- This article details Kuma I (TK - TK2).
For his son (TK3 -), see Kuma II)
Kuma (クマ? ; literally meaning "Bear") is the name of two characters within the Tekken series, both of which were bears and bodyguards to Heihachi Mishima. Kuma is the father of Kuma II, and appeared in Tekken and Tekken 2 before he passed away from old age at some point after the second King of Iron Fist Tournament.
Kuma was a bear cub found abandoned in the forests of the Mishima estate by Heihachi Mishima, who took him in as a pet. As he grew to adulthood, Kuma began to show a superior intellect, and Heihachi, upon realizing this, began to train him, teaching him sign language, fighting techniques and basic Japanese. Due to Kuma's impressive abilities, Heihachi made him his bodyguard and Kuma accompanied him to the first King of Iron Fist Tournament, where he was later defeated by Paul Phoenix.
Surprised and impressed by Paul's strength, Kuma retreated to a mountain dojo and trained with Heihachi to grow stronger in order to defeat his new rival. When the second tournament came around, Kuma sought revenge against Paul, but was once again defeated.
Kuma's activities after the second tournament are unknown, but it is later revealed that Kuma had a son, who would later replace his father as Heihachi's bodyguard and Paul's rival when the original Kuma dies of old age, sometime between the second and third King of Iron Fist tournaments.
Kuma is highly intelligent for a bear, to the point that he can learn specialized martial arts and understand basic Japanese. He is also, as is to be expected, ferociously aggressive, and harbors a taste for human flesh. Despite his animalistic tendencies, Kuma is also quite lazy, and takes any possible opportunity to take a nap.
In Tekken, Kuma had the appearance of an Asian black bear, with the characteristic markings of the species clearly visible on his chest. In Tekken 2, his appearance altered to that of grizzly bear, despite Kuma's Japanese origin and the grizzly bear being native to North America.
Main Article: Kuma/Outfits
As Kuma does not wear clothing, his "outfits" are marked by a change in appearance. His primary outfit sees Kuma with brown fur, while his secondary outfit sees him with white fur, giving him a polar bear-like appearance.
Kuma was once an abandoned cub in the forests of the Mishima estate. Heihachi Mishima found Kuma and took him in as his pet. When Kuma reached adulthood, Heihachi built him an outhouse to cater for his impressively large frame. Heihachi taught the bear simple commands and hand signals, which Kuma picked up at an alarming speed. Kuma was even taught rudimentary Japanese. After two years, Heihachi realized the power contained in Kuma, and so he trained Kuma in the arts of Kuma Shinken.
None of Heihachi's associates could understand why Kuma was so intelligent, which led to a lot of them fleeing the estate in fear of the bear's intellect. This was further reinforced by Kuma's penchant for the taste of human flesh. Despite Kuma's unflinching loyalty to his master, Kuma liked to leave the side of Heihachi to sleep, even during the summer. This lazy approach means that Kuma's fighting style has never really matured and is very disjointed. This was demonstrated in the previous King of Iron Fist Tournament, where Kuma was easily defeated by Paul Phoenix.
Kuma was very impressed with Paul's fighting prowess, as he thought that the only strong human was Heihachi. Heihachi was defeated in the last tournament by Kazuya Mishima, and so the two retreated into a mountain dojo to re-train. Kuma traveled to the second tournament with his master, vowing to destroy Paul Phoenix this time. If anyone gets in his way, he would eat them.
Ending Description, "Paul Killer": Heihachi is aiding Kuma with his training. Kuma breaks several glass blocks with his paw. Heihachi throws two glass bottles into the air which Kuma breaks with a head butt. Kuma then breaks a brick wall (with a drawing of Paul on it) with another head butt. This ending is similar to Paul's Tekken ending.
Kuma makes a brief cameo in Tekken: The Motion Picture, where he can be seen in a tree.
Kuma is something of a "clone character", as he shares a lot of moves with the Jack Robots, although he does gain some unique moves, such as powerful claw swipes and a devastating "Bear Bite" throw. While strong, Kuma is put at a big disadvantage by his large hitbox, which, coupled with his slow speed, makes him an easy target with little evasive options. As such, he should be considered more of a comic relief character, as the Jack robots possess more attacking options and less vulnerability.
Kuma fights using an "original" fighting style called Kuma Shinken.
- The name "Kuma" means "bear" in Japanese (in kanji it is 熊).
- Kuma's sub-boss is his rival, Paul Phoenix.
- Kuma's sub-boss is, once again, Paul Phoenix.
- Kuma's ending is similar to Paul's ending from the first Tekken.