Ryu (リュウ Ryū?, written as 隆 in the original Street Fighter) is a video game player character created by Capcom, the protagonist of the Street Fighter series.
Having premiered in the first Street Fighter in 1987, Ryu appears as the lead character in the game, along with his best friend Ken Masters. Further games from the series show Ryu to be highly focused on his training, aiming to become the strongest he can. However, his powers also attract several criminals who want to use him for their plans, such as M. Bison. In some games, Ryu has an alternative form known as Evil Ryu (殺意の波動に目覚めたリュウ Satsui no Hadō ni Mezameta Ryū?, lit. "Ryu with the surge of murderous intent awakened", abbreviated Satsui Ryu in Street Fighter Zero 3).
Ryu has been the lead character of the Street Fighter series since the first game and has appeared in crossovers involving the franchise. He is also featured in manga from the series, anime adaptations and the 1994 live-action film.
In the first Street Fighter game, Ryu wears a tattered white karate gi with the sleeves torn off, as well as a white hachimaki, red gloves, and red slippers. Also, a constant trait in his design is the Fūrinkazan (風林火山?) kanji motif (meaning Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain), battle standard of the historical Japanese military leader Takeda Shingen, embroidered into his obi, simulating Karate Dan degrees. In Street Fighter II Ryu is shown to be older, with brown hair, brown gloves, and a red hachimaki. He also fights barefooted starting in Street Fighter II. The Alpha series features a Ryu much like the one depicted in the original Street Fighter, with chestnut hair and a white hachimaki, but already barefoot. In the Street Fighter III games, Ryu has black hair and facial stubble. His glove design in Street Fighter IV features a simplified version of the Fūrinkazan characters. In Street Fighter V, Ryu's gi is not only tattered, but also has an off-white, soiled appearance to it.
Ryu's name was based on designer Takashi Nishiyama's name. This was due to the fact that the on'yomi (Sino-Japanese pronunciation) of the character "Takashi" is "Ryū" (Mandarin:
Lóng 隆). Furthermore, Ryu's Hadouken energy attack was based on the wave motion gun from the titular spacecraft of the sci-fi anime series Space Battleship Yamato, which Nishiyama watched during the seventies. His other two techniques from the first Street Fighter game were inspired by actual martial arts moves which were exaggerated for the character. Because he was the only playable character in the original Street Fighter, Ryu's designer, Manabu Takemura, wanted to make him easy to identify with. In Street Fighter II, the character was selected for inclusion due to his presence in the first game, symbolizing the concept of a Japanese martial artist. As the series progressed, the design was made more muscular to coincide with the concept, while his white gi, considered his most defining characteristic by the development team, was meant to let viewers know he was "a karate master at first sight".
For Street Fighter IV, Kyle Hebert was cast as Ryu in preparation of the return of his "Evil Ryu" persona.
Ryu's moveset featured in the Street Fighter series features 3 "special" attacks besides regular punches and kicks:
This move consists of a rising uppercut in which Ryu rises off the ground with the fist extended upward. This move's input consists of a forward, then down then down-forward motion on the joystick, alongside a punch button.
This move consists of Ryu sending a projectile ball of energy toward the opponent by cupping his hands to his sides and moving them forward. This move's input consists of a quarter-circle motion starting from the bottom moving toward the opponent with the joystick, alongside a punch button.
This moves consists of a flying spinning kick which propels Ryu forward. This move's input consists of a quarter-circle motion from the bottom moving backwards from the opponent with the joystick, alongside a kick button.
In Street Fighter games
Ryu made his debut in the first Street Fighter as the primary playable character in the game, with his best friend, rival, and sparring partner Ken Masters serving as the second player's character. Both compete in the tournament depicted in the game in order to test their strength against the tournament 's champion, Sagat.
His next appearance was in 1991's Street Fighter II. Set several years after Ryu defeated Sagat in the first tournament, Ryu participates in a second tournament. In his ending in the game, Ryu wins the tournament, but does not stay for the ceremony, already seeking his next challenge.
Ryu 's backstory, along with those of other Street Fighter characters, would be explored in the subsequent Street Fighter Alpha prequel series. The first game, Street Fighter Alpha:
Warriors' Dreams (1995), features Ryu confronting Sagat as his last opponent in a rematch following their first fight. Street Fighter Alpha 2 (1996) depicts Ryu on a quest to confront Akuma, his master 's brother and enemy. After their match, Akuma reveals that Ryu possesses the "Evil Intent" (殺意の波動 Satsui no Hadō?, lit. "Surge of Murderous Intent", sometimes translated as the "Dark Hadou") within him, the same power Akuma uses. In the Street Fighter Alpha series, there is an alternative selectable version of Ryu known as "Evil Ryu". Similarly to Akuma, Ryu takes this form when succumbing to the evil intent, and becomes more violent. It was not until the international versions of the game, Street Fighter Alpha 2, that Evil Ryu was introduced as a secret character in the games. Evil Ryu was originally introduced in a 1996 Street Fighter Zero manga series authored by Masahiko Nakahira and later adapted in the Street Fighter canon by Capcom. In Street Fighter Alpha 3 (1998), Ryu is sought by M. Bison, who seeks to use him as his next host body.
Ryu and Ken would return in Street Fighter III (1997) and its updates. While Ryu 's motivation in the game and rivalry with Ken would remain the same, he was also shown getting acquainted with several of the new characters featured in the game. Ryu appears in Street Fighter IV, which takes place after Street Fighter II but before Street Fighter III. A new appearance of Evil Ryu in a Street Fighter game was confirmed in Super Street Fighter IV:
Arcade Edition by a teaser trailer, and later confirmed as a secret boss and playable character by leaked video footage.
Ryu has appeared in spin-offs related to the main Street Fighter series such as the Street Fighter EX series produced by Arika. Byron Mann portrays the character in separately produced arcade and console games based on the American film of the series, both titled Street Fighter:
The Movie, where he wears Ryu's characteristic white karate gi and red headband.
In other games
Ryu has also been featured in Capcom's inter-company crossovers such as the Marvel vs. Capcom series, the SNK vs. Capcom series, Namco × Capcom, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom:
Ultimate All-Stars and Project X Zone. Some games of the SNK vs. Capcom series also include Evil Ryu as an unlockable character. In Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, Ryu has the ability to change his moveset to the ones from Ken or Akuma while fighting. He also appears in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, a puzzle video game featuring super deformed characters along with the sequel, Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, which is instead a fighting game, as well as in the mobile puzzle game Street Fighter: Puzzle Spirits. Ryu is one of the first fighters to appear as a playable fighter in the crossover fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken, and is also seen in the Tekken X Street Fighter poster along with Jin Kazama.
Dawn of Dreams features Ryu as an unlockable costume swap for the game's protagonist Soki. Although his incarnation there is much slimmer, this change is merely cosmetic and does not affect gameplay. Ryu also has a cameo appearance in the shooting game Varth: Operation Thunderstorm. He was also planned to appear in the now-cancelled game Mega Man Universe. A Ryu-inspired costume for players to use in Sony's LittleBigPlanet was released in 2008 as downloadable content for the title. A special downloadable episode in Asura's Wrath allows players to fight both Ryu and Evil Ryu. Ryu also appears as a playable character via downloadable content in the Nintendo crossover fighting games Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U along with a stage based on his arena from Street Fighter II known as Suzaku Castle.