is a video game character created by SNK Playmore (formerly SNK). He makes his first appearance in the fighting game Fatal Fury: King of Fighters as one of the three playable characters from the game. The Fatal Fury series introduce Joe as a goofy Muay Thai fighter who enters the King of Fighters tournament along with the Bogard brothers (Terry and Andy) in order to defeat the host Geese Howard to take revenge for the death of Terry and Andy's father. In the meantime, Joe also seeks to fight new rivals through the tournament and keep practicing Muay Thai. Finally fighting as Muay Thai champion Joe is defeated by a Taekwondo girl, May lee in a Muay Thai tournament. Joe is also a recurring character in The King of Fighters series, as part of the Fatal Fury Team initially composed of Joe, Terry and Andy. He was also added to the crossover Capcom vs. SNK Pro along with the sequel Capcom vs. SNK 2.
Apart from the video games, Joe has also appeared in the animated films from the Fatal Fury series which retell the story from the games. His character has been well-received by gamers, appearing in several popularity polls developed by video games journals and website. He has also become a mascot from the Neo Geo Freak journal. Video games publications have liked Joe's character, having noted his gameplay and development in games.
Joe normally fights wearing a headband with the Japanese flag, short pants and bandages around his arms. He also has black hair, which is short in the first Fatal Fury game, but becomes long in the following games. In the first Fatal Fury game and The King of Fighters XII, Joe wears yellow shorts with orange lines and an orange belt. He also sports bandage above his feet and his hands. In Fatal Fury 2 and most The King of Fighters titles, Joe wears orange pants with yellow lines and without a belt. He also has more bandages, which now cover more his arms and legs. In Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory and Real Bout Fatal Fury, he once again sports yellow pants but with a red belt and sign on it saying "Joe". In the two following titles, Real Bout Fatal Fury Special and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers, Joe now wears blue pants with red lines and a red belt, and now has blue socks instead of his bandages in the legs. Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition features Joe with a similar appearance from the one of Fatal Fury 2, but with orange and black pants. In various titles from The King of Fighters, Joe has his Fatal Fury 2 outfit but with red socks and with the belt saying "Joe".
Although Joe's place of origin is Japan, he spent the majority of his time at Thailand, where he trained Muay Thai. It was through his victories that Joe got the nickname "Hurricane Upper" Joe Higashi. Joe earned his title as the champion of Muay Thai by beating Hwa Jai in a Muay Thai only tournament. Hwa Jai later joined the King of Fighters tournament in order to exact revenge against Joe but failed, and after admitting his defeat they're good friends and sparring partners. Ever since then, Joe has been defending his title against lesser opponents. At first, Joe was a stoic character who lived for fighting and training. As time passed, he becomes a pretty goofy man who self proclaims himself to be a genius with mostly everything. He does not take battle as serious as the Bogards, but he loves to fight. He dates Lilly Kane, the sister of Geese Howard's right-hand man, Billy Kane. Billy greatly disapproves this, normally going to the point of "rescuing" his sister from Joe.
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