Samurai Shodown 3/Gaira Kafuin

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花諷院骸羅, Kafuin Gaira


Gaira’s illustrious college football career came to a grinding halt when he accidentally killed someone during a game. He was expelled and sent to serve as a monk at a local Buddhist shrine in the hopes that he would learn to control his temper. He didn’t.

Gaira is the boisterous nephew of Samurai Shodown 2 veteran Nicotine Caffeine. He uses his large stature, the strength that comes with it, free guard cancels, and huge normals with surprising speed to pummel, grapple, and SHOUT his opponents into submission.

Slash Gaira could be classified as a more 'mixup' oriented incarnation, for lack of a better descriptor. He boasts an incredible anti-air grab, two threatening hitgrabs that form a high/low mixup at close range, and an all purpose high damage shoulder tackle that provides corner carry and makes his punishes seriously hurt. This versatile toolkit lends itself to conditioning the opponent to block a certain way and hurting them for it. A lot.

Bust Gaira is all grappler, all the time, mixups be damned. He gains a 236S series that keeps him close to the opponent and counterpokes like nobody's business, but his command throw is the star of the show. It cashes in hard on unjumpable setups, can combo on hit AND block, and it’s one of the best guard cancels a monk could ask for. He wants nothing more than to be in his opponent's face and hammer toss them to the ends of feudal Japan.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • High damage, long range buttons, and speed to match
  • Slash has one of the strongest anti airs in the game
  • Bust doesn't even need to mix up the opponent for his damage
  • Large hurtbox makes him susceptible to character specific combos and crossups
  • Slash has to correctly guess and condition the opponent for large damage
  • Bust has little in the way of combo game and his toolset is limited


Damage taken Rage rate Rage duration Throw startup Deflect advantage Deflect disadvantage modifier
95% 100% 3.5 sec 14f +30 ±0

Normal Moves

Far Slashes

  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - A very swift hook that moves Gaira forward with each use. Not his go-to anti-air, but I suppose you could tag someone with this.
  • (Properties) - Cancellable. Deflectable. Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - Gaira's primary poke, boasting great reach, decent speed, and decent damage. Gaira swings his beads at a slight downward angle, striking anyone caught in their path. No whiffing on crouching characters in this game, folks. While special cancellable, Gaira is sadly too far away to connect into anything. Bust can't even land a command throw afterwards. There's always 22AB though.
  • (Properties) - Deflectable. Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - Remember when I said Far 5B had great reach? Well, so does Far 5C, hitting at right about the same max distance. Gaira takes a mighty step forward and clocks his opponent in the jaw with his mala beads. After the initial strike, Gaira takes a step back to his original position. Very good for stopping your opponent if they're carelessly running towards you, or underestimate Gaira's range.
  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - Not much to say here. Just a basic crouching jab. Hits mid, decent speed, but doesn't move Gaira forward like his Far 5A.
  • (Properties) - Deflectable. Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - Similar to Gaira's Far 2A, his Far 2B is a less versatile version of his Far 5B. Boasting less range and slightly more recovery, no real reason to use this over it's standing variant.
  • (Properties) - Deflectable. Air Unblockable.
  • (Properties) - Gaira swings his beads in a horizontal path similar to Far 2B, but boasting equal range to 5B/5C, and the damage associated with heavy slashes! Getting hit by this will ruin anyone's day.

Near Slashes

  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable
  • (Properties) - A standard jab. Decent speed/range, all things considered. You can use this if you think you're opponent is going to try to up back, but also if you don't want to use Gaira's other hard read AA options for whatever reason.
  • (Properties) - Cancellable. Deflectable. Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - Gaira thrusts his mighty arm upward, striking the opponent in the face with a fistful of mala beads. This will absolutely blow up bad jump-ins and crossup attempts. But what makes this normal -- and Samurai Shodown 3 Gaira as a whole -- so unique, is the generous special cancel window, giving both Slash and Bust Gaira opportunities for some REAL damage.
  • (Properties) - Cancellable. Deflectable. Air Unblockable.
  • (Description) - This. Normal. Gaira hoists his mala beads over his head before bringing them down with the force of a dharmapala. Now, normally getting hit by a heavy slash is enough to ruin anyone's day, but both Slash and Bust Gaira have their own options to cancel into, making this Gaira's best punish tool.
  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - It's like Far 2A but if Far 2A was Near-er
  • (Properties) - Cancellable. Deflectable. Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - Gaira swings his mala beads upward, taking a moment to close his eyes in prayer afterwards. Unlike Far 2B, Near 2B is cancellable and has no recoil animation on block! Though he has better normals for more general situations, be sure to take advantage of this if you ever spy the opportunity -- particularly in Bust Technique.
  • (Properties) - Deflectable. Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - Boasting significantly less range than Far 2C (be careful about your proximity to the opponent!) no cancel window, and some hefty recovery, there's really no reason to use Near 2C over the other near slashes listed above.


  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - Deceptive overhead with good range. It feels like a KOF short hop for some reason. Just about as punishable as your standard 5BC, but the forward hop that comes with other standard 5BC normals keeps this one in a comfy niche. A niche where it isn't really something Gaira needs to use, but a niche.
  • (Properties) -


  • (Properties) - Cancellable (First hit only). Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - Das Boot. Decent range for a kick, and hits twice up close, once bring his knee up, the second when he sticks his leggy out. The real sauce with this move is, due to there being no recoil for it, Gaira is able to special cancel the first hit, which is ESPECIALLY good news for Ol' Bust Gaira. Trying to tag your opponent with this on wakeup is tricky though, so be wary about whiffing it.
  • (Properties) - Cancellable. Air Unblockable.
  • (Description) - Gaira tries to scuff his opponent's shoes, but a majority of the roster are wearing geta, so it doesn't really work out for him. An interesting quirk with Gaira's kicks is, that, despite some appearances, they all hit mid. Similar to 5D, this kick is special cancellable on hit and block, allowing you to set up inescapable command grab setups when timed right. This move is also kara-cancellable, but, with it being special cancellable on hit/block already, you probably won't be kara-ing it much.
  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable.
  • (Description) - This hits mid, so don't be alarmed when your opponent stand blocks this. Decent range, like all of Gaira's kicks, but it lacks the same special cancellable window that 5D/6D have. Because of that, you likely won't be seeing this used all that much.
  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable.
  • (Description) - I bet you'll never guess how this kick hits. Surprise! It hits mid. Similar to 2D, between stand blocking this kick and it not having a special cancellable window, you likely won't be using this all that much as Gaira. It still functions like a sweep though and scores a knockdown on hit, so if you're fiending for that KD, go for it, I suppose.

Jumping Normals

  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - If Gaira's j7/9.A is N.Hawk's diagonal jumping jab, then Gaira's neutral jump A is like, Zangief's neutral jump headbutt. But only in the sense both characters do a headbutt. Between the short range on this, and how high up Gaira hits, don't expect to use this normal all that often, if ever.
  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - If you're familiar with N.Hawk's j7/9.LP in Super Turbo, then this is the Samurai Shodown 3 equivalent. Gaira's fist is pretty much active for the entire time he's airborne, and you can even score a deep hit jump in with this. Just don't expect to beat out any O.Ken DPs with this.
  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - Incredibly similar to Gaira's 2B/C. Gaira crouches down in midair and swings his beads in front of him horizontally. Probably he best air to air in terms of speed and hitting-directly-in-front-of-him-ness.
  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - This gosh dang normal. Expect to use this normal quite a few times, because it's bonkers. It does about the same amount of damage as it's diagonal jumping heavy slash cousin, but where j8.C shines is where it hits, which is about 4 stories beneath Gaira. Seriously, if you time it right he can almost IOH with this normal for gigantic damage.
  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - Big boy overhead swing equals big boy damage. Gaira comes crashing down on top of his opponents with the weight of an incredibly powerful 18-year old wielding giant mala beads. Can actually be a really good anti-air if the opponent jumps before Gaira and is slightly underneath him in the air. The range on this also makes it a good jump-in.
  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - Similar to Gaira's 66D, which will be be discussed later. Gaira sticks his leggy out and kicks the opponent in the face. While not nearly as active as j7/9.A, you can also score a deep hit jump in with this normal, opening the opponent up to big damage if timed correctly.

Dashing Normals

  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - A quick, dashing headbutt. Nothing too special/exemplary about this attack, but you can use the autocorrecting properties of dash normals to run under a jumping opponent and bop them out of the air.
  • (Properties) - Deflectable. Hits high. Knocks down.
  • (Description) - Gaira sprints forward and quickly strikes the opponent with an overhead bead strike, knocking them down on hit and doing decent damage. Shame he has so few lows to mix it up with.
  • (Properties) - Unblockable. Scary. Knocks down.
  • (Description) - Gaira leans back and takes a moment to gather his thoughts about whether or not he really wants to do this, then charges forward with the shoulder tackle that got him banned from college ball. As far as 66C's go, this actually has some decent range on it, and a great amount of active frames. It's pretty good as a meaty if you don't mind it knocking them halfway across the screen. As with most 66C's, use very sparingly.
  • (Properties) - Hits high. Gimmicky. Restands on air hit?????
  • (Description) - This move. This weird wacky dropkick looking move. You'll either love it or hate it. You'll either go for it a lot or not at all. On hit, it will do some hefty hitstun to the opponent, leading to Big Buddhist Damage, *especially* if you land close enough to them. On block, you'll probably get hit and it will hurt a lot because that's Samurai Shodown 3.

Unarmed Normals

  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - Just a regular ol' fashion uppercut. Decent anti-air, but to actually hit with it on the ground Gaira's gotta be pretty darn close, though it sometimes whiffs on crouching.
  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable
  • (Description) - See Armed 2A
  • (Properties) - Hits high.
  • (Description) - Apparently Gaira keeps all of his active frames stored in his mala beads, because this stays out nowhere near as long as j7/9.A does.
  • (Properties) - Air Unblockable.
  • (Description) - See Armed 66A

Command Moves

  • (Properties) - Hits high. Knocks down.
  • (Description) - Yet another Street Fighter Lite Normal! Gaira does a falling knee drop, which stays active for it's entirety, knocking down on hit. Due to the knock down it causes, you sadly can't score a deep hit off of this.
j.2C (Slash Only)
  • (Properties) - Hits high. Knocks down.
  • (Description) - Similar to j7/9.C, but Gaira's beads glow, and they knockdown, and it doesn't do alot of damage, so it's actually not that similar to j7/9.C, actually.

Special Moves


- 「Jishin Gan」 - 22AB
  • (Description) - Ground pound. Gaira leaps up and crashes down, making the ground around him explode when he lands. If the opponent is too far away to get hit by the explosions, they stumble a little. The explosions hit low and are air unblockable, and Gaira has a hitbox on his beads before hitting the ground. Air blocking the beads will make the opponent land on the explosions for a funny guard break, but if they block it high enough in the air you can be punished on the way down. Mostly used just to pester opponents or make them think twice about running at you. Can also corpsehop, making it a funny gimmick crossup in oki situations.
- 「Katsu!」 - 214A (can be used unarmed)
  • (Description) - Katsu is the classic Gaira fireball reflector. It comes out fast, stuffs approaches, and (of course) reflects fireballs. The active frames leave a little something to be desired and its recovery is long, but it's a strong and simple tool to toss out if the opponent is hankering to get in on you. It’s particularly good as a guard cancel because the motion will have you holding back anyways -- just do the motion, block an attack, and mash A like your life depends on it. Instant Katsu.
- WFT「Kenbu」 - 236236AB
  • (Description) - Super flashy autocombo WFT that can confirm off of his most choice punish normals and also be a funky little anti-poke/anti-air tool. Just be careful when using it too close because it has a blind spot up close. Slash Gaira in specific might see more use for this since he has an easier time setting up stuns than he would in Bust.


- 「Midare Uchi」 - 236AB
  • (Description) - Essentially a multi-hitting explosive 5B with some forward movement. Minus a trillion on block. Exists to come out when you wanted a WFT.
- 「Kachi Age」 - 623S
  • (Description) - Charging shoulder ram that hits multiple times depending on what strength is used, ending with a stern uppercut. Jubei players from other games may recognize this one. Deals okay damage and a billion stun, and as such is incredibly threatening for Slash Gaira's punishes. It's also very awkward to punish thanks to the long gaps between the shoulder charges and eventual uppercut, and the uppercut can smack would-be punishers even if they're behind him. If Gaira whiffs or otherwise runs past his opponent with this, he barrels all the way to the opposite side of the screen, and they cannot run to punish him.
- 「Tsukamuzo: Kumitenjo」 - 421A (can be used unarmed)
  • (Description) - Gotcha jumping! An AA grab that reaches deceptively far, is absurdly active, and has a great hitbox. If your opponent insists on jumping around, a few of these should hopefully discourage them. If not, just keep grabbing their jumps. Works wonders if jumping is their go-to corner escape option. Make that umbrella kid regret ever leaving the ground.
- 「Tsukamuzo: Ishi Atama」 - 421B (can be used unarmed)
  • (Description) - Gotcha high! Overhead hitgrab with great damage and low/throw invulnerability covering the startup until its hitbox comes out. This has really nice range. If you see the opponent down/backing a lot, hit ‘em with one of these. Gaira will headbutt them several times, likely scaring the opponent into blocking high, which will then lead into…..
- 「Tsukamuzo: Shiri Mekuri」 - 421C (can be used unarmed)
  • (Description) - Gotcha low! Gaira’s incredibly fast low hitgrab. Gaira does a nifty little slide during the startup, making its range actually pretty good. It also has a really long-lasting active period for some reason. Upon connecting, Gaira will grasp his opponent’s shin and pancake flip them onto their back. Its combination of range, convenient input, and lightning fast startup makes it a great guard cancel option.


- 「Buchikoroshi」 - 236S
  • (Description) - Kind of a weird autocombo -- if the first hit connects, Gaira’s hapless victim is sent bouncing off the wall back in his general direction, where he uppercuts them so hard his beads explode. Doesn’t deal very much damage despite looking super flashy, but its overall ability to beat out the opponent’s pokes and keep you in their face cannot be overstated. Important to note is that the opponent will always land behind you, so be careful about putting yourself in the corner.
  • (A version) - Gaira does a grounded version of his j8.A. Supposedly the version used for anti-airing, but the short active period doesn't work in its favor.
  • (B version) - Gaira does his Far 5A but slides further forward. Deals the most damage of the 236S variants. Can anti-air opponents jumping from far away.
  • (C version) - Gaira does his 66C, but again with much further range and a hitbox that'll stuff all sorts of attacks. The most generally useful one. Do it pretty much whenever.
- 「Enshin Satsu: Ten」 - 2146AB
  • (Description) - A leaping command grab, and nothing too spectacular despite the pedigree of being a Gaira grab. Like with Enshin Satsu Chi, you need to spin your stick during the animation to squeeze out more damage. Its primary (gimmicky) use is that it can function as a very slow long-range guard cancel if your opponent throws out something big and you don’t have any other options that’ll reach.
- 「Enshin Satsu: Chi」 - 2146CD
  • (Description) - The big grab you know Gaira for, demanding you spin your stick like a madman during the animation for maximum damage. Like all other command grabs in the game, it can grab an opponent in blockstun, but unlike the others it can also be easily combo’d into from his best punish normals. This naturally means it can and will do huge damage in pretty much any situation you can sneak it in. It also holds the distinction of being the only throw that will consistently snag Bust Nakoruru while she’s on the wolf. Unlike all other command throws, this move has three active frames, giving it some increased utility during unjumpable setups. Abuse everything about this move.


both techniques press buttons and make combos happen sometimes

5D Interactions on crouching characters The second hit of Gaira’s 5D has a tendency to miss on several crouching characters and only being able to hit up close on others.
5D will completely whiff on crouching: Nakoruru and Rimururu.
5D will hit if spaced on: Gaira, Ukyo, Amakusa, and Zankuro
The second hit of 5D will whiff up close on: Genjuro, Shizumaru, Galford, Ukyo, and Hanzo.
Both hits of 5D will hit on: Basara, Haohmaru, Gaira, Kyoshiro, Amakusa, and Zankuro.


Slash has the more consistent combo game of the Techniques, and uses this to his full advantage. Any punish into 623S will deal great damage, and thanks to this Slash also has easier access to stuns, making his strong punishes a lot more dangerous. 421S is also an incredible set of tools, giving you one of the best anti airs in the game, an overhead that avoids throws and lows, and an incredibly fast knockdown low option.

Tipz n’ Trickz:

-421B can be used as a guard cancel vs Amakusa or Basara to negate their 2D pressure thanks to its low invincibility. 421A is great vs characters that have strong air options and normals such as Bust Shizumaru, Ukyo, and Basara, and really just good against anyone with a particularly itchy trigger finger for jumping.


Bust focuses solely on getting in the opponents face, and keeping them still long enough in neutral to do it. Make ample use of 22AB, 214A, and anti airing with 236S to keep them grounded and blocking. When you do finally get in, pester them with your cancellable normals to land your command grab.

Once you do land either Enshin Satsu grab, you can set up an easy unjumpable. After landing the grab, simply run behind them and cancel n.2B into 2146CD. This guarantees yet another 2146CD, looping into itself once again. On top of this, 2146CD is unique in that it has 3 active frames, making it much easier to simply directly grab the opponent on their wakeup.

Tipz n’ Trickz:

-Remember how you can combo into Gaira’s Enshin Satsu Chi? Well you can combo into from a handful of things, both during hitstun AND blockstun. Comboing into it from 5C in particular can deal around 70% if you’re good at mashing 360s during the grab itself.

-n2B doesn’t recoil on block, meaning if they get touched by it and aren’t in the air, they’re going to get snatched. This along with 5D is how you get your tick throws.

-The real Enshin Satsu Chi sauce is using it after a crossunder anti air or running over the opponent on wakeup. It has three active frames, which makes it much easier to directly use in unjumpables. For the anti air, run under them, 66A, and time the command grab. Since they’re stuck in the backturn animation, they can’t jump out and have to hold the damage. Likely the most consistent way to set up a meaty unjumpable command grab is to run over the opponent after landing a command grab. Just time the grab and they can’t jump. Yes, you can loop this if your timing is good enough.



Corner stun TOD 66D, n.5C xx 214A [stun] 66D, n.5C xx 214A

A reliable, easy corner TOD off of everyones favorite normal. Can be done midscreen on characters with wider hurtboxes, but both forms have more consistent midscreen versions.


Front hit stun ToD 1: n5C xx 623C [stun] 66D [microwalk] n5C xx 623C

  • reliable ToD off of a good punish. If the 66D microwalk seems too daunting, just do another n5C xx 623C and they’ll be nearly dead anyways. Another important note is that Shizumaru/Nakoruru/Rimururu’s short/thin hurtboxes mean the 66D has to be spaced so that Gaira’s foot directly hits them, or else it will whiff. For the opposite reason, Zankuro cannot be hit while standing by this combo, as the 66D cannot hit low enough to give the frame advantage necessary to land n5C. On Shizumaru and Zankuro specifically, you have to use 623B and 623A respectively, as they fall out after the 3rd and 2nd hit.

Front hit stun ToD 2: 66D [microwalk] n5C xx 623A [stun] n5C 623C

  • another viable kill combo, but it can be difficult due to 66D not giving you enough time to walk forward if it connects from too far away in the neutral. Be strict as usual with your spacing against the small characters so 66D doesn’t whiff. This also cannot be done on Zankuro while standing, as explained above.


Front hit BnB: n5C xx 2146CD

  • welcome to what you’ll be doing for larger punishes. This alone will delete the majority of your opponent’s lifebar if you’re good at spinning your stick during the command throw. Replace 2146CD with 236B if you don’t care about the damage and really want the side switch I guess.

Front hit stun ToD: 66D walk forward n5C xx 236C/214A [stun] n5C 2146CD

  • bust Gaira’s combo game is somewhat more limited than Slash’s, but at least the stun followup is consistent across the cast. Don’t forget to spin your stick during the command throw so it kills. Against Nakoruru, Shizumaru, and Rimururu you have to space the 66D so that Gaira’s foot hits them directly, but for all others (sans standing Zankuro, who is too tall) you just have to hit them up close.

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