Akuma (アクマ, "devil" in Japanese), known as Gouki (豪鬼 Gōki "great spirit", "great demon" or "great ogre") in Japan, is one of the most popular characters from Street Fighter and a central character in the UDON comics. His first video game appearance in the series was in Super Street Fighter II Turbo. The kanji ten (天) - meaning "sky", "heaven", or "providence" - can be seen on the back of his gi. Capcom has stated that this symbol was meant to represent "immortality".
Akuma and his brother Gouken were students of Goutetsu. Goutetsu taught a nameless martial art, which incorporates elements of Karate, Judo, and Kempo. He also taught the Shun Goku Satsu (literally “Instant Hell Murder”) also known as the “Raging Demon”, a 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 dark nature of his fighting style and only wanted to embrace the peaceful and spiritual aspect of the art, left Goutetsu after he had completely finished his training to begin his own dojo, Goutetsu even allowed him to build his dojo and was even proud,for wanting to pass down the art to others. Akuma on the other hand, continued to use the dark side of their martial art and vowed to use their fighting style as it was intended in order to become stronger.
In order to learn the technique of the Raging Demon, Akuma embraced the evil power of the Satsui no Hadou or (The Surge of the Intent to Kill/Killing Intent). Through Satsui no Hadou, Akuma had giving 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 of enlightenment to train alone, but after embracing the Satsui no Hadou to his fullest extent, he begin to gain a lust to fight to the death as well as losing his humanity to the point of becoming a warrior that seeks a fight that would cost him his life towards another warrior and a person that only wants more power, and took a demonic apparance that matched his darkend soul.
His return marked the end of Goutetsu - Akuma demonstrated his power by destroying his former master with Shun Goku Satsu in battle, but was unaware that his student had lost his humanity from embracing the Satsui no Hadou to his fullest extent. Akuma removed the beaded necklace from Goutetsu's neck and placed it around his own, believing that he was the one who truly mastered the art and even called his master a fool for not embracing the Satsui no Hadou wholly, when Gouken came to visit his master to see how he was doing, he saw Goutetsu's lifeless body and his brother's face no longer human looking, Gouken yelled at Akuma for killing their master, Akuma howevered, said nothing and left Goutetsu and Gouken and went into the woods. 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 his own kin. Akuma, vowing to return, left Gouken. Years later, he returned; they fought again, and this time Gouken was killed (until SF4). Ryu finding Gouken 's body (after falling to Akuma ), who then travels the world to find Akuma . These renditions also talk of Ryu's potential to harness "Satsui no Hadou, turning him into “Evil Ryu”, showing his true power to Akuma who after beating the Evil Ryu he left him to raise his power into the Satsui no Hado and finally have a death battle with who he thinks is the only rival he could have.
Several other renditions of the Street Fighter story talk of 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 in order to get vengeance towards him.
Akuma begins to search the globe looking for worthy warriors to challenge and kill. 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 warrior named Gen. Gen fights him to the point of matching him in battle, even surviving the Raging Demon by emptying his soul in time from emotions. Just as Akuma begins to wonder if this is the warrior he is looking for, a worthy opponent that would give him the fight 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 dying, and the death match is not fair. Gen tells Akuma to kill him. Not wanting to carry the fight on any longer and who would not find any satisfaction in killing a dying opponent in a honorable match, Akuma leaves Gen. After the fight, Akuma becomes obsessed with Ryu and to battle him in a fair fight.
Ryu eventually finds Akuma's island (known as Onigami Isle or the Gokuentou) and challenges him to avenge Gouken. While fighting Ryu, Akuma saw the potential within him to harness the ki of the Satsui no Hadou and to match him in battle. Telling Ryu to fight him again when he has embraced the Satsui no Hadou fully to the point of giving up his humanity, Akuma strikes the ground with the powerful ki of the Satsui no Hadou and disappears. The island falls apart around Ryu, who is left in the ocean to contemplate Akuma's words. Leaving his destroyed abode, Akuma thinks about all the warriors that 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 his true power. At some point, he murders 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.
Two years later, Akuma begins to search once more for worthy fighters whilst awaiting Ryu to embrace the Satsui no Hadou, Akuma encounters Gen once more and fights a second battle (the results of which are still unclear, though Gen's appearance in the home versions of Street Fighter IV seems to suggest he survived the battle somehow), he even fought Adon in a battle and won, but did not kill him. However, unknown to Akuma, Ryu rejects the Satsui no Hadou while battling the Shadaloo leader, Bison, declaring that a true warrior does not rely on evil intent and had given up his vengeance towards Akuma for murdering his master.
Akuma does not officially enter the second World Warrior tournament, although he does fight Bison to see how strong he is and even performs the Raging Demon technique on Bison. Akuma stated that Bison was pathetic for letting dark energy control him rather than him controlling such power, (however, Bison has always been in control of his own power and because part of his soul was inside Rose, he came back). Bison's body is eventually regenerated by Shadaloo scientists. 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 (Or so he thinks). He then "fades into the shadows" to await a fighter worthy of him.
Akuma can be unlocked as a playable character in Street Fighter IV by meeting certain requirements. 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 so he can try to kill him in battle. Like the other World Warrior 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 (it is most likely that Akuma had lost that battle with Gouken because he was alive in his Ending of Super Street Fighter IV).
One of his alternate costumes is a rope around his waist which symbolizes what gods wore to restrict their power in Japanese mythology. His brother, Gouken, has this same costume.
Three years later, 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 fought and 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 destroy an person with a single hit, 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 (mentioned above), although this is mainly conjecture as he is not shown using this move until the 3rd World Warrior tournament.
Akuma continued to develop his now-incredible fighting skill, and even fought with Oro in a simple, inconclusive battle, 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, it shows that Akuma will not stop his training for anybody.
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.
Akuma is a seemingly brutal, angry, quite honorable and proud warrior who enjoys training and has contempt for true weaklings. He is rarely seen smiling and enjoys fighting formidable warriors, such as Ryu. He also hates it when somebody actually interferes with his training. He is also quite serious in fighting and enjoys getting stronger. In his conversations with many warriors, he tends to talk about their fists and his own. He truly hates Gouken for not using their fighting style in the way that it is intended to be used, and hates him even more for sealing off the Satsui no Hadou in Ryu from taking over him. He is also very independent and fights alone.
Akuma's personality is very dark and negative towards other people, he believes that abandoning all positive emotions and fighting with rage and hate is the way all warriors should battle. He sees compassion and caring for others as a weakness. Because of his personality, many warriors do not like him as a person, believing that he only cares about strength and power. One such person is Ryu, who admonishes him for throwing away his own humanity.
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, stronger than him or who he finds worth killing, which is why he stopped his fight with Gen after realizing that he was ill and dying. While Akuma killed 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 or 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.
Capcom USA initially claimed Akuma was possessed by a demon, but the fabrication was easily caught and not accepted as 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).
Perhaps in an attempt to revisit the demon possession theme, Akuma is given an even stronger form, known as Oni, who has near demon-like appearance and mannerisms, and has abandoned even his moral code.
Akuma has the same moves as Ryu and Ken, only much faster and more damaging. Akuma can perform the Hadōken (Gō Hadōken--Great Surge Fist), including one performed mid-air (Zankū Hadōken--Air Slashing Surge Fist). His Tatsumaki Zankūkyaku (Tornado Air Slashing Leg) knocks the opponent down instantly and can also juggle, his Shōryūken ( Gō Shōryūken, -- Great 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 (Annihilating Great Surge，滅殺豪波動), which is simply a high-powered Shinkū Hadōken, a Tenma Gō Zankū (Demon's Great Air Slash，天魔豪斬空), a mid-air version of the Shinkū Hadōken, the Messatsu Gō Shōryū (Annihilating Great Rising Dragon，滅殺豪昇龍), which similar to Ken's Shōryū Reppa without the scorching effect, and the Messatsu Gō Rasen (Annihilating Great 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 (Land Rending Vajra Slash，金剛国裂斬) where Akuma pounds the ground, producing waves of energy. In Capcom vs. SNK 2 and SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos 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/Raging Demon), 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/Wrath of the Raging Demon) as his Ultra Combo. In Super Street Fighter 4, Akuma has a new ultra called Tenshou Kaireki Jin (Demon Armageddon in English adaptaion). 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.
- 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.
- Akuma was one of the final characters revealed to be in the roster for Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
- Additionally, Akuma can be created in Mortal Kombat Armageddon's Kreate-A-Fighter mode, with his hairstyle listed as Devil.
- 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.
- Akuma (along with Ryu) both made their appearances in Capcom and CyberConnect2's collaborative beat-em-up title, Asura's Wrath. Akuma appears in the non-canon DLC only character with his own fleshed out episode titled The Strongest vs. The Angriest. Much like the previous episode, it uses the Super Street Fighter IV engine while shifting to the traditional battle system for the second half. The story picks up after the previous where Akuma suddenly appears to Asura. To prevent distractions, Akuma immediately executes the Demon Armageddon on Ryu, but instead of piercing him, he launches him so hard that flies through a wormhole back to his original world. When Akuma learns of his name, he seems to be very familiar with Asura's background as a being of wrath and challenges him. He retains his moves from before and switches Ultras between matches. The Wrath of the Raging Demon can also be countered through a Quick Time Event as well. At the end of the first half, he pushed back and the Onigami takes over, transforming into Oni, starting the second half. At the end of the battle, Asura and Akuma continue to fight, with the fight apparently lasting for 500 years. In the timeskip, both combatants are still facing each other in a standstill and have turned to stone with developing moss. Eventually, both statues begin to move at last to finally finish the fight, ending in a cliffhanger.
- Due to the Street Fighter Alpha Generations anime, it is believed by some that Akuma is Ryu's father, however, this movie as well as all other Street Fighter movies are non-canon to the series.
- Officially, Akuma is Ryu's adoptive uncle.
- Akuma is shown waiting in the background in many episodes of the non-canonical Street Fighter II V anime. See all appearances in this link.
- In Street Fighter IV, he is the only character where the player doesn't need to press the three punch buttons or kick buttons to perform his ultra combo.
- Akuma's Ultra Combo from Street Fighter IV is the same as in Street Fighter Alpha.
- In the UDON comics. Akuma had used the Raging Demon technique on Seth, but he could not copy it because it was a spiritual attack and Akuma could not destroy his soul because he was an android.
- Throughout the series, Akuma has stated that he is a demon, this is most likely because of the Satsui no Hadou finally taken a negative impact on his humanity.
- Rose, in her winquote against Oni, Akuma's more powerful form, suggests that becoming Oni is possibly Akuma's ultimate fate and not a what-if.
- Out of all the characters Akuma has encountered, only Elena has managed to pacify and even made Akuma smile, in her own ending in USFIV.
For more images of this character, see their Gallery.