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)
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 )
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.

Character design[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.[2] 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 supposed that "Akuma is a character that can fit in any game design nicely".[3]

Gameplay[edit]

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[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 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 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.[4] Unlike Shin Akuma, Oni is the being that would consume Akuma after mastering the Satsui no Hadou.[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. 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.

Other 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 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.[5]

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.[6] 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. Both Ansah and Space will return for the second season titled Street Fighter: World Warrior.[7][8][9]

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]

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.

In July 2012, the band MegaDriver released a song about Akuma's character, called "Wrath Of The Raging Demon".[10] In 2014, band Skelator released a song about Akuma, called "Raging Demon".[11] In 2015, rapper Tauz released a tribute song to Akuma, called "Rap do Akuma".[12] Akuma was featured in ScrewAttack web series Death Battle where he fought against Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat. They fought a hypothetical battle, and Akuma defeated Shang Tsung with the Raging Demon. He was also featured in Death Battle spin-off series One Minute Melee where fought against Kenpachi Zaraki from Bleach in Season 1. He ended up winning when he sent Kenpachi flying with Demon Armageddon. They fought in a rematch in Season 2, and Akuma won again when he transformed into Oni and knocked Kenpachi out with Misogi. They fought in another and final rematch in Season 4, and Akuma was again victorious, when he, in Oni form, killed Kenpachi with the Raging Demon. He was also shown in the opening intro for Season 3 and Season 4, along with several other characters.[13][14][15][16]

Reception[edit]

Akuma has received near-universal acclaim. In the 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.[17] In Game Informer's list of "Top Ten Best Fighting Game Characters", Akuma placed first.[18] In "The Evolution Of Street Fighter" list, Empire added "Awesome and evil, Akuma is a bad, bad man."[19] In Shinkan Crossing's "Top 8 Most Badass Video Game Characters of All Time" list, Akuma placed 5th for his design and fighting style.[20] Akuma was named by Den of Geek as one of the "ten video game characters you wouldn't want to meet down a dark alley", as the "Best Fighting Game Guest Character", and as the "3rd Best Street Fighter character", calling him "the boogeyman of the martial arts world."[21][22][23] He was 11th in GameDaily's list of "Top 25 Capcom Characters of All Time" due to his design and special abilities.[24] He also ranked 9th in the site's list of the "Top 20 Street Fighter Characters of All Time".[25] IGN ranked Akuma at number five in their "Top 25 Street Fighter Characters", noting his role as a recognizable "bad guy" in the series, while Dorkly placed him at 3rd place in their list "The 15 Greatest Street Fighter Characters of All-Time".[26][27] UGO Networks included Akuma in their list of the "Top 50 Street Fighter Characters" while Complex ranked Akuma as the 7th best Street Fighter character, with comments focused on his special moves.[28][29] 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".[30] GamesRadar ranked Akuma as the "51st best video game villain", as the "16th best unlockable character", his guest appearance in X-Men: Children of the Atom as the "7th awesome character cameo" and his stage in Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike as the "5th most amazing fighting game background".[31][32][33][34] In GamesRadar articles for Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken, they called him "A brutal fighter, Akuma is fueled by an urge to be the strongest, not to be a world-conquering sociopath or to terrorize the society."[35][36] GameSpot featured Akuma in a "Reader's Choice" edition of their "Top Ten Video Game Villains", where he placed 9th on the list, while Blockfort placed him 10th on the list "Top 10 Best Video Game Villains of All-Time!".[37][38] Similarly, GamingBolt ranked him 35th in their "Top 100 Greatest Video Game Villains of All Time" list while WhatCulture ranked Akuma as the "17th greatest video game villain of all time", and as the "10th famous gaming villain you didn't realise is hero", stating "Akuma could be seen as the most honourable of the bunch, as he only ever fights those he believes may have a chance of beating him."[39][40][41] 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".[42] Complex also named the fight with Akuma in Super Street Fighter II Turbo as second in their list of "Coolest Boss Battles Ever", his Demon Rage as the "3rd most revolutionary kill move in video games" and his Cyber Akuma version as the "10th greatest video game robot."[43][44][45] Arcade Sushi named Akuma as one of the "greatest video game character hairdos", his appearances in X-Men: Children of the Atom and CyberBots: Full Metal Madness as one of the "Best and worst fighting game guest stars", as the 2nd "Best secret boss of gaming", his Raging Demon as the 5th "most iconic fighting game move", Shin Akuma's Raging Demon and Oni's Tenchi Sokaigen as 6th and 3rd "greatest fighting game super moves" and as the "best fighting game bad guy", adding "the honor of top fighting game bad guy obviously goes to Akuma, the man who sold his soul for power."[46][47][48][49][50][51][52] The same site also named Akuma (and Gouken) as one of the "10 Best Brothers in Viddeo Games", commenting "Both are practically god-like in their abilities, and their polar opposite natures reverberate through every character that uses their skills."[53] Similarly, Prima Games ranked The Raging Demon as the 7th "greatest fighting move in video game history", while Thunderbolt Games listed Akuma's V-ism OTG custom combo as one of "Fighting Games' Most Infamous Combos".[54][55]

In a review for Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, Gaming Age said Akuma's introduction, along with Hugo's, added to the game's appeal, noting him as "everybody's favorite bad boy".[56] GamesRadar described him as "[o]ne of the top bad guys in the SF universe, and ... big in the Alpha sub-series."[57] GameSpy named Akuma as one of the "25 Extremely Rough Brawlers" in video gaming, praising the brutality of his fighting style.[58] GameSpot 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."[59] Similarly, Capcom UK named Akuma (along with his Shin and Oni forms) the most powerful Street Fighter character.[60] IGN called Akuma the clear "fan-favorite 'bad guy' of the Street Fighter universe" and praised his "stylish" special moves.[61] Shortlist Magazine named Akuma's Demon Armageddon and Kongou Kokuretsuzan as one of the "best Street Fighter moves", while UGO.com listed Akuma's Raging Demon as the 28th most gruesome finishing move.[62][63] Similarly, Complex ranked it as the fifth coolest fighting game super combo.[64] Complex also ranked Akuma's Wrath of the Raging Demon and Oni's Messatsu-Gotenha as the 44th and 42nd craziest fatalities in video games.[65][66] In another article, regarding the character's 20th anniversary, the same site also stated that he is popular because the way in which he was introduced and "the bizarre series of events that led to his creation", concluding "There is no great backstory, his evil is almost monolithic, his badassery legendary".[67] Chris Hoadley from VentureBeat named Akuma as one of the "Best (and worst) fighting game clones".[68] Infinite Ten named Akuma as the "8th best villain with standards" and as the "10th most powerful video game character".[69][70] GamersDecide named Akuma as the "6th most legendary fighting game character ever", adding "He fights with honour and will duel only other fighters he deems worthy, or his equal."[71] WhatCulture placed Oni and Akuma at 8th and 6th place, respectively, in their list "17 Secret Video Game Bosses You Need To Beat Before You Die", and ranked Akuma as the "greatest unlockable gaming character", stating "Almost always a top-tier pick in every game he’s been featured, Akuma is the most legendary unlockable fighter ever."[72][73][74] He was named by TheRichest as the "9th most powerful video game character of all time", stating "Despite having low health and being relatively easy to evade in battle, Akuma’s Ultra attack can wipe out his opponents ridiculously early."[75] In 2016, Screen Rant named Akuma along with his Oni form "The Most Powerful Street Fighter Character", where they stated "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."[76] WatchMojo named Akuma "The Best Secret Boss In Video Games", stating " Since his initial appearance, Akuma has gone from secret to icon of the “Street Fighter” franchise, and that is yet another reason for him to be our number one pick.'[77] They also ranked Oni Akuma as the "9th Most Powerful Video Game Character", commenting "Possessing the stronger versions of all of Akuma's techniques, as well as even less humanity if that's possible, this is the closest the Street Fighter character actually gets to achieving godhood. Who else do you know that works out by triggering an active volcano?"[78]

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.[79] Similarly, Metro named him as one of the "video game characters that were just too good", calling him "one of the toughest Street Fighter characters who dominated every game he appeared in."[80] Den of Geek placed him 8th in their list "Ten video game characters you wouldn't want to meet down a dark alley."[81] 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."[82] That same year, Topless Robot ranked Akuma as "The Most Diabolical Boss From Classic Fighting Games", concluding "The flames, the symbol, the iconic pose... it's like a week's worth of swirlies crammed into three or four horrible seconds."[83] In 2014, GamesRadar ranked Akuma 11th in their list "12 unfair fighting game bosses that (almost) made us rage quit".[84] WatchMojo named Akuma as one of the "honorable mention" characters in their lists "Top 10 Street Fighter Characters", "Top 10 Guest Characters in Fighting Video Games", and "Top 10 Epic Boss Battles of the 1990s", as the "8th unfair playable character in gaming" and as the "7th best Capcom villain", adding "When your name translates to 'devil' in Japanese, you’re probably not the nicest guy in the world."[85] [86][87][88][89] Video Game After Life named Shin Akuma from Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo as the "Cheapest Fighting Game Boss", commenting "Akuma is a tough guy in his normal form, but when he shows his true power, watch out!"[90] TopTenz listed Akuma as the "cockiest video game character", where they stated "the only person he admits to being worthy of his skills is…himself".[91] Leviathyn named Akuma the "3rd angriest man in gaming", stating "Cold, stoic, and deadly Akuma is the embodiment of evil in the Street Fighter Saga and refers to himself as the “denizen of hell”."[92] Similarly, WatchMojo named Akuma the "10th angriest video game character", stating " He is a violent, aggressive, even ruthless combatant whose only restraint is in the face of opponents he deems weak, and that's more out of contempt than compassion."[93]

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.[94][95] However, GameSpot stated that since he uses modified versions from known techniques, he was one of the least interesting additions to the game.[96]

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