Since Street Fighter debuted in 1987, a plethora of characters has been added to the pantheon of fighting games. Even though this is a game where all of the fighters are supposed to be about on the same level, the story doesn’t represent that. The best street fighter characters in the story are the bosses and the major heroes. Some even become demigods and practically invincible. Even Sean’s game-ending scenes have him either losing to Ryu repeatedly or revealing that his victory in the game’s tournament was only a dream he had while being eliminated after the first round.
Who, then, are the most potent figures in Street Fighter history? I’ve created a ranking of the top 15 street fighter characters. Funny enough, the heroes from the two live-action films, Guile and Chun-Li, are nowhere to be discovered. Oh, right.
The Street Fighter IV video games have the honor of having Seth as their final boss. In addition to possessing Taskmaster abilities that enable them to grasp nearly every fighting maneuver they come across, Seth also has a rubbery android physique that enables them to improve on those maneuvers in badass ways. Seth is the brains behind the major tournament and controls their own nefarious organization. Thus, they automatically get a spot.
Sadly, Seth doesn’t really accomplish anything noteworthy in the narrative. In the Tie That Binds anime, they gave Ryu a run for his money, but Seth never truly demonstrates that he is anything other than another evil. They are swiftly eclipsed by Bison reclaiming his position as the top terrorist while sucking his Street Fighter II wounds. Seth is diminished to a broken afterthought.
14. Cody Travers
Cody is a special case because he is a Final Fight hero thrust into the Street Fighter universe, where he isn’t exactly allowed to be the main character. Similar to how Terry Bogard and Ryo Sakazaki play supporting roles in King of Fighters while being heroes in their own fighting games. With Cody, the plot is properly explained.
Cody is simply incredibly strong but lacks the motivation to reach his full potential. Akuma warns Cody in his that if he actually tried, he would be a serious threat in both his regular and Oni forms. Given how frequently Akuma uses insults, that is the highest compliment you can give. We don’t exactly know how far up the ladder Cody would be if he gave a damn and asserted himself because he never does anything to live up to his potential. He slackly raises his dukes in the interim, hoping to kill his boredom.
According to the story, G was set to be the villain in a second campaign for Street Fighter V, but the plan was abandoned. Despite all of that, this mysterious Uncle Sam impersonator continues to pose a secret threat that we do not yet fully comprehend. In reality, G is meant to be the sign of everything’s demise in Rose’s Street Fighter V storyline.
G is only so high, despite the fact that he seems to be the incarnation of Earth itself. Rose can still defeat G in a fight even though she can’t stop the end of the world. By overcoming G, Gill also makes his first public appearance, which G seemed to welcome wholeheartedly.
Although Rose doesn’t frequently engage in combat, it’s simple to determine where she stands among Street Fighter’s strongest players, given her history. She resembles Bison but with inverted gender and alignment. In actuality, Rose and Bison are roughly on par, but only when Bison is in his basic form. There isn’t much Rose can do to compete with him as he amps up his Psycho Power. By now, you’d think Rose would have some sort of refined form with insane Soul Power, but maybe in Street Fighter VI.
Gill presents himself as the greatest threat to the Street Fighter universe. He is in charge of ice and fire. He possesses the ability to revive himself. Because he follows Bison on the timeline, he appears to be more important than Bison and runs his own covert organization. He is a complete nightmare to battle in-game. Gill seemed to belong at the very top of the list.
But be sincere. Actually, he kind of stinks. He seemed to be losing a lot. In canon, Alex triumphs over him. Capcom Fighting Evolution features a confrontation with M. “Bison” in which Bison triumphs. Gill is beaten by Ken at the start of the Street Fighter III: Ryu Final manga (Masahiko Nakahira’s works are as official as they come without being blatantly canon). Even the structure of Street Fighter III: Second Impact and its hidden boss battle gives Akuma the advantage. Even though Gill is capable of rebounding from these defeats, he yet frequently falls.
We hardly ever get to see Alex perform very much because Capcom has the propensity to minimize Street Fighter III. That’s unfortunate because Alex is awesome and ought to appear more often. Even in Street Fighter V’s cinematic story mode, Dhalsim informs him that he’s going to be a big thing in the future. He is still designated as the hero character of the Street Fighter III games who canonically beats Gill.
Alex isn’t the best of the best, despite his importance in Street Fighter’s final chronological chapter. He still consumes Ryu’s dust, and his conclusion demonstrates how far he still needs to go. Alex no longer feels the desire to exact revenge on Gill and is only interested in improving his fighting skills in order to one day defeat Ryu. How about if he doesn’t? He continues to be in the moment.
9. Ken Masters
Although Ryu may always be more significant than Ken, their rivalry is incessantly emphasized throughout the games. No matter how skilled Ryu becomes, Ken will always be available to give him a good one-on-one. Given how much more motivated Ryu is than Ken, who juggles his fighting with his obligations to his family and his business, Ken should theoretically be left in the dust. But what gives him an edge and motivates him is actually his family. Similar to when Spider-Man gets buried in debris and uses the thought of Aunt May to force himself out of peril.
Like Ryu, Ken has a unique, evil form called Violent Ken. Ken can still be defeated by Ryu, even though his current form is quite vague and just comes across as “Ken as a mind-controlled asshole.”
Sagat’s losses have shaped who he is. In the first Street Fighter, Ryu tore his chest to pieces. He lost to his old student Adon as a result of focusing on his fury. In the end, he was defeated by series joker Dan Hibiki. But there is a caveat attached to those losses. Thanks to a magical cheap shot, Ryu triumphed. Later on, Sagat defeated Adon with calm composure to regain the victory. In essence, Sagat allowed Dan to triumph so that Dan might put his need for vengeance aside and learn the same lesson as Sagat.
Ryu’s go-to rivals are Sagat and Ken, but I’d say Sagat has the advantage. While Ryu and Ken have always played side by side, Sagat started with a significant advantage in strength and talent. Ryu has only recently been able to overtake Sagat, and even then, Sagat is typically portrayed as such a beast that Ryu is the underdog. At least Ryu is at his base level.
You’re not necessarily the strongest just because you’re the protagonist. Even though Ryu can defeat the majority of opponents, he isn’t fixated on dominating the competition. He even has the humility to admit that his reputation isn’t really deserved. Additionally, it didn’t help that he only managed to defeat Sagat after briefly succumbing to his inner darkness and earning himself an iconic, illustrious victory.
Ryu still has a ways to go, as several Street Fighter III endings have proven. He is excellent, yet he is not yet a master. That could require several more decades. Meanwhile, his Satsui No Hado form acts as a cheat code that allows him to forego years of training and gives him the advantage over his more amiable competitors.
In reversal, Gen is similar to Ryu or Akuma. He is almost invincible and tremendously lethal, yet he is well past his prime. He has leukemia, and the only thing keeping him alive despite constantly going up against Akuma and emerging victorious is his own stubbornness. He and Akuma are viewed as passing ships in the night, and Akuma feels a little cheated because he is forced to use a less powerful version of Gen while his own power continues to increase over time.
Gen would likely place slightly lower in the Street Fighter games alone, but I’m going with the potential of the person he once was. Even Gen’s strongest form—an apparition from the afterlife—is depicted in the UDON Comics one-shot Akuma vs. Hell. He does show signs of becoming a little bit more than Akuma can bear for a while when he is not constrained by illness.
Gouken is on the same level as Akuma when it comes to the latter’s base form, just like Rose was with Bison and Ken was with Ryu. When Akuma was younger, Gouken allegedly beat him but didn’t kill him. That’s just not how he rolls.
Then Akuma strengthened himself, defeated Gouken, and killed him with his Raging Demon strike. But by the time Street Fighter IV arrived, everything had been changed, and it was revealed that Gouken had discovered a counter just in time, saving him from death and causing him to enter a two-year coma.
Gouken serves as Akuma’s antithesis and aids Ryu in overcoming his inner-demon problems. Gouken doesn’t actually have any ultimate forms, in contrast to Akuma. The master of Ryu and Ken appears to have reached a plateau while Akuma continues to push the boundaries.
4. M. Bison
When the iconic M. Bison from Street Fighter II is seen as Bison at his weakest, it really demonstrates how messed up Street Fighter’s lore is. It turns out that Street Fighter Alpha 3 contained Bison’s greatest form prior to it. At least now it is clear why the character in one game is thin and in the other is constructed like a goddamn bus.
In addition to expelling all the good from his soul to make himself stronger, Bison discovered how to weaponize his own evil and is now capable of devising wild sci-fi schemes to further boost his strength. Due to his love of people freaking out and dying, he enjoys using satellite lasers or simply crashing them into major cities. His weakness usually comes from attempting to defeat or subdue Ryu, whose innocence and inner strength are enough to serve as Psycho Power’s kryptonite. But Bison has other flaws as well.
Yes, Akuma regularly consumes Bison’s lunch by definition. He entered Super Street Fighter II Turbo and instantly defeated Bison, marking his debut in a video game. That’s canon, by golly! Despite his rivalry with Ryu, Gen, and Gouken, Akuma is 100% committed to playing the role of the person who randomly spoils Bison’s (and occasionally Gill’s) day.
Too bad Capcom has, in some ways, undermined his successes over the years. It was believed that Akuma was responsible for the deaths of Gouken, Gen, M. Bison, and perhaps Adon. Since then, all of those fatalities have been proven false, and the Raging Demon is no longer the superior move that it once was. With his Shin Akuma and even Oni forms, Akuma can continue to step up his game and, if he so chooses, could possibly wipe out the entire planet.
The strongest traditional Street Fighter character is a gentle old man in his hundreds who is clad in rags, not a boss or even a villain. The hermit Oro, who first appeared in Street Fighter III, towers over everyone and is only possibly defeatable because he chooses to fight with one hand. Holding back enables him to more thoroughly assess who has the potential to one day be on his level. Battles are simply too simple for him to win with both arms free.
It’s difficult to decide who is better between Oro and Akuma, or should I say, Two-Arm Oro vs. Oni (for what it’s worth, the UDON comic featured Two-Arm Oro thoroughly clowning Akuma but failing to kill him). I had to give it to Oro in the end. Akuma appears to be a significant menace that Ryu will eventually, but quickly, defeat. Ryu will likely have gray hair by the time he has a chance to defeat Oro. He represents the pinnacle of Ryu’s spiritual journey.
Firstly, Ingrid Ah, Ingrid.
The most powerful character in Street Fighter is also one of the least well-known. Capcom Fighting All-Stars, a 3D fighter that was supposed to star Ingrid, was scrapped in favor of the lazy-as-hell Capcom Fighting Evolution, which included Ingrid as a 2D sprite and a cast of rehashed assets from previous games. Capcom included her in Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX to maximize the return on investment.
The strength of Ingrid dwarfs that of M. Bison in the cosmos. It stands out more in Street Fighter X Tekken, as a variety of duos compete to reach a MacGuffin named Pandora. Ingrid herself built Pandora, according to the comic included with the game’s special edition. Ingrid is simply on a different level than the original Street Fighter cast, especially in light of Pandora’s reality-shattering (though poorly described) skills. If you liked this article, you should probably read our blog on Elden Ring. It will help you get better at getting somber smithing stones.