6182 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies


Context

Ken is one of the OG Street Fighters. He appeared in nearly every game and spin off and associated property.

He’s also one of the originals in fighting games, period. Along with his comrade Ryu he founded the fundamental basis of how fighting game characters would behave, mechanics wise.

Not only that, but he’s long been a fan favorite with a rich and fleshed out story.


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Background

  • Real Name: Ken Masters.
  • Other Aliases: The dragon fang of the flame tears the heavens, The worthy rival who has returned, Rising Dragon of Flame, The Flaming dragon.
  • Marital Status: Married.
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed Parents, Eliza Masters (wife), Mel Masters (son), Guile (brother-in-law).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’10″ Weight: 167 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Blond (dyed)


Powers and Abilities

Ken is a world class martial artist, one of the best in the world. He has won the US Martial Arts Tournament three times in a row as well. He is one of the top tiered fighters in his universe, with only other legends such as Ryu being able to best him.

His training allows him to summon his chi  into:

  • A ranged attack (in DC Heroes RPG terms, Energy Blast). This is the hadoken; the literal Japanese translation is “energy wave punch”.
  • Leaps to superhuman heights (Jumping).

Mechanics-wise, well you know the drill for a standard “uppercut bro”. But he’s got a ranged projectile, plus moves for countering/avoiding projectiles at close range. As well as the all mighty Dragon Punch aka the anti-aerial attack.

Later games would emphasise his speed and combo ability over Ryu’s more ranged damage output to differentiate the two. Plus a roll to help with mobility and avoiding standard attacks.


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History

Ken was the son of a wealthy hotel tycoon and his Japanese wife. Officially, Ken is ¾ Japanese and a quarter American, but every single depiction of his father is that a blond haired blue eyed white man.

He was your stereotypical spoiled rich brat – and an extremely selfish one at that. His brash behavior got him kicked out of several wealthy boarding schools.

Left with no other option his father took him to Japan. He had arranged for an old friend of his, Goken, to train his son in the martial arts. Mr. Masters hoped that it would finally instill some discipline in him.

Street Fighter: The Assassin’s Fist

(The Assassin’s Fist was originally a fan made production, but very well done and extremely well received. So well received that Capcom officially dubbed it to be part of the SF canon.)

Ken Masters painted portrait

Ken and his father arrived in an extremely rural part of Japan. The brash youth immediately mouthed off to Ryu. With his sensei’s permission Ryu immediately put Ken on his backside.

Although they got off to a rocky start, they would eventually become training partners. They would forge a lifelong friendship that has withstood the test of time.

Ken showed great natural prowess in the martial arts once he got over his ego. He rapidly caught up with Ryu, who had basically been training in martial arts since birth.

Goken trained them in Shotokan Karate. But the original form of the art was actually the Assassin’s Fist. As the name implies it was an extremely lethal art, but Goken trained them in a watered-down, less-than-lethal form.

However, given its history practitioners who had achieved a certain level of skill would always be tempted by the darker form of the art. Sort of like Jedi get tempted by the Dark Side of the Force.

Ken had a come a long way in his training. Yet, he never completely got over his brashness – and was thus more easily tempted.

Street Fighter: The Assassin’s Fist (cont.)

After a heated argument and while training to focus their chi into the Hadoken, Ken began to manifest some of the darkness and accidentally injured Ryu.

Humiliated by his lack of control and guilt ridden for injuring his best friend Ken would never be tempted by the dark side of the art again. Ryu was a different story…

Ryu began having vivid nightmares of Akuma, practicing the forbidden techniques of the Satsui no Hado (“killing intent”). Perhaps it was a poor decision, but Goken had hidden the truth from his students. They eventually unravel the truth about Ajuma and the Assassin’s Fist on their own.

Goken’s secrets

Goken and Goki used to train under their sensei Gotetsu. They were both vying for Sayaka’s love and by extension to be heir to the dojo.

Ken Masters taunting his opponent

Goki actually seemed to be the front runner. But he ultimately failed as he had trouble expressing his feelings and thus Goken eventually won Sayaka’s love.

Happiness just wasn’t in the cards for them though.

Goki was eventually consumed by rage and bitterness. He wandered off into forest where he eventually fell prey to the dark side of the Satsui no Hado – and became Akuma.

Sayaka was later killed in an accident. Then Akuma returned to murder his former master in cold blood.

Grown up

Ken and Ryu reached adulthood and fully mastered all the techniques that their master could teach them. They commemorated this by having one final match before parting ways.

Ken wound up returning to America and Ryu set about to wander around Asia.


Soundtrack

Ken’s theme in Street Fighter II is a celebrated chiptune classic.


History (cont.)

Street Fighter 1

Ken did NOT participate in the first Street Fighter 1 tournament. Instead, he went off to fight in the US Martial Arts tournament and became champion. He also met his girlfriend, Eliza.

Ryu went on to win the first Street Fighter Tournament by defeating the Muay Thai champion Sagat, but not without great cost. Sagat dominated the fight early on, but was gracious enough to offer a hand to his fallen opponent. In a fit of rage Ryu fully embraced the Satsui no Hado knocking Sagat out with a mighty Dragon Punch and scarring him for life.

Ken eventually heard that Ryu won the tournament, but not the full story. He got back to his master Goken’s dojo just in time to see him get killed by Goki.

Ken and Ryu would eventually spar again, but the victor was not clear.

Street Fighter Alpha 2

Ken wondered where his rival, Ryu, went, and went searching for him.

Ken Masters splash art

When he found him, he knew that something was wrong. Ryu was full of anger and rage, and when they fought, due to Ryu’s mind being clouded, Ken won.

Ken gave Ryu his red headband as a reminder for him not to lose again. He told Ryu that he realized that Ryu was distracted and that Ryu needs to be focused. Ryu thanked Ken for helping to get him back on track.

Street Fighter Alpha 3

Ken decided to seek out Ryu again. He had been talking with Karin about her rivalry with Sakura, which inspired him to challenge Ryu again. Ken found Ryu in Thailand.

There he ran into Ryu’s number one fan, Sakura. She asked him to spar with her, since she was about to meet Ryu for a match. After that, Sakura and Ken left to see Ryu. But instead, they found a brainwashed Psycho Ryu under Master Bison’s control!

Luckily, Sagat had arrived at the same time. Together with Sakura, Ken held off Bison as Sagat fought Psycho Ryu.

Ryu thanked Ken afterwards. The experience had made him realize that martial arts were vaster than he could have ever dreamed. Ken and Ryu’s friendly rivalry continued.

Ken continued to train, readying himself for the next time he would get to fight with Ryu. He considered that these were the greatest times of his life.

Street Fighter 2

Ken let his skill deteriorate. He spent most of his time on the beach with his girlfriend. Only a challenge from Ryu rekindled his fighting spirit.

Ken thus participated in the SF2 tournament.

After that, he married Eliza and and settled down with her.

Street Fighter 4

When news of yet another tournament reached Ken’s ears he was excited to participate. Hopefully, he would get another chance to faced his rival Ryu again.

Ken Masters delivering a high kick

However, Eliza was pregnant, making Ken reluctant to leave. She told him to go, since it was going fine and the baby wasn’t due for some time.

On his way to the tournament, Ken was challenged by his self-proclaimed rival Rufus. The winner of the match isn’t clear, but it’s unlikely that Ken would lose to a third string character such as Rufus.

Mr. Masters eventually faced Ryu again in a friendly sparring match.

It is later implied that Ken was the one to take down M. Bison while Ryu defeated Seth, the main antagonist of the game.

While walking back from the tournament Rufus passed them on his motorcycle and called them losers. But they eventually had the last laugh as they passed him by when his bike ran out of gas. Ken offered to give him a lift in his SUV rental, but Rufus was too proud and declined.

Shortly after the tournament concluded Ken’s son Mel was born.

Street Fighter Ressurection

Ken was busy running his own, successful dojo.

Late one night while closing up he was challenged by a mysterious woman to grappling match. Despite Ken being one of the toughest fighters around, his opponent Laura Matsuda fared surprisingly well. The two become fast friends.

Ryu then shows up and they are then attacked by yet another mysterious newcomer and the two have a difficult time fending him off.

Interpol agents then bust into the dojo and halted the fight. The attacker, a resurrected Charlie Nash, was working for them in testing Ken and Laura’s mettle. Satisfied by the results, the agents wanted to recruit the pair.

Shadaloo had resurfaced again. This time, they were to detonate a dirty bomb somewhere in Europe. It was Laura who took down Shadaloo agent Decapre before she could detonate the bomb.

Street Fighter 5

Ken’s family was then invited to a party hosted by fellow Street Fighter Karen.

They got lost on their way. Birdie attacked them thinking them to trespassers. Karen arrived, halted the fight and offered them all an extravagant meal as means of apology.

Ryu was suspiciously absent from this gathering a Street Fighters.

Street Fighter 5: A Shadow Falls

Ken eventually tracked down Ryu. They had another friendly sparring match.

Later on, they were summoned yet again by Karen. She presented her her bold plan to infiltrate the Shadaloo base.

Ken Masters wearing a blue gi

Ken, Cammy, and Chun Li were then sent to Brazil to track down Laura Matsuda. In so doing they saved her brother Sean from F.A.N.G., another Shadaloo operative. Laura briefly attacked Ken as she thought he wanted to harm Sean, but the situation was cleared up.

The group then repelled an attack by Shadaloo soldiers. Ken knocked out three with a single Dragon Punch.

Shortly before the final assault of the Shadaloo base Ken and Ryu reunited. After the crime syndicate was taken down, they had another friendly sparring match, with Ryu emerging the clear victor.

The two parted ways and promised to meet again.

Street Fighter 3 Second Impact

Ken participated in the tournament and beat his own student, Sean. But he didn’t win the championship.

He was also training his young son, Mel, to be a fighter. Though at this point in Mel’s age, it was more like playing than training.

Street Fighter 3 Third Strike

While Sean was enthusiastic about participating in an upcoming martial arts tournament, Ken was bored. He hadn’t fought a strong, formidable opponent in a long time. Because of this, Ken had lost his fighting spirit.

Around this time, Ken heard rumors about some “Organization of Mystery”. He investigated, with unrevealed results.

The sense of the danger left a burning desire in his body, and his fighting spirit was been rekindled.

Mr. Masters also won the US Martial Arts tournament — which is unrelated to the Street Fighter circuit — for the third time in a row. He offered the trophy to Sean, but Sean declined it, saying he wanted to win it for himself.

Where Is He Now

Ken has a family life, but he continues to practice and train, too.

He’s still training Sean and his son.

And of course, Ken’s rivalry with Ryu continues.


Description

Ken is a ¾ Japanese and ¼ American. He cultivates the blond American surfer boy look by bleaching his hair. Ken’s not a natural blond which explains why his hair goes through so many different shades from game to game.

He is a considerably good-looking stylish man and has plenty of fans.

When training he tends to wear a red karate gi with the sleeves cut off. When he isn’t training, he wears expensive designer clothes and tools around in sports cars and the like.


Personality

Ken’s a serious martial artist and an overall good guy. But at the same time he’s more than a bit of a showboat.

Even though he’s from a prestigious wealthy family he’s a still a record breaking martial artist. Masters desires the one thing that he doesn’t have — beating Ryu and being the greatest martial artist in the world.

He also tends to get a bit distracted at times with his family life. That makes him a bit more normal than most of the other Street Fighter characters – who only live for the fight.


Quotes

“That guy, he made it first ! How far we go to become strong… right, Ryu ?”

“Don’t be taking me lightly !”

“Failure is an instant pinch, yet, it’ll probably be interesting.”

“Here’s some sense for you fella – better watch out !”

“Just you wait Ryu ! I, your rival am the marking man, I’ll surely show you !”



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Ken Masters

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 06 Occupation: US Karate Champion
Inf: 07 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources: 012
Init: 025 HP: 080

Powers:
Adrenaline Surge: 04, Energy Blast: 02, Flame Being: 04, Gliding: 01, Jumping: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Adrenaline Surge can only enhance Flame Being, Jumping, and Martial Artist.
  • Flame Being is only usable when he’s performing an All-Out Attack with his Martial Artist (meaning a Dragon Punch). It only works for the single Phase that he does an All-Out Attack.

Skills:
Acrobatics: 07, Martial Artist: 11

Advantages:
Attractive, Familiarity (Wilderness Survival), Iron Nerves, Language (Japanese), Lightning Reflexes, Popularity, Schtick (Stance Assessment).

Connections:
Ryu (High), Karin Kanzuki (Low), Sakura Kusanagi (High), Sagat (Low), Guy (High), Street Fighting circuit (High), Guile (High), Laura & Sean Matsuda (High).

Drawbacks:
Dependents (Eliza and Mel), MIA toward Proving he’s better than Ryu.


vs. Marvel

The versus series enhanced most of the SF cast that it crossed over with considerably. It makes them capable of going toe to toe with Marvel’s heavy hitters.

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 07 Occupation: US Karate Champion
Inf: 08 Aur: 06 Spi: 07 Resources: 015
Init: 025 HP: 090

Powers:
Adrenaline Surge: 07, Energy Blast: 04, Flame Being: 06, Gliding: 03, Jumping: 10

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Adrenaline Surge can only enhance Flame Being, Jumping, and Martial Artist.
  • Flame Being is only usable when he’s performing an All-Out Attack with his Martial Artist (meaning a Dragon Punch). It only works for the single Phase that he does an All-Out Attack.

Skills:
Acrobatics: 08, Martial Artist: 12

By Tom Eilers.

Source of Character: Street Fighter video games.

Helper(s): Sean McDonald (for the other take), GameFAQs  (for everything that you ever wanted to know about the Street Fighter universe and more !).