Kasumi (かすみ, Kasumi) is a kunoichi of the Mugen Tenshin Ninja Clan, who debuted in the first Dead or Alive. Kasumi became a "Runaway Shinobi" after she ran away from home in order to avenge her older brother, Hayate. She is also the older half-sister, and cousin of Ayane.
One of the first three females that appeared in the series (alongside Lei Fang and Tina Armstrong), Kasumi has become the main protagonist of the Dead or Alive series.
Kasumi is a slender, physically-fit teenage girl of average height, although she has got a curvy figure for her age. She was designed to appear "soft" (based on the idea that Dead or Alive is softer in concept compared to Ninja Gaiden, thus making her symbolic to the series) so she has a round face, small facial features, and wide brown eyes. Originally, her waist-length hair appeared to be a dark brown color. However, since Dead or Alive 2, Kasumi's hair has lightened over the years to a copper shade. Today, her hair style is not fixed into one or two fashions like the other girls, as she now possesses four styles to choose from: loose, a low ponytail, a high ponytail tied with a long yellow ribbon, or a low braid tied with yellow bows.
She is usually seen in her trademark outfit: a blue, side-tie "shinobi dress" with short puffy sleves, white trim, her name (written in Japanese) stiched in yellow on the back, and a light-coloured bird pattern on the shirt, complete with white stockings, knee-high boots and arm-guards. As well as this outfit - and variations of said outfit - Kasumi sports other shinobi costumes. She also has modern, casual clothes, and Japanese school uniforms, suited for average, everyday girls. No matter what she wears, Kasumi is usually wearing feminine gear, such as skirts, and girly colors, like pink.
In her cameo appearance in Ninja Gaiden Sigma II, although her face cannot be seen, a younger Kasumi is seen wearing a modified version of her shinobi dress; the puffy sleeves have been replaced by white straps, the bird pattern is now gold, and her arm guards, and shoes have been slightly changed. She also has shuriken tied to her left leg. Her hair is shorter then normal, only reaching to just below the shoulders rather than to her waist.
Kasumi is portrayed throughout the Dead or Alive series as a more compassionate character than any of the other fighters. She is an honorable and kind spirit, and although a highly skilled kunoichi with deadly abilities, she does not enjoy or wish to fight. Many of the statements she makes in the game series before a round begins reflect her desire to avoid confrontation. Much of the reasoning behind this comes from the fact that in all appearances in the tournaments (with the exception of the first) her motive was not to fight or win, but to meet Hayate. However she is capable of killing in cold blood, as demonstrated when she defeated and killed Raidou.She is demonstrably family orientated and would like nothing more than to return home in peace. There were instances where she refused to show mercy though, as seen when she willingly goes to look for Raidou in the first game, fighting her clone in the second game, and also when facing Helena when the woman had almost shot her.
The kanji used to spell Kasumi's name (霞) means "Mist", a light fog. Mist and fog is often used as a symbol of isolation and loneliness, maybe alluding to Kasumi's isolation from her clan, forced to live alone. Mist can also represent unclear thinking, possibly reflecting Kasumi's personality who, as a compassionate, empathetic character, is powered by emotion and will react by her feeling rather then think things through first, such as her leave from her clan to take revenge for Hayate.
Mist could also be a physical link to her; just as mist cannot be easily contained, Kasumi has also been proven to be hard to "contain" and be captured by the clan's assassins, and has been been able to avoid them for a long time.
Finally, mist can be a symbol of the indeterminate phase in development, when things have yet to be defined. As she is a runaway shinobi, Kasumi could be seen as living in an indeterminate state, unsure if tomorrow will bring her death, or good fortune.
Ayane is Kasumi's younger half-sister. Kasumi's mother, Ayame, was raped by Raidou, thus conceiving Ayane. Kasumi and Ayane had a close relationship as friends when they were kids. However, their friendship turned to bitter rivalry when Ayane learned about her true heritage. Ayane was consumed with jealousy over the fact that Kasumi was treated like a princess, while she was treated like an outcast and the clan's "cursed child." After Kasumi left the village to find Raidou, Ayane was sent to kill her. Although it seems the hatred was one-sided from Ayane, as Kasumi was never intentionally mean or cruel to Ayane, and only fought her when it was absolutely necessary; in some games, before fighting Ayane, Kasumi may ask "Why?", questioning the reasons for their battle.
However, there are some signs that they still care for each other. It is possible that their rivalry is over, or at least weakened, as displayed when Ayane stops Kasumi from trying to save Helena during the fourth tournament, as the attempt likely would have ended in Kasumi's death. Also, in Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, Kasumi and Ayane seem to have started to develop a more friendly relationship with each other. Also, in Dead or Alive: Dimensions, when Ayane attacks Raidou and easily knocks her down, Kasumi rushes to her aid and helps her up, though Ayane seemed hardly affected by this.
- Kasumi is Tomonobu Itagaki's favorite character in the series.
- Kasumi's biggest trademarks are the sakura petals that blow in the wind around her, her wakizashi sword, and her blue ninja outfit.
- Kasumi has been ranked numerous times in many countdown lists created by game-based publications:
- In the 2005 TV show Video Game Vixens, Kasumi won in the category "Dressed to Kill."
- The reason Kasumi, Ayane, Eliot, and Kokoro do not have listed ages in western versions of the Dead or Alive games is because they are under 18 years old. Tecmo decided to give them undefined ages to avoid the risk of a moral backlash from western countries.
- Kasumi is the only character in the series to still retain two of her default costumes since the first game. Her blue ninja costume and white ninja costume have appeared in all of the Dead or Alive games in the main series.
- Along with Jann Lee and Lei Fang, and Ayane and Hayate (since Hayate was Ein in Dead or Alive 2), Kasumi and Ryu Hayabusa have been default tag partners throughout the series.