impactful and meaningful relationships are with Sakura and R. Mika, which led her to open herself up more.


Karin and Sakura are friends and rivals. Sakura first defeated Karin, making Karin lose her long winning streak. Shortly after, Karin defeated Sakura, but learned that there were more important things in a fight than winning. Since then, the two have become close friends akin to Ryu and Ken, regularly sparring with her and remaining in constant contact with each other. In Street Fighter V, after hearing Sakura's concerns about her life's path, Karin helps arrange a meeting between Sakura and Ryu, having known about Sakura's feelings for him.


Karin is good friends with Ken and his family. Karin holds Ken in high regard, due to his superior fighting ability, especially after losing to him during the events of Street Fighter Alpha 3.[6] Ken told her that there’s more to a fight than just winning, and that the fight itself is more important. In Street Fighter V they're shown to be on good terms, as Karin invited Ken to her party and Ken decided to go even though it was his only day off. They take part in the takedown of Shadaloo.


Although Ryu hasn't interacted with Karin much, she respects Ryu due to his fighting ability, just like with Ken. In A Shadow Falls, Karin showed slight annoyance when Ken returned without Ryu, but was delighted when he showed up after defeating Necalli. She also seems to keep tabs on his location as she was able to send Laura to Ryu when she wanted to fight a strong opponent, and then managed to contact Ryu in Sakura's character story.


Birdie and Karin first met while Birdie was attempting to escape from Shadaloo. After she defeated him, and he told her why he escaped, she hired him as a bodyguard.


Karin first confronted him in Street Fighter Alpha 3 to test out his skills. After being defeated, she sent him to Shadaloo with the intention of defeating M. Bison.

R. Mika

They first met also in Street Fighter Alpha 3, in which Karin underestimated her. Karin soon became Mika's sponsor and has remained so to this day. In Street Fighter V, she, along with others, helped take down Shadaloo.


Karin seeks to fight Oro, due to his status as a legendary martial artist and hearing he fought her grandpa for 3 days straight.


Ibuki came to Karin's party after Sakura couldn't come, filling Sakura's place. They greet each other and have a match. Being impressed by her skills, Karin hires Ibuki for a short time, so her and Birdie are on the same payroll. They join the others in the plan to destroy Shadaloo. An interesting note is that Capcom purposely made Karin and Ibuki's story outfits to match each other, even having similar alternate color palletes (one of Ibuki's alternates being Karin's default and vise versa).


At first, she thought he was an intruder and a guest "without manners" who wanted the pieces for himself. However, after Rashid gained her trust, they became allies in the battle against Shadaloo.


Karin and Chun-Li are good friends. In a win quote against her, Karin states that some of her moves were inspired by Chun-Li. Chun-Li takes part in Karin's plan to destroy Shadaloo and take down M. Bison.


Karin shares a mutual respect for Cammy. She also recognizes Cammy as one of the top ranked fighters in the world. In a win quote against her, Karin acknowledges Cammy's abilities, stating that there is a magnificent "snap" to every one of her strikes. In Street Fighter V, Cammy was one of many fighters Karin has contacted to stop Shadaloo. Later on when the Kanzuki Estate was being infiltrated by Decapre and Marz, she and Cammy worked together to fight them off.



Karin is the daughter of Daigenjuro Kanzuki and his wife Nadeshiko Kanzuki; their butler is Ishizaki‎, and Shibazaki is the family steward. Karin's father Daigenjuro is a rather strict man as he constantly pushes his daughter into becoming a better heir to the Kanzuki family fortune, as he wanted a son.

The wealthy Kanzuki family's mottos are "All you need is victory" (also interpreted as "Be the winner in everything") 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!"). Her family's private estate covers 200 miles of land, and not only has its own geographical features but its own climate. The Kanzukis are even wealthier than the Masters family, so rich that they have their own satellite called "Red Spider-Lily". Karin was given a son's upbringing because her father always wanted a male heir to his conglomerate.

Additionally, Karin was given several tests by her father to complete or else she would be disqualified from inheriting the family fortune. Her first test was when she was nine years old, 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 four 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 fourteen. Karin subdued fifty bulls in all, beating her father's record by one.

Street Fighter Alpha 3

Karin considers herself a rival of Sakura, who defeated her when challenged at some early point.

The Kanzuki corporation is threatened by Shadaloo, which makes demands of the dynasty. She uses the family fortune in an attempt to track down Shadaloo, as well as confronting 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 finds and defeats Sakura, but realizes the victory was a fluke, and that the fight itself is more important, not winning or losing (as Ken Masters told her this previously).[7]

Street Fighter V

Karin was revealed as a returning character for Street Fighter V[8] on September 16, 2015, during the Tokyo Game Show. This is her first playable appearance in the main games since her playable debut in Alpha 3. By the time Street Fighter V takes place, she is now the head of the Kanzuki Zaibatsu, having succeeded her father; it is also confirmed that she still is R. Mika's sponsor.

Character story

Prologue: Seeking Worthy Challengers

Now succeeding her father as the head of the Kanzuki Zaibatsu (and currently engaged in direct relationships with the Prime Minister and other heads of state), Karin returns home to the Kanzuki Estate, where Shibazaki and Birdie are waiting for her (in the latter's own backstory, it is revealed that Karin invited him to stay as her guest, impressed by his improvements and as a test of her own leadership); after a sparring match with Birdie which leaves her victorious but unsatisfied, Shibazaki tells her that a worthy challenger could have been found: a mysterious Senjutsu master who fights with an arm sealed (with whom apparently her own grandfather had battled for three days straight). Promptly, Karin decides to go to India.

There, she meets Dhalsim, who tells her that the Senjutsu master has been gone for a few days; Karin decides to make up for the lost opportunity and challenges the Yoga master. After a very long match, they both praise each other's skills (Dhalsim's increased mastery of Yoga, and Karin's "pure fist") before the latter teleports away. Just then, Zangief arrives on the scene, being chased by Shadaloo hitmen; Karin dispatches them (apparently with a secret Kanzuki technique), and after that, she and Zangief have a match. They part ways satisfied, and Karin returns to Japan. There, she is met at the estate by a friend she has not seen in a while, Sakura; after greeting each other amicably, Karin is quick to assume a battle stance, to which her rival laughs that she hasn't changed a bit, but that's just how she likes it.

Other character story appearances

Karin appears in Ibuki's character story where she quickly knocks Birdie for being rude to her guests. She finally introduced herself to Ibuki by fighting her. She is also the one to recruit Ibuki at her side to battle against Shadaloo and the seven moons.

  • Karin appears in Zeku's character story when Zeku wants to join at her side while trying to promote the art of Bushinryu.
  • In Sakura's character story which takes place after A Shadow Falls, she was defeated by Sakura after she challenged her to a fight. Sakura complains about why they were fighting for no good reason which she replies this as a test of strength. After she mentions about Ryu who joins at their side during the final assault against Shadaloo, Sakura became excited. When Sakura leaves the estate to work part-time at the Japan Arcade Center, Karin decides to send Ryu to deal about Sakura's problems.

A Shadow Falls

Note: fix grammer errors. In the game's main story, Karin was seen talking to other business officials during her party and also watches the tag team battle between R. Mika and Zangief against Alex and Laura. When one of the Black Moons created an electromagnetic pulse in New York on its activation, the signals soon jam. Karin looked at one of the seven Black Moons, seeing that it was responsible, she finally decides to go investigate in New York.

The next day after the investigation, Shibazaki informs her about the solution to stop the Black Moons, when Rashid arrives to get the chess piece from her. They do battle as Karin appears triumphant. Rashid admits that he is not the enemy, persuading Karin to allow him to keep the chess piece, he then escapes with Azam. Karin then orders Shibazaki to gather all the top fighters and bring them to the estate.

Karin's leadership is also shown to gather all the fighters to stop Shadaloo by collecting the chess pieces to stop their plan and she meets up with Cammy who informs her about the seven Black Moons and the connection of the missing hackers. When Marz and Decapre infiltrate her estate. Karin states that she will teach her uninvited guests in manners by fighting them. Karin eventually takes down Marz while trying to break her arm and warns both Ibuki and R. Mika while they have to argue that she will join their argument if she beats them in satisfactory which makes both disagree and they are satisfied. She makes a mission to all fighters to get the chess piece from Alex and the other is Laura from Brazil. Dhalsim takes his mission in New York, while Ken takes his mission to Brazil with Chun-Li and Cammy. Therefore, Zangief takes his mission with Guile and Karin, Ibuki and R. Mika to infiltrate Shadaloo's main base.

As they successfully infiltrate the base and Rashid returns the chess piece back to her, she and Chun-Li manages to stop the plan by completing the six chess piece. Before that F.A.N.G arrives to confront them making Karin fights him. Karin knocks back F.A.N.G long enough for Chun Li to halt his plans. F.A.N.G then warns them that he has a backup plan that will never be stopped until he escapes using poison clouds. Since the backup plan was activated and has a time limit, Karin decided to regroup back in her estate while waiting for the helicopter until Guile arrives to take them back including Rashid and a revived Charlie Nash who are chased by Necalli.

Karin finally decides to make a final assault back in Shadaloo and she was impressed to see Ryu for a long time. She already made preparations to infiltrate the base using her family ninjas by her side. During the final assault, she allows Chun-Li, Guile, and Ryu to get inside the base while fending off the Shadaloo soldiers and the Dolls. Karin was confronted by Enero who is the leader of the Dolls and both shares the same laugh before she manages to takes her down. To her surprise, Enero was controlled by Psycho Power while she screams in pain making the fight into a more serious one until they are now free from its control due to F.A.N.G's device is destroyed by Rashid during the confrontation.

After Bison was defeated by Ryu, Karin is last seen relieved to see Chun-Li, Ryu and Guile safe upon reuniting with the other fighters.


Sakura Ganbaru!

Karin was introduced for the first time in this manga as the heiress of the Kanzuki Zaibatsu, enrolled in Sakura's school, Tamagawa Minami High, to "observe the life of commoners"; intrigued by her ability to fight, Karin challenged her to a match, showcasing a deadly style created by blending together all the martial arts that she had mastered, however Sakura managed to defeat her, thus sparking off their rivalry.

To avenge this dishonour, Karin organized a street fighting tournament held throughout the city which attracted numerous participants, planning to fight and win against Sakura in the final match; however, after seeing Ken Masters (participating in the tournament under a false name) defeating Dan, she decided to fight against him to test her own strength, and ended up losing and being disqualified (although Ken acknowledged her skill and resolve).


Street Fighter Legends: Sakura

Karin appeared in UDON's Street Fighter Legends: Sakura comic. In it, she is portrayed in a considerably less honorable light, using questionable methods to gain underhanded advantages over Sakura, such as rigging a hot-dog eating contest in which Sakura took part just so Karin could challenge her later when Sakura was stuffed full of food, and thus in no real condition to fight.

Some Wisdom

Karin appears in the Street Fighter Unlimited issue three side story titled "Some Wisdom". Here, she wants to prove her family's fighting style and skill against Ibuki because of the latter's upbringing in the Glade of Ninjas. Ibuki explains to the determined Karin that a single fight would not prove anything in terms of who is overall superior combatant and admits Karin is probably the superior fighter.

Their fight goes into traffic with both girls jumping on car roof tops, even on one situation going inside cars through their open windows. The fight ends after Karin heeds Ibuki's words and suggest that the best way to root out any possibility of luck is for them to fight an absurd number of times in a row, much to Ibuki's annoyance, ending the mini series.

Street Fighter Unlimited #7

Karin makes two cameos during this issue, the first time she is shown coming out of the airplane that brought in a high amount of other fighters including herself. Keeping in line with her high life upbringing she questions Kolin if the proper accommodations were made for her stay.

Karin is later seen in the dance party set up by Dee Jay, Elena, Ibuki and Makoto. Interestingly in this scene she is one of two characters who are not in their default outfits from the game.

It should be noted that while the Secret Society event is post Alpha storyline, Karin appears as her younger Alpha counterpart rather than her older Street Fighter V appearance.

Street Fighter: Sakura vs. Karin

When Sakura beats Karin's high score in a video game, Karin is sure she cheated. They decide to settle it in an e-Sports match, where Sakura wins. Karin learns that winning isn't the most important thing, and she and Sakura become friends.

Street Fighter: Back To School Special

Karin just like Ibuki and Sakura is one of the presenters to the students of Agato Gongen High School presenting her Kanzuki School of Business to potential prospects. Among the ones being presented to are Makoto and Elena with Makoto considering business experience to be useful for getting attendance to her dojo and Elena considering how said experience could help her if she needs to lead after her father steps down. Both Makoto and Elena then remember Karin from the events of Unlimited as all three were involved in the story (alongside Ibuki).

During her presentation Karin is interrupted by Sakura who is pitching Tamagawa Kita College and it's sports activities with both Elena and Makoto considering Sakura's pitch in how sports accomplishments could benefit both of their goals. Sakura is then in turn interrupted by Ibuki who is advertising Sarusubere University, though Ibuki's pitch is more vague both Makoto and Elena know about the secret ninja activities through Ibuki from her previous comic happening in said university and consider how being ninjas could benefit their goals.

Afterwards the school is invaded by Akira, Yurika and Zaki from Rival Schools. Karin alongside Sakura and Ibuki take offense to them being there as the Rival School girls were advertising without getting permission from Agato Gongen High School while the Street Fighter girls did. This leads to a fight between the three groups and Karin taking on Yurika from the opposing franchise, Unfortunately for Karin she has the least success out of the Street Fighter girls as she is hypnotized and smacked around by Yurika before the fight is ended when Sarai and Kei pointing out Makoto and Elena lost interest in favor of Dan who was for some reason advertising the Capcom Wrestling Association, Karin's final appearance has her pondering if she should just buy the C.W.A.

Crossover appearances

Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter

Karin may have been intended to appear in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter; her sprite, based mostly on her Sakura Ganbaru! appearance (i.e. the same school outfit as Sakura with boots instead of sneakers) exists somewhere in the ROM data, near Dan's sprites.[9]

Capcom Fighting Evolution

Karin also appeared in Capcom Fighting Evolution as a playable character. In her ending, after defeating Pyron, she travels to a secluded retreat on the moon via spaceship.

SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium

Karin appeared in Match of the Millennium as the Capcom guide character for the game's Olympic Mode.

Namco × Capcom

Karin appears in the Japan-only Namco × Capcom as Sakura's partner.

Granblue Fantasy

Karin appeared in the collaboration event Granblue Fighter V along with F.A.N.G, Necalli and Rashid.[10]


Karin, Chun-Li, Ryu, M. Bison, Juri, Vega, and Cammy all appear as Leaders for the classes in Shadowverse. Karin is an optional leader for Havencraft decks.[11]


Fighting style

Though she styles herself as a rival to Sakura, Karin uses the Kanzuki style martial arts, a style she created herself, instead of the "original" style Sakura uses. Karin has a wide array of strikes, throws and potent reversals, and she prides herself on being able to handle any opponent she faces. She prefers to keep her opponents guessing by varying the speed of her attacks, and also makes them second-guess their own choice of moves for fear of her powerful counterattacks.

She is well versed in various forms of Bushido, military arts, and "combative sports". This was probably mistranslated from a term that meant "combat sports", which includes various events (e.g. Japanese pro wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts groups). The sum of all her accomplishments in the field of martial arts is equivalent to 100 dan and 8 kyu (the Japanese ranking system for martial arts, among other things).[citation needed]

Though in-game her style is explained as the result of a mixture of several disciplines, her moves actually reflect a big influence of the real life Chinese martial art of Bajiquan, having the hallmarks of the style such as elbow attacks, palm strikes, explosive motions, double front kicks and most importantly, the Tetsuzanko move, a powerful shoulder smash.

Karin's fighting style strongly resembles the Chinese martial art style of Bajiquan, also called Hakkyokuken in Japanese, as identifiable by it's trademark elbow attacks, palm rushes and shoulder smashes. This martial art is very popular in Japan, first popularized through it's appearance in the Kenji manga series, then through it's depiction in the Virtua Fighter fighting game series as used by Akira Yuki. Other fighting game characters who uses this style include the aforementioned Akira Yuki, Michelle Chang, Julia Chang, Paul Phoenix and Leo Kliesen from Tekken, and Kokoro from Dead or Alive.


Karin's overall style focuses on pacing, dashing strikes and counters, and aerial attacks. Karin's fighting versatility allows her to stay on the move while setting up crushing counters. However, she has a moderate lag time between her attacks and can be thwarted by an opponent that jumps over her and attacks. Her style can be seen as a mix of Fei Long and Chun-Li, as both utilize pacing and speed. Utilized correctly, Karin is not one to be taken lightly and can have her opponent falling for a perfectly-timed counter.


  • In the Street Fighter III: Ryu Final manga, she has two adoptive twin sisters, Ren Kanzuki and Ran Kanzuki.
  • Karin becoming the new Kanzuki Zaibatsu leader in Sakura Ganbaru! may be subconscious revenge against her father for all of the emotional and psychological abuse she is suffering under him all in the name of excellence and upholding perfection, having usurped the entire Zaibatsu under his nose and ousting him. Despite all that, and how he treated her, he still muses to himself that she has excellent potential and may have believed in her all this time, despite originally desiring a son.
  • According to the Street Fighter: World Warrior Encyclopedia, Karin's school uniform is the same style as Sakura's, but colored in red and blue and custom-made especially for her.
  • Although Karin does not appear in the Rival Schools games, it is mentioned in the Evolution disks that she lends Sakura her family's private jet for her travels.[12]
  • In Street Fighter V, Karin's English voice actress is Lauren Landa. She voices her with an upper class east-coast (Maryland or Pennsylvania most likely) American accent.
  • Karin’s sport costume in Street Fighter V is based on Julia, one of the Judgement Girls from Street Fighter III.


For more images of this character, see their gallery.