- "I'm ready for ya, bring it on!
(いつでもいいぜ！ かかってきな！ Itsu demo ii ze! Kakatte ki na!?)"
- —Ken (Street Fighter IV series)
- "Come on! Let's turn up the heat!
(来いよ！ 熱くさせてやるぜ！ Koi yo! Atsuku sasete yaru ze!?)"
- —Ken (Street Fighter V)
Ken Masters (ケン・マスターズ Ken Masutāzu?) is a video game character and deuteragonist of the Street Fighter series, first appearing in the original Street Fighter. Similiar to his friend Ryu, Ken's goal is to test his power against many different fighters and strives to become stronger, but holds more restraint due to not wanting to jeopardize his family life.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Character Relationships
- 3 Story
- 3.1 Background
- 3.2 Winning the U.S. Tournament and fighting Shadaloo
- 3.3 The Second World Warrior Tournament, marrying Eliza and becoming Violent Ken
- 3.4 Fighting Seth and becoming a father
- 3.5 Street Fighter V
- 3.6 Street Fighter III
- 4 Crossover appearances
- 5 Animations
- 6 Comics
- 7 Live-action Movies and Series
- 8 Gameplay
- 9 Violent Ken
- 10 Actors
- 11 Quotes
- 12 Pop Culture
- 13 Trivia
- 14 Stage Theme
- 15 Gallery
- 16 Sprites
- 17 See also
- 18 References
Ken is most easily recognized by his brown sparring gloves (yellow in the Alpha series and red in the EX series) and bright red gi with the sleeves neatly removed, similar to Ryu's (Capcom has said that a red gi was chosen to stand out and to reflect his more flashy style of fighting) and it is usually seen in better shape than Ryu's (except for in the Street Fighter III series), since he can easily afford to keep up with and/or own spares. He has blonde hair and long black eyebrows. He wears a black belt at his waist and fights barefooted.
In the Street Fighter Alpha series, he had longer hair tied into a ponytail with a red ribbon. The official explanation for the loss of the ribbon is that he gave it to Ryu to wear during the events of Street Fighter Alpha 2 (as stated in Ken's own ending); Ryu was distracted during his fight with Ken because he had just fought Sagat, and ended up losing. Ken gave Ryu the headband to remind him of their fight.
In Street Fighter II V, Ken has red-hair similar to the live-action movie and the animated series along with fighting barehanded. Ken usually wears casual outfits throughout the episodes; for example, a yellow formal suit jacket with a red tank top, matching white pants with a black belt to his waist and black shoes.
By the time of Street Fighter V, Ken's appearance has undergone the first major design change in the character's history. Ken's gi top now hangs around his waist and he wears a black v-neck training shirt with several red linings in its place. He sports black sparring gloves and his hair has somehow been replaced with bananas. Most likely do to events yet undisclosed instead of hanging loose which it was grown into medium length after the events of Street Fighter IV series and now wears black ankle wraps with red linings instead of barefoot.
His second alternate costume is one of his disguised forms in Pocket Fighter but updated; he wears a black leather jacket with maroon outlines and a white tank top underneath, red denim pants with a black belt, a neon yellow buckle on his waist and black leather shoes. His sunglasses are hanging loose on his tank top. His medium-length hair is shorter.
Though unconfirmed, it is possible that Ken could have been inspired by real-life Karate world champion, Joe Lewis. Like Ken, Lewis was a blonde American who trained a traditional style in Japan, then went back to the U.S to become a famous champion. Lewis also founded Full Contact Karate and became a world champion at that as well. In addition to his similar looks, Lewis was also known (as were many American Karate fighters of his time) for using colored Karate uniforms, including a red one. He was challenging of traditional Karate ways and modified much of his original "Shorin Ryu" style, similar to Ken's modifications that distinguish him from Ryu, a traditional fighter.
Originally only called "Ken", he gained his last name when toy company Hasbro got the license to add the characters from Street Fighter II to their G.I. Joe toyline. It is widely believed, though never confirmed, that the name was given to avoid copyright confusion with the character of the same name from Mattel's Barbie toyline.
While Ryu is the more serious and stoic of the two, Ken is the complete opposite - flamboyant, unorthodox and unpredictable. He is an alpha male with a giant ego and constantly reminds his opponents about his greatness. While he can be brash, egotistical, and arrogant at times, his heart is pure. He is generally kind, friendly, a good person, and very easygoing which led him into starting a family of his own. He never backs down from a fight no matter how difficult it looks.
Like Ryu, he believes in honor, hard work, endurance, and discipline. He always gives his opponents the utmost respect, whether it is his master Gouken, his best friend Ryu, or his Capcom vs. SNK rival, Terry Bogard. He is also a worrywart when it comes to his family, nearly missing the tournament in Street Fighter IV because he didn't want to leave Eliza so close to her due date, and only entered when she assured him she'd be fine. He still called her to check in and tell her to be careful on stairs.
Ryu is Ken's best friend from his childhood, as the two have trained in the same art of Ansatsuken for a long time. They share a very close bond to each other and will help out each other no matter the cost. Both of them have also trained together under Gouken.
Like Ryu, Ken has immense respect for Gouken.
Rufus constantly fights Ken, but Ken keeps forgetting who he is.
Ken highly respects Sean's abilities, enough to make him his personal disciple. Sometimes they can be sarcastic at each other and trade jabs but are at very good terms.
He is Guile's brother-in-law, because his wife Eliza is the younger sister of Guile's wife Julia. He may or may not be aware that there's parts of him that Guile has reservations of, which doesn't stop both Ken and Guile from getting along though. Ken knows what Guile likes and frequently gives him interesting information, such as Yanagiya's J-GEL hair gel.
Ken is aware of Bison's villainy and seeks to defeat him. During the events of Street Fighter II, Bison brainwashed Ken into Violent Ken.
Like Ryu, Ken is aware of the threat Akuma possesses over humanity.
When Ken was about 12 years old, his father, a rich hotel tycoon, thought that his son needed to learn about discipline, or his son would become a spoiled brat all of his life and try to leech onto the Masters' family fortune. In order to do so, the elder Masters sent Ken to Japan to train under his best friend, the mysterious karate master Gouken. At first, Ken was very hesitant to learn from Gouken, wanting to go back to the United States, but later began to respect his master. He even enjoyed the company of Gouken's adopted son, Ryu, since he had a foil to finally pull pranks on, although this got Ken into a lot of trouble. Ryu and Ken would later become best friends and each other's principal rivals.
When Ryu was 23, Gouken decided that both of his pupils had grown up to be fine fighters and decided that their training was over and could now leave the dojo. Ryu decided to travel the world in order to continue his training, whereas Ken was finally happy to be going back home to the United States after his years of straining his back for his master, Gouken, and finally learning the meaning of humility. After coming home, Ken competed in many different Martial Arts tournaments held in the United States, winning most of them.
Winning the U.S. Tournament and fighting Shadaloo
Main Article: Street Fighter Alpha
Ken did not participate in the first World Warrior tournament; instead, he fought in (and won) the premiere U.S. Martial Arts tournament that had been previously won by Charlie Nash, as well as meeting a very attractive girl named Eliza, who became his girlfriend.
After winning the U.S. martial arts tournament, Ken returned to his training ground to tell his master Gouken the good news. There, he witnessed his master's death at the hands of Akuma. Enraged and grief-stricken, he attacked Akuma, only to be knocked to the ground by a single blow.
Ken began wandering the world in search of Akuma, and his friend and fellow student Ryu; he wanted to tell Ryu what happened to their master, and also hoped to win a match against him. He eventually finds Ryu in seclusion. Ryu is dejected upon seeing his long-time friend, but Ken makes him go try out a spar anyway. After winning, Ken realizes how stressed out his best friend is since his fight with Sagat. Ryu explains to Ken that deep within him there is a burning rage - a power trying to overcome him. Giving Ryu his red headband, Ken tells him to stay focused, which greatly cheers Ryu up. Ken returns home and, with Eliza's support, begins training harder, knowing even with his recent feelings, that Ryu is always stronger than he looks.
Ken begins to wonder about his own life. Ryu seemed to be on the right track again, but what of him? Along the road to proving himself again, he encounters Karin, who tells him she has followed his career and is trying to best her rival Sakura to prove she is superior. Ken advises her it's good to have a rival, not for supremacy, but to keep on training harder and focusing. With this, Ken finds himself again and is focused once more.
Going off to meet up with Sakura, they have a friendly match, and Ken finally realizes that Ryu has the right idea all along. Both he and Sakura begin to travel to find Ryu, but their path crosses with that of Shadaloo dictator M. Bison. Ken confronts him but is easily defeated and placed under Bison's hypnosis. Bison then uses brainwashed Ken to lure Ryu out of hiding. Once Ryu shows up, Bison makes Ken fight him. Ryu wins and manages to release Ken of Bison's mind control.
Ryu then proceeds to fight Bison but loses and, just like Ken before him, is turned into a slave of Bison's Psycho Power. Sagat appears and, enraged by Bison's actions, engages Ryu in an attempt to break Bison's mental grip on him. Ken, now free and aided by Sakura, attacks Bison. This intervention, along with Sagat's presence, makes Ryu come to his senses.
Recovered, Ryu takes on Bison once more. Bison senses Ryu's dark power (which Bison describes as "The ultimate form of Psycho Power") and attempts to manipulate Ryu's mind once again. At his friends urging, Ryu resists and defeats Bison with a powerful Hadoken. Ken is happy to see his old friend again. With a promise of a new duel, the two part their ways.
The Second World Warrior Tournament, marrying Eliza and becoming Violent Ken
Main Article: Street Fighter II
Ken received an invitation to the second World Warrior tournament; however, since his last U.S. Martial Arts tournament, he had let himself spend too much time with his girlfriend, Eliza, rather than training. Only Ryu's personal challenge rekindled Ken's fighting spirit and persuaded him to enter the second World Warrior tournament.
After the events of Street Fighter II, Ken is married to Eliza, something he had apparently vowed only to do after winning a decisive victory against Ryu. However it is unknown if the two fought during the tournament, or if Ken actually won if they even did. No details have been stated, although it is heavily implied that they indeed did fight, and Ken won.
During the tournament, he became brainwashed by Bison and becomes Violent Ken.
Fighting Seth and becoming a father
Main Article: Super Street Fighter IV
When a new tournament is announced, Ken is unsure whether to compete, as Eliza is now far along in pregnancy and he doesn't want to leave her. Sensing his inner conflict, Eliza assures him that she'll be fine and that the baby isn't due for a while yet, so he should go meet up with Ryu and tell him she says hi. Ken enters, and in the absence of gas stations near the location for the final, he parks his SUV in a convenient spot, calls Eliza to check on her, and continues the rest of the way on foot. Over the course of the tournament, he encounters his self-appointed rival, Rufus, although the results of that match are unknown. It is later implied that Ken may have defeated M. Bison in the tournament.
After the tournament, it is discovered that Gouken is still alive, and Ken and Ryu pursue him as he leaves. Ken is upset that Gouken has not said anything to them, but Gouken counters that they no longer need a master. Ken and Ryu head home on foot, and Rufus passes them by on his motorbike, calling them losers. Soon however, Rufus' bike runs out of gas, and Ken and Ryu reach the SUV; Ken offers Rufus and his girlfriend Candy a lift, but Rufus refuses.
Upon arriving home afterwards, he tells Eliza that although he did indeed get to fight Ryu, they had been so busy with the rest of the unfolding events that they hadn't been able to give it their all. Soon afterwards, their son is born  and they name him Mel.
As expected, Ken returned in Street Fighter V as of July 9, 2015. In the game, he has a different outfit and hairstyle, and his moves have been altered to further distance him from Ryu.
Ken, Eliza and Mel are invited to a party hosted by Karin. During the party, Ken reflects on the various sparring matches between him and Ryu. The family gets lost on the way to the party and encounter Birdie, who thinks they’re trespassing, resulting in a fight with Ken. Karin arrives and offers Ken a pre-meal fight as an apology for Birdie attacking him, which Ken accepts. Afterwards, he and Eliza wonder about why Ryu isn't at the party.
In the main story, Ken came to visit Ryu, who was in the middle of meditating. After beating him in a sparring match, Ryu tells him that he will join them when his training is complete. Later, Ken arrives with the rest of the fighters called by Karin to the Kanzuki Estate, where they plan their first infiltration of the Shadaloo base.
Ken, Chun-Li and Cammy travel to Brazil to search for the first missing chess piece, held by Laura Matsuda. While there, he saves Sean from F.A.N.G, but is then attacked by his older sister Laura, who mistakes him for an enemy. After the fight, Sean sorts out the misunderstanding by indicating the unconscious Shadaloo soldiers. Laura then decides to join them, but on the condition that Ken add Matsuda Jiu-Jitsu to his selection of online karate classes, which he agress to. Chun-Li then leaves to assist Karin in the group's first infiltration. Ken remains with Laura, and the duo fend off more Shadaloo soldiers, with Ken taking out three with a single Shinryuken.
Ken reunites with Ryu just before the group begins the final assault against Shadaloo.
After Bison's final defeat at Ryu's hands and Shadaloo's destruction, Ken finds Ryu alone and meditating, and decide to have another friendly sparring match to see if Ryu had found his 'true answer'. Ryu manages to defeat Ken, but drops his red headband; Ken hands it back to him, figuring he might still need it. The two are later seen sharing a friendly fist bump.
Sometime before the series, Ken and his family move to southern California from Washington State. Ken then entered the third World Warrior tournament. By this time, a Brazilian teenager named Sean had been pestering him to become his student, and Ken reluctantly accepted, beginning to train him. He fought Sean in the tournament and won against him; however, he drops out upon realizing Ryu was defeated by Oro. Ken begins to train his son Mel in rudimentary fighting techniques. He also told Sean to go find Ryu and challenge him, giving him some free time with Eliza.
Though bored, Ken hears about a mysterious organization and goes to investigate, and he may have confronted Urien. He learned that Ryu had sought him out and traveled all the way to New York from Oakland for their long-awaited rematch. Tossing some friendly jabs at each other, both have a good fight, ultimately won by Ryu. Since then, Ken has continued to train Sean and Mel, handle his family and business, and keep up with his old friend Ryu.
In Sean's ending, Ken wakes up Sean who was beaten unconscious after being knocked down by his opponent in the first round. In Ken's ending, he wins his third straight U.S. Martial Arts tournament, which is a new record, and offers the trophy to Sean who turns the offer down, wanting to earn it for himself.
Marvel vs. Capcom series
Capcom vs. SNK series
Ken appears as a playable character in the Capcom vs. SNK series.
Ken appears as a playable character in Capcom's Pocket Fighter, where he grows bored of married life and looks for a pretty girl to hang with. He eventually finds Morrigan, and has tea with her until Eliza sees them both.
Ken appears in Namco's crossover strategy RPG where he is teamed up with Ryu.
When Ryu heads to Antartica to search for Pandora, fearing it has a connection with the Satsui no Hado, Ken joins him. The two head to the South Pole, fighting those who they meet along the way, a list which includes Kazuya Mishima and Nina Williams. When they reach the place Pandora crashed and defeat Ogre, Ryu vanishes with the box, leaving behind only the headband that Ken gave him. Ken searches all over the South Pole for Ryu, but finds nothing. However, Ken remains confident that his best friend will come back.
Ken, alongside Ryu, Chun-Li, Juri, and Seth, makes an appearance in the crossover strategy RPG Project X Zone. He is paired with Ryu as a Pair Unit. Some of the other characters note that their friends have learned moves from Ken via his online karate courses, much to the chagrin of Ryu, who not only feels that their master would be disappointed, but he is also annoyed that Ken seems to have forgotten about their style's bloody roots.
Ken returns in the sequel to Project X Zone, once again paired with Ryu as a Pair Unit. Arriving from a Martial Arts tournament in New York, they first appear chasing a robotic Axel Stone to the party, who are tied up fighting M. Bison and Juri along with their lackeys. Ryu and Ken agree to join the party after destroying the robotic Axel.
However, in Chapter 29, Ken is brainwashed by M. Bison at Sword Valley, along with one Ken's cohorts, Lady Estellise. In his brainwashed state, he once again calls for Ryu to fight him. Ryu agrees, assuring Ken that he will never win while under M. Bison's mind control, and willingly submits to the Satsui no Hado in order to use techniques powerful enough to beat the Psycho Power out of Ken and restore him to his senses. The two then rejoin the party and defeat Bison together, causing Bison to muse about Ken's Power of Nothingness briefly before fleeing. The party would later encounter Bison multiple times throughout the remainder of the story.
Ken appears as a collectible trophy in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, using his model from Super Street Fighter IV. Three versions of his Street Fighter II theme, including a new remix made for the game, is included in the Wii U version.
In this film, Ken Masters is Ryu's long time friend and sparring partner; a flashback reveals that Ken gave Ryu his ponytail wrapping to use as a headband after the latter had hit his head falling down some stairs.
Currenty, Ken has settled down with his girlfriend, Eliza, but still yearns for a good challenge, and desires a rematch with Ryu. During a tussle with T. Hawk, who had sought out Ken to challenge him, Ken is unknowingly monitored by a cyborg, who sends footage of the fight to the Shadowlaw base. Bison sees the footage and, knowing of Ken's history with Ryu via his other monitor robots, decides to hunt him down and brainwash him in Ryu's stead.
Ken is captured, brainwashed, and sent to fight against Ryu, keeping them preoccupied while Bison tracks down Guile. When Ryu undoes the brainwashing, Bison uses his Psycho Power to cast Ken before turning his attention to Ryu, who defends himself against Bison, initially with little success. Fortunately, Ken uses his master's teachings to mend his body, and joins the fight.
With their combined forces, Ryu and Ken eventually pummel Bison into submission, and seem to finish off the dictator for good with a combined Hadoken. After defeating Bison, Ken and Ryu part and go their separate ways, with Ryu starting his journey anew.
Ken appears as a major character in the TV series, voiced by Scott McNeil. Unlike his main incarnation, Ken is shown to be greedy and adventurous, looking for all kinds of treasure, keeping up with his role as a con man in the live-action Street Fighter film; Guile even states that Ken views the duties and responsibilities of being on his team as simply meaning he has to "party less".
In the series, Ken has red hair instead of his usual blond color. This version of Ken is also stated to be even stronger than Ryu, defeating Akuma during their battle.
In this series, Ken and Ryu are best friends who trained under the same master; he is the 17-year-old son of the extremely rich Masters family. He lives in San Francisco with his parents in a very large mansion − it takes twenty minutes to drive from the front yard to the main house. He too spends a lot of time training as well, but not as much as Ryu. Ken also rides a motorcycle. After Ryu and Ken get into a fight with Guile and realize there a lot other stronger fighters out there in the world and plan on going on a world tour together. On their journey Ken has faced strong fighters like Fei Long while they are in Hong Kong. When reach Spain Ken encounters Vega who develops an attraction to Chun Li and develops a rivalry with Vega. They have a deadly fight in a steel cage match to the death in order for Ken to free Chun-Li from a trance put her in from a love potion. Later on Ken also learns to use the power of Hadō later on while being held captive by Shadoloo. Ryu knows the Hadoken, while both he and Ken know the Shoryuken. Ken later upgrades the Shoryuken to the Hadou Shoryuken, and then shortens it to the Hadou Shoryu. Interestingly, in the English dub Ken still called the move Shoryuken while Ryu called it by its English translation: Rising Dragon Punch. After freeing himself from his prison he encounters both Ryu and Chun Li who have been brainwashed by M. Bison. He is able to free them from their control and team up to defeat M. Bison. Also in the series, Ken becomes smitten with Chun-li to the point where he takes her on a shopping spree and buys her things. Voiced by Kenji Haga in Japan, Jason Douglas in the English ADV dub and Stephen Apostolina in the English Animaze dub.
While visiting Gouken's grave, Ryu meets his old friend, Ken. They are both approached by a young boy named Shun, who claims that he is Ryu's long-lost brother. According to Shun, their mother raised Shun in Brazil until her recent death, and she sent Shun to find Ryu before she died. Ken is skeptical, but Ryu decides to take Shun in and notices the boy's potential as a fighter.One night Ryu succumbs to the Dark Hadou nearly killing Ken. Fortunately Ken punches him in the stomach. Ryu then returns to normal. Later that night Ken talks to Ryu about his Dark Hadou. Ryu instructs Ken to kill him if he's ever completely possessed by the Dark Hadou. Ken is reluctant at first, but then agrees.
Ryu seeks out Akuma, and the fight begins. During their hard battle Ken confronts the old man and is easily taken down, being subdued to ensure that the battle between Ryu and Akuma must not be interrupted or interfered for its right conclusion between the two. It is here that old man tells Ken about the Satsui no Hado. He states that the Satsui no Hado is a mysterious evil life force that dwells within certain fighters. As this life force is exploited it grows stronger until it consumes its possessor. Once the person is consumed by the Satsui no Hado they cannot be released from is hold. He states that the Satsui no Hado is ancient, that even old warlords knew of its existence.
After the opening credits, it shifts to the Masters Foundation headquarters, where Ken refuses to be interviewed by a woman named Maya. Later, he talks about his last fight with Ryu, the Satsui no Hado, and his personal life, now thinking he is no longer a fighter. After hearing news from Sakura that fighters have been disappearing and that they were possibly going after Ryu, he joined the fight. After learning that Eliza was pregant, this renewed Ken's passion for fighting as this gave him a new reason.
Street Fighter II manga
Ken appears in Street Fighter II manga as he was kidnapped by Shadaloo and was brainwashed by Bison to carry out his evil, he was later freed by his mind control and was seeking out Bison to avenge Cho who was a target for Shadaloo.
Street Fighter Alpha manga
Ken makes an appearance in Street Fighter Alpha manga as he helps Chun-Li with finding out information on missing people who have been kidnapped by Shadaloo and helping Ryu with his own inner demons.
In Sakura Ganbaru!, Ken is visited by Sakura and Dan who are looking for important information on Ryu.
Archie Comics crossover: Worlds Unite
Ken makes an appearance in the MegaMan/Sonic The Hedgehog crossover story of Worlds Unite, as he was called upon by Chun-Li after hearing about their home world being planned to be taken over by a robot named Simga, he helped Ryu, Guile and Chun-Li fight against Simga's army while teaming with Knuckles from SEGA.
After fighting against Simga's forces, Simga begins to grow in power and defeats many characters from SEGA and Capcom, but was defeated by Sonic in his Super Sate with Mega-Man's help, the results of this crossover was erased from time due to Xander Phane taking out the virus infected Simga from a different timeline due to a portal, as all the characters from different worlds of Capcom and SEGA were returned back to their homeworlds, having no memory of the events of Simga's plan to take over their worlds.
Ken appears in Street Fighter vs. Darkstalkers.
Street Fighter:The Novel
Live-action Movies and Series
In this film Ken and Ryu are con men who try making a deal of selling toy guns to some terrorists. Later they get involved with Shadaloo in plot to infiltrate their base. In this series Ken develops a rivalry with Sagat who is an arms dealer. Later on in the movie Ken tries to leave the fortress during the final battle only to be goaded by Ryu to help the other street fighters take down Shadaloo once and for all.
In the series, Ken and Ryu are depicted during their early days training under Master Gouken. The series explains how Ken is left under Gouken's wing in order to channel his anger and frustration so he won't cause to much trouble for his father's company.
Ken is shown as impatient and eager to progress through his training without learning the basics. During their training, they are taken to a special site that is to be used for their final test. While there, Ken is tempted to learn the Dark Hado techniques after finding Akuma's old journal. He attempts to do a move until Gouken finds out and stops him, making him swear to never perform dark hado. During their training, Ken attempts to persuade Ryu to visit a nearby town for some fun. Ryu is reluctant at first, but follows him there.
Ken is later visited by his dad who wants him to return home and join the family business. However, Ken believes he is not ready yet and decides to finish his training with Ryu and Gouken. As they progress in their training, Ken and Ryu are ready for the test in their training hand to hand combat. Though while they fight, Ryu eventually becomes overwhelmed by Ken and succumbs to the dark hado. After the fight Ken explains to Gouken what happened and Gouken decides to let them pass and allows them to journey to outside world in order to completely master their skills. Ken decides to return home and help his father with his company.
Howard reprised his role as Ken in Street Fighter: Resurrection.
Howard will reprise his role as Ken Masters in the second season, Street Fighter: World Warrior.
Ken Masters, like Ryu, is a student of the unnamed Ansatsuken art referred to as Shotokan, though this only applies to his normal attacks with slight traces of Hapkido (as stated in the in-depth Japanese sources for his normal attacks' names). In the original Street Fighter and the first iteration of Street Fighter II, Ken was a clone of Ryu, with only one attack (a throw) appearing to be aesthetically different.
In later Street Fighter II editions, Ken's character was modified to focus on style and attack speed, along with a notable focus on more brutal judo throws (such as his trademark knee striking grapple) and with some aspects of Kyokushin Karate. As a foil to Ryu, Ken's trademark technique is instead his Shoryuken.
Ken's entire moveset would continue to develop around the Shoryuken and multi-hit combos as the series progressed. His overall style of gameplay revolves around a rushdown strategy that executes powerful combos off of quick hit-confirms while maintaining mobility; Ken's moves generally come out fast, and can be used fluidly to create several such combos. However, this requires him to stay dangerously close to his opponents; in addition to having limited ranged tools, many of his moves can also leave him open for an easy counter if properly defended.
This also ties into a weakness he shares with Ryu, which tends to be his mediocre physical range that causes him to rely more on zoning with his Hadoken as opposed to playing footsies in the neutral game; though unlike Ryu, most of Ken's moves are geared towards multi-hits as aforementioned, which on top of his mixups make him much more geared towards safe pressure and being able to get in.
Ken's playstyle makes him quite easy to pick up and learn, to the point that he is one of the most used characters in the Street Fighter III and IV series. At one point, this resulted in the emergence of "Flowchart Ken" - a strategy for beginner and intermediate Ken players that was literally outlined in a flowchart style. Said strategy would go on to dominate a large portion of high-level play in Street Fighter IV. One of Ken's winning quotes even makes a jabbing reference to this in Super Street Fighter IV.
In Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix Ken retains most of his moves, his Tatsumaki Sempukyaku are embedded with fire and enables him to shoot a Shakunetsu Hadoken. His Shoryureppa enables him to hit three times and his Shinryuken is much like his appearance in the Alpha games but Ken can be seen being burned up during the execution and his Shippu Jinraikyaku as well as all of his Super Combos serves as his Mighty Combos.
He carries a large broken mallet consist of 100 tons to flatten his opponent to deal damage and has three disguises serving as his special attacks (Eg. a soccer player, a cowboy outfit while using a horse to knock his opponents and his casual outfit). During his Shippu Jinraikyaku Mighty Combo, Ken can sometimes be seen wearing his casual outfit during the execution of his kicks.
Street Fighter V promised to put a new spin on Ken's playstyle, featuring a more "in-your-face" approach, much more akin to a rushdown character. Of particular note are the changes made to his Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (all three versions will now cause a knockdown and his hard kick variation now travels in an arc as opposed to horizontally across the arena). His EX Tatsumaki attacks are also revamped (his ground version traveling upwards diagonally and his airborne variation shooting down diagonally). His V-Skill, Quick Step, enables faster advancing movement against a foe and his V-Trigger, Heat Rush, imbues all of his special moves with fire and giving them enhanced properties (such as guaranteed knockdown when a Hadoken connects). His Shinryuken Super Combo returns as his second V-Trigger.
Compared to Ryu, Ken is often seen as a more flashier foil, often coming up with several new deviating moves on the spot as opposed to sticking to the fundamentals as often as Ryu does. His creative mind allows his fighting style to always stay fresh for new arts on the fly at any given time.
As mentioned before, Ken uses the same moves as Ryu: he possesses a slightly weaker Hadoken, a more horizontal Shoryuken that can hit up to three times and set opponents ablaze, and a Tatsumaki Senpukyaku that can land up to five hits without knockdown. He also gained a series of command normal kicks; in the Street Fighter Alpha series only, these would be incorporated into his standard movelist with his other special attacks.
Ken's Super Combo in Super Street Fighter II Turbo is the Shoryureppa, a string of consecutive Shoryukens. In the Street Fighter Alpha series, he would gain another Shoryuken-based Super Combo in the Shinryuken, a vertical spinning Shoryuken with a 'vortex' effect that can be used (sometimes exclusively) in midair. The Street Fighter III series would reuse those moves as Super Arts; Ken also gains the Shippu Jinraikyaku, a powerful series of kicks followed by a rising Tatsumaki. The move would later appear as a Level 3 Super Combo in Street Fighter Alpha 3.
In the Street Fighter EX series, Ken gains a Meteor Combo known as the Kuzuryu Reppa, which effectively combines the three aforementioned Super Combos; it leads with Shippu Jinraikyaku's kicks and instead of a Tatsumaki, Ken follows with three Shoryukens (the same as his Level 3 Shoryureppa in the Alpha series) and finishes with a Shinryuken. Kuzuryu Reppa would be seen again in SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom, also appearing as one of Violent Ken's Super Combos.
In the Street Fighter IV series, Ken uses the Shoryureppa as his Super Combo; his first Ultra Combo is the Shinryuken, and his 2nd Ultra is a new move known as the Guren Senpukyaku, a flaming horizontal Tatsumaki that adds a final finisher kick at the end "for good measure".
In Street Fighter V, Ken uses a powerful version of Guren Senpukyaku known as Guren Enjinkyaku as his Critical Art (where he launches himself at his opponent with a fierce kick that sends them airborne then follows them up with a flaming Tatsumaki to the face before kicking them away). The Shoryureppa returns as well, acting as his EX Shoryuken.
Violent Ken is an alternate version of Ken that mades his debut in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos. He is the result of Ken being brainwashed and controlled by M. Bison's Psycho Power. He returned in Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers as a new character alongside Evil Ryu. He is faster then Ken and has two new moves; a teleport, dash move, the Rasetsu Kyaku, and his super combo, the Shinbu Messatsu, where Violent Ken does a series of punches and kicks and ends with a fiery Shoryuken. In SVC Chaos, he automatically teleports, making it more similar to the Raging Demon. But in The Final Challengers, he simply does the move, however it is possible to do the Shinbu Messatsu out of a Rasetu Kyaku immediately.
While his original voice was a re-use of the Ryu audio samples, beginning with Super Street Fighter II Ken's voice was performed by Kenji Haga, who also did his voice in the Street Fighter II anime movie. Tetsuya Iwanaga did Ken's voice in the Street Fighter Alpha series, and Koji Tobe did Ken's voice in the Street Fighter III games. In SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, he was voiced by Atsushi "Monster" Maezuka, who voiced a number of SNK characters.
He was voiced by Scott McNeil in the Street Fighter animated series. He was voiced by Kazuya Ichijo in Japanese and Steven Blum in the dub for the Street Fighter Alpha movie. In Street Fighter II V, he was voiced by Jimmy Theodore and in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, he was voiced by Eddie Frierson. In Street Fighter IV, he is voiced by Reuben Langdon in the English version, who also voices Dante from the Devil May Cry series. Langdon also voices Ken in Disney's 2012 film, Wreck-It Ralph.
Damian Chapa portrayed Ken in the 1994 Street Fighter movie, where he is a con artist alongside Ryu. After the two unsuccessfully try to scam Shadaloo Tong leader, Sagat, they are arrested by Allied Nations forces. Guile offers them their freedom in exchange for infiltrating Bison's base (to whom Sagat runs guns) and revealing its location so that the AN can make a military strike and free the hostages captured earlier in the film.
Ken and Ryu are forced to betray the vengeful GNT news-crew (Chun Li, Balrog and Honda) in order to gain Bison's trust, but later try to free them and are captured. When Guile eventually infiltrates Bison's base and chaos ensues Ryu and Ken try to help free the hostages but split up when the AN forces arrive (according to Ken the soldiers get paid and that they should not risk their lives). Ken later comes to Ryu's aid when he is ambushed by Vega and Sagat. While Ryu defeats Vega, Ken defeats Sagat and drops a heavy golden statue on his hands before delivering a parting line: "If I hadn't met you, I might have become you.".
Interestingly, Ken and Sagat are portrayed as rivals, switching the usual scenario from the games, with Ryu's rivalry switched to Vega.
Christian Howard played Ken in Street Fighter: Legacy, which was co-directed by Joey Ansah and Owen Trevor. Howard reprised his role as Ken in Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist, Street Fighter: Resurrection and Street Fighter: World Warrior.
- See Ken Masters/Quotes.
- As a result of potential lawsuits, Ken was given the last name "Masters" so he would not be confused with Ken Carson from Barbie, a Mattel owned franchise.
- Ken has been playable in every installment of Street Fighter, much like Ryu (a distinction that is unique to them), both main series and spinoff. However, Ken is not playable in a few crossover titles, such as Capcom Fighting Evolution, both versions of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and the updated "Ultimate" version. He is also not playable in Super Smash Bros. 4, as Ryu is the only playable Street Fighter character (Ken's theme is able to be selected to play on Ryu's stage). This is likely due to a desire not to take up many spaces in their rosters with overly similar characters.
- When fought as a CPU opponent in some games, particularly Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter EX, Ken will occasionally do a light Shoryuken, followed by a medium one as soon as he lands, and then a strong one. This AI behavior has remained consistent in most of his appearances.
- Ken is one of the eleven playable Street Fighter characters who are married or in a romantic relationship.
- In Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, if Ken defeats Sean, he would say to him "You must defeat Ryu to stand a chance!" This is based on Ryu's infamously mistranslated win quote ("You must defeat my Shoryuken/Sheng Long in order to stand a chance!").
- In the Street Fighter III games, Ken seems to break the fourth wall in one of his quotes against Hugo or Gill in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact ("It's losers like you that make this game boring!").
- Ken's birthday is on St. Valentine's Day.
- Though born in the United States, Ken is actually only one-quarter American and three-quarters Japanese.
- Ken's stage in Street Fighter Alpha 2 has cameos by several other Capcom characters, including those from the Darkstalkers series and Captain Commando from the arcade game of the same name.
- In SNK vs. Capcom: SvC Chaos, as Violent Ken, his battle stance in his intro is similar to Akuma 's and Evil Ryu's; however, he turns clockwise instead of counterclockwise.
- Ken's win quote against Lei Wulong in Street Fighter × Tekken is based on Lei resembling Jackie Chan.
- In the original Street Fighter, there's unused audio in the game files for a "Fire Kick", along with unused graphics that suggest Ryu and Ken were planned to have a fourth special move.
- In Street Fighter: Resurrection, Ken's birthyear is mistakenly listed as 1966 while his offical (former) birthyear is 1965.
- Street Fighter II suggests that Ken is from or around Detroit, Michigan as that location shows up on the map when he is selected as an opponent.
- Some fans have pointed out that Ken's theme sounds similar to the Cheap Trick song "Mighty Wings" from Top Gun. Street Fighter II composer Yoko Shimomura stated in a interview: "I have heard people say that, and I watched the movie before I composed the song, so I can't deny I may have been inspired subconsciously. But I didn't go into it thinking, 'OK I'm gonna make this song sound like Mighty Wings.'".
- Ken's first alternate costume in Street Fighter IV is the costume for King Cobra, a character that was scrapped in favor of Rufus.
- For the gallery, see Ken Masters/Gallery.
- Street Fighter: World Warrior Encyclopedia Hardcover
- Street Fighter II SNES manual, p.24
- Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia
- Street Fighter V Stat Card
- Street Fighter V | Ken revealed | PS4 Capcom July 9, 2015
- "See? The strongest fighter always wins! As easy to understand as a flowchart!" - One of Ken's Versus Mode win quotes
|Street Fighter Characters|
|Playable||Ken · Ryu|
|CPU Only||Adon · Birdie · Eagle · Geki · Gen · Joe · Lee · Mike · Retsu · Sagat|
|Street Fighter II Characters|
|The World Warrior||Blanka · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · E. Honda · Guile · Ken · Ryu · Zangief|
|Champion Edition||Balrog · M. Bison · Sagat · Vega|
|Super||Cammy · Dee Jay · Fei Long · T. Hawk|
|Ultra||Evil Ryu · Shin Akuma · Violent Ken|
|Street Fighter: The Movie Characters|
|Core Roster||Akuma · Balrog · Cammy · Chun-Li · E. Honda · Guile · Ken|
M. Bison · Ryu · Sagat · Sawada · Vega · Zangief
|Arcade Only||Arkane · Blade · F7 · Khyber|
|Console Only||Blanka · Dee Jay|
|CPU Only||Super Bison|
|Street Fighter Alpha Characters|
|Alpha||Adon · Akuma · Birdie · Charlie · Chun-Li · Dan · Guy|
Ken · M. Bison · Rose · Ryu · Sagat · Sodom
|Alpha 2||Original||Dhalsim · Evil Ryu · Gen · Rolento · Sakura · Zangief|
|Alpha 3||Original||Balrog · Blanka · Cody · E. Honda · Juli · Juni · Karin · R. Mika · Vega|
|Console||Dee Jay · Fei Long · Guile · T. Hawk|
|Upper||Eagle · Maki · Yun|
|Street Fighter EX Characters|
|EX||Original||Akuma · Allen · Blair · Chun-Li · C. Jack · Darun · D. Dark · Guile|
Hokuto · Kairi · Ken · Pullum · Ryu · Skullomania · Zangief
|Plus||Bloody Hokuto · Cycloid-β · Cycloid-γ · Evil Ryu · Garuda · M. Bison|
|Plus α||Dhalsim · Sakura|
|EX2||Original||Blanka · Hayate · Nanase · Shadowgeist · Sharon · Vega|
|Plus||Area · Sagat · V. Rosso|
|EX3||Ace · Bison II|
|CPU Only||Shin-Bison · Cycloids · Zako|
|Street Fighter III Characters|
|New Generation||Alex · Dudley · Elena · Ibuki · Ken · Necro · Oro · Ryu · Sean · Yang · Yun|
|2nd Impact||Akuma · Gill · Hugo · Shin Akuma · Urien|
|3rd Strike||Chun-Li · Makoto · Q · Remy · Twelve|
|Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix Characters|
|Akuma · Chun-Li · Dan · Ibuki · Ken · Ryu · Sakura · Zangief|
|SNK vs. Capcom Characters|
|The Match of the Millennium||Akuma · Chun-Li · Dan · Evil Ryu · Guile|
Ken · M. Bison · Ryu · Sakura · Zangief
|Millennium Fight 2000||Balrog · Blanka · Cammy · Dhalsim · E. Honda · Sagat · Vega|
|Mark of the Millennium 2001||Eagle · Kyosuke · Maki · Rolento · Shin Akuma · Yun|
|SVC Chaos||Hugo · Violent Ken|
|Street Fighter Online: Mouse Generation Characters|
|Akira · Batsu · Chun-Li · Guile · Ken · Ryu · Shin · Zangief|
|Street Fighter IV Characters|
|Original||Abel · Akuma · Balrog · Blanka · Chun-Li · C. Viper · Dhalsim · E. Honda|
El Fuerte · Guile · Ken · M. Bison · Rufus · Ryu · Sagat · Vega · Zangief
|Console||Cammy · Dan · Fei Long · Gen · Gouken · Rose · Seth · Sakura|
|Super||Adon · Cody · Dee Jay · Dudley · Guy · Hakan · Ibuki · Juri · Makoto · T. Hawk|
|Arcade Edition||Evil Ryu · Oni · Yang · Yun|
|Ultra||Decapre · Elena · Hugo · Poison · Rolento|
|Street Fighter X Tekken Characters|
|Core Roster||Abel · Akuma · Balrog · Cammy · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · Guile · Hugo · Ibuki · Juri|
Ken · M. Bison · Poison · Rufus · Rolento · Ryu · Sagat · Vega · Zangief
|Downloadable||Blanka · Cody · Dudley · Elena · Guy · Sakura|
|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 · Oro · Rose|
|CPU Only||AS · Aprile · Decapre · Enero · Février · Juli · März · Peter|
Phantom Bison · Santamu · Satsuki · Shadow · Shadow Lady · Two P