The one who started it all... the legendary World Warrior...Ryu! He has always been my favorite Street Fighter without question. Why? Is it because he looks like the Karate Kid? Is it because his heart is as gentle as a gardenia, yet when provoked can really kick some ass? Well, yes and no.
Those reasons are some reasons why I like Ryu, but it's a lot deeper than that. I don't like Ryu simply because he can fight (and pretty good!), but because of his personality. Although Ryu has the power to take over the world should he ever decide, he chooses not to. Ryu has always loved and appreciated the simple things in life. Things such as the air we breath or being given the opportunity to live to see another day. Or even how beautiful the sky can be. Have you ever stopped and noticed how beautiful our earth is? These are things that people often take for granted, but not Ryu. He appreciates all of it.
So in terms of nature, that is a trait that I can agree with. I too love and appreciate the simple things the earth has to offer. I love waking up and seeing palm trees every morning. I love seeing a sunset. Those kinds of moments are priceless.
But enough about me. We're talking about Ryu. Another point for Ryu is his compassion. Now some people who don't like Ryu will say that all he cares about is himself and the fight. Beautiful women like Chun Li and Sakura literally throw themselves at Ryu, and still he denies their advances. Ryu never calls Ken to see how he is doing, and the only words that will ever come out of his mouth are "The fight is all..."
Not true. Watch the animes. They show how much compassion Ryu can have. In SFII the animated movie, Ryu accidently bumped into a girl in India and spilled her milk that was for her mother. What did Ryu do? He took some money out of his duffel bag and gave it to the girl to buy some more milk. Later on, she was attacked trying to return the change to Ryu. But Ryu fought for her behalf and even had her taken to a hospital. He even told her to keep the change. Is this the act of someone who has no compassion? I think not.
Or watch SFAlpha: the Animation. Everything that Ryu does is for someone else. When saving that little boy from robbers, he fights to make sure that he doesn't get hurt. He even has Sakura protect him. Still heartless?
Or the boy Shun that claims to be Ryu's long lost brother. Watch the bond between them. Still heartless?
Anyway, these are some reasons that I like Ryu. I won't say anymore, since I'll end up going on forever, but here is a summary of his profile from the games.
Ryu was an orphan growing up. His only father figure was the renowned Shotokan master, Gouken. He taught Ryu everything he knew about life, as well as how to fight. When Ryu was about 13, a boy from America arrived. His name was Ken Masters.
Ryu and Ken trained together and soon became best friends. When they got a little older, they entered the first Street Fighter tournament. Both Ryu and Ken did well, but it was Ryu who managed to advance to the finals. Ryu fought Sagat and it was he who made the scar in Sagat's chest with a Shoryuken.
After the tournament, Ryu and Ken returned back to Gouken's dojo but were upset to see that their master Gouken was killed by his own brother Gouki, now known as Akuma. Akuma was also a master of Shotokan karate, but also learned the forbidden techniques of Shotokan karate, the side that Gouken warned the two pupils about. Losing Gouken nearly brought Ryu over the edge, and he swore to Gouken that he would destroy Akuma so that Gouken's death would be avenged.
As Ryu continued to fight in tournament after tournament, there was always someone after him. Sagat, Bison, or even Akuma. Sagat wanted revenge, Bison wanted a new warrior, and Akuma wanted to release the "evil intent" inside of Ryu to get the ultimate fight. Which brings us to our next point...
The evil intent is what made Akuma the evil demon that he is today. Ryu is forever trying to deal with this evil power that grows inside of him. There have been times when Ryu has transformed into his "evil" state, but he has always managed to return back to normal. This is perhaps Ryu's ultimate battle. The fight for his soul...
To finish up, Ryu fights to try to find the meaning of the fight. He fights because that is all he knows. Just about everything Ryu has done has revolved around a fight. Will he settle down one day with Chun Li or Sakura, or will he continue to fight until his last days? Only Capcom knows...
Also, it has been highly rumored that Ryu's last name is Hoshi. This information is obtained from watching the horrible live-action Street Fighter movie that came out in 1994. But we all know how "accurate" that movie was (Blanka and Charlie the same person? Yeah right...). Many fans accept Hoshi as Ryu's last name simply because Capcom hasn't given us fans an official answer yet. So although it isn't quite official yet, Ryu's last name is Hoshi.
First appearance: SF1
Friends: Ken, Sakura
Rivals: Ken, Sagat, Sakura, Akuma
Enemies: Akuma, Bison, Evil Ryu