- "The answer lies in the heart of battle."
Ryu (リュウ, Ryū) is the main character and "hero" of the Street Fighter series. Ryu has made an appearance in every Street Fighter game, as well as in every crossover fighting game with Capcom characters in it. Ryu has arguably become the most famous character in the fighting game genre, starring in early fighting games such as Street Fighter, but really got well known in Street Fighter II, where he was considered a "basic" character. He, along with Mega Man, is considered one of Capcom's unofficial "mascots".
Ryu is portrayed as a Japanese man whose basic and most recognizable attire from the Street Fighter II timeline consists of medium-length brown hair, brown eyes, a long, red headband, a white karate gi with the sleeves ripped off at the shoulders, completely bare feet, and a black belt. Ryu's first appearance in the original Street Fighter replaced the red headband with a white one and depicted him with bright red hair, gray eyes, and red slippers. In the Street Fighter Alpha series, Ryu’s hair became a lighter shade of brown, and he retained the white headband which hearkens back to his appearance in the first Street Fighter. Ryu would not canonically receive his red headband until after a sparring session with Ken during this timeline. In Street Fighter III, Ryu has black hair, and facial stubble to show his growth in age. Ryu's gi becomes increasingly tattered and aged throughout the game’s timeline, indicating its years of wear and tear. Ryu's most recent appearance in Street Fighter IV has him in his original Street Fighter II outfit.
In many of his appearances, Ryu carries around a large, white duffel bag containing items important to his travels, such as clothing, plane tickets, passports, and local currency.
In some official Street Fighter II artwork, Ryu's belt has four kanji emblazoned upon it: kaze (風 wind), hayashi (林 woods), hi (火 fire) and yama (山 mountain); these four kanji make up the furinkazan. The same four kanji can be seen on a sign on the left-hand side of Ryu's stage in Street Fighter II. The four words are based on chapter seven of Sun Tzu's Art of War, which dictates how one should conduct battle: "as fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and immovable as the mountain." These kanji are again visible on his belt in Street Fighter IV.
Ryu is usually a silent, humble, serious individual whose severity is often juxtaposed against the light-hearted, fiery persona of his best friend, Ken. He travels the globe with a stern nature, often appearing to others as boring or detached. On rare occasion, Ryu shows a very bad sense of humor. Ryu's overarching goal in Street Fighter is to become a total master of his fighting style. To this end, Ryu plays the part of the wandering warrior, and takes both his travels and his training very seriously. Although he appears to be aloof and unemotional, Ryu is actually a kind and good-hearted person. He respects others with skills equal to his own and holds heroic figures like Captain America, Spider-Man and Cyclops in high regard, as seen in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. However, by the time of Street Fighter III, it seems that Ryu has developed a somewhat more friendly personality. He is still very quiet and reserved, but is willing to greet people with a smile and some kind advice, very much like his master Gouken.
There is, however, a dark side to Ryu. His drive to improve himself, no matter the difficulty, can sometimes develop into a drive to win and to be the best, no matter what the cost, as these two goals are so dangerously similar. This darker drive is fed by, and in turn feeds the Satsui no Hadou within him, an influence which Ryu must constantly fight to suppress (at least until the time of Street Fighter III). Ryu's desire to be better can sometimes make his advice to his defeated opponents seem more arrogant and judgmental than Gouken's, though he is fundamentally well-intentioned. In times when his inner darkness threatens to overcome him, Ryu relies on his friends - primarily Ken, Chun-Li, and Sakura - to keep him grounded and snap him out of it.
Ryu is the quintessential "basic" character in fighting games with an intuitive array of punches and kicks, and very basic special moves. This simplicity makes Ryu a favorite for beginner and intermediate players. Ryu is available in every single Street Fighter game, allowing players familiar with previous Street Fighter games to begin playing immediately, without having to worry about learning how to use a new character, however, there are a few tweaks in his moveset which vary depending on the game.
Ryu's techniques are the "Hadouken" which has become a staple projectile among fighting referred to as the "Fireball", the "Shoryuken" which is a favorite among many players to use, referred to as a "Dragon Punch" and is an uppercut maneuver that hits once, and the "Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku" or "Hurricane Kick" as most refer it to. In early versions of Street Fighter 2, Ryu could only use all attacks on the ground, however in later versions, he is able to perform the Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku in the air. Also he has the ability to use a more powerful version of the Hadouken known as the "Shakunetsu Hadouken" where the Hadouken is a variation of fire and deals more damage. In the Alpha series, he has a tactic known as the "Hadou no Kamae" which is a tactic of trickery, fooling the opponent into a potential counter. More variations of Ryu's attacks came in the form of his medium punch, kick, and heavy punch moves where holding forward and pressing any of the 2 punch buttons enables different attacks which deals two hits but has a delayed start. In Alpha, The Medium Kick action performs a weaker version of the Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku, which deals less damage but is quicker to perform. In the 'Street Fighter 3 series, Ryu gains one new special move called the "Joudan Sokutou Geri" which is a powerful side kick that shoves opponents away with great force while its EX version is powerful to bounce the opponent off the arena wall. In the Street Fighter EX Series, his Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku is replaced with a flying kick attack which can be done in succession by inputting the same command twice or three times.
Super Combos/Super Arts
Many of Ryu's Super Combos (Super Arts in Street Fighter III) are more powerful versions of his normal moves. The Shinku Hadoken delivers up to five hits on one fireball, The Shin Shoryuken is a close range move that acts like a normal Shoryuken unless it connects and delivers two more punches, and the Shinkuu Tatsumaki Senpukyaku is a multi-hitting Hurricane Kick that stays in one spot in the air. This was replaced in SF3 with the Denjin Hadouken which is an alternative of the Shinkuu Hadouken, where the player must "charge" the fireball. The longer the move is charged, the more damage, hits and "stun" it deals. Exclusive to Super Gem Fighter, he has a move called the "Reppuu Jinrai Shoryu" which is a multihitting punch attack that ends in the same fashion as a Shin Shoryuken.
Ryu has a unique ability in Marvel vs. Capcom, where he is able to change his fighting style (and outfit), to those of Ken and Akuma (to compensate for the lack of the two characters in the game). When giving his quote at the end of the fight, however, they are the same no matter which "mode" he's in. In Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3, Ryu gains the ability to temporarily enhance his fighting power through a Hyper called Hadou Kakusei which not only increases his overall fighting prowess but it also upgrades his other Hypers as well.
As a very young child, Ryu was orphaned and left with no memories about his parents, and whether they were still alive. He was found and adopted by a man named Gouken who raised Ryu in his secluded dojo and trained Ryu in the ways of his martial arts. Shortly afterwards, Gouken would later train his best friend's spoiled son, Ken Masters. Ken served not only as a sparring partner, but also gave Ryu a friend in the form of a boy his own age. Ryu looked up to Gouken as a father figure, and regards Ken as his best friend and surrogate brother, a relationship which remains to this day. When Ryu was 23 years old, Gouken believed that Ryu was ready to travel the world in order to test and hone his martial skills against the best fighters from around the world. With this, Ryu left Gouken's dojo, and headed to fight in the World Warrior tournament.
Ryu is one of the participants of the World Warrior tournament. After defeating all challengers, Ryu's skills earn him the right to fight its host, Sagat. Sagat nearly beats Ryu into unconsciousness and, thinking he had won, drops his guard to help Ryu up. Ryu, however, having such a strong desire to win, allows himself to be engulfed by the Satsui no Hadou and he strikes Sagat with a nearly-fatal Metsu Shoryuken that not only knocks Sagat unconscious but also marks his chest with a great scar. After regaining consciousness and discovering what had happened, Sagat swears vengeance on Ryu.
Ryu leaves Sagat behind and returns to his home only to find that Gouken, his master and adoptive father, has apparently been murdered. Learning that Akuma had fought and supposedly killed his adopted father, Ryu began to travel the world to find this man.
He encounters and fights Akuma on a secluded island known as Gokuentou, but Akuma was only testing him. He senses that Ryu has the same powers as he does, and tells Ryu about the Satsui no Hadou - a power that consumes the practitioners of their shared fighting style, driving them to win even when it means killing the opponent. Akuma then uses his fist to smash the island, leaving Ryu stranded.
Sometime after escaping the island, Ryu battles Ken and loses. Ken realizes Ryu is not himself and has been deeply troubled since his last victory over Sagat. He gives him his red hairband as a reminder to stay focused, which Ryu was sincerely grateful for. Soon thereafter, a fan of his, named Sakura, comes up and expresses her desire to train under him. Ryu replies that he himself still has much to learn, but allows Sakura to take a picture of him. She swears to make him accept her eventually.
At some point during all this, Ryu is found by Sagat who is out for a grudge match. Ryu protests that Sagat hasn't fully recovered from their last bout, but Sagat persists. Ryu lets Sagat win rather than do any further damage, and Sagat leaves. Only later, upon reflection, does Sagat realize that Ryu held back, vowing to fight him again.
Two years later, Ryu continues to be troubled by what Akuma had told him, compounded by his encounter with Rose, who has intricate ties to M. Bison. She tells him that he cannot defeat Bison unless he fights him at the cost of his soul. True to form, when Ryu confronts Bison, he is defeated despite putting up a valiant fight. Bison takes the semi-conscious Ryu and begins brainwashing him, using the revelation that the Satsui no Hadou - the dark power Ryu struggles to avoid using - is akin to Bison's own Psycho Power.
This scene is interrupted by the entrance of Sagat, Ken, and Sakura, each of them having followed Ryu for their own reasons. While Ken and Sakura distract Bison, Sagat challenges the brainwashed Ryu (different versions of this story coexist; in one version, Sagat is offered this battle as an enticement to stay with Shadaloo). Sagat quickly notices the effects Bison's brainwashing have had on Ryu, and, at Sagat's urging, Ryu comes to his senses to confront and defeats Bison, destroying him temporarily.
During the World Warrior tournament, Ryu enters to test his skills, and defeats many of the new warriors. He encourages Ken to re-enter as well. However, it is unknown how far Ryu himself progressed in the tournament, although it is implied he may have lost to Ken.
Sometime after the second World Warrior tournament, Ryu enters into a new tournament to further master his skills as well as reunite with his longtime friend Ken for another rematch. During his journey he meets up with Sakura whom he encourages to train harder. Meanwhile Ryu also meets up with a former rival Sagat and remembers the promised rematch as they fought. During the final round with the Tournament Host Seth (actually a copy of him), he defeats him in the S.I.N. headquarters. During and after this battle the building fell around them as Ryu unleashed the Satsui no Hadou on the BLECE machine, a weapon of mass destruction developed by S.I.N. that harnessed the energy in the human body.
During this, Sakura - who has been searching for Ryu - finds him and the BLECE machine, and a pulse of energy from it knocks her into a wall. Ryu defends her by unleashing a Shoryuken on the machine, and they leave the building together, the weapon destroyed.
He then encounters Gouken, who has in fact survived his last battle with Akuma, and Gouken uses the "Power of Nothingness" to seal the Satsui no Hadou which is eating at Ryu, knocking him unconscious. Akuma then arrives on the scene to challenge his brother for a death duel, the winner of which will claim "the cub" (meaning Ryu). The outcome of the duel is unknown but, since Ryu is later seen free of Dark Hadou's influence, it is very likely that either Gouken won or the battle ended in a draw (possibly interrupted).
Later, Ryu and Ken chase their long-lost master along a cliff face, with Ken wanting Gouken to stick around while Ryu wishes him well. Afterwards, he and Ken trek through the desert while Rufus mocks them on his motorcycle, though it later breaks down and he is left pushing it while Ryu and Ken finally reach Ken's jeep. Ryu later bids Sakura farewell as she, Dan and Blanka leave for home on a cruise ship. Some time later, having decided that his battles have made him stronger, he meets a now-older Sakura. What happens next is unknown, although Gouken might have taught Ryu Shin Shoryuken and Denjin Hadouken at some point before Street Fighter III.
Years later, Ryu enters the third World Warrior tournament to further advance his fighting abilities. His most notable fight during the tournament is against Hugo, who is able to withstand his Shin Shoryuken and hold his own. Though disputed if canon or not, he is defeated by Oro, and continues his travels afterward.
Shortly after the tournament, Ryu meets up with Ken for a friendly match, from which Ryu emerges the victor(canon in question). He also serves as Hugo's pro-wrestling tag-team partner for a brief period of time before moving on.
At some point, he encounters Alex, whom he solidly defeats. Ryu encourages the young wrestler to continue honing his abilities against strong opponents. Fascinated by Ryu's skill and determined to become stronger, Alex soon sets out to find Ryu for a rematch.
Though disputed if canon or not, Oro eventually finds Ryu and begins aiding the young warrior in his training, though Ryu is never aware of the hermit's presence.
Other Video Games
Ryu has a secret love for Chun Li, but he tries to forget it in order to devote more of their training. In this same work, Ryu was originally trained in Karate by his mother, who taught him the basics and then enrolled in Gouken's dojo. Note that this differs greatly from the true story of Ryu.
In his ending, Ryu is shown to continue his journey in search for strong challengers. This leads him to a confrontation with Iron Fist, who would go on to appear in the expansion released later the same year, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Live Action Films
In the live action movie adaptation of the games, Ryu's place as the main character of the series is replaced by that of Guile as the military leader of the Allied Nations Shadaloo branch. Ryu (with the last name of Hoshi), along with Ken, are two con artists who love to take money from rich crime lords through their schemes. This time, however, they unwittingly become entangled in the war to free the country of Shadaloo. His name is pronounced "Rai-you" instead of its traditional and more accurately pronounced "Ree-you". His name is pronounced correctly only twice out of the 14+ times it is spoken - once by M. Bison when ordering that he and Ken be given clean clothing after they are welcomed into the Shadaloo base, and once by Guile when commanding Chun-Li and Balrog to find Ryu and Ken during the final battle. He is the most inaccurate representation in every aspect of the character. In the anime and games, he is the archetypal lone warrior, ever seeking to broaden his horizons in perfecting his mastery of his craft - with a fighting prowess of speed and strength so lofty it easily borderlines on the supernatural. In the film, he is no more than a simple street brawler with no secretly tapped abilities. The only visual representation of what the audience could assume as the Hadouken is during a side-story fight with Vega nearing the climax to the film. it is represented by the screen going white for a brief moment as Ryu screams with his hands in the traditional hadouken stance. In that regard, it is shown in the film that Vega, not Sagat, is Ryu's rival.
Ryu is mentioned by Gen at the end of the film as a potential recruit for the Order of the Web. It is said that he is a powerful competitor at in a "Street Fighter Tournament".
His story in this TV series is basically a loose combination of the two stories in the games and in the live-action film. Ryu, once again given the last name of Hoshi and replaced by Guile as the main character, is still a con man, as well as Ken, but despite this, he is still dedicated to his training. Unlike the film, Ryu has a rivalry with Sagat.
- Voice actor: Skip Stellrecht, Hank Smith (pseudonym name) (English), Kōjirō Shimizu (Japanese)
In this, Ryu is still a wandering fighter, journeying to various parts of the world to find new challenges. He gets entangled in many battles against various fighters and villain Bison as well.
Here, Ryu appears as a 17 year old and is not traveling alone. He is accompanied by Ken for the early part of the series, and has not learned the Hadoken as part of his original fighting style. He and Ken, after being trounced in a bar fight with Guile, decide to travel the world and, teaming up with Chun-Li, make appearances in some of the countries that are seen in the original Street Fighter II game.
While Ryu and Ken follow the same martial arts discipline, as the Street Fighter series evolved, the differences between the two characters was portrayed by their attacks: Ryu focused on technique while Ken opted for stylish unpredictability.
Ryu's normal attacks are slightly slower than Ken's, albeit straightforward. His special moves are more focused; Ryu inflicts damage with individual strikes rather than combinations. His Shoryuken does only one hit, so Ryu can effectively use this move at full power against airborne opponents. Ryu can dodge projectiles at the start of his Shoryuken maneuver and knocks an opponent down with one hit.
Ryu focuses more on the Hadou principle of the fighting style, which translates to him being very skilled with his usage of ki - Ryu has the most concentrated Hadouken between him and Ken, and only Akuma can match and/or surpass Ryu's Hadouken in both gauge and concentrate in certain instances. Ryu is the only student of this martial art capable of using the Shakunetsu Hadouken with the greatest of care—ensuring that the surge still burns bright with flames, but won't result in immolation.
Ryu and Ken's have a comparable duality with Akuma. There are two philosophical approaches to Karate, and Japanese martial arts in general. Do and Jutsu, or The path/way, and method/technique. One is more for personal development (as in judo) and the other is more for practical application (as in jujutsu).
Capcom USA originally referred to Ryu's fighting style as "Shotokan" despite bearing little resemblance to the discipline. Because of this, Ryu and other characters who use similar styles (such as Ken and Akuma) are still called "Shoto clones" or "shotos" by fans. Although as the Ryu character is based on the real life events of Yoshiji Soeno, who was a practitioner of kyokushinkai karate under Masu Oyama, the traditional kyokushinkai techniques can be clearly seen in the character's fighting style, as with Makoto, who's fighting style and techniques are based off shotokan karate.
Given with the name of Ryu's fighting style, any character that contains any two or three of Ryu's basic special attacks are considered "shotos" by fans, signifying that they are easy to use characters. In the Street Fighter series, usually most "shotos" in the games sport a gi of a different color (with the exception being Sakura Kasugano) and are referred to as "shoto clones". Ryu's attacks have been passed on to Ken Masters and Akuma with some alterations to the mechanics, while Sakura, Sagat, Dan Hibiki, and Sean Matsuda have different styles yet very similar to the originals. Gouken's style has some notable differences but still generally follows the same pattern, fitting his storyline as Ryu's teacher and the "elder statesman shoto" of the series.
In other games, such as Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury, characters such as Ryo Sakazaki and Terry Bogard have similar attributes to the "shoto" style with a projectile (in Terry's case, a ground wave) and Dragon Punch and special kicks which are quite different from Ryu's but have similar properties and in some cases, have the same inputs as Ryu's attacks. Many fighting games in the future have certain characters that operate in this function but always have varying differences to make them stand out from Ryu as well. To this day, shoto characters can be found in a huge majority of 2D fighting games.
The synonymous and iconic connection between Ryu, the Hadoken, and the Street Fighter series, has one extremely notable predecessor in the manga and anime series Dragon Ball (and its related video games and other multimedia), with its main character Son Goku, another gi-sporting warrior with much latent power and a desire to be the best, and his trademark Kamehameha energy wave (with similarities in performance to the Hadoken). TVTropes in fact has a trope for similarly-done attacks in entertainment media, named Kamehame Hadoken after both Goku and Ryu's moves. Coincidentally, Ryu's Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 English voice actor, Kyle Hebert, is known best for also being the main English voice for the adult version of Goku's son Gohan in Dragon Ball.
Examples of Shotos
- Demitri Maximoff and Morrigan Aensland from Darkstalkers
- Ky Kiske from Guilty Gear
- Jin Kisaragi from BlazBlue
- Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami from The King of Fighters
- Jotaro Kujo and Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
- Mario and Luigi from Super Smash Bros.
Ryu is voiced by Katashi Ishizuka or Toshiyuki Morikawa in many of the games he appears in. In some of the Alpha games and in the first two Street Fighter III games, he is voiced by Wataru Takagi. In Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, his voice is done by Toru Ohkawa. His voice in the Street Fighter Alpha anime was Kane Kosugi, and Kojiro Shimizu in the Street Fighter II anime movie. In Street Fighter II V, he is voiced by Kōji Tsujitani. He was portrayed by Byron Mann in the 1994 movie adaptation of the game. His English voice actor for Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is Kyle Hebert.
- See: Ryu/Gallery
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 http://www.capcom.co.jp/sf4/ryu.html
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dynjRnMoj-Y
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srNEG0nzy04
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoydMtQf6mU
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hg1wjJM0Vk
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFUJcXr3unM
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NovM20o7Cg
- ↑ http://blog.sfrpg.com.br/post/Ryu.aspx
|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|
|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|