We have arrived at the best day of the week once more! And today I am going to be talking about the wonderful, All-American fighting god, Ken Masters. After all, Street Fighter 6 is in development and we need to tide ourselves over until we learn more after EVO this coming August.
Here at Rice Digital our archive of waifu and husbando-loving articles grows each and every week. If you would like to check out some of the other pieces we’ve done on this wonderful subculture of anime then you can do so here for the ladies and here for the boys.
Who is Ken Masters?
Ken Masters is probably one of the most well-known characters in video games alongside his best friend and rival Ryu. If you haven’t heard the name, you will have most definitely at least heard the words ”Hadouken”, “Shoryuken”, or “Tatsumaki Senpukyaku” at least once in your life. Maybe you were walking through an arcade, maybe playing fighting games at a friend’s house, or maybe you were playing Smash Ultimate on the Switch. (Maybe you were making jokes about saying “how do, Ken?” and “Show Ryu Ken” as a kid, also. No, just me? Fine – Ed.)
Ryu is a character who is all about the pursuit of growth and becoming stronger; a man who places that as his primary goal in life and prioritises it as so. Ken, meanwhile, represents a more realistic look at a person who has their own personal goals: he wants to fight strong opponents from all over the world and grow, but he also balances these desires with his family life, and thus he exercises restraint by not letting his own personal wants take over to an excessive degree.
Back in the early days of the Street Fighter series Ken was almost a copy-paste of Ryu, but you would switch out the black hair for blonde and the white gi for red. Outside of his signature colours though, Ken played in almost completely the same way as Ryu. But as time went on and Street Fighter evolved, Ken became his own character. Where Ryu was made to accentuate a balanced playstyle with stronger Hadoukens, Ken came to represent a more aggressive playstyle with his multi-hitting attacks and forward-advancing attacks.
Why we love Ken Masters
Similar to Ryu and Chun-Li, Ken has become more than just a character in a video game — he is a part of the Triforce of Street Fighter. If any one of these characters is missing from the roster, it feels like something irreplaceable is missing.
We look back and consider the Street Fighter III series to be one of the all-time greats in retrospect, but what newer players don’t know is how detrimental that game was financially for Capcom, and a huge reason was that the game didn’t include the three most important and recognisable characters from the series.
Like Ryu, Ken is a character whose appeal continuously grows the more you play fighting games. The more you play and learn about these games, the more you begin to understand just how important these two characters were in the creation of almost every fighting game character that came after them — they were the foundation of all the archetypes we know and love today.
I love me some Ryu, but there is something so flashy and fun about everything Ken does. Whether it’s the fact he’s more energetic in his animations, the sense of style his special attacks have, or just the fact that his shoryuken catches fire, I will never get bored of seeing the character on my screen.
Why you’ll love Ken Masters
I’m not of the generation that grew up in the arcades when these characters were first created, but I can say with utmost confidence that Ken represents a massive percentage of the fighting game community today. People still want to play, grow and get stronger, but know they also have other things they need to prioritise. I think that’s a really powerful aspect of the character that a lot of people have come to love about him.
Also, he’s just a fantastic friend to our main man Ryu. Ryu is a man with an incredibly powerful darkness lying dormant within him, but no matter how far gone he may think he is, Ken always manages to pull him out of his funk. The two are constantly challenging one another and growing together in such a wonderful way — and I cannot wait to see more of their brotherly bond in Street Fighter 6.
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