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As a young boy, Ryu was an orphan and had no memories of his parents. He is adopted and raised by Gouken in a secluded dojo, and is intensely trained in Gouken's style of martial arts. A few years later, Gouken started training his best friend's son, Ken Masters, at the dojo. Ryu and Ken quickly became good friends and trained together daily. Still to this day, Ryu looks to Gouken as a father, and considers Ken to be his best friend and surrogate brother. When Ryu turned 23, Gouken believes that Ryu's training is complete, and Ryu leaves the dojo. Ryu wants to test and hone his martial skills, and set out to challenge the best fighters around the world.

Ryu finds himself at the first World Warrior tournament. After defeating all opponents, Ryu earns the right to face the host of the tournament, Sagat. Sagat nearly defeats Ryu and let his guard down after he thought he had won. Ryu had an intense desire to win and allows himself to become overcome by the Satsui no Hadou, also known as the Dark Hadou.
(When Ryu loses control of his inner Dark Hadou, he transforms into Evil Ryu). Ryu then launches a perfectly timed Metsu Shoryuken which scars Sagat's chest and nearly kills him. After Sagat regains consciousness, he swears vengeance on Ryu.
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During the events of SFA2,
Ryu is told by Ken that Gouken was killed by Akuma, and he immediately sets out to the man called Akuma. He eventually encounters Akuma on a secluded island called as Gokuentou, and a battle commences. Akuma senses that Ryu had the same powers as he does, and tells Ryu about the Satsui no Hadou - a power that consumes the practitioners of their shared fighting style, driving them to win even if it means killing the opponent. Akuma then uses his fist to destroy the island, leaving Ryu stranded. After escaping the island, Ryu runs into Ken and they decide to have a fight like old times. Ryu losses the fight, and Ken realizes that Ryu was not himself. Ryu tells Ken that he is deeply troubled since his last victory over Sagat. To cheer him up, Ken gives Ryu his red headband as a reminder to stay focused, which Ryu was sincerely grateful for.

Later during SFA2, Ryu runs into a girl named Sakura, who claims to be his #1 fan. She expresses her deep desire to become his student, but Ryu tells her that he has much to learn himself, and can't train her at this time. Soon thereafter, Ryu is found by Sagat who demanded a rematch. Ryu notices that Sagat wasn't fully recovered from their last bout and protests fighting, but Sagat persists. They begin fighting but Ryu holds back, which allows Sagat to win the fight. Afterwards, Sagat realizes Ryu didn't use his full strength, and vowed to fight him again someday.

Two years later (during SFA3), Ryu continues to be troubled by what Akuma had told him. He meets a woman named Rose, who tells him that he cannot defeat M. Bison unless he fights him at the cost of his soul. When Ryu confronts Bison, he is defeated despite putting up a valiant fight. Bison takes the semi-conscious Ryu and begins brainwashing him. Bison attempts to use Ryu's Satsui no Hadou to strengthen his own Psycho Power, but is eventually interrupted by Ken, Sakura, and Sagat, each of them having followed Ryu for their own reasons. While Ken and Sakura distract Bison, Sagat challenges the brainwashed Ryu and quickly notices that Ryu isn't himself at all. Sagat urges Ryu to come to his senses to confront Bison. Somehow, Ryu is able to overcome Bison's brainwashing, and destroys Bison temporarily.

Sometime after the second World Warrior tournament, Ryu enters the Street Fighter 4 tournament to further hone his skills and reunite with Ken for another rematch. During his journey, he runs into Sakura and encourages her to train harder. He also encounters Sagat and the two finally have their promised rematch (the outcome of this battle is unknown). In the finals, Ryu battles Seth and defeats him inside the S.I.N. headquarters. During and after their battle, the building is falling around them. Ryu unleashes the Satsui no Hadou on the BLECE machine, a weapon of mass destruction developed by S.I.N. that harnessed the energy in the human body. During this time, Sakura was searching for Ryu and finds him attacking the machine. Just then, a pulse of energy from the BLECE machine knocks her into a wall. Ryu defends Sakura and unleashes a Shoryuken on the machine, destroying it. Afterwards, the two leave the S.I.N. headquarters together. 
Later, Ryu encounters Gouken and learns that Gouken survived the battle with Akuma. Gouken uses the "Power of Nothingness" to seal Ryu's Satsui no Hadou, which knocks him unconscious. Akuma shows up shortly after and challenges his brother to a duel, the winner of which will claim Ryu (the outcome of this battle is unknown).

Many years later, Ryu enters the third World Warrior tournament. His most notable fight during the tournament is against Hugo, who is able to withstand his Shin Shoryuken and continue fighting. After the battle, he serves as Hugo's pro-wrestling tag-team partner for a brief period of time before moving on. Ryu also encounters Alex, and defeats him swiftly. Ryu encourages the young wrestler to continue honing his abilities against strong opponents. Alex is fascinated by Ryu's skill and became determined to become stronger. Ryu continues his travels and eventually meets the hermit, Oro. After a battle between the two, Oro aids Ryu in his training, though Ryu is never truly aware of the hermit's presence. Kage is another "evil" version of Ryu introduced in SFV: Arcade Edition.
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Street Fighter

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Page Updated:  June 20th, 2024

Ryu has been Capcom's poster boy for Street Fighter since the beginning. When we look at his design now, we can arguably find so many that exceed him in terms of originality and intricacy, but don't forget, he was the original karate guy of video games (besides those boring karate champ guys, of course). Let me rephrase that... "The original fighting game karate guy, who could throw fireballs." Of course, Ryu can do a lot more than fireballs, as his moveset has nicely evolved over the years. However, the base of his design has never changed... yet another respectable quality about Ryu and his style.

Sporting his iconic headband, gloves, and traditional martial arts attire, Ryu is the first real "hero" of fighting games. He is the most serious and focused fighter of all. The fact the his design is practically unchanged in today's fighting games goes to show that good things don't need to change. In addition, there's actually a deeper meaning behind Ryu and his story, and something us real life martial artists can immediately admire. Anyway, don't mess with Ryu... and don't you dare call him boring.

Fighting  Style  /  Moveset
Personality  /  Charisma
Outfit(s)  /  Appearance
Effectiveness  in  series
Overall Score



  Click here for more Ryu artwork!