Q (キュー Kyuu?) is a video game character from the Street Fighter series, first appearing in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. He is a mysterious individual of unknown origin whose face is concealed by an expressionless metallic mask.
Not much is known about Q, except that he appears at different places around the world, and may be linked to various disasters. Being arguably the most mysterious character in the Street Fighter universe, Q's true identity has been a subject of constant speculation ever since his debut.
While Q can be chosen as a playable character, he is also a "hidden" computer-controlled sub-boss in Arcade Mode that can only be battled after meeting specific requirements: the player must win the first eight matches without losing a round, and remain above D rank.
Of note is that Q is the only character in 3rd Strike that does not have his own stage. However, starting a two-player game with both players selecting Q will take them directly to Dudley's stage (London), while his own theme plays in the background.
The design for Q draws a clear influence from several characters such as the late Shotaro Ishinomori's Robot Detective K from the 1973 Japanese live action series Robot Detective and Iron Mask from Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Babel II manga (and to a lesser extent; Janperson from Toei's Special Investigation Robot Janperson). The trench-coat, fedora and gloves are articles of clothing worn by H. G. Wells' "The Invisible Man".
As of his 'name', Q shares his 'initial' with several other characters as well, most notably being among the same character from the James Bond series, with the most famous incarnation being played by the late Desmond Llewelyn, who was portraying the character during the time 3rd Strike was made. It is also likely the 'initial' Q is a reference to QSound Labs, the company who created the sound processor QSound, which was used in several CPS2 Street Fighter games.
Q sports a hat and a tan trench coat, along with white gloves, dark brown pants and dress shoes. Under his coat is a typical white button-up shirt and red tie; this type of clothing is a trademark of archetypical spies and detectives (e.g. Rorschach, The Question, Mr. A). His head is engulfed in a metallic blue shell-like mask which surrounds his entire head. The mask has yellow eyes of varying brightness.
Adding fuel to the fire regarding speculations, it is unknown if Q is a human or at least-part machine; when Q is shocked in-game, instead of showing the skull and skeleton, it shows his muscular system and an indistinct head. Also, Q's neck is the only portion of his body that is visibly made of flesh and skin, though some of his legs are visible during certain animations. Q's identity has frequently been the subject of speculation by fans.
It should be noted that in an artwork in the Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Secret File, Q is seen unmasked, having the appearance of a middle-aged man, though this is not considered to be Q's actual face in the story of the Street Fighter games, due to the Secret File presenting all of the game's characters as actors.
Q is generally the quiet type, as he only speaks (or rather, grunts) when being hit, and he also mumbles an unintelligible and nonsensical line of dialogue after defeating his opponent. His win quotes consist of ellipses and short, vague phrases (e.g. "I... am abomination."); the latter are shown in parenthesis, perhaps indicating his thoughts or translating mumbling.
Q's mannerisms tend to straddle the line between man and machine. His movements are simple and robotic, and verge on stilted and awkward at times; he even "shuts down" when he is beaten by chip damage. Despite many of his simple, robotic movements, some of his other mannerisms and features could be considered human; for example, after parrying a move, he will brush off his trench coat. Much of his moveset seems to support this theory.
It is unknown how Q handles human contact; in his intro animations, people are often seen running in fear from him, followed by him simply walking onto the stage, or else performing a dashing punch. However, one artwork depicts him apparently being interviewed by a woman, while a man removes his coat, with no apparent discomfort on Q's part. Q also shows similarly contradictory acts of self-restraint and cruelty; when he defeats his opponent, he will either simply look over them, shed a tear and walk away, or else insults them as he starts crushing their face underneath his shoe.
The requirements to fight Q as a CPU opponent may indicate that Q maybe after the world's most dangerous or powerful fighters, also similar to Akuma and G, and could possibly be a powerful fighter himself, despite being held back (Playability-wise). This is noted as some of his normal attacks act as though he has no intention of harming his opponent. Overall however his motives are unknown and it is unclear what his alignment is.
Before his eventual sightings in unsolved murders, Wayne Nakamura of the Central Intelligence Agency was investigating an unknown man in a trench-coat spotted by him in an American port. The investigation is currently still continuing.
Q has been sighted in crime scene photographs of unsolved murders all over the world, partially hidden each time. The context of the pictures are shrouded in mystery: his appearance in them may make him the murderer, or perhaps he could be investigating it, as hinted by his stereotypical detective attire, though nothing regarding a potential role in the killings or the nature of the victims has been revealed.
In his ending, Julianna and David, along with other CIA agents, discuss Q's appearances at case sites worldwide over the last 10 days, believing him to be the common link between the cases (though they are unsure if it is the same person). While they cannot identify him, they at least manage to decipher his appearance based on the photos they have. After they set out to begin the investigation on him, a familiar silhouette can be seen on the projector screen, apparently leaving the room as well.
Cameos and other appearances
Q has also appeared as a card in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash games.
Q made a cameo appearance in Capcom Fighting Evolution, he can be seen on the rooftop in the New York stage.
Issue ten of UDON's Street Fighter II Turbo features a short story centered around Q, featuring a CIA agent investigating Q's identity and possible origins. In one panel, Chun-Li's father Dorai is shown in the background being experimented on and having Q's mask forcefully put onto his, however, this is likely a nod to the common fan theory of Q being Dorai, and is probably not intended to reflect the character's actual backstory in the comics.
In Street Fighter Unlimited Annual, he shows up attacking thugs that Ibuki ambushed and escaped after a short scuffle.
Q's techniques are those of a brute-force brawler (or "bruiser"), though one appearing physically contained, as opposed to a refined martial artist; one of his normal moves in particular has him dropkick at the opponent's head and fall over immediately after. Most of his special attack names are descriptions of his actions, rather than proper nouns referring to a moves name. In fact, the Japanese names of his move normally end with Kari (仮?), or assumed name, further supporting that case.
Q's most signature special moves include his Dashing Straight, a fast and useful attack that can easily be cancelled into Super Arts, his Dashing Leg Attack, and the Capture & Deadly Blow, a command grab which sends the opponent into the air for a juggle.
His Super Arts include the Critical Combo Attack, a series of quick punches while he moves forward, as well as the Deadly Double Combination, a gut punch followed by an overhead blow with both arms. His third Super Art is Total Destruction: When activated, Q can choose to either punch or grab his opponent, depending on the situation, which emits a small explosion that damages the opponent; interestingly, a female robotic voice can be heard saying "Danger!" when the throw is activated.
Q is noted as a defensive character due to his large stamina and low speed. With three taunts, his stamina can be "increased" up to a maximum of over twice the stamina of Akuma, which is also the highest possible stamina of any character in 3rd Strike. However, because of his slow speed and the lack of high-priority moves, he is considered to be a low-tier character in competitive play.
- It was rumored that Q (or someone resembling him) can be seen in Ken's stage background in the original Street Fighter II series. However, the man was removed from the redrawn and redesigned stage featured from Super Street Fighter II and onward. Despite this, The Shadaloo C.R.I. information on Wayne Nakamura strongly implies that the man that was in Ken's stage is indeed Q and is the person the CIA are currently investigating, though this is likely a reference to the rumor rather than confirmation of anything.
- Furthermore someone highly resembling Q can be seen in the background of Dudley's New Generation raining stage occasionally riding a wagon in the background.
- Due to being an enigma, Q is the only character to have "unknown" as all of his characteristics.
- He is one of only two characters lacking any mid-boss or final boss conversation dialogue in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (the other being Akuma).
- The names of the two CIA agents, Juliana and David who are searching for Q, are most likely references to Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, actors who play the roles of FBI agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, the main characters of the X-Files series.
- Interestingly enough, Q's theme bears some similarities to the theme of the X-Files series.
- One of the people who flee from Q in one of his introductions, is a boy wearing a cap similar to Yun's.
- He, Rolento, Oni, Urien and Necalli all have the distinction of being able to always interact with defeated opponents in the series (by walking up to his opponent and stomping on the opponent's head).
- G’s alternate story costume bears a striking resemblance to Q’s garb. Both wearing a trench coat with a button up shirt and tie, gloves, and a metal mask over the face. The most notable difference between the two however is that in Q’s case, the mask is more like a helmet, covering the entire head and only leaving a small amount of his neck visible. Whilst G’s mask and is black, covers only the face, showing the sides and back of his head. Q’s coat is also much longer than G’s, extending down past the knees whilst G’s reaches just under halfway down the thigh.
- The 15th color scheme of this costume has the same colors as Q's normal costume in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. In the costume's in-game description in Shadaloo C.R.I., Sgt. Ashida says "Wearing that creepy mask and that trench coat, he could be anyone. Wait...Color 15...isn't that...a certain individual that the CIA is looking for...?!".
- Seemingly as a reference to G's possible connections to Q as well, the music in G's trailer is a rap, referencing the musical aesthetic of Q's only appearance in the series, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.
- Many of G's moves are very similar to Q's, with a few noticeable differences; G does not fall over when executing his heavy kicks, Q's taunt has become G's V-Skill, G Smash Over/Under are executed similarly to the Dashing Straight/Dashing Leg Attack respectively, and G Impact resembles Capture & Deadly Blow when G has no levels of Presidentiality, but becomes the Deadly Double Combination with one additional uppercut after the two-handed slam when used with full Presidentiality.
- Q's fighting stance strongly resembles and is possibly inspired by Anakaris' own fighting stance from fellow Capcom fighting game series Darkstalkers.
|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|