|Street Fighter series|
Akuma in Super Street Fighter IV
|First appearance||Super Street Fighter II Turbo (1994)|
|Created by||Noritaka Funamizu|
|Dale Wilson (TV series)|
Keith Burgess (SF Alpha: The Movie, SF Alpha: Generations)
Dave Mallow (SFIV series, SFIV animation, MvC3, UMvC3, SFXT)
|Motion capture||Ernie Reyes, Sr. (arcade game)|
Joey Ansah (Legacy and Assassin's Fist)
Gaku Space (Assassin's Fist as Young Akuma)
|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)
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|Fighting style||Ansatsuken rooted in the indigenous art of Karate and Kempo|
|- |} Akuma (in Japanese, "Devil") known in Japan as Gouki (豪鬼 Gōki lit. Great Demon ), is a video game character from the Street Fighter series of fighting games. 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 and Ken's sensei. In some games he also has an enhanced version named Shin Akuma, or Shin Gouki (真・豪鬼, the "true Gouki") in Japanese.
Akuma has dark red hair, dark skin tone, glowing red eyes with black sclera, wears prayer beads around his neck, a black karate gi and a piece of twine around his waist in lieu of an obi. The kanji "ten" (天) — 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 black 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. 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".
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 also has 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).
Video games appearances
Street Fighter series
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, which is essentially Shin Akuma with a super bar.
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 were 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 was 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. He performs a new move, unseen, during his ending, the Tensho Kaireki Jin. Akuma reappears in Street Fighter IV, once again as a hidden boss in the single player as well as an unlockable secret character in both arcade and home console versions.
In Super Street Fighter IV, Akuma uses a brand new move as his second ultra, Demon Armageddon (Tensho Kaireki Jin in Japan). In the move, Akuma kicks his foe into the air, and follows up with an intense Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku, with his trademark kanji appearing in the background. Shin Akuma also returns as a hidden boss, the ability to perform a double Zankou Hadoken without the need of an EX-Bar and the Shin Shun Goku Satsu goes faster and across the whole screen in addition to taking less damage yet dealing more.
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. Unlike Shin Akuma, Oni is the being that would consume Akuma after mastering the Satsui no Hadou. Some of his moves include the Zanku Hadosho, an air dash; Sekisei Jiraiken, where he leaps in the air to a smash the ground; and the Rakan Dantojin, in which he leaps forward to deliver a slashing attack to the opponent. Oni can perform his own version of the Raging Demon, which can also be used when jumping. His Ultra Combos include the Meido Gohadou, in which he throws a powerful fireball horizontally, vertically, or diagonally from the air; and the Tenchi Sokaigen, a powerful chop which emits a powerful wave of energy in front of him and, when hit properly, will launch the victim into the sky.
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 hidden character. He also appears in Marvel Super Heroes as part of the hidden character, Anita's arsenal as she can use a sword and summon one of Akuma's moves and his sprite from X-Men: Children of the Atom briefly appears as a special move is performed. He would appear in the later Marvel-licensed fighting games (see Marvel vs. Capcom series), including in 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 final boss. Additionally, he can perform Shun Goku Satsu in the air, setting up devastating air combos. 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 the humorously toned Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix.
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." He also appears in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Pocket Fighter, and in Cyberbots as a mecha named "Zero Gouki" in the console versions released in Japan. Also, various version of Akuma have appeared in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash series.
In other media
Although the character was not featured in the 1994 live action Street Fighter movie, Akuma appears in Street Fighter: The Movie, the arcade game based on the movie developed by Incredible Technologies as a regular selectable character (portrayed by Ernie Reyes Sr.). He also appears in the Capcom-developed home version of the same game as a hidden character. Akuma also made cameo appearances in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (where he can be seen in the Calcutta scene), and in several episodes of the Japanese TV series Street Fighter II V. Actor/martial artist Joey Ansah played Akuma/Gouki in the short film Street Fighter: Legacy.
Akuma's first speaking appearance in animation was in an episode of the American Street Fighter animated series titled "Strange Bedfellows", in which Akuma traps Guile and M. Bison on his island, forcing the two sworn enemies to team up. 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.
Akuma also figures prominently 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. In the English dub of Alpha: Generations, the character is addressed by his Japanese name Gouki, instead of Akuma like in the international versions of the games. In Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation Ryu and his supposed brother Shun are hinted to be the biological sons of Akuma. In Alpha: Generations it is made almost a certainty that Ryu is Gouki/Akuma's son, though there is no mention of Shun.
In "Imaginationland", a three-part Emmy award-winning South Park episode, a representation of the character, along with Sagat, another character from the series, is included in several shots alongside other noted imaginary villains. In this episode he is defeated by Popeye.
At DREAM 8 welterweight grand prix round one Lithuanian mixed martial artist Marius Zaromskis dressed up as Akuma during his entrance for his fight with Seichi Ikemoto. He went on to win a Unanimous decision and later the entire Welterweight tournament.
UDON Entertainment's line of Street Fighter comics sets Akuma into a role similar to the one he filled in Street Fighter Alpha 2, acting as an antagonist for Ryu's dark desires. Akuma begins the series by killing his brother and Ryu and Ken's master (Gouken) in battle. This action is what sets Ryu on the path of vengeance, swearing to find and fight Akuma in his master's name. Because of this, Ryu must confront his darkest and most hated side, which is something Akuma has hoped would happen. Akuma emerges at the end of the first arc (in issue #6) and engages Ryu and Ken, which he easily dominates. It is here that he first tastes Ryu's lust for victory and sees that his intent of bringing out Ryu's corrupt spirit is bearing fruit. Rather than kill him, he tells Ryu to seek him out at the next Street Fighter tournament. Prior to the series, Akuma had a skirmish with an assassin named Gen. Because this fight took place years ago, Akuma had yet to fully embrace his killing desire (the Satsui no Hadō) and could not overcome Gen. However, Gen's most powerful technique did not fell Akuma and because of this, he was spared out of pure intrigue. Akuma and Gen vowed to fight once more but due to time and disease crippling Gen, it was not to be (the two do meet one final time during the comics but it is not a full-fledged fight, as both participants note). Ryu seeks out Gen due to his connection to Akuma but determines that Gen's philosophies to not agree with his own. During the final series of comics, Street Fighter II Turbo, Akuma makes his final appearance at the grand finals of the Street Fighter tournament, stepping between Ryu and M. Bison. Bison is enthused at the potential of Akuma's power and chooses to fight him, which ends fatally for Bison when Rose's spirit interferes and Akuma seals his soul with his Shun Goku Satsu technique. With Bison out of the way, Akuma is free to fight Ryu, which he does as Shadaloo island begins to sink beneath the sea. The battle favors Akuma but as he is about to defeat Ryu, Gouken's spirit is returned to the living world and he intervenes to finish the fight. The end of this battle is not seen as Shadaloo island is consumed by the ocean and Ryu is transported from the island by Dhalsim.
Promotion and reception
In the January 30, 1997 issue of Gamest magazine in Japan, Akuma appeared in the Top 50 Characters of 1996. He ranked at No. 37 sharing the spot with two other characters. In Game Informer's "Top Ten Best Fighting Game Characters" Akuma was at the top for his powerful techniques. He was 11th in Game Daily's Top 25 Capcom Characters of All Time with comments from editor Robert Workman focused on his design and abilities. IGN ranked Akuma at number five in their "Top 25 Street Fighter Characters" article, noting his role as a recognizable "bad guy" in the series. In another article from the same site, Ryan Clements commented that Akuma had one of the strongest movesets from Street Fighter IV, noting his techniques, apart from being able to do a reasonable damage to the opponent, look stylish. He also ranked 9th in the "Top 20 Street Fighter Characters of All Time" from Game Daily, with the writer commenting how different is he from Ken and Ryu despite their similar appearances. GameSpy named him one of the "25 Extremely Rough Brawlers" in video gaming, praising the brutality of his fighting style. GameSpot commented that Akuma is "the most profilic character" in the Street Fighter series due the large number of appearances his character had since Super Street Fighter II Turbo. He was also noted to be the most powerful character to be added to such series, while his Shin Akuma state was commented to be "a truly unstoppable force" due to all the special moves he has. On the other hand, Akuma's powerful techniques in Super Street Fighter II Turbo resulted in being listed as one of GamePro's "most broken characters" in their article, where he was compared with Street Fighter III's boss Gill. Jeff Keely from Gaming Age said Akuma's introduction in Street Fighter III 2nd Impact was a big improvement for the game, noting him to be "everybody's favorite bad boy". UGO Networks placed Akuma at #9 on their list of Top 50 Street Fighter Characters", stating "As a fighter-in-training, Akuma succumbed to the darker martial arts and embraced the "Killing Intent" martial art.".
Akuma's Oni incarnation has been commented for its appealing design resembling Gouken's and his powerful movesets. Deemed as one the Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition's second strongest fighter, Oni was referred by IGN as an inmediate favorite character. However, GameSpot stated that since he uses modified versions from known techniques, he was one of the least interesting additions to the game.
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- "DREAM. 8 - Marius Zaromskis dresses up as Akuma". MMA Cube. http://mmacube.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=235:dream-8-marius-zaromskis-dresses-up-as-akuma&catid=51:humor&Itemid=104.
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