Dan has a similar outfit to Ryu and Ken, wearing a traditional karate gi. Dan also wears a black undershirt like Ryo Sakazaki. His head and face closely resembles Robert Garcia from Art of Fighting, while his outfit is bright pink, reminiscent of Ryo's orange outfit in Art of Fighting. Orange is also one of Dan's primary alternate colors, likely in reference to this.
His fighting stance is similar to Ken and Ryu's, due to originating as a palette-swap of those two; in later games, it is more "loose" and animated. As seen below, his appearance in Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 is more distinct in that he's lighter on his feet and his arms are positioned differently. In Street Fighter IV series he forgoes bouncing around in his stance in favor of hand and arm movements reminiscent of Tai Chi movements. Many of his mannerisms directly mirror those of Yuri Sakazaki.
Dan refuses to back down from any fight, usually out of sheer confidence, though this easily turns to arrogance or sheer stupidity. Although weak, Dan seems to still be somewhat intelligent, possessing some knowledge of fighting styles (despite his mutilation of the martial art rooted from Ansatsuken); he acknowledges in Super Street Fighter IV that E. Honda uses moves that wouldn't actually be considered Sumo, for instance and in certain games, (most notably Street Fighter IV Volt and Street Fighter X Tekken) he instructs the player on how to play and gives tips on how to beat certain characters.
Despite his miserable record of losses, Dan still believes himself to be the superior fighter, even when his inferiority is at its most blatant. Dan's ego is so bloated that he even sometimes tries to steal credit for other people's actions and assures himself that it was his own doing that is deemed responsible. For instance, in Street Fighter IV, when being rescued by Ryu and Sakura from an engulfing explosion, Dan announces that it was his "awesome power" that saved everyone from perishing.
Despite being portrayed as arrogant and cocky, Dan is ultimately good-natured; as an example, he says in his Super Street Fighter IV win quote against T. Hawk that he can relate to being homeless and "totally feels his pain" (despite T. Hawk not minding). Dan sees himself as a fatherly figure and mentor to his friend Sakura, constantly advising her on fighting techniques. He also tends to lecture Blanka, his other friend, about "real manhood" and the Saikyo arts, much to Blanka's bemusement.
Dan has a deep dislike of Ryu and Ken mostly on the grounds of them being the more revered fighters and Ken's "good with the ladies" personality. He has been shown to be quite unpopular with the other characters, most usually because of the little patience they have for his antics.
Not long after Street Fighter II was released, rival video game company SNK released a fighting game, called Art of Fighting, starring Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia. Ryo managed to bear a similarity in appearance, fighting style, and name to Ryu, and had the same hair color as Ken. In humorous retaliation, Capcom included Dan as a secret character in Street Fighter Alpha.
Connections to SNK characters
Dan's pink clothing is based off Ryo's orange attire, while his hairstyle and facial features is based off Robert's; he also taunts similarly to Art of Fighting character Yuri Sakazaki. Instead of using both hands to unleash his Gadoken as most characters do for the Hadoken. he propels it with one hand, like Ryo, Robert and Yuri do for the Ko-ou Ken (Ryuu-Geki Ken in Robert's case). Dan can also taunt infinitely like the Art of Fighting games, unlike his fellow Street Fighter characters. In addition, he has four unique taunts - one when he stands up, one crouching down, a short one when jumping, and a taunt exclusive to one of his special moves, Roll Taunt. Each taunt slightly fills up his Super Gauge in his appearances.
Dan's second costume color for his original costume is a reference to Ryo Sakazaki's default costume in the Art of Fighting and King of Fighters series. Capcom has a history of putting in subtle nods to Dan's origins as a parody of SNK's fighting games, and Dan has had the orange gi/blue shirt costume since Alpha.
Dan's fighting style, the Saikyō-ryū, is a parody of Kyokugen-Ryuu, the fighting style used by Ryo and Robert. To further the parody, Saikyō-ryū means "Strongest style", based off Kyokugen-Ryuu's "Extreme Style."
In Street Fighter Alpha 2, Dan is Ken's secret challenger (reached by finishing several fights in a row with Super Combos) and they exchange dialog, one line of which is Ken asking Dan if he knows the "art of fighting". One of Dan's win quotes in Street Fighter Alpha 3 is "I hate the art of fighting, but I want to be the king of fighters!", referencing both SNK series.
In Dan's ending in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, Dan's sister appears to prevent him finishing off Cyber-Akuma saying "Don't you know who he is? He's our...", parodying the ending of the original Art of Fighting where Ryo was about to kill Mr. Karate before being told he is their father by Yuri (who Dan's sister was designed after).
In the SNK vs. Capcom series (more specifically in SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom), Dan's moveset borrows even more from Ryo's, and there is a running gag where Dan is often mistaken for Ryo or Robert, even by himself in a mirror match. He also mistook Mr. Karate for his father's ghost; however, in his ending in Neo Geo Pocket's SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium, he seems to acknowledge that Takuma and Go are different people). In Ryo's ending for Capcom vs. SNK 2, it is hinted that Dan came to the Sakazaki's Kyokugenryu Karate school to sign up.
In Pocket Fighter, Dan can call on the ghost of his father, whose face resembles the same tengu mask as Mr. Karate. This is mirrored in Capcom's official artwork for Street Fighter Alpha; earlier works featured Go wearing a tengu mask, while later ones show that the long nose was indeed a feature of Go Hibiki. All other instances of Go Hibiki's face are obscured, such as the image of young Sagat clutching Go's face.
According to the Super Street Fighter IV blog, Dan was born on November 25. Dan's father, Go, was a mixed martial artist and a rival of Sagat. Go gouged out Sagat's right eye and Sagat beat him to death in retaliation. Because of this, Dan sought revenge on Sagat, training to become a fighter, but was expelled from Gouken's dojo when his motivations were learned. Dan thus developed his own style of Gouken's martial art merged with Muay Thai elements and called it Saikyō-ryū, or "Strongest style," despite the complete weakness of his techniques. He set on a quest to find Sagat and take vengeance for his father's death.
Street Fighter Universe
Rival Schools Universe
Asura's Wrath Universe