Ryu: A Study on Design and Inspiration

Hey! This post has moved to my new blog: http://rlateef.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/ryu-a-study-on-design-and-inspiration/

Check it out there! Thanks for coming to read it!


About R. Lateef

Production artist.

45 responses to “Ryu: A Study on Design and Inspiration”

  1. Chris says :

    Excellent discussion of Ryu’s design origins! I really had no idea that Ryu and Takuma from Art of Fighting/King of Fighters had a common origin in Mas Oyama– I had always assumed that SNK had copied Capcom’s design for Ryu directly. Loved the artistic discussion of Gill, and loved this as well! Keep up the great work!

    • Arttronik says :

      Thanks Chris! Its pretty awesome, how Oyama has inspired a nice cast of fighters. Takuma, Ryu, and Akira (Virtua Fighter) all have a Kyokushin basis! I’d probably say that RYO was supposed to be an imitation of Ryu though! LOL. I’m glad he gained a real personality in KOF12. THAT RYO, is cool. Again, thanks for viewing and reading!

  2. Awais Chughtai says :

    is it possible that you could do a blog about the dragonball z characters like you did with ryu, preferably on goku, and vegeta i’m a big fan of Dragonball! Please and thank you.

    • Arttronik says :

      It’s good to see another Dragonball fan! Writing on Dragonball would be a huge endeavor! Perhaps someday, I can write about why I like it so much! Thanks for reading, Awais!

      • Awais Chughtai says :

        No Problem, it was definitely a worthwhile read. Really really interesting, and most definitely informative. Most people post pictures of comparison, but this was really something amazing. You perhaps a comparison of the Bruce Lee characters into video games. People will say oh they know, but the way you put things definitely interesting. Maybe even something on Mortal Kombat characters!

  3. burntmoth19 says :

    It’s really interesting to see how elements from all those different, yet related, sources came together into the character. Designing’s very much akin to being a chef. You have to have an eye for the right ingredients and know how put them together in the proper proportions to make a good dish.

    Also, I can’t remember if it was Return of the Street Fighter, or The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge where Sonny Chiba was wearing an outfit very much like Gouki’s. He was wearing a dark, tattered gi with a robe for a belt. I’m also pretty sure that his character had just came back from training in seclusion.

    • Arttronik says :

      Darius, brilliant analogy. The Capcom designers are gourmet artists. They do a great job of getting the point across while being appealing and leaving little things for us to catch and savor, in order to enjoy the designs even more. You’re correct. I’ll have to check out those films! It would be great to see that incorporate the image into the post! If you capture a screenshot of it..send it my way! I’ll credit you for the information. Thanks for reading!

  4. Terrence Rog says :

    Wonderful work. I really enjoyed writing this. Hope to read more of your work !

  5. Lamont Lindsey says :

    This was an informative read. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Roger says :

    Man, I’m blown away! This really makes sense, it’s amazing! Congratulations, and thanks for sharing!

  7. Henry. says :

    This is a really interesting and enjoyable post. Ryu is my favourite videogame character since I was a kid. Pretty impresive research, but just one thing. You mention that Hadoken and Shoryuken techiniques might be nods to Dragon Ball. With Hadoken I thing it makes sence, but not son much with Shoryuken. The image from Dragon Ball you posted as reference corresponds to the Ryu- Bakuhatsu-Ken (if I´m not mistaken) which I think is posterior to the development of Shoryuken in the videogames. Althogh there might be the possibility that you posted that image you to illustrate your point without necessarily implying that that DB technique was the inspiration for the SF technique. If that´s the case, just ignore this comment! Still, pretty impressive. Awesome post!

    • Arttronik says :

      Henry, thanks very much reading, commenting, and discussing this article! I truly appreciate it! You make a good point with Shoryuken. The image posted, is from the film with Hildegarn, where he uses the move. Perhaps, I should have posted him as young Goku in Dragonball? I remember reading that the rising fist (not named “dragon fist” I think it translated to “penetrate” or “break”) that he used when fighting King Piccolo, was similar to the Shoryuken. I sorta melded all of that information into one point-but you’re right, this image is dated by Street Fighter! Its nice to see a Dragonball fan as well, its one of my favorite things on Earth! Thank you again for reading. I really appreciate your comments. Please stay in touch! Send me an email or add me on facebook, if you want to discuss more!

  8. Brotha Kyo says :

    A very VERY great article!

    A fun tidbit that was revealed from the original director of Street Fighter I – The “Hadoken” was actually inspired by “Battleship Yamato” and the “Hadouho” Laser cannon!

  9. Andrea Davis says :

    Ryu and his red “hachimaki” always reminded me of Charlie Sheen in “Platoon” but wow reading this article about the design and inspiration behind Ryu was really interesting I enjoyed it. I think he one of the most iconic characters in video game history today because he represent that thrive that I’m sure we all have in our hearts. Thanks for sharing this!

  10. Will says :

    This was a fantastic article! I really enjoyed reading it and the info you provided was fascinating for me being a fan of the franchise, and for those who may not be would also find this a worthwhile and enjoyable read.
    I have linked to your article in my blog!

  11. Mr.Demon says :

    Really really good article… I liked it so much! And Like you I like SFIII design more over others SF Ryu’s designs.. SFIII need a continuatiion on play and Story NOW!

    I’m gonna take a peep on your others articles… 😉

  12. William says :

    And when you put this interesting character in the hands of scrubs…

  13. Alex says :

    This was a really interesting article, I also liked the article you linked about the 12 principles of animation! Speaking of the origins of the Hadouken – If I remember correctly the “hadouken pose” is really common as a finisher in traditional Kabuki performances, and I think that Kabuki itself borrowed it from Chinese martial arts (such as different kung fu styles) that used the hadouken pose to imitate the killing blow/bite of a Tiger – the idea being that the Tiger was the strongest creature in nature, therefore it’s bite would be the perfect strike – your digits in the hadouken pose would be the fangs of the tiger basically.

    Anyway, AWESOME work. What I wouldn’t give for a street fighter game where Ryu was an old man and Sakura was a seasoned veteran (say 15-20 years after SF3?)

    • Arttronik says :

      Good observation! That makes perfect sense for the posture! I like the idea of the tiger’s teeth being the fingers-its very Chinese, and very reminiscent of various artful moves. Thanks for bringing that to my attention! As for a “future” SF, that could be awesome! I’d like to see what happened to Ryu after learning with Oro in SF3–I’d guess he’d look like the design Ikeno and Hiroaki planned in which he was more monk-like after overcoming the dark Hadou. Its seen in the newest SF4 art book. Its a slick design!

  14. Jaolao says :

    I’d just like to add that there actually IS a sokutou geri in okinawan martial arts. Joudan refers to the height of the strike. Take this link for instance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gGHWcCofnw (This is actually Uechi Ryu karate and not Kyoukushinkai, but they’re both Okinawan styles.)

    At 0:44 seconds, the examiner says “sokuto geri”. And since this is a basics training, it’s done with a circular block and in place. But look at the area of the foot that connects: it’s the side edge (sorry if that’s not a correct term, I’m not a native english speaker :P) , exactly like Ryu’s Joudan Sokutou Geri. From the photo you can’t really see, but “Ushiro Geri” actually hits hard with the heel and is geared toward hitting your back, not your side (note Ryu stance gives his side to the opponent, not his front). Side snap striking, if you will.

    At the same video, at 1:59, you can notice that first block is actually the exact same overhead block Ryu does, too. That’s called a hajiki-uke.

    For references, we can also take a look at the other animated gifs you posted from SFIII and realize they’re all real movements. The first one is the semi circular kick Mawashi Geri, present pretty much not only every karate style but every striking martial art (kickboxing and Muay Thai, for example). We can see a higher example on this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76MgBFVGjiE, altough this video presents a much more Japanese-karate feeling than Okinawan karate.

    The second one shows us a shitazuki or shita tsuki. Some styles present the fist positioned sideways (actually, a bit tilted to the diagonal), exactly like Ryu’s animation here, and is pretty much performed at that height too! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pegyqY5G_sw other styles have the hand facing up, such as this video. A fast and powerful punch to the gut, and Ryu delivers exactly that.

    We have a mawashi zuki then, which is pretty much the same as modern boxing cross-hook.

    And finally, we have the Ushirokakato geri or kakatoushiro geri in some styles, which you could roughly translate as “back heel kick”; and ushiro ura mawashi geri in others, “back inverted semicircular kick”, which also features in other striking martial arts such as kickboxing or muay thai. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejNQ15dfwQo&feature=related Once again, the animators got the technique spot on!

    • Arttronik says :

      Jaolao! Fantastic find! These animators are spot on and fantastic! Good find! These are amazing! Good research here! I’ll edit the article soon and be sure to credit you as well! Thanks for sharing and reading!

      • Jaolao says :

        It’s all my pleasure! How could I not contribute when this puts 3 passions of mine together: art, Street Fighter and karate (:

      • Arttronik says :

        Excellent! I’m so glad that you’re passionate about it! Thanks again for presenting some amazing new information in such a polite way as well! Connect with me on facebook or via email, if you’d like to chat some more! I’ve also checked out your Deviantart page. Keep it up!

      • Jaolao says :

        Thanks a lot, mate! I was thinking right now about how a comparison article between Makoto and Ryu karate styles would make a great post, maybe we can cook something up together. I’ve like your page on facebook and I saved your e-mail so we can keep in touch (:

      • Arttronik says :

        That sounds like a fantastic article idea. Let’s keep in touch!

  15. Jonathan Lavigne says :

    Really good and thorough analysis! However, I was wondering why the old SF2 instruction booklet was saying that Ryu’s style is Shotokan since he’s clearly inspired by the inventor of Kyokushin. Well, I read a bit about Mas Oyama on Wikipedia and I realized that he was actually the student of “the second son of karate master and Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi” when he began his instruction!

  16. Pablo Mercado says :

    I really enjoy your post. And shared it to my friends. Thanks for the love you put in this article.

    • Arttronik says :

      Thanks Jonathan and Pablo! I appreciate you reading! Jonathan, its great at how interconnected the styles are. I’m sure Kyokushin was derived from many shotokan strikes, which explains the correlation. And Pablo, thanks I appreciate you sharing! I’m glad you felt my admiration for Ryu as well!

  17. kablammyman says :

    Great article. I too am a huge SF and DB/DBZ fan (among other thigns in a similar nature). So, thanks for the great read. i’ll be checking out your blog more often!

  18. Ico says :

    This is an informative and fun article, great job.

    I don’t know if is mentioned in the article, but the colors of The Nio statues in the picture you post are red and white (the same colors of the Ken and Ryu Gi’s). I think is a rather plain asumption; but valid one that the color patterns in Ken and Ryu where inspired by the the color of the statues (but somehow beautiful, because this would imply that Ken and Ryu are opposite forms of the same art). Sorry about any mistake in my way of write in english but I’m not a native english speaker :P.


  19. Charley Odiase says :

    Thank you for writing this article in such clear terminology. You are great with this kind of content and I agree with your unique thoughts.

  20. Andrew Martiniz says :

    Superb blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Bless you!

  21. Marcelo (@BeingMoya) says :

    Wow, i came and i had a deja vu reading at your blog post as i saw this very information (even most of the pictures) in Big Mex blogs at 1up and Capcommunity, is interesting that he would inspire you to write about Ryu as he already did troughout all these years, Capcom characters are always interesting and i bet you can get more ideas if you keep reading his blogs as you surely did when writing yours.


    • Arttronik says :

      Thanks for reading Marcelo!

      I’ve actually not read Big Mex’s post on Ryu. Most of these thoughts come from my observations and discussions with my friends back in college. We all went off to careers in art/gaming, so the SF games are the nucleus of our inspirations and our friendship! However, I do think its awesome that another blogger has found these points in Ryu’s design! Its good to have other people appreciate such great designs! I created lots of images from here based on my own scanning of Oyama’s books, so I hope you saw some new things as well! Thanks for dropping by.

  22. Paris Borgelt says :

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

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