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Who is Ryu Hayabusa?[]

Ninjas are bred for one purpose, and one purpose only: to kill swiftly, fiercely, and to do it from the shadows. They need not fumble around with such nonsensical things as character development, plot, and the methods. They exist to kill and to assassinate. Period. The NES Ninja Gaiden series was a platformer series all about slaughtering whatever dare lie in your path from beginning to end; no questions, no answers, just killing.

Ninja Gaiden is one of those rare platformer series that not only lived past the NES days, but flew under the radar the entire time. Ryu Hayabusa has lived to see ten different gaming consoles, including his most recent appearance, the Xbox version of Ninja Gaiden. The Xbox version of the game adds an element of story and character development to it, but like most ninja stories, this is not the focal point of the game. The gameplay is. This appeals to those who don't feel like watching hours of cut scenes and simply wish to get on with playing the game, but for the new age gamer that seems to want everything to take up RPG elements these days, this may not be good enough. This, along with Ninja Gaiden being on the Xbox, may explain the game's low sales. However, Ryu H is a ninja and he's alive. He'll surely return sooner or later, even if he has to deal with some oversized boobs first.

"Shinobi's pretty badass, but does he have the pimpin' skills of Ryu Hayabusa? I don't see any CIA hotties coming back from the dead for Shinobi." - Ben Coleman

Ryu Hayabusa's Contest History[]

Win-Loss Record: 5-7

Summer 2004 Contest - Chaos Division - 3 Seed

  • Chaos Round 1 --- Defeated (14) Jill Valentine, 35220 [50.02%] - 35193 [49.98%]
  • Chaos Round 2 --- Lost to (6) Sora, 30773 [38.28%] - 49626 [61.72%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 36th Place [20.65%]

If there was one character whose ride in the 2004 contest personified the term "Chaos", Ryu Hayabusa was that character. When the bracket was first released in 2004, everyone was disappointed in how easy it was to predict; however, all eyes soon focused on a match that was not only expected to be a three point match, but a match that could decide the outcome of the entire contest as well. Given how easy the 2004 bracket was, the slightest mistake could mean a loss. A mistake in this match almost guaranteed it. The 2003 Xsts showed Jill Valentine being stronger than Sora with ease, so naturally, whoever won the match between Hayabusa and Valentine would have a free pass into the divisional semifinals.

Everyone knows how that turned out, but it doesn't take away from how flat-out amazing this match would turn out to be. Ryu Hayabusa was a heavy favorite, but as the match got underway, Jill Valentine came out smoking and gave Hayabusa the fight of his life. What soon followed was an epic clash that saw both characters tear into each other like hell. As the evening hours wore on, Ryu Hayabusa began to build a lead that seemed insurmountable; but a glitch in the poll caused CJayC to have to restart the match.

This was no matter to the two characters, as they were more than happy to rip into each other once more. The rerun of the poll played out exactly like the original, only with lower vote totals. And like before, Ryu Hayabusa began to build a lead in the evening hours after a long day of going back and forth with Valentine over poll positioning. However, this didn't stop Valentine from making one final push late. In the final hour of the poll, Valentine began one of the most amazing comeback attempts we had ever seen in one of these polls, and if she had one or two more minutes to work with, Hayabusa would be on the same level as Gordon Freeman right about now. But as it stands, Hayabusa was saved by the bell, and given was of the closest contest victories we'll ever see.

So naturally, people expected Hayabusa to gut Sora like a fish come round two. Unfortunately, the match was exactly the other way around. Sora began the match on fire, and never bothered looking back. It would turn out that the 2003 Xsts never bothered taking Aeris/Sora SFF into account, which would come back to bite both Ryu Hayabusa and most bracketmakers square in the ass. Hayabusa went from being a hero to an idiot in the span of two matches, though I must personally admit that every character's contest ride should play out like his did. It was quite the light show.


Summer 2005 Contest - Mushroom Division - 6 Seed

  • Mushroom Round 1 --- Lost to (3) Zero, 33771 [37.00%] - 57507 [63.00%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 37th Place [21.76%]

After Ryu's disappointing performance in 2004, people were quick to blame the picture. However against Zero, Ryu wasn't very far off from what his projected value, meaning that either Ryu H is where he belongs or both characters are oddities.

But given that Ryu H was one and done in this contest (and in an unwinnable match to boot), it's tough to take much from how he did other than he fact that he was given no chance to do well. Perhaps another winnable match after Ninja Gaiden Black settles in could give us some better answers.


Summer 2006 Contest - Patriot Division - 7 Seed

  • Patriot Round 1 --- Lost to (2) Dante, 41576 [34.80%] - 77894 [65.20%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 32nd Place [27.66%]

Ryu H is a long way off from being in thrilling matches, and he may end up off the bracket entirely if he doesn't get some more games soon =/


Summer 2007 Contest - Division 7 - Fourth Group

  • Division 7 Round 1 --- 1st place, 57670 [45.80%] - Riku, 34243 [27.25%] - Roxas, 22253 [17.67%] - Haseo, 11695 [9.29%]
  • Division 7 Round 2 --- 3rd place, 23942 [18.91%] - Solid Snake, 60407 [47.72%] - Riku, 24596 [19.43%] - Nightmare, 17654 [13.94%]

After three years of lackluster performances, Hayabusa shocked everyone when he opened up on his first round fourpack, which featured a strong character in Riku. The fact that he got nearly 46% seemed indicative that this was no fluke and wasn't entirely the result of Roxas being there to leech off of Riku. Despite that, Hayabusa managed to blow a lead to the infamous Kingdom Hearts day vote and fell to Riku in the second round. Despite that letdown, Ryu's fans should have hope for the future if he can put on more performances like that one, especially with a new Ninja Gaiden game out.


Summer 2008 Contest - Division 5 - Third Group

  • Division 5 Round 1 --- 1st place, 45800 [36.53%] - Zero, 44430 [35.44%] - Pit, 18326 [14.62%] - King Dedede, 16807 [13.41%]
  • Division 5 round 2 --- 4th place, 18682 [13.95%] - Solid Snake, 58327 [43.55%] - Zero, 28658 [21.40%] - Vivi Ornitier, 28251 [21.10%]

To much surprise, Ryu edged out Zero for first place in the round one match. There must have been some LFF because the very next round Zero exploded into second place as Ryu was left dead last.


Winter 2010 Contest - Mushroom Division - 7 Seed

  • Mushroom Round 1 --- Defeated (10) Crash Bandicoot, 28553 [61.79%] - 17656 [38.21%]
  • Mushroom Round 2 --- Defeated (2) Master Chief, 39666 [52.56%] - 35800 [47.44%]
  • Mushroom Semifinal --- Lost to (3) Mega Man, 50583 [72.15%] - 19529 [27.85%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 112th Place [16.43%]

Ryu was weird this year. He won a highly debated match in round two against Xbox rival Master Chief and then was utterly destroyed by Mega Man the very next round. Perhaps it was just the monster anti-votes Master Chief receives that does it. Mega is not as strong as he once was but looked amazing against Ryu. Blame it on the sprites.


Summer 2013 Contest - Division 4 - 21 Seed

  • Division 4 Round 1 --- 3rd place, 8955 [29.59%] - (7) Kefka, 11443 [37.82%] - (12) Zack Fair, 9862 [32.59%]

Given the opponents next round it was thought the winner of this match would also win in round 2. Hayabusa was given a decent chance at upsetting Zack, especially with Final Fantasy VII looking to have lost its edge. Turns out both sides were weaker and thus Kefka won the match. Hayabusa was able to keep close, but he never threatened to comeback against Zack and finished in third. A new Ninja Gaiden game is something that may go a long way in helping Hayabusa return to his previous strength.


Fall 2018 Contest - Division 6 - 8 Seed

  • Division 5 Round 1 --- Lost to (9) Simon Belmont, 14743[49.22%] - 15210 [50.78%]

With the Ninja Gaiden franchise being kept on ice (at most there was the terrible Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, where Ryu wasn't even the star) and his "side job" in the Dead or Alive games still one year away from the next title, Hayabusa arguably faced an uphill battle against Castlevania hero Simon, who had a Netflix cartoon and Smash Bros. hype behind him. Yet Ryu fought hard like only a ninja could, clawing for a comeback that never came.

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