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- "When the sun sets on the Soliton Mountain, the black moon will break into seven pieces and fall on the people "Ultania". Nothing can prevent this... Death and destruction will violate the land. Misery and suffering will assault the people... Then, after 130 days of nothingness, a boy who controls the elements will come to save the people."
- — -From the Book of Miraha 3:11-, Gill's ending, Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact
The Illuminati, also known as the Secret Society (秘密結社 Himitsu Kessha?), is a secret organization in the Street Fighter III series, led by Gill. They also appear in Street Fighter V. Very few of the people on Earth know of their existence and workings.
The group is portrayed as a powerful organization that has manipulated many of the events throughout the world of earth to achieve their goals of world domination.
The Illuminati in the Street Fighter series is based on a real-life historical organization of the same name, mostly the conspiracy theories and urban rumors that claim said organization has actually manipulated real-life events through the use of the occult and knowledge hidden from current society, in attempts for world domination, with such a rule being known as a New World Order, also the title of a book by the notorious and controversial American Christian-Fundamentalist, Pat Roberson, from which the conspiracy originates.
Ironically, while the urban legend claims that Satanic and "pagan" powers are at work, the theme of its organization in Street Fighter is more Occidental and centered on Christian Eschatology, with its "world savior" resembling Jesus Christ, its members claiming its will as "mandated from the heavens", and their purpose being set around building a utopia for its "worthy" followers after the world's apocalypse.
Their workings and followings also bear resemblance to the real-life infamous Japan-based cult, Aum Shinrikyo; said cult has assassinated those that exposed its inner workings and defected. Their members possess beliefs rooted in Christianity and the workings of Nostradamus, are involved in criminal activity and extortion to "prepare" for the end times, and undergo physical training and fitness that was said to have given them powers. Its leaders are also said to have incredible supernatural powers; Shoko Asahara claimed to be the reincarnation of both Buddha and Jesus Christ.
Ideals, Beliefs, and Followings
According to many of the quotes of Urien and Gill, particularly their talk of DNA, living cells, and inferiority in regards to their fallen opponents, themes of extreme eugenics and Social Darwinism are prevalent within the organization. Heaven's will and might are also spoken of, and its agenda of preparing for its own prophecy of the imminent apocalypse implies the Illuminati regards its ranks and existence as that of a higher plane, "superior" than the majority of the planet who do not know of their existence.
Additionally, thriving off of crime, the black market and other illegal outlets, as well as pocketing monetary and capital gains from the misfortunes of others (orchestrated or otherwise), the Illuminati appears to hold the idea that the ends justifies the means; their evils, though ultimately irrevocable, are exceptional due to their "superiority".
Naturally, despite their intentions, they are hypocritical in their methods, stooping to kidnapping, brainwashing, extreme force, and funding themselves on criminal activity and the black market, and their philosophies border on elitist, consisting of the brutal Social Darwinist and authoritarian principles they would build their New World Order on.
The ranks of leadership are, from highest to lowest:
- Vice President
- Council of Elders
- Crisis Management Units
Their ranks are said to only hold the most elite and near paragon examples of humanity; one female presidential candidate was said to have held a Ph. D. in Sports Dynamics, and was an Olympic-level athlete. They also accept not only the willing, but also brainwash and coerce those they find with talents worth putting to use.
Their highest ranks (Vice President, President, and Emperor/Messiah) demand only the sheer best of the best without exception, and are only attainable by worthy birth-given traits. The Illuminati believes that after the death of each Emperor, their soul is eventually reincarnated within the world; in accordance, over one thousand and twenty-four children selected throughout the world are placed within an intensive and demanding development program to find their next leader.
The children are analyzed through extensive research in their individual lineages and genetics, as well as divination in various astrology systems, including Bai Zi, Feng Shui, natal charting, and even various arcane and obscure occult methods unknown to most. After acceptance, they are separated from their birth parents and paired into twos, and are brought up in the society's teachings, from academics and occult philosophies, and the group's own noteworthy hand-to-hand training program.
The entire program lasts for all candidates until they are 22 years of age, at which point only only one of one thousand and twenty four children involved will be worthy of the title of Presidency. Presidents who show exceptional acumen are promoted to the rank of Emperor, a secret rank which is known only to few Presidents and the Council of Elders, and is also considered the Messiah. All high-reigning titles last until the age of 46.
Upon their deaths, the brain of the previous leader is removed and then preserved for future guidance. It is unknown how many previous leaders have been preserved in such a way, but it has been stated that such practice has existed for 2000 years since.
The Sixty-Six Secret Arts of the Illuminati
The Sixty-Six Secret Arts are a collection of powerful and extraordinary techniques available only to those of the Illuminati who have gone under the society's intensive hand-to-hand combat training program, where the ability to wield ki and elemental power is developed through such tutelage, and by genetic alterations to enhance the properties of the participants.
Training to master these techniques is said to come from mastery over specific elements by merging them into one's aura. Mastering them all is said to be impossible, as they make the use of all known elemental affinities, while the known maximum elemental capacity in a human is three.
The Illuminati in the Street Fighter series has existed for thousand of years in the regions of the world often renowned for their powerful and influential civilizations (most notably Egypt and Greece), manipulating world political, social, military, and even criminal events (Shadaloo included) in order to achieve an ancient apocalyptic prophecy that would lead to a new age dominated by them.
The Prophecy and Gill as the Savior
The Illuminati required a living messiah because their prophecies dictated that the rapture was imminent, thus signaling the end of humanity. Their messiah would be the one who would bring salvation and create a new Eden for the worthy remainder of mankind.
Gill's ending from Street Fighter III: Second Impact provide a paragraph explaining this prophecy; the events that signify the end of the world are said to take place in 2200 AD. The "boy who controls the elements" is said to refer to Gill, and the prophecy predicts that he will act as humanity's savior.
While the prophecy would not come true for another two centuries, Gill, the current emperor, would take it upon himself to create a nation comprised of the fittest and best that humanity had to offer in order to bring about their salvation, feeling that the world's opposing forces have become unstable and imbalanced; Gill saw that the world's state of conflict and change had grown its peak before the eventual catastrophic cataclysm.
To achieve this, he set several plans into motion, all called the "G-Project".
The G Project
The G Project is a compilation of various activity overseen by Gill to ensure the Illuminati's act of world's salvation. One revolved around an organized fighting tournament to seek out the "worthy", and another included the conduction of illegal genetic experiments to create a race of super soldiers, giving way to the prototype Necro, who would eventually escape and go rogue, and the soldier Twelve, who was tasked with hunting Necro down.
The G File is a collective documentation of this plan. Although it appears like a scrapbook of various events throughout human history, all events entailed within were orchestrated to ensure the Illuminati's ultimate goal. Ibuki was given a part of the G File containing documents entailing only the first stage of the Project. The entire G File consists of over 20,000 volumes of step-by-step instructions for enacting the G Project.
Aspects and World Influence
Having existed since the early ages of human civilization, the Illuminati have control over nearly every field of society, with their influence reaching to the upper ranks and hierarchies of governments, corporations, and even the criminal underworld to carry out their bidding.
They are shown to manipulate events and politics throughout the world, and are also seemingly in control of the flow and access of information and knowledge in the world, being shown to hold access to technological and scientific innovations at least generations ahead of what is known to humanity in their current period (e.g. cryogenics and cranial preservation). In addition, they possess knowledge - and proof of existence - of the occult and metaphysical, such as the utilization of ki, chakra, elemental manipulation and harmonizing, and to a lesser extent, magic; they have also created and developed extremely powerful techniques unique only to its members.
According to Gill's conversation with Elena in 2nd Impact, his view of martial arts is seen as a means of power and opposition that "serve solely to assert one's dominance over another", implying that fighting is undeniably valued as a dimension of the Illuminati's greatest aptitudes for showcasing their members' perfection.
The Fall of the "Black Moons"
Though having stayed in the shadows for a long period of time, the Illuminati are shown to have a growing role of involvement by the times of Street Fighter V. As Shadaloo experiences rises and falls in power throughout its management under M.Bison, their act of Project C.H.A.I.N.S. is of such a level of immense threat that Urien is forced to intervene with the cartel that the Illuminati helped start. However, it is ultimately unknown what the direction of the Illuminati had in mind for those bleak times; Urien's goals were to stop the commencement of the superweapons from ever being deployed and activated, while Gill and Kolin seemingly desired the end results of Shadaloo's possibly greatest act of terrorism committed. Nevertheless, the crisis was averted thanks to the help of fighters summoned and deployed by the Kanzuki Zaibatsu.
The Third World Warrior Tournament
Sometime later, with the aid of his secretary Kolin, Gill organized the Third World Warrior Tournament, desiring to learn which of the world's strongest fighters were deemed worthy of survival. Due to their sponsorship however, word leaks out of the rumor of the organization's existence and attracts the attention of many, including Masters Hotel tycoon head and US Martial Arts champion Ken Masters, and even to the reclusive but legendary hermit Oro, to pursue more evidence of the organization's existence. In his Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike ending, Gill collects the most powerful fighters in the world, parts the ocean by sheer force of will, and leads them to his perfect promised land, where they would be safe from the world's destruction.
Gill described this destruction to Yun as two opposing forces of the world becoming imbalanced. Gill's power lies in his own perfect balance of forces, so complete that it is evident in his own body, with the opposing forces of fire and ice separated in perfect symmetry. Gill appears to be able to inflict this balance on others, as demonstrated on Alex in Gill's 3rd Strike ending. This ending also displays him doing the same to the entire island where the promised land exists.
The fate of the Illuminati after the events in 3rd Strike is currently unknown.
- Yun and Yang - Out to halt them, as the Illuminati plans to take over the twins' hometown of Hong Kong through underworld influences.
- Alex - Out for vengeance, as Emperor Gill personally gave his father figure and mentor, Tom, a brutal beating, and also plans to make Alex his disciple.
- Chun-Li - The President of the Illuminati, Urien, kidnaps a girl under Chun-Li's care to subject her to genetic modifications. Chun-Li defeats Urien and saves the child.
- Necro - Mutated human created by failed genetic experiments of the Illuminati. Throughout the Street Fighter III series, he is on the run with his girlfriend, Effie.
- Ibuki - Tasked to recover the G-Project files from the Illuminati by her village elders.
- Dudley - Wants to recover his late father's priceless Jaguar sports car, which is also a family heirloom, from Gill.
- Hugo - Wants to make Gill his tag team partner.
- Ryu - Aware of Gill's evil intentions and seeks to defeat him.
- Akuma - Wants to test the strength of the Emperor, Gill. He eventually kills Gill with the Raging Demon, though the Emperor simply remedies this via Resurrection.
- Urien - Betrayed the Illuminati and hopes to take revenge on his Emperor, Gill.
- The third installment of the Street Fighter III series was coincidentally released during the rise of contemporary music in the mid 1990s featuring themes and references to the illusive organization.
- Their appearance in the series seems to continue a running theme within Capcom games, where the main antagonistic force is a secret society or organization that has controlled civilization's events from behind the scenes for centuries; examples include The Family from Resident Evil 6, and the Genma from the Onimusha series.
- The Illuminati's main hideout resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.