The character "Ryū" (竜) means "dragon" in Japanese, and as such, its use as a name or part of a name in Japanese media [[MeaningfulName tends to have meaning]]. But even more interestingly, throughout the years, a certain archetype has formed around the name. Characters named "Ryu" or who have the character "Ryu" in their name have many of the following character traits in common:
* Male.
* Usually the protagonist of their work, or at least an important secondary character.
* They're pretty much universally good guys.
* They tend to be young, between mid-teens and late 20s. If they are older than that, they usually didn't start that way in the series, instead having grown older as the series went along. If older than that, they tend to be mentors or father figures.
* They tend to be good fighters, if not the best in their series, but they might not start that way, growing into it as the series moves along.
* They have outgoing personalities, if not downright HotBlooded.
* They '''HATE''' injustice with a passion. Even if they're not actively heroes, seeing some kind of injustice committed before them is a surefire BerserkButton. An extension of this attitude is that they usually have PapaWolf and WifeBasherBasher tendencies: it is ''not'' a good idea to hurt a kid or a woman in front of a character named Ryu.
* They usually suffer in full of TheDulcineaEffect. If a woman is in trouble in front of a character named Ryu, he WILL jump in to protect her, no matter who she is. If the woman's a bad girl, this action might even make her change her ways.
* They tend to have a [[TheRival rivalry]] with another character. The rival, to fit the pattern, tends to be associated with [[TigerVersusDragon the tiger]].

Do keep in mind that this is not universal (for example, Ryu Soma of ''ArgentoSoma'' is quite a dark and nihilistic character), but it is common enough that it's become a pretty well recognized phenomenon. Also, the character Ryu can be replaced by the word Tatsu(the character for Dragon in the Eastern Zodiac), while still having the characteristics of this type of character. The character Ryou is also frequently used to similar effect. Now largely a DeadHorseTrope.

The correct pronunciation is difficult for anyone who isn't a native Japanese speaker -- the "r" is actually a sound halfway between r and l, with a "pop" at the end. Pronouncing it "Dyoo" is a close approximation -- it would sound a little off to a native speaker, but not as much as "Ree-oo". "Rye-oo" should only be used if [[Manga/YakitateJapan you are already bread]].

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!!Examples:
* Ryo Akiyama from the Digimon Wonderswan Series.
* Ryu from ''StreetFighter''. His rival is Sagat, who's associated with the tiger.
** Although the kanji used to spell Ryu's name in promotional materials for the original ''VideoGame/StreetFighter'' stood for "prosperity", not "dragon".
* Ryu, Raoh's son from ''FistOfTheNorthStar''.
* Ryuhaku Todou of ''VideoGame/ArtOfFighting / VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters''.
** Technically, the main protagonist in that series is ''Ryo'', who is associated with the tiger. In an odd subversion, his lifelong pal and training partner, Robert Garcia is the one associated with the dragon, but he's the [[RyuAndKen "Ken"]] of the series...
*** Also, Ryuhaku Todoh has never been a playable character in ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters'', though he was playable in ''VideoGame/CapcomVsSNK2MarkOfTheMillennium'' and his daughter has been a playable character in KOF from time to time...
* Kazuma Kiryuu from ''VideoGame/RyuGaGotoku''. In a subversion, though, his rival in the second game is Ryuuji Goda, another dragon-themed character(although he's more a NobleDemon than a full-blown bad guy, and he still exhibits many traits associated with his name).
* Ryu from ''Videogame/BreathOfFire''. Many of his companions are tiger-themed to contrast with him, and, well, he's a ''literal'' dragon.
* The -Ryu robots from ''GaoGaiGar''.
* Ryou Saeba of ''CityHunter''. His lechery makes him kind of a weird fit, but he definitely fulfills this trope.
* Ryouma Nagare of ''GetterRobo''.
* Ryudo from ''{{Grandia II}}''.
* Ryu Hayabusa from ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden''.
* Dragon Shiryuu from ''SaintSeiya'', except maybe for the personality part. Also counts for his son Ryuuhou from ''SaintSeiyaOmega''.
** Yes, Shiryuu is much calmer and collected than his fellow Bronze Saints. No, it does not stop him from being hot-blooded as all hell.
* [[VideoGame/{{Strider}} Strider Hiryu]].
* Ryuichi Naruhodo, AKA {{VisualNovel/Phoenix Wright|AceAttorney}}. In the third game, he actually gets impersonated and threatened by a gangster named Furio Tigre, aka The Tiger (Toranosuke Shibakuzo, aka Zenitora), who's obviously associated with tigers (invoking a [[TigerVsDragon different trope]]).
** The only element of this trope that doesn't really fit Phoenix is "good at fighting". Unless, of course, you equate legal skills to fighting ability (which, given the [[MundaneMadeAwesome nature of his series]], isn't all that unreasonable).
*** However, he ''is'' a playable character in ''Ultimate VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'', even though he can't actually fight worth beans in his own series. And [[LethalJokeCharacter If you know what you're doing]], he's quite the {{Badass}}.
** For purposes of IdenticalGrandfather reasons, Phoenix's Meiji-era ancestor is named "Ryuunosuke Naruhodou" in ''VideoGame/DaiGyakutenSaiban''.
* ''Series/KamenRiderRyuki'' as well as Ryu Terui from ''Series/KamenRiderDouble''.
* Ryuji Takasu from ''LightNovel/{{Toradora}}!'', in which the whole premise of the title involves the concept of Tigers and Dragon's in Eastern Culture being seen as counterparts. 'Tora' is the Japanese word for tiger, while 'Dora' comes from 'Doragon' the japanese pronunciation of the English word 'Dragon'. The characters names in the show are the reverse of the title, Ryuji's name deriving from Ryu, the Japanese word for dragon, and the female protagonist/love interest is named Taiga Aisaka, 'Taiga' being the Japanese pronunciation of the English word 'Tiger'.
* While not their proper names (being their hero names instead), the three protagonists of ''Series/MadanSenkiRyukendo'' fit the bill.
* Ryu Tendou from ''Series/ChoujinSentaiJetman''. A non-Red example can be seen in Ryuu Hoshikawa in ''Series/KagakuSentaiDynaman'' or to a smaller extent, Ryuunosuke Ikenami from ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' and Ryuji Iwasaki from ''Series/TokumeiSentaiGobusters''. Then there's the [=RyuRanger=], Ryou of the Heaven Fire Star from ''Series/GoseiSentaiDairanger'', another Red ''and'' dragon-themed.
* Michael (known as Ryuto in Japanese) of ''VideoGame/PokemonXDGaleOfDarkness'' is a subversion; the proper translation is "to kill".
* ''PeacemakerKurogane'' has Ichimura Tatsunosuke (where "Tatsu" is the character for the EasternZodiac sign of the dragon) and the HistoricalDomainCharacter Sakamoto Ryoma, whose name is written with the characters for "dragon" and "horse", and who fits the trope quite well.
* Ryuzaki (one of the aliases of HeroAntagonist L) from ''Manga/DeathNote'' fits all the requirements except the "outgoing personality" bit (and according to WordOfGod his alignment is questionable) but he's a good fighter, trained in UsefulNotes/{{Capoeira}}, he hates injustice with a passion, and has a rivalry with Light/Kira of the obvious RedOniBlueOni type. There's also the {{Shinigami}} Ryuk and [[spoiler: the OTHER Ryuuzaki]] from ''LightNovel/AnotherNote'' but they are subversions, one being an amoral monster and the other a [[spoiler: SerialKiller]].
* Ryuma from Eiichiro Oda's one-shot ''Monsters'' fits all requirements to some degree. His later appearance in ''Manga/OnePiece'' - not so much. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that he got [[DirtyOldMan Brook's]] personality and is revived as an [[OurZombiesAreDifferent evil zombie]].
* Ryuta Ippongi from ''OsuTatakaeOuendan'' fits this almost perfectly.
* Ryugamine Mikado from Durarara!!, minus the outgoing personality and fighting skills (although he started working on that in the light novels).
* "Wooden Sword" Ryuu of ''ShamanKing'', having all but a clear rivalry with a tiger themed character. Instead, his partner spirit has (or, ''[[HeelFaceTurn had]]'') a rivalry with the main character's partner.
* Ryuuji Kisaragi of ''LightNovel/DragonCrisis''.
* In ''MobileSuitGundam'', we have Ryu Jose. Though he's not the protagonist, he is the most skilled pilot of the crew in the beginning, is the most likeable, big brother type, and [[spoiler: [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifices]] himself to save his crew. His death is a large reason that the crew shape up and start working together better.]]
** In ''GundamSentinel'', the protagonist's name is Ryu Roots.
* Kusuha Mizuha and Brooklyn "Bullet" Luckfield of the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAlpha'' timeline are considered the mains of the series. Their ultimate robot? [=RyuuKoOu=].
* Ryuichi and Ryuji, recurring antagonists from the ''VideoGame/KunioKun'' series. Their names can be read as "dragon one" and "dragon two," and they are indeed {{Expy}}s of the ''VideoGame/DoubleDragon'' protagonists (though their DubNameChange in ''VideoGame/RiverCityRansom'' somewhat obscured this). Toraichi and Toraji are presumably their "tiger" counterparts, but they never appeared in the same game.
* Tatsumaru, Rikimaru's brother in the ''{{Tenchu}}'' series.
* A somewhat ambiguous case, but [[AntiHero Ryuuho Tairen]] of ''{{sCRYed}}'' is nominally one of the protagonists of the series, along with Kazuma. His father Ryuu is a pretty decent guy, too.
* Ironically subverted with ''Gatchaman''. While there ''IS'' a Ryu on their team, he's the BigGuy. And the person who fits the model of being the "Ryu" of that team (protagonist dressed in white) is actually named ''Ken''. And [[TheLancer the "Ken"]] of the team is named Joe.
* Ryuko Matoi from ''Anime/KillLaKill'' is a rare female version. The "Ryu" in her name means "stream" rather than "dragon", but other than that she fits the trope perfectly. [[spoiler:And her original family name is Kiryuin which does have a "Ryu" that means "dragon".]]
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes2DesperateStruggle'': Travis Touchdown, the protagonist, is represented through a tiger. One of his adversaries is Ryuji, represented through a dragon. That being said, Ryji seems to be of decent moral fiber (far more than Travis anyhow) and embodies most of the traits seen on the list above.
* Ryou from ''[[Literature/RoTeO Ro.Te.O]]''. Subverted in that his rival is not tiger themed (he's based off a stereotypical angel), and that TheDulcineaEffect hasn't shown up yet. [[spoiler: As of the latest chapter, Ryou has decided to be on the villians' side, subverting him even further.]]
* Asaga Hiryuu from {{Psyren}} is in fact not the protagonist and in fact is moved OutOfFocus for a bit, although up to that point he was certainly a major character. Otherwise he fits the trope right down to the ground. His rival, the protagonist, isn't associated with tigers, but Hiryuu makes up for it by embracing the dragon theme and teaming up with his friend Tatsuya.
* In ''Videogame/DynastyWarriors'', a [[EnsembleCast Poster Boy]] is Chou Shiryu. a.k.a. Zhao Zilong, as in Zhao Yun. "Zilong" (Literally Young Dragon) is his courtesy name which he uses to refer to himself exclusively. [[{{Woolseyism}} In the dub]], he constantly claims that "[he] [is] the dragon!", when in the original dub he would say [[FullNameBasis his full name]]. Characteristic wise, He is one of the [[BadassCrew Five Tiger Generals of Shu]] who is an IdealHero TheCape who fights ForGreatJustice.
* ''Manga/WildAdapter'''s sympathetic antagonist Ryuunosuke nicknamed Tatsu is a teenage yakuza who began his life of crime by beating the shit out of a rapist.
* Ryuu Yamada from ''Manga/YamadaKunAndTheSevenWitches''.
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