A playable character in all the games, Axel is the frontman of the series. He is usually portrayed as a muscular young man with blonde hair, and wearing blue jeans with a white vest and a red headband. A police detective in the first game, he went on to open a karate dojo. In the Japanese Bare Knuckle 3 storyline, he is transferred to the Special Investigation police department. In the early Streets of Rage titles he has balanced abilities, combining power and speed. In later installments, he becomes more of a heavyweight fighter. His special attacks variously include a 360-degree flaming punch (Dragon Wing) and a punch/uppercut combo (Dragon Smash). He also has a flaming uppercut named Grand Upper (which was renamed to Bare Knuckle for SoR3). It was toned down considerably in SoR3 due to its excessive power in SoR2. After many years of hiatus, Axel made an official return in a crossover game Project X Zone 2, in which he is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita in Japanese.