535px-Character Select Akuma by UdonCrew

Akuma as he appears in Turbo HD Remix.

"Once you face me, there's no turning back!" --Akuma, Street Fighter IV

Akuma ("devil" in Japanese), known in Japan as Gouki (豪鬼 Gōki "strong spirit", "strong demon" or "strong ogre"), is a popular fighter in the Street Fighter series.

Originally appearing in Super Street Fighter II Turbo as a secret character and hidden boss, He is Gouken's younger brother and Ryu's adoptive uncle. He has red hair, wears prayer beads around his neck, and wears a black gi (occasionally displayed as blue in artwork). The kanji 'Ten' (天) - meaning "sky", "heaven", or "providence" - can be seen on his back when it appears during certain winposes. He is voiced by Tomomichi Nishimura in many of the games in which he has appeared.

Story Edit

Pre-Alpha Edit

Akuma and his brother Gouken were students of Goutetsu. Goutetsu taught a nameless life-threatening martial art, which incorporates elements of Karate, Judo, and Kempo. He also taught the Shun Goku Satsu (literally Instant Hell Murder), a death technique which, although incredibly powerful, puts the user in considerable danger.

As the brothers progressed under Goutetsu's tutelage, a dispute arose on the true nature of their fighting style and the path to master it. Gouken, unable to accept the violent nature of his fighting style, left Goutetsu to begin his own dojo. Akuma continued Goutetsu's teachings and vowed to use their fighting style as it was intended.

In order to learn Shun Goku Satsu, Akuma embraced the principle of Satsui no Hadō or (The Surge of the Intent to Kill/Killing Intent). Through Satsui no Hadō, Akuma was forced to give up any compassion he held towards other human beings. In addition, Akuma realized his limits as a martial artist could be expanded, and left Goutetsu's guidance to train alone.

His return marked the end for Goutetsu. Akuma demonstrated his strength by killing his former master with Shun Goku Satsu. Goutetsu fell with an inner joy, realizing his pupil was attempting to master the nameless art. Akuma removed the beaded necklace from Goutetsu's neck and placed it around his own. Sometime later, Akuma challenged and fought his brother. With Gouken gaining the upper hand, Akuma was eventually struck down. Akuma requested death in defeat, however his brother had no intention of killing him. Akuma, vowing to return, left Gouken. Years later, he returned; they fought again, and this time Gouken was supposedly killed (or so Akuma thought). Ken saw the battle as he was returning from the U.S. Martial Arts tournament. Rushing to the dojo to find it in shambles and his master apparently dead, an enraged Ken ran into the surrounding woods searching for the killer. Akuma easily defeated Ken and disappeared. Gouken's other student Ryu soon learned of his master's apparent death and began to search for Akuma.

Street Fighter Alpha 2 Edit

Akuma begins to search the globe looking for worthy fighters to challenge. Secluding himself in the shadows, he watches small tournaments and street fights, desperately seeking someone who might be able to match his strength. He is eventually challenged by a man named Gen. Gen fights a vicious battle, even surviving the Shun Goku Satsu by emptying his soul in time. Just as Akuma begins to wonder whether this man is the worthy opponent he's searching for, he begins to sense not all is as it seems When Gen's mouth begins to bleed, Akuma's suspicions are confirmed: his opponent is sick, and the fight not fair. After being knocked to the ground, Gen tells Akuma to kill him. Not wanting to carry the fight on any longer, Akuma leaves, infuriating Gen.[1] After the fight, Akuma becomes obsessed with Ryu and awakening the Killing Intent.

Ryu eventually finds Akuma's island (known as Onigami Isle or the Gokuentou) and challenges him. The intense battle that ended in Ryu gaining the upper hand; in truth Akuma was only testing him. Akuma regains composure and tells Ryu to find him again when he has embraced the Satsui no Hadō, Akuma strikes the ground with a powerful blow and disappears. The island falls apart around Ryu, who is left in the ocean to contemplate Akuma's words.[2] Leaving his destroyed abode, Akuma thinks about all the fighters he has encountered and wonders with excitement if one day he will fight someone strong enough to kill him in battle. This thought drives him on; finding a desolate cavern (also known as Kiga Cave) he begins to train anew and await the day when he will fight Ryu again. At some point, he defeats a Muay Thai fighter who was about to challenge the champion, Adon. Adon sees this as a challenge and sets out to find Akuma, to fight him and prove that he is stronger.[3]

Street Fighter Alpha 3 Edit

Two years later, Akuma begins to search once more for worthy fighters whilst awaiting Ryu to embrace the Satsui no Hadō. Akuma encounters Gen once more and fights a second battle (the results of the fight are unknown). However, unbeknownst to Akuma, Ryu rejects the Satsui no Hadō while battling the Shadaloo leader, M. Bison, declaring that a true warrior does not rely on violent intent.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo Edit

Akuma does not officially enter the second World Warrior tournament, although he does perform the Shun Goku Satsu on Bison. Akuma stated that Bison was pathetic for letting dark energy control him rather than him controlling such power. Bison's body is eventually regenerated by Shadaloo scientists.[4] In Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, if Akuma beats Shin Akuma, the ending is different: Akuma declares that his own greatest battle was within, and that he has mastered his own darkness. He then "fades into the shadows" to await a fighter worthy of him[5]. It's possible that both of these endings are canon; since Akuma is largely concerned with becoming stronger, "conquering himself" is in character for him.

Street Fighter IV Edit

Akuma as he appears in Street Fighter IV.During the events of Seth's tournament, he continues his training, and senses the Satsui no Hadou reemerging within Ryu. Immediately, he sets off to find Ryu and help him realize this power. Like the other tournaments, Akuma does not officially enter, but stays in the shadows. Eventually, he finds an unconscious Ryu in the care of his brother Gouken. Akuma, noticing that his brother has perfected the Mu no Ken (Power of Nothingness), is excited. The two brothers then proceed to fight; Ryu, being the prize. Super Street Fighter IV reveals that both he and Gouken survive their fight and Ryu was saved by Gouken. So Akuma continued his training and still searches for a worthy opponent to matched his own.

Street Fighter III 2nd Impact Edit

As with the second World Warrior tournament, Akuma did not enter the third World Warrior tournament, but once more lurked in the shadows. He even successfully pulled off a Shun Goku Satsu on the tournament sponsor Gill, although he left without realizing that Gill had resurrected himself. Over this timespan, Akuma had trained relentlessly until finally harnessing his power and learning several new techniques, some that were meant to create tidal waves, some described as strong enough to split Ayers Rock in half, and one that could kill an opponent with a single strike. Akuma's self-taught technique is called the Kongō Kokuretsu Zan, in which Akuma channels all his power into one hand and smashes it into the ground, creating a vortex of energy upward around him. It is supposedly this technique that was used to destroy his original training ground.

Street Fighter III 3rd Strike Edit

Akuma continued to develop his now-incredible fighting skill, and even fought with Oro in a simple, inconclusive battle, with each other sensing the other's massive chi and testing their powers. Though mutually impressed by each other's power, both men expressed some contempt for the other on a personal basis. Akuma has now demonstrated the ability to remain underwater under massive pressure for extended periods of time, and has even managed to destroy a naval submarine with a technique that he has dubbed Tenshō Kaireki Jin.

Alternate Continuity Edit

Street Fighter Alpha Edit

Akuma only appears as a secret character only playable via random fighter at the character selection screen. He shares his moveset with Ryu and Ken. He defeats Bison at the end, his ending claims his quest was complete, though he feels empty. Gouken is seen in the background of his ending, as one of the people who fear and oppose him. However, it should be borne in mind that this game's story is overwritten by that of Street Fighter Alpha 2.

Moral Code Edit

Akuma fights only to test his strength and his opponent's. This means that he will only fight opponents that will provide a challenge, hence his refusal to fight unworthy challengers under any circumstances. Akuma will only kill opponents who are as strong as he, which is why he stopped his fight with Gen after realizing that he was ill. While Akuma attacked his brother and his teacher, he did so in the confines of the code of the warrior, where the field of battle does not distinguish between friend and foe. Akuma believes he committed no transgression whatsoever. Also, with the exception of Gouken and Goutetsu, Akuma usually only fights those who challenge him instead of picking fights, although, a common game mechanic is to allow players to fight him when certain conditions are met, implying that the character the player is using is "strong enough" to pose a challenge to Akuma.

Capcom USA initially claimed Akuma was possessed by a demon, but this is considered non-canon. The character's name change from Gouki to Akuma (the Japanese and American names, respectively) reflects Capcom USA's attempt to accentuate the demonic nature; the word Akuma (悪魔, Akuma) means "devil" in Japanese (although it should be noted that the Japanese version of his English name uses the phonetic katakana syllabary which does not necessarily hold the same intrinsic meaning as the kanji version).

Gameplay Edit

Akuma has the same moves as Ryu and Ken, only much faster and more damaging. Akuma can perform the Hadōken (Gō Hadōken--Strong Surge Fist), including one performed mid-air (Zankū Hadōken--Air-Cutting Surge Fist). His Tatsumaki Zankūkyaku (Air Slashing Kick) knocks the opponent down instantly and can also juggle, his Shōryūken (Gō Shōryūken, -- Strong Rising Dragon Fist) knocks down his opponent at the first hit and does 3 hits up close, and he can also juggle with a single Shōryūken in certain instances. Akuma also cannot be stunned in his first few appearances. To compensate for these advantages, he is usually saddled with extremely low stamina, and in Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, he has an extremely short stun meter and no EX moves. These "flaws" reflect Akuma's ability to hold back his power so as to give opponents a fighting chance. It should be noted that Akuma didn't possess these flaws in his early appearances, which caused players to consider him an overpowered character.

Akuma has other notable special moves that Ryu and Ken normally lack. The Ashura Senkuu is a teleport move with very short startup and recovery which allows him to escape the corner almost at will. The Tenma Kuujinkyaku is a downwards-angled kick that he can use at the peak of his jumps; it's very fast, hard to punish and allows for combos afterward. The Hyakki Shuu is a flip attack, similar to Cammy's Hooligan Combination, that allows Akuma to either attack or grab an opponent while moving forward. He also has the Zenpou Tenshin in the Alpha games, which makes him hop and roll forward a short distance.

Akuma's super moves consist of the Messatsu Gō Hadō (Murderous Strong Surge,滅殺豪波動), which is simply a high-powered Shinkū Hadōken, a Tenma Gō Zankū (Great Demon's Air Slash,天魔豪斬空), a mid-air version of the Shinkū Hadōken, the Messatsu Gō Shōryū (Murderous Rising Dragon,滅殺豪昇龍), which similar to Ken's Shōryū Reppa without the scorching effect, and the Messatsu Gō Rasen (Murderous Strong Spiral,滅殺豪螺旋), an upward spiraling hurricane kick attack. There are also two other moves: in Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, he has the one named Kongō Kokuretsu Zan (Continent Destroying Vajra Burst Slash,金剛国裂斬) where Akuma karate chops the ground hard enough to generate waves of energy. In Capcom vs. SNK 2 and SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom he has the Misogi (Purifier, 禊), where he teleports above the opponent and delivers a fierce descending strike; this move homes in on the opponent's location. Akuma's most well known super move is the Shun Goku Satsu (瞬獄殺 'Instant Hell Murder'), traditionally one of the strongest super moves in any game Akuma appears in. In Street Fighter IV, he has the Shin Shun Goku Satsu (真・瞬獄殺 'True Instant Hell Murder') as his Ultra Combo. In Super Street Fighter IV, Akuma has a new ultra called Demon Armageddon. It involves him kicking the opponent in the air and following up with a powerful Hurricane Kick. As Akuma hits his opponent, his signature kanji appears in in the background and at the same time he utters the words "Accept Death!...the other realm awaits!" After that, Akuma charges past his opponent with full force, as the kanji in the background breaks into pieces.

In Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Akuma is banned in U.S. tournaments. This is because, as David Sirlin writes, "Most characters in that game cannot beat Akuma. I don’t mean it’s a tough match—I mean they cannot ever, ever, ever, ever win. Akuma is 'broken' in that his air fireball move is something the game simply wasn’t designed to handle. He is not merely the best character in the game, but is at least ten times better than other characters. This case is so extreme that all top players in America immediately realized that all tournaments would be Akuma vs. Akuma only, and so the character was banned with basically no debate and has been ever since." In Japan, Akuma is not officially banned, but there is what is called a soft ban. In other words, all top players in Japan agree not to play Akuma without there being any official enforcement of this agreement. However, on the remake Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Akuma is toned down to ensure he's more "balanced"; his "flaws" like the very low defense clause reappear in this game and he has a much weaker Shun Goku Satsu as the only super move available (it's worth noting that he didn't have a super move in his original appearance Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but he was so powerful that that wasn't considered a weakness). His air fireball forces him to bounce back. Some top players claim that he is still broken, claiming that Akuma has far too many devastating setups, especially with setting up the Shun Goku Satsu. It is still currently in debate whether or not Akuma is still broken or balanced. However, the 2009 EVO championships have Akuma banned in HD Remix while he is not banned in Street Fighter III or IV.

Other Appearances Edit

Akuma appears in the Capcom fighting game, X-Men: Children of the Atom as well as Marvel Super Heroes as a secret character. An original variation called Cyber Akuma (Mech Gouki in Japan) appears in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter as the game's final boss. Like the Shin Akuma version of the character, Cyber Akuma is more powerful than the regular Akuma, possesses the greatest attack and defense of any character in the game, and is extremely fast. He can only be used with cheat codes. He can't use a partner, but is so powerful that he can easily win without one. Akuma also makes a semi-appearance in Cyberbots as Zero Gouki. Additionally, Akuma can be created in Mortal Kombat Armageddon's Kreate-A-Fighter mode, with his hairstyle listed as Devil. His hairstyle is one of several references to characters from outside the Mortal Kombat franchise, among them including the hairstyles of Cloud and Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII. Akuma appears in the console versions of Street Fighter: The Movie as an unplayable opponent. He can be selected via a cheat code. He also appears in the arcade version of the game as a regular selectable character. Akuma appears in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie sitting against a wall in Calcutta. Akuma also makes cameo appearances in many of the episodes of Street Fighter II V, often in the background interacting with the population. Akuma also made an appearance in South Park "Imaginationland Episode II" on the evil side of Imaginationland. Joey Ansah played Akuma in Street Fighter: Legacy which he co-directed with Owen Trevor.