Protagonist of the series and heir to the Dragon Ninja Clan, Ryu Hayabusa is the eponymous example of a modern day ninja. His black falcon outfit's sleek design is reminiscent to that of the modern special ops agent; still, his tabi boots, ninja head piece, mask, scarf and shin/forearm guards are representative of the ancient ninja warrior. In great contrast to his deadly appearance, beneath the mask lies a handsome man capable of gentle expressions even, while still in his early 20s, Ryu's personality is that of a wise, composed man far older than himself. With this level of maturity, Ryu is perfectly able to act gentle and caring towards his relatives and friends, and very cold and deadly towards his enemies without hatred.
Animorphism: Shown in the first Xbox game's ending, where he leaves by transforming into a falcon.
Anti-Hero: Type III at his worst, but mostly Type II. Ryu in the modern trilogy is pretty much established as this. Although he does have a strong sense of justice in his mission to punish evil, he has no qualms about killing ninjas from other clans and soldiers alike; in fact, it's made clear he has no hatred nor even a slight dislike towards any of them (only some fiends get to provoke Ryu's hatred). Ryu faces this as the harsh reality of a ninja's upbringing: death is a natural part of their world even against friendly rivals.
A notable mention goes to the first Ninja Gaiden for Xbox: in the very first mission, Ryu slaughters as many ninjas as he can find for his training routine, and they were from a friendly clan, despite Murai turning out to be the Big Bad, but Ryu didn't take this into consideration then; the first ninja Ryu ambushes is also his first kill in the game. Ryu's reaction to his fallen foe is that of simple acceptance, since it was the right thing to do and the fallen ninja wouldn't live much longer anyway if he was that weak.
In the sequel, after having mowed down hordes of Spider Clan ninjas and fiends, Ryu in the end still pays his condolences to all the fallen who went against his clan and then walks away for his next mission.
Ninja Gaiden III elaborates this even further: described as a "Japanese dark hero", Ryu's remorseless "cut down the many for the sake of many more" routine is coming back to bite him in the ass due to the "Grip of Murder" curse that relates to the amount of lives he's taken. In one scene, a mercenary begs not to be killed because he has a family to go home to. While it seems the game tries to give the player the option of taking a life, the button prompt says otherwise and Ryu cleaves him in two.
BFS: Dabilahro, Dark Dragon Blade, Emma's Fang and Eclipse Scythe
Bishōnen: Ryu's design for his Dragon Sword appearance, adding to the fact it was the first time he appeared unmasked outside the Dead or Alive series after Itagaki's new direction of keeping Ryu always masked in his main games. Ninja Gaiden III reveals his whole face as much as possible in cutscenes.
Celibate Hero: Within the modern trilogy, Rachel and Sonia are obviously interested on him, Momiji and Ayane might be runner-ups, yet Ryu shows no affectionate response towards any of them. It might be a case of respecting continuity and Ryu will eventually fall in love with Irene later, especially now that Sonia is Irene's alias, or it's an entirely new continuity and Ryu won't fall for anyone since there's some Flip Flop of God regarding the present games being prequels for the original trilogy or a completely new setting with no relation to previous titles.
Worth noting is most of the flip-flop came from Itagaki: now that he has no relation to the series and Hayashi has given some continuity nods to the original trilogy, Irene might be on the way for Ryu.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Subverted, as Ryu did train intensively to reach the level of Master Ninja, but his clan is in fact descended from fiends, which gives him power above other ninjas. This is also why Doku nearly succeeded in turning him into one. Plus, he can wield a massive battle axe/hammer, a great sword explicitly said to be 100 pounds in weight, and a gigantic scythe stolen from a Greater Fiend twice his height.
Clear My Name: The kicker in The Ancient Ship of Doom, as he's accused of assassinating Irene.
Crazy Enough to Work: In Ninja Gaiden III, when Ryu's allies realize a fighter jet can't reach the Black Narwhal in time (it doesn't have enough fuel), Ryu proposes to jump between two jets on the way. Robert doesn't fail to lampshade the madness of such a manuveur.
Death Is Cheap: After being killed by Doku, Ryu resurrected as fast as he died.
Mizuki McCloud: "How did she [Ayane] know about this place? It's classified top secret…"
Ryu: "Ninja have their ways."
Happily Married: With Irene as of Dead or Alive; later games attempt to make it ambiguous by only going as far as to state they're still together.
Improbable Age: Ryu reached the rank of Master Ninja in his early 20s while other known masters are in their middle ages or older. Not only is he the strongest in his clan, but continuity (all the way to Dead or Alive) places him as the single most powerful ninja in the world.
Informed Attribute: The fact he became an antique shop owner in Dead or Alive was carried over from the OVAs, and even then it's only mentioned briefly in his bio. We don't actually get to see him running the shop, or see the shop itself for that matter.
Katanas Are Just Better: Quite literally, as despite a vast array of weapons Ryu finds, the Dragon Sword proves itself to be the best overall. Later justified since the True Dragon Sword is the only weapon in-universe capable enough to destroy Greater Fiends.
Lock and Load Montage: A cutscene following Chapter Two in the Xbox Ninja Gaiden shows Ryu is tightening the straps on his outfit and bringing three kunai with him.
Not So Stoic: He can show brief bursts of anger, although both occurences happen when his is cursed (by Doku at the end of the first Xbox game and by the Regent of the Mask in III)
The Other Darrin: English localization just can't get a hold of a voice actor for too long. As of Ninja Gaiden III, there are three different actors for each main release. Troy Baker reprises his role, having provided his voice in Dead of Alive Dimensions. Compare and contrast to Hideyuki Hori, who has been voicing Ryu for 16 years, the first of which was the originalDead or Alive back in 1996.
Out-of-Character Moment: In the OVA, Ryu claims he would abandon his duties as a ninja in his clan, if it would mean being with Irene forever. Contrast how he's portrayed elsewhere, as he's bound by duty and honor. May double as a Screw Destiny.
Red Right Hand/Tainted Veins: In Ninja Gaiden III, the Regent of the Mask curses him with the "Grip of Murder", forcing the Dragon Sword to be absorbed by his right arm. It corrupts Ryu's body with the pain and hatred of all the people he has killed, and will kill him within a few days; all this is a scheme done by LOA to cleanse the Dragon Sword of all its corruption and use it to awaken the Goddess.
Ryu Hayabusa Is About To Stab You: The cover of The Ancient Ship of Doom shows Ryu pointing his sword at the viewer. The first NES game and The Dark Sword of Chaos are less aggressive, showing him holding a kunai towards the viewer or unsheathing a sword at the viewer. Covers for the modern trilogy give him much more relaxed, almost casual poses.
Sinister Scythe: The Vigoorian Flails from the Xbox title are essentially nunchucks with scythes on them, which return in the sequel. Naturally, the Eclipse Scythe is this trope, while a more traditional kusari-gama is added in for Ninjga Gaiden II.
Cliff: I wanted to ask you, Hayabusa… aren't you cold in that outfit? Ryu:No.
Spinning Piledriver: Ryu is probably the most iconic user of this move in modern action games. Aside from the Izuna Drop, Ninja Gaiden II adds the variant "Underworld Drop" from the Blade of the Archfiend and the "Flower Garland Drop" from the Tonfas.
Spy Catsuit: The Xbox Ninja Gaiden gave him one sleeve-less ninja version (coupled with a Scarf of Asskicking and Cool Mask to boot), and it's been his default costume both here and in Dead or Alive ever since. Although the design changed in the details from game to game (especially obvious regarding forehead protection), it has become his most iconic look.
Stock Ninja Weaponry: Kunais, shurikens, claws, nunchaku and kusari-gama. The subversion would be the Dragon Sword, as it's a katana rather than a ninjato.
The Straight and Arrow Path: Goes up against opponents who wield machine guns or rocket launchers with nothing but his trusty bow, and more often than not comes out on top. He can even take out tanks and helicopters!
Trick Arrow: Lightly used - explosive and armor-piercing varieties.
The Unfettered: In everyday life, he's a pretty nice guy, if a bit stoic. When he's on a mission however, absolutely nothing, let alone emotions, will get in his way, and if you're an enemy mook, even dropping your gun and pleading for your life won't save you.
You Killed My Father: Ryu's motivation to fight Jaquio in the first NES game. All the more depressing because his father, transformed into the Masked Demon by Jaquio, was a boss that Ryu had to fight and although he didn't end up killing him, his father still pulls a Heroic Sacrifice from Jaquio's attack, pulling this straight.
Debuting in the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy (NES)
Debuting in: Ninja Gaiden (NES)
One of the head honchos at the CIA's Secret Auxiliary Unit and Irene Lew's immediate boss, A. Foster is a corrupt CIA agent obsessed with power, demonic power in particular. He attempts to coerce Ryu Hayabusa to fetch the Demon Statues for him in the first NES game. Foster shows his manipulative, ungrateful side when he orders Irene to assassinate Ryu and bring the statues back to him; not getting what he wants and with Ryu still alive, Foster shows up again in the third NES game (second chronologically) The Ancient Ship of Doom, plotting his "Biohazard" plan. His goal is to create a race of super-beings, and is indirectly responsible for Irene's temporary death, which sets Ryu in full force against him. Unfortunately for Foster, H.P. Clancy double-crosses him at the last moment and he's killed in the end.
The Unfought: Although some speculate he's the boss of the sixth level in The Ancient Ship of Doom in a mutated form, it's really Ryu's Bio-Noid clone because of the way it refers to Ryu as the original.
Debuting in: Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
The main antagonist of the second NES game The Dark Sword of Chaos and a warlord, Ashtar is the self-proclaimed "Emperor of Darkness". Said to be both a skilled warrior and a powerful sorcerer, Ashtar is well over six feet tall, and dressed in bulky body armor. With a cape is draped over his shoulders, his face is concealed by his helmet which has three spiky horns protruding from the top and both sides of the head. His mask appears to depict himself crying tears of blood. In parallel with Ryu's Dragon Sword, Ashtar wields the Demon Sword, a blade forged from the bones of a demon.
Debuting in: Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom
Foster's accomplice in The Ancient Ship of Doom, H.P. Clancy helped trigger many of the events during the game. Clancy built the Castle Rock Fortress over the ruins of Jaquio's fallen temple, as he and Foster found a continuous supply of life energy within the ruins; Jaquio's downfall left traces of evil surrounding the site, thus the fortress was built to harvest the energy as a power source, and used it on humans for experiments. Clancy later backstabs Foster, pushing Ryu into killing his partner, then merges with the warship expressing his hatred towards humanity, and their warlike tendencies.
Heroine of the NES trilogy and Ryu's primary Love Interest for the whole series, Irene Lew is an agent of the CIA's Secret Auxiliary Unit, working under the codenames "Sea Swallow" and "Sonia". Despite her status as an agent, Irene is more of a support for Ryu as she often finds herself captured and winds up being rescued by the Dragon Ninja. When she disregards Foster's orders to kill Ryu after defeating Jaquio, Irene starts to devote her life to Ryu. Sometime after the OVA, she marries Ryu and settles for running an antique shop, while aiding him from time to time during the Dead or Alive tournaments.
Action Girlfriend: Irene and Ryu were already an item in The Ancient Ship of Doom, and she has her moments in it.
Adaptation Dye Job: Originally a brunette in the NES trilogy and OVA, but is a blonde as of Dead Or Alive: Dimensions.
Art Shift: The current Irene in Dead Or Alive Dimensions uses Sonia's design, but the contrast is quite different from her Ninja Gaiden II appearance. This is due to the limitations in the Dead or Alive engine, thus Irene had to look like most of the other girls in that game, even though Irene and Sonia should look exactly alike, since they're the same person.
Back from the Dead: After being sacrificed in The Dark Sword of Chaos, the Dragon Sword uses all its power to bring Irene back.
Bare Your Midriff: Her appearance in Dead or Alive Dimensions, which is the only daring part of her attire now. Even when she was "Sonia's shoes", Irene remains quite modest.
The Gunslinger: Proved herself with pistols, machine guns and bazookas in Ninja Gaiden II.
Happily Married: With Ryu as of Dead or Alive; later games in the series try to make it ambiguous by only going as far as to state they're still together.
Informed Attribute: The fact Irene runs her "husband's" antique shop is only seen in a brief passage for the first Dead or Alive official guide that Tecmo released back then. This is only supported by the OVA, as Irene never actually appeared in Dead or Alive until Dimensions, and we don't see her taking care of the shop in it either.
Mission Control: For Ryu in Dead or Alive Dimensions, and Ayane in Razor's Edge.
Not Quite Dead: Does this as one of the few reveals in The Ancient Ship of Doom.
Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: In The Ancient Ship of Doom, Irene is supposedly killed by Ryu's doppelganger on Foster's orders. In truth, she had faked her death and was working with the U.S. Army to uncover evidence on Foster's crimes.
10-Minute Retirement: The OVA shows Irene cutting all ties with the CIA. Dimensions, however, shows she still has at least some contact with the agency.
Spell My Name with an S: Japanese romanizations found on their official guides for the original trilogy had Irene as Aileen; the fansubbers for the OVA also spelled her name this way.
You Don't Look Like You: After years in the shadows Irene Lew was brought back into the continuity in Dead or Alive: Dimensions, and she changed a lot, being another character rescued from the classic NES series aside Ryu himself (who didn't change that much) Irene was updated in every single manner from Fan Service Pack and Adaptation Dye Job to Not As You Know Them; just to hit the point home, you see Sonia from the Xbox series? Irene and Sonia are one and the same.
Debuting in: Ninja Gaiden (NES)
Main antagonist of the first NES game, the sorcerer Guardia de Mieux dubbed himself "Jaquio" (supposedto be "Jaki-Oh", as in "Devil King"). While supposedly human, Jaquio appears as a bizarre, uncanny magician with purple skin dressed in a red torn tunic with a hexagram embroidered on the front and a purple skeleton of a demon wrapped in his body like an armor. Jaquio is Chief of the Chaos Tribe, and he plans to steal the Demon Statue and break the seal on the Dark God, plunging the world into darkness.
Known as Jô/Joe in Japan and "Ken" in North America for the NES series, he is Ryu's father, current leader of the Dragon Ninja Clan, and previous wielder of the Dragon Sword. Much like his son, Joe is a Master Ninja and in contrast to Ryu who trains for discipline and tradition, Joe seeks to surpass his limits. His preferred ninja attire of choice is a white shinobi shozoku (ninja uniform), although he's adorned with some armor around his body.In the NES trilogy, Joe leaves Ryu with the Dragon Sword to engage in a duel (later revealed to be one of Jaquio's minions Bloody Malth). The outcome of the fight is not seen, but Joe winds up becoming controlled by Jaquio's magic. Ryu breaks the sorcerer's hold on his father and frees him. In the current series, Joe constantly leaves to continue his training, as Ryu states his father is "never satisfied with the power he wields". In Ninja Gaiden II, Joe fails to prevent Elizébet, Queen of the Greater Fiends, from taking the statue sealing the Archfiend, as he duels with Genshin, Overlord of the Black Spider Ninja Clan. Injured and blinded, he tasks his son to prevent the Archfiend from resurrecting.Joe returns in Ninja Gaiden III, encouraging Ryu to not allow the darkness of his heart, alongside the Grip of Murder, to conquer his very being.
Debuting in: Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos
Also known as "Jungle Rat" Robert, he's a United States Army Special Forces operative who aids Ryu throughout The Dark Sword of Chaos, constantly revealing information about Ashtar. Although no different than a modern day commando, Robert proves himself useful to the Dragon Ninja, including being a reliable informer, following Ryu closely to the Tower of Lahja and surrounding the area with US Army forces to distracts Ashtar from finishing off Ryu. He proceeds to enter the Chaos World for the final battle, but Robert only goes as far against Ashtar, leaving Jaquio for Ryu. While it seems he dies keeping the demons from reaching Ryu, the OVA reveals he survived, having quit the army and running a private eye agency to keep track of Ryu, but offering him any assistance the ninja might need in the future.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Robert, a highly trained soldier, after completely raiding a building full of mutants with just his friend Jeff and later all by himself, gets slapped by Katherine shortly after he lives through it.
Badass: Robert proved himself in The Dark Sword of Chaos from start to finish, aiding Ryu on equal grounds, planning good barricades with the US Army, holding off fiends by himself.
Badass Normal: And of course, Robert is just a highly trained soldier.
Blood from the Mouth: After a run-in with the newly-resurrected Jaquio in The Dark Sword of Chaos, a heavily-injured Robert is seen bleeding from the corner of his mouth.
Blood Knight: While a peaceful guy most of the time, Robert does a long speech in the OVA about how the battlefield for him is not much different than what most men desire.
The Cameo: Appears in Ninja Gaiden III as the fighter pilot transporting Ryu to rendezvous with Mizuki.
Wacky Marriage Proposal: After killing dozens of mutants in a closed site with Jeff, adding a high chance of getting himself killed, when Robert lives through it, he proposes to Katherine seconds after in the OVA.
An immigrant from Dead or Alive, Ayane made her way into Ninja Gaiden in the Xbox revival of the series. She is from the Hajin Mon sect of the Mugen Tenshin Ninja Clan, which is apparently on good terms and has ties with the Dragon Ninja Clan. Ayane is the primary choice for the Mugen Tenshin when they need assistance from the Dragon Clan as she has built a mutual friendship with Joe and Ryu Hayabusa. Even though he's leagues above her in rank, Ayane aids him on his missions, either by informing and helping from the sidelines or outright fighting alongside him.
Action Girl: Gets her chance to shine in Sigma II and Razor's Edge.
Animal Motifs: Butterflies, from her choice of clothes, to their color and her inconic sash.
Art Evolution: To coincide with her appearance in Dead or Alive 5, Ayane gets this treatment for Ninja Gaiden III with smaller eyes, more realistic asiatic facial structure and modest measurements; the latter might not be seen as an "evolution", though.
Deadpan Snarker: Shows this trait when Ryu is not around, in Sigma 2 and Razor's Edge.
Demoted to Extra: Ayane only appears in Ninja Gaiden III to deliver a replacement sword for Ryu after losing the Dragon Sword due to the Grip of Murder. Razor's Edge expands her role though; the same thing happened between Ninja Gaiden II and Sigma II.
Easy Mode Mockery: In Ninja Gaiden Black, dying continuously in the first level results in Ayane giving the player the option to turn the difficulty down to "Ninja Dog". This results in her telling you that you suck for giving up at Normal difficulty; to further the mockery, she gives you ribbons to boost stats for the rest of the playthrough.
Everything's Better with Spinning: Being based on her fighting style from the Dead or Alive series, her moves revolve around this trope. This girl is totally immune to motion sickness!
Fan Service Pack: In Ninja Gaiden, she wears pretty concealing clothes compared to her default attire in Dead or Alive; in the sequel, she gets more Stripperific and has noticeably bigger breasts.
Note a year has passed between the two games, and since she's supposedly in the middle of adolescence…
Fragile Speedster: The fastest character in Sigma II and Razor's Edge, but isn't as powerful as the other characters.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: In-universe, Ayane would never dare talk back to Ryu, but not because he's a Master Ninja and she's ranks below him, but because he's one of the few people who don't brand her as a bastard child of the Mugen Tenshin; of course, this won't stop her from mocking him for giving up at the Game Over screen, defaulting to "Ninja Dog" difficulty and presenting him with stat-boosting ribbons.
When "Ninja Dog" mode is selected, it also changes the default title screen to a picture of Ayane. The implication is that Ryu gets demoted to a true Ninja Dog, thereny making Ayane his superior and consequently becoming the main character. Now she's just insulting a Mook ninja, not the great Ryu Hayabusa.
Jerkass: Averted, as Ayane doesn't show much of her base personality from Dead or Alive in Ninja Gaiden, since she's dealing with mostly higher ranking ninjas like Ryu. Of course, this won't stop her from mocking him at the Game Over screen.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ayane does treasure what friends she has and is ready to help Ryu and Dragon Ninja Clan whenever possible.
One of the Three Greater Fiends of the Holy Vigoorian Empire, Doku is a fiend incased in a heavy, dark suit of armor, closely resembling an ancient Samurai. He singlehandly destroyed the Hayabusa Village, killing many of the Dragon Clan Ninjas and stole the Dark Dragon Blade. Doku's goal is to aid his master, the Dark God Vigoor, into converting capable people into fiends and conquering the world. Doku is Ryu's motivation to invade Vigoor, as he also killed his childhood friend Kureha. Although Ryu manages to find and defeat him, Doku's last resort is an attempt to transform the ninja into a fiend, but the transformation is only partial as Doku's disembodied spirit fades away.Doku returns in Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword as a malevolent spirit haunting the ruins of Tairon.
Back from the Dead: Although Ryu destroys his initial body, Doku returns in a spirit form for a final showdown. How he manages to show up in Dragon Sword isn't answered.
The man delivering orders to the Vigoorian forces in the first Xbox game, Gamov is a bespectacled, green hat and coat wearing spy, who constantly trails Ryu through the Holy Vigoor Empire, proving himself very agile and quick in the trigger. While facing Rachel, he was supposedly working together with Doku for the Dark God Vigoor, but in reality, Gamov served the Dark Disciple, informing his master on the growing power of the Dark Dragon Blade. When the Dark Disciple was able to get his hands on the weapon, Gamov is the first to fall to the evil blade.Ninja Gaiden II reveals more background on Gamov, justifying why he was so agile and can fight Rachel to a stalemate: he was Genshin's younger brother and part of the Black Spider Ninja Clan.
All There in the Manual: That Gamov came from the Black Spider Ninja Clan and was Genshin's younger brother is not mentioned in the main story. You have to find Genshin's diary in Ninja Gaiden II and read the entry about his dead younger brother.
Badass in a Nice Suit: Gamov certainly doesn't look like he came from a ninja clan, considering the way he dresses and all.
The Dragon Shrine Maiden of the Dragon Ninja Clan, sworn to protect the Eye of the Dragon, Momiji's older sister and Ryu's childhood friend, Kureha is part of the Dragon Lineage was destined to play part in keeping the clan's tradition, being inseperable from Ryu since childhood she also wanted to be of importance, while he grew up to be a Master Ninja, she grew up to be a Shrine Maiden. Then as guardian of the Dragon Lineage Shrine, she was charged with the protection of the Eye of the Dragon, Kureha fufilled her task to death as Doku killed her in an attempt to steal the Eye of the Dragon; it was for her that Ryu went on a quest for vengeance towards Doku. Kureha briefly returns as an spirit in Dragon Sword, aiding Ryu and Momiji against the Dark Dragon.
Disposable Woman: Originally, Kureha only existed motivate to Ryu with her cruel death, even though she would become relevant in Dragon Sword. One can wonder why she has a voice actor credited in the Xbox game since we never hear a word from her.
MacGuffin Guardian: In the normal sense, Kureha is just a shrine maiden tasked with protecting the Dragon Clan's treasure Eye of the Dragon.
Miko: For the Dragon Ninja Clan, as being part of the Dragon Lineage is a requirement to be the village's shrine maiden, Kureha was fated to be one since childhood.
Non Dubbed Grunts: In the Japanese track for the first Ninja Gaiden, Kureha has a weak death cry in her final moments, while in English track she hasn't. That's why there's no credited voice actress in the localization. Jun Shikano reprises her role of "grunts" in Dragon Sword, which in fact she is right at home, as the characters in the game are portrayed in The Legend Of Zelda grunts-only style.
The Ruler of Hell and one of the Five Greater Fiend Lords of Vigoor in the first Xbox game, Marbus is the Greater Fiend who guards the Holy Vigoor Emperor, the mastermind behind the theft of the Dark Dragon Blade. In contrast to other Greater Fiends, Marbus has legions of lesser fiends as his direct followers, often leaving the dirty work for them only acting himself when he sees fit or worthy. Ryu happened to be one these worthy as Marbus was forced to take him on directly, the result was the Greater Fiend losing and targeting Ryu for his personal revenge in the future. Marbus returns in Sigma II looking for Ryu to exact his revenge upon him, yet he finds Rachel instead and is defeated once again.
Art Evolution: Marbus' design changed quite a bit when he came back in Sigma II.
Ascended Extra: Marbus in Sigma II comes back with a sudden character, he is now full of hatred against Ryu, full of lines and more demonic than ever.
Dragon with an Agenda: That said, Marbus doesn't seem very concerned about his master being dead when he comes back in Sigma II. In fact, he's less concerned about his realm and more about being defeated by Ryu.
Flat Character: For someone who is said to be behind everything Doku did, Marbus got much less exposition than his subordinate. Ironically, he gets more exposition in his small role for Sigma II.
Flunky Boss: The only boss to be this at normal difficulty in the first game. In a twist of this trope, Marbus' flunkies are previous bosses. At higher difficulties, he hides behind Nicchae and Ishtaros, who are actually harder than he is.
It's All About Me: Marbus in Sigma II seemed more upset about Ryu defeating him than killing his master.
Meaningful Name: Marbus is named after the same-named President of Hell from The Divine Comedy's Dante's Inferno, where he rules over 36 legions of demons, just as Marbus controls over many fiends for himself.
Not Quite Dead: Ryu didn't kill Marbus enough; apparently, all the ninja did was scar him and cleave off one of his horns.
The leader of the Shadow Clan Ninja and Ryu's maternal uncle, Murai is a former member of the Dragon Ninja Clan who went rogue and formed his own ninja clan, while prefering to stay away from the Dragon Clan's affairs. Murai still wanted to keep a good relationship with the Hayabusa Clan, thus aids nephew by opening the Shadow Clan Fortress for Ryu's training routine. Murai is open about his extreme philosophy of the ever-increasing need for power a true ninja must possess, no matter the cost, so he tries to push some of it to Ryu by trying to make him accept the Dark Dragon Blade. As the Dark Disciple, Murai divulged the presence of the Dark Dragon Blade to Vigoor, who ordered Doku to raze the Hayabusa Village and retrieve it. As Ryu's Roaring Rampage of Revenge continued, the dark weapon grew more powerful, giving Murai the chance to take the sword for himself after Vigoor is destroyed. Unfortunately, he did not account for the strength of the True Dragon Sword and is soundly defeated by Ryu.
The legendary weapon smith and shop owner who aids Ryu on his journeys, Muramasa is a fairly mysterious merchant who seems to have traveled across the entire earth, with a swath of knowledge regarding relics and antiques alike. Despite his frail, old appearance, Muramasa seems to know a few tricks regarding the sword, as seen in Sigma II.
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The price of weapon upgrades increases with the levels, so thousands of yellow essence will be spent upgrading weapons with many levels. In particular, the Wooden Sword will make some players focus solely on it and leaving other weapons behind to reach the maximum level.
Inverted in Sigma II where weapon upgrades are free (but you can only upgrade one weapon at a time) and bringing him Crystal Skulls gives you a permanent discount. Finding all skulls halves the price of healing items, which is quite helpful at higher difficulties.
Back Stab: Muramasa sneaks behind one unsuspecting ninja in Sigma II and backstabs him with a mantis sword.
Badass Grandpa: Muramasa still does some impressive things even in his advanced age, he still shows some skills with swords and can take care of himself pretty well as Ninjas who try to wreck his shop don't succeed in killing him.
The Blacksmith: Muramasa personally upgrades all of Ryu's weapons if given enough yellow essence.
Ultimate Blacksmith: That said, only Muramasa can handle all these legendary or downright demoniac weapons that Ryu possesses.
Canon Immigrant: Muramasa appears in Dead or Alive, the 4th in particular; now owning a small Vegetable Mart, in which Lei-Fang and Hitomi fights over a cabbage.
Cool Old Guy: Muramasa is said to be above 100 years old, and he still is a fairly modern guy, funny even.
Exposition Fairy: Muramasa often lets out some plot points that Ryu needs to advance in his journey.
Mr. Exposition: In his introduction scenes Muramasa lets out directions about a place Ryu needs to go or about the situation the Ninja currently finds himself in.
Non Dubbed Grunts: Most of Muramasa's average grunts for an elder aren't dubbed, they're straight from the Japanese track, unlike other characters who got their grunts dubbed.
Retired Badass: Muramasa, the doddering old shopkeeper, makes carving up ninjas look effortless.
Which makes it quite hilarious when he says just after that that his old legs won't allow him to go at the top of Mount Fuji. This is dubious since he apparently managed to build statues of himself in the Underworld…
Too Long; Didn't Dub: Muramasa's greetings aren't dubbed in Ninja Gaiden II and Sigma II, he says Irasshai instead of Welcome to Ryu when his shop is accessed, which isn't even long anyway.
Walking the Earth: Prior to the games, it is said that Muramasa personally erected all of his statues that Ryu eventually finds in his journey, every single one of them.
Which would include those in the Underworld... that's some prowess indeed.
The main girl for Ninja Gaiden (Xbox) and fiend hunter from the Holy Vigoor Empire, Rachel is somewhat a tragic heroine. She and her sister Alma were afflicted with a blood curse that turns humans into fiends. By the events of the game Alma has already succunbed into a complete fiend. Rachel still maintains her human form and becomes a fiend hunter; believing that her sister has no more chance to revert back, Rachel sets on a journey to put Alma out of her misery. Rachel gets caught up in Doku's plot to bait Ryu, as the Greater Fiend also has Alma under his control. Rachel pursued him only to get captured herself; Ryu manages to rescue Rachel and in return she saves him in time for the final bout against the Dark Disciple. In the end Rachel seems to have become quite enamored with Ryu but he doesn't reciprocate. She's seen again in Sigma II during a fiend hunt, Rachel is looking foward to reunite with Ryu again.
Animal Motifs: The Snake, her health bar in Sigma is shaped like a snake, and her sorcery in Sigma II is called Ouruborus, the thematic symbol of a snake eating her own tail.
Action Girl: While playable in Sigma, becomes a full-fledged one in Sigma II.
Big Damn Heroes: Rachel helps Ryu escape the Underworld of what it seemed a certain death for the Ninja.
Boobs of Steel: Rachel's physical strength is proportional to her voluptuous bust. She can even handle heavy weapons better than Ryu at first in Sigma.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Dropped off the face of earth in Ninja Gaiden 3, while almost all characters from the series (old trilogy to present generation) gets a nod, Rachel ceased to exist.
Distressed Damsel: After Doku captures her, Rachel spends the rest of the story like this.
Dogged Nice Girl: In a rare female example, Rachel by the end of the first Xbox game has taken quite a liking to Ryu, but he promptly seems to refuse, and going by the series' continuity Rachel isn't going anywhere with Ryu.
Drop the Hammer: War Hammer (which looks like an axe instead) in the first game, Inferno Hammer (which looks like a hammer this time around) in Sigma II.
Faux Action Girl: In the original Xbox game Rachel wasn't playable so in story segments she falls straight into this.
Gatling Good: Rachel sports a Gatling Gun as her projectile weapon in Sigma II.
Hammer And Gun: Her movelist has some oddities like the "SSSO" combo, which consists of melee attacks quickly followed by a gun salvo.
Hopeless Suitor: The Xbox continuity is established as prequels to the NES and then Dead or Alive continuity, by then Ryu is already Happily Married, certainly not with Rachel.
Hot Witch: Rachel's super art is called sorcery in Sigma II after all.
Kill The Ones You Love: Rachel has reached this conclusion with her beloved sister Alma, she doesn't think there is other way to save her sister anymore.
Stripperiffic: Rachel's choice of clothes for fiend hunting are unique to say the least.
Variable Length Grappling Hook: Seriously, how long can the rope of her grappling hook get, and how does she manage to reel it back into that tiny arm device? In the Collapsing Lair she doesn't even seem to be grappled to anything. We don't see the end of the rope, she's just… suspended.
Waif-Fu: Rachel is very strong despite her slender figure, due her cursed fiend blood she can best enemies many times her size and obviously more muscular than her.
Debuting in: Ninja Gaiden (Xbox)
Known to the Empire as the Holy Vigoorian Emperor, this is his human form to his God form, the original Evil Deity who spawned the Fiends. To the commoners of the Holy Vigoorian Empire, Vigoor is worshiped as a Supreme Holy Deity, leader of their Holy Vigoorian Order and the absolute authority in their lives. After his defeat in the first Xbox title, a plan is set into motion in the NDS sequel to ressurect him by the ancient goddesses Ishtaros and Nicchea, using the Dark Dragon statues to do so, but it fails as Ryu manages to destroy the statues and kill Ishtaros, then as last ditch Nicchae uses her sister's remains to ressurect Vigoor, it succeeds only for the Dark Dragon to use Vigoor's energy and ressurect himself.
Retcon: In the first Xbox game Vigoor is also referred as Dark God Vigoor aside from his Holy Vigoor Emperor title, implying that he was the the Archfiend, a Physical God beyond all archfiends, then comes Ninja Gaiden II (Xbox 360) and reffers to him as Supreme Archfiend Vigoor, the same rank as Vazdah, changing Vigoor from the only to one of a possible group.
The last Dragon Shrine Maiden, Kureha's younger sister and Ryu's apprentice, Momiji eventually replaces her sister's place as a distinguished Dragon Lineage shrine maiden, during Doku's invasion she was undergoing her ninja training in another village thus Momoji was spared of the same fate as her sister; hearing about Kureha's death, Momiji felt powerless and made a vow to become much stronger in her sister's name and taking on the task of protecting the clan's treasure, the Eye of the Dragon. With Momiji's new resolve Ryu takes her under his direct tutoring, making Momiji his official apprentice. In the clash in the DS game, Momiji is captured by Nicchae, is up to Ryu to rescue her, after the Dark Dragon's defeat Momiji goes back to her training under Ryu's guidance. Momiji is seen again in Sigma II where she definitely became stronger and more than capable of fighting on her own.
Action Girl: Gets to be one for a bit in Way of The Kunoichi mode for Dragon Sword, becomes a full-fledged one from Sigma II onwards.
Cool Big Sis: She's shown as this to the children of the Hayabusa village.
Faux Action Girl: Despite her best efforts, she gets kidnapped at the beginning of Dragon Sword quite easily. However, it doesn't take long for her to become way stronger and perfectly capable to defend herself by the time of Sigma II.
Last of Her Kind: After Kureha's death, Momiji is the only person worthy of guarding the Eye of The Dragon, much like her sister Kureha, Momiji descends from the Dragon Lineage.
MacGuffin Guardian: In the normal sense same as Kureha, Momiji is not only a Ninja but a shrine maiden tasked with protecting the Dragon Clan's treasure Eye of the Dragon.
The Medic: Sort of. She uses her powers to soothe the pain in Ryu's cursed arm in Ninja Gaiden 3.
Combat Medic: She does it in middle of the stage, albeit only briefly.
Miko: Replaced Kureha at being the guardian of the Eye of The Dragon, now Momiji is a Ninja and a Miko.
My Greatest Failure: Momiji blames herself for Kureha's death to some extent, she was taking her Ninja training in another village at the time while Doku wrecked the Hayabusa Village and killed her sister.
Ninja: Originally she was only this, a Ninja (or rather Kunoichi) in training, then Kureha dies and Momiji had no other choice but to replace her sister due their Dragon Lineage. Although that doesn't stop her to maintain her ninja skills almost intact.
Someone Has to Do It: Momiji could not refuse being a shrine maiden even if she wanted to, her distinguished lineage gave the final word.
Throw the Dog a Bone: After some dead older sister and self-depreciating heroine arroy, Momiji gets to impress the clan's Master Ninja Ryu himself to train her personally due her determination in getting stronger for Kureha and to protect the clan's children, the results are shown in Sigma II where Momiji definitely has gotten a lot stronger.
Took a Level in Badass: Her growth between Dragon Sword and Sigma II was quite impressive. In Ninja Gaiden III, Ryu himself recognizes how strong his pupil has become in his absence.
The Ruler of Crimson Blood and Queen of the Greater Fiends, Elizébet is the most active villain during Ninja Gaiden II for Xbox 360, also one of Vazdah's Four Deadly Greater Fiend Lords, and the blood priestess of the Fiend cult, the Order of the Necromantale. Elizébet was tasked with retrieving an important ancient artifact from the ancestral Hayabusa Village. For this she aproached the Black Spider Ninja Clan to help her with the task. In return Genshin and his followers were rewarded with fiend powers to overthrow the Dragon Ninja Clan. Later Elizébet manages to trigger Ryu's anger by capturing Sonia and spitting on Genshin's pride after she resurrects him as a complete fiend. Out of all Greater Fiends she is likely to be the one who really earned Ryu's hatred by corrupting the Black Spider Ninja Clan.
Aristocrats Are Evil: One of few Greater Fiends who are actually said to be a noble, and of course Elizébet is one of the most evil among them.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: When she shows up in one cutscene wearing nothing but blood, Elizabét appears to be missing something...
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Her form as a Greater Fiend is nowhere as demonic looking as the other three Vazdah's Deadly Greater Fiend Lords.
Which leads to incredible Squick since her abdomen shows off her internal organs.
Beware My Stinger Tail: She will regularly try to stab you with her tail. It's not very difficult to dodge, but you'd better dodge it.
Informed Ability: The Queen of the Greater Fiends sure doesn't look that royal, both Marbus and the Dark God Vigoor have shown that they hold much more ground and followers than Elizébet did.
Kick the Dog: Literally kicked Genshin in the head after he was killed yet again by Ryu, spitting on the fallen warrior's pride while at it.
Meaningful Name: Elizébet's personality and her bloody design, akin to Elizabeth Bathory.
Manipulative Bitch: She sought the Black Spider Ninja Clan to help her steal the Demon Statue from the Dragon Ninja Clan, in return she would give them demonic powers, and she did give them power, but of course Elizébet forgot to tell them she sees them as disposable objects and eventually they would fall.
One-Winged Angel: The only Vazdah's Deadly Greater Fiend Lord who wasn't already transformed to fight against Ryu.
The Ruler of Lightning and one of the Greater Fiends, Alexi is an antagonist in Ninja Gaiden II for Xbox 360. Awoken from his centuries-long slumber by Elizébet via the power of the Demon Statue, Alexei quickly makes a bid to conquer New York City, holding court from atop the Statue of Liberty. Despite his haughty demeanor and belief in human inferiority, he is bested in a duel with Ryu Hayabusa. However, he later shows up in the Realm of the Fiends as the ritual to resurrect the Archfiend reaches its crescendo, having recovered from his wounds and kidapped Sonia, Ryu's CIA partner. The two clash for a second time, and Ryu succeeds in slaying the arrogant demonic noble for good.
Aristocrats Are Evil: He's much more elegant and refined than most Fiends. This doesn't make him any less evil.
Disney Villain Death: At the climax of their first fight, Ryu sends him plummeting from the top of the Statue of Liberty.
The Ninja Overlord, Master Ninja of the Black Spider Ninja Clan and later one of the Five Greater Fiends of Vazdah in the Xbox 360 game, Genshin is the best and most ruthless ninja the Spider Clan has ever created, with eternal lust for power and hatred towards the Dragon Ninja Clan, he didn't think twice when Elizébet offered him more power for his clan and an excuse to anihililate the whole dragon lineage and its followers. Genshin successfuly destroyed great part of the Dragon Ninjas' village up to fighting against Joe Hayabusa, and managed to steal the Demon Statue for Elizébet; Ryu fights against Genshin four times during the story, in the third he kills him, the fourth Genshin is ressurected by Elizébet as a Greater Fiend, but Ryu once again prevails and finished Genshin off once for all, also despite Genshin's hatred for Ryu's clan it seems both of them developed a less harmful rivalry during their fights, it is clear that when Genshin died most of his hatred was gone as well, Ryu was really infuriated when Elizébet spit on Genshin's pride.
Above Good and Evil: Joe Hayabusa acuses Genshin's clan to be corrupted by evil, Genshin remarks that the ninja way knows neither good nor evil.
Asskicking Equals Authority: Genshin not only is the Master Ninja for the Black Spider Ninja Clan, but he is so strong, stronger than any other the Spider Clan ever had, with this Genshin just had to be appointed as their leader.
Back from the Dead: Died in his third fight against Ryu, Elizébet resurrected Genshin as a Vazdah Greater Fiend.
Badass: Genshin reeks of badassery, leading the Black Spider Ninja Clan through sheer power and proving his skills are worthy of a Master Ninja.
Driven by Envy: The Black Spider Ninja Clan being in the Dragon Ninja Clan's shadow for generations took its toll on Genshin, he grew to hate Dragon Lineage entirely, their downfall is Genshin's ultimate goal.
It's Personal: Genshin's entire motivation for going along Elizébet plans, he really wants the Dragon Lineage to be extinct.
Large and in Charge: Genshin borders on giant, even towering some of his Ninjas that were converted into fiends while still a human, and of course Genshin is the one in charge.
Lightning Bruiser: Powerful and fast, very fast; Genshin is just too damn fast, an athletic Ninja like Ryu has to keep his eyes focused against a gian like Genshin due his speed.
The main girl for Ninja Gaiden II (Xbox 360} and Sigma II, Sonia is Irene Lew under an alias during the events of the second Xbox game, again she is a CIA agent tasked with teaming up with Ryu Hayabusa to prevent the Archfiend from returning. Different from her NES counterpart, Sonia is not so harmless, she proved herself to be quite dependable and gutsy when fiends are not involved; when fiends are involved however, Ryu is up to task and ready to rescue Sonia. Notable for her small red tatoo above her breasts and beautiful body figure as a whole, Sonia's design sticks for Irene Lew during the Dead or Alive series.
Action Girl: She can prove herself when fiends are not involved.
Action Girlfriend: Teaming up with Ryu with her bazooka, she's really Irene Lew under an alias so it's official.
Adaptation Dye Job: Sonia's hair color is what sticks for Irene Lew as seen in Dead or Alive.
Continuity Nod: Just the fact that Sonia was confirmed to be Irene Lew in Dead or Alive served to really tie the Xbox series as happening before the NES series, Itagaki in his last days at Tecmo was really contradicting about the series continuity.
Ship Tease: Sonia was the only girl in the Xbox series whom Ryu showed some afftection for, he was really worried about her in the Underworld and they shared a good hug in the end.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Sonia, a CIA agent tasked to work with Ryu, who frequently straddles between Action Girl and Faux Action Girl to Distressed Damsel status in the modern series replaces Irene, a CIA agent tasked to work with Ryu, who frequently straddles between Action Girl and Faux Action Girl to Distressed Damsel status in the NES trilogy. In fact, they were so similar that eventually in Dead or Alive: Dimensionsit was revealed that Sonia was Irene's alias during the events of Ninja Gaiden II, making Sonia and Irene one and the same for good.
Mizuki's Brother-in-law. She jokingly describes him as a Mad Scientist since he conceives strange advanced weapons such as Ryu's target-locking bow. Turns out, he really is a Mad Scientist, responsible for bringing his brother Theodore back to life as the Regent of the Mask and turning Canna into what he calls a "Goddess".
The second Canon Immigrant from the Dead or Alive series, debuting in the re-release for Wii U Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge as a free DLC character. Although she also got a very brief cameo in Sigma 2, but only as The Faceless.Kasumi is the younger sister of Hayabusa's childhood friend Hayate, from the Mugen Tenshin Clan. She's also Ayane's older half-sister. In the Dead or Alive series, Hayabusa watches over her after she became a runaway ninja for avenging her brother.
The Faceless: Her cameo in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. We only get to see her from her back.
Finishing Stomp: Her version of the Izuna Drop, which is a variation of one of her grabs from the Dead or Alive series. She stomps her victim's head again and again in mid-air until she finally crushes it to the ground.
What Happened to the New Costume?: In Sigma 2 she wears a variation of her traditional blue costume. Although we only got to see the back side, fans really liked it and many of them were eager to see it properly. Too bad it hasn't appeared ever since, neither in Razor's Edge nor in the Dead or Alive series.
A member of the Japanese ministry of defense, who meets Ryu at the beginning of the game, saying to him: "we don't need your help, you need ours", before showing him the message of the terrorists who took over London.
The Big Bad of Ninja Gaiden 3or so it seems at first. The game begins with him taking hostages in the middle of London with his terrorist group and assassinating the British Prime Minister. After fighting Ryu, he places a curse on his right arm, forcing the Dragon Ninja to endure the pain of all the people he killed. He is also Canna's father and Cliff's brother, brought Back from the Dead, brainwashed and used by LOA. He comes back to his senses and helps Ryu at the end of the game.
Papa Wolf: Even if killing his daughter will result in saving the rest of the world, he won't let you hurt her. Later subverted when he reveals that he'd intentionally said that in order to get the opportunity to free Ryu of the Grip of Murder and give him the chance to stop Canna, believing that Ryu can stop her without killing her. In the end, he was right.
Wake Up Call Boss: He's not as unforgiving as Murai since your lifebar is maxed-out from the beginning in 3, but he's clearly the first enemy of the game that will pose you a challenge. In harder difficulties, he becomes That One Boss.