Akuma (Street Fighter)

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Akuma
Street Fighter character
Akuma (Street Fighter).png
First game Super Street Fighter II Turbo (1994)
Created by Noritaka Funamizu
Designed by Bengus
Voiced by (English) Dale Wilson (TV series)
Keith Burgess (SF Alpha: The Movie, SF Alpha: Generations)
Dave Mallow (SFIV series, SFIV animation, MvC3, UMvC3, SFXT)
Richard Epcar (SFV)
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)
Yasushi Ikeda (Real Battle on Film)
Taketora (SFIV series, SFIV animation, MvC3, UMvC3, SFXT, Asura's Wrath, T7:FR, SFV )
Portrayed by Ernie Reyes, Sr. (arcade game)
Joey Ansah (Legacy and Assassin's Fist)
Gaku Space (Assassin's Fist as Young Akuma)
Fictional profile
Birthplace Japan
Fighting style Ansatsuken, rooted in the indigenous arts of Karate and Shorinji Kempo[1]

Akuma (Japanese for "Devil" or "Demon"), known in Japan as Gouki (豪鬼 Gōki?, lit. "Great Demon" or "Great Ogre"), is a fictional character from the Street Fighter series of fighting games by Capcom. 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's and Ken's master. In some games he also has an enhanced version named Shin Akuma, or Shin Gouki (真・豪鬼 Shin Gōki?, the "true Great Demon") in Japanese. Since his debut, Akuma has appeared in several subsequent titles and has been well received by both fans and critics.

Appearances[edit]

Street Fighter series[edit]

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 and unnamed 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, where he was given his name, 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 are 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 also appears in the arcade and home video game console adaption of Street Fighter: The Movie despite not appearing in the movie.

Akuma is 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.[2] Unlike Shin Akuma, Oni is the being that would consume Akuma after mastering the Satsui no Hadou.[citation needed] Akuma returns in Street Fighter V as a downloadable character.[citation needed]

Oni[edit]

Oni ( Oni?, "Demon"), also known as Kuruoshiki Oni (狂オシキ鬼 Kuruoshiki Oni?, "Mad Demon") is a character who makes his debut in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition as a secret boss and a playable character. Oni is in fact Akuma, who has become one with the Satsui no Hado entirely.[citation needed] Oni appears as a far more muscular and noticeably larger version of Akuma. He has dark blue skin, glowing yellow-red eyes and glowing, spiky shoulder-length hair, akin to the Super Saiyan of the Dragon Ball series. He also gains fangs and short protrusions on his forehead, resembling growing horns. The top half of his gi has been blown off by the amount of dark ki he emanates, showing off his musculature; the prayer beads that were once around his neck now float about disconnected around his body. He also has claws on his fingers and toes, and no longer wears sandals; his voice also sounds much more demonic. When using fierce attacks or powerful physical attacks of any kind, his arms and legs glow a superheated color. While it is difficult to spot, the kanji of "heaven" (天 ten) also appears on his back during the same animations, seemingly having branded itself on his back. Oni's moveset is similar to Akuma's but with additional moves and modifications. Oni can perform a fireball that disappears unless charged. To replace the Shankunetsu Hadouken, Oni has an electrical variant. His standing fierce punch cancels out fireballs. Added to Oni is a dashing spinning punch which can vary depending on what kick button is pressed. While jumping, Oni can do an evasive dash backward or forward or even perform a downward attack. He also uses an overhead smash attack. Oni's gameplay consists of high-damage combos and reversal potential, combined with his above-average walk speed, that allows players to create massive-pressure situations while remaining mobile and flexible via buffering moves into other attacks, although he has below-average stamina, stun and short-range Focus Attack. Oni appears in the second half of the second DLC Lost Episode The Strongest vs. The Angriest of the video game Asura's Wrath, given the epithet of "Destroyer of Heaven". A Pandora version of Oni appears in Akuma's ending in Street Fighter X Tekken. He also appears as a playable character in strategic RPG Blood Brothers 2.

Character design and gameplay[edit]

Akuma has dark red hair, dark skin tone, glowing red eyes with black sclera, wears prayer beads around his neck, a dark gray karate gi and a piece of twine around his waist in lieu of an obi. The kanji "ten" () — meaning "Heaven" — 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 dark gray 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.[3] When asked 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 said, "Akuma is a character that can fit in any game design nicely".[4] Matt Edwards of Capcom Europe considered Akuma the most powerful Street Fighter character.[5]

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.[citation needed] Rich Knight of Complex described Akuma as "a character who must constantly be on the offense, because he takes a shit ton of damage when he's not."[6]

Other video games[edit]

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 nameless 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 X-Men vs. Street Fighter, 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".

Akuma also appears in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo As the final boss, Pocket Fighter, and in the Japanese console version of Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness as a mecha named "Zero Gouki." Also, various version of Akuma have appeared in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash series. He is featured in a DLC episode of the action video game Asura's Wrath, alongside Ryu as an opponent.[7]

Akuma will appear as a special guest character in Tekken 7: Fated Retribution. In the game's story, he seeks to repay a debt to Kazumi Mishima, who asks him to kill her husband Heihachi and son Kazuya for her if she dies.[8] In arcade mode, Akuma can be fought in Final Stage, replacing Kazumi by performing Rage moves (either Rage Art or Rage Drive (Super Combo for Akuma)) in all stage's last round without losing any rounds.

In other media[edit]

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 also appear in Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist, an online series by Capcom and the creators of Street Fighter: Legacy with Ansah reprised his role from Legacy and Gaku Space as Young Gouki. In Assassin's Fist, both of Akuma's names are used; Akuma being the moniker Gouki had assumed after the Satsui no Hado took him over completely. Both Ansah and Space will return for the second season titled Street Fighter: World Warrior.[9][10]

Akuma's first speaking appearance in animation was in an episode of the American Street Fighter animated series titled "Strange Bedfellows". 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.[citation needed]

Akuma also figures 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.[citation needed]

Akuma appears in the beginning of the movie Street Fighter 4: The Ties That Bind, where he enters Ryu's mind and torments him.[citation needed]

In July 2012, the band MegaDriver released a song about Akuma's character, called "Wrath Of The Raging Demon".[11] In 2014, band Skelator released a song about Akuma, called "Raging Demon".[12] In 2015, rapper Tauz released a tribute song to Akuma, called "Rap do Akuma".[13] Akuma appears as a combatant in a popular web series Death Battle where he fights against Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat in a battle to the death and wins. He also appears in Death Battle spin-off series One Minute Melee where he fights against Kenpachi Zaraki from Bleach three times and wins all three rounds. He was also shown in the opening intro for Season 3 and Season 4, along with several other characters.[14][15][16][17]

UDON Entertainment's line of Street Fighter comics sets Akuma in his origin story on how he became a demon and murdering Goutetsu with the power of the Dark Hadou; he fights against Gouken ten years later, as they fight, Gouken eventually wins against Akuma as he falls off a cliff; Gouken tries to save him, but Akuma willingly drops himself into a river, only for him to survive the drop.

Reception[edit]

Akuma is the boogeyman of the martial arts world. A twisted monster who murdered (sort of) his own brother to prove a point. He wants to drive Ryu to darkness for the sake of competition. He literally tears people’s souls apart with his bare hands in a move so out of control that we aren’t allowed to even see it happen. Yet at the end of the day, it’s hard to even label him as simply “evil.” He’s beyond the duality. He foregoes the ideas of being merciless for the sake of being merciless. He’s strangely respectful to children and doesn’t kill unless he has reason—either because someone has agreed to a fight to the death or because someone outright tries to go after him.

—Gavin Jasper, Den of Geek, 2016[18]

Akuma has received much critical acclaim from various gaming media outlets. Japanese magazine Gamest named him one of their "Top 50 Characters of 1996", in a three-way tie for 37th.[19] He placed first in Game Informer's 2009 list of their "Top Ten Best Fighting Game Characters".[20] Ryan Clements of IGN said in 2009: "Although M. Bison might be thought of as a notorious Street Fighter villain, Akuma is clearly the fan-favorite 'bad guy'".[21] Elton Jones of Complex deemed Akuma the "most dominant fighting game character" in 2012: "Anybody that can lay out M. Bison with ease gets the number-one spot in everything."[22] GamesRadar said of the character in 2013: "He differs from other villains in that his motives aren't inherently evil—but ... he has no qualms with killing his teacher or his own brother in combat."[23] Alex Eckman-Lawn of Topless Robot deemed him the "most diabolical" fighting-game boss: "Few experiences from the pre-Internet video-game era made as striking an impression as the time Akuma literally just glided in, murdered M. Bison in a blink, and challenged you, the player, to a real fight."[24] Bryan Dawson of Prima Games commented, "It's hard to imagine any new Street Fighter game without this man, as he adds a sense of evil that even M. Bison can't replicate."[25] Dan Paradis of WatchMojo named Akuma "The Best Secret Boss In Video Games" in 2016: "Since his initial appearance, Akuma has gone from secret to icon of the Street Fighter franchise."[26]

Robert Workman of GameDaily rated Akuma eleventh in his 2008 selection of the "Top 25 Capcom Characters of All Time", as he "summons some of the sickest attacks ever seen in a fighting game."[27] GameSpot readers chose Akuma for the ninth spot in their 2008 selection of the ten best video game villains,[28] and the site itself deemed Akuma "the toughest fighter" in the Street Fighter series.[29] Rich Knight of Complex, in 2012, placed Akuma's SSFII Turbo appearance runner-up to Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat II as the "coolest boss battle ever": "Akuma rushed into our lives and onto the screen ... and then demolish[ed] you in seconds."[30] Akuma placed 43rd in IGN's selection of the top 100 video game villains, for his "always intimidating" appearance.[31] Tom Butler of WhatCulture named Akuma the top "greatest unlockable gaming character" in 2014, opining that fighting him "can be an extremely challenging (and frustrating) exercise, and simply having the character unlocked was often an indicator of skill."[32] WatchMojo named Akuma the seventh-best Capcom villain in 2015: "When your name translates to 'devil' in Japanese, you’re probably not going to be the nicest guy in the world."[33] Ben Lee of Digital Spy named him the sixth-best series character on the grounds that he was "truly exciting to fight against" in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, "and his cold, emotionless personality was utterly terrifying."[34] Paste rated Akuma 23rd in their 2016 ranking of Street Fighter's 97 total playable characters, describing him as "a great anti-hero to offset Ryu and Ken."[35]

Chad Hunter of Complex ranked Akuma's "Raging Demon" among the "25 Most Revolutionary Kill Moves in Video Games" at third: "Akuma radiates flames, grabs his opponent and the screen goes black and all you [hear] is a flurry of hits."[36] Prima Games named it the seventh-"greatest fighting move in video game history" out of fifty in 2014,[37] and Arcade Sushi's Angelo Dargenio considered it "one of the most well-known super moves in videogame history, spawning several parody moves in multiple fighting games over the years."[38] Gavin Jasper of Den of Geek, in 2016, named Akuma in X-Men: Children of the Atom as the top fighting-game guest character,[39] and while Jason Fanelli of Arcade Sushi considered it "the best guest turn he's ever done," he simultaneously criticized his cameo in Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness: "Akuma doesn't need to be a giant mech for extra exposure."[40] Chris Hoadley of VentureBeat labeled Akuma one of the "best fighting game clones" in 2014: "Capcom is no stranger to reusing [character] models. Ryu has had Ken as a rival since the first Street Fighter, and over time he would meet more 'shotos'[note 1] who had an affinity for karate gis, fireballs, and uppercuts."[41] GamesRadar's David Houghton rated Akuma's Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike stage among the "27 most amazing fighting game backgrounds": "Gloomily ethereal, black-skied woodland setting with subliminally oppressive fisheye-lens effect? You are definitely going to die."[42]

However, Akuma has often been criticized for his perceived status as an excessively powerful character in the Street Fighter series. Scott Baird of Screen Rant named him the second-"most unfairly overpowered fighting game character" behind Meta Knight of Super Smash Bros. in 2016, for the potency of his offensive attacks that resulted in Akuma being banned from SSFII Turbo tournaments.[43][44] GamePro considered Akuma one of the "Most Broken Characters in Videogame History", for his "ridiculously powerful" moves that were "the bane of newbies and veterans alike,"[44] a sentiment that was echoed by Christopher Hooton of Metro in 2013.[45] In 2013, Stephen Nadee of WhatCulture ranked Akuma as the second-worst boss in "great" fighting games: "For balancing issues Akuma is usually given a paper thin defense since his introduction ... [but] give him to the AI and you’d have quite a fight on your hands."[46] In 2014, Lucas Sullivan of GamesRadar ranked Akuma eleventh in his list of "12 unfair fighting game bosses that (almost) made us rage quit" in 2014. "Even if you ever do manage to finally defeat Akuma, it somehow doesn't feel earned. It's more like the computer felt sorry for you."[47]

Akuma's Oni incarnation has received a mixed reception. Joe Pring of WhatCulture observed in 2015: "Oni couldn't be more of a Marmite character, really. For every fan of Akuma's ascended form, there exists another that despises his very existence."[48] WatchMojo ranked him as the ninth-"Most Powerful Video Game Character" in 2016: "Possessing the stronger versions of all of Akuma's techniques, as well as even less humanity if that's possible, this is the closest a Street Fighter character actually gets to achieving godhood."[49] Both characters shared the top spot in Screen Rant's rating of the "12 Most Powerful Street Fighter Characters" the same year. "Akuma alone has destroyed an entire island, so whoever has to stand against the unbridled destructive force of Oni, all we can say is God help them."[50] However, Imran Khan of Paste rated Oni as one of the "all-time worst" series characters: "Oni strips away the few bits of Akuma that are actually interesting as a character and turns him into a castaway from a Dragon Ball Z movie in design and development."[51] Randolph Ramsay of GameSpot considered Oni "one of the least interesting additions" to Super Street Fighter IV, as he utilized moves similar to those of other characters.[52]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A slang term for fighting game characters who utilize the same offensive attacks as Street Fighter characters Ryu and Ken.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Street Fighter IV Master Guide, p. 23.
  2. ^ Shoryuken: Clear Video and Ultras of Oni and Evil Ryu in Super Street Fighter 4
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  7. ^ Krupa, Daniel (March 28, 2012). "Asura's Wrath DLC Details". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
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External links[edit]