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The central character, Big Bad, and definitive Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl. Sadako was a teenage girl with Psychic Powers, had a pretty miserable childhood, and was then chucked down a well to her death. Years on, her spirit haunts a videotape which contains a curse that will kill whoever watches it within seven days unless they copy it and show it to someone else. Sadako's character, backstory, and powers vary between each different continuity, but all maintain her desire to get revenge on the world through the videotape, and by other means.
- Achilles' Heel: Sadako's tape is both her strength and weakness. Her curse can only spread if someone copies the tape and shows it to someone else, though the deaths of those who do watch it may inspire others to investigate the tape - and that actually happens.
- And I Must Scream: We learn that Sadako survived in the well for seven days before dying. In Ring 2, Sadako is revealed to have survived in the well for a good three decades by sheer will, and only died a short time before Reiko found the tape.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Usually invoked once per film, but most notably in Ring, Ring 0 and Sadako 3D.
- Back from the Dead: Sadako's entire plan was to be reborn, since she had a premonition of her return before she died and made the cursed videotape and subsequent Ring Virus to achieve her goal. She succeeds and proceeds to spread her curse through Asakawa's journal as a published novel, and then through a film adaptation.
- Tries to achieve this in Sadako 3D 2, impregnating Akane after invading her body, but Akane keeps Sadako at bay, allowing her child Nagi to be born. Takanori has to keep mother and daughter apart otherwise Sadako could escape.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Sadako was a sweet girl and very kind when she was alive. Subverted in Ring 0, where Sadako had split into two girls due to her powers, one being innocent and kind but had no control of her powers, and a Superpowered Evil Side.
- Big Bad: Causes the conflict with her cursed video tape.
- Blessed with Suck: Her powers brought Sadako and her loved ones a lot of grief.
- Break the Cutie: By the end of Ring 0, she is well and truly broken.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the scariest way possible.
- Brown Note: The videotape, and later, the suicide online video introduced in Sadako 3D.
- The Chessmaster: With her plan to spread the tape, and even further with her plan to resurrect herself in the novels and television series.
- Creepy Child: Sadako as a child in the film series. Not to mention Sadako's evil twin in Ring 0.
- Death Glare: A literal one; it's how she kills her victims in the films.
- Divine Parentage: In the films, it is heavily implied that Sadako's father is some kind of water deity, who gave Shizuko her psychic powers.
- Doomed by Canon: Ring 0 from beginning to end is this for Sadako.
- Driven to Suicide: Throws herself off a building in the Rasen television series after growing tired of being used by humanity.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Sadako's TV incarnation tries to get Mitsuo Ando's wife to stab him to death for causing their son's own demise, but it ends up leading to the couple to make peace when Ando apologises. Sadako is so shocked that she can't understand why they cast aside their hatred.
- Expy: Sadako is based on one Sadako Takahashi, a Japanese woman said to have developed psychic powers and was a test subject for Dr. Tomokichi Fukurai, who Dr. Ikuma is based on.
- The Faceless: We never see Sadako's post-dead face. It is covered in hair most of the time and the only glimpse we get is a psychotic-looking eye, which is enough to kill her victims. In Ring 2, Sadako's face is reconstructed and her ghost appears with the clay head sculpture for a face, and even then it looks like a deformed skull.
- Fetus Terrible: In Coffin the Sky, Mai unwillingly gives birth to a reborn Sadako who grows at a phenomenal rate and can escape a roof ventilation shaft like an adult.
- Fingore: Sadako broke off her fingernails and tips while trying to get out of the well, so we always see her with nail-less fingers.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In-universe example. Sadako's iconic crawl out of the television to kill Ryuji. Apparently, some Japanese audiences were so terrified that they did not turn on their TVs for weeks.
- Haunted Technology: Her cursed videotape.
- A recorded piece of audio acts as a precursor to the videotape in Lemonheart and Ring 0.
- The Rasen television series put the video onto a CD.
- Sadako 3D saw the creation of a new suicide video that was online. Computers, laptops and phones were haunted in the sequel.
- Healing Factor: Shown to heal an old man's disability in Ring 0. Sadly this is the only good thing she does with her powers.
- Hermaphrodite: Sadako is a hermaphrodite, meaning she is a woman but is genetically male and has a man's privates. She also has Androgen insensitivity syndrome, an intersex condition that means she cannot give birth. This revelation tragically leads her plunge down the well in the novels. In Spiral, the reborn Sadako gains the ability to give birth, making her, as she puts it, "A complete hermaphrodite."
- Hope Spot / Yank the Dog's Chain: The ending of Ring 0 - Sadako is thrown down the well by her dad, but suddenly awakens in a bed with her boyfriend Toyama standing over her, telling her its all a dream. Sadako reaches for him, then we jump cut to Sadako back in the well. Sadako realises what is going on and can only scream in despair as Dr. Ikuma seals her in.
- I Am a Monster: Pre-death in the film series.
- Becomes this in the television series.
- Kill 'em All: One part of Sadako's vendetta against the world.
- Love Triangle: Gets in one with Hiroshi Toyama and his girlfriend Etsuko in Ring 0.
- Marionette Motion: Walks in a pretty freaky manner as a ghost. Her unnatural style was performed by Sadako's first actress, kabuki star Rie Inou who walked backwards with the scene then reversed.
- Mind Rape: Does this a lot to others.
- Nightmare Face: We only see a glimpse of her ghostly face in Ring but it is enough to kill someone.
- In Ring 2, forensic specialists rebuild Sadako's face using a clay model for her burial. When they take photos of it, the flash produces a brief inhuman appearance. Sadako's ghost then appears with her clay head in the film's finale.
- Parental Abandonment: Sadako's mother Shizuko commits suicide from depression.
- Prehensile Hair: In Sadako 3D, Sadako takes a page out of Kayako's book and uses her hair to attack others.
- Psychic Powers: Sadako pretty much has displayed the entire variety of powers listed on the trope's page. Her most notably power is psychography (or "nensha") which she used to create the videotape. In the novels, she is able to alter the genetics of human biology, and mutate a smallpox strand with her DNA into a virus able to cause tumours, heart attacks, and impregnate women with said DNA to ensure that she can be resurrected, as well as create clones of the dead.
- Rape as Backstory: In the novels, and all television adaptations. Sadako is sexually assaulted by Dr. Nagao, who discovers she is a hermaphrodite and chucks her down the well.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After fusing with her evil twin in Ring 0, Sadako goes on a silent walk of death through the woods, killing all of her tormentors.
- She's a Man in Japan: See the hermaphrodite section above.
- Spooky Photographs: A side-effect of watching the tape, victims have blurred faces.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Thrown down a well to die, leading to her rise as a vengeful ghost.
- Shrinking Violet: In Ring 0, she is very shy and quiet, and only opens up to Toyama.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Sadako and Toyama. Sadly Doomed by Canon.
- Start of Darkness: Thrown down a well leads to her becoming a vengeful ghost.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Trope Codifier.
- Superpowered Evil Side: In the films, Sadako split into identical twins after murdering a man. One remained the size of a child and displays malicious or at least mischievous intent. They fuse into one by the end of Ring 0.
- Thrown Down a Well: The best known example.
- Trauma Conga Line: Where to begin? In the novels, her mother loses her second child to illness, becomes depressed and eventually commits suicide, Sadako joins an acting troupe and finds love but a recording of Sadako and her boyfriend Toyama having sex kills six people, her father develops tuberculosis, and then she is raped by Jotaro Nagao who discovers she is a hermaphrodite and chucks her down a well to her death.
- In the films, she is abandoned at birth, kills a journalist, her mother commits suicide, her out-of-control powers lead to several deaths and she is the victim of a Witch Hunt, murders all of her tormentors including her harmless boyfriend, is thrown down a well by her father, and survives down there for thirty years.
- The Virus: The Ring Virus in the novels, a mutated strand of smallpox which can lead to heart attacks or impregnation in female victims (but only if they have sex while infected). The cursed videotape is intended to spread like a virus, being copied and passed onto another person to escape death.
- Window Love: Confesses to Toyama through one in one of the loveliest moments of the film series.
- Woman in White: Commonly wears a white dress in most incarnations of the story.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Given enough reason too.
- Xanatos Gambit: Sadako's plan in the novels goes pretty much as she hoped, also backed up by the visions she had of the successful outcome.
Kazuyuki AsakawaThe protagonist of the first novel and Ring: The Final Chapter. Kazuyuki is a Tokyo-based journalist who investigates the death of his niece Tomoko and three other teenagers, discovering the cursed videotape's existence and seeks to end its curse. At first he is a workaholic but when his wife and daughter watch the tape, he is determined to move mountains to save them. In The Final Chapter, he is Yoichi's father.
- Adult Fear: Kazuyuki is disturbed by the though of dying still presses on. It is when his wife and one-year old daughter watch the tape that he really freaks out.
- Author Appeal: One of the driving forces behind Asakawa's character in the novel is his relationship with his daughter. The author is a leading advocate of stronger father/daughter relationships in Japanese society.
- Badass Normal: Very determined to solve the mystery of the videotape, particularly when his wife and daughter watch it.
- Chekhov's Gun: The copy of the tape Kazuyuki made for Ryuji. He tries to use it to save his family.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: In The Final Chapter.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After his family watch the tape, Ryuji dies and realising the enormity of the virus' power, and when Sadako manipulates him into writing the journal to spread the virus.
- Intrepid Reporter: Goes to great lengths to uncover the truth behind the videotape.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Kazuyuki finds Sadako's body and it gives it to her family and everything looks fine. That is until Ryuji dies of a heart attack, revealing the Ring Virus is still active and can only be stopped by copying the tape. In Spiral, it is revealed Kazuyuki wrote a journal on his investigation, thought manipulated by Sadako into doing, thus having a secondary container to spread the virus with. By the end of the novel, it has been adapted into a novel by Kazuyuki's brother, and an eventual film.
- Papa Wolf: Comes off as a bit of a reluctant parent, finding his daughter Yoko's constant crying to be a bother. However, as soon as he learns his family have voiced the videotape, his true devotion to his daughter comes out.
- Also a good single parent to Yoichi in the TV series.
- Salaryman: A bit focused on his work and dislikes certain aspects of being a father.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Kazuyuki and his family are abruptly caught in a car crash a few days after the events of the first novel. His wife and daughter die, though it is later revealed they may have died before the crash. Kazuyuki ends up in a coma for a month and eventually dies himself.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: As part of Sadako's plan to spread the tape.
Ryuji TakayamaAn associate of Kazuyuki. A mathematician, philosophy university teacher, and former medical student, Ryuji is an eccentric but intelligent man who aids Kazuyuki in investigating the origins of the cursed videotape. His character alters between different continuities. In the film series, he is Reiko Asakawa's ex-husband and Yoichi's father, being calm, thoughtful but just as cognitive as his novel counterpart, and has Psychic Powers. In Ring: The Final Chapter, he is a calm but creepy individual who has to care for his half-sister Mai Takano.
- The Ace: Very smart and a genius in intuition, mathematics, and medicine.
- Ax-Crazy: His TV counterpart is, particularly if anyone messes with Mai.
- Back from the Dead: After dying, Ryuji is resurrected by Sadako and reappears as his adult self a few months after Ando makes his deal with Sadako. In Loop, it is revealed protagonist Kaoru Futami is the resurrected Ryuji. Extracted from the Loop computer system as a baby, he was raised as a normal person until the Metastatic Human Cancer infects his father, prompting him to return to Loop to counterattact the Ring Virus, the cancer's real form.
- Badass Beard: Sports one in the films.
- Bat Deduction: Realises the tape must be copied to escape the curse.
- Celibate Eccentric Genius: To an extent. Ryuji has a relationship of sorts with his assistant/student Mai, and claims to have raped three women, though he has no proof of it other than stories.
- Cool Teacher: Mai is affectionate towards him because of his kindness and encouragement.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: His novel counterpart is pretty nuts.
- Killed Off for Real: Dies of a heart attack in Ring after failing to copy the tape. Also dies in all other incarnations of the story, most iconically in the film where Sadako crawls out of his TV and kills him via a Death Glare.
- Legacy Character: In the TV series, Ryuji is Sadako's child and is meant to spread her virus.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Meets his end at the end of the novel by the virus, though in the film it is directly by Sadako's hand.
- Papa Wolf: To Yoichi.
- The Philosopher
- Straw Nihilist: Makes quips about wanting the world to end. Ends up playing a part in its "evolution" by helping spread Sadako's virus.
- Psychic Link: His TV incarnation has one with Mai. Kind of. He carries Sadako's virus, and Mai is the key to unleashing it, and she will always know where he is.
- Psychic Powers: Has a form of ESP in the films, able to sense spirits or bad omens.
- Punch Clock Hero: Claims to have raped several girls in the books.
- Sacrificial Lion: Killed by the curse to prove it hasn't stopped.
- The Stoic: Very calm and focused in the films and only gets riled up if things get desperate. His counterpart is the Ring television series is pretty stoic too, albeit in a creepy term.
- Working with the Ex: He works with his ex-wife Reiko in the film to solve the videotape's mystery. They get on very well, using honorifics, with plenty of Ship Tease accompanying them.
Mai TakanoRyuji's student and possible girlfriend. She has a major expansion in Spiral, being an emotional woman but very fond of Ryuji. Experiences a pretty horrible And I Must Scream moment in the novels. She is the main protagonist of Ring 2. In Ring: The Final Chapter, she is a troubled girl who is Ryuji's half-sister.
- A Death in the Limelight: The jist of Coffin in the Sky.
- And I Must Scream: Used by Sadako as an incubator for her resurrection. She is trapped in the ventilation shaft on her apartment roof, unable to move as Sadako gives birth to herself and leaves Mai to die.
- Ascended Extra: Has a relatively minor role in the first novel and film, but gets a major boost to a protagonist in the sequels.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After finding Ryuji's corpse.
- Living MacGuffin: In Ring: The Final Chapter, Mai carries both the cure for the curse in her blood but also the trigger that activates it.
- Mysterious Informant: Mai becomes this in the Rasen TV series.
- Mystical Pregnancy: Sadako impregnates her with herself.
- Promotion to Parent: Becomes Yoichi's guardian in Ring 2 after his parents both die.
- Psychic Link: Shares one with Ryuji in Ring: The Final Chapter.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Survives the film series.
Mitsuo AndoThe protagonist of Spiral (referred to as Rasen in adaptations), Mitsuo Ando is a lonely man grieving his son's death, traumatized by the accident and blaming himself for it and for his wife's emotional condition. Because of that he lost the desire to live, he has suicidal tendencies, but is not brave enough to commit suicide. He is also very intelligent and curious, and a very good person who wants to do the right thing, but is easily tempted by beautiful women.
- Adult Fear: The death of his son.
- Classical Anti-Hero: Ando works as a pathologist, his son drowned, and hates himself for not minding Takanori properly.
- Cool Teacher: His counterpart in the Rasen series.
- The Coroner: Performs the autopsy on Ryuji's corpse, kicking off Spiral's story.
- Deal with the Devil: Ando agrees to spread Sadako's virus in exchange for resurrecting Takanori. He rejects the offer twice in the TV series, leading Takanori's death a second time, and then his own.
- Driven to Suicide: Tried this but was too afraid to.
- Guilt Complex: For Takanori's death. Explored on a deeper level in the TV series, including the relationship with his hosptialised wife.
- Killed Off for Real: TV only. Performs a Heroic Sacrifice to prevent the spreading of the cursed video. However, he is revived by his loved ones as a clone, but expires quickly after due to the short lifespan of Sadako's clones without medication.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Has sex with Mai, leading to the resurrection of Sadako, who kills Mai while being reborn.
Kaoru FutamiA 20-year old medical student, Kaoru is protagonist of Loop. An intelligent man, Kaoru strives to find a cure for the Metastatic Human Virus that has plagued humanity for twenty years, including his father. His investigation into the cancer leads to him to the Loop computer project, discovering much about the virus and his own existence.
- Amateur Sleuth: Has no background as a detective, but is bright enough to investigate the M.H.V.
- Clone Jesus: The resurrected Ryuji Takayama. As a baby, he was extracted form the Loop program and raised in the real world, but brought the Ring Virus with him, where it mutated into the Metastatic Human Virus cancer.
- The Hero: Of Loop.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Willingly dies to stop the Metastatic Human Virus in the real world and is reborn in the Loop world as the revived Ryuji.
- The Medic: Works as a medical student.
- The Philosopher: Enjoys philosphising. It makes a lot of sense considering he is revealed to be the reborn Ryuji.
Kenzo YoshinoA journalist friend of Kazuyuki, Yoshino could be considered the tritagonist of the first novel. Working in the Yokosuka city hall press club, Yoshino performs secondary tasks for Kazuyuki to find information of Sadako's past. In Ring: The Final Chapter, Yoshino becomes Akiko Yoshino, Kazuyuki's subordinate, a Shrinking Violet but very loyal to her superior.
- A Day in the Limelight: Has his own chapters in Ring and is a supporting player in Lemonheart.
- Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Very wary around urban legends but investigates Sadako's past on Kazuyuki's request, but is kept in the dark about some of the more darker elements of his friend's investigation. Ends up being one of the few characters to escape Sadako's wrath in one piece.
- Demoted to Extra: Has one scene cameo in the 1998 film, but gained a supporting role in the retconned Rasen film.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Kazuyuki.
- Gender Flip: In Ring: The Final Chapter.
- The Heart: Akiko for Kazuyuki.
- Intrepid Reporter: Goes to great lengths to help Kazuyuki learn of Sadako's fate.
- Ship Tease: Akiko and Kazuyuki. Akiko often serves as a motherly figure for Yoichi.
- Shrinking Violet: Akiko, though she becomes more confident and open.
MiyashitaA supporting character in Spiral. Miyashita is Mitsuo Ando's co-worker at the pathology department and also his friend. He is a smart person, down to Earth, scientifically oriented and disbelieves in the paranormal. In the TV series, Miyashita is replaced by a female character Rieko Miyashita. Rieko is a very hardworking microbiologist, scientifically oriented, and a loyal friend to Asakawa.
- Agent Scully: Disbelieves in the curse and the paranormal until he is dragged into it himself.
- The Coroner: Works as a coroner alongside Ando.
- Gender Flip: In the TV series.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ando.
- The Medic: Rieko is a microbiologist but knows how to treat people too.
- Necessary Evil: Aids Ando is spreading the Ring Virus in order to save his friend and himself after handling Asakawa's cursed journal.
Tomoko Oishi, Shuichi Iwata, Haruko Tsuji, and Takehiko NomiFour high school students who go on a trip to the Izu Pacific Land Resort. There, they stumble across Sadako's curse, which is recorded onto a videotape and they watch it. A week later, the four all die of heart attacks, kicking off Asakawa's investigation.
- Came Back Wrong: In the film, Tomoko comes back as an unseen ghost and allegedly told Yoichi to watch the cursed videotape. Ryuji theorises she became Sadako's minion ("She isn't Tomoko anymore.")
- Decoy Protagonist: Tomoko is the focus of Ring's first chapter.
- Don't Go in the Woods: Subverted. Tomoko and friends go to a relatively popular camp ground. It is inside their cabin where they find terror.
- Innocent Bystander: Find and watch the videotape by happenstance and die unaware of the rules to escape death.
- Ordinary High-School Student: All four of them.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: In the film, Tomoko's ghost is manipulated by Sadako into convincing Yoichi to watch the tape. As Ryuji puts it, "She isn't Tomoko anymore."
- Out with a Bang: Tsuji and Nomi were parking when they both died.
- Peek-A-Boo Corpse: In the film, Tomoko's mother Yoshimi found her body in her bedroom corpse, her face frozen in a scream. Tsuji's corpse also springs out of a locked car when police try to get her out.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Killed off to kick off the plot.
- Their First Time: Tomoko and Iwata.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: They record the cursed videotape and are Sadako's first victims.
- Victim of the Week: A fitting trope, since they die a week after watching the tape.
Shizuko YamamuraSadako's mother. Gaining Psychic Powers via supernatural means, Shizuko had an affair with Heihachiro Ikuma and gave birth to Sadako. After a botched public demonstration of her powers, Shizuko became depressed and eventually was Driven to Suicide.
- Blessed with Suck: Her powers gave her severe headaches, couldn't be proven to exist in front of a crowd of skeptical reporters and ultimately led to her lover's career being ruined and Shizuko left to return to her home with their daughter.
- Broken Bird: Didn't have the easiest of lives. Dead son, superpowered daughter, and humiliated by the press lead to her suicide. Implied in Ring 0 that she also went nuts because her daughter's powers exceeded her own.
- Disastrous Demonstration: Her attempt to display her powers to the public and the press failed. Made worse in the films, where a journalist accused her of faking her powers, only to be killed by an angry Sadako. This has severe consequences for Sadako in Ring 0.
- Driven to Suicide: Grew depressed and threw herself into a volcano. In the novels, it was due to the botched public demonstration of her powers and the loss of her second child. The films had her go mad after Sadako killed a man by sheer will and then split into two twins.
- Expy: Shizuko is based on Chizuko Mifune, a woman who claimed to have foresight. Dr. Tomokichi Fukurai, a university psychology professor, studied her and exposed her to the public. She was branded a fraud, which shook Chizuko so much that she committed suicide via poison.
- Karmic Death: Shizuko predicts that Mount Mihara will erupt on a specific date. She jumps in into the volcano on the day it erupts.
- Mirror Scare: The film's cursed videotape has Shizuko brushing her hair in front of a mirror, which Sadako telekinetically moves around as a prank. In Ring 2, Mai witnesses a live demonstration of this, before Shizuko acknowledges her presence and gives her a haunting Death Glare before the mirror explodes.
- Missing Mom: For Sadako after her suicide.
- Parental Abandonment: Kills herself and abandons Sadako in the process.
- Posthumous Character: Been dead for at least thirty years by the time the story kicks off. Averted in the TV series.
- Psychic Powers: Gains the power of foresight after picking up a statue of Japanese figure of folklore En no Ozuno. In the films, it is implied Shizuko had her powers at birth, but gave birth to Sadako through paranormal means.
- Sanity Slippage: Spends hours attending to her hair in front of a mirror, looking quite mad.
Heihachiro IkumaSadako's father. He was a psychology professor at Tokyo University, having an affair with Shizuko after learning of her powers and eventually fathered Sadako. In the films, he is ultimately responsible for chucking Sadako down the well.
- Deadly Doctor: Subverted. In Ring 0, he cared for the Sadako twins, but drugged the evil one and kept her locked away. The good twin was allowed to live a normal life but her powers caused her to be the victim of a Witch Hunt. After the twins reunite and kill numerous people, Dr. Ikuma realises he must protect the world from Sadako and throws her down a well, much to his regret.
- Disastrous Demonstration: Arranged Shizuko's public demonstration of her powers. It didn't go very well, leading to her suicide.
- Expy: Dr. Ikuma is based on Dr. Fukurai, a real life Deadly Doctor, who tried to prove the existence of psychic powers. It took the deaths of two women for him to call it quits.
- Meditating Under a Waterfall: Sat under waterfalls to try to gain psychic powers but it only gave him tuberculosis.
- Necessary Evil: Threw Sadako down the well in the film canon.
- Papa Wolf: To Sadako.
- Posthumous Character: Died of tuberculosis in the novels, and is confirmed dead in the films.
- The Professor: Was a professor in Tokyo University.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His choice in casting Sadako down the well.
- Your Cheating Heart: Had an affair with Shizuko behind his wife's back. Shizuko ended the affair to avert scandal, but Ikuma divorced his wife anyway.
Takashi YamamuraShizuko's cousin and Sadako's uncle. A fisherman and inkeeper living on Oshima, Takashi has a minor role in the novels. In the films, he was the instigator of Sadako's doom, and became a bitter man in his later years.
- Ascended Extra: Films only. In the novel, he has a minor role and cared for Sadako. In the films, he is a bitter old man who describes her as the devil, when it was his opportunistic nature that damned his family.
- The Atoner: Expresses great regret for what happened to Shizuko and Sadako, sending the latter's body out to sea in an attempt to appease her spirit.
- Character Development: Takashi is haunted by the memory of Sadako, but also has great guilt for playing a part in the fates of her and Shizuko. Upon being forced to admit Sadako existed, he ends up taking Reiko and Ryuji to the mainland to appease Sadako. In the second film, when he learns Sadako was alive in the well for years, he takes possession of her body and performs a burial at sea.
- Driven to Suicide: Drowns himself in Ring 2 to try to stop Sadako.
- Commits suicide in Ring: The Final Chapter or at least implied when Kazuyuki finds a letter from him stating he has taken Shizuko's body to the volcano and won't be seen again.
- Grumpy Bear: Not the most approachable person, but with good reason.
- Evil Uncle: By no means evil, but he thought Sadako was a monster.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Takashi sacrifices himself to Sadako to end her rage, drowning in a swimming pool.
- Redemption Equals Death
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Pretends not to know Sadako, mainly because of how horrifying she was to Takashi.
- Tears of Remorse: In Ring: Kanzenban, Takashi cries when Kazuyuki hands him Sadako's corpse.
- Trauma Inn: His home has seen a lot of drama over the years like Shizuko's breakdown, and Ring 2's third act takes place there.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Films only. Takashi suggested putting Shizuko on display to the press, kicking off the chain of events that led to Sadako's imprisonment in the well.
Characters Introduced in The Ring Trilogy
Reiko AsakawaThe female equivalent for Kazuyuki, Reiko fulfils the same role as he does in Ring, investigating rumours of a cursed videotape following the death of her niece Tomoko. A modern Japanese career woman, she often leaves her son Yoichi home alone, and is Ryuji's ex-wife.
- Adult Fear: When Yoichi watches the tape, causing Reiko's true Mama Bear to emerge, and she grows increasingly determined and desperate to find a way to save him.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Very obsverant and notices small details in things, which helps in her job as a journalist and investigating the cursed videotape.
- Badass Normal: Willing to go to great lengths to protect her son.
- Broken Bird: By the second film, three dead family members and her son's powers boosted by Sadako has made her a very different woman then she was in the first.
- Chekhov's Gun: The copy of the tape she makes for Ryuji.
- Gender Flip: The female equivalent of Kazuyuki.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: In an ongoing state of this trope in Ring 2 following the deaths of Ryuji and her father.
- Hot Scoop: Reiko's actress Nanako Matsushima is quite the looker.
- Intrepid Reporter: Pursues the rumours of a cursed videotape at first as a simple news piece, but it becomes personal when Reiko finds a connection to Tomoko's death.
- Lurid Tales of Doom: The rumours of the cursed videotape are this to Reiko but she still handles it in a professional manner. Turns out the rumours are real.
- Mama Bear: Cares very deeply for Yoichi, and also shows motherly concern towards Sadako.
- Married to the Job: Type 1. Reiko is very focused on her job, often leaving Yoichi alone to fend for herself. It has shades of parental neglect at times. In one scene, Reiko answers a call from Yoichi while researching newspapers with Ryuji and tells Yoichi he will be fine alone for a little while longer before hanging up. Ryuji, who has no role in his son's life, looks visibly uncomfortable with his ex's actions. He promptly tells her to spend some time with Yoichi whilst she can.
- Necessary Evil: Forced to ask her father to watch the tape in order to save Yoichi's life.
- The Stoic: Becomes this in Ring 2, completely altering her appearance too, going from lively and curious to reserved and grouchy.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Killed in both sequels. In the retconned Rasen, she dies off-screen in a car crash. In Ring 2, Reiko is hit by a truck.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: As part of Sadako's plan to spread the tape.
- Working with the Ex: Teams up with Ryuji to investigate the videotape. Both have a very good relationship despite being divorced, and there is still some love between them. Reiko even tells a policeman that she is Ryuji's wife, though that was to get into his apartment.
Yoichi AsakawaSon of Reiko and Ryuji, Yoichi is young and innocent but experiences a lot of hardships in his life. He possesses Psychic Powers and comes off as a little creepy.
- Break the Cutie: Suffers quite a lot, losing four family members to Sadako's wrath, but comes out of it surprisingly well.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Is very honest and always tells the truth, even if he is cryptic about it. He knows falling into the well will lead to his and Mai's escape from Sadako.
- Children Are Innocent: Definitely the most purehearted of characters in the film series until Nagi comes along.
- Creepy Child: Yoichi is innocent through and through, but there something a little creepy about him and how he silently reacts to everything even when his own family members are dying.
- Cute Mute: Doesn't talk much but is quite adorable.
- Demonic Possession: Subverted. Implied to be haunted by Sadako's anger, boosting his powers,
- Psychic Powers: Presumably inherited from his father, Yoichi is able to sense supernatural auras and talk to ghosts. In Ring 2, his powers are boosted by Sadako, allowing him to project his voice through other people, astral projection, telepathy, and even pull a Psychic Strangle on a police officer. The condition of his powers are unknown after Ryuji's ghost absorbs his anger and grief.
- Tranquil Fury: Expresses this after Reiko is killed by a truck, taking his fury out on the police officer who played a hand in her death but is calmed down by Mai.
Koichi AsakawaReiko's elderly father who has a close relationship with his grandson Yoichi.
- Badass Grandpa: Agrees to watch the cursed videotape to save Yoichi and performs a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure Sadako can no longer harm others.
- Cool Old Guy: Very spry for his age and very selfless.
- Fishing for Sole: Has trouble catching fish when Yoichi and Reiko visit him.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Does not copy the video but instead destroyed it to stop Sadako. Becomes a Senseless Sacrifice when Koichi's ghost tells Reiko that Yoichi has been possessed by Sadako.
- Jacob Marley Apparel: Wearing the clothes he died in.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Appears as a ghost when Reiko dies, trapped in a monochromatic version of a Tokyo street alongside Sadako's other victims.
- Papa Wolf: To his children and grandchildren, even willing to give his life for Yoichi.
Masami KurahashiTomoko's best friend who tells her the rumours of the cursed videotape. It turns out to be true and Masami witnesses Tomoko's death, driving her mad and being institutionalised.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Tomoko.
- Innocent Bystander / Mauve Shirt: Merely a witness to Sadako's first kill, Masami is influenced by her powers and develops thoughtography powers. She plays a supporting role in Ring 2, being used as a mouthpiece by Yoichi to contact Mai.
- Playing with Syringes: Masami is used as a test subject by Dr. Kawajiri to remove Sadako's psychic energy and transfer it to a blank videotape. It works at first only for Masami to drop dead suddenly.
- The Pollyanna: Comes off as this in the first film until Tomoko's death. Then she becomes a Broken Bird.
- Psychic Powers: Develops thoughtography which causes trouble for her and others. Dr. Kawajiri attempts to exorcise her powers but it leads to her death.
- Room Full of Crazy: When Masami approaches a television in the hospital, it nearly summons Sadako, causing all of the mental patients present to freak out.
OkazakiAn intern working alongside Reiko. He has a minor role in the first film but becomes an Ascended Extra in the sequel, teaming up with Mai to find Reiko, but his own curiosity about the videotape leads him to A Fate Worse Than Death.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: Ends up in psychiatric care with Kanae's laughing ghost tormenting him.
- Ascended Extra: Only has two scenes in Ring, but becomes a supporting protagonist for the first half of the sequel.
- Asshole Victim: His actions make him this.
- Dirty Coward: In Ring 2, he agrees to watch the videotape to save Kanae's life but turns coward and locks his copy in his draw. This comes back to bite him in the rear.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Okazaki's cowardice proves to be his undoing when he fails to keep his promise and watch the tape. Kanae comes back from the dead as a ghost to torment him forever.
- I Gave My Word: Promised Kanae he would watch the videotape for her sake. He doesn't.
- Intrepid Reporter: A milder version than Reiko, and when it gets too much for him, he chickens out.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Chickening out of watching a copy of the videotape leads to Kanae's death. He is then haunted by her ghost and is institutionalised.
- Sequel Hook: His copy of tape is still locked in his office desk.
Kanae SawaguchiA teenage student who is curious about the cursed videotape, meeting Okazaki and obtains a copy for him, only to watch it first.
- Came Back Wrong: Kanae dies by Sadako's hand, but her wrath against Okazaki causes her to return as a laughing Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl to torment Okazaki.
- Curiosity Killed the Cast: Kanae's curiosity gets the better of her and she watches the videotape. Okazaki promises to watch the copy, only to chicken out, leading to Kanae's death.
- Innocent Bystander: The most blatant example in the series alongside Tomoko and Yoichi.
- Nightmare Face: Her face after she dies. And her face as a ghost.
- Ordinary High-School Student
- Red Shirt: Just another victim of the tape. Though in this case, she comes back as a vengeful ghost.
Ishi KawajiriA parapsychologist treating Masami after her hospitalisation, Dr. Kawajiri believes the psychic energy created from the videotape can be neutralised via an energy transfer and would like to prove his theories. He is old friends with Ryuji.
- Agent Scully: Refuses to believe in the existence of ghosts or the afterlife, despite overwhelming evidence they exist. Ironically, when they do show up, he goes crazy and commits suicide.
- Energy Absorption: The intended purpose of his experiments, to absorb psychic energy and make it harmless by exposing it to a neutralising component.
- Labcoat of Science and Medicine
- Mad Scientist: Believed to be this by his colleagues at the university. Turns out he might be judging by his arrogant need to prove his theories work.
- Playing with Syringes: His methods to remove the psychic energy from Masami and Yoichi falls into this trope even though Kawajiri's intentions are good. Both are strapped to chairs and asked to feed their energy through a monitor into a secondary container (i.e. a blank videotape and swimming pool). Masami's test ends with her death, so Dr. Kawajiri introduces water as a neutralising factor for Sadako's energy. That doesn't go very well either.
- Psycho Psychologist: Becomes this in his second experiment, driven mad by what he sees and commits suicide by leaping into a swimming pool with electrical equipment.
Keiji OmutaA police officer investigating the deaths of Ryuji and Reiko's father.
- Agent Scully: He has a hard time believing in the powers of Shizuko and Sadako, and calls Yoichi a monster after being struck by a psychic attack.
- By-the-Book Cop: Just an ordinary cop who is horrified by the supernatural horrors around him.
- Hello Again, Officer: A subverted non-funny one where Mai meets Omuta at the hospital after his previous visit to her apartment to discuss Ryuji's death.
- The Inspector: Investigating the mysterious deaths of Ryuji and Reiko's father, leading him into the plot of Ring 2.
- Psychic Strangle: Choked telepathically by Yoichi after Reiko is hit by a truck.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: A relatively fair cop but he has his limits, forcing Mai to reveal where Reiko and Yoichi are hiding when Kanae turns up dead. He also separates Reiko and Yoichi to interview the former, only to invoke Yoichi's psychic wrath.
- You Monster!: Subverted. Omuta calls Yoichi a monster after witnessing his psychic powers. Reiko, realising Yoichi could end up like Sadako, flees with him.
Akiko MiyajiThe antagonist of Ring 0, Akiko is a journalist tracking down Sadako to avenge her husband, the journalist who Sadako murdered during her mother's fateful press demonstration.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Acts polite and friendly but just Beneath the Mask is her true determined, manipulation self. She has traits of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, believing Sadako is a monster who should be destroyed.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Her desire to avenge her dead husband is her driving motivation and nothing will stop her.
- Driven to Suicide: Shoots herself rather than be killed by Sadako.
- Intrepid Reporter: Uses this is a guise to shroud her intent of revenge.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Unintentionally reunites the twin Sadakos, who become one, and go on their own Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Oh, Crap!: Has one when she realises she has united the two Sadakos as one and coming for her.
- The Stoic: Remains calm and controlled when manipulating others and watching Sadako suffer. When Sadako is beaten to death, she calmly retorts "I wanted to do that."
- Witch Hunt: Invokes one after the theatre troupe beats the good Sadako to death, and leads them to Dr. Ikuma's house to kill the evil twin.
Towel ManA character who appears on the cursed videotape, Towel Man wears a cloth over his face and points enigmatically offscreen. He materialises during Ring, pointing out things of significance to Reiko.
- Enigmatic Minion: His purpose seems to be foreshadowing or pointing out things to those who have watched the tape. He alerts Reiko to Yoichi watching the tape, and then again to Ryuji's copy.
- The Faceless: Wears a cloth or towel, hiding his face. There is speculation he is either Ryuji Takayama (since he wears Ryuji's clothes) or Hiroshi Toyama, considering Sadako enslaves the ghosts of her victims.
- Rule of Symbolism: Believed to represent Sadako's biological father when he appears in Ring 0.
Characters Introduced in Sadako 3 D
Akane AyukawaThe protagonist of Sadako 3D, a teacher who possesses Psychic Powers, Akane encounters Sadako after hearing of a video online that drives viewers to commit suicide.
- Cool Teacher: Very popular among her students and motherly towards them.
- Dark and Troubled Past: As a child, she saved fellow students from a knife-wielding psychopath with her powers but she was ousted by the others as a result. She contemplated suicide until saved by Takanori, the only person grateful for saving him.
- Demonic Possession: Becomes a target for Sadako to possess.
- Driven to Suicide: Nearly throws herself off as a roof as a child, but is convinced by Takanori to keep living.
- Expy: Of Reiko in terms of character role, but also of Sadako had she been loved rather than hated.
- Hot Teacher: Satomi Ishihara, Akane's actress, is quite pretty.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: The basis of her Psychic Powers, Akane can release a sonic scream when terrified that is able to repel Sadako.
- Mama Bear: Towards her students and her own daughter Nagi.
- Not So Different: Sadako believes she and Akane are very similar due to their powers and being rejected from society. Akane denies this, having never used her powers to harm others or get revenge on the world. Not that this stops Sadako from possessing her.
- Posthumous Character: Takanori claims she died giving birth to Nagi. This is a lie, Akane is actually in a comatose state beneath a hospital, forced into this to prevent Sadako from escaping her body.
- Screaming Woman: Does a lot of screaming in the movie, though it helps she has a sonic scream as a psychic ability.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Said to have died during childbirth but actually alive. Akane is then actually killed by a crazed policeman.
Takanori AndoAkane's boyfriend who is a graphics designer. He is the protagonist of the fifth novel S, and is the son of Mitsuo Ando.
- Back from the Dead: In the books, he is the resurrected child of Mitsuo Ando from Spiral.
- Badass Normal: Stops Akane from killing herself as a child, rescues her from Sadako, and takes a severe beating in Sadako 3D 2 to protect his daughter Nagi.
- Disappeared Dad: To Nagi in Sadako 3D 2. The film makes it look like he resents her for Akane's "death", though it turns out to be quite the opposite.
- Distressed Dude: Taken prisoner by Sadako to lure Akane.
- Papa Wolf: Becomes this for Nagi.
- Understanding Boyfriend: Completely okay with Akane's powers. As a child, she rescued fellow students from a psychopath but he was the only one who was grateful, stopping Akane from commiting suicide. He becomes her Secret Keeper.
Fuko AndoThe protagonist of Sadako 3D 2. Takanori's younger sister who becomes the guardian of his daughter Nagi.
- Badass Normal: Risks life and limb to protect Nagi.
- Bath Suicide: Her mother died from this.
- Break the Cutie: A bit of a fragile flower, which stems from witnessing her body committing a Bath Suicide. She goes through a lot of trauma in the film but all to protect Nagi.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: When Akane is shot dead before Nagi's eyes.
- Mama Bear: Perhaps the best motherly character in the entire franchise. She is extremely dedicated to caring for Nagi despite her niece's grumpy attitude and anti-social demeanour. While she is admittedly afraid of Nagi, she still sticks by her.
- Parental Substitute: To Nagi.
- The Power of Love: Rescues Nagi from Sadako using this trope.
- Promoted To Parent: She is the parental guardian of Nagi since her brother doesn't want to care for her.
Nagi AndoThe daughter of Akane and Takanori introduced in Sadako 3D 2. She comes off as a quiet Creepy Child who always seems to be around when someone dies. Meant to serve as a host for Sadako to be reborn in, but her parents had other ideas.
- Children Are Innocent: Nagi is actually innocent, never killing anyone, and is sad that everyone is scared of her.
- Creepy Child: Nagi is very quiet and stares a lot. She resembles a young Sadako.
- Demonic Possession: Meant to be a host for a reborn Sadako, but her mother averted that.
- Enfante Terrible: Believed to be by those around her since she is always around people who die or commit suicide. Turns out she is guiltless in the whole thing.
- Four is Death: Nagi is around four to five years old, and can see how people will die.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Nagi draws nightmarish drawings of those she sees will die, usually on black card with very sharp pens.
- Psychic Powers: Presumably inherited from Akane and possible Sadako, Nagi is able to see how a person will die.
Seiji KashiwadaAn internet artist who posts a video online showing his suicide. He is actually in league with Sadako, intending to resurrect her and get his own personal revenge on the world. In the novel S, Kashiwada is another alias for Ryuji Takayama.
- Affably Evil: Very charismatic and polite to Fuko when she visits him in prison.
- Brown Note: His suicide video.
- Character Death: He is hung at the end of Sadako 3D 2.
- The Chessmaster: His goal is to resurrect Sadako, spreading his cursed suicide video online to find a host for his undead friend. The plan expands to resurrecting her anew as a baby, which was Nagi's purpose until Akane intervened. However, it seems Kashiwada left other roads for Sadako to return as implied at the end of Sadako 3D 2, with other girls being possessed or actually being Sadako.
- The Dragon: To Sadako.
- Driven to Suicide: He records his apparent suicide live, but it turns out to be fake, actually a new weapon for Sadako to use for her resurrection.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Of the Japanese male variety.
- Freudian Excuse: His career as an artist was destroyed by plagarism accusations. This was enough for him to team up with Sadako.
- Lack of Empathy: Shows not a twinge of guilt for killing his victims.
- Mad Artist: As evidenced by what hides behind his apartment's wallpaper.
- Man in White: Wears a distinctive white suit in his suicide video.
- Psycho Supporter: His desire for revenge led him to team up with Sadako, though he seems to be pretty nutty and fanboyish to support her regardless.
- Room Full of Crazy: His apartment seems normal until Detective Koiso discovers the wallpaper is made of sleeping moths, and the walls are covered in drawings and scribbles about Sadako's resurrection.
- Serial Killer: Murdered several woman and dressed them up to resemble Sadako, before chucking them down the well as offerings and potential hosts to Sadako.
- Small Role, Big Impact: His "suicide" kicks off the events of Sadako 3D and its sequel.
- Stalker with a Crush: Subverted. Kashiwada sends letters to Nagi, but Takanori hid them from her. Kashiwada tells Fuko that he is a "fan" of Nagi.
Rachel KellerThe main protagonist of the series. A hardworking journalist from Seattle who investigates her niece's mysterious death and connections to an alleged cursed videotape. Upon watching the tape, Rachel discovers the rumours are true and teams up with her ex-boyfriend Noah to find its origins before they and their son Aidan are killed within seven days.
- Action Mom
- Badass Normal
- Expy: Of Reiko Asakawa.
- False Reassurance: She tells Aidan that they did nothing wrong when they sent Samara's tape out into the public.
- Good Parent: To Aidan, yes. To Samara, no.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: When she finds Noah's corpse.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the second film, Rachel allows Samara to drag her into the tape's monochromatic world to protect Aidan. She escapes though after sealing Samara in the well.
- Hot Scoop
- Intrepid Reporter
- Mama Bear
- Necessarily Evil: In The Ring Two, when Samara has fully taken over Aidan's body, the only way to subdue her and drive her out of her son is by nearly killing him. Which Rachel accomplishes by taking a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and lacing it with enough pills to horrify the audience.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- Rachel unleashes the tape onto an unsuspecting world, causing the events in Rings.
- And again in the The Ring Two when she seals Samara in the well.
- Parental Abandonment: It's strongly hinted that Rachel's focus on her career takes her away from Aidan, resulting in her being in the dark about his anxieties (if not outright dismissive) and going to parent-teacher meetings only out of obligation. This changes A LOT by the second film, specifically seeking out a smaller newspaper so she can spend more time with her son.
- Poor Communication Kills: Granted, the Curse is hardly believable as it is, but she only has herself to blame when the lack of reasonable explanation for her actions in the second film gets Child Protection Services on her head.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Aidan calls her out when she reveals she freed Samara's body from the well.
- Working with the Ex: With Noah, who was her boyfriend for a time until they had Aidan.
Noah ClayRachel's ex-boyfriend and a media analyst, Noah is enlisted by Rachel to discover the origins of the cursed videotape. He is Aidan's father but doubts he would ever be a good father due to his own being a disappointment.
- Badass Normal
- Indy Ploy: He's very resourceful at getting what he wants.
- Lighter and Softer: He couldn't be more different from Ryuji if he tried. Unfortunately, this also extends to his investigative skills.
- Papa Wolf
- Sacrificial Lion: He's killed so that Rachel knows the curse isn't over.
- Techno Wizard
- Working with the Ex: Noah works with Rachel. They seem to rekindle their old flame in the process.
Aidan KellerRachel and Noah's young son who possesses a degree of psychic powers.
- Creepy Child: On par with Samara, and it becomes worse when she possesses him.
- Demonic Possession: At the hands of Samara, who appears behind him in The Ring Two in a public bathroom and approaches him with each photo he takes of himself in a mirror.
- Expy: Of Yoichi Asakawa.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: He drew many unsettling sketches of his cousin Katie buried deep underground (or even underwater) in the run up to her death. After watching the tape, his artistic focus changes to Samara's house, the inside of the well, and progressively obsessive drawings of circles.
- Promotion to Parent: Rachel's parenting and Noah's absence have forced him to take this role.
- Psychic Powers
- Poor Communication Kills: He never volunteers any information on his visions, it has to be Rachel who asks him about them after his behavior or drawings tip her off. It's only after Rachel frees Samara from the well that he tells her she will continue to kill people.
Samara MorganThe antagonist of the series and the American version of Sadako Yamamura. An eight year old who was tossed down a well by her adoptive mother Anna, Samara created the cursed videotape to get attention and possible revenge on the world.
- Abusive Parents: Richard Morgan banished her to the ranch barn. Her biological and adoptive mother tried to drown her. Her father, on the other hand, is a Pedophile Priest.
- Affably Evil: This is debatable, even though she is an eight-year old girl.
- Artifact of Doom: Her version of the cursed videotape which is as twice as long as Sadako's and twice as terrifying.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Come Rings, she's succeeded in escaping her corpse to possess Julia and spread her tape to the Internet, where it becomes an Instant Web Hit.
- Break the Cutie: It doesn't appear to take long. She makes verbal threats about her future rage against the world.
- Creepy Child
- Dark and Troubled Past: Samara was nearly drowned by her birth mother Evelyn, and then received even more misery at the Morgan Ranch thanks to her uncontrolled powers. She was locked in the barn by her father, and took her frustration out on her mother's beloved horses by driving them to suicide. She was eventually tossed down a well by Anna.
- Demonic Possession: Possesses Aidan and fails to act like him when in Rachel's company.
- Evil All Along: According to Rings, she's not just out for revenge against her Abusive Parents: she's also a For the Evulz mass murderer.
- Expy: Obviously based on Sadako, but also on her evil twin from Ring 0.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Half human, half something else, according to her birth mother. Retconned in Rings.
- Humanoid Abomination: see Half-Human Hybrid. Aside from that she's got Psychic Powers that are borderline Reality Warper in scale. The power she possesses is so intense that she can Mind Rape people just by being in proximity to her.
- Ironic Echo: Rachel watches an interview from the mental institution. Doubles as Once More, with Clarity!.Psychiatrist: You don't want to hurt anyone.
Samara: But I do [hurt people], and I'm sorry...it won't stop.
Later, Rachel remembers the video with a slight change in tone:Psychiatrist: You don't want to hurt anyone.
Samara: But I do [want to]...and I'm sorry...it won't stop.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: "Here we go, the world is spinning, when it stops, it's just beginning. Sun goes up, we live and we cry, Sun goes down, and then we all die."
- Madness Mantra: "Mommy!"
- Making a Splash: Samara is so terrified of water, she can subconsciously use her powers to repel it high into the air —only for it to come splashing down when her focus is removed.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Unwittingly made on X-ray plaques with her Psychic Powers. Like any other child, she likes images of horsies and trees, but the images themselves are horrifying.
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Power Incontinence: Even before birth, she possessed Psychic Powers that exceeded her ability to control. Anyone who came close to her, man or beast, suffered horrendous hallucinations just from her being there.
- Psychic Powers: Samara has uncontrollably nensha powers, which allow her to burn images onto surfaces and into people's minds.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Trapped in a well by Anna Morgan. Suffered the same fate as a ghost in The Ring Two.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Just like Sadako, she is an onyro.
- Tragic Villain: Heavily hinted that the relationship between Samara and her foster parents was anything but a loving one. She repaid the favor by making their lives a living hell
- Woman in White
- Yandere: A non-romantic example in The Ring Two. Samara considers Rachel to be a surrogate mother because she was nice to her in the first movie, and nothing is going to stop them from being a happy family.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Samara possesses Aidan and finally has her wish granted, to be loved by a mother, in this case Rachel. That is until Rachel drugs her and then exorcises her from her son in a bath, before sealing her again in the well.
Anna and Richard MorganSamara's foster parents. Anna and Richard Morgan ran a family horse ranch on Moesko Island and were renowned horse trainers in the local area. After adopting Samara, Anna suffered from horrible visions caused by Samara's powers, causing Richard to banish the girl to the barn. In revenge, Samara tortured the ranch horses into suicide by jumping off cliffs. Anna eventually kills Samara by pushing her down a well, before committing suicide herself by leaping off a cliff.
- Abusive Parents: Richard in particular, forcing Samara to live in the barn and prefers the horses to her.
- Bath Suicide: Richard kills himself via electrocution in a bath. It's not a pretty sight.
- Cool Horses: The Morgans' famous racing horses made them famous. Then they killed themselves, making them even more famous.
- Down on the Farm: Make that horse ranch.
- Driven to Suicide: Pretty much everyone in the family save Samara. Anna leapt off a cliff, Richard electrocuted himself in a bathtub, and the family horses leapt off cliffs thanks to Samara.
- Electrified Bathtub
- Expy: Anna is the equivalent of Shizuko Yamamura, and Richard is the equivalent of Takashi Yamamura.
- False Reassurance: Richard tries to pull this on Rachel when she asks about the existence of Samara and the tape.
- Foreshadowing: As soon as Rachel reveals she's made a copy of the tape, Richard realizes that killing her right then and there with a hook won't keep the curse from spreading.
- Ironic Echo: When Richard refers to all reporters (and Rachel in particular) as unable to leave well enough alone, "spreading the sickness" via their investigations. Which is exactly what Rachel did with Samara's curse.
- Living Relic: Richard after losing his family and quitting his business.
- Mirror Scare: A scene on the tape depicts Anna brushing her hair and the mirror is moved about telekinetically by Samara, lifted straight out of the Japanese films.
- Red Herring: That Richard killed Samara, when in fact Anna did. In-universe example: Rachel believes Anna may have made the cursed video, when it was actually created by Samara.
- Villainous Breakdown: Richard ("MY WIFE WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE A CHILD!")
EvelynSamara's birth mother. Having possibly mentally unstable prior to child birth, Evelyn was young when she gave birth to Samara and lived in a hospital run by nuns. However, Samara did not cry unless put near water. Evelyn claimed Samara was possessed by a demon and was told by her daughter to drown her in order to save her. She attempted this but was stopped by the nuns and carted off to an asylum. She appears in The Ring Two, and cryptically tells Rachel how to exorcise Samara from Aidan.
- Bedlam House
- Her younger self is played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
- Madness Mantra: The melody she hums to herself, which is the American series' theme tune.
- Parental Abandonment
- Passing the Torch: Evelyn asks Rachel to out away her child since she failed to in the past.
- Patron Saint: According to an orderly at the asylum, Evelyn is visited by young mothers for guidance.
Katie Embry and Becca KohtlerBest friends who discuss the rumours of the cursed videotape. Katie is Rachel's 16-year old niece and close to her and Aidan. Katie reveals to Becca that she and three other students, Josh, Stacey and Scott, went to Shelter Mountain where they became the first viewers of the tape. Minutes later, Katie is killed by Samara. Her death leads to the events of the film. Becca witnessed her friend's death and was institutionalised, possibly gaining psychic powers in the process.
- Bedlam House: Poor Becca ends up in one after seeing Samara kill Katie, and has a fear of televisions.
- Haunted Technology: Katie has to deal with a TV that turns itself on, and the fridge door which opens by itself too.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Katie draws sketches of images in her head in her work book, eventually writing "Why is this in my head!?"
- She also scribbled "hair" over the faces in a fashion magazine, making all the models look like Samara.
- Peek-A-Boo Corpse: Perhaps one of the scariest images of the film is when Kaite's mum Ruth opens a closet and finds Katie's body with a deformed face. The fright is not from the corpse but from the sudden appearance of the imagery.
- Katie's facial fate is hinted at in the final frames of the opening scene when the camera zooms at her face - it distorts.
- Power Born of Madness: Becca appears to gain some form of Psychic Powers, predicting the number of days Rachel has to live.
- Victim of the Week: Katie fills this along with three others, or four if you count Becca as witnessing her death.