Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Street Fighter - Ryu

Go To


Street Fighter V 

Street Fighter III 

Street Fighter Alpha 

Street Fighter II 

Street Fighter I 

The answer lies... in the heart of battle.

Origin: Japan
Fighting style: Ansatsuken
Appears in: All mainline games
Voiced by: note 
Portrayed by: note 

The lead character of the franchise and the Fighting Game character, Ryu is a stoic Japanese martial artist who wanders the globe seeking the meaning of being a "true warrior." He can be recognized by his sleeveless white karate gi and a red or white hachimaki depending on the game. He trained alongside his friendly rival Ken under their mutual master Gouken. With the two having completed their training, Ryu competed in the first Street Fighter tournament held by renowned Muay Thai champion Sagat to test himself. In the final match, he fought a fierce battle with Sagat, but was beaten to near-death. As Sagat approached him, sure of himself that the fight was over, Ryu's desire to win awoke a dark power within him: the Satsui no Hado (lt. Surge of Killing Intent). Under its influence, Ryu unleashed a Metsu Shoryuken on Sagat, scarring him for life and critically wounding him, resulting in Ryu's victory. The awakening of this power has attracted the attention of many who would seek to study and control it, such as the leader of the criminal syndicate Shadaloo, M. Bison, who sees Ryu as both the ultimate test subject and useful for far darker, more sinister purposes. The Satsui no Hado lay dormant until Ryu's encounter with his master's nemesis and brother Akuma during the Street Fighter Alpha sub-series. Since then, Ryu has strived to rid himself of the Satsui no Hado's corruption, and through his travels and his victories, Ryu has become a Living Legend among various fighters around the world. Through Gouken's reappearance in IV, it is briefly sealed away again, and Ryu undergoes even more intense meditation and training to purge it from himself. In the events of V, he successfully manages to purge himself of the Satsui no Hado and awakens a new power: the Mu no Ken (lit. Fist of the Void, localized as "Power of Nothingness".), the very same power used by his master Gouken. With it, he joins a group of fighters led by Karin Kanzuki to stop M. Bison's grand scheme for world domination. Ryu defeats the dictator in a decisive battle, and in the process destroys the evil energy empowering him, resulting in his destruction. He continues down his endless road by the time of III and 6.

His Evil Ryu version has been present in the Alpha and EX series, and has made a reappearance in the arcade edition of Super Street Fighter IV.

As the fighting game character, Ryu is also the originator of what is now commonly known as the Shoto archetype. This eventually became integrated into his storyline. What Ryu lacks in natural talent, he makes up for in limitless potential, honing his moves to optimal efficiency. He is a simple, but very effective character with a fireball for controlling space, a rising uppercut for catching aairborne opponents, and a spinning kick which knocks the opponent down and is immune to other projectiles. Later games would expand on his fighting style while staying true to its core principles, adding various elements such as fire and lightning, corresponding to the Satsui no Hado and Mu no Ken respectively.

    open/close all folders 
  • Adaptational Badass: In Street Fighter, his Hadoken (whether regular, Shinkuu, or Metsu) is merely a ball of ki (or fireball for nicknamers). In Capcom vs., the super versions of his Hadoken are comparable to a higher-tier Kamehameha. Even the regular Hadoken itself receives a buff in size and damage.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: By the time of IV, years after his training has finished, Ryu has finally managed to master the Metsu Hadoken and Metsu Shoryuken, meaning that he can tap into minor degrees of the Satsui no Hado and focus it into a controlled attack. An incredible accomplishment...except that Akuma has been doing so before his training was even halfway finished, before he was even Akuma.
  • Anime Hair: Ryu has very spiky black hair in this case, which is strongly reminiscent to the hairstyle of Guts from Berserk.
  • Author Avatar: The programmers see themselves as Ryu. You can see where this is headed.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: The other half of his trademark Victory Pose (see Dramatic Wind).
  • Badass Back: One of his signature poses, both as himself and Evil Ryu.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: His third alternate costume in IV.
  • Berserk Button: Losing, as the only times Ryu has given in to the Satsui no Hado have been after getting beaten very badly. Although it's less of a personal Berserk Button than it is a trigger for his Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: While he isn't exactly a social person, he does have close friends and allies, who are not to be harmed in front of him. Bison was the living proof of this in Alpha 3, whereas Crimson Viper found this out the hard way in the Ties That Bind Blu-Ray OVA. By extension, it's also a very bad idea to threaten innocent people (especially children) just to get a fight out of him.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Ryu refuses Sakura's request to train her since he doesn't think he's learned everything he can. That said, he's happy to help her practice by fighting. While Sakura has a romantic crush on him, Ryu's own view of her is more this trope. Many of his win quotes in Street Fighter IV also have him give advice and encouragement to younger fighters with great potential like Makoto and Yun.
  • Big Eater:
    • Certain adaptations, such as Masaomi Kanzaki's manga and the UDON comics, give him this trait. While it helps make Ryu less of a Flat Character, it is also Truth in Television, as intense exercise routines tend to make a person's appetite greater due to the calorie burn. And given how much Ryu trains...
    • It's made the jump into game canon as of IV. Of note, he's the only character who doesn't dislike or avoid El Fuerte's cooking, and in Street Fighter x Tekken, he contemplates eating Kuma.
    (SFxT win quote vs. Marshall Law) You run a Chinese restaurant? I'll stop by next time! Hope it's all you can eat!
  • Blessed with Suck: Ryu's incredible persistence towards his goal of becoming a great martial artist is what allows him to be such a strong fighter. This same persistence also opens him up to the Satsui no Hado whenever his goal is threatened.
  • Blood Knight: Fighting is everything for Ryu but without Akuma's unbound code of combat. In other words, he's a Lighter and Softer Akuma.
    (in his rival match against Ken) "Neither of us have reached our full potential."
  • Book Ends: Ryu's SF4 arcade intro has him throw a Shinku Hadoken at a waterfall, only for it to fizzle out, and him shake his head in doubt. His Super arcade ending has him perform the same feat, although this time the Hadoken persists and flies straight through and into the sky, while Ryu reminisces about his friends and rivals.
  • Boring, but Practical: Ryu's forte is that he's a master of fundamental martial arts. In the UDON comics, the difference between himself and Ken is explained in that Ryu will practice the boring old basics day in and day out to improve them beyond their maximum, while Ken (who has extremely high natural talent) will master those basics in a day or so, throw some fire on it for instant awesome, get bored, and call it a day. As a Ryu player, you will find yourself behaving this way as well as Ryu's style is not specifically tailored to any one strength but instead spreads evenly across virtually any scenario. He can't go ham with big combos or be a rushdown monster but instead sticking to precise attacks and proper counters (he has a simple projectile, a strong anti-air option, and a good mobility move and you'll need to work out how to be effective with these basic tools without becoming predictable, which is ultimately his key weakness).
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • In the Street Fighter II V anime series.
    • Also his story arc for Alpha 2/Alpha 3.
    • This is also more or less the genesis of Evil Ryu as a player character, though he is enslaved to his own bloodlust rather than an outside will.
  • The Cameo:
  • Calling Your Attacks: "Hadoken!", "Shoryuken!" and "Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku", the latter of which is rendered unintelligible due to the speed with which his Japanese VA delivers the line.
  • Catchphrase:
    • In context of calling his attacks: "Hadoken!"
    • Outside that context: "The answer lies in the heart of battle." seems to be becoming one.
  • Casting a Shadow: In IV and its respective pseudo-sequel, Ryu gains the Metsu Hadoken and Metsu Shoryuken. The former originally appeared as a super for Evil Ryu in Capcom vs. SNK (there, it functioned akin to an evil version of the Denjin Hadoken). The latter was the very same move he used to scar Sagat.
  • Celibate Hero:
    • In an earlier story he recognizes that Gouken's daughter has feelings for him but is unable to return them.
    • Moreover, while he would like to start a family someday, he believes he's not ready to consider doing so.
    • If Sakura's thoughts on Ryu are a full-blown romantic crush, then it's likely that he views her in a similar light: he cares for her and looks forward to her development, but either he feels he can't return her feelings or is totally oblivious to them in the first place.
  • The Chosen One:
    • Chosen by Rose to take down Bison, though she feels he's not ready yet.
    • Later he's chosen by Oro to receive special training.
  • The Comically Serious: Comes across this way, particularly in supplemental media. He's not even trying to be overly-serious (he's open to trying new things as best he can), it's just who he is.
  • Continuity Nod: By 6, Ryu has learned to harness the Power of Nothingness in his base fighting style, being able to enhance his attacks with "Denjin Charge".
  • Counter-Attack: His V-Trigger II strengthens his parry attack by giving him a counter punch that puts the opponent into a crumple state, and can be followed up on with a combo.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The "Satsui no Hado" state, literally "Surge of Murderous Intent." Used by his alter-ego in the Alpha series, Evil Ryu.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Tries this on Sagat in the first game. Depending on the source, he either narrowly wins and scars Sagat with the Shoryuken or almost gets beaten to death, then scars Sagat with power of Satusi no Hado.
  • Disappointed in You: After Ryu finally suppresses the Satsui no Hadou, Akuma often repeats how disappointed he is, how he expected more, and that Ryu is now Not Worth Killing. Ryu is actually glad of that, because he actually pities what Akuma has sacrificed (something Akuma finds irritating).
  • Divergent Character Evolution: He's the lynchpin Shoto. All other shotos are HIS clones. As such, early on, his moveset was extremely basic and other characters' moves were basically his, with a twist. However, starting with SFIII, he's developed his own techniques that are uniquely his.
  • Does Not Like Shoes:
    • His constant barefootedness throughout the series is Lampshaded in Street Fighter IV:
    "Shoes? No, I can certainly afford them; I go barefoot for comfort."
    • And in an Omake where he isn't allowed in a fancy restaurant because of the "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" policy.
    • Averted in 6 where he’s seen wearing shoes in the trailer. His win quote against Guy in Street Fighter X Tekken may or may not have to do with this.
    "You've got a nice spring in your step! Maybe I should rethink my stance on shoes..."
    • Oddly enough, Ryu wore slippers in the very FIRST Street Fighter (whereas Ken was barefooted).
  • Dramatic Wind: His classic victory pose features a gentle breeze fluttering his headband and gi.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: His ability to use the Denjin Hadoken in III is finally explained in V. His special training to control the Satsui no Hado leads him to follow his master Gouken in unlocking the Power of Nothingness, which has lightning-based ki and nullifies negative energy. The Satsui no Hado has effectively been purged from his body, and the concept of Evil Ryu is no more. He then proceeds to use the Power of Nothingness to defy both Necalli's prophecy and the Illuminati's prophecy, defeating Necalli and killing Bison once and for all
  • Energy Ball: Hadoken!
  • Fireballs: His normal Hadoken is often mistakenly called a fireball, but he can turn them into the Shakunetsu Hadoken, which is imbued with thermal energy.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: His long and once bitter rivalry with Sagat hasn't exactly led to them being Heterosexual Life-Partners, but they have a deep understanding of and respect for each other, and it's clear that they're on good terms as of SFIV.
  • Friendly Rivalry: With a frankly ridiculous amount of the cast. Outside of his most famous rivals Ken and Sagat, he's been noted to enjoy sparring with Chun-Li, Cammy, Sakura, Alex, Dudley, and Makoto, plus plenty of other fighters.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: He's the Technician to Ken's Performer, being relatively Weak, but Skilled (in that he has limited talent for martial arts, yet he makes up for it with daily training). He's also more focused on a good defense and zoning game compared to the combo fiend that's Ken. It's even highlighted in their V-Skills (Ryu's is a parry, while Ken's is a dash meant to close the gap).
  • Graceful Loser: After his Character Development in the Alpha series. If Ryu is defeated, he may become hard on himself but this Spirited Competitor always gives his opponents respect and praises their efforts in battle. Warriors could take notes from a guy like Ryu.
  • Good Wears White: Ryu is the lead character of the franchise. He is a Spirited Competitor who seeks to improve himself physically and spiritually through combat. He wears a white karate gi in contrast to his (kind of) Evil Counterpart Akuma who wears a black gi.
  • Guest Fighter
    • Has appeared in Super Smash Bros. since the 3DS and Wii U titles.
    • Ryu has donned a Power Rangers outfit and appeared in Power Rangers: Legacy Wars on mobile platforms, morphing into the "Crimson Hawk Ranger". In 2021 he also gets to mix it up in a more traditional fighting game setting with the "Street Fighter Pack" DLC for Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid alongside Chun-Li (as the "Blue Phoenix Ranger").
  • Hand Blast: 6 grants him a new special move, "Hashogeki", where he unleashes a blast of ki at close range, making for a useful combo extender.
  • Handwraps of Awesome: Wears black hand wraps in his bearded alternate outfit in Street Fighter V.
  • Heroic Neutral: Ryu only wants to keep to himself. While he will fight an injustice if he happens to find it, for the most part, he remains ignorant of the events of the world around him until he's called into action.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ken. Not convinced, just look at the background of the main menu for Super Street Fighter IV. Not to mention all of their various intro poses together (usually a fist bump for good luck before a match) as well as this special win pose from Alpha 3 (see also: The Rival/Friendly Rivalry below).
  • The Hero's Idol: Ryu finds himself a fan and semi-apprentice in Sakura. Sakura's own fighting style is based on studying Ryu's, including copying many of his Signature Movesnote  while putting her own twist on othersnote . He himself is very supportive of her pursuits and will spar with her whenever they meet.
  • Home Stage: Ryu's stage has traditionally been Suzaku Castle, starting with II. It's even the franchise's Home Stage as a whole in the Super Smash Bros. series.
  • Hunk: Street Fighter just wouldn't be the same without him, especially in is "Hot Ryu" incarnation in V that soon went memetic.
  • Hurricane Kick: He and Ken's Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku is the Trope Namer.
  • Iconic Item: Ryu's red headband, given to him by Ken to help rouse Ryu in Ken's ending in Alpha 2. Before this, he wore a white headband to match his gi, apparently given to him by Gouken's daughter.
    • In the SFII movie said headband also appears; the circumstances in which he got it were different, but still heartwarming. When they were in their training, a young Ryu was injured when Ken kicked him in the forehead, knocking him down some stairs. Ken ran after him, and took the band keeping his hair braid in place to bandage Ryu's bleeding wound. Ryu kept the makeshift headband to honor Ken.
    • Assassin's Fist presents the headband in a similar vein to the movie, but different: during Ryu and Ken's final match under Gouken's tutelage, Ryu started to succumb to the Satsui no Hado, and Ken had to knock him unconscious with a Shoryuken. However, the move broke Ryu's skull, and Ken used his hairband to stop the bleeding before carrying him back to the dojo.
    • Finally, in the end of the Story Mode in V, the headband comes off once he defeats Ken in their sparring match. Seeing as how Ryu finally managed to make peace with his soul, Ken thinks of taking the headband back, but Ryu decides to hold on to it because he feels his journey is not even close to an end.
      Ryu: There is no end on the road of fighting. I know... I still need this.
  • Iconic Outfit: Of all the three characters in V that didn't have wardrobe changes (Ryu, Chun-Li, and Zangief), Ryu is the most likely candidate to have retained the same white gi and Martial Arts Headband that he's always worn (even Chun-Li got a new outfit for Alpha, as her qipao didn't really become iconic until her reappearance in 3rd Strike).
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: It takes Sagat's urging and Sakura's injuries from her fight with Bison (plus the memories of all his friends and rivals) to break Ryu out of his brainwashing in Alpha 3.

  • Jack of All Stats: He's designed to be the most balanced character in the game (though he's a bit of a Mighty Glacier/Stone Wall compared to Ken). It's been said Street Fighter V was balanced by taking Ryu as the centerpiece and making everyone else work around him.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: The most well-known user of the second co-Trope Namer. It should be noted that this only applies to the Vs. series (MvC and TvC in particular), as the Shinkuu Hadoken is an Energy Ball by default in most instances.
  • Lightning-Fire Juxtaposition: The lightning to Ken's fire.
  • Limited Wardrobe: He's only ever seen wearing a dogi and being barefoot. This is taken to the extreme in one piece of artwork where Ryu is doing his laundry in his underwear at a laundromat (presumably because Ryu's gi is the only article of clothing he travels with)...
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Especially in the Alpha series.
  • Manly Facial Hair: One of his alternate costumes in V has him grow a full beard and mustache. As of 6, a slightly trimmed version of that look becomes a part of his default appearance.
  • Martial Arts Headband: Part of his Iconic Outfit. Originally white in Street Fighter, then red later on except for the Alpha series, which explains how it became red (Ken gave it to him as a gift). By Alpha 3 it was supposed to be red but they didn't redesign his sprite to reflect this so it seemingly ignores the ending of Alpha 2.
  • Mascot: He's the face of the fighting game department of Capcom, and considered the face of the Fighting Game genre in general. He might be a co-Mascot of the entire company alongside Mega Man.
  • Meaningful Name: Ryu's name was originally spelled with the kanji for "prosperity", although it is actually a reference to the first game's co-designer Takashi Nishiyama, whose given name (Takashi) is spelled with the same kanji and had a habit of naming his protagonists "Ryu" (see also Trojan and Avenger). More obviously, Ryu's name is a homophone for "dragon" in Japanese.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: A rare case of the sclera changing color to show this trope. Instead of the sclera being white it turns pink — most likely as a result of Bison's Psycho Power which helped brainwash him.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Tall, Dark, and Handsome? Check. Heroic Build? Check. Badass on the battlefield and a Nice Guy outside of it? Check. Walks barefoot? Check. Friends of both genders that he can be ship teased with once in a while? Check...
  • Nice Guy: While somewhat of a social recluse, he is still a sensitive and kind-hearted man with plenty of good advice to share with his friends and fellow warriors. The only major downside to befriending Ryu is how much of a pain it is to contact him.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: This is Ryu's style. Despite being a Spirited Competitor that enjoys fights, Ryu's fighting style is very efficient and goes for maximum damage on every hit. It's explained that Ryu lacks the talent to do fancier moves or combos like Ken or Akuma, and he lacks the natural reach, power and stamina of Sagat. Thus, Ryu's relentless training ensures that every single hit counts. Further, in the Animated Movie, Ryu used the most efficient means of beating an opponent, such as simply headbutting a guy to break his nose, or breaking Fei Long's arm and foot to limit his ability to fight.
  • Not Himself: Sorta, in Alpha 2. He was extremely troubled over the Satsui no Hado and what it means, thus he acted quite more rash and jerk-like than usual — until Ken defeated him and then gave him the red headband as a token of remembrance.
  • No-Sell: His V-Skill in Street Fighter V is a parry called "Mind's Eye". Successfully parrying an attack will prevent any damage from connecting with Ryu, give him a massive boost of V-Gauge and, if fully parried, usually leave him at an advantage next to the recovering opponent. It's not as broken as 3rd Strike parrying in that it is a two button command so option selects are nigh impossible, has a whiff animation so a failed parry is punishable, and is not cancelable into anything other than another Mind's Eye, meaning that Ryu must fully commit to a parry and cannot interrupt a multi-hit attack after parrying only once (so none of that "Evo Moment #37" stuff here...mostly).
  • Oddly Visible Eyebrows: Ryu's eyebrows are generally layered overtop his headband.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Among Gouken's students, it is not the arrogant Ken Masters or the vengeful Dan Hibiki, but the polite and disciplined Ryu who is the most susceptible to succumbing to evil.
  • Perma-Stubble: In III.
  • Playing with Fire: Not to the extent of Ken, but he does possess the Shakunetsu Hadoken, and in Alpha and Alpha 2, the fifth and final hit of his Lv3 Shinkuu Hadoken actually sets his opponent on fire.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the Calm and hyper focused Blue Oni to Ken's passionate and energetic Red Oni.
  • Retcon: Back when Street Fighter II originally debuted, Ryu had become famous after defeating Sagat. This was changed, years later, by making Sagat the actual winner of the fight. According to the newer version, Sagat was helping Ryu off the ground, when Ryu fell under the Satsui no Hado's influence and caught Sagat off-guard with a Metsu Shoryuken. The Satsui no Hado itself is also a retcon, as it wasn't originally part of the series' backstory. It was added to introduced into the SF storyline in Alpha 2. V seems to go back to the original version of events, based on evidence in the game itself and in official Capcom posts.
  • The Rival:
    • Sagat, one of his greatest rivals. They have an extremely bitter grudge throughout the II and Alpha series, before patching things up and becoming each others' Worthy Opponent. The two have fought in at least three tournaments, and make sure that every fight counts towards their shared development.
    • Ken, his best friend and former training partner. Theirs is very much a Friendly Rivalry, as they grew up together and the majority of their battles take place while training outside of the ring as they try to keep each other on their toes.
    • Akuma, who doubles as Ryu's Arch-Enemy. Ryu thought that Akuma had killed his adoptive father Gouken for years, while Akuma wants Ryu to give into his Superpowered Evil Side and give him the best match possible after forsaking his humanity.
    • Gouken, his adoptive father, and former teacher. Now that Ryu is a grown adult, Gouken has declared that he has nothing left to teach him, and challenges him in IV to see how much Ryu has grown as a fighter.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: In the intro to Super Street Fighter II, Puzzle Fighter and Street Fighter Alpha 2. Referenced in his character trailer for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS.
  • Series Mascot: Ryu is the Street Fighter.
  • Ship Tease:
    • With Chun-Li, in non-canon material, such as the Malibu comic, various manhua, and since the release of V in various official merchandise (the Pocky snacks has to be the most blatant one). But the official word from Capcom is, they're Just Friends.
    • With Sakura too, since by the time IV hits she's pretty clearly crushing on him. While he's still a Celibate Hero, it is quite telling that she's the only one capable of bringing him back from being almost taken over by the Satsui no Hado. Plus, in V one of the most poignant moments in Sakura's Story Mode takes place as a talk between her and Ryu.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • He appears shirtless for the brick breaking bonus stages in the first game.
    • He has a battle-damaged costume in IV which gives him slightly torn pants and shredded shirts. His first premium outfit for V also has him fight shirtless with the addition of a Beard and Handwraps of Awesome.
    • In the teaser for 6, his appearance harkens to said premium outfit, while also demonstrating the contractions of his muscles as he stands idly.
  • Shock and Awe: By tapping into the Power of Nothingness, Ryu can enhance his attacks with electric properties.
    • For example, there's Denjin Hadoken. For bonus points: it's unblockable and charging it up to the maximum fully dizzies his foe.
    • This gets reworked in Street Fighter V as his V-Trigger I, the "Denjin Renki", which makes his Hadoken and Shoryuken techniques electrified for the duration. If you have a full Critical Gauge, you can cash out the entire V-Trigger meter to turn the Shinku Hadoken into the Denjin Hadoken.
    • By the time of 6, he's honed this technique enough to electrify most of his base moveset. And with Denjin Charge, he enhance his attacks even further.
  • Shoryuken: He and Ken's Shoryuken is the Trope Namer. Despite Ryu being more focused on Hadoken techniques, his various Shoryukens, most notably the Metsu Shoryuken, are important to the story; this same attack is what he used to defeat Sagat in his first tournament.
  • Shotoclone: Ryu is the original from which all Ryu/Ken-types spring, laying the groundwork for playstyle, tools and ease of play that most shotos emulate to a degree. He's also the reason why Shotos all share similar special moves, having a projectile, uppercut, and advancing attack that define his ability to adapt to most opponents.
  • Signature Move:
    • Hadoken and Shoryuken, which are also the two most famous moves in Street Fighter. The Hadoken is Ryu's specialty, while Ken specializes more in the Shoryuken than Ryu does, though Ryu's various uses of the move are pretty important to the story. You must defeat it to stand a chance after all.
    • His Denjin Hadoken and Metsu Shoryuken seem to have become this, so much so that they are shown in the first-ever footage of V.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: As he grew up in an isolated part of Japan, Ryu isn't accustomed to interacting with people who aren't Gouken or Ken. He does start meeting new people like Chun-Li and Sakura as he travels the world and that helps him be more adjusted over time, though.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • His name actually has an extended "u" vowel when written in its original form in katakana, so it's either "Ryū" or "Ryuu" in that case.
    • Likewise for all of his special moves; the Hadoken, Shoryuken and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku have extended vowels that may or may not be ignored via their romaji.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Ryu apparently has a fear of spiders, due to a prank that Ken pulled on him when the two were kids.
  • Spirited Competitor: A heroic version. If taken too far he becomes Evil Ryu, though.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: A rare case of a character who took the spotlight back, along with more of it than ever. Ryu was the main character of the original Street Fighter, but there was virtually no story to tell. In Street Fighter II, the developers considered Guile to be the main character, who inherited from Charlie in the prequel Alpha. And in Street Fighter III, the mantle was passed to Alex. Ryu's only part in each was to satisfy a few existing rivalries. That started to change in Alpha 2, where Ryu's battle against Akuma and the Satsui no Hadou took center stage. Alpha 3 Arc Welded that plot into the Shadaloo plot, where Bison sought Ryu as a replacement body, and Street Fighter IV introduced a subplot where Rose sought to protect him as The Chosen One and last hope against Bison. By Street Fighter V, Ryu is so important to the story that the other characters acknowledge that their final goal is to disrupt/weaken Shadaloo and Bison as much as possible until Ryu is ready to give the final blow, with the temporarily resurrected Nash even sacrificing his rebirth to that effect..
  • Sucking-In Lines: This is sometimes how his Metsu-Hadoken super move is stylized, with lines swirling into his palms before he fires off his shot.
  • Super Special Move: Many of Ryu's super moves are simply versions of his standard attacks that he's achieved greater mastery of.
    • Shinku Hadoken for example is an empowered version of the standard Hadoken, dealing more hits and sometimes using purple coloring to differentiate itself. There's also "Denjin Hadoken" which empowers it with lightning.
    • And then there's one of Ryu's strongest attacks, the "Shin Shoryuken" ("True Rising Dragon Fist"). He begins with a basic Shoryuken that freezes an opponent in place and then unleashes an even stronger one that sends them flying.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Despite being the main character of the series, Ryu doesn't really do that much to contribute towards the plot. His role only matters in the original and in Street Fighter Alpha. In most of the other games, he's pretty much a Living MacGuffin.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's 5'9", which is fairly tall for a Japanese man, he's chronologically had raven hair since Street Fighter IV, and is definitely a well-proportioned man to look at.
  • Tarot Motifs: Ryu represents The World in the 30th Anniversary Tarot Deck. The World represents wholeness and completion, fitting with Ryu's world-wandering journey to keep getting stronger.
  • Technician vs. Performer: The Technician to Ken's Performer, practicing the fundamentals every day and bearing a Boring, but Practical fighting style.
    • Ryu's moves tend to hit once for maximum damage, while Ken's hit multiple times for lesser damage per hit. Ryu's attack options are simple and straightforward, but also more versatile and less risky, while Ken is geared more towards close-quarters combos that open him up to counterattacks.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: When written in a certain kanji, "Ryu" can mean "Dragon." This comes in direct contrast with Sagat's tiger-y Animal Motifs. As the main page says, this refers to two spirits so wildly different and yet wildly similar at the same time, intricately linked together in destiny.: Ryu and Sagat were enemies in the past, now they are each other's Worthy Opponents.
  • To Be a Master: This is the man who travels all over the world; taking on several opponents, each of them skilled fighters in their own right, to become the greatest fighter of them all. He's a warrior, first and foremost. Having the ability to beat the tar out of any and all villains and evil men he comes across is just a kick-ass bonus for him.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Toned down these days, but in the early games he would be severely overpowered, always Dragon Punching a jumping opponent, always getting through their block, his damage being increased...
  • Theme Naming: Is the "Ryu" in Shouryuken, with his best friend being the "Ken."
  • The Stoic: He's nearly always stoic. Except in these situations:
    • He cracks a joke or two in the UDON comics.
    • Hugo's ending in 3rd Strike: Hugo recruits him (and several other street fighters) to be pro wrestlers. Ryu thinks he can learn a lot from wrestling. Ken's completely mortified that Ryu's actually enjoying this.
    • He also has one of the funniest lines in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos where he points out Mai's odd choice of a ninja outfit.
      "Ninja style? People can see you coming miles away!"
  • Walking the Earth: Is always traveling in search of new opponents and challenges, although he allegedly returns to Suzaku Castle (the burial ground of his Not Quite Dead sensei Gouken) once a year. This even extends beyond his own series. As of his appearance in the fourth Super Smash Bros., someone has tallied up his list of unique notable opponents across all of his appearances in video games. He has the distinct honor of having fought at least three-hundred unique opponents over the course of his on-screen career.
  • Warrior Therapist: Does this in Street Fighter 3 onwards. Ryu comes off as a nicer version of this, for he kindly encourages the opponent to improve themselves and overcome their weaknesses.
    (Against Cody) [Street Fighter X Tekken] "Instead of running away, face your problems head on. I'm sure you will get back on the right track."
  • World's Best Warrior: In the first two games, this is played completely straight; Ryu, after defeating Sagat, is declared the World's Greatest Street Fighter, and carries that title all the way into the second game. However, starting with the Alpha series, later games started retconning this. Slowly, Ryu is portrayed less like a seasoned Ace and more like a spirited newcomer; for instance, it was retconned that he in fact lost against Sagat, but still managed to scar him after sucker-punching him with a Metsu Shoryuken (though 5 seems to have backtracked on that). Further, Gen is later retconned as a far superior fighter and was never defeated by Ryu either, but instead had to bow out of the tournament due to his health. The introductions of Akuma, Gouken and Oro, along with Story Breaker Powers like Bison, Gill, and Seth, further pushed Ryu's ranking backward. Nowadays, Ryu's characterization is that he wants to become a great martial artist, but there are others far ahead of him. Ryu's victory over M.Bison puts him on the right path to becoming this.
  • World's Strongest Man: He is one of the few contenders for this title, having been taught by both Gouken and the aforementioned Oro, and succeeding in defeating M. Bison (three times), as well as Seth and Necalli. In the Ryu Final manga (which is a Distant Finale), Ryu manages to kill Akuma by making peace within himself. In the (non-canon) comics and other media, Ryu has also overpowered Oni (essentially Akuma's One-Winged Angel form) with his own Superpowered Evil Side and even defeated Dark Messiah Gill. In crossover titles like Marvel vs. Capcom Ryu has shown to be able to match the Hulk in strength and his ending in MVC3 has him learn the Iron Fist’s martial art and deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to Akuma. As a guest fighter in Super Smash Bros 4 Ryu in his trailer is shown to able to beat up both Mewtwo (one of the most powerful Pokémon ever) and even Ganondorf who’s an outright God of Evil at his best.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ideally, he considers everyone a Worthy Opponent as he believes he can always learn something new from every battle. However, in the strictest context, Ken and Sagat are typically mainstays. In a twisted sense, he desires to be one to Akuma but as a means to show him that even without succumbing to the Satsui no Hadou, he can still be a complete fighter. What Ryu desires is to seek his own path in life and learn his own answers, and the more people he meets with answers of their own, the better. Many of his Street Fighter IV win quotes also have him commending many of his opponents for their fighting skills and spirit.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ryu doesn't care about his opponents' gender. A martial artist is a martial artist, and in his opinion, holding back would be disrespectful.
  • Why Did It Have To be Spiders?: Ryu hates spiders, stemming from an incident in which one had crawled into his open mouth while he was sleeping. Naturally extends to his match-up against Spider-Man in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, though he does respect Spidey for being a honorable hero and worthy opponent.
  • X-Ray Sparks: His Denjin Hadoken Super Art from 3rd Strike has this effect on the opponent.
  • Years Too Early: Post-Alpha, both he and Sagat admit that Ryu was nowhere near ready to challenge him in the first World Warrior tournament.

    Evil Ryu
Embodiment of the Satsui who I am!
Origin: Japan
Fighting style: Unknown (martial arts rooted in Ansatsuken)
Voiced by: note 

When Ryu fought Sagat in the first tournament, he was beaten to the point of near-death. Sagat, already battered from the fight, approached Ryu to deliver the final blow, but at that moment, something awoke within Ryu. That "something" was the Satsui no Hadou, and it forced Ryu, against his will, to deliver a cheap-shot Metsu Shoryuken to Sagat, scarring him for life. It then lay dormant within Ryu until the appearance of Akuma. After that incident, the Satsui no Hado began to manifest within his mind as "Evil Ryu", a corrupt, warped version of himself who craves only a fight to the death and delights in others' suffering and pain. It is for this reason that many forces have targeted him, such as M. Bison and Seth, who wish to force this side of Ryu to the surface and attempt to manipulate it, turning Ryu into their own personal weapon of mass destruction.

In Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Ryu is rendered unconscious after a grueling battle with Seth. The BLECE generator resonates with his Satsui no hado, bringing Evil Ryu to the surface. After killing several remaining S.I.N. grunts, he wanders seeking worthy opponents. His path is cut short by the revived Gouken, who uses the Mu no Ken (Power of Nothingness) to seal away the Satsui no Hado again, bringing Ryu back to his senses. However, it still lingers within, waiting for the chance to finally seize control of Ryu for good.

For Kage, the physical manifestation of Evil Ryu, check Street Fighter V.

  • Adaptational Badass: In Asura's Wrath, he's presented as being Asura's equal.
  • Air-Dashing: Like Akuma, he can use "Ashura Senku" to move around in the air and approach opponents from above
  • Badass Back: Both him and "normal" Ryu.
  • Battle Aura: The version of Evil Ryu in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition sports one. Instead of Ten, it forms the kanji metsunote , meaning Destruction.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: One possible interpretation of his encounters with Ryu, as indicated by his intro pose with Ryu in Alpha 3 as well as Shin Evil Ryu's dialogue for Ryu in AE.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: In Street Fighter IV and Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, Evil Ryu is given black or dark red sclera to match his more demonic appearance.
  • Blood Knight: More so than his regular incarnation. If Ryu put emphasis on the Knight aspect, Evil Ryu definitely focuses on the blood part, being ruthless and vicious in battle.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Super Street Fighter IV version of Evil Ryu seems to have some kind of pulsating orb embedded in his chest. Ryu refers to it as a "heart" of some kind.
    • The image that normally appears on a user's gi when they execute the Shun Goku Satsu is now more or less burned onto his skin. This conforms with what happened to Rugal when he drew out Akuma's Satsui no Hadou power in Capcom vs. SNK 2, suggesting that in fact all users of this power have this happen to them and the image will brand itself to their body.
    • Watch Oni's Ultra technique Meido Gouhadou when it hits close range. Not only does it hit the opponent in the chest (where Evil Ryu's "heart" is), the second fireball Oni launches slams into them, and then explodes out of their back (just like it's been burned in Evil Ryu's back). It's been theorized that Oni killed Ryu with the Meido Gouhadou and that Ryu was subsequently revived by the Satsui no Hadou. This scenario is played out in the UDON comics. After Ryu absorbs the Satsui No Hadou from Sakura, Akuma fires a Hadoken at Ryu, leaving a scar in his chest and awakening Evil Ryu.
  • Bonus Boss: One of four in Street Fighter IV starting from the Arcade Edition, with the other three being Gouken, Akuma and Oni.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: More or less the genesis of Evil Ryu as a player character, though he is enslaved to his own bloodlust rather than an outside will.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Not as much as Ryu in IV. Even in Japanese he drops the "Tatsumaki Senpu Kyaku" and only calls "Hadoken" and "Shoryuken". He also doesn't use the names of his Ultra Combos (instead merely wishing his opponent a "pleasant" death).
  • Canon Immigrant: First appeared in Masahiko Nakahira's Street Fighter Alpha manga adaptation. Although in his case, it's more like a retcon, considering that Evil Ryu was shoehorned into Ryu's fight with Sagat from the original game.
  • Casting a Shadow: His attacks use dark ki.
  • Characterization Marches On: Originally, in the Alpha series, he was just a cockier version of Ryu, always open to state how much of a better fighter he was against his opponents, and while he had killing intent during the matches, Evil Ryu still looked very focused and calm while at it; in conclusion he still looked less evil than Akuma, who isn't exactly evil to begin with. Evil Ryu's comeback in SFIV changed his character quite a lot, though; not only did his appearance change but his mannerisms changed as well. Now, he lives up to the "Evil" in his name instead of the original and tamer Satsui no Hadou ni Mezameta Ryunote , Evil Ryu is now a bloodthirsty demon, grunts and love for violence included.
  • Charged Attack: His first Ultra Combo, the Metsu Hadoken, adds the property of being briefly chargeable before launching. If charged to the hilt and connecting right in front of Evil Ryu, it will trigger a camera shift and do more damage than at range.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The "Satsui no Hadou" state, literally "Surge of Murderous Intent"; it's what makes Ryu "Evil." Within that state, two specific moves that fit the trope are the Metsu Shoryuken and Metsu Hadouken.
  • Dark Reprise: Evil Ryu's theme in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is like a hybrid of his original theme with Akuma's set in the instruments of Akuma's theme.
  • Deconstruction: Evil Ryu examines Ryu's attraction to fighting not as a means of growth but purely to win.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: His sprites were for the most part a darker recolor of the main Ryu's. IV gives him a much more tattered outfit, a hole-shaped gash in his chest, as well as eyes and spiky hair more along the lines of Akuma, giving him a slightly more distinct look.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Like the good Ryu, he's completely barefoot.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Compared to Akuma, who has full rein of his emotions and consciousness while interacting with the Satsui no Hadou. Evil Ryu just draws on it without restraint, causing him to be less concerned with victory and more about just killing everyone in battle.
  • Enemy Within: In Street Fighter V he serves as the personification of the Satsui no Hado within Ryu.
  • Energy Ball: He can use the normal Hadoken, the Shakunetsu Hadoken, the Shinku Hadoken, the Metsu Hadoken, and the Rakuyo Hadoken.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Evil Ryu's voice is deeper and more guttural than his normal form's.
  • Fan Disservice: Many fangirls (and more than one fanboy) wanted to see the Tall, Dark, and Handsome Ryu shirtless. They got their wish with Evil Ryu... but he has a horrifying hole-shaped scar on his chest and a kanji carved on his back.
  • Fangs Are Evil: In IV, Evil Ryu was given fangs as part of his updated demonic design.
  • Fighting from the Inside: A scant amount of dialogue in both Alpha 3 and SSFIV: AE has Ryu expressing doubt and regret over what he's now become.
  • Glass Cannon: Much like Akuma, his attacks hit hard and he has a wider variety of moves compared to the standard shoto, but has below average health.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: He wears a black gi in contrast to Ryu's white gi, to emphasize The Dark Side of Ryu.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • As of Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, the much more menacing rendering of Evil Ryu has a big hole-shaped scar on his chest.
    • Remember the kanji that appears on his back when he performs the Shun Goku Satsu? It is now carved on in Arcade Edition.
  • Hades Shaded: Takes on a darker skin tone than regular Ryu, colors going from anywhere tan to reddish-purple.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A version of Ryu who seeks uncompromising victory over challenge and self-development.
  • Hurricane Kick: Unlike Ryu's, his hits multiple times and can juggle the opponent (hitting a light version can leave them in a state where you can connect with a two-hitting Shoryuken afterwards).
  • Ironic Echo: When Evil Ryu defeats Sagat in IV he throws Ryu and Sagat's personal motto in his face.
    "There is no answer in the heart of battle! Only power."
  • Martial Arts Headband: Wears the same red headband like Ryu.
  • Obviously Evil: Right there in the name.
  • Paint It Black: His dogi turns black like Akuma's in this form, although it's dark blue in NxC and a dark purple in Arcade Edition (Capcom-style artwork from CvS and CvS2 also have Evil Ryu clad in a dark blue uniform, but his in-game sprites and SNK-style artwork keep the black garb).
  • Playing with Fire: He has surpassed even Ken in his new Evil Ryu persona, as in he is now literally on fire during his matches in SSFIV: Arcade Edition.
  • Progressively Prettier: Inverted. In the Alpha series, Evil Ryu was just Ryu in a black gi and a bad attitude. In IV, he's a murderous monster with a hole in his chest, torn up clothing, an evil red glow and Black Eyes of Crazy.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Like Akuma, his irises turn glowing red when he succumbs to the Satsui no Hado.
  • Shirtless Scene: In Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, his gi is ripped off the shoulder so you get a pretty good look at his pecs (although he doesn't have a fully shirtless costume like Ryu does).
  • Shock and Awe: The Metsu Hadouken in his Capcom vs. SNK 2 incarnation.
  • Shoryuken: And quite a number of them too, ranging from your standard Shoryuken to the Metsu Shoryuken to the Messatsu Goshoryu.
  • Shotoclone: With emphasis on the clone part -he is Ryu after all. That said, he does a few moves that set him apart (most notably the Ryusokyaku/“Axe Kick” from IV).
  • Sore Loser:
    • Evil Ryu has a tendency to manifest whenever Ryu is beaten very badly, such as when Sagat almost beat him to death in the first World Warrior Tournament.
    • In the UDON series Retsu got a taste of this too when Gouken has him fight a young Ryu too hard. He takes a pretty mean punch to the chops for his trouble and Gouken is forced to restrain his pupil.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Of Ryu, of course. Ryu famously gives into the Killing Intent after losing during the finals of Street Fighter 1, scarring Sagat with a Metsu Shoryuken and gaining Akuma's attention. He went into a slight Divergent Character Evolution in SSFIV Arcade Edition; his previous incarnations were but a tanned Ryu with a black karate Gi, a few evil taunts and some moves from Akuma's list; now his skin is even more tanned, his hair has shades of red, the eyes are just like Akuma's now, has a constant burning battle aura, a huge scar on his chest to boot, and he can get even more evil during his Ultra Combos in which his whole body goes shadow dark. As of V, there's now an eviler side named Kage, who split off from Evil Ryu once he purged himself of the Killing Intent.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    • Tells this to many a friend in SSFIV: AE. Thrown on its head in Evil Ryu's sub-boss fight against Sagat in Alpha 3, where Zagat retorts to Evil Ryu's gloating that he is not the same Ryu who gave him his scar and that he'll wait until the real Ryu returns to give him the fight he has been waiting for.
    • There's a lot of irony to be found here considering that Ryu only ever gave into the Satsui no Hadou canonically during the finals of the first World Warrior tournament, upon being defeated by Sagat, and the only that the only thing that even came of it was the Metsu Shoryuken that gave Sagat his chest scar in the first place.
  • Uncertain Doom: Even after Ryu overcomes the Satsui no Hadou in the events of A Shadow Falls, the intro to Arcade Edition shows Ryu still struggling to suppress it. Then it's shown that the Satsui no Hadou has actually manifested itself as its own being called Kage. However, Kage's own story mode ends with Ryu Talking the Monster to Death, with Kage seeming to fade from existence as quickly as he appeared. This seems to put an end to him, but this isn't the first time Ryu's Satsui no Hadou issues have been dealt with, so it's unclear if he'll come back again.
  • Unstoppable Rage: This seems to be central difference of how the Satsui no Hadou affects Ryu compared to Akuma. Akuma draws on it for strength and to exceed his physical limits by forsaking his humanity for power. For Ryu the influence is more like a mind-decaying virus, causing him to throw aside his virtues and fight purely to cause misery and suffering to his opponent. A lot of his quotes do not reference strength or power but rather hatred and murderous intent, implying he is fighting purely through his rage.
  • Wild Hair: Evil Ryu's first alternate costume in IV gives him long black hair. The outfit returns as Kage's Story costume in V.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Whereas Ryu gains meaning and purpose in his life from growing as a warrior, the "Evil" side of him simply exists to be as strong as the power of the Satsui no Hadou allows him to be. There is no regard for life, mercy, or honor if he has crossed the line, only combat and bloodlust.