It’s no secret that this whole silly project got kickstarted by yours truly playing through Mortal Kombat 11 and loving the hell out of its goofy story mode. But it’s not just about the goofy! This thread was inspired by playing MK 11, and having a genuine desire to go back and “review” some of these characters from their introduction, and see if the seeds that would eventually grow into extremely ludicrous trees were always there. And Kitana is a great kharacter to examine for this purpose.
Kitana was introduced in Mortal Kombat 2. She was the female ninja wearing blue, and the sister of the female ninja wearing purple. In case you ever get confused by these “twin” sisters, Kitana is the one named after a ninja turtle weapon, while Mileena is the one that wields a ninja turtle weapon. Kitana is also the one that is actually human (well, technically Edenian), and Mileena is the one that is a horrible clone monster that wants to literally rule the world.
Kitana was introduced as “merely” one of Shao Kahn’s top assassins that might have a secret, and that secret was revealed in her ending: she’s a princess! She’s Shao Kahn’s step-daughter, and the biological daughter of Queen Sindel and King Jerrod, the previous rulers of what would become Outworld. She’s also 10,000 years old, but she was starting to get wise to the fact that Shao Kahn might not have her best interests at heart when her marginally homicidal evil clone started hanging around. You know when they hire a new guy at the office, and he does the exact same job you do, and you’re starting to get worried about your job security? Well, it’s like that, except the new guy routinely eats people and spits out their bones. It causes concern.
Concerned Kitana was apparently a double agent during Mortal Kombat 2 (and let’s not get into the fact that the pretty sister is inevitably the good one), and she straight up murdered her sister before the tournament was out (which, incidentally, marks the second time in as many games that one of the color swap ninja kanon murders their opposite number). This got Kitana on Shao Kahn’s s%&$ list, so he dispatched a healthy number of agents with the express purpose of revenge murdering Kitana. Well, kinda. Jade, Kitana’s former bodyguard and friend (and hidden kharacter of MK2), is tasked with capturing Kitana, while Reptile, Shang Tsung’s former bodyguard and lizard (and hidden kharacter of MK1), is allowed to use “any means necessary” to stop Kitana. Kitana, of course, survives the onslaught, re-befriends Jade, and even hooks up with and de-brainwashes her recently revived mother. Liu Kang wins Mortal Kombat 3 by being the official victor over Shao Kahn, but Kitana ultimately accomplished the most by reestablishing Edenia as a universal superpower separated from Shao Kahn’s rule.
And she gets, like, zero credit for that.
Mortal Kombat 4 doesn’t really “feature” Edenia/Outworld, as it primarily focuses on a rogue god wrecking up Earth(realm). Kitana didn’t even participate until Mortal Kombat (4) Gold, and her only real purpose is to be kidnapped, escape being kidnapped, and then be generally annoyed at the revival of Mileena while attempting to help the good guys. By the end of Mortal Kombat Gold, Kitana is basically in the same place as the finale of Mortal Kombat 3: Edenia is rebuilding, and Kitana is either completely or technically in charge of the place (Queen Sindel’s status as an active monarch is always confusing).
The general Mortal Kombat plot really ramps up around Deadly Alliance, so Kitana’s role in matters is technically expanded. Shao Kahn was not killed at the end of Mortal Kombat 3 (apparently), but he was simply humbled and beaten back to Outworld. Kitana, Sindel, and their allies definitely separated from Shao Kahn, though, so Outworld/Edenia was up for grabs. As such, a land war was declared between the two realms, and Kitana was a mighty general. Kitana led many different forces, including Goro and his Shokan, as Kitana was also an accomplished diplomat, and she actually became fast friends with Prince Goro. When Goro was killed in battle, she was devastated, but still led the combined forces in an effort to liberate her home dimension. Around this time, Shao Kahn was killed by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, and, while the king was dead, there were still armies that needed to be defeated. Kitana continued to be an accomplished general, and only took a break when she was summoned by Raiden to attack the Deadly Alliance head-on. Kitana, now saddened by the apparent death of her internet boyfriend Liu Kang (they had been exchanging messages on AOL Instant Messenger since Mortal Kombat 2), left her army for a more surgical strike. She had been trained as an assassin, after all, she could avenge one cute boy, and be back in time to literally save her world.
Of course, everything in the previous paragraph happens in the backstory of the actual playable game. In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance: For Realsies Edition, Kitana shows up to fight Quan Chi, loses, and is left for dead on the steps of a temple. The opening of the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Deception, kicks off with a pan of her lifeless corpse.
Kitana did wind up participating in Mortal Kombat: Deception (because it was easy to repurpose Jade’s model for the PSP “enhanced” edition) first as an undead servant of the Dragon King, and then as a revived alive person. Unlike Jax, Kitana straight up only gets a bonus from being a zombie, and recognizes Dragon King Onaga’s weaknesses from her time in his service. She doesn’t actually do anything with this knowledge, but it’s good to know she had a plan in case the actual protagonist of the story decided to take a nap or something. She then returned for Mortal Kombat Armageddon, and did absolutely nothing to impact anything. And she died again. But this time, the entire kast died, so that can be forgiven.
Reboot time! Kitana gets a lot more screen time in Mortal Kombat 9… but it still doesn’t amount to much. She gets to participate in (new) Mortal Kombat 1 as an agent of Shao Kahn, and we actually get to participate in the exact moment when her brain snaps in (new) Mortal Kombat 2 when she discovers her monster clone sister. She has a much more active role in her own defection… but also a lot less success. In the original plot, she was able to escape Shao Kahn after learning the truth. This time, she confronts Shao Kahn directly, he says “Yeah, I killed your dad. So what? It was Tuesday,” and Kitana is immediately tossed in a dungeon, necessitating more rescuing than in the last timeline. Liu Kang rescues our favorite assassin princess, and Shao Kahn is defeated. Shao Kahn is back in business about thirty seconds later, though, revives Queen Sindel with a bit of a power-boost this time, and Incredible Hulk Queen Sindel eventually attacks the heroes. She actively disowns Kitana before draining most of her soul, and, while Sindel is defeated (by other kombatants), Kitana is left to die. She lives just long enough to explain to Liu Kang that she is on the pill, and was totally DTF for like days at a time, but she’s dead now, barf, and this is very sad for you, Liu. She is then conscripted in Quan Chi’s skeleton army, having not even gotten around to killing her sister this go around.
Mortal Kombat X features Kitana as an angry revenant damned to the employ of Quan Chi. When Quan Chi gets his goth ass murdered by Scorpion, Kitana and (also dead) Liu Kang ascend to King and Queen of the Netherrealm. Better to rule in Hell than serve under Shao Kahn? Probably. Unfortunately, the policy decisions one actually makes as a monarch of the dead are never explored, and all we really learn about Kitana herself at this point is that she is super angry at just about everything.
And, thus, finally, do we reach Mortal Kombat 11. In this title, Kitana is still dead and just bumming around Hell as Liu Kang’s queen. In fact, she barely even pulls that off, as she is nearly immediately recruited by the story’s latest big bad, and she’s little more than a rotting henchman for a final boss that is inevitably going to homicidally betray her later. But! We’ve got two Kitanas this time, and a younger, significantly healthier (as in she actually has health) princess pops out of a timehole to assist the heroes of the present. And she certainly assists! While most of the kast is upset over dead moms or dead other selves, Kitana immediately gets her act together, and takes a whirlwind tour of “future” Outworld. She negotiates with Sheeva, current Queen of the Shokan, and recruits Goro’s entire race to her side. Then she manages to get Baraka and his horde to agree to play nice with Kotal Kahn, the guy who literally committed genocide against Baraka’s people (they got better). Then she marches her newly formed army against (time displaced) Shao Kahn, and absolutely kicks his ass. She decides to blind her former father, not kill him, and then takes the throne as Kitana Kahn. And she pulls off this coup in the span of a couple of days. She conquered an entire dimension in the time it takes for you to wait for your Amazon order, and the people (or what passes for people in that dimension) seem completely content with her rule. When Kitana eventually ascends to godhood thanks to Liu Kang choosing his goddess bride, it seems like Kitana earned it a lot more than Liu Kang, who only beat a god or two in mortal kombat. Like, seriously, dude, anybody could do that. Stryker could do that. Kitana became a beloved global queen inside of a long weekend.
And, yes, it technically wasn’t the first time she did such a thing. In the “old” timeline, she also led an army, united different clans, and conquered (unconquered?) Edenia, but this time she actually actively did it on screen. This time she accomplished something in a manner other than a bio paragraph or two, and it actively displayed why Kitana actually kicks some ass. So, hey, good job, Mortal Kombat 11. You finally made plot Kitana match her overpowered Mortal Kombat 2 form. Please don’t nerf her in the next timeline!
Next time: The other sister