Athena Asamiya is the protagonist of Psycho Soldier; she may or may not be related to Athena from a previous SNK game. With her special psychic powers (referred to as "Psycho Power"), and alongside her friend Sie Kensou, she defends Japan from evil monsters.
She later appears in The King of Fighters series, being one of the few characters to appear in every main entry. She is part of the Psycho Soldier Team along with Kensou and KOF original Chin Gentsai. In KOF '99-2001, Bao joins the team, while in KOF XI, Momoko replaces Chin. In KOF 2003, which does not feature the Psycho Soldier Team, Athena instead forms the High School Girls Team with Hinako Shijou and newcomer Malin.
Athena is also known for wearing a different costume in almost every game that she appears in. As part of her redesign in KOF XII, she dons her original dark-blue school uniform from Psycho Soldier.
Athena's physical fighting style is Chinese Boxing, but essentially all of her special moves utilize her psychic powers. She has an unusually high, floaty jump.
- Air Throw (Psycho Shoot): Athena can grab opponents from the air. Not present in KOF XII/XIII.
- Renkantai: A jumping, two-step kick. Not available in KOF XII/XIII.
- Phoenix Bomb: A aerial hip attack that causes Athena to bounce away upon contact
- Psycho Ball: Athena loudly shouts "Psycho Ball!" as she throws a fireball by crossing her arms. Infamously, early KOFs' blocking mechanics provide ways to make the move unblockable.
- Psycho Sword: Athena shouts the name of this attack as she flies upward with a blade of psychic energy. This move can be performed in the air.
- Phoenix Arrow: An aerial move which sends Athena spinning to the ground. In the Heavy variation, she follows up with a slanted handstand kick.
- Super Psychic Throw: A command grab that sends the opponent into the air; in early games, she places an orb on them and points upward, while in XII/XIII she closes her eyes and overwhelms the opponent with psychic energy. She can either let them fall to the ground or follow up with her own attack.
- Psycho Teleport: Athena twirls around, then quickly warps across the screen. She can perform this move in the air in KOF XI.
- Psycho Reflector: Athena creates an energy barrier that reflects projectiles.
- Psycho Shoot: Exclusive to the NESTS-saga games, this is a slower projectile that launches the opponent into the air.
- Shining Crystal Bit: Athena surrounds herself in psychic energy, which deals heavy damage to anyone unfortunate enough to touch it. She can also perform this move in the air. Pre-HD KOFs have a followup, Crystal Shoot, during which she collects power on her fingertip and shoots it forward.
- Phoenix Fang Arrow: Athena performs Phoenix Arrow multiple times by teleporting before she hits the ground.
- Psychic 9: Exclusive to KOF 2002. Athena performs nine attacks, one for each of her previous costumes, before using one of three finishers. A "Deadly Rave" style move, meaning that the player must perform an input for each attack.
- Psycho Medley: A Hidden Super Desperation Move variation of Psychic 9 with more extravagant finishers.
- Super Phoenix Infinity: Athena's Leader Desperation Move in The King of Fighters XI. She surrounds herself in a Phoenix-like aura, flies into the air, and falls down diagonally. The move is completely unblockable.
- Psycho Medley 13: Athena's Neo Max in KOF XIII. She launches the opponent into the air and knocks them around, changing into a different costume for each hit. She then summons Greek warriors who turn into psychic energy and converge on the opponent.