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When an old friend of yours dies in your arms, you know everything will go downhill.
"To make a long story short, almost everyone dies. Matic kills Kain and Hiryu's almost-girlfriend Sheena, then Hiryu kills Matic and most of the Striders following him. At the game's end, Hiryu ignores any offers to rejoin the Strider organization and just wanders off, a lonely shell of a man. And you, the player, made him that way."
Topless Robot on the NES Version of Strider Hiryu
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Iron Woobie

  • Strider Hiryu: If there were any characters who suffered from Vice-Director Matic's selfish desires, the following would be two of them:
    • The eponymous Hiryu has went through a lot as the main protagonist in the manga and NES versions of the story:
      • Manga: Strider Hiryu was an orphan who passed the Striders' dangerous training program as its youngest Super-A Rank. However he abandoned the organization after being forced to kill his crazed sister and went to Mongolia to live in peace, befriending a small girl named Rin he met at a nearby nomad settlement and lived a simple life until his former superior, Vice-Director Matic, came demanding Hiryu to take on a mission to assassinate his(Hiryu's) friend Cain/Kain after he was captured, threatening the villagers if he didn't cooperate. Hiryu traveled to Kazakh and with his friend Sheena's help, the two rescued a comatose Cain. During the whole time, Hiryu was conflicted over taking his friend's life. Once he woke up, however, Cain attacked them violently. Hiryu and Cain battled it until the former won,but Sheena was mortally wounded by the latter. Hiryu held Sheena as she died in his arms. Later interrogating the captive secret police chief, Hiryu learns about Enterprise's ZAIN Brainwashing Project, and Cain was used as a guinea pig in the experiments. Hiryu relays to an awakened Cain the events surrounding his sister's death, and how he now realized she was another guinea pig in the same brainwashing experiments. Both swear to take down the ZAIN Project and anyone involved with it. Learning that Matic is involved, making the Striders also enemies Hiryu will have to deal with eventually. After the elimination of all foes including Enterprise; the ZAIN Project; and Matic, Hiryu disappears while leaving his Cypher behind.
      • NES: The NES Version of Hiryu gets it worse than his manga counterpart. After being forced to kill his insane sister Mariya, he retired to a village in Mongolia to live in peace, until his former superior at the Striders, Vice-Director Matic, called him back into duty demanding Hiryu to take on a mission to assassinate his(Hiryu's) friend Kain/Cain after he was captured during a mission in Kazakh. However Hiryu denounces killing him right away and instead rescues and brings him back to the Blue Dragon Station. As Hiryu learns of Enterprise's/the Syndicate's ZAIN brainwashing Project from Kuramoto, the Striders' Director, he was forced to defend himself from his friend Cain, getting the latter injured in the process. Learning that his sister Mariya and his friend Cain were guinea pigs in the Project along with Matic's involvement in it, Hiryu sets out to kill everyone involved. But as he travels the world to destroy ZAIN's terminals, Cain escapes. Later, Sheena, trying to find Cain, ends up being mortally injured. Moments before she dies, she asks Hiryu to get Matic. A dying Cain would later send a last message to Hiryu on the location of Matic's station, the Red Dragon Base. After killing Matic and stopping the ZAIN Project, Hiryu rejects the Director's request to rejoin the group and leaves without his cypher.
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    • The Manga version of the aforementioned Cain/Kain is a Super A-Ranked Strider and Hiryu's best friend, both having gone through the dangerous training program. Cain is sent on a mission in Kazakh, alongside their friend Sheena, to assist the rebellion. However his superior, Matic, not only tipped off the Secret Police on the rebel meeting itself, but warned them about the Striders present, leading them to raid the place with powerful weaponry, which Cain finds strange when faced with the weaker and unprepared rebels. Cain is eventually captured by the Police after using a little girl, who was apparently caught in the crossfire, to tranquilize him. Cain is then carried out and brainwashed by the ZAIN Project. When he wakes up, he attacks Sheena and Hiryu as the result of the brainwashing. Hiryu subdues him, but not before Cain kills Sheena. When he comes back to his senses, the captive Police Chief nonchalantly claims he was responsible for Sheena's death. Guilt-ridden, Cain starts banging his head, but Hiryu calms him down with the events regarding his(Hiryu's) sister, Mariya, who was also revealed to have been brainwashed by ZAIN. Determined to avenge both Sheena and Mariya, Cain and Hiryu fight against Enterprise, intending to kill those involved.
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The Woobie

  • Strider Hiryu: Among the people who suffered from the selfish desires of Vice-Director Matic, these two young girls from the first chapter stand out.
    • The little unnamed Flower Girl makes a living by selling flowers on the streets of a bankrupt Kazakh. She's found by Strider Cain following his encounter with an armed police chopper, lying on the snow. Worrying she got hit in the crossfire, Cain approaches to check if she was alright, only for the girl to suddenly spring up and shoot him with a tranquilizer dart. As Cain loses consciousness, the girl tells him she has to do this, as her father, her only known relative, got arrested by the Secret Police. After the Commander of the Secret Police orders Cain to be transported, the girl approaches him to ask about his promise to free her father. The Commander, however, slaps her away and left. The girl is then found by Cain's friend Strider Sheena, and she learns what happened to Cain from her. One could hope that the little girl is transferred to a safe place.
    • Rin is an orphan of the Mongolian nomads camping at the base of the plateau Hiryu chose to live after retiring from the Striders. Hiryu met her there when he first arrived, and ever since then they have been living together. Rin is very cheerful in contrast to the stoic and melancholic Hiryu, looking up to him and tries her best to assist him. On the other hand, she reminds Hiryu of his late sister. The two lived peacefully together until they spot a strange airship with a Strider mark. Rin watches Hiryu sprint at a speed she has never seen him at as he kept his abilities and past as a Strider from everyone. When she catches up, Hiryu yells at her to stay back. When Hiryu refuses to follow Matic's questionable orders. Matic orders two Striders to attack the villagers. Witnessing Hiryu hack off the Striders' arms, a crying Rin runs away with the other villagers, which was part of Matic's plan to shatter Hiryu's ties with them and make him rejoin the Striders. While the elder tells Hiryu that he will be welcomed back at the village, it's unknown if he'll return, let alone rekindle his bond with Rin.
  • Strider 2: The Merrow is a mermaid-like creature with mysterious psychic powers. She was captured to become the power core of the Battleship Balrog, which uses her powers in order to fly. Encased inside the ship's reactor core against her will, she's siphoned of her energy constantly in a painful process which leaves her exhausted, as the energy obtained from her is so powerful she can't control it by herself and needs assistance from nearby Control Brains to keep it stable. Her species was hunted down specifically to power battleships of the Balrog's class. When Hiryu arrives, the Merrow, unable to endure the pain anymore, begs him to kill her. Hiryu destroys the machine, putting an end to the Merrow's suffering.
  • Strider (2014): The unnamed Prisoner was once a serious but friendly leading researcher of Grandmaster Meio and a creator of the Gravitron's technology, which was supposedly intended as a renewable energy resource. During development of the machine, however, he realized Meio's real plans for the machine were to wipe out the world's population and attempted to convince his colleagues to stop development. Unfortunately, all the other researchers ignored his warnings. Eventually Meio's Army arresting him under charges of "heresy", sent him to the Military Prison where he was tortured and lobotomized, which eventually broke his mind, leading to him not only becoming raving mad, but also suffering psychotic breakdowns where he destroys everything on his proximity, which in turn resulted in him being moved from cell to cell constantly. By the time Hiryu of the Strider organization, which was alerted by the prisoner prior to his arrest, runs into him, the prisoner has become a rambling madman that spews nonsense most of the time, although he retains portions of his old self, as he able to direct Hiryu into the Underground to seek the help of the Black Marketer, a former researcher just like him.
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