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"Let's party! If you think you can keep up. (レッツパーリー!…と、洒落込むかの。 Rettsu pārī! To, share komu ka no.?)"
—Zeku (Street Fighter V)

Zeku (是空 Zekū?) is a video game character from the Street Fighter series, first appearing in Street Fighter Alpha 2 as a non-playable character before making his playable debut as the final fighter of the second DLC season of Street Fighter V.[5] Zeku was formerly the 38th grandmaster of the school of Bushinryu Ninjutsu, after being succeeded by his pupil Guy, he set out on a journey of self-discovery.



Zeku has long white/gray (brown in his younger form) hair with full fringes covering his eyes. In the Alpha series, his hair is depicted as brown and he wears an outfit identical to Guy's, only green. This outfit appears in Street Fighter V as his third alternate costume. In the UDON comics, Zeku is portrayed with a moustache.

In Street Fighter V, Zeku wears a traditional yellow and green dragon designed vest with a matching yellow trim and green cloud design, and a drawing in the back resembling the War God from Forgotten Worlds. Underneath his vest is a dark blue long sleeved ninja garb which is tied in a yellow obi as the left sleeve are ripped into short sleeve, matching dark blue traditional pants and open-toed boots. He has an orange turtleneck beneath his garb. In his younger alternate self, he wears a dark blue ninja suit with half sleeves and wears a red ninja scarf to cover his mouth. He also has a red sash which is tied into a obi as the sash in each side are hanging loose.

In his first alternate costume, Zeku wears a modern type of outfit consisting of a yellow orange long sleeve button shirt with the black cloud design while his sleeves folded into cuffs, and a blue and light blue striped neck tie on the collar, indigo pants and brown shoes. He also has dark blue arm wraps which are tucked into the sleeves of his button shirt, and has a silver watch on his left wrist. His younger form wears the same outfit with a formal suit jacket within it.

His second alternate costume is a blue ninja suit worn by with a large bowl hat. His younger form wears the same but with a kanji at the left side.


While Zeku can be seen as just a simple serious and stern teacher, he does have a youthful, cheerful, upbeat, and a well-mannered attitude, as well as a strong sense of justice and modernity. His past experiences with sparring his former master, Genryusai, was influenced through his former disciple turned successor, Guy. He has a odd mannerism in which he likes to talk with himself, normally in his young form. Zeku often likes to help other people like Karin, Ibuki and Cody by offering his assistance or joining to his ninja group in which everyone declines his offer due to his shady occupation and his transformation between his old and young form.


The development team initially proposed a character that can switch between two modes at will, alongside a practitioner of Bushinryu and an older, good-looking male character. While Guy was planned to return in earlier stages of development, him having an alternate form completely divorced from his roots was seen as inappropriate. Zeku's inclusion was a combination of all three proposals. Initial concepts of Zeku had him fight monsters and wear pelts, as well as certain designs having a phoenix motif.[citation needed]

Later in development, Zeku was designed to homage Hiryu from Capcom's Strider series of action platformer games, with the young form resembling Hiryu but fighting with Bushinryu, and the old form resembling Bushinryu but fighting like Hiryu.

Character Relationships[]


His former master who he eventually defeated. He refused to kill him despite the Bushinryu teachings dictating he must do so. Genryusai later dies of an unrelated cause.


Guy was his apprentice. Before he met Zeku he was a delinquent, many people avoided getting involved with Guy. But only Zeku saw potential in Guy and would later entrust the future of Bushinryu to him.[6] After Street Fighter Alpha 2, Guy and Zeku go their separate ways, with Guy refusing to kill him as well. As of Street Fighter V, it is implied they haven't seen each other for a while.


Offered his services for her. It is currently unknown if Karin canonically did employ him or decline his offer, as implied in Karin's winquote to him.


Offered to help Cody in government, but Cody declined because he felt that employing Zeku would make him no different to the things he's fighting against, and would bring "shady business" in Metro City. However, Cody had a moment having reminded Zeku of his old disciple and also one of Cody’s allies, Guy.


Zeku is interested in Ibuki due to her already established experience as a ninja. He wants her to be among his new shinobi group.


Likely due to witnessing many unscrupulous and deluded masterminds and ringleaders he personally felled in his line of work as a ninja of the Bushinryu style, Zeku knows well of the vicious cycle of criminal power and its ultimate downfall, and that despite his lofty and high position, Gill is no different and should know what is coming to him.



Zeku was the 38th Successor of the Bushinryu Ninjutsu school. He became the Grandmaster after defeating his former teacher Genryusai, but refused to kill him[citation needed] as the Bushinryu commandments deemed because he saw him as a father. Although Genryusai had focused primarily on Ninjutsu, Zeku had improved the style by incorporating a variety of Taijutsu techniques on it.[1] Upon his later age, Zeku soon came across the time to find a successor to Bushinryu. During a patrol in an undisclosed city, Zeku spotted a young man caught up in a gang fight.[7] Seeing that the young man fought wildly, but with intense spirit, Zeku then lent his hand in invitation to teach him the ways of Bushinryu. Introducing himself, that boy would let him know his name was Guy, and since then Zeku had taken him under as the next successor of Bushinryu.[8]

Street Fighter Alpha 2[]

Zeku taught the young Japanese-American ninja all he knew. Eventually he and his student would battle to see if Guy was worthy of being the 39th Successor of the Bushinryu school. Guy won, and allowed Zeku to go on his own path after passing on the grandmaster title, like how Zeku before him refused to kill Genryusai. Zeku was proud of his disciple and ordained him the 39th Successor of Bushinryu Ninpo. He then disappeared for some finite time.

Street Fighter V[]


Zeku ready craft a new style of martial art.

Zeku's character story begins with a brief history on the 600-year art of Bushinryu, but after teaching the art to Guy, Zeku is ready to branch out and craft a new style of martial art. His search for disciples in the new art leads him to the Kanzuki Estate, where he (in his young form) is first greeted by Ibuki; the two fight, with Zeku afterward extending an offer to Ibuki to join his new order, but Ibuki doesn't even consider the offer, disappointed at Zeku's true age. Zeku eventually finds Karin and extends an offer of his services; after initially turning down the offer, Zeku insists on working for her, naming numerous services that he can perform as a ninja "in these globalized times". Karin asks for a demonstration while she considers, and when she loses the fight, she is left impressed by his skill. Zeku leaves, assuring Karin that she can contact him when he is needed. Zeku is later seen contemplating his evolved art's possible contributions to modern society. He concludes a name is needed for his new art, but after considering the name "Shin Bushinryu", he decides the name should be English to better suit the modern era. The story ends with him being beside himself on the art's new name, giving consideration to the name "Striders" among others.

Other story appearances:

  • Zeku appears on Cody's character story. He offers to help Cody manage the local government and Cody challenges him to a fight to test his skills. After the fight Zeku's offer is declined by Cody as he can't have shady work in his position as Metro City's mayor. This appearance takes place sometime before Lucia arrived in her character story, just as Zeku depart at a same time in said character story.



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Fighting style[]

Zeku fights using Bushinryu Ninjutsu. As the noteworthy 38th successor of Bushinryu, Zeku is a very proficient and adept ninja master whose career has been considered to have revived Bushinryu back to its former glory since the languishing days of the Meiji Restoration; along with having incorporated integral aspects such as Taijutsu and close quarters combat to recreate the school's very own martial arts, he is extremely well versed and studied in his fighting style's dynamics and techniques to where he is equipped for many situations and encounters.


Zeku's moves are similar to that of fellow Street Fighter ninjas like Vega, Guy and Ibuki. He is also able to transform to his younger self using his V-Skill or a down-down motion.[9]

Zeku's old and young form moveset are near completely different from each other. Zeku fights using his new fighting style in his old form, combining moves from Bushinryu with his new techniques. His new fighting style focuses on a mid to far range game, relying on long range special moves that function as pokes. Although his special moves in his old form serve a fireball type function, they are very different from the standard fireballs, taking the form of a long range instant shock-wave rather than a traveling projectile. However, Zeku's combos tend to knock back his opponent a large distance and he lacks good wakeup pressure options as a result.

Zeku's moveset in his young form closely resembles Guy's moveset in the Alpha and Street Fighter IV games, focusing on Bushinryu techniques. In his young form, Zeku adopts a much more close range, pressure type fighting style utilizing target combos and dash mixups similar to Guy.

Zeku's first V-Trigger is the Bushinryu Shingekiko he gains access to a fast dash that can be followed up with normals that chain into each other and end in a palm strike or kick depending on what form. The last strike is safe on block and can be cancelled into CA. His second V-Trigger is the Karura Tenzan a anti air attack that can be cancelled from specials and has zeku launch the opponent up then preform several strikes on them and land back on the ground in his other form. It can be done twice.

His Critical Art is known as Batsuzan Gaisei, Zeku kicks his opponent into the air. He then proceeds to rapidly attack his opponent from all directions while changing between his old and young form for each hit. He finishes by slamming his opponent into the ground with his feet.

Due to the major difference between the two forms, the character is very daunting to learn, having one of the biggest movesets in the game. A Zeku player will need to keep track of each form's moves and what each form is capable of, whilst still keeping track of which form they are in mid match. As a result of contrasting two forms, Zeku can quickly and drastically switch up his playstyle in a match to throw off his opponent and to catch them off guard.




Pop Culture[]

Zeku/Pop Culture



Stage Theme[]

Title Game Artist Track
Street Fighter
Theme of Zeku Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition Daniel Lindholm
Zeku Story Theme (1) Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
Zeku Story Theme (2) Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
Zeku Story Theme (3) Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
Zeku Story Theme (Epilogue) Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
Old School Stealth Zeku's theme first draft Daniel Lindholm[10]
Comin Back Around Zeku's theme second draft Daniel Lindholm[11]


  • Of all the playable characters in the franchise, Zeku has the biggest moveset to date (41 in total), rivaling Dante's available moveset in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (and its Ultimate update), and Infinite iteration.
  • Almost all of Zeku's win quotes are haikus, Japanese poems that follow a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Some exceptions are the quotes for Kage, Cody, E. Honda, Poison, Lucia and Gill, which are more poetic or conversational, and may rather draw upon English styles of haiku, including one line and spiritual/romantic content evocation, helping to emphasize Zeku's worldwide aims for his line of Ninjutsu.
  • Zeku's resemblances with Hiryu from Capcom's Strider series includes the following things.
    • His younger form bears a strong physical resemblance to Hiryu, notably being his wavy red scarf, messy brown hair, and blue garb with red kanji "Art of War" (武 Bu) located on the chest.
    • His Battle Costume is directly based on Hiryu's usual appearance with slight changes, such as a pouch belt instead of his loose-fitting metalic belt and an edged tonfa instead of his Cypher.
    • His theme contains musical cues taken from the opening theme of Strider.
    • During his intro, Zeku flies into the stage using a parachute-kite, similar to Hiryu's glider entrances.
    • A lot of Zeku's animations in both forms (such as old Zeku's idle and crouching stance, standing and crouching LP and LK, and young Zeku's standing and crouching HP, taunt and neutral jump) are inspired by Hiryu's animations from his series and the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
    • His forward and backward jump in his young version are Hiryu's Cartwheel Jump.
    • Zeku's special moves Sankaku Tobi and Hassou Tobi parrallel Hiryu's moves Triangle Jump and Hassou Jump respectively. Zeku also has a slide kick identical in pose to Hiryu's Slide.
    • Most of Zeku's special kicks are accompanied by a shockwave effect similar to the Cypher's arc of plasma and by the same high-pitched slicing sound the Cypher produces when swung. One of his specials, Bushin Gram, is inspired by Hiryu's ability to produce slashes with extended reach (and named after a move from Marvel vs. Capcom which does exactly that).
    • His two V-Skill II, Kuchiyose Shii / Bii, are based on Hiryu's Formation A1/C. The names "Bii" and "Shii" are nods to the robots doing the attack, Option B and Option C.
    • The final part of his Critical Art closely resembles Hiryu's Hyper Combo in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, Ragnarok. When performng the dashing strikes, they are accompanied by the same shockwave and high-pitched sound as his kicks, mimicking Ragnarok's Cypher slashes.
    • He mentions the name Striders (as one of the possible new names for his "evolved" fighting style art) in his character story.[12]
    • "Original Strider" is the name of a title that one can unlock by playing Zeku.
      • Because of these connections, it is theorized that the Strider series exists within the same shared universe as the Street Fighter series. It is implied that Zeku may have been the founder (or at the very least, a conceptualizer) of the Striders. In addition, Zeku's character setting states that he's the "1st generation Strider Hiryu", and that he'll be succeeded by the Strider Hiryu from the 1989 Strider Arcade game, who is the "3rd generation"[13]
        • Interestingly Strider Hiyru’s English voice T.J. Storm also appears as the voice of Birdie in Street Fighter V.
  • Zeku is the only Season 2 DLC character whose English voice actor (David Wald) is based in the Texas region. The other DLC characters were voiced by Los Angeles-based voice actors.
  • Zeku is one of only two characters who can switch fighting styles, the other being Gen (albeit at a much greater extent).
  • Despite not being playable in the original Street Fighter game, Zeku appears as a part of Street Fighter V's roster for the original Street Fighter route in Arcade Mode. This is due to his connection to Guy, one of the characters in Final Fight, as Abigail and Cody are also playable in the same route.
    • Although he debut in the Street Fighter Alpha 2, Zeku did not appear in the Alpha route. Kolin and Poison in the same situation appeared in the III Route.
    • It is also likely that Zeku serves as a stand-in for Geki in the SFI ladder, being both ninjas, and Retsu, since they're both mentor archtypes.
  • Zeku's jacket featuring the God of War from Forgotten Worlds on the back pays homage to the origin of Bushinryu, as the martial art was named after the boss[14] according to Akira Yasuda.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Street Fighter V Character Encyclopedia: Zeku
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Street Fighter V Stat Card
  4. 4.0 4.1 "He's so Bushinryūish. It seems he was the master of Guy and Maki. Then he must be fairly strong, huh?" (武神流の人っぽいですね。どうやらガイや真紀のお師匠さんだったらしいです。と言う事はかなりのつわもの?)
  6. All About Street Fighter ZERO page 011
  7. It was only a few years ago that he met the "man of fate". .. .. .. .. .. .. It was in a certain city that I stopped by as I continued my journey. There was a crowd of people in the buzz. (彼がその「運命の男」に出会つたのは、今から数年前のことだつた......。ひたすら旅を続ける中で立ら寄つた、とある街でのことだつた。ざわめきの中、何やら人だかりできていた。 ) from All About Street Fighter ZERO page 349
  8. Zeku: "What's your name?"
    Zeku walked, went down as if sitting down, and gently shook his hands in the air. The boy replied with his hand open.
    Guy: "My name is ... Guy" (「お前の名は?」 ゼクウは歩みり、腰がけたように座り込年にそっと手をしベた。少年はその手を素にけ、答えた。 「俺の名は......ガイ」 ) from All About Street Fighter ZERO page 349
  10. Old School Stealth - Zeku's first draft
  11. Comin Back Around - The 2nd draft for Zeku
  13. Staff (November 30, 2018). How to Make Capcom Fighting Game Characters (Japanese). Pg. 020. Born Digital. ISBN 4-86246-432-7.
Street Fighter series Playable Characters
Main Series
SF Logo Ken · Ryu
Street-fighter-ii-logo The World Warrior Blanka · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · E. Honda · Guile · Zangief
Champion Edition Balrog · M. Bison · Sagat · Vega
Super Cammy · Dee Jay · Fei Long · T. Hawk
Super Turbo Akuma
Ultra Violent Ken
SFAlogo Alpha Adon · Birdie · Charlie Nash · Dan · Guy · Rose · Sodom
Alpha 2 Evil Ryu · Gen · Rolento · Sakura · Shin Akuma
Alpha 3 Cody · Juli · Juni · Karin · R. Mika
Alpha 3 Upper Eagle · Maki
Alpha 3 MAX Ingrid
Street fighter iii logo New Generation Alex · Dudley · Elena · Ibuki
Necro · Oro · Sean · Yang · Yun
2nd Impact Gill · Hugo · Urien
3rd Strike Makoto · Q · Remy · Twelve
Street fighter iv logo IV Abel · C. Viper · El Fuerte · Gouken · Rufus · Seth
Super Hakan · Juri
Arcade Edition Oni
Ultra Decapre · Poison
SFV-Logo-R-3 V F.A.N.G · Laura · Necalli · Rashid
Season 2 Abigail · Ed · Kolin · Menat · Zeku
Season 3 Falke · G
Season 4 Kage · Lucia
Season 5 Akira · Eleven · Luke
Street fighter 6 logo 6 Jamie · JP · Kimberly · Lily · Manon · Marisa
Year 1 A.K.I.
Year 2 Mai (Guest) · Terry (Guest)
Street Fighter The Movie Logo Arkane · Blade · F7 · Khyber · Sawada
Street-fighter-ii--the-animated-movie Cyborg
Sfexlogo EX Allen · Blair · C. Jack · Darun · D. Dark
Hokuto · Kairi · Pullum · Skullomania
EX Plus Bloody Hokuto · Cycloid-β · Cycloid-γ · Garuda
EX2 Hayate · Nanase · Shadowgeist · Sharon
EX2 Plus Area · V. Rosso
EX3 Ace · Bison II
Marvel vs. Capcom Logo MSHvSF Cyber-Akuma · Dark Sakura · Mech-Zangief · Shadow
MvC Shadow Lady
SFO Shin
Street Fighter V Characters
Original Birdie · Cammy · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · F.A.N.G · Karin · Ken · Laura
M. Bison · Nash · Necalli · R. Mika · Rashid · Ryu · Vega · Zangief
Season 1 Alex · Balrog · Guile · Ibuki · Juri · Urien
Season 2 Abigail · Akuma · Ed · Kolin · Menat · Zeku
Season 3 Blanka · Cody · Falke · G · Sagat · Sakura
Season 4 E. Honda · Gill · Kage · Lucia · Poison · Seth
Season 5 Akira · Dan · Eleven · Luke · Oro · Rose
CPU Only AS · Aprile · Decapre · Enero · Février · Juli · März · Peter
Phantom Bison · Santamu · Satsuki · Shadow · Shadow Lady · Two P