Ken Masters is a video game character and deuteragonist of the Street Fighter series, first appearing in the original Street Fighter. Similar to his longtime best friend and rival Ryu, Ken's goal is to test his power against many different fighters and strives to become stronger, but holds more restraint due to not wanting to jeopardize his family life.
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 Story
- 3.1 Winning the U.S. Tournament and fighting Shadaloo
- 3.2 The Second World Warrior Tournament, marrying Eliza and becoming Violent Ken
- 3.3 Fighting Seth and becoming a father
- 3.4 Street Fighter V
- 3.5 Street Fighter III
- 4 Abilities
- 5 Story of joining Sora's Team
Ken is most easily recognized by wearing different sparring gloves that are either the color of his blonde hair or his bright red gi (he wears brown gloves in most other appearances) that features neatly torn off sleeves, similar to Ryu's (Capcom has officially stated that a red gi was chosen to stand out and to reflect his more flashy style of fighting) and it is usually seen in better shape than Ryu's (except for in the Street Fighter III series), since he can easily afford to keep up with and/or own spares. Ken's natural hair color is as black as his long and spiky eyebrows but he has dyed it blonde. He wears a black belt at his waist and fights without footwear.
In the Street Fighter Alpha series, he had longer hair tied into a ponytail with a red ribbon. The official event that took place where Ken gives up his ribbon is that he passes it down to Ryu during Street Fighter Alpha 2 (as stated in Ken's own ending); Ryu was distracted during his fight with Ken because he had just fought Sagat and ended up losing. To remind him of their fight, Ken handed his friendly rival his own ribbon that would later become the signature red headband worn by Ryu since Street Fighter II and onward.
In Street Fighter II V, Ken's hair is dyed red, similar to the live-action movie and the animated series. Ken usually wears casual outfits throughout most of the episodes; for example, he dresses in a yellow formal suit jacket with a red tank top, matching white pants with a black leather belt to his waist and black dress shoes, but he still does sports the same signature bright red gi, though he always fights barehanded.
By the time of Street Fighter V, Ken's appearance has undergone the first major design change in the character's history. Ken's gi top now hangs around his waist and he wears a black v-neck training shirt with several red linings in its place. He sports matching black sparring gloves and his hair has grown longer, to the point of being tied in a topknot. Most likely due to events yet undisclosed instead of hanging loose which it was grown into medium length after the events of Street Fighter IV series and now wears black ankle wraps with red linings instead of just barefoot.
His second alternate costume is one of his disguised forms in Pocket Fighter but updated; he wears a black leather jacket with maroon outlines and a white tank top underneath, red denim pants with a black belt, a neon yellow buckle on his waist and black leather shoes. His sunglasses are hanging loose on his tank top. His medium-length hair is shorter.
While Ryu is the more serious and stoic of the two, Ken is the complete opposite - stylish, unorthodox and unpredictable, as well as being much more violent and aggressive than Ryu. He is an alpha male with a giant ego and constantly reminds his opponents about his greatness. While he can be brash, egotistical and arrogant at times, his heart is pure. He is generally kind, friendly, a good person and very easygoing which led him into starting a family of his own. He never backs down from a fight no matter how difficult it looks.
Like Ryu, he believes in honor, hard work, endurance and discipline. He always gives his opponents (who are friendly rivals) the utmost respect, whether it is his master Gouken, his best friend Ryu or his Capcom vs. SNK rival, Terry Bogard. He is also a worrywart when it comes to his family, nearly missing the tournament in Street Fighter IV because he did not want to leave Eliza so close to her due date, and only entered when she assured him she'd be fine. He still called her to check in and tell her to be careful using stairs. Both Menat and Rose remark that Ken's burning aggression from his youth has been somewhat quelled through starting a family, making them wonder how long his drive to improve will keep going compared to Ryu's.
When Ken was about 12 years old, his father, a rich hotel tycoon owner, thought that his son needed to learn about discipline or his son would become a spoiled brat all of his life and try to leech onto the Masters' family fortune. In order to do so, the elder Masters sent Ken to Japan to train under his best friend, the mysterious karate master Gouken. At first, Ken was very hesitant to learn from Gouken, wanting to go back to the United States, but later began to respect his master. He even enjoyed the company of Gouken's adopted son, Ryu, since he had a foil to finally pull pranks on, although this got Ken into a lot of trouble. Ryu and Ken would later become best friends and each other's principal rivals.
When Ryu was 23, Gouken decided that both of his pupils had grown up to be fine fighters and decided that their training was over and could now leave the dojo. Ryu decided to travel the world in order to continue his training, whereas Ken was finally happy to be going back home to the United States after his years of straining his back for his master, Gouken and finally learning the meaning of humility. After coming home, Ken competed in many different Martial Arts tournaments held in the United States, winning most of them.
Winning the U.S. Tournament and fighting Shadaloo
Main Article: Street Fighter Alpha
Ken did not participate in the first World Warrior tournament; instead, he fought in (and won) the premiere U.S. Martial Arts tournament that had been previously won by Charlie Nash, as well as meeting a very attractive girl named Eliza, who became his girlfriend.
After winning the U.S. martial arts tournament, the heroic story that Ryu defeated the Emperor of Muay Thai reached his ears. Ken put his physical and Qigong training to the side so he could fly back to Japan to fight his friend. When Ken finds Ryu, he asks Ken what it means to be a true fighter, he wonders if he should use the same fist he used to defeat Sagat or the one Akuma uses to murder people. Ken sees that Ryu's gone back to his usual bad habit of overthinking things and fights him as an attempt to wake him up. After defeating Ryu, Ken realizes he has been deeply troubled since his last victory over Sagat. He reminds Ryu to keep fighting in order to find the answer and gives him his red hairband and that whenever he feels lost, he should use it as a reminder of their fight and to keep fighting to find the answer. Ryu happily takes the headband and they both go their separate ways. Ken returns home and, with Eliza's support, begins training harder, knowing even with his recent feelings, that Ryu is always stronger than he looks.
Ken begins to wonder about his own life. Ryu seemed to be on the right track again, but what of him? Along the road to proving himself again, he encounters Karin, who tells him she has followed his career and is trying to best her rival Sakura to prove she is superior. Ken advises her it's good to have a rival, not for supremacy, but to keep on training harder and focusing. With this, Ken finds himself again and is focused once more.
Going off to meet up with Sakura, they have a friendly match and Ken finally realizes that Ryu has the right idea all along. Both he and Sakura begin to travel to find Ryu, but their path crosses with that of Shadaloo dictator M. Bison. Ken confronts him but is easily defeated and placed under Bison's hypnosis. Bison then uses brainwashed Ken to lure Ryu out of hiding. Once Ryu shows up, Bison makes Ken fight him. Ryu wins and manages to release Ken of Bison's mind control.
Ryu then proceeds to fight Bison but loses and, just like Ken before him, is turned into a slave of Bison's Psycho Power. Sagat appears and, enraged by Bison's actions, engages Ryu in an attempt to break Bison's mental grip on him. Ken, now free and aided by Sakura, attacks Bison. This intervention, along with Sagat's presence, makes Ryu come to his senses.
Recovered, Ryu takes on Bison once more. Bison senses Ryu's dark power (which Bison describes as "The ultimate form of Psycho Power") and attempts to manipulate Ryu's mind once again. At his friends urging, Ryu resists and defeats Bison with a powerful Hadoken. Ken is happy to see his old friend again. With a promise of a new duel, the two part their ways.
The Second World Warrior Tournament, marrying Eliza and becoming Violent Ken
Main Article: Street Fighter II
Ken received an invitation to the second World Warrior tournament; however, since his last U.S. Martial Arts tournament, he had let himself spend too much time with his girlfriend, Eliza, rather than training. Only Ryu's personal challenge rekindled Ken's fighting spirit and persuaded him to enter the second World Warrior tournament.
After the events of Street Fighter II, Ken is married to Eliza, something he had apparently vowed only to do after winning a decisive victory against Ryu. However it is unknown if the two fought during the tournament or if Ken actually won if they even did. No details have been stated. Ken's promise to Eliza doesn't exist in Japanese text, only in the English translation of Street Fighter: Eternal Challenge.
Fighting Seth and becoming a father
Main Article: Super Street Fighter IV
When a new tournament is announced, Ken is unsure whether to compete, as Eliza is now far along in pregnancy and he doesn't want to leave her. Sensing his inner conflict, Eliza assures him that she'll be fine and that the baby isn't due for a while yet, so he should go meet up with Ryu and tell him she says hi. Ken enters, and in the absence of gas stations near the location for the final, he parks his SUV in a convenient spot, calls Eliza to check on her, and continues the rest of the way on foot. Over the course of the tournament, he encounters his self-appointed rival, Rufus, although the results of that match are unknown. It is later implied that Ken may have defeated M. Bison in the tournament.
After the tournament, it is discovered that Gouken is still alive, and Ken and Ryu pursue him as he leaves. Ken is upset that Gouken has not said anything to them, but Gouken counters that they no longer need a master. Ken and Ryu head home on foot, and Rufus passes them by on his motorbike, calling them losers. Soon however, Rufus' bike runs out of gas, and Ken and Ryu reach the SUV; Ken offers Rufus and his girlfriend Candy a lift, but Rufus refuses.
Upon arriving home afterwards, he tells Eliza that although he did indeed get to fight Ryu, they had been so busy with the rest of the unfolding events that they hadn't been able to give it their all. Soon afterwards their son is born and they name him Mel.
Street Fighter V
As expected, Ken returned in Street Fighter V as of July 9, 2015. In the game, he has a different outfit and hairstyle, and his moves have been altered to further distance him from Ryu.
Ken, Eliza and Mel are invited to a party hosted by Karin. During the party, Ken reflects on the various sparring matches between him and Ryu. The family gets lost on the way to the party and encounter Birdie, who thinks they’re trespassing, resulting in a fight with Ken. Karin arrives and offers Ken a pre-meal fight as an apology for Birdie attacking him, which Ken accepts. Afterwards, he and Eliza wonder about why Ryu isn't at the party.
A Shadow Falls
In the main story, Ken came to visit Ryu, who was in the middle of meditating. After getting defeated in a sparring match to Ken, Ryu tells him that he will join them when his training is complete. Later, Ken arrives with the rest of the fighters called by Karin to the Kanzuki Estate, where they plan their first infiltration of the Shadaloo base.
Ken, Chun-Li and Cammy travel to Brazil to search for the first missing chess piece, held by Laura Matsuda. While there, he saves Sean from F.A.N.G, but is then attacked by his older sister Laura, who mistakes him for an enemy. After the fight, Sean sorts out the misunderstanding by indicating the unconscious Shadaloo soldiers. Laura then decides to join them, but on the condition that Ken add Matsuda Jiu-Jitsu to his selection of online karate classes, which he agrees to. Chun-Li then leaves to assist Karin in the group's first infiltration. Ken remains with Laura and the duo fend off more Shadaloo soldiers, with Ken taking out three with a single Shinryuken.
Ken reunites with Ryu just before the group begins the final assault against Shadaloo.
After Bison's final defeat at Ryu's hands and Shadaloo's destruction, Ken finds Ryu alone and meditating, and decide to have another friendly sparring match to see if Ryu had found his 'true answer'. Ryu manages to defeat Ken, but drops his red headband; Ken hands it back to him, figuring he might still need it. The two are later seen sharing a friendly fist bump.
Street Fighter III
Ken and his family move to southern California from Washington State. By this time, a Brazilian teenager named Sean had been pestering him to become his student and Ken reluctantly accepted, beginning to train him. Maintaining a home and raising a child has strained his relationship with Ryu. Ken gets in touch with Ryu and invites him to Japanese hot spring inn, Ken also brings Sean along, but decides to do last minute shopping for Eliza before flying to Japan. Ken, Ryu and Sean later spectate a WWCA title match between Zangief and Hogen. After being hit by Zangief's Double Lariat, Hogen went on a rampage while returning to the ring and picked up a chair and threw at a woman in the crowd, Ryu deflected the chair and Sean knocked him out to avoid injury to the audience. Ken reassures the woman's safety.
Ken then entered the third World Warrior tournament. He fought Sean in the tournament and won against him; however, he drops out upon realizing Ryu was defeated by Oro. Ken begins to train his son Mel in rudimentary fighting techniques. He also told Sean to go find Ryu and challenge him, giving him some free time with Eliza.
A year later, Ken hears about a mysterious organization and goes to investigate in order to alleviate his boredom, and he may have confronted Urien. He learned that Ryu had sought him out and travelled all the way to New York from Oakland for their long-awaited rematch. Tossing some friendly jabs at each other, both have a good fight, ultimately won by Ryu. Since then, Ken has continued to train Sean and Mel, handle his family and business, and keep up with his old friend Ryu.
In Sean's ending, Ken wakes up Sean who was beaten unconscious after being knocked down by his opponent in the first round. In Ken's ending, he wins his third straight U.S. Martial Arts tournament, which is a new record and offers the trophy to Sean who turns the offer down, wanting to earn it for himself.
Ken is a well trained martial artist as he is trained in Ansatsuken abeint non lethal variant as he focuses on the fast paced attacks as he uses Shoryuken move as he sets his fists on fire. His Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku is a bit more faster and he got the most powerful variants of Tatsumaki technique such as Shippuu Jinrai Kyaku, Guren Enjinkyaku and Guren Senpuu Kyaku. His Shoryuken powerful variants are Shoryuu Reppa and Shinryuuken thus making him deadly on the fight.
Story of joining Sora's Team
He had heard about Sora's as he had left his family in Guile's care as he is about to join Sora's team alongside his friends and teach Sora the ways of the combat.