- "Be afraid! Now you gaze upon your death!
(恐れろ、オレがオマエの死だ! Osorero, ore ga omae no shida!?)"
- —Kage (Street Fighter V)
Kage (影 Kage?, "Shadow", pronounced as "KA-gé"), also known as Kagenaru Mono (影ナル者 Kagenaru Mono?, "The Shadowed One") is a character introduced in the fourth season of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition.
In the advent of Ryu overcoming the temptations of the Satsui no Hado dwelling within him, it was assumed that the persona of Evil Ryu had been vanquished. Yet astonishingly, the Satsui no Hado would develop sentience and came to manifest as its own entirely separate, physical entity, naming itself "Kagenaru Mono".
Kage's physical appearance is very similar to Ryu's, both seeming to stand at the same height, although Kage appears to have a somewhat higher degree of musculature as well as a considerably darker skin-tone. In addition to this, Kage's irises are red and luminescent whilst his sclerae are jet black and the eyes are permanently encircled by a dark ring.
For clothing, Kage wears a dark blue gi with the top ripped off and left hanging around the legs, leaving his upper half completely bare aside from his red headband which now hangs loosely around his neck. Kage's hair retains the colour of Ryu's but is longer and spikier, and he has a pair of small horns that glow purple protruding from within (when struck by electric attacks, it is shown that the horns are part of the skull itself). Kage has a prominent under-bite and his lower canines are greatly elongated to form sharp tusks. Some parts of Kage's body bear open holes (similar to Oni's second alternate costume when hit by Focus Attacks, only smaller) revealing purple Satsui no Hado energy within his body. He wears gloves identical to Ryu's though a darker shade of red.
An early concept art reveals Kage’s true form might or was supposed to be nothing but all covered in shadow, a shadow demon himself, with few essence from those of Ryu’s, such as his iconic red headband.
Similar to Oni from Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Kage resembles and is inspired by the Japanese folklore of an Oni. As Ryu's embodiment of his darker half, this draws parallels to the demons known as amanojaku, being "inner demons" that instigates individuals into committing evil and wicked deeds, not unlike the concept of shoulder devils that represent the darker half of one's subconscious mind.
Within the themes of destiny Street Fighter V presents, Kage fully represents the corporeal and tangible source of Ryu's potential for evil that Ryu must finally face.
Much like Evil Ryu, Kage is sadistic, wrathful, usually threatening those he faces. Unlike him, however, Kage is also cocky, believing to be the embodiment of power (and as shown when changing the language, immortal due to it), which would be the very reason he would be "the strongest part" of his former host, and it would be why he bested Sagat, and apparently defeated Akuma. As shown in some of his win quotes, he relishes at the fear of those he defeats. However, Kage is well aware that he apparently needs a host in order to not fade away, and is visibly distressful and fearful at seeing Ryu not affected by his influence.
Ryu is Kage's former host. Kage strives to convince Ryu that without him, Ryu is nothing but an empty shell, and that Kage himself plans to prove this claim by defeating some of Ryu's own greatest opponents.
Kage defeats Sagat in his bid to prove to Ryu the benefits of accepting the full influence of the Satsui No Hado. Sagat further understands his own struggles with the dark powers after the battle is over.
While Kage manages to fight and match Akuma from within a one-on-one battle against each other, he does not realize that Akuma himself was not in his true form and was holding back. Akuma, being much more familiar due to higher experience with the dark art of the Satsui no Hado, dispels Kage with a Houten Seikengeki punch after pointing out the flaws of the shadow.
Ryu is shown meditating at a dojo in the middle of a storm, with the only source of light coming from a lit candle. As the storm grows stronger and lightning begins to flash, Ryu's shadow on the wall caused by the candle takes the shape and form of Kage, urging Ryu to give into the Satsui no Hado, and claims that, without it, Ryu is nothing but an empty shell.
The scene then shifts similar to the first fight between Ryu and Sagat with Ryu having been replaced by Kage. The two fight and Kage easily pummels Sagat, however the latter is not pleased as the one who beat him is not the same man as the one he is looking for; Ryu. Kage disappears abruptly, with Sagat acknowledging what Ryu is dealing with.
Following his fight with Sagat, Kage then manifests behind Akuma, who briefly thought it was Ryu before realizing it was a "souless silhouette" before him. Kage taunts Akuma and the two fight. Believing he had won, Kage taunts Akuma claiming that the latter's law of heaven holds him back. However unlike Sagat, Akuma is nowhere near badly beaten, and then mocks Kage, claiming that it would never understand as it merely thinks of only strength and fighting, before delivering a Houten Seikengeki punch to Kage, making him disappear. Afterwards, Akuma wonders if Kage is the path Ryu has truly chosen.
Transitioning back to the initial scene, Kage then angrily insults Ryu, and forcibly attempts to corrupt him. Ryu replies that although he would not deny Kage's existence, he cannot accept that they are one and the same, and that he, Ryu, wouldn't be fighting back. The two fight at the top of Suzaku Castle, with Ryu claiming that he isn't fighting to win, but that he isn't fighting to lose, either. After Kage beats Ryu and mocks Ryu one last time, Ryu dismisses it and says Kage can do whatever it wants. If it wants to corrupt Ryu then it may, if it wants to leave then it may leave. Kage is distraught and confused, asking why Ryu isn't afraid. Kage then vanishes, as Ryu is no longer affected by the influence of the Satsui no Hado, having nullified and overcome the Satsui no Hado by tapping into the Power of Nothingness.
Kage's fighting style is a derivative of the Ansatsuken style practiced by several other Street Fighter characters. As Kage is the corporeal form of the darkness purged by Ryu forsaking the Satsui no Hado, it uses the more lethal variations of the form akin to Akuma. In many ways, Kage is like Oni in that he represents the very zenith of the style without boundaries or humanity whatsoever but also lacking the proper form or style that the more controlled practitioners maintain.
Moveset and techniques
Kage's moveset contains the Ansatsuken staples the Hadoken and Shoryuken. Kage's version of the Hadoken sees him thrust one palm forward and create an energy splash directly in front of him, similar to the Gadoken, that does not travel away from him. He also possesses the Shakunetsu Hadoken, which travels at full range and has a short charge time, similar to Akuma's. Kage can throw the Hadoken when airborne but unlike the Zanku Hadoken, Kage's variation travels in a horizontal pattern, much like the traditional ground-based form. Kage's Shoryuken is done with the front hand as opposed to the reverse hand and similar in style to the Shin Shoryuken or Oni's variation of the Gou Shoryuken. Instead of the standard Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, Kage instead has a move called the Kurekijin that sees him travel forward whilst swinging his back leg around in a single horizontal arc as opposed to multiple rotations (this move can also be done whilst airborne). Finally he possesses the Ryusokyaku, which is performed identically to Evil Ryu's in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. When jumping he can perform the Tenmakujinkyaku. His Critical Art is the Metsu Shoryuken, which has a similar impact to Ryu's Ultra Combo.
Kage's first V-Skill is the Senha Kassatsu, a move where Kage gathers energy in his fist then thrusts forward. This move can be charged and can absorb attacks while it's being charged. The second is the Sekieiken, where Kage leaps into the air then plunges down with his fist (similar to Oni's Sekisei Jiraiken), with more forward movement possible by pressing forward before executing the move. Kage's first V-Trigger is the Taigyaku Mudo, which lets him use the Ashura Senku, which now also works when airborne, as well as enhancing the properties of both of his V-Skills. His second V-Trigger is the Rikudo Osatsu, which lets Kage use the Misogi as well as gives him a second Critical Art in the form of the Shun Goku Satsu. The Shun Goku Satsu appears similar to Akuma's in that it takes the form of a series of high-speed punches delivered from every angle that fades into a crimson red. Kage's version of the move produces thirty hits and, unlike Akuma's, can be connected in a combo.
- Kage is not to be confused with Evil Ryu. The former is the physical manifestation of the Satsui no Hado dwelling within Ryu (and taking Ryu's appearance as his likeness); the latter is the form that Ryu himself takes if he ever succumbs to the Satsui no Hado.
- Kage is very similar to Omen from the Killer Instinct series as the two of them are physical manifestations of the dark versions of the main protagonists. In the case of Jago, Omen is the physical manifestation of Shadow Jago.
- In a way, Kage is similar to Oni as both characters represent a truly "evil" incarnation of someone else, as well as being dispelled of the influence of human emotions. In Kage's Arcade Mode ending, he faces Oni in a "shadow vs. demon" battle.
- Oddly, many of Kage's normal move animations appear to have been directly inspired by Dan's animations in the Street Fighter IV games.
- It is speculated that Kage's theme has been composed by Rio Hamamoto, one of the composers known for their work in the Tekken series.
- Strangely, during Kage's pre-battle quotes, the subtitles do not match the words being spoken, paraphrasing them instead.
- Kage bears the distinction of being the first character to display their V-Trigger II first before their V-Trigger I in their character trailer, preceding E. Honda, Lucia, and Poison.
- For some reason, Kage did not target M. Bison, who is arguably the biggest danger to Ryu. It is likely that Kage will only seek out individuals who are connected to the Satsui no Hado.
- Despite being a standing in for his pre-sentient form, Evil Ryu, Kage did not appear in Street Fighter II section of Arcade Mode, despite Evil Ryu appearing in the Ultra update of the second game.
- Kage's idle quote is a reference to Evil Ryu's pre-round quote in Street Fighter IV, however the latter was completely rewritten in the English translation, making the connection less obvious.
|Street Fighter V Characters|
|Original||Birdie · Cammy · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · F.A.N.G · Karin · Ken · Laura|
M. Bison · Nash · Necalli · R. Mika · Rashid · Ryu · Vega · Zangief
|Season 1||Alex · Balrog · Guile · Ibuki · Juri · Urien|
|Season 2||Abigail · Akuma · Ed · Kolin · Menat · Zeku|
|Season 3||Blanka · Cody · Falke · G · Sagat · Sakura|
|Season 4||E. Honda · Gill · Kage · Lucia · Poison · Seth|
|Season 5||Akira · Dan · Eleven · Luke · Oro · Rose|
|CPU Only||AS · Aprile · Decapre · Enero · Février · Juli · März · Peter|
Phantom Bison · Santamu · Satsuki · Shadow · Shadow Lady · Two P