Gen (Street Fighter)
|Street Fighter character|
Gen in Super Street Fighter IV
|First game||Street Fighter (1987)|
|Portrayed by||Robin Shou (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li)|
|Fighting style||The murderous martial arts of the "Mourning Style" (喪流 Sō Ryū) and "Hateful Style" (忌流 Ki Ryū)|
Gen (Japanese: 元 Hepburn: Gen) is a character in Capcom's Street Fighter fighting game series. Gen is introduced in the original Street Fighter and he has returned for Street Fighter Alpha series and Street Fighter IV series. He is a Chinese martial arts master and former assassin who uses legendary fighting techniques. Gen is currently the only character in the Street Fighter series who can switch between fighting styles (having two of them) during a match, and one of the few characters in fighting games with multiple movesets. He also notably taught Chun-Li the art of Tai Chi. Gen is known for his quote in English, spoken to a defeated opponent: "You are a big fool!"
In video games
Gen was known as one of the legends of martial arts, supposedly being the "man who killed hundreds". He was not only a great martial artist, but a legendary assassin, said to be invincible. Gen was also a friend of Chun-Li's father, and he briefly trained her in her youth. Gen also owned a restaurant called Genhanten in Sendai, Japan - where he met Ryu for the first time. Gen first appears in the original Street Fighter as the second opponent the player faces from China in the single-player tournament (the first one being Lee). Gen entered the first World Warrior tournament to find worthy opponents. When he did not, he went back to the streets of China. Gen resurfaces as a playable character in Street Fighter Alpha 2 and its sequel, Street Fighter Alpha 3. In the storyline of the Alpha series, he was diagnosed with leukemia, and did not have much time to live. Gen did not blame his loss in the first tournament on his illness. At first, he decided he would be careful and just manage his restaurant, but old foes sent assassins who made repeated attempts on him and his family's lives. Due to this, he decided he would stop hiding and go out fighting, in a blaze of glory, as he felt it was a more honorable way to die. He went on a search for a worthy opponent, taking on members of Shadaloo and other crime syndicates, to provoke a fight to the death in which he would meet his demise. Word got around about Akuma, a fighter who fully embraced the Satsui no Hado. After seeking him out, Gen challenged him to a fight that he hoped would be decisive. The two fought fiercely until the end, each surviving the other's finishing blow. However, Akuma sensed that Gen was terminally ill, making it an unfair fight. Thus, Akuma decided to end the match, leaving him to his fate. Eventually, Gen challenged Akuma once again, but although the results of the battle are unknown, Gen did survive. When Gen and Akuma fight during the game's story mode, they perform their signature moves on each other before the fight begins, re-enacting the fight described above. Gen appears as an additional character in the home versions of Street Fighter IV and its updates. In the storyline of Street Fighter IV, Gen is haunted by nightmares where he is surrounded on all sides by the ghosts of those he has killed in the past when he was still an assassin. Scorning the ghosts, he proclaims that while he is still alive, he will not succumb to the likes of them. Reflecting on how Chun-Li has grown into a strong and admirable woman, he knows he cannot protect her for much longer, as his time is running short. He remembers the day when his illness allowed Shadaloo to capture her father; cursing his body and its "infernal frailties", he vows not to let them get away. He joins the S.I.N. organized tournament, and at some point Chun-Li finds him and demands that he tell her all that he knows about what happened to her father. Gen refuses and fades away, leaving her alone. When the S.I.N. base is destroyed, Gen protects Chun-Li from the ensuing collapse, though it's not shown how. While partially trapped under the rubble, Gen witnesses Akuma and Gouken fight over an unconscious Ryu, internally referring to the two fighters as "Life and Death". He muses that "Death is indeed strong." Impressed by what he called their "ultimate battle", in which both men were "prepared to give up the ghost", Gen resolves not to die until "the final battle between Life and Death", so he returns to what he calls "my own fight to the death". Gen appears in Akuma's character story in Street Fighter V, locked in combat with the demonic martial artist. Gen observes Akuma's newfound power, and ponders as to whether or not he has become a "true demon god", before realizing he has not attained this level of power yet. Gen laughs, stating that Akuma will never reach the path of the divine if he does not know the path of humanity. Akuma calls Gen weak, striking him down with a Satsui no Hado-infused punch. Gen's words echo in Akuma's head, and as he walks away from Gen's dead body, he remarks that he has no interest in for the path of humanity or the divine, and only walks the path of the demon. Gen also makes a cameo appearance in one of the stages in Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix.
Gen is an elderly man who often has a stern look on his face. He is among the shortest male characters in the series, standing at just 5'5". Gen wears a loose, purple outfit with a red sash around his clothes, and red Chinese martial art shoes with white socks. He has white hair with a long, white beard. In the original Street Fighter, he had black pupils in his eyes; in his more recent incarnations, his eyes are now completely white in color. Prior to his recent appearance in Street Fighter IV, Gen had short hair. In the Street Fighter IV games, his hair not only has grown much longer but he also keeps it tied in a formal bun with a purple Chinese qipao on the back of his head. In most recent games his skin also has aging wrinkles in his entire body, most notably his face.
Gameplay and fighting style
Gen's fighting style incorporates various kung fu styles that he has utilized in his assassinations. As of Street Fighter Alpha 2, this is reflected in the ability to switch between two fighting styles during gameplay: Mantis (Sou) and Crane (Ki). Gen is at his best with both styles utilized in tandem, often switching between Mantis and Crane mid-attack; however, this makes him a difficult character to learn and master, and his low stun and stamina leave even less room for error. Gen's two styles use opposite approaches: The Mantis style focuses on ground-based pressure, spacing, and approaching, with special attacks that can act as solid reversals, among other defensive functions. The more offensive Crane style uses a multi-angle approach, with normal and special moves tailored to confuse and punish foes, and unique standard normals (such as an overhead standing medium punch and low-hitting standing heavy punch). In the Street Fighter Alpha series, Gen and Guy are the among only characters to retain their 'natural' Chain Combo abilities, and both would carry this trait into later appearances.
In other media
UDON's comic book adaptation of the Street Fighter series delves into some of Gen's history as well as giving him a fairly pivotal role in the second arc of the series. In a past life, he was an assassin who gives up his life of murder to repay for his sins. It is during this time that he trains a young Chun-Li and is forced to kill another assassin (who appears to be Geki from the original Street Fighter game, though he is unnamed in the comic) in front of her eyes, revealing to her his shameful occupation. In the present of the comics, he's depicted as a restaurant manager (Revealed to be known as Gen Han Ten (元飯店 Gen's Rice Shop) in the China stage in Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix), taking care of Yun and Yang in the stead of their deceased father (in the video games Yun and Yang's grandfather is never named) who helps Chun-Li and Fei-Long discover the whereabouts of a Shadaloo-run Triad compound. He aids the duo in fighting off a legion of criminals led by Xiayu and Yanyu but pushes his body too hard and begins coughing up blood. He reveals to Chun-Li that he is dying of leukemia. Later on, Ryu seeks him out to ask about his encounter with Akuma in preparation for his own battle. Gen tells him that Akuma is the only person who has ever survived his deadliest technique and he chose not to kill him out of pure intrigue. After Ryu leaves, as in the official story, Akuma challenges him to one final match. Akuma also notes Gen's ill health before the fight, which he admits, before Akuma strikes a killing blow, allowing Gen to die in battle as he wished to. After honoring one another, Akuma leaves. Gen then collapses and dies, his body discovered by the twins. Gen also appears in an important role in Masahiko Nakahira's Sakura Ganbaru! manga. In the storyline, Gen appears in his established assassin role, and is sought by Interpol agent Chun-Li, who is utterly defeated by him. Gen is also engaged by Sakura Kasugano, who he also defeats effortlessly. Gen appeared as one of the main characters the live-action movie, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, portrayed by Robin Shou. Depicted as a younger martial arts master, he serves as the leader of a secret anti-crime organization known as the Order of the Web. It is Gen who teaches Chun-Li her more advanced moves, including the Kikoken, and accompanies her in the fight against M. Bison and Shadaloo. His back-story also reveals he was a partner-in-arms with M. Bison in their earlier days as criminals, but Gen eventually left him, no longer tolerant of stealing from others. He was mentioned by Gouken in Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist second episode "Round 1: Fight" as a kung-fu master he met during his Musha Shugyo who taught him how to use the Power of Nothingness as the foundation of his Ansatsuken art instead of the Satsui no Hado.
IGN ranked Gen at number eighteen in their "Top 25 Street Fighter Characters" article, stating "he represents an ever-reliable character type, made famous by dozens of kung fu movies – he's the old, decrepit, seemingly-crippled senior citizen who can still kick your ass blindfolded." He was ranked 20th on the list of top Street Fighter characters by UGO.com, stating "Gen is a master of multiple forms of martial arts, and Capcom gave him the ability to switch stances and abilities in battle, an uncommon trait in any Street Fighter game." Complex ranked Gen as the "21st best Street Fighter character" commenting "Old but dangerous, Gen is lethal up close and unpredictable from a distance. He also has ties to Chun-Li's backstory, so he even enriches the SF universe." Now Gamer listed Gen and Heihachi Mishima as one of the rivalries they want to see in Street Fighter X Tekken, adding "We’d probably award the round to frail Gen for his multiple fighting styles, as Heihachi loses credibility for his hip-busting forward flip attack." In a GamesRadar article by Michael Grimm, a fight between Gen and Wang Jinrei was written as one of the ones players wanted to see in Street Fighter X Tekken, adding "Rumble in the retirement home!"In 2015, Gamer Headlines ranked Gen as the "9th top over 50 video game character in gaming", stating "Gen lands here at number 9 because while he is a difficult character to master, a skilled Gen player is great to watch." In 2016, Screen Rant named Gen the "8th Most Powerful Street Fighter Character", commenting "he’s one of the few to survive Akuma’s Raging Demon technique, which is a clear indicator of the power Gen has despite his age and failing health. If he lives long enough, who knows what levels his power could reach?" In their rankings of Street Fighter characters, Paste placed Gen at 41st place, where they commented "Gen is a mastermind fighter who can still fight long after most people would have counted him out." Den of Geek ranked Gen as the "34th Best Street Fighter Character", citing his character and concluding "his resolve to stay alive just so he can see how the Ryu/Akuma stuff plays out in the end is pretty rocking."
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- "Top 10 Over 50 Video Game Characters in Gaming". Gamer Headlines. 2015-03-13. Archived from the original on 2015-04-07. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
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