Hiryu (飛竜, Hiryū), more commonly known as Strider Hiryu (ストライダー飛竜, Sutoraidā Hiryū), is the main protagonist of the Strider series of action platformer games. Jointly owned by Capcom and manga studio Moto Kikaku, Hiryu has starred in all official Strider games and the manga, as well as appearing in a host of Capcom's crossover games.
As an active Strider agent, all personal data on Hiryu such as his real name, age, nationality, career and any other background information are top secret, although official speculation states that he's an Asian male somewhere around 20 years of age (19 in the manga). The youngest Strider ever to reach Special A-Class in the organization's history, Hiryu completed the Striders' hellish training program among the top ten percentile. He is a professional expert in sabotage and assassination, as well as a master spy.
Hiryu wears a bluish-purple colored sleeveless Strider uniform resembling the clothing worn by ninjas in popular media that shows the kanji for the first character of his codename (飛 - Hi) imprinted in red on the upper left of his chest, shin and wrist wraps, and a loose, metallic belt over a red sash. Sometimes he is seen wearing a red scarf that he uses to mask the lower portion of his face.
In the 2014 game, Hiryu's new uniform consists of a skintight wetsuit used below a Hard rubber armor made of a set of chaps and a chest piece, a separate metallic insignia with the red "Hi" kanji imprint strapped to his chest and a face mask. Instead of a physical scarf, he has an energy scarf of sorts made of excess plasma he's constantly releasing from his body. He also sports a single shoulder pad on his right shoulder, fingerless gloves and a mechanical Gauntlet, elements borrowed from his manga design.
The basis for Hiryu's character was conceived during the project's initial meeting of the three project heads (Kouichi Yotsui, Masahiko Kurokawa and Tatsumi Wada) at the Shinjuku Hilton hotel, and fleshed out over subsequent meetings. Among the three, Yotsui was the one who proposed and pushed for a futuristic ninja concept, inspired by the Shinjuku skyline visible from the hotel and ninja series of the Sixties. Hiryu's use of a sword as his main weapon may have also been his idea, as Isuke has professed a liking of melee weapons since they force the player to "approach the enemy in order to destroy them".
Hiryu was named after the Japanese World War II aircraft carrier "Hiryu", although Hiryu's name uses the simplified form of the second kanji. Although the two names mean the same ("Flying Dragon"), Hiryu's name is also a synonym for "wyvern" in Japanese, a type of European dragon which only has wings and hind legs.
Kouchi Yotsui himself drew Hiryu's design and appearance in the original Arcade game. Yotsui's take on Hiryu differs noticeably from the design featured in the manga and the NES video game, most notably in the absence of the long, red scarf. Early backstory stated Hiryu wore instead a long red sash on his waist, but the final in-game design also ditched this element. Although unconfirmed, it's possible memory limitations and/or difficulties in animating a flowing piece of cloth with sprites were factors in their removal.
Hiryu's agility and high acrobatics were inspired by Isuke's love of mountain-climbing, skiing and diving; as well as an incident where he was locked onto the Hilton's rooftop and was forced to climb down the building to reach a fire escape. His fluid and athletic animations, however, used a "tremendous" amount of data, roughly the same they would use in "two games" back then.
Hiryu's unexpected return as a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes became pivotal in resurrecting the character's popularity, becoming a favorite choice among the game's audience, specially in overseas countries, and opening way for a proper sequel to the original Arcade game to be produced. His inclusion in the roster was the initiative of primary planner Atsushi Tomita, a self-confessed fan of the Arcade original who wanted to resurrect the character. The new design, drawn by Capcom's former artist Bengus, follows the basic design of Isuke's original version, but it most notably restores the missing red scarf. According to Bengus, after seeing the original manga and liking Tatsumi Wada's rendition, he decided that Hiryu's "fighting game version" would also sport it. This would become the standard for all of Hiryu's following appearances.
For Strider 2 it was Harumaru, an artist who briefly worked at Capcom at the time, the one chosen to helm Hiryu's (and the overall game's) design. Hiryu's general appearance and animations take inspiration from Marvel vs. Capcom, although Harumaru was not particularly inspired by this version, instead drawing him based on advice from Capcom artist Shoei about Hiryu being a "crazy" protagonist that carries out any mission he's given "mechanically", and as such considers this version fundamentally different from Bengus' version. Harumaru also drew heavily from several American comic books found at the design office, listing specifically works from DC Comics, Mike Mignola, Simon Bisley, and Spawn, which made Hiryu's look a mix between a "quirky" anime style and hard tones most commonly associated with American comic books.
Harumaru made special note of designing the Hiryu from the first game differently, including the lack of scarf and (in concept art) the appearance of his Options. Harumaru referred to this version as "Old Times/Ancient Hiryu" (むかし飛竜, Mukashi Hiryū).
Hiryu's new appearance in the 2014 Strider game was created by Sho Sakai, originally the enemy designer in Strider 2, and he oversaw all the process from initial sketches, to drawing, 3D rendering and final model. The main idea behind Hiryu's "reborn" design sought to keep his "character silhouette" intact, updating him visually while remaining instantly recognizable. He draws from all his previous appearances, Sakai's idea for the design being that Hiryu would look like previous versions when seen from afar, but upon closer inspection one would discover a completely different design.
Hiryu's new design includes brand new elements while keeping his general appearance intact. Chief among these changes are the new hard-rubber armor Hiryu wears and a trail of plasma which doubles as a "plasma scarf". The setting behind the updated visual was considered important, and these new elements were integrated into the mythos: Hiryu's armor is the uniform used for long-term missions, while the plasma scarf is created by the excess energy Hiryu generates from his body, which the Cypher uses to function. The plasma scarf was also implemented to serve as a visual cue for Hiryu's new plasma-based abilities, changing its color to indicate which of the four plasma upgrades is being selected at the time.
Hiryu is a special agent known as a Strider. The Striders are an elite team of hi-tech ninja-like mercenaries specializing in kidnapping, assassination, demolition, and other types of missions that they have performed throughout history in service of the greater good. They are one of the world's most influential secret maneuvering groups, having been descended from the ninja of the feudal era of Japan.
As an active Strider agent, all personal data about Hiryu are top secret, although spare details are known. He was born in a Tungusic village and was drafted into the Strider's training program at a young age. Despite the odds of surviving such training regime (only 10% of all applicants survive) he excelled at every category and became the youngest agent to reach the highest rank (Special-A Class) in the group's history. Hiryu favors the plasma sword Cypher as his weapon of choice, which he can freely use from any position.
In the year 2042, an evil supergenius by the name of Grandmaster Meio appeared and, in five years time, had taken over the nations of Earth, and exerts control over the human race with an iron fist and powerful militia. Having uncovered the secrets of life in the Amazon, Meio plans to utilize his artificial city, the Third Moon, to cause a mass extinction event on Earth, seeing it as nothing more than his own plaything, and creating his own lifeforms to populate his new world.
In 2048, A resistance force comes to the Striders to stop Meio's diabolical plans. Hiryu, who retired from the group two years prior, returns and is tasked to take down Meio and his machinations. After bringing down his followers in the Kazakh Federation, the Grandmaster offers a bounty for his head and sends assassins and bounty hunters to kill him. Hiryu eventually finds the Grandmaster's base in the Third Moon, infiltrates it and finishes his mission.
2000 years after Grandmaster Meio's defeat, a Strider carrying the same codename of the man who miraculously defeated him two centuries ago rises up to confront a world who worships him. Shortly after receiving the mission, however, the Striders were betrayed by Hien, a fellow Special-A Strider and friend of Hiryu, who released the Grandmaster from his tomb to reclaim his world. Rather than lingering over his feelings for the defunct group, Hiryu decides to carry out their final mission instead: to find and eliminate the Grandmaster.
After facing the Grandmaster's followers across the world, Hiryu eventually reaches the rebuilt Third Moon, where he faces and eliminates both Solo and Hien for the last time. Then he reaches to top of the station and confronts the Grandmaster himself, finally defeating him. The Grandmaster wonders if the man in front of him is the same one who defeated him 2000 years ago, but Hiryu provides no answer and cleaves him in two, ending his tyranny.
In this retelling of the original story, Strider Hiryu is the latest in a line of Striders that were sent on a mission to eliminate Grandmaster Meio, who has taken over the world and now resides in a military base at Kazakh City. Hiryu is the 12th Strider to attempt the mission, all others having died during the infiltration. Hiryu begins his mission by infiltrating Kazakh Ciy in the year of "Meio 0048".
Abilities and skillsEdit
In battle, Hiryu is incredibly focused, appearing silent but stern. He shows super-human capabilities, heightened by his impressive agility and speed, which allows him to dodge barrages of bullets. Hiryu fights like a fierce deity while remaining both calm and collected emotionally. He epitomizes the strength a Special A-Class Strider possesses.
While Hiryu rarely fights unarmed, he has mastered hand-to-hand martial arts (Taijutsu, or unarmed body skills) to a super-human level and possess above-normal physical strength, being powerful enough to hack through his enemy's limbs using only his bare hands as though he was slashing at them with his Cypher. Hiryu's physique has been honed through special training, granting him the ability to move around freely in any location or position, even while climbing or hanging off structures; as well as nimble movements and agility to perform high acrobatic moves such as cartwheel jumps and back flips.
Hiryu also posses a gifted speed, easily reaching supersonic levels as shown when he evaded "Shadow Tag Bullets", a man-sized anti-aircraft machinegun known for their ability to hit super sonic targets automaticaly thanks to an advanced radar system. His speed possibly reaches hyper sonic and above, but that is yet to be shown. He's shown moving and attacking faster than the human eye can perceive, moving across large distances in the blink of an eye and moving at such speed that he leaves several after-images of him behind. He's also implied (but not shown) to have outran an explosion while standing close to it, is seen outrunning the chain of explosions of mines as he steps on them and has dodged the combined fire of three Shadow Tag Bullets by moving so fast their radar system couldn't find him, while cornered inside a room with little moving space.
Hiryu favors the plasma sword Cypher as his weapon of choice, which he can freely use from any position. His mastery over the Cypher is well known among the Striders, to the point it is said there are none more skilled than him wielding it. Hiryu's primary strategy is to close the distance with his target and then attack with a single Cypher strike to cut the enemy in half, a tactic facilitated by his trained physique and technique.
In the 2014 Strider game, the Cypher instead channels plasma energy generated within Hiryu's body. Hiryu can concentrate this energy in different amounts to generate new attacks, as well as change its properties to create elemental edges such as fire or ice-based ones.
Hiryu was featured in the obscure Japan-only game Capcom World 2 as one of the characters providing quizzes to the player.
Marvel vs. Capcom seriesEdit
Hiryu was slated to appear in the canceled Capcom Fighting All-Stars. The gameplay was more down-to-Earth and as such, Hiryu's fighting style was considerably more subdued than in his Marvel vs. Capcom incarnation. In All-Stars, he primarily used punches and kicks, with his light sword Cypher unleashed only in special attacks.
Hiryu also appeared in Namco x Capcom as one of the protagonists.
Monster Hunter seriesEdit
As part of a special collaboration event, Hiryu's uniform and Light Sword Cypher are equipment sets available in the English-only Monster Hunter Generations and its Japanese upgrade, Monster Hunter XX.
- Hiryu makes a minor cameo in a newspaper ad in Capcom Baseball.
- Hiryu makes a cameo in Street Fighter Alpha 2, as one of the many guests at Ken's wife Eliza's birthday party. He is seen in his normal attire, except for wearing a bowtie and holding a teddy bear.
- Hiryu and his three Option robots appear as cards in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash series.
- Hiryu was one of many Capcom characters featured in Minna to Capcom All Stars.
- Hiryu appeared as two cards in a special promotion for Dragon's Dogma Quest.
- Hiryu's satellite assist robot or "Option A" appears as a power-up item in Super Ultra Dead Rising 3' Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX + α.
- Hiryu appeared as five different cards in the crossover mobile game Street Fighter × All Capcom.
- There is debate over whether the Hiryu in Strider 2 is the same one or an incarnation of the original, primarily stemming from the game's backstory which sets the game 2000 years after the original, and Grandmaster Meio's last words in the ending wondering if he is the same man who defeated him back then and if he has "come to finish what he didn't". The Strider Hiryu Visual Chronicle artbook, however, states the Strider 2 Hiryu carries the same nickname of the original, implying they are two different people.
- The story mode in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite provides a different take on the situation, with Hiryu lamenting about fighting Grandmaster Meio for a thousand years in a 'never-ending circle of life and death' to his fighting partner Gamora. This explanation is exclusive of Infinite, however, and not considered canon to the Strider series.
- Another common but mistaken assumption is that Hiryu has lived and is well over 2000 years old, a "fact" usually accompanied by giving him the completely arbitrary age of 2021. This, however, has never been backed up by any official source, making the claim completely fan-made. Hiryu having survived two centuries by using the "advanced medicine of the future" is also false, another unsourced and arbitrary assumption pushed forward in Hiryu's appearance on the web series Death Battle.
- Hiryu was initially disconfirmed for a playable appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (the development team citing at first that he "didn't fit in [the game's] concept" and later his complex licensing issues as the reason), but he was later confirmed for its updated re-release, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Ryota Niitsuma (the producer and director for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and its update) said that because of the fan demand, Capcom decided to work something out with Hiryu's manga company.
- The Street Fighter IV/Super Street Fighter IV artbook shows that Hiryu was considered as an alternate costume for Guy, before they ultimately chose a slightly altered version of his Final Fight outfit. Interestingly enough, Hiryu has an alternate costume in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the 2014 Strider game which uses Guy's color scheme.
- Similar to the above, artwork for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 reveals an unused Hiryu alt costume for Moira Burton.
- His modernized animations that date back to Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes became primary elements and influences in the 2014 remake of his game. It was also due to the mentioned game that Hiryu and the entire Strider series came out of obscurity, paving way for the production of Strider 2, and Hiryu's other crossover appearances.
- Street Fighter character Zeku shares many similarities and thematic elements with Hiryu, as noted in the former's character article. Because of these connections, it is theorized that the Strider series exists within the same shared universe as the Street Fighter series. Whether or not the connections between the series are intended to convey a shared universe or if they are simply referential in nature is unconfirmed, however.
- In Street Fighter V, fellow Capcom ninja character Ibuki gains a swimsuit that uses Hiryu's color scheme, complete with cape.
For more of this character, see their gallery.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1993. Club Capcom #0. Pg 11-12.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Scion; Dire 51 (24 April 2010). "Interview with Kouichi "Isuke" Yotsui". LSCM 4.0. Translated by Gaijin Punch. Accessed 5 Oct 2011.
- ↑ Concepcion, Miguel (May 14, 2011). "Q&A with Kouichi Yotsui on Moon Diver". Examiner. Accessed 24 Jun 2011.
- ↑ Szymanski, Andrew (February 22, 2014). "Original Strider Hiryu Developer - Kouichi Yotsui Interview" (Japanese). Video interview included in the PlayStation 3 version of Strider Hiryu (2014)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Capcom (March 10, 2014). "Capcom Legends Chapter 3: The Running Ninja from the Future, Hiryu!" (Japanese). Capcom's official site. Accessed November 04, 2015
- ↑ Jones, Darran (April 24, 2010). "The Making of... Strider". Retro Gamer (76). pp. 48-53.
- ↑ Capcom (February 22, 2014). Strider Hiryu Visual Chronicle (Japanese). Pg. 33
- ↑ Calvert, Darren (February 7, 2014). "Interview: Double Helix Games on Carving Out a New Strider for PS4". pushsquare.com. Accessed April 11, 2014
- ↑ GregaMan (February 13, 2014). "Get the dirt on Strider's new game with this behind-the-scenes feature" (English). Capcom-unity.com. Accessed May 27, 2016
- ↑ Spencer (July 26, 2013). Strider Starts out with All of his Core Abilities and has Touches for MvC Fans. Siliconera.com. Accessed November 04, 2015
- ↑ Strider Hiryu disconfirmed Marvel vs Capcom 3 (November 10, 2010). Accessed June 27, 2011
- ↑ Spencer (March 11, 2011). Interview with Seth Killian. Accessed June 27, 2011
- ↑ https://www.eventhubs.com/news/2017/oct/18/zeku-has-more-common-strider-hiryu-just-costume-could-two-characters-be-canonically-linked/