|Ryo Sakazaki||Story||Move List||Gallery||Quotes|
- In this character name, his name is typically written in Katakana due to shared heritage, living and being prominent abroad, despite being born in Japan.
Ryo Sakazaki (リョウ・サカザキ) is the main protagonist in Art of Fighting series. He has appeared in every Art of Fighting and The King of Fighters game. He forms the first half of the Japanese series' namesake as "The Invincible Dragon" (
In an interview Takashi Nishiyama states that Ryo was created as a homage to Ryu from Street Fighter. Artist Shinkiro has expressed he had no problems with designing Ryo in contrast to Robert Garcia due to Ryo's poor state. SNK staff members Youichiro Soeda said that Ryo and Robert's debut was unique to other games based on the company because it did not focus on fighting tournaments but instead of the duo's quest to save Yuri Sakazaki.
Ryo is very serious about fighting and is loyal to his friends and family. Martial arts are his life, and his primary motivation is to train hard, improve both himself and his students, and to promote the Kyokugenryu style. He has been given discipline through his Karate training by his father, Takuma. He treats Robert as his rival, but they are best friends. He is a little old fashioned and blunt, which sometimes alienates him from his trendier sister and stylish rival. He's also admits to not being very smart or talented but he believes that these are obstacles for him to overcome. Compared to Yuri and Robert's ideology on training, Ryo believes he can attain greatness in his art through hard work and experience. Having raised both himself and Yuri during their childhood, he struggles with his own wishes to protect his sister and his own wishes to see her grow up. He accepts her growing maturity with bittersweet acquiescence.
Ryo has an interesting relationship with King. Formerly enemies, Ryo has gained great respect for her fighting prowess, and he has made several attempts to recruit her to the Kyokugen dojo as an instructor. King has thus far refused all of his invitations, but she has joined the Kyokugen team for a few of the KOF tournaments. King herself seems to have developed a romantic attraction to Ryo after he contributed to her brother's recovery in Art of Fighting 2. She tends to flush, smile, and act flustered in Ryo's presence. There is a long running joke in the games where Ryo will compliment King, and she will blush, thinking he is about to ask her out, just to get yet another invite to join Kyokugenryu.
- Gather chi: Ryo can gather ki from Gaia, the Mother earth.
- Energy Projectile: Ryo can fire the Kouken and Haoh Shou Kouken blast normally.
- Multiple Attacks: Ryo can channel his ki energy into his arms to deliver multiple punches at a very fast ratio.
- Auto Mechanic: Ryo has restored a motorcycle to running condition, suggesting he has sufficient knowledge of the inner workings of it.
- Carpentry: Due to being engaged in DIY works, and being presumably skilled in it.
- Farming: Ryo has successfully grown vegetables in his backyard, indicating he is gifted with a 'green thumb' or an ability to cultivate plants.
Ryo was taught to be the "tiger" of Kyokugenryu Karate, ironic since his nickname calls him the dragon. In Buriki One, he seems to use ordinary Karate. His main strength relies on his fierce punching attacks, which is closer to his father's style. His (in)famous Tenchi Haou Ken (Heaven & Earth Supreme Sparkle Fist) is a good result of this type of style as such a punch often was able to automatically put opponents in stun upon impact, despite the low damage it did compared to other DM's (KOF XIII amps this up with a stronger version of this technique as his Neo Max).
His Art of Fighting and KOF incarnations tend to differ from one another such as his fighting stance. His Kohou (Tiger Roar) often either faces towards the screen (KOF) or the background (Art of Fighting). In KOF '96 onwards, his signature Ko'ou Ken (Tiger Sparkle Fist) turned into a close range attack afterwards though his Capcom crossovers beg to differ.
During the NESTS Saga, Ryo adds defensive touches to his style. His Joudan and Gedan Uke (High-Level and Low-Level Reception) parrying command normals enable him to shave off attacks and press the offensive as Ryo is able to cancel into attacks should he block via this method. Both of these types of parries are based on traditional types of basic blocking seen in most martial arts dojos. His Joudan Uke however, has varied in terms of animation, ranging from a rushing cover block or an outward single arm block depending on the game; and in KOF XIII, his Gedan Uke also gets a change in animation.
- Masaki Usui - Art of Fighting I~The King of Fighters XI, The King of Fighters XIII
- Masayoshi Kozaki - The King of Fighters XII (Japanese Voice)
- Daiki Takakura - The King of Fighters XIV~present
- Subaru Kimura - The King of Fighters for Girls
- Curt Gebhart - Maximum Impact series (English voice)
- Tetsuya Bessho - Art of Fighting anime
- Alden Crews - Art of Fighting anime (English voice)
- Akira Kamiya - Dengeki Bunko drama CD
Live action actors
- Henry HE - Art of Fighting 2 commercials
- Ryo is the first champion of The King of Fighters tournament.
- In retaliation to Ryo and Robert's creation, Capcom's Street Fighter II co-designer Akiman drew an artwork of Sagat holding a defeated opponent by the head during the release of Street Fighter II: Champion Edition. The defeated opponent wore an attire similar to Ryo's: an orange karate gi with a torn black shirt underneath and geta sandals; but had long dark hair tied to a ponytail like Robert. This character later became canonized as Go Hibiki, the father of Dan Hibiki.
- The appearance of Ryo in Fatal Fury Special as a secret final boss was perhaps inspiration to SNK's most notable fighting game series, The King of Fighters. Indeed, much of the appeal of the first KOF game, The King of Fighters '94, was that characters from Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury could fight alongside and against each other. Many details were originally retconned to allow the characters of Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury look around the same age though it's currently accepted that the KOF timeline is separate from their respective series. Although both protagonists would only play supporting roles in the series, Ryo and Terry share a friendly rivalry with one another. This is sometimes implied through special intros, official art, and game openings in select KOF titles.
- His name is frequently written in katakana; earlier games, and currently some dialogues (mostly voice lines and cutscenes) used to write his name in kanji (
- In Neo-Geo Freak 1998, the characters in KOF '98 have their own interviews. Here are Ryo's response to the questions.
- What is your aspiration in this competition? - "I think it would be good if I could reaffirm the strength of the Kyokugenryu at the competition. Winning is the next question."
- Who would you like to fight the most? - "Well ... yes, I want to challenge my father."
- Who would you like to team up with? / Who would you not like to team up with? - "I would team up with my old friend Robert. Next is my younger sister Yuri. She doesn't know what to do unless we work together... The one who I don't want to team up with is my father!"
- What is "KOF" for you? - "It's an official stage once a year."
- Finally, please give a word to your fans. - "A fan of me? I'm glad. Then my fans! Would you like to learn Kyokugenryu Karate?"
- In Gamest's 1997 Heroes Collection, Ryo was voted as the staff's twenty-fourth favorite character. He shared the spot with Sie Kensou and Toru Kurosawa, a character from Sega's Last Bronx. In the Neo Geo Freak's 1997 Volume 8 character poll, he was voted as the seventeenth favourite character with a total of 602 votes. And In a 2005 poll made by SNK-Playmore USA, he was voted as the fifth fan favorite character with a total of 193 votes. Both Nobuyuki Kuroki and Youichiro Soeda have Ryo as their favorite character from the Art of Fighting series.
- A very common meme in Korean communities tends to be the mishearing of Ryo's Tenchi Haoh Ken quote, "Ichigeki Hissatsu!" (一撃必殺, One Blow Sure-Finish/Kill!) as "Iksan/Igsan Station" (익산Station), which was popularized by meme videos editing slow-downs on the startup for dramatic effect as well as BGMs and other sound clips to fit the comical situation (the most common BGM often used is "Magical Princess, Holy Up!" from the anime Akazukin Chacha), all likely in ode to the normal DM version of the attack having quite high counter-hit damage. It is also to the point where a slang phrase for this is "bringing them to Iksan/Igsan" or "Jeonbuk Iksan/Jeonbug Igsan" (전북익산).
- Official character profile from KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
- Official character profile from KOF XII
- - The Man Who Created Street Fighter Archived from The original
- Neo Geo Freak 1997-08 archive Neo Geo Freak character popularity poll results.
- How classic SNK fighting game Art of Fighting was born interview posted on 29th August 2017.