- "Let's party! If you think you can keep up."
- —Zeku (Street Fighter V)
Zeku (是空 Zekū?) is a video game character from the Street Fighter series, first appearing in Street Fighter Alpha 2 as a non-playable character before making his playable debut as the final fighter of the second DLC season of Street Fighter V. Zeku was formerly the 38th grandmaster of the school of Bushinryu Ninjutsu, after being succeeded by his pupil Guy, he set out on a journey of self-discovery.
Zeku has long white/gray (brown in his younger form) hair with full fringes covering his eyes. In the Alpha series, his hair is depicted as brown and he wears an outfit identical to Guy's, only green. This outfit appears in Street Fighter V as his third alternate costume. In the UDON comics, Zeku is portrayed with a moustache.
In Street Fighter V, Zeku wears a traditional yellow and green dragon designed vest with a matching yellow trim and green cloud design and a drawing in the back resembling the War God from Forgotten Worlds. Underneath his vest is a dark blue long sleeved ninja garb which is tied in a yellow obi as the left sleeve are ripped into short sleeve, matching dark blue traditional pants and open-toed boots. He has an orange turtleneck beneath his garb. In his younger alternate self, he wears a dark blue ninja suit with half sleeves and wears a red ninja scarf to cover his mouth. He also has a red sash which is tied into a obi as the sash in each side are hanging loose.
In his first alternate costume, Zeku wears a modern type of outfit consisting of a yellow orange long sleeve button shirt with the black cloud design while his sleeves folded into cuffs, and a blue and light blue striped neck tie on the collar, indigo pants and brown shoes. He also gains a dark blue arm wraps on both of his arms which is tucked into the sleeves of his button shirt and has a silver watch on his left wrist. His younger form wears the same outfit with a formal suit jacket within it.
His second alternate costume is a blue ninja suit worn by with a large bowl hat. His younger form wears the same but with a kanji at the left side.
While Zeku can be seen as just a simple serious and stern teacher, he does have a youthful, cheerful, upbeat, and a well-mannered attitude, as well as a strong sense of justice and modernity. His past experiences with sparring his former master, Genryusai, was influenced through his former disciple turned successor, Guy. He has a odd mannerism in which he likes to talk with himself, normally in his young form.
- His younger form bears strong physical resemblance to Hiryu, notably being his wavy red scarf, messy brown hair, and blue garb with red kanji located on the chest. His Battle Costume is directly based on Hiryu's usual appearance with slight changes, such as a pouch belt instead of his loose-fitting metalic belt and an edged tonfa instead of his Cypher.
- His theme contains musical cues taken from the opening theme of Strider.
- During his intro, Zeku flies into the stage using a parachute-kite, similiar to Hiryu's glider entrances.
- A lot of Zeku's animations in both forms (such as old Zeku's idle and crouching stance, standing and crouching LP and LK, and young Zeku's standing and crouching HP, taunt and neutral jump) are inspired by Hiryu's animations from his series and the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
- His forward and backward jump in his young version are Hiryu's Cartwheel Jump.
- Zeku's special moves Sankaku Tobi and Hassou Tobi parrallel Hiryu's moves Triangle Jump and Hassou Jump respectively. Zeku also has a slide kick identical in pose to Hiryu's Slide.
- Most of Zeku's special kicks are accompanied by a shockwave effect similar to the Cypher's arc of plasma and by the same high-pitched slicing sound the Cypher produces when swung. One of his specials, Bushin Gram, is inspired by Hiryu's ability to produce slashes with extended reach (and named after a move from Marvel vs. Capcom which does exactly that).
- The final part of his Critical Art closely resembles Hiryu's Hyper Combo in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, Ragnarok. When performng the dashing strikes, they are accompanied by the same shockwave and high-pitched sound as his kicks, mimicking Ragnarok's Cypher slashes.
- He mentions the name Striders (as one of the possible new names for his "evolved" fighting style art) in his character story.
- "Original Strider" is the name of a title that one can unlock by playing Zeku.
- In a recent leak for new character stages in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Zeku's stage is labeled as the Strider Base.
Because of these connections, it is generally assumed that the Strider series exists within the same shared universe as the Street Fighter series, implying that Zeku may have been the founder (or at the very least, a conceptualizer, an innovator, or a part of the founders alongside Kuramoto and Tungus) of the Striders.
Zeku was the 38th Successor of the Bushinryu Ninjutsu school. He became the Grandmaster after defeating his former teacher Genryusai, but refused to kill him as the Bushinryu commandments deemed because he saw him as a father. Although Genryusai had focused primarily on Ninjutsu, Zeku had improved the style by incorporating a variety of Taijutsu techniques on it. Upon his later age, Zeku soon came across the time to find a successor to Bushinryu. During a patrol in an undisclosed American city, Zeku spotted a young man caught up in a gang fight. Seeing that the young man fought wildly, but with intense spirit, he then intervened and defeated the gang who had ambushed him. Telling him that he saw great potential, and with the boy greatly awed by Zeku's displays of lightning fast skill and power, Zeku then lent his hand in invitation to teach him the ways of Bushinryu. Introducing himself, that boy would let him know his name was Guy, and since then Zeku had taken him under as the next successor of Bushinryu.
Zeku taught the young Japanese-American ninja all he knew. Eventually he and his student would battle to see if Guy was worthy of being the 39th Successor of the Bushinryu school. Guy won, and allowed Zeku to go on his own path after passing on the grandmaster title, like how Zeku before him refused to kill Genryusai. Zeku was proud of his disciple and ordained him the 39th Successor of Bushinryu Ninpo. He then disappeared.
Zeku's character story begins with a brief history on the 600-year art of Bushinryu, but after teaching the art to Guy, Zeku is ready to branch out and craft a new style of martial art. His search for disciples in the new art leads him to the Kanzuki Estate, where he (in his young form) is first greeted by Ibuki; the two fight, with Zeku afterward extending an offer to Ibuki to join his new order, but Ibuki doesn't even consider the offer, disappointed at Zeku's true age. Zeku eventually finds Karin and extends an offer of his services; after initially turning down the offer, Zeku insists on working for her, naming numerous services that he can perform as a ninja "in these globalized times". Karin asks for a demonstration while she considers, and when she loses the fight, she is left impressed by his skill. Zeku leaves, assuring Karin that she can contact him when he is needed. Zeku is later seen contemplating his evolved art's possible contributions to modern society. He concludes a name is needed for his new art, but after considering the name "Shin Bushinryu", he decides the name should be English to better suit the modern era. The story ends with him being beside himself on the art's new name, giving consideration to the name "Striders" among others.
Zeku fights using Bushinryu Ninjutsu. As the noteworthy 38th successor of Bushinryu, Zeku is a very proficient and adept ninja master whose career has been considered to have revived Bushinryu back to its former glory since the languishing days of the Meiji Restoration; along with having incorporated integral aspects such as Taijutsu and close quarters combat to recreate the school's very own martial arts, he is extremely well versed and studied in his fighting style's dynamics and techniques to where he is equipped for many situations and encounters.
Zeku's moves are similar to that of fellow Street Fighter ninjas like Vega, Guy and Ibuki. He is also able to transform to his younger self using his V-Skill or a down-down motion.<ref>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPSW9NRsQI4</ref>
Zeku's old and young form moveset are near completely different from eachother. Zeku fights using his new fighting style in his old form, combining moves from Bushinryu with his new techniques. His new fighting style focuses on a mid to far range game, relying on long range special moves that function as pokes. Although his special moves in his old form serve a fireball type function, they are very different from the standard fireballs, taking the form of a long range instant shock-wave rather than a traveling projectile. However, Zeku's combos tend to knock back his opponent a large distance and he lacks good wakeup pressure options as a result.
Zeku's moveset in his young form closely resembles Guy's moveset in the Alpha and Street Fighter IV games, focusing on Bushinryu techniques. In his young form, Zeku adopts a much more close range, pressure type fighting style utilizing target combos and dash mixups similar to Guy.
Due to the major differences between the two forms, the character is very daunting to learn, having one of the biggest movesets in the game. A Zeku player will need to keep track of each form's moves and what each form is capable of, whilst still keeping track of which form they are in mid match. As a result of contrasting two forms, Zeku can quickly and drastically switch up his playstyle in a match to throw off his opponent and to catch them off guard.
- Despite his connection to Guy and the Bushinryu style, Zeku never actually appeared in the Final Fight series.
- Of all the playable characters in the franchise, Zeku has the biggest moveset (41 in total), rivaling Dante's available moveset in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (and its Ultimate update), and Infinite iteration.
- All of Zeku's win quotes are haikus, Japanese poems that follow a 5-7-5 syllable pattern.
- Zeku is the only Season 2 DLC character whose voice actor (David Wald) is based in the Texas region. The other DLC characters were voiced by Los Angeles-based voice actors.
- Despite not being playable in the original Street Fighter game, Zeku appears as a part of Street Fighter V's roster for the Street Fighter I route in Arcade Mode. This is due to his connection to Final Fight, as Abigail is also playable in the same route.
|Street Fighter V Characters|
|Original|| Birdie · Cammy · Chun-Li · Dhalsim · F.A.N.G · Karin · Ken · Laura|
M. Bison · Nash · Necalli · R. Mika · Rashid · Ryu · Vega · Zangief
|Season 1||Alex · Balrog · Guile · Ibuki · Juri · Urien|
|Season 2||Abigail · Akuma · Ed · Kolin · Menat · Zeku|
|Season 3||Blanka · Cody · Falke · G · Sagat · Sakura|
|CPU Only|| AS · Aprile · Decapre · Enero · Février · Juli · März · Peter|
Phantom Bison · Santamu · Satsuki · Two P