Leo Kliesen (レオ・クリーゼン Reo Kurīzen?) commonly known as Leo (レオ Reo?) is a character from the Tekken fighting game series by Namco. Leo was one of the newcomers first introduced in Tekken 6. Leo is from Germany and uses the fighting style of Baji Quan.
Leo is described as "cute" and "charming" on the surface, but dangerous on the inside. Despite their father's disappearance as a child, Leo's life is described as pleasant and peaceful. However, the assassination of their mother Emma Kliesen has shown Leo to be headstrong and dedicated to fighting for justice, especially when the case was dismissed by the police. This prompted them to conduct their own investigation, demonstrating that Leo is determined in their search for justice and answers. This determination drives Leo to take risks, like sneaking into a train full of armed men from the G Corporation in their Tekken Tag Tournament 2 ending (though this may be uncanonical).
Leo feels resentment towards the G Corporation, and in particular towards Kazuya Mishima, since they consider them responsible for the death of their mother.
Leo is shown to be somewhat of an anxious fighter, as indicated by their intro and win fighting pose: "Just relax. You can do it." and "Phew. That was a close one". During Scenario Campaign in Tekken 6, upon entering the G Corporation, Millennium Tower, Alisa Bosconovitch points out to Leo that their heart rate had increased by twenty beats per minute. Reasonable, Leo does not seek a fight unnecessarily.
Leo also appears to be afraid of monsters, for example, seeing Yoshimitsu in their Tekken 7 character episodes, causes Leo to flinch in fear. They even go as far as to knee Yoshimitsu in the crotch in attempt to get away from him in the latter's episode ending. However, Leo is brave in facing their fears and fighting for survival.
Prologue Text: Leo is the child of a world-famous spelunker and a G Corporation female executive.
Although Leo's father went missing during an expedition many years ago. It did not stop the youngster's desire to become a spelunker as well. Guided by the warmth of a single parent, the quiet youth grew to become an upstanding citizen, possessing a strong sense of justice.
However, their happy days together ended when Leo's mother was murdered by an unknown killer.
Leo was stricken with grief and shut out the rest of the world, but when the police ceased their investigation without explanation, despair changed to anger. Leo vowed to find the truth without help.
Version 2: Leo was part of a very talented family. Their father was a world-famous spelunker, while their mother served as a G Corporation executive. Although Leo's father disappeared during an expedition when Leo was a child, Leo still wanted to follow in the family tradition and become a spelunker.
Leo possessed a strong sense of character, thanks to a proper upbringing. Life was pleasant and relatively uneventful until one fateful day, when Leo's mother was killed by an unknown assailant. Depressed and filled with grief, Leo became incensed when the police called-off their investigation quickly and without explanation. Leo vowed to find the truth.
During Leo's own investigation, the G Corporation's Kazuya Mishima materialized as a person of interest. The G Corporation was popularized at the time as a world hero, making it difficult to get close to Kazuya, and it looked as though Leo's quest had reached an insurmountable impasse. It was at this time that news of the Mishima Zaibatsu-sponsored The King of Iron Fist Tournament began to spread. Leo learned that Kazuya Mishima was scheduled to appear in person at the event. Realizing that this may be the only chance to take revenge against Kazuya, Leo decided to enter the contest.
During the investigation, eventually the name Kazuya Mishima of the G Corporation came up. Suspecting his connection with the murder, Leo attempted to meet with the man. However, with Kazuya's newfound status as a world hero through the actions of the G Corporation. It was impossible to get within his proximity.
It was then that news spread of the Mishima Zaibatsu holding The King of Iron Fist Tournament 6. Leo found out that Kazuya Mishima was to appear in person at the tournament. Deciding that this may be the only chance to take revenge, Leo enters the tournament.
Ending Description: Leo pays a visit to Emma Kliesen's grave and finds a letter reading "Dear Leo." Leo reads it and then turns around suddenly to find no one standing there. The camera pans over Leo's face then points up.
Prologue Text: Leo entered the King of Iron Fist Tournament in the hope of uncovering more about his deceased mother, who had been a researcher for the Mishima Zaibatsu. When Leo learned that his battle arena was to be a Zaibatsu-owned dojo, he couldn't believe his luck.
However, when he got there, the dojo was in ruins. The moonlight poured in through holes in the walls and roof, illuminating the floor with an eerie beauty. A short while later, a strange, floating silhouette appeared, and slowly glided toward Leo.
The silhouette held a sword in its left hand that rotated at a mind-bending speed. What the hell was this thing? It looked like some kind of a flying squid or octopus! Was it a demon...?
Then it finally dawned on Leo: This bizarre creature was his opponent. Cautiously, he prepared to fight.
Ending Description: After defeating Yoshimitsu, Leo ponders as to what he is exactly. Bending down, Leo pokes at one of Yoshimitsu's tentacles and immediately jumps back in shock when it starts to squirm. Remembering the mission, Leo bids Yoshimitsu farewell and leaves.
Ending Description: Leo is seen on a train that seems to belong to G Corporation. Leo sneaks in and reads from a computer that Emma Kliesen was once a supervisor for the Mishima Zaibatsu's Devil Gene program. The cells of the devil gene merge together with a normal person's cells, so the Mishima Zaibatsu created a synthetic strand to use. The program was cancelled after various fatalities of the test subjects. Emma had also reported the "death" of NT01. Suddenly while Leo is saving the information onto a USB, the computer's owner arms himself and goes back into his cabin. Leo manages to get back on the train's roof only to be surrounded by three armed men. Swearing to find their mother's murderers, Leo jumps out of the train and fires a hook that lands on the ledge.
- Michelle Chang
- Ling Xiaoyu
- Feng Wei
- Lei Wulong
- Lili de Rochefort
- Marshall Law
- Forest Law
- Wang Jinrei
- Kazuya Mishima
- Eddy Gordo
Leo appears as an unlockable character in Tekken Revolution.
Leo appears as a servant of Lili who in reality is only trying to gain the trust of Mr. Rochefort in an attempt to become his successor to gain resources to fight the G Corporation and avenge his mother. He learnt Bajiquan specifically for this purpose. Unlike in the games, Leo is explicitly portrayed as a male in the comic.
Leo appears as an unlockable character in Tekken (Mobile). Leo can be unlocked by playing the featured act entitled "It was me, Leo!" in the update of Tekken (Mobile) Version 0.6 with new Leo arc, customizations, and a new token reward system with many game design changes. Leo also comes with four new appearances which can be seen in Leo Kliesen/Outfits page.
Leo is defined by a balanced gameplay and is good at just about everything: Leo has lots of fast, strong combos and multi-hits, stunning blows that strike high and low. Leo is also very safe, because Leo's moves have little lag or recovery in between. Many of the attacks, however, are pretty straightforward and predictable, so Leo is prone to be sidestepped. Leo also has a reversal with a larger than average window than most character's reversals. This reversal however deals damage only when it is used against kicks and only parries the opponent when used against punches.
Leo practices Baji Quan, a Chinese martial art famous for its powerful elbow strikes, arm/fist strikes, hip checks and strikes with the shoulder, delivered with explosive, short-range power.
This style, mixed with other Chinese martial arts and Pro-Wrestling, is also practiced by Julia Chang and Michelle Chang. Leo, however, is the first Tekken character to practice this style alone, in its purest form.
- Leo Kliesen/Tekken 6 Movelist
- Leo Kliesen/Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Movelist
- Leo Kliesen/Tekken 7 Movelist
- Mr. Kliesen - Father of Leo.
- Emma Kliesen - Deceased mother of Leo.
- Kazuya Mishima - Kazuya is implied to have killed Leo's mother.
- Asuka Kazama - Leo's friend in the Online Tekken Comic (non-canon).
- Lili de Rochefort - Leo is Lili's bodyguard in the Online Tekken Comic (non-canon).
- Yoshimitsu - Leo's opponent in Tekken 7. Yoshimitsu's squid-like appearance and eccentric behavior is shown to unnerve Leo.
- There has been quite debate concerning Leo's gender as Katsuhiro Harada confirmed Leo to be female at the Cologne premiere of Tekken: Blood Vengeance and redacted his statement, saying that Leo was a female character named Eleonore Kliesen (エレオノール・クリーゼン) in the initial concept, but later the gender was changed to neutral.
- Despite Harada's public statement, English localizations of Leo's story still refer to Leo occasionally as male and categorize Leo to be with male characters.
- It should be noted that in the original, Japanese texts, Leo is often referred to either by name or by gender-neutral terms.
- Leo's creation as gender ambiguous was to have a character become popular to both male and female fans/players regardless of gender. In spite of what was stated, Leo's outfits and customization are more masculine with every game appearance.
- Leo is ranked #22 in ugo.com's The 25 Most Androgynous Video Game Characters.
- Leo can equip both male and female accessories in Tekken 6 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2, while in Tekken 7 they can equip mostly just male accessories.
- In the non-canonical Online Tekken Comic, Leo is portrayed as a male. In most video game appearances, Leo is only occasionally seen or thought to be male.
- Harada clarified again in October 2021, that Leo is not interested in gender classifications, stating simply that "Leo is Leo".
- It is unknown how Leo's father died, or if he did for certain.
- Leo can equip a sledgehammer which is a male item, but Leo also can have pigtail hair bases which is usually for female fighters only. Also, Leo's animation through continue, next round, Scenario Campaign dialogue, and how Leo stands and runs during Scenario Campaign gameplay are those of male characters.
- In the Scenario Campaign, however, both Heihachi and Anna refer to Leo as a "boy", most likely due to Leo's main appearance.
- Wang also calls Leo "Sonny", for the same reason as above.
- Leo cannot be attacked by Anna and Nina's Bitch Slaps, which is usable against females; but by Heihachi's Headbutt Carnival (f,F+1+4), which is usable against males.
- In the Tekken 6 Limited Edition Art Book's Designers' Sketches, Leo is under the Male Characters section.
- Leo is one of the few characters who face Kazuya Mishima in the Arena mode.
- Leo is the only character introduced in Tekken 6 that does not have a unique crouch animation.
- The motion capture for several of Leo's attacks was supervised by Tetsuya Hattori of the Kaimon Kensha, a Chinese Martial Arts group based in Japan, who also helped supervise motion capture in the Dead or Alive series.
- Despite speaking English in the game, Leo will speak German before facing Kuma in Kuma's Scenario Campaign stage.
- In the first trailer for Tekken 6, Leo notably had some grunts that were later cut in the released version.
- Leo now speaks in their native language, German, voiced by male voice actor Philipp Zieschang. Thus, Leo's voice sounds more masculine or tomboyish with a deeper pitch.
- Leo has got two swimsuits: a bikini revealing Leo's cleavage, giving a more feminine look, and the surfer swimsuit that gives Leo a masculine look, flat-chested and looking like pectorals.
- Leo's ending continues on from their main character story in Tekken 6 and contains details that correlate to the canonical games. As such, despite Tekken Tag Tournament 2 being a non-canonical game, Leo is one of the few characters whose ending are canonically followed through Tekken 7.
- It is likely the letter Leo saw from Tekken 6 ending contained one of G Corporation’s train addresses where the information relating Emma’s past researches being preserved there.
- Leo’s ending is chronologically followed by Steve’s ending, to further an evidence relating to Emma’s past involvements prior to joining G Corp.
- One of Leo's victory lines "Lucky me", which was carried over from Tekken 6, is now said by Leo in their native tongue "Ich Glücklicher". In German, this line unmistakably makes Leo identifying themselves as male, roughly translating back into "I'm a lucky [guy]".
- It should be noted that it is impossible to translate the "lucky" part of the line to German in a gender-neutral manner thus making the line difficult to translate precisely without additional words for clarification.
- The voice line was also directly carried over from the German localization of Tekken 6 when Leo was speaking English. At that time, it was assumed that the translators did not know about Leo's gender ambiguity and Leo distinctively referring to themselves as male was a simple localization oversight.
- This also would explain why in Yoshimitsu's ending, he thought Leo was male, but also made a comment on how "delicate" Leo appeared. The same goes for Leo’s character episode biography that used male pronouns (in English).
- In Tekken 7, Leo was removed from all "Tekken Girls" related products and images, though not from the female character line-up.
- Leo has a facial hair item, which not all male characters have. This is most likely to go with Leo's Musketeer/Buccaneer outfit.
- Leo has 3 female tops in this game, as opposed to only the winter coat in TTT2. Strangely, Leo has both Training Jacket (male) and Tracksuit Top (female), which are somewhat similar and it would be redundant for Leo to have both. However, all of Leo's bottoms are those of male characters. This is most likely to enhance Leo's gender ambiguity.
- On the Tekken 7 official site, Leo is listed under both male and female fighters.
- In Tekken (Mobile), where Leo is one of the unlockable characters, there’s an act entitled “It was me, Leo!”, a reference to a famous line from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure antagonist Dio Brando.
- ^ a b c Leo's dialogue in the Scenario Campaign
- ^ Harada PD & Yonemori P Talk Show in NAMCO Nipponbashi TEKKEN Museum See also trivia section for further details
- ^ Katsuhiro Harada Twitter post about Leo
- ^ https://www.tekken-official.jp/tk6br/characters/leo.html
- ^ Tekken Zaibatsu profiles, preserved here
- ^ Leo's gender revealed at Tekken BV event
- ^ http://www.twitlonger.com/show/na1kdv
- ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/Harada_TEKKEN/status/1445384736654991361