I think the origins of Ryu and Ken, and the history of their fighting style, is a much more classical story. It’s got a lot more Star Wars elements to it… —JOEY ANSAH.
When CAPCOM introduced the ideas of the Satsui No Hadou and Evil Ryu into Street Fighter game canon, people couldn’t help but see the similarities between Ryu and Luke Skywalker. Both characters have been tempted by the evil inside them and have an opponent that wishes them to turn to the dark side. Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation even went as far as to suggest Akuma was Ryu’s father.
But for all the Street Fighter story analysis and criticism we’ve read, we’ve never seen Ryu compared to another character he is very similar to.
Think about it… Both characters in their human form are respected experts in their fields, and they both wander the world in part because there is a monster inside them that could bring harm to their friends. And of course Hulk and Ryu both have enemies hunting them that, when they engage either Hulk or Ryu in battle, end up causing some major property and landscape damage.
In terms of Ryu and Chun-li stories, this Hulkishness has resulted in fanfic writers often writing Beauty and the Beast stories where Chun-li helps Ryu overcome his dark side or sometimes even vice versa!
But then along came Street fighter IV and the return of Gouken. Gouken overcame death to once again walk the earth and challenge the young fighters on it. Not only that, but he sealed away the Satsui No Hadou from Ryu, so Ryu would never have to suffer its power again!
Yep…you read right…our man is cured!!! And the complete absence of Evil Ryu and any mention of him in all the Street Fighter III games helps to confirm this fact.
So what now? Ryu’s ending in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike says he will keep on traveling and keep fighting in order to become a true warrior. That sounds like a good idea… But is it really? What is a true warrior? Well, let’s look at all the fighters considered to be better than Ryu…
First there is Akuma/Oni who lost his soul to the Satsui No Hadou
Next there is Gen who spent most of his life as an assassin with murderous intent that rivalled Akuma’s own.
Then there is Gouken who after coming back from the grave and curing Ryu has nothing better to do than exactly what Ryu has been doing. He enters tournaments and fights.
And finally there is Oro, a hermit with terrible personal hygiene who is a fighter so powerful that he is bored with his life because no opponent is strong enough to challenge him. He ties one hand behind his back when he fights, and opponents can see his junk every time he kicks. And… he stalks Ryu in order to train him so Ryu can give him a challenging fight one day.
My god, Ryu… is THIS really what you want? I don’t know what the rest of you think, but to me the path of the true warrior in the Street Fighter universe really… really…sucks!
So we call baloney on Ryu’s Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike ending. Oh it happened, but he wasn’t being honest with himself. The real reason Ryu travels and doesn’t have a lady in his life is one thing…
Fear that his enemies will kill the people he loves or kill him and hurt the people he loves with his absence.
Especially one enemy in particular.
Ryu was very much like the Hulk in that he feared his brutal Satsui No Hadou side would destroy all the people he held dear. But now that the Satsui No Hadou is gone… All Ryu has left to fear are his enemies, and that fear makes the warrior’s path an excuse to keep from living and not a way of life.
Who knows… Maybe, just maybe, Ryu will wise up, settle things with his enemies, and then, when the dust clears, look at the other great paths his friends have walked or are walking now…and walk them all.
More next time…