Reiko is a grim and stoic looking man with a penchant for brutality. He was originally introduced in a typical ninja archetype in Mortal Kombat 4. Reiko also has several similarities to Shao Kahn and has developed a desire to become the ruler of Outworld.
In his first appearance, Reiko appeared as a male adult with glowing blue eyes and black markings on his face, similar to Shang Tsung's in MK3. He appears to be a slightly older man, with grey/white hair at his temples and wrinkles on his forehead and the corners of his eyes, giving him a somewhat stern and grizzled appearance. Much like many of the characters that debuted in MK4, Reiko bore a facial semblance to another person in the MK team, with the case of Reiko being Ed Boon himself. His attire was the standard ninja outfit with a maroon sheen, although he lacked the traditional mask and the insignia of The Brotherhood of Shadow was printed on the back. This outfit was used in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon as his alternate costume, excluding the Brotherhood of Shadow insignia. Making his reappearance in Armageddon, he was redesigned to feature an outfit strikingly similar to Shao Kahn, as a reference to him fancying wearing his helmet and pretending to be him when he was not around. However, unlike Shao Kahn, he wears pants and his skin is slightly tanned.
Originally, Noob Saibot existed in Reiko's place on the character selection grid for MK4. It was decided that the game had too many ninjas already, which was a subject of complaint from Mortal Kombat Trilogy, the game most immediately prior to MK4, in addition to Noob Saibot being described as being too hard to see in some stages as he blended into the background very easily. Due to this, Noob Saibot was remade into Reiko. The outfit for Reiko was largely unchanged from the Noob Saibot character model; only the character's head was changed, while the colors were changed, a Brotherhood of Shadow emblem was added to the back, and spikes were added to the forearms. Home versions of MK4 included Noob Saibot as a secret character, and it can clearly be seen that the character model is virtually identical to Reiko's.
With MK4's arcade release, it was hinted that Reiko has an affiliation with Kia and Sareena, as mentioned on the game's official website and in the official strategy guide. This was justified by both wearing the emblem of the Brotherhood of Shadow on their clothing and that the events of Mortal Kombat 4 mostly followed up on the events of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero.
There was initially some confusion as to what weapon Reiko would use in Armageddon. Early videos showed him using a giant sword called the Devastator, but a later versus screen render showed him wielding a hammer known as the Crude Hammer, similar to Shao Kahn's Wrath Hammer. However, another versus screen render released soon after this showed him holding the Devastator once again, causing question as to which was correct. Upon the release of the game, it was revealed that Reiko was indeed using the Crude Hammer as his weapon, while the Devastator was given to Fujin.
Powers and Abilities
Reiko is a powerful fighter, skilled in the use of shuriken and while originally depicted as favoring dodges and various teleports in his first appearance in MK4 and Mortal Kombat Gold, he gained a variation of Shao Kahn's shoulder charge and was shown to be strong enough to wield the Crude Hammer with ease.
The current timeline has further revealed Reiko's brilliant tactical mind, showing his capacity to form strategies to lure opponents to their deaths or expose weaknesses he can exploit. Reiko was also shown to be strong enough to dominate Jax Briggs in a one-on-one battle and when his power was enhanced by Blood Magik from two Kamidogu, Reiko became strong enough to shatter Kotal Kahn's sword with his bare hands and easily beat the Osh-Tek into submission and rip D'Vorah's body in half with no effort. Even after being temporarily killed by Mileena, upon reviving thanks to the Blood Code, Reiko was strong enough to battle her, Kotal Kahn, and Ermac, one of Shao Kahn's most powerful creations, to a virtual standstill before he was killed a second time.
- Assassin Throwing Stars: Reiko throws a stack of shurikens at the opponent all at once. In Armageddon, he throws them one-by-one. (MK4, MKG, MK:A)
- Quick Spin Behind: Reiko does a quick top-like spin and slides around the opponent to their back in one quick motion. Also known as "3D Teleport", as it is a prime example of MK4's quasi-3D. (MK4, MKG)
- Vertical Teleport: Reiko leaps upwards disappearing in the air, then reappears behind the opponent coming up through the ground. This attack was borrowed from Noob Saibot. Reiko can forego the slam & instead attack the opponent normally when he comes up, whereas Noob could not. (MK4, MKG)
- Shadow Grab: While performing the Vertical Teleport, Reiko grabs and slams the opponent to the ground upon reappearing behind them. Copied from Noob Saibot's Teleport Slam. (MK4, MKG, MK:A)
- Flip Kick: Reiko twists his body in an impossible fashion, landing a backflip kick with one foot without his opposite foot even leaving the ground. Li Mei received this move later in Deadly Alliance and Deception under the name Carnival Spin. In Armageddon, the move was renamed Devastating Flip Kick. (MK4, MKG, MK:A)
- Charging Pain: Reiko performs a shoulder ram like that of Shao Kahn's, but with a bluish energy representation of Shao Kahn's helmet covering his head. (MK:A)
- Throw: Reiko lifts his foe up & power bombs them into the floor while shouting random gibberish. If performed too close to a wall, Reiko will instead whipslam his foe to the ground. (MK4)
- Shoulder Break: Reiko turns his foe around & quickly wrenches both of their arms upward in reverse. His foe can be attacked before they are able to turn back around. (MK4)
- Flipping Strikes: Reiko grabs his opponent and smashes them against the ground with his fist, causing them to bounce up into the air. Reiko follows up the attack with a flipping soccer-esque kick to their backside, sending them headfirst back onto the ground. (MKA)
- Thrust Kick: Reiko delivers a mighty kick to the opponent's torso which causes it to fly straight off as the arms and head are left spinning in midair. The legs crumple to the ground, with the arms and head landing on the ground one-by-one moments later. (MK4, MKG)
- Shuriken Barrage: Reiko throws a deadly multitude of shurikens at the opponent, covering the entire body before throwing the last one to the head. The opponent then collapses and dies in a puddle of their own blood. (MK4, MKG)
The Reiko/Kahn controversy
For the most part, Reiko began as a simple new character added to put new faces in MK4. However, as the game arrived on PlayStation and Game Boy Color, some alarming and heavily-debated developments took place. In the early releases of MK4, Reiko's ending showed him stepping through a portal and nothing more. However, as the game made its way into home systems, this scene was further elaborated on. On the other side of the portal, Reiko arrived in Shao Kahn's throne room, where the Emperor's skull mask lowered onto his face. This quickly led to a division among fans, some believing that Reiko was actually Shao Kahn or becoming his successor, with others rejecting the idea entirely.
The "Reiko is not Kahn" faction put forth the arguments that many MK character endings are not canon; many previous endings had been neglected in developing the story to date. Another argument was the great difference in heights of the characters, Shao Kahn being much taller than Reiko. Also given is an episode of Mortal Kombat: Conquest in which Reiko and Shao Kahn are seen together. On top of that, used as evidence was Ed Boon's confirmation that the two were not the same.
In truth, little thought was put in either version of Reiko's ending. His original ending, in which he simply walked into a portal and disappears, was created as nothing more than a joke. As the home versions were released, it was decided Reiko's joke ending was not funny, and the extra scene in which Reiko dons Shao Kahn's mask was added to give an element of mystery to the character (this ending is only seen in the PC and Playstation versions, however; the Nintendo 64 version of Reiko's ending - same as the Arcade version, which also was not made in FMV - does not include the scene after he crosses the portal).
Due to the fact that the Game Boy Color version of the game lacked full motion video endings, the developer, Digital Eclipse, was forced to elaborate on Reiko's ending and its meaning on their own. Therefore, they followed on Reiko's extended ending mentioning his quest to conquer Earth. But due to the fact that not even the makers of Reiko's extended ending were sure if he would indeed be Shao Kahn, the Game Boy ending was kept vague and non-specific. Later this ending along with the other home version endings were all put to rest with an official statement that Reiko and Shao Kahn were not the same person and never were meant to be.
Deception used its Konquest mode to debunk the myth that Reiko is Shao Kahn. There is a mission in which Shao Kahn sends Shujinko to give Reiko a warning, after Kahn hears a rumor that Reiko has been sneaking into his chamber to wear his helmet. Reiko tells Shujinko that he likes to wear Shao Kahn's helmet. Moreover, Reiko claims he is a commander in Shao Kahn's army. The anticlimactic nature of this explanation is probably the result of Midway poking fun at the situation. John Vogel, who is currently in charge of Mortal Kombat's storyline, has confirmed that Reiko and Shao Kahn are not the same person. Additionally, backwards speech given during Deception's Konquest mode by male residents of Chaosrealm and Netherrealm (who are actually voiced by Vogel himself) very bluntly state, when reversed, that Reiko is not Shao Kahn.
Reiko's return in Armageddon finally put the issue to rest with him and Kahn being included as separate characters. However, Reiko's attire was changed to even further resemble Kahn's, including a hammer weapon similar to Kahn's own Wrath Hammer and a special move in which Reiko charges the opponent with what appears to be a glowing energy version of Kahn's helmet covering his head, further poking fun at the fan controversy. Also, his ending in this game, as stated above, can be seen as some kind of joke after the parallelism between him and Kahn, as it happens much like the way his MK4 ending does – with Reiko wearing Kahn's helmet and becoming the new sovereign of Outworld.
In a GameInformer review for the Nintendo Wii version of Armageddon, a screenshot showing Reiko performing his charge move at Liu Kang is present. In the screenshot's caption, the authors mistakingly joke that Shao Kahn is teaching Liu Kang dance moves to pick up women, while in reality, the character charging at Liu Kang in the photo is actually Reiko.
The issue was laid to rest for several years, with a clear canonical answer that Reiko was not Shao Kahn. However, in 2012, John Tobias made an appearance on James Fink's "On Blast Show" where he spoke on the previous controversy. There he stated that his intention in creating Reiko was originally that he was "Shao Kahn somehow reincarnated as a general" and that "he would eventually rebecome Shao Kahn". However, these plans never panned out, with the characters eventually being made explicitly different people.
Appearances in other media
Reiko's sole live appearance on the aforementioned Mortal Kombat: Conquest partially acknowledges his early video game biographies as a devout general of Shao Kahn. Though he is never seen in combat, Reiko acts as a military messenger for the emperor, informing him of developments in Outworld that Kahn himself cannot witness firsthand from the throne. Reiko encountered the encroaching armies of Kreeya on the borders of Outworld and engaged in their destruction while fighting Kreeya's Amazonian forces. Reiko was one of the few warriors unshakably loyal to Shao Kahn, swearing fealty on the emperor's sword and threatening death by his hand to anyone who betrayed Kahn.
Reiko also has a very minor one-frame appearance in the official MK4 comic that was distributed with some versions of the game. He was shown as one of the hundreds of warriors travelling to Edenia through a portal to aid Shinnok in his invasion of the realm.
In Deception's Konquest mode, in addition to appearing in Outworld regarding the mission involving Shao Kahn's helmet, Reiko also appears in Edenia. He orders the player, as Shujinko, to bring a secret communication to a soldier in Shao Kahn's army. Reiko is also seen as a prisoner in the background of the "Dark Prison" stage in the game.
Though this character is male, Reiko is actually a feminine Japanese name, meaning "beautiful" or "lovely child,"(Hotaru is another male character in Mortal Kombat series who uses what is normally a female Japanese name) causing another bizarre controversy. His name is clearly pronounced "RAY-ko," but was often misheard as "REE-ko" in MK4 and Gold, causing debate among fans over how his name is meant to be pronounced. Also, in his Armageddon Kombat Card video, John Vogel and Ed Boon pronounced his name "RAI-ko."
- Reiko was added in the first revision of the second major revision for Mortal Kombat 4, replacing the ? icon seen in the first release.
- Has the same fighting stance as Jax, Jarek, and Noob Saibot.
- One of two characters (the other being Sektor) to never speak in their respective ending or in any of the endings.
- Reiko is never generally grouped with the male ninjas, despite his costume essentially being a minor modification of the standard male ninja attire though without a mask.
- Reiko's ending in the arcade and Nintendo 64 versions of MK4 was lengthened in other releases. He is the only character to receive such a change.
- He is one of the unplayable characters seen trapped in a cage in the Dark Prison stage.
- In Konquest mode, he can be found in Outworld and Edenia.
- There are two erratums in his in-game Move List; his False Emperor style-branching combo is misspelled as "False Emporer," and his Flipping Strikes throw attack is misspelled as "Flipping Stikes".
- Reiko's Assassin Throwing Stars special move allows the player to make 50 coins per every use, making him a candidate for an easy way to make money in the game. Using only his Assassin Throwing Stars attack in Versus Mode and achieving a Flawless Victory for 2 rounds allows a guaranteed 1100 coins per match [+___ (coin amount) depending on which kind of Fatality you perform afterwards].
- He appears in the background of the Pit II stage fighting Daegon, Frost, Kenshi, or Sareena, his appearance unchanged from Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.
- After Sub-Zero is taken away, Shang Tsung mentions his name in the next match against Kenshi.
- Also, in the cutscene before the battle between Kabal and Cyber Sub-Zero, in the latter's POV, one of the pictures is that of Reiko.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Reiko's Bio Card. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Premium Edition Bonus Disc, Midway Games, 2006.
- ↑ MK4 Road Tour Report. The Realm of Mortal Kombat. Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
- ↑ MK4 IRC Developers Chat. The Realm of Mortal Kombat (1998-08-12). Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
- ↑ MortalKombat.Com's Fight Night 1999. Mortal Kombat Online (1999-08-25). Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
- ↑ Official Mortal Kombat 4 Site. Midway Games. Archived from the original on 1998-01-22.
- ↑ Template:Cite book
- ↑ Reiko's Ending. Mortal Kombat 4, Midway Games, 1997.
- ↑ Reiko's Ending (FMV). Mortal Kombat 4 (PlayStation), Midway Games, 1998.
- ↑ Ed Boon MortalKombat.com Chat. Mortal Kombat Online (2001-04-11). Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
- ↑ Ed Boon DragonData.com Chat. Mortal Kombat Online (1999-09-16). Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
- ↑ Reiko's Ending. Mortal Kombat 4 (GBC version), Digital Eclipse, 1999.
- ↑ Male Citizen: "Reiko is not Shao Kahn, though sometimes, he secretly wears the emperor's helmet." Konquest mode (Reversed). Mortal Kombat: Deception, Midway Games, 2004.
- ↑ John Tobias's comments on the "On Blast Show"
- ↑ Episode 16 - Kreeya. Mortal Kombat: Conquest Episode Guide. The Mortal Kombat Conquest Site. Retrieved on 2007-01-28.
- ↑ Episode 20 - Balance of Power. Mortal Kombat: Conquest Episode Guide. The Mortal Kombat Conquest Site. Retrieved on 2007-01-28.
- ↑ Mortal Kombat 4 Limited Edition Comic Book. 1998, Midway Games
- ↑ Reiko: "Halt. I am Reiko, general of Shao Kahn's army. You will carry this document to an Outworld foot soldier near the palace, who will take it to Shao Kahn himself." Konquest mode. Mortal Kombat: Deception, Midway Games, 2004.
- The Kombat Pavilion – Fan site with information on the Reiko-Kahn controversy. Due to the page being out of date, it argues against the now-canon explanation.