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Will Akuma's Rage Ever Stop?

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With his arrival imminent on May 22nd, the question should be asked: will Akuma ever settle down from fighting? Read on to learn more about the character’s origin, design, and the answer to the question of settling down.

Will Akuma Eventually Put His Fists Down?

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Even as a casual fan of fighting games or fighting related media, you may have heard of the "Demon" known as Akuma. A seemingly inhuman fighter from the Street Fighter franchise lives to fight and fights to become stronger. Using the "Satsui-no-Hado," his ultimate goal is to master this art of fighting and become the strongest fighter possible, but with him getting old and all, will he ever put the gloves down? To answer this question, let’s look at why he should put them down, some facts and lore about him potentially settling down, and finally, the answer to whether he will ever settle down.

The One and Only Raging Demon

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First, let’s talk about the relevance of why we are talking about Akuma in the first place. He’s finally arriving in Street Fighter 6 on May 22nd, and he’s always been a fan-favorite character in the fighting game community. I could probably even argue that he’s even more popular than Street Fighter’s actual villain for most of the series, M. Bison or Vega, which isn’t very far off as he’s normally the one being referenced as the game’s next character other than the poster boys, Ryu and Ken. Additionally, the character is an icon, especially with how much his "Raging Demon" super move is referenced by other fighting games and his overall appearance.

Creating a Demonic Legacy

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So with Akuma’s popularity and impact in the fighting game space, why should Capcom consider "retiring" the Demon? I don’t exactly mean for him to stop fighting entirely but to stop the endless journey of pursuing martial prowess. Akuma’s identity as a character is very one-dimensional. It’s not a secret to anyone who knows a little about Akuma’s goals or motivations, but other than his cold and rage-filled appearance, his character isn’t very compelling. Akuma retiring could actually open up his character to become more than just "a man literally too angry to die," and could have more storylines with his character other than chasing strength.

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With Akuma originally coming out in 1994, it’s safe to say that his character is immortalized in the world of fighting games. However, this could lead to even more ways that Capcom can use the Demon as a marketing tool or cross-over material. A common trope among old fighting game characters is their transformation into potential masters with their fighting styles to "pass the torch" to the next generation. Similar to his brother Gouken, he could teach a new generation of fighters to use the Satsui no Hado properly without succumbing to it completely, whether it be for whatever intention, he could think about leaving a legacy behind similar to another old man in the franchise like Oro who’s looking for a protege of his own.

With that in mind, are there actually any hints of Akuma settling down or at least calming down for that matter?

Akuma is a Bad Guy, But Not a “Bad” Guy

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The most misunderstood part about Akuma is his morality and alignment in the good and evil spectrum. He’s actually been shown to have a strict moral code and even considers the actual villains of Street Fighter as abhorrent. With his outward appearance being cold and seeming heartless, he rarely shows any signs of emotion other than anger in most of the scenes that he’s in. However, there are also moments where he refuses to fight the helpless or even backs out of a fight entirely, like when he stopped fighting Gen when he found out he was terminally ill.

He also doesn’t use his full power against those he deems unworthy of his full power. An example of this is Adon, whom he describes as "unworthy of death" after their bout. Moreover, Akuma believes that power should only be obtained through honing the fist, and any other way is considered distasteful against his principle of self-worth. He upholds a very minimalist take on morality despite being under the influence of the Satsui no Hado.

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Also, his whole story in Tekken 7 was repaying a debt to Kazumi Mishima. His involvement in the Mishima storyline in Tekken was definitely out-of-left-field, but it does show that he’s not as heartless as he seems. Other than that, his relationship with Elena, as shown in her Arcade ending, where she’s the only person to make him "smile," and the official art where he’s a fruit vendor in his spare time actually lessen his intense character.

With this, we finally have to answer the question, will he ever settle down or lose his rage? Certain things point to him never doing so.

Doomed to be Eternally Angry

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Akuma’s whole existence is solely to fight and improve by fighting stronger opponents, despite being very close to the pinnacle of martial prowess already. Despite already losing and winning against certain fighters throughout the franchise, he still chases after certain people for a fight and wants to become the strongest among them. This time, with Ryu mastering the "Power of Nothingness," similar to his brother Gouken, he could potentially aim to fight him to the death to prove that the Satsui no Hado is the superior art of their fighting style.

His search for power is insatiable and will eventually lead to his downfall, as proven by Oni’s existence when he was revealed in Super Street Fighter 4 (SSF4). While it’s easy to misinterpret Oni as Shin Akuma, they’re two different states in Akuma’s development using the Satsui no Hado. Shin Akuma is comparable to a Super Saiyan-level power-up where he’s almost on the brink of being one, as Oni is the power beyond Shin Akuma, being completely one with the Satsui no Hado and having no shred of humanity left.

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In his Street Fighter V story, he’s already been mentioned to have abandoned his humanity by Gen and is already on the way to becoming one with the Dark Hado. While it’s not a damning piece of evidence or entirely canon, Rose, the franchise’s fortune-teller fighter, mentions that Akuma becoming Oni is not a what-if scenario but a matter of time as his fate in the end. Whether or not he’ll actually choose to teach or pass down the Satsui no Hado is something only time and Capcom will tell, but for now, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to stop anytime soon. Who knows? With the Street Fighter 6 story showing the dark side of Ken Masters, Akuma could be a potential addition to Ken’s journey as he’s contemplating how to deal with JP.

If you want to learn more about Akuma's arrival on May 22 and how he plays in Street Fighter 6, click the link below!

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