Street Fighter is home to nomadic kung-fu warriors, electric jungle wildmen, bear-wrestling Soviets, and more, but there is no character more terrifying in the Street Fighter pantheon than Akuma. Driven by dark ki and a desire to surpass all fighters, Akuma has haunted the Street Fighter franchise for 24 years, trading blows with the best World Warriors around. But despite Akuma’s continued popularity in the gaming world, the character remains largely mysterious. Over the years, Capcom has provided glimpses into Akuma’s violent past and the occasional hint about the character’s journey, but Akuma seemingly prefers to keep his origins to himself and focus on kicking butt and taking names. Thankfully, CBR is here to throw back that curtain and reveal to you some of Akuma’s biggest secrets.
Akuma wasn’t always the gohadoken-throwing warrior that fans have grown to love; in fact, Akuma has a past, and that past is shrouded in secret. From his conception at Capcom to his days as a fledgling fighter, fans have had to work to piece together Akuma’s path to the man he is today. But it isn’t just the fighter’s origin that fans don’t know about; Akuma has made plenty of obscure cameos and embarked on numerous odd adventures over the years, and CBR is here to bring them to you. So join us as we take a look at 15 haunting secrets about Akuma, Street Fighter’s biggest bad!
15. AKUMA: HORSEMAN OF DEATH
Akuma is a lone wolf, preferring to wander the globe in search of fights to test his strength. Apocalypse is a supervillain devoted to the tenants of Darwinism, who strives to eliminate the weak and rule the world with an iron fist. It’s like a classic sitcom set-up: these two don’t have much in common, but they’ll have to find a way to get along when Apocalypse recruits Akuma to serve as the harbinger of Death, but not before giving him sweet robot power-ups. You know, that old sitcom trope.
Apocalypse enlisted Akuma’s services in Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter, turning the fearsome fighter into his Horseman of Death. With the new enhancements provided by Apocalypse, Akuma would be dubbed Cyber-Akuma, proving to be a formidable foe for the united Marvel heroes and World Warriors. After all, regular Akuma is bad enough, but Akuma with a rocket arm and jet pack? Now that’s scary.
14. THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM
Akuma didn’t become the scariest man in Street Fighter just through training; in fact, Akuma has given himself to the Satsui no Hado, a.k.a. the Surge of Murderous Intent. This dark ki taps into rage and hatred and gives the user power thought impossible. But Akuma has managed to avoid fully giving into the Satsui no Hado, allowing him to retain a sliver of his humanity. But when Akuma does give in, it can lead to Shin Akuma or, even worse, Oni.
The Setsui no Hado can push a man far past his natural limits, but it does come at the cost of the user’s humanity. When Akuma fully uses his dark ki but manages to retain his soul, he achieves Shin Akuma form, becoming stronger, faster, and scarier. But if Akuma should fully embrace the Satsui no Hado and surrender his humanity, he becomes Oni, a remorseless killing machine. Akuma’s power comes at a high cost, and stands to consume the fighter at any moment.
13. NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
Akuma has proven himself to be one of the most fearsome fighters in the Street Fighter universe time and time again. But Akuma often refuses to use his full power in a fight, as he feels as though no mortal opponent could stand a chance against his fully unleashed strength. But if Akuma were to just cut loose, how strong would he be? Turns out, Akuma tested this theory and destroyed an island in the process.
In Ryu’s Street Fighter Alpha 2 ending, the World Warrior travels to Akuma’s island home of Goutenkou for a final showdown. During the ensuing battle, Akuma reveals he was not using his full power and was simply testing Ryu, but had grown tired of the test. Using his full strength, Akuma punched the island and split it in half, causing the island to crumble apart and fall into the sea, proving Akuma to be legendary in his strength.
12. JUST LIKE HEAVEN
That dark black gi. That fiery red hair. Those massive prayer beads. Akuma’s striking appearance has earned the character a strong fan following, but there is no aspect of Akuma’s costume more renowned than that famous red kanji marking the fighter’s back. Street Fighter fans have seen that iconic symbol pop up in Akuma’s win poses and in the aftermath of the Raging Demon. The symbol has become an essential part of Akuma’s design. But what exactly does the symbol mean?
Turns out, the Japanese kanji that has become synonymous with Akuma is called “ten” and can be translated as “heaven.” While this might seem an odd choice for such a demonic-looking character, the character can also be translated to mean “beyond human,” which seems all too fitting for this legendary martial artist.
11. TAKING THE FIGHT TO GOD
Akuma entire purpose in life is to become the strongest there is. But what would happen if Akuma were to finally run out of worthy opponents? Would he find peace at finally being the best? Would he end his pursuit of power and live out the rest of his days in tranquility? Or would he travel to Heaven and try to punch God right in the face? Turns out it’s that last one.
In the 2003 crossover fighter SNK vs Capcom: SVC Chaos, Akuma’s ending shows the legendary fighter finally declaring himself the strongest warrior on Earth. Realizing that Earth is now devoid of worthy opponents, Akuma launches himself to Heaven, where he finds the Almighty watching TV. Akuma challenges God to a fight, and gears up for his final battle as the scene ends.
10. CODE OF THE WARRIOR
Akuma has committed his life to wandering the globe and searching out strong opponents, all in the pursuit of bettering himself. Akuma will not rest until he has bested the Earth’s greatest fighters and he can declare himself the strongest martial artist in the world. But it’s not like Akuma just runs around picking fights; in fact, Akuma follows a very strict moral code that dictates who he will fight.
Akuma adheres to the code of the warrior, which dictates that a fighter must not seek to harm the weak. Akuma will only battle those he deems strong enough, and he very rarely resorts to using his true strength, as this would make for an unfair fight. While the Satsui no Hado promises to one day cause Akuma to lose his humanity, the fighter intends to adhere to his human morals for as long as he can.
9. APRIL FOOLS!
“You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance!” This famous English mistranslation of Ryu’s win quote in Street Fighter II had fans convinced that a secret fighter named Sheng Long lurked within the mega-popular fighting game, and popular video game magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly only helped to fan the flames of this rumor. EGM famously published a guide purporting to contain the secret to unlocking Sheng Long, but it was just an April Fools Day prank. But without this prank, Akuma might never have existed.
EGM’s prank article presented Sheng Long as a martial arts master tied to Ryu and Ken who would appear once certain criteria was met, defeating M. Bison and challenging the player. When Akuma eventually debuted in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, he was a martial arts master tied to Ryu and Ken who would appear once certain criteria was met, defeating M. Bison and challenging the player. Akuma served as a tongue-in-cheek homage to the legendary joke, and may never have come to be if it weren’t for EGM.
8. WHO’S YOUR DADDY?
As a wandering martial artist devoted to obtaining true strength and becoming the world’s greatest fighter, you would think that Akuma wouldn’t exactly have the time to wine and dine a lady. But since his debut in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, rumors have abounded that Akuma knew a woman carnally and subsequently sired a son. Ignoring how ooky Akuma getting laid is, just who is this son? Well, it might be Ryu. And then again, Akuma might not have a son at all.
The tie-in anime film Street Fighter Alpha: Generations chronicles the eternal struggle between Akuma and Ryu, and a character heavily implies that Akuma is actually Ryu’s father. But in Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation, an entirely separate tie-in anime film, Akuma denies having a son. So which is it? Capcom is staying mum on the subject, but fan debate continues to rage.
7. YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE, NIO
The scariest man in Street Fighter may have made his first appearance in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but this fearsome fighter didn’t just spring into existence. No, Akuma went through several designs as Capcom hammered out the perfect look for the wielder of the Satsui no Hado. In the end, Capcom’s design team did what many do when directionless: they turned to religion.
We’re talking about Buddhism, specifically. The character designers referenced Nio, warriors from Buddhist lore that can typically be found in statue form at the mouth of a Buddhist temple protecting the worshipers inside from evil and negative influences. With their striking, thoroughly angry faces, muscular forms, and power to take on the forces of Heaven and Hell, Capcom found their basis for Akuma, and the rest is Street Fighter history.
6. AKUMA: BEAR PUNCHER
Akuma wanders the globe, taking on all fighters he deems worthy and further honing his skills in the Ansatsuken fighting style. Apparently, certain members of the animal kingdom meet Akuma’s definition of fightable, as he did not hesitate to punch a bear clean through the face.
In the tie-in mange Ryu Final, a young Ryu is shown seeking out Master Gouken for training in Ansatsuken, but the martial artist flippantly tells the youth he will only train him if he defeats a bear in combat. Ryu accepts this challenge, and seeks out a bear, only to be thoroughly outmatched by the forest creature. Akuma appears at the last second, driving his fist through the face of the beast, giving the youth his first look at the power of the Satsui no Hado. Ryu and Akuma would not cross paths again for many years, but this legendary bear punch left quite the impression on the World Warrior.
5. AKUMA FIGHTS FOR 500 YEARS
Capcom’s 2012 beat-em-up game Asura’s Wrath is all about being over the top. Demigod protagonist Asura uses his six mighty arms to trade blows with opponents the size of planets, leading to ridiculous, anime-esque battles. So when Capcom announced that Ryu and Akuma would be fighting Asura in a DLC expansion, fans realized that Capcom would have to drastically power up these two legendary fighters to stand a chance against Asura. And boy did Capcom power up Akuma.
Asura manages to best Ryu, only for Akuma to arrive and deliver a mighty Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, kicking Ryu so hard he flies into space and is sucked into a black hole. In the subsequent fight, Akuma and Asura power up, fight so hard they destroy the moon, fly to Earth, and trade blows for 500 years, eventually turning into statues. It’s ridiculous, it’s awesome, and it’s a great send-off for Akuma.
4. GIANT ROBOT AKUMA!
As one of the most popular fighters in Street Fighter, Akuma has popped up in plenty of Capcom games over the years, sometimes as a participating fighter and oftentimes in a glorified cameo. But with the mech-focused fighting game Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness, it seemed like an Akuma cameo was out of the cards, as the fearsome fighter would be positively dwarfed by the battling bots. But Capcom devised a workaround for this predicament: introduce a giant robot version of Akuma.
Akuma would join the cast of this Japanese-exclusive mech fighter as a secret unlockable character when the game was ported to the Sega Saturn in 1997. Dubbed Zero Gouki, this giant robot Akuma utilized the fighter’s full range of moves, and handed out Street Fighter beat downs to skyscraper sized mechs. Whether he’s human or a massive robot, Akuma always commands the battlefield.
3. HADOUKEN FISHING
Street Fighter is home to some of the strongest warriors in fighting game-dom, and Akuma reigns supreme among these powerful World Warriors. While the Street Fighter combatants seemingly spend every waking moment fighting, even the strongest martial artists need to eat. Poster boy Ryu has even proclaimed that a fighter fights best on a full stomach. But what would a terrifying combatant like Akuma eat? Thankfully, a Capcom-approved fan film gave us an answer to this question.
In the prequel film Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist, Ryu and Ken train with Gouken in the ways of the Ansatsuken fighting style. The early days of Akuma are also chronicled, and the fighter is shown hurling hadoukens into a lake and then grabbing the dead fish that float to the top to prepare for dinner. The concept of a hadouken-fishing Akuma is certainly ridiculous, but hey, a man’s gotta eat.
Akuma! The Devil of the battlefield! Wielder of the Satsui no Hado! Death incarnate! Akuma has built a reputation for his staggering power and skill in battle, and he has cemented himself as one of the strongest fighters in the history of Street Fighter. Many have challenged Akuma and have found nothing but defeat. But there is one foe that not even the fearsome Akuma can defeat: the dreaded selfie!
In Elena’s ending in Ultra Street Fighter IV, the high spirited capoeira fighter from Kenya discusses her travels around the globe, fighting many opponents and subsequently befriending those she bested in battle. During a montage showing Elena paling around with the likes of Blanka and El Fuerte, the peppy fighter is shown posing with Akuma, throwing up a peace sign and snapping a selfie. #Akuma #Blessed #thismanhasliterallykilledpeople #TBT
1. OH, YOU’RE GONNA CARRY THAT WEIGHT
Akuma has quite the grab bag of terrifying fighting moves, but there is no move in his repertoire more feared than the Shun Goku Satsu, aka, the Raging Demon. In the blink of an eye, Akuma taps into the power of the Satsui no Hado, effortlessly glides across the screen and grabs the opponent, the screen turns black, and the martial artist delivers an onslaught of blows, resulting in massive damage. But it turns out the damage of the Raging Demon isn’t determined by the strength of Akuma’s blows; rather, the Raging Demon only hurts the opponent as much as the opponent deserves.
According to Street Fighter lore, the Raging Demon is karmic in nature, with the move channeling punishment based on the weight of the sins that dwell within the soul of the individual being attacked. Essentially, the Raging Demon is a very painful example of “what goes around, comes around.”
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