February 28, 2020
|Oh, you nasty beast! Give this babe a break!|
Yuri Sakazaki made her debut in 1993's Art of Fighting as the damsel in distress, kidnapped by Mr. Big and rescued by her brother Ryo along with their best friend Robert Garcia. The end of the fighting game finishes in a cliffhanger as Ryo is about to finish off the mysterious Mr. Karate who was the last character between him and Yuri. Within the game's story it is revealed that Mr. Karate is indeed Takuma, their father who has been conned by a man named Geese Howard to work for him and had kidnapped Yuri in order to ensure his loyalty.
In Art of Fighting 2 (1994) Yuri becomes part of the cast of characters participating in the first ever King of Fighters hosted by Geese Howard. This would be the first and only time she is a playable character within the series. Her part within the game is diminished as just a contender within said tournament, as well as adding Takuma into the roster playing a similar role. By this time she was inducted into Takuma's martial arts training to become a fighter of her own and fend off any other possible incidents like the one happening in the previous game. It is not certain who defeated Yuri before the tournament ended however; being that Ryo was the chosen victor story-wise. In this game Yuri is seen as a sassy young woman who cares much about her figure, thus fighting her within a gym on her stage.
Art of Fighting 2
In Art of Fighting 3 (1996) Yuri follows Ryo trying to find Robert after he sets on a journey in Mexico. She does not participate on any of the brawls taking within the game nor is a playable character, going back to her NPC status since part 2. It is noted that this is the time when Robert takes an interest on her, something Ryo is very wary about. It is also stated that her reason to not be active as a fighter was because she was wounded by Sinclair at some point.
Art of Fighting 3
While the official canonically timeline ends there, Yuri would be highly active in the King of Fighters game tournaments, avidly added into the women's team of any other iteration and at times being part of the Art of Fighting team. Because this series is not official within the AoF and FF series, none of the events on which she appears are tied with the original ones, and she is not within the main protagonist group on any of the games story wise. Her ending depends on the team she is part of at any title of said series, but still does not affect the original timeline.
King of Fighters '96
Likewise in spinoff games like the Capcom vs SNK series, Yuri appears to fight within their own created tournaments. Again, any given ending here does not reflect her original timeline. She is seen as the counterpart to Street Fighter's Sakura.
Yuri does not appear on any Fatal Fury titles or its sequels/spinoffs nor is even mentioned. In another crossover titled SVC Chaos she is also absent. She would appear on KoF spinoff Maximum Impact titles however, as well as some titles for portable game systems.
It is not concise to determine what became of her after the Art of Fighting series within that storyline, although some sites state she would have stayed alongside Ryo in running their family Dojo business.
The OAV adaptation
In the Anime adaptation, Yuri is also kidnapped by Mr. Big, but there is no mention of Mr. Karate or Geese Howard anywhere within the OAV, having Ryo and Robert fight the crime lord himself along with some of the characters from the first game like Jack, King, and John Crawley. The Anime also omits any other references to non-appearing characters and plotlines, such as Todoh becoming a bumbling detective instead of a martial artist.
Art of Fighting at TV Tropes
Yuri Sakazaki's moveset at Fight-a-base
Yuri Section at Fighters Generation
Art of Fighting OAV at MAL