Gouki is one of the most powerful characters in the Street Fighter games.
He was the first hidden character of the series, appearing (or rather, sneaking!) in the 1994 game.
Why Capcom America swapped out one Japanese name for another in the English translation is totally beyond me. But it should be noted that he’s known as Akuma (The Devil) in North America.
That he looks for worthy opponents gives him reason enough to challenge anyone he deems tough enough, too! Gouki is a god-like martial artist who could give even some of the heavy hitters a challenge.
- Real Name: Gouki.
- Known Relatives: Gouken (brother).
- Group Affiliation: Formerly a disciple of Goutetsu along with Gouken.
- Base of Operations: Mobile.
- Height: 5’11″ (1.80 m). Weight: 176 lbs. (80 Kg.).
- Eyes: Pupiless that occasional crackle with red energy. Hair: Red.
Powers and Abilities
Akuma is the undisputed master of the Ansatuken (the assassin’s fist). His utter and entire devotion to it has led him to achieve a destructive power that far surpasses what any human can do.
He is without a doubt one of the strongest, if not the strongest, martial artist in the entire SF universe.
His feats of destruction include:
- Sinking a small island with a single punch.
- Destroying a mountain with one punch.
- Surviving deep under the sea without equipment.
- A hurricane kick so powerful that it caused a whirlpool that crushed a submarine.
Round one, fight!
Beyond his more standard fare are the moves that SF fans have come to appreciate:
- Jumping to superhuman heights.
- Throwing powerful energy blasts, both on the ground and in the air.
His original abilities include being able to teleport short distances, and his Instant Hell Murder aka Raging Demon. The latter is said to instantly drag an opponent’s soul into hell.
In DC Heroes RPG terms, whenever he uses this technique (Mystic Blast) he always enhances it with Adrenaline Surge and the maximum amount of Hero PointsDC Heroes RPG concept expressing narrative importance/immunity.. Teleporting in will likely allow for a Blindside plus a Devastating Attack.
That said, he almost never fights at full strength. This is to give his opponents a fighting chance. Gouki’s hope is that he will push them to become more powerful fighters. And that they will give him a better challenge the next time they cross fists.
The Assassin’s Fist Preamble
Before we get to the history it’s important to understand Akuma’s fighting style.
Many sources wrongly state it to be Shotokan Karate . It may have been Shotokan at one point, before being retconnedMaking changes to a character or story after the fact.. And of all the real world martial arts it does most closely resemble Shotokan.
His fighting style is actually the fictional Ansatsuken (the assassin’s fist).
As the name implies, it is all about killing an opponent using the most damaging techniques. The style has taken some of the more damaging moves from various styles of karate, kempo, and judo.
In game terms a martial artist of this style would typically sub their Martial Artist Skill into EV, and spend Hero Points for further damage. Obviously they would sacrifice defense for damage output.
However that’s not to say that this style is 100% aggression. Akuma does have some defensive techniques, mostly to evade and then counterattack.
In the video game, skilled Akuma players take advantage of his speed to stay mobile. They keep the opponent guessing, and punish missed attacks with Akuma’s deadly arsenal.
The Devil Incarnate?
It’s also important to understand Akuma’s relationship with the “devil”. In Japan he’s known as “Gouki” and is only an akuma (悪魔), which translates into “demon” or “devil”.
But he’s actually neither – nor has he sold his soul to one.
Several sources erroneously state that he has sold his soul to the devil to achieve his superhuman power. But this is a Christian approach to a character that is very much steeped in Buddhism.
Capcom America pushed this during the early days of the character – to make him more easily understood by Western audiences. It’s largely been discarded since.
Some examples of his Eastern roots include having the character for heaven (namely 天) written on the back of his gi. It also appears after performing the Instant Hell Murder Technique.
Furthermore, Gouki wears Buddhist prayer beads.
His appearance also seems to be strongly influenced by asuras (असुर). These mythicalsGeneral name for fantastic creatures described in ancient mythologies, like unicorns or centaurs. are said to be punished by being stuck in an endless loop of death and destruction, due to their over indulgence in violence when they were mortal.
In Capcom games, a character named Asura is based on these.
These mythicals do not follow Christian metaphysics. In laymen’s terms, Akuma has simply discarded everything else in life to walk the path of the warrior. More specifically the Ansatsuken.
In other words he’s more like a Sith Lord. He’s not Faust striking a deal.
Last notes before the History section, I swear
As with a lot of the SF characters there are a ton of retcons and a lot of details in his history that don’t make a lot of sense.
I’ve done my best to reconcile this with what’s official in the latest statements by Capcom, and noted what is and isn’t supported. As always there are some No-Prize HypothesesA made-up explanation to plug a plot hole. here and there.
The original storyline was a sloppy mess. It is so full of retcons that it was quite difficult to pinpoint which were current, or older and irrelevant.
Thankfully Street Fighter: Legacy came along and changed all that.
Originally it was meant as a fan film short. But Capcom liked it so much that they gave it their blessing. It officially became canon.
Thus Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist was born. A certified full length feature film with a coherent plot. Although Akuma doesn’t get a ton of screen time, he shapes its plot.
Akuma and Gouken were brothers. They trained in Ansatsuken fighting under Gotetsu, somewhere in rural Japan.
Obviously, only one of the brothers would inherit their master’s dojo and legacy.
This was further complicated by the presence of Sayaka, Gotetsu’s beautiful daughter. Inevitably, the brothers competed for her affection as well.
(Her addition makes the story a little bit too cliché, so I’ve chosen to downplay her presence.)
More often than not it was the more level-headed Gouken who prevailed in sparring. And his more compassionate nature also won over Sayaka, as Akuma was coldly aloof.
The Legacy of the Assassin’s Fist
Akuma grew bitter over Gouken’s success. However, he unearthed ancient scrolls. These told of forbidden techniques to obtain absolute martial power by discarding all worldly concerns.
Akuma studied them in secret. When sparring with Gouken, he unleashed one of the forbidden techniques. This nearly killed his rival.
Gotetsu angrily demanded an explanation, and Akuma presented him with the scrolls. The sensei stated that such techniques were forbidden for a reason, and that obtaining absolute martial power was but a myth.
Akuma shot back that any and all methods should be used to crush an opponent. Left with little choice, Gotetsu expelled him from the dojo.
Akuma became an hermit. He devoted every waking moment to hellish training and total mastery of the Satsu no Hado (“sudden murderous intent”). Many times he pushed himself seemingly beyond his limits, and many times he nearly died of exhaustion.
To the hounds of Hell
After many years of this he returned to his dojo. He sought to show his former master just how wrong he had been.
The two fought, and it did not go well for Akuma. His blind rage lashing out was no match for his far more experienced master.
However at a critical moment he was able to unleash the Instant Hell Murder technique. This killed Gotetsu. At that moment the ideogram for “Heaven” was mystically branded onto his back, and he took his former master’s prayer beads as a trophy.
Gouken arrived at that moment, and challenged Akuma to avenge his master. But the devil-man merely brushed him aside, saying that he wasn’t ready to face him. Visibly shaken, Gouken allowed Akuma to walk away.
Ken grew tired of losing to Ryu. He found Akuma’s scrolls and used one of the forbidden techniques upon Ryu – gravely injuring him. Gouken angrily forbade this technique, and confiscated the scroll without explanation.
Nevertheless, Ryu began to succumb to the Satsui no Hado – and not Ken. Realizing that this could only be a result of Akuma’s presence, Gouken sent his students away before they had completed their training.
Akuma arrived not long after. The two fought, and Akuma seemingly slew Gouken with his Raging Demon attack.
(This has been retconned many times. Some stories depict both Ken and Ryu witnessing this. Others say it was just one, or neither. Neither of them being there makes a lot more dramatic sense.)
Street Fighter Alpha 2
Akuma then wandered the world in search of worthy opponents.
He fought and killed an unnamed Muay Thai champion before his match with Adon. Enraged by this, Adon attempted to track him down.
He also happened upon Gen. Aged and dying of leukemia, Gen wanted to die a warrior’s death.
The old man managed to fight him on equal footing. Gen even managed to survive an onslaught from his Instant Hell Murder, by emptying his soul and embracing nothingness.
After this Gen began to cough blood. Thus, Akuma now realized what he had suspected earlier – his opponent’s health was failing. Gen begged for death, but Akuma refused. He stated that it was an unfair fight and left.
Akuma later happened upon Ryu, and sensed the growing murderous intent within him. Their battle was intense, but despite Akuma’s efforts Ryu managed to keep the Satsui no Hado at bay.
Realizing that his opponent was not yet ready to embrace the bloodlust, Akuma destroyed the island they were on with one mighty blow. He said that they would fight again when Ryu was ready.
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Adon finally caught up to Akuma. Akuma thrashed the Muay Thai fighter within an inch of his life. But he refused to kill him, saying that he was unworthy of a warrior’s death.
M. Bison also came to his attention. Bison led the crime syndicate Shadaloo, and was hell bent on world domination. He too had seen the dark potential in Ryu, and wished to enslave him with his Psycho Power.
Akuma was disgusted by this, as the Power might stunt Ryu’s potential. He set out to stop Bison. This led to an encounter with the ninja Guy. They fought, but called it a draw as they realized that they both wished to stop Bison.
At the climax of the battle Ryu snapped out of his conditioning, then landed the final blow.
This forced Bison to retreat to his Psycho Drive. It was the focus of his power, and allowed him to regenerate. However, Akuma killed him with a Raging Demon attack.
Gen and Akuma also had a rematch during this period. Its outcome is unrevealed.
Street Fighter II
Akuma didn’t participate in this tournament. He merely watched and bid his time.
(Since he was added to much later versions of the game, this made a bit more sense. Adding him would disrupt other story lines, and trigger even more retcons.)
More continuity notes about Akuma and SF2
It was originally stated that Akuma jumped out and killed Bison after the final match. But this was retconned into it happening in the previous game.
It would have made more sense for him to kill Bison in this game though. Since after this, Shadoloo is largely fractured and never returns to its former glory.
Later games and several noncanon animé start putting Gouki in background cameo appearances. This is likely due to this first mysterious noncanon appearance.
Most appearances are the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them type of Easter eggs, making him kind of a sadistic Where’s Waldo type.
Of all the characters in the SF universe he’s got by far the most of these. He appeared in every single episode of the Street Fighter II V animé, among others.
Street Fighter IV
Akuma challenges Ryu to a fight. Akuma dominates the fight early on and criticizes Ryu for rejecting the dark Hado. Ken comes to his best friend’s aid. Akuma leaves, stating that they will fight again.
Akuma later senses the Satsui no Hado reawakening within Ryu. He rushes to find him. He does locate an unconscious Ryu… but is shocked to see his brother Gouken, still alive.
The brothers agree to fight, with Ryu being the prize. But Gouken has perfected the power of nothingness, the polar opposite of the dark Hado.
The outcome of the battle is unrevealed. But both are still alive and Ryu didn’t wind up in Akuma’s possession. So it’s assumed that Gouken bested his brother, and let him live.
Akuma may have also befriended Elena at some point during this tournament.
Street Fighter V
Akuma and Gen have a rematch. Akuma wins, and seemingly kills Gen.
Necalli also challenges Akuma in a fight for his soul. Akuma also bests him, but Necalli still tries to devour his soul. Akuma escapes by teleporting away.
Akuma and Ryu fight once again. Akuma emerges victorious, but does not kill Ryu. Ryu swears that he will one day best Akuma with the power of nothingness.
Akuma then leaves, wondering whether he will ever find a worthy challenger.
Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact
Akuma is still training like a madman. He cracks a mountain in half with one blow.
Sean, Ken’s newest disciple, challenges Akuma to a fight. This is because he has mistaken him for Ryu. Akuma swats the inexperienced fighter aside.
Akuma also fights the tournament’s host, Gill. He kills him with a Raging Demon at the end of their bout. Akuma then departs, unaware that the godlike Gill can resurrect himself.
Akuma and Ryu do have another rematch as Akuma demands to see Ryu’s perfected power of nothingness. The outcome of the battle was left undetermined.
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
Akuma is still obsessively training. He can now survive deep under the ocean without equipment. And he has a hurricane kick so powerful that it can destroy sunken ocean liners and cause deadly whirlpools.
Akuma and Oro become aware of each others’ presence. They sense the great power the other possesses.
They of course settle this in a fight. The outcome is unrevealed, but both of them have great respect for the others’ power, and complete disdain for their radically different outlook on life.
Other Non-canon Appearances
Akuma has had a ton of non-canon appearances. These are far too numerous to cover in this writeup.
Some of the more notable ones will be covered in the Previous Stats section of his game stats.
He typically wears a ripped up black karate gi with the ideogram for “heaven” on the back.
There’s something menacing about his white pupiless eyes, bright red hair, and face that’s fixed into a perpetual sneer.
He also wears the prayer beads that he took from his dead master.
Akuma is primarily an antagonist. As a consequence, his portrayal has radically shifted depending on the needs of the plot.
First and foremost, he is a consummate warrior.
He has sacrificed everything else to be the strongest there is, but he does follow a strict warrior’s code of honor. He will not fight those weaker than him unless he’s challenged.
He doesn’t kill indiscriminately. He has no problem with fighting to kill, but he won’t murder downed opponents after they’ve clearly lost. Akuma once refused to fight Gen after it was revealed that he had health issues, hampering his ability to fight.
Akuma did kill his master, and tried to kill his brother. But this was likely due to the fact that he wanted to be the sole heir of the Ansatsuken – and was willing to prove it in a fair fight to the death.
He’s also tried to kill both Bison and Vega for stifling Ryu’s potential.
The only questionable killing he’s done was when he killed an unnamed Muay Thai champion in undisclosed circumstances.
While he’s rude and crude, and openly mocks his opponents for not being able to give into the blood lust that he lives with, he’s not completely evil. His demonic appearance doesn’t really help with this one either.
He’s more of a hardcore chaotic neutral character that lives solely to fight worthy challengers.
“Those who ban techniques cling to life in stinginess, which this warrior of the fist does not !”
“To become fighters, true warriors of the fist must possess all power that can be utilized.”
“A true warrior never escapes from danger, he faces it.”
“My name is Akuma ! The supreme master of the fist !”
“I am Akuma and I will teach you the meaning of pain !”
“Hmph… so it’s you…”
DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 09||Str: 06||Bod: 07|
|Int: 06||Wil: 05||Min: 08|
|Inf: 06||Aur: 05||Spi: 08|
|Init: 025||HP: 100|
Adrenaline Surge: 07, Energy Blast: 08, Flame Being: 04, Gliding: 03, Jumping: 04, Magic Blast: 07, Sealed Systems*: 07, Teleport: 03
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Adrenaline Surge can only add to Jumping, Energy Blast, Flame Being, and Magic Blast.
- Magic Blast has range of Touch only. It can only be used in conjunction to Teleport with a Blindside Devastating Attack.
- Using Flame Being consumes all Actions for that Phase.
Artist (Sculptor): 03, Acrobatics: 08, Martial Artist: 13
Iron Nerves, Languages (Japanese), Lightning Reflexes, Schticks (Iron Fist, Martial Chi Mastery, Stance Assessment).
Like he needs them !
Creepy Appearance, Enemy (Ken and Ryu), Minor Rage.
Anti-heroic Seeking Worthy Opponents.
A sporting chance
Gouki rarely fights at full potential, in order to give his opponents a sporting chance. Furthermore he rarely engages in killing combat unless he deems the foe truly worthy.
To stimulate this he fights as if all his Attributes were one lower and his Martial Arts is only an 11. Furthermore he usually doesn’t spend HP in combat – and doesn’t make use of his Adrenaline Surge.
If he does deem the opponent worthy then all bets are off and he will fight at full force without holding back and do whatever it takes to win.
This goes double for Cyber Akuma ! This really isn’t recommended for most campaigns unless you want to have crazy DBZ style battles that destroy mountains.
Here’s a scary thought: the already near god-like Akuma enhanced even further !
|Dex: 10||Str: 07||Bod: 08|
|Int: 07||Wil: 06||Min: 09|
|Inf: 07||Aur: 06||Spi: 09|
|Init: 028||HP: 175|
Adrenaline Surge: 11, Energy Blast: 12, Flame Being: 04, Gliding: 04, Jumping: 10, Magic Blast: 10, Sealed Systems*: 08, Teleport: 05
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Adrenaline Surge can only add to Jumping, Energy Blast, Flame Being, and Magic Blast.
- Spirit Blast has range of Touch only. It can only be used in conjunction to Teleport with a Blindside Devastating Attack.
Artist (Sculptor): 04, Acrobatics: 09, Martial Artist: 14
Further Enhanced Akuma
Even nuttier Akuma also made an appearance in Asura’s Wrath also developed by Capcom.
He was able to go toe to toe with Asura himself and all the characters in the game are basically gods with planet destroying power. So yeah that version would be even further beefed up.
It is stated that Akuma was Asura’s greatest rival and that they fought for 500 years.
Akuma was the final boss in Tekken 7: Fated Retribution.
Through unrevealed circumstances his life was saved by Kazumi Mishima. After Kazumi is murdered by her husband Heihachi, Akuma sets out to repay the life debt that he owed her.
He was able to track down and beat Heihachi in single combat and then set the lab to self destruct on his way out.
Unbeknownst to him Heihachi survived the explosion.
Still not feeling the debt repayed he tracked down Kazuya Mishima, their son, in order to kill him and rid the world of the devil gene.
The two fight and are evenly matched. Kazuya then turns into his devil form and Akuma turns into Shin Akuma.
Their fight is interrupted as Heihachi uses a satellite laser to destroy the building. The game ends and the outcome and fate of both characters is left unknown. But it was stated that this game’s storyline would put an end to the Mishima Saga.
Tekken is notably a bit more realistic with its power levels, so this version of Akuma isn’t nearly as powerful.
Akuma in Tekken
|Dex: 07||Str: 05||Bod: 06|
|Int: 05||Wil: 04||Min: 07|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 04||Spi: 07|
|Init: 025||HP: 090|
Energy Blast: 02, Jumping: 00
Acrobatics: 04, Martial Artist: 11
Iron Nerves, Languages (Japanese), Lightning Reflexes.
Like he needs them !
Creepy Appearance, Enemy (Heihachi and Kazuya Mishima), Minor Rage.
Source of Character: Street Fighter video games.
Helper(s): Sean McDonald (for the original take), Street Fighter Wikia (for everything that you ever wanted to know about the Street Fighter universe and more !) Kal el Vigilante, Peter S Piispanen, and Darci.
Writeup upgraded on the first of July, 2018.