Akuma (Street Fighter)
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|Street Fighter character|
Akuma in Super Street Fighter II Turbo
|First game||Super Street Fighter II Turbo (1994)|
|Created by||Noritaka Funamizu|
|Voiced by (English)||David Kaye (TV series)
Keith Burgess (SF Alpha: The Movie, SF Alpha: Generations)
Dave Mallow (SFIV series, SFIV animation, MvC3, UMvC3, SFXT)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Tomomichi Nishimura (SF Alpha series, SF III series, SF EX series, Marvel vs. Capcom series, SNK vs. Capcom series, CFE, Namco × Capcom, SF Alpha: The Animation)
Daisuke Gōri (SF Alpha: Generations)
Taketora (SFIV series, SFIV animation, MvC3, UMvC3, SFXT, Asura's Wrath)
|Portrayed by||Ernie Reyes, Sr. (arcade game)
Joey Ansah (Legacy and Assassin's Fist)
Gaku Space (Assassin's Fist as Young Akuma)
|Fighting style||Ansatsuken rooted in the indigenous art of Karate and Kempo|
Akuma (in Japanese, "Devil" or "Demon") known in Japan as Gouki (豪鬼 Gōki?, lit. "Great Demon"), is a video game character from the Street Fighter series of fighting games. Akuma made his debut in Super Street Fighter II Turbo as a secret character and hidden boss. In the storyline of the Street Fighter video games, he is the younger brother of Gouken, Ryu and Ken's master. In some games he also has an enhanced version named Shin Akuma, or Shin Gouki (真・豪鬼?, the "true Great Demon") in Japanese. Akuma has achieved significant success, popularity, positive critical reaction, and has been mostly well received by both fans and critics.
Akuma has dark red hair, dark skin tone, glowing red eyes with black sclera, wears prayer beads around his neck, a black karate gi and a piece of twine around his waist in lieu of an obi. The kanji 'ten' (天) - meaning "Immortal" - can be seen on his back when it appears during certain win animations. Shin Akuma's appearance is very similar to Akuma's; for example, in the Street Fighter Alpha series, Shin Akuma had a purple karate gi instead of a black one and marginally darker skin tone. Akuma's introduction in Super Street Fighter II Turbo stemmed from the development team's desire to introduce a "mysterious and really powerful" character, with his status as a hidden character within the game resulting from later discussions. When asked by Game Informer regarding the presence of Akuma as a secret character in several of Capcom's fighting games, Capcom's Noritaka Funamizu stated that while he did not personally support the concept, he supposed that "Akuma is a character that can fit in any game design nicely".
Akuma's play style incorporates the trademark techniques of Ryu and Ken, the series' protagonists, only noticeably stronger in comparison along with additional techniques. Akuma has also been one of the characters with the lowest health and stun meter in most of the games he has appeared in. As the franchise expanded, the three characters have been differentiated somewhat while still retaining their common techniques (e.g. different regular attacks, throws, Super moves). In games where Akuma has appeared as a boss, he has had many upgrades, from extra meter to being able to use EX moves without meter at all.
Video games appearances
Street Fighter series
Akuma made his debut in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, the fifth arcade iteration of the Street Fighter II games, where he appears as a hidden character. After meeting certain requirements, Akuma appears prior to the player's final match with M. Bison and obliterates M. Bison before challenging the player. In the Japanese arcade version of the game, Akuma would introduce himself to the player before the match, proclaiming himself to be the "Master of the Fist" (拳を極めし者 Ken o Kiwameshi Mono?). He also has two endings in the game as well: one for defeating M. Bison, and another against himself. While these endings were omitted from the international releases of the arcade game, they were edited into one ending and included in the English localization of Super Turbo Revival for the Game Boy Advance. Shin Akuma is, however, an unlockable playable character in the Game Boy Advance version of the game, Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival, as well as the Japan-only Dreamcast version of the game, Super Street Fighter II X for Matchmaking Service. In the latter version, another version of Akuma referred to as Tien Gouki can also be selected.
Akuma appears in Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams once again as a hidden opponent and unlockable character. His backstory remains the same as in Super Turbo. Akuma was added to the immediate roster in Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Street Fighter Alpha 3, with a powered-up version of the character named "Shin Akuma" appearing as a hidden opponent. The character's relation with other Street Fighter characters begins to be fleshed out, establishing rivalries with Guy, Adon, Gen, and Ryu. Shin Akuma, rather than "Final Bison", is Evil Ryu's final boss in the console versions of Street Fighter Alpha 3.
Akuma and Shin Akuma were featured in Street Fighter EX as hidden boss characters, where he is one of the few characters able to move out of the 2D playing field, during his teleport.
Akuma was featured in the Street Fighter III sub-series beginning with Street Fighter III 2nd Impact: Giant Attack. Like in his debut in Super Turbo, Akuma is both a secret opponent who serves as an alternate final boss and unlockable character, with the CPU-controlled version being the "Shin Akuma" incarnation introduced in Alpha 2. He is a regular character in Street Fighter III 3rd Strike: Fight for the Future. Akuma reappears in Street Fighter IV, once again as a hidden boss in the Single Player Mode as well as an unlockable secret character in both the arcade and home console versions. Shin Akuma also returns as a hidden boss in Super Street Fighter IV.
Both secret boss and playable versions of a new form of Akuma, known as Oni (狂オシキ鬼 Kuruoshiki Oni, lit. The Mad Demon?), were confirmed in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition by leaked videos. Unlike Shin Akuma, Oni is the being that would consume Akuma after mastering the Satsui no Hadou.
Akuma appears in the arcade and home video game console adaption of Street Fighter: The Movie.
Akuma has appeared in some form or another through many Capcom games outside the Street Fighter franchise. The first of these appearances was in the fighting game X-Men: Children of the Atom, where Akuma (in his Super Turbo incarnation) appears as a hidden character. He also appears in Marvel Super Heroes as part of one of Anita's special moves, in which his sprite from X-Men: Children of the Atom briefly appears. He would appear in the later Marvel-licensed fighting games (see Marvel vs. Capcom series), including in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, where he also appears in mechanized form as "Cyber Akuma" (Mech Gouki (メカ豪鬼 Meka Gouki?) in Japanese), a version of Akuma enhanced by Apocalypse acting as the horseman of Death and the final boss. In Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, he appears as an alternate fighting style of Ryu; Akuma himself would later appear as a playable character in its sequels: Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. He is also an unlockable character in Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix. He also appears in Namco x Capcom. He appears as both a playable character and one of the final boss characters in the crossover fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken. Akuma also appears in the fighting video game Street Fighter X Mega Man, as a hidden boss.
In the SNK vs. Capcom series, Akuma appears in Capcom vs. SNK and SVC Chaos as both regular Akuma and as a version of "Shin Akuma". In Capcom vs. SNK 2, a different form of Shin Akuma appears. This form of Akuma achieves a new level of power when a dying Rugal Bernstein pours his Orochi power into him. His name is spelled in Japanese as 神・豪鬼, with the "Shin" character meaning "God" instead of the usual "True." He also appears in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Pocket Fighter, and in the Japanese console version of Cyberbots as a mecha named "Zero Gouki." Also, various version of Akuma have appeared in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash series.
In other media
Akuma made cameo appearances in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie and in the Japanese TV series Street Fighter II V. Actor and martial artist Joey Ansah played Akuma in the short film Street Fighter: Legacy. Akuma will also appear in Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist, an upcoming online series by Capcom and the creators of Street Fighter: Legacy with Ansah reprising his role from Legacy and Gaku Space as Young Gouki.
Akuma's first speaking appearance in animation was in an episode of the American Street Fighter animated series titled "Strange Bedfellows", in which Akuma traps Guile and M. Bison on his island, forcing the two sworn enemies to team up. He reappears in another episode, "The World's Greatest Warrior", in which he defeats Ryu and Ken's master Gouken, and challenges Gouken's two students to a duel.
Akuma also figures prominently in the Japanese OVA Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation, where Ryu's encounters with Akuma triggers the "Dark Hadou" in Ryu. Akuma is also the central focus in the OVA Street Fighter Alpha: Generations, which explores his past and ties the character's past with Ryu's. In the English dub, the character is addressed by his Japanese name Gouki.
UDON Entertainment's line of Street Fighter comics sets Akuma into a role similar to the one he filled in Street Fighter Alpha 2, acting as an antagonist for Ryu's dark desires. Akuma begins the series by killing his brother and Ryu and Ken's master Gouken in battle, prompting Ryu to seek vengeance on him. Akuma emerges at the end of the first arc (in issue #6) and engages Ryu and Ken, which he easily dominates. Rather than kill him, he tells Ryu to seek him out at the next Street Fighter tournament. During the final series of comics, Street Fighter II Turbo, Akuma makes his final appearance at the grand finals of the Street Fighter tournament, stepping between Ryu and M. Bison. Intrigued, Bison fights Akuma, which ends fatally for Bison. Akuma is then free to fight Ryu, which he does as the island begins to sink beneath the sea. The battle favors Akuma but as he is about to defeat Ryu, Gouken's spirit is returned to the living world and he intervenes to finish the fight. The end of this battle is not seen as Shadaloo island is consumed by the ocean and Ryu is transported from the island by Dhalsim.
Akuma has received near-universal acclaim. In the January 30, 1997 issue of Gamest magazine in Japan, Akuma appeared in its "Top 50 Characters of 1996" list, sharing the 37th spot with two other characters. In Game Informer's list of "Top Ten Best Fighting Game Characters", Akuma placed first. He was 11th in GameDaily's list of "Top 25 Capcom Characters of All Time", with editor Robert Workman praising his design and special abilities. He also ranked 9th in the site's list of the "Top 20 Street Fighter Characters of All Time", with Workman again complimenting Akuma's "supernatural powers." IGN ranked Akuma at number five in their "Top 25 Street Fighter Characters" article, noting his role as a recognizable "bad guy" in the series. In another article for IGN leading up to the release of Street Fighter IV, Ryan Clements called Akuma the clear "fan-favorite 'bad guy' of the Street Fighter universe" and praised his "stylish" special moves.
GameSpot, in a series of articles on the history of the Street Fighter series, called Akuma "the toughest fighter to have been actually introduced in the Street Fighter legend" and noting his "Shin Akuma" form to be "a truly unstoppable force." The site also featured Akuma in a "Reader's Choice" edition of their "Top Ten Video Game Villains" article, where he placed 9th on the list. In a review for Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, Jeff Keely from Gaming Age said Akuma's introduction, along with Hugo's, added to the game's appeal, noting him as "everybody's favorite bad boy". UGO Networks included Akuma in their list of the "Top 50 Street Fighter Characters" while GameSpy named Akuma as one of the "25 Extremely Rough Brawlers" in video gaming, praising the brutality of his fighting style. GamesRadar, in their article on the characters of Marvel vs. Capcom 2, described him as "[o]ne of the top bad guys in the SF universe, and ... big in the Alpha sub-series." In 2013, GamesRadar also ranked Akuma as the 51st best video game villain, commenting "Everything about Akuma ... suits his name, which translates to Devil or Great Demon." IGN ranked Akuma as the "Top 43rd Videogame Villain", commenting "While he's no longer much of a mystery when he shows up, his powerful move set ensure he'll always be a formidable foe". In 2011, UGO.com listed Akuma's Raging Demon as the 28th most gruesome finishing move, stating "it mimics the form of a traditional fatality - the opponent can do nothing as their life ebbs away." Complex ranked Akuma as first in their list of "The 50 Most Dominant Fighting Game Characters", commenting "Anybody that can lay out M. Bison with ease gets the number one spot in everything". Complex also named the fight with Akuma in Super Street Fighter II Turbo as second in their list of "Coolest Boss Battles Ever" and his "Raging Demon" special move as fifth in their list of "Coolest Fighting Game Super Combos". In 2013, Complex ranked Akuma as the 7th best Street Fighter character, with comments focused on his special moves. Complex also ranked Akuma's Wrath of the Raging Demon ultra as the 44th craziest fatality in video games, commenting "Skate on one foot, smile for the camera, then commit unspeakable horrors in the darkness of hell"and Oni's Messatsu-Gotenha ultra at 42nd place, commenting "Bust out this move and let your insignia emblazon the back of your dead foe". In 2014, regarding the character's 20th anniversary, Alexander Carpenter from Complex stated "Part of why Akuma became such a popular character for Capcom is the way in which he was introduced to fighting game fans" and the other part was "the bizarre series of events that led to his creation". He concluded "There is no great backstory, his evil is almost monolithic, his badassery legendary".
In contrast, Akuma was listed by GamePro as one of "Six of the Most Broken Characters in Videogame History", in which he was called "the bane of newbies and veterans alike" and compared with Street Fighter III's Gill. In 2013, WhatCulture ranked Akuma as the second worst boss in fighting games, commenting "Give him to the AI and you’d have quite a fight on your hands."
Akuma's Oni incarnation has been commented for its appealing design resembling Gouken's and his powerful movesets. Deemed as one of Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition' strongest fighters, Oni was referred by IGN as an immediate favorite character. However, GameSpot stated that since he uses modified versions from known techniques, he was one of the least interesting additions to the game.
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