Gouken is a fictional character in the Street Fighter series. Master of a fictional martial arts based on assassination, he is the former teacher of major characters Ryu and Ken Masters. Gouken also serves as the older brother of Akuma and were sparring partners during their training under master Goutetsu.
Although mentioned in many Street Fighter fiction and visualized in Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams, Gouken would be introduced as as a playable character in Street Fighter IV. He is featured as a major character in the game's storyline.
Gouken is a bearded man with a very muscular physique. He has clothing similar to Akuma including Mala prayer beads and a piece of twine in replacement of a conventional martial arts belt. Gouken doesn't use slippers like Akuma and has his gi covering only a specific portion of his body.
Despite being the teacher of Ryu and Ken, Gouken's gameplay style is very different from the conventional "Shoto" style although his moves like the "Hadouken" (fireball) bear some similarity to the more familiar fighters.
During the early installments of Street Fighter, Gouken then was unnamed but would be known as the master of Ryu and Ken. The name would be introduced in a manga entitled Street Fighter II: Ryu. The manga follows a different story with Ryu and Ken avenging Gouken's death by M. Bison, Sagat, and Vega. Gouken would be adapted into official Street Fighter canon with the final game in Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II Turbo
The United States version of Street Fighter II featured a win quote by Ryu where their opponent must defeat a person named Sheng Long. It was revealed to be a mistranslation of the Shoryuken as the kanji from the Japanese-based moved and Chinese-based Sheng Long are the same. The way it was presented caused games to believe the master of Ryu was indeed Sheng Long.
Gaming magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly took advantage of it and made an April Fools joke in 1992 detailing how to defeat the fictional Sheng Long. EGM would later confirm that Sheng Long was a joke but would bring it back prior to the release of Street Fighter III: New Generation.
It's believed that Sheng Long served as inspiration for the creation of Gouken. During an interview with EGM, Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono would mention that a character based on the Sheng Long joke would appear "as fan service." The character was revealed to be Gouken. Both Sheng Long and Gouken feature similarities including a process of fighting him where a certain amount of advance criteria must be attained before the final boss.
Both Gouken and Akuma are brothers who served as students under the apprenticeship of assassination martial arts master Goutetsu. Various moves Goutetsu taught to his students include the deadly "Shun Goku Satsu." Gouken would later depart from Goutetsu's training as he believes that the fighting style should serve as a form of self-defense instead of being aggressive and murderous.
Gouken would later form his own dojo and take Ryu and Ken Masters under his helm. Gouken would also teach Dan Hibiki but would dismiss him from learning as Dan intended to fight as revenge of his father's death from Sagat. Gouken would encounter a challenging Akuma. Defeated, Akuma requests death from his brother but is spared, leaving Akuma promising a rematch.
After sending his students Ryu and Ken out in the world to compete, Akuma fights Gouken once more only to become successful. Akuma would kill Gouken with the Shun Goku Satsu. Gouken in the games would only be mentioned and shown in one of Akuma's endings.
Street Fighter IV
It would be revealed that Gouken survived Akuma's lethal attack thanks to a technique involving the emptying of his souls, rendering the Shun Goku Satsu useless. The process though caused Gouken to stay in a prolonged coma to which he awakens during the time of Street Fighter IV. Gouken was able to find his experienced students performing well and would get involved in the S.I.N.-based tournament.
Gouken would reunite with Ryu and seal the powers of the Satsui no Hadou in his student once and for all with a technique called "The Power of Nothingness." Then Akuma would intervene and challenge his brother once again to the death with the prize being Ryu. Although with no clear winner, both would survive with Gouken saving Ryu.
Gouken would also reunite with Ken but would surprisingly leave both of them before being chased by his students one last time. After Ryu and Ken wanting to stay with their master, Gouken tells them that they matured and have no need for a master anymore.
Gouken is the brother of Akuma and the teacher of Ryu and Ken, fighters who have very similar moves. Gouken's playstyle is dramatically different from what is featured from his brother and students. He is a slow moving character but is supplied with normal moves that are powerful when hit. Some of his normal moves can be traced to Rindoukan fighter Makoto.
Despite his differences, Gouken maintains the special moves the Hadouken and "Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku" (hurricane kick) albeit in an altered form. Gouken's "Gou Hadouken" has him able to charge the projectile to make it stronger as well as shoot it in higher angles. The EX version of the Gou Hadouken can have him charge and shoot two different angled fireballs at once. Gouken's hurricane kick titled the "Tatsumaki Gourasen" has him performing the kick in a vertical spiral. Like Ryu and Ken's Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku in Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Gouken can perform a straight horizontal air hurricane kick called the "Kuchu Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku."
As a replacement to the "Shoryuken" (dragon punch), Gouken charges at an enemy with one powerful palm attack called the "Senkugoshoha" which can avoid projectiles as well as knock down an opponent. Taking from Akuma, Gouken can do an air flip technique where he can either kick towards, guard, or throw an enemy before reaching the ground. One of Gouken's throws allows him to throw an enemy high into the air behind him allowing a chance to perform a super or ultra move.
Super moves/Ultra moves
While Gouken doesn't have a regular Shoryuken, he has a simple super move that based on it called the "Kinjite Shoryuken." Gouken's ultra move the "Shin Shoryuken" has him performing a powerful blow to the chest then hitting the opponent's chin before reaching the final Shoryuken blow. Gouken's second ultra move has him perform the "Denjin Hadouken," a special charging Hadouken using electrical currents which can drain a character's stun meter really fast. Both the Shin Shoryuken and Denjin Hadouken would be adopted into Ryu's Super Arts arsenal in the Street Fighter III series.
Gouken's Win Quotes
- " All men walk their path alone one day. Our training is preperation for that. "
- " Don't think that strength alone defines you as a person. It could destroy you. "
- " I bring my faith in Ansatsuken to a new generation! Witness my power! "
- " Even Satsui no Hado can be defeated with the right training and technique. "
- " We are all our own worst enemy. But also our best teacher. "
- " This battle is over. "
- " Fights like this make me glad I have returned to the ring! "
- " When you understand the source of your power, the meaning of battle follows. "
- " The caliber of fighters has decreased considerably in my absence. "
- " That was an enjoyable battle! "
- " You must defeat me to stand a chance! "