|First appearance Mai-Otome|| *Street Fighter (original character)
|Voiced by|| Japanese versions:|
|Affiliation||Freelance Martial Artist|
|Age||Unknown, born in July 21|
|First appearance Mai-Hime||Unknown|
|Beloved person|| N/A
- "You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance."
- —Ryu, American localization of Street Fighter II
Ryu (リュウ, 隆, 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".
As of Street Fighter IV to Street Fighter X Tekken, he is voiced by Hiroki Takahashi in Japanese and Kyle Hebert in English.
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 martial arts 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. Cool and calculating, patience is Ryu's biggest strength. 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 Hado 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.
In Street Fighter X Mai-HiME, he is one of the two most important persons of Natsuki (which the first being is Shizuru Fujino). In the tenth chapter of the story, he does have respect for Shizuru and her relationship towards Natsuki. Natsuki, in the other hand can subdue the Satsui no Hado within Ryu should he give in to this power.
Street Fighter chronology
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 Hado 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 Hado - 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 withRose, 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 Hado - 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 Hado 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 Hado 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 Hado'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 Hadoken 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.
Street Fighter X Mai-HiME
Ryu is the one of the leading characters of the fanfiction crossover story, Street Fighter X Mai-HiME. Introduced in the first part of the story, where he returns to Gouken's dojo from a journey (possibly after the events of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike). Ryu learns from his master about the HiMEs and their powers having possible connection to the Satsui no Hado; one of the particular reasons why Gouken moved his dojo into Fuka City to invite aspiring martial artists.
In the second chapter, he along with Ken and Sakura met Mai Tokiha, who was shocked of his appearance. And in the third chapter he fought Natsuki Kuga; whose face concealed by her motorcycle helmet, along with her Child Duran. Ryu soundly defeats the cold beauty with his Shin Shoryuken, with the latter's helmet shattered by the impact of the uppercut.
In the fourth chapter, Ryu tends to Natsuki's wounds after losing to him earlier. Natsuki reveals to Ryu and Gouken that she is a HiME. Unfortunately for the master and pupil, she has no knowledge about the Satsui no Hado that may have a connection to the HiMEs. After Natsuki recupirates in the following chapter, Ryu learns of the blue-haired HiME's motivations to train with him and Gouken. So, she decides to stay with Ryu and Gouken to train the Ansatsuken fighting style in order for her to boost her hand-to-hand fighting techniques.
In chapter 10, after Takumi Tokiha was abducted by Shadaloo; Ryu learns of Mai's intentions of saving her brother from its evil dictator, Bison. He suggests to headmaster Mashiro Kazahana to bring the three HiMEs (Mai, Mikoto, and Natsuki) to travel around the world with him and his companions Ken and Sakura; which the latter approves. Ryu, along with Natsuki, Chun-Li and Guile participated in the battle royal hosted by Karin Kanzuki and her family in the 13th chapter, it is unknown who eliminated him that time, whereas Natsuki was one of the last competitors standing before eliminating Cammy.
In chapter 18, when he, Ken, Sakura and along with the three HiMEs arrive in Thailand, he once again encounters Sagat, his archrival, and once again clashed fists with each other. During the duration of their battle, Ken explains to the HiMEs about the rivalry between Ryu and Sagat.  The outcome of the fight is exactly unknown, since it lasted the entire day and both combatants were heavily exhausted.
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 knock an opponent down with one hit.
Ryu focuses more on the Hado principle of the fighting style, which translates to him being very skilled with his usage of ki - Ryu has the most concentrated Hadoken between him and Ken, and is surpassed only by Gouken and Akuma (in their "Shin" forms) in both gauge and concentrate in certain instances. However, both Gouken and Akuma have a generation's worth of experience over him. Ryu is the only student of this martial art capable of using the Shakunetsu Hadoken with the greatest of care—ensuring that the surge still burns bright with flames, but won't result in immolation.
Ryu and Ken 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.
In various media, Ryu is also shown as a very versatile fighter, able to quickly adapt on opponent's fighting style. He also posesses great stamina, which allows him to take a lot of punishment against brutish foes.
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