Five Ways Ryu in Street Fighter Inspires Me
Ryu in Street Fighter is, without doubt, one of the most popular video game characters of all time. Back in the 90s every gamer wanted to be Ryu, and it wasn’t just for his awesome fighting skills, his moves set that has inspired countless clones, or even the fact that he could kick the crap out of anyone he chose. Underneath all that glossy shine of fireballs and dragon punches lay something that at the time seemed illusive: a personality, a character, a hero. Ryu was always more than some fighting moves; he was a role model. He inspired fans all around the world in a great many ways. Indeed, so excellent a character is Ryu that compiling this list of the top five ways in which Ryu inspires me has been no easy task, but looking back on my 21 years of playing Street Fighter I feel confident in saying that the following list contains the very best inspirations Ryu has offered to me personally. Of course, you’ll have your own opinion and please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom to let me know your own thoughts about Ryu. For now though, let’s take a look at my top 5 inspirations from Ryu.
5th Way Ryu in Street Fighter Inspires Me: Integrity
One thing that is immediately clear to anyone as soon as they begin to play Street Fighter is that Ryu is a man of conviction, who holds firm to his own personal beliefs and never wavers. This is as apparent in his play style (zoning; being in control) as it is in his cutscenes, such as his Street Fighter 2 ending when the first thing he does after winning a tournament is to continue moving forward on his path. There’s something magical about those cutscenes, even though they are so basic, that tells us all to keep heading in our own direction, on our own course, to never falter.
4th Way Ryu in Street Fighter Inspires Me: Humility
Not many characters in the Street Fighter universe (or indeed the wider gaming universe as a whole) can be considered to have humility. Most characters are posers, show offs and self centred. Not Ryu. Ryu seems to see himself only as a part of a much larger, spiritual journey. He’s a warrior representing a style of fighting and a philosophical mindset and he makes sure to not let his ego get the better of him. He always places his beliefs and principles above himself, making him a hero with a soul.
3rd Way Ryu in Street Fighter Inspires Me: Love of Learning
This quite likely will be one of the less popular ways in which Ryu inspires his fans, but for this author Ryu simply would not be Ryu were he not always learning about fighting, about his spirituality and about life. We discussed Ryu’s humility above and this sense of learning goes hand in hand with it. Ryu seems to believe that there is always something more out there to be discovered, and when he isn’t learning for himself he’s teaching or inspiring Sakura and other fighters, making Ryu a part of a long line of students and teachers. As an artist of various forms, this character strength resonates very strongly with me as artists, of all sorts, are really links in a long chain in which art itself is the ore. Playing Ryu reminds me of that interconnected chain of learning and teaching.
2nd Way Ryu in Street Fighter Inspires Me: Hope
There’s not much to say about this character strength of Ryu’s as I’m not entirely certain that it’s directly referenced in any of the games (correct me if I’m wrong in a comment below!). However, throughout Ryu’s journey there always seems to be a sense of hope in his destination. Ryu, and we with him, might not know exactly where he is headed, but we believe that it’s somewhere worth heading to.
Number 1 Way Ryu in Street Fighter Inspires Me: Spirituality
Above anything else, Ryu is a spiritual character. This was as clear on day 1 as it is now. Nearly every cutscene Ryu has ever appeared in has carried a spiritual message, from meditating (his SF2 end sequence is very meditative, for instance) to his line “Return it all to nothing, master” in SF4 (a clear reference to the nothingness in Buddhism). Perhaps Ryu’s spirituality is best illustrated in the conflict between Ryu and Evil Ryu, a classic tale of good VS evil, of self control VS self absorption. Ryu reminds us all that we have both a good side and a bad side; his journey for his own personal good is a journey representative of us all. [br] [hr]
Click on one of the five inspiration below for a guide to the stated character strength, movies that inspire that strength and more.
Love of Learning