Grandmaster Meio (冥王グランドマスター (Meiō Gurandomasutā), alternatively Meiou/Meioh, meaning Lord of Darkness) is a villian and the main antagonist of the Strider series of action platformer games, starring in the first Strider coin-op and all its sequels.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Story
- 3 Abilities and skills
- 4 Other appearances
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Gallery
- 7 References
Meio is always seen as a cloaked figure floating in mid-air, with no visible legs; and with long, claw-like fingernails. In Strider 2, his face is completely covered by bandages, and his eyes glow through them.
A cruel and evil character, Grandmaster Meio has no moral, ethics or even respect for life of any kind, and only cares for his own ambitions. He shows no interest in the well-being of his subjects, seeing them as nothing but playthings, and even willing to perform mass genocide if they don't live up to his expectations. He also exhibits an unhealthy obssession for total control and an ambition that knows no bounds: not satisfied with having taking over the world, Meio desires to unify every single living being on Earth under his rule. Extremelly arrogant and confident in his powers, Meio seeks to become "God" through the creation of his very own perfect race, with which he'd replace the old humanity. The world in Strider 2 is the end result of this vision, a world where he's worshipped as God and where everything is, directly or indirectly, created by him. This overconfidence and a tendency to greatly underestimate those he deems inferior, however, tends to become his unmaking in the end.
Meio shows a great level of intelligence, being able to create both organic and technological wonders with apparent ease, and cunning enough to obtain the support of earthbound military and political figures. All his subordinates are profoundly devoted and loyal to him, but even them are forbidden to speak his name, instead referring to him respectfully as "Him/That Man" (あのお方 (Ano okata), translated as either "Master" or "Lord" in the localizations).
According to Isuke, Grandmaster Meio was inspired by an image he saw in Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings. 'Meio' is also the Japanese translation of the English 'Dark Lord' that is used in reference to the titular character. Before all this became known, however, it was a popular belief that Meio drew inspiration from Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars franchise, noting several parallels between the two characters such as their old age, being covered in a dark cloak, shooting lightning from their hands, and their similar stations (the Death Star and the Third Moon).
His name was originally localized as Lord Grand Master in the first official English source, the "Falcon" flyers created for the 1988 AM Show.
Concept art of Grandmaster Meio in Strider 2 shows a little mechanical sphere which would have always appeared floating below him, called the "Control Life Orb" (制御生球 (Seigyo-sei Kyū)), which was removed from the final game. This orb appears to have a connection with the Grandmaster's apparent ghost-like form in the game. The Control Life Orb would have also merged with Caduceus during the final battle, forming part of its head or life core.
A being of nearly godlike powers, most information about Grandmaster Meio's origins or details such as nationality or age, are unknown. There's a lot of speculation surrounding the truth behind his origins, such as him being an alien from a distant nebula who has come coveting the planet's sheer force of will. What's known with certainty is that Grandmaster Meio suddenly appeared on Earth one day, and became the absolute ruler of the planet in a few years.
Strider (classic version)
Meio suddenly appeared on Earth in the year 2042, while the world was engulfed in war and chaos. Starting from the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, he began a full-scale worldwide invasion. Easily overcoming any attempt to fight him back, Meio eventually became the absolute ruler of both eastern and western countries in a mere 5 years, taking control of the entire world's military and scientific power, and forging a corrupt military contingent to sustain his rule. Gathering state-of-the-art technology he builds an artificial satellite, the Third Moon, which is launched into Earth's orbit between the planet and its natural moon. From here, he intends to use it as the center of his dictatorship and further his own plans. But even after having all the world at his command, his ambition was yet to be satisfied. He wanted to create an unified world, where all living beings accepted his rule, though he realized it would be impossible since not every human being, let alone the more primitive ones, would be able to understand his word or reason.
Pouring all the scientific power of the world in the research of the creatures in the Amazon, Meio was able to decipher the secret to create life. After some unsatisfactory experiments, and with the creation of the Anti-Gravity Device, a diabolical idea flashed in his mind, "The Third Moon Plan": by using the device to lift up the Third Moon off Earth's atmosphere, he would burn all life (all "Sons of Old Gods") on the planet, leaving behind a "New Earth" free for him to repopulate with his own creations, the sons of a new God, himself.
He has, however, failed to take the Striders into account. With humanity in the brink of extinction, the rebel armies against Meio contract their services and they send Strider Hiryu with a single directive: eliminate Grandmaster Meio. Hiryu infiltrates Kazakh's Capital City and well known base of Meio, St. Petersburg, as the first step of his investigation. After the fall of Kazakh's government, Grandmaster Meio places a large reward for Hiryu's head, sending both his vast army and hired bounty hunters after him. This included expert bounty hunter Solo, who he personally contracts to assure Hiryu "never leaves Eurasia alive". Nonetheless, Hiryu mows down any opposition in his path and eventually brings down Meio's greatest ace: the Flying Battleship Balrog.
Wondering how Hiryu dares fight him, the Grandmaster challenges him claiming he'll show him why he controls this world. But Hiryu continues his mission and eventually discovers the existence of the Third Moon. Removing all obstacles in his path, Hiryu finally faces the madman in a final confrontation, and against all odds he is able to bring the Grandmaster down.
For unknown reasons, Grandmaster Meio has been sealed in a burial chamber beneath ancient ruins in the region of "El Dorado". Through the act of renegade Strider Hien, he's set free of his confinement to take control of the world once again. Meio took residence in the rebuild Third Moon and remained there exclusively, focusing in continuing genetic experimentation on his "New Life".
However, in the 2000 years that went by since his encounter with Hiryu, his ambition have fell apart. The "Unified Earth" he returned to is overrun with diseases and struck by constant wars, and his humanity is slowly nearing their own extinction. Seeing this, Grandmaster Meio decides to destroy this decadent Earth, and leave for another planet where to start his experiments anew. In order to do so, he creates the bio-organic weapon Caduceus to serve as his "path to the stars", a vehicle to carry the seeds of his artificial lifeforms as they travel the galaxy in search of another planet.
Even though this time the Striders were preemptively exterminated, one survivor remained. Strider Hiryu resurfaced once again intent on fulfilling the Striders' last mission: to kill Meio. Hiryu faces the entire world in his quest, but eventually finds and infiltrates the Third Moon, with Meio goading him into coming to kneel before him. Once face to face, Meio proclaims he'll eliminate him before destroying the world, but is unable to best the Strider in battle. Desperate, he unleashes Caduceus at him, but even his creation meets its end in Hiryu's hands. Injured and at Hiryu's mercy, Meio spoke cryptic words, wondering if Hiryu was the same one who, two thousands years before, stood in his path. Hiryu, however, pays no mind to these words and slashes Meio down for good.
Grandmaster Meio suddenly appeared one day on Earth,, transforming Kazakh City in his seat of power. Forging a military force known as "Meio's Army" with his vast scientific might, Grandmaster Meio took over the world in a mere few years. Implementing the "Year of Meio", he became the unopposed ruler of the world. Meio took residence in the Throne Room atop "Meio's Tower" in the center of Kazakh City, from where he controlled his rule throughout his subordinates and generals, who were the only ones who ever saw him.
While the ruler of the world, Grandmaster Meio still harbored the ambition to create his own ideal world, and has patiently awaited for a chance to cleanse the "old world" off all living existence so he can create his personal "new world". He created the Research Facility specifically to carry out genetic research in order to engineer a new species. He also commanded a team of researchers to develop an anti-gravity device called "Gravitron" under false pretenses, keeping secret his intent on using the device to erase all life on the planet. Any researcher who came to know of the truth attempted to escape, only to be hunted down under Meio's orders.
Meio became the target of the Striders at some point during his rise to power, and 11 agents were sent with the mission of killing him. None of the agents survived infiltration of Kazakh City, and only one (Hien) managed to reach the Grandmaster in person, though to no avail. In the year of "Meio 0048", Strider Hiryu is assigned the mission as well. In preparations to execute his plans, Meio at first mostly ignored this new intrusion.
After Hiryu proves a strong enough foe for his personal bounty hunters, he orders General Mikiel to contract the services of Solo. Neither Solo nor Mikiel himself survive their encounter with the Strider, and thus Meio orders his enforcer, Xi Wang Mu, and the head of the Research Facility, Professor Schlange, to eliminate him. Hiryu continues to overcome his foes, surviving every attempt at his life. Tired of Schlange's failures, Meio appears just as the scientist was in the middle of a rant and kills him. He then faces Hiryu, pushing him into the Underground with his powers.
Noting Hiryu's persitence, Meio sends his most trusted follower, Juroung, expecting him to not fail like the others. In spite of Juroung's confidence, however, Hiryu defeated him as well. By that point, Meio decides to await for him at the top of his tower. Once Hiryu appeared, Meio thanks him for having taken care of his subordinates, for he was tired of their incompetence. Meio explains how the "imperfect" humanity has squandered the gifts granted by him, and his plans to start anew and bring a new "age of Meio". He also gives Hiryu the chance to join him, but Hiryu hastily refuses.
Disappointed over his decision, Meio begins his assault. He attacks while reminding Hiryu that he has no chance of winning, and that both the world and fate are his to control. Eventually, however, Hiryu strikes Meio down. Screaming in pain, Meio teleports to his base in orbit, and reveals his true form: "Meio Prime". Notably unhinged from having been pushed this far, Meio proclaims that he'll be the creator of a perfect race as he lashes at Hiryu, but in the end he's defeated for good. Collapsing into Earth, Meio wriggles in pain as his body vaporises during atmospheric reentry, with Hiryu calmy standing on him.
Abilities and skills
Grandmaster Meio doesn't appear to hold any level of superior physical strength, and instead relies on his intelligence and vast powers to attack his enemies from afar. In terms of mobility, Meio has the power to levitate and move through the air at such speed that he leaves a trail of after-images, and the skill to instantly teleport to any location on Earth, or even above its orbit. In terms of offense, Meio can manipulate electricity with great precision and accuracy, being capable of changing its direction and potency at will; and he can also generate highly-explosive projectile orbs with tracking abilities. But what's likely his best known ability is the power of creation, the ability to create organic "lifeforms" through lightning shot from his hands.
Meio is shown having an apparent unlimited control over his ability to create life. There seems to be no limit in the complexity or nature of the lifeforms, as he can produce both simple forms, (i.e., fish) and more complex forms (i.e., dinosaurs) and even humans,, and he's also shown able to create mechanical creatures such as Lago, bizarrelly-shaped organic life and even world-sized creatures like Caduceus. Using this ability in combat, Meio restricts his enemies' movement by filling out the area with several forms in constant movement attacking their target, which in turn makes Meio's own attacks harder to dodge.
As Meio Prime in the 2014 Strider, the Grandmaster's powers are increased exponentially, multiplying the strength and amount of projectiles he can perform with every attack.
- Life Summoning: Meio's signature ability, strangely absent in the 2014 Strider. Meio extends his arms and releases a green lightning bolt, which travels through the air in an erratic pattern, finally stopping and generating a set of creatures on the spot. In Strider 2, he raises both open palms above his head, which glow with energy before the lifeform is created at an specific point of the stage. Each version creates different forms:
- Lifeforms in Strider include:
- Wolves: Two gray wolves are generated from the lightning bolt, jumping out or pouncing as soon as they are summoned.
- Piranhas: A group of 6 Piranhas which fly out in several directions after appearing. They appear in different formations and fly out at random directions, making them difficult to predict and evade.
- Pteranodon: A set of 2 Pteranodon, which fly in a straight line at either the right or left side of the screen.
- Lifeforms in Strider 2 include:
- Gravity Organism "Graveleo": A square-ish, hopping "leg" with a lion's head that's actually the shoulder joint of Caduceus. After being summoned, it starts leaping from one platform to another, periodically releasing discs of energy straight below him.
- Plasma Organism "Ardoravis": A red flaming orb, this form is the tip of Caduceus' "arms". This construct appears at one side of the screen and quickly flies to the other side, trying to hit Hiryu on its way.
- Electromagnetic Organism "Fulmenorca": A floating transparent fish-like construct with a red core. It floats through the air, and shoots a lightning bolt once it comes close to Hiryu. The bolt is aimed at Hiryu’s position, and last a few seconds before disappearing.
- Teleport: His other signature attack. Meio disappears surrounded by a white/purplish vortex of energy, then reappears in another location. Meio usually teleports between attacks or after being hit himself.
- From Strider 2:
- Energy Orbs: Meio unleashes a small orb of energy, with weak homing capabilities. The orb aims at Hiryu's position, but it's somewhat slow and easy to avoid. Once it hits either Hiryu or a platform, it produces an explosion on the spot. Meio has two different forms of throwing it: he either creates it with one hand and throws it with a hand gesture, or creates it by putting both open hands together in front of him.
- Lightning Beam: Meio puts both open hands together, and unleashes a giant lightning beam straight below him. Usually done when Hiryu is close or directly below Meio. Being a slow attack, it can be avoided and countered.
- From the 2014 Strider:
- Lightning Blast: Meio shoots two lightning bolts from each hand, diagonally down. Any surfaces they touch are charged up briefly, with a small pulse running through them. After losing half his health, Meio redirects both lightnings away from any surface they touch, extending their effective range. Purple lines coming from his hands indicate which path the lightning will follow.
- Giant Tracker Orb: Meio generates a large plasma orb which will slowly follow Hiryu around. The orb can move through walls and objects, and is mostly a distraction as it will not disappear until it hits Hiryu or is destroyed. Destroying it restores a bit of health. During the battle's latter half, it takes more hits to destroy.
- Fire Array: Meio generates 4 red fireballs above him, which shoot themselves at Hiryu one at a time. During the battle's latter half, Meio generates six instead of four orbs.
- Plasma Array: Meio generates a ring of 10 purple plasma orbs around him, which radiates outwards and splits into even smaller orbs covering a large area. They can be blocked by using the platforms. Meio only uses it when low on health.
Grandmaster Meio is one of the six main bosses in Capcom Quiz: Hatena? no Daibouken.
Grandmaster Meio is the final boss in the Mega Drive and Game Gear ports of the non-canonical Strider Returns: Journey from Darkness. In the original home computer versions, he only makes a cameo in the title screen.
Grandmaster Meio is one of the major antagonists in Namco x Capcom, appearing near the story's end.
Grandmaster Meio appears in the story mode of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. He appears as a story-only character, searching to fulfill his desire to manipulate and control life. He's been working with Ultron Sigma, and is in possession of the Power Stone which he keeps deep in the core of his lair. He's also rewritten the core routines of Zero, turning him into a servile subordinate who calls himself "Oblivion". He's confronted and later defeated by Hiryu and Gamora as a distraction while the others go and retrieve the Power Stone.
Unlike Hiryu, Meio's design is from his appearance in the 2014 Strider game.
- Grandmaster Meio makes a cameo in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as one of the cards in Heroes and Heralds mode.
- Grandmaster Meio appears as a card in SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash 2.
- Some magazine reviews of the time listed Meio's name erroneously as Lord Eurasia, probably a mistake born from his well-known line: "He shall never leave Eurasia alive!"
- Grandmaster Meio shows a lot of differences in his dialogue and how he's adreessed in the Japanese subtitles of the 2014 Strider game when compared with the English script.
- In Japanese, the previous game's taboo followed by all his subordinates of never speaking his name and only referring to him as "Him/That Man" is maintained throrough, while the English script drops it and has all enemies freely speak his full name.
- Save one instance, Grandmaster Meio always calls Hiryu a "Son of an Old God" (古き神の子よ (Furuki kami no ko yo)) in Japanese, a nod to his end-game dialogue in the first game. There's no such reference in the English dialogue.
- The pre-boss battle talk between Meio and Hiryu is very different: Meio makes no mention of being tired of his subordinates and neither asks Hiryu to join him, instead telling Hiryu he is late and declaring his intention to create a New World and that Hiryu will be soon witness of the end of the world.
- In English, Meio speaks using the Royal we inconsistently, referring to himself in plural only during most of his big speech. There's no equivalent used in the Japanese subtitles, where he speaks normally.
- While Meio Prime's intel bio in the 2014 Strider game directly states Meio is a "space alien", both Meio and Meio Prime's intel bios in the Japanese version remain vague about his true nature and origins all the way through.
- Grandmaster Meio's 2014 Strider redesign bears a strong resemblance to fellow Capcom antagonist Bilstein, or more accurately, Bilstein's Ghost from the Star Gladiator series.
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