|“||You cannot keep my fists in your sight, for they move with the fury of hell!||„|
Appearance and Concept
Gen is an elderly man who often has a stern look on his face. He is among the shortest male characters in the series, standing at just 5'5". Gen wears a loose, purple outfit with a red sash around his clothes, and red Chinese martial art shoes with white socks. He has white hair with a long, white beard. In the original Street Fighter, he had black pupils in his eyes, not to mention he didn't have the red sash, but in his more recent incarnations, his eyes are now completely white in color.
Prior to his recent appearance in Street Fighter IV, Gen had short hair. In the Street Fighter IV games, his hair not only has grown much longer but he also keeps it tied in a formal bun with a purple Chinese qipao on the back of his head. In most recent games his skin also has aging wrinkles in his entire body, most notably his face.
As a result, he bears a strong resemblance to the martial arts master Pai Mei from Kill Bill: Volume 2, who was based on the famous leader of the White Lotus Clan, Bak Mei. Bak Mei has appeared in many martial arts films by Shaw Brothers Studios; although a master of many styles, he was famous for practicing the art of Dim Mak (pressure point strikes), which Gen appears to utilize.
The character 元 literally means "origin" or "source". Gen's name is spoken out in the Japanese on'yomi reading; the Mandarin/pinyin reading of the character is "Yuán" (pronounced as "Y-wahn/Yoo-ahn").
Gen is a silent, precise and wise man who takes fighting very seriously and prefers to take on formidable, honorable warriors, such as Ryu and Akuma. Elderly though he is, Gen's temperament is extremely sharp, his speech patterned with a weathered and biting coarseness. With a tendency to muse over death (likely rooted in his condition), he is also not hesitant to speak of such dark matters regarding the inevitable passing of all things, especially to those that walk the path of a fighter, since he seeks to die as he has lived: fighting.
Despite being a powerful assassin in the past, and a legend in the Chinese underworld, Gen follows a code and has benevolent intentions, as he never imposes his power over those who cannot fight, nor does he kill the defenseless. Though he fights to test his strength and his opponents, much like Akuma, Gen is very respectful to younger fighters like Sakura and Ibuki, and is displeased by those who do not rely on their own power, as he values the true spirit of martial arts and honor. Another sign of his inner goodness is that he shows a great deal of care for Chun-Li, as he trained her in the youth.
Gen was known as one of the big legends of martial arts, supposedly being the "man who killed a hundred". He was not only a great martial artist, but a legendary assassin for the law, said to be invincible in battle. Gen was also a friend of Chun-Li and her father, and he briefly trained her in her youth. Gen also owned a restaurant called Genhanten in Sendai, Japan - where he met Ryu for the first time and helped train him for a short time before continuing his journey.
Gen entered the first World Warrior tournament to test his strengh with worthy opponents. When he did not, he went back to the streets of China.
Street Fighter Alpha 2
Later, he was diagnosed with leukemia, and did not have much time to live. Gen did not blame his loss in the first tournament on his illness. At first, he decided he would be careful and just manage his restaurant, but old foes sent assassins who made repeated attempts on his and his family and friends lives such as Chun-Li. Due to this, he decided he would stop hiding and go out fighting, in a blaze of glory, as he felt it was a more honorable way to die.
He went on a search for a worthy foe, taking on the evil members of Shadaloo and other crime syndicates, to provoke a fight to the death in which he would meet his end in a fight. Word got around about Akuma, a warrior who fully embraced the the demonic power of the Satsui no Hadou. After seeking him out, Gen challenged him to a fight that he hoped would be decisive. The two fought evenly until the end, each surviving the other's finishing blow. However, Akuma sensed that Gen was sick, making it the battle unfair. Thus, Akuma decided to end the match, leaving Gen to his fate.
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Eventually, Akuma was once again challenged by Gen, but although the results of the fight are unknown, Gen did survive (it is most likely that Akuma only fought him in a regular fight instead of a battle to the death).
Super Street Fighter IV
Gen, haunted by nightmares where he is surrounded on all sides by the ghosts of those he has killed in the past when he was still an assassin scorns the ghosts and says that while he is still alive, he will not succumb to the likes of them. Reflecting on how Chun-Li has grown into a strong and admirable woman, he knows he cannot protect her for much longer, as his time is running short. He remembers the day when his illness allowed Shadaloo to capture her father; cursing his body and its "infernal frailties", he vows not to let them get away.
He joins the S.I.N. organized tournament, and at some point Chun-Li finds him and demands that he tell her all that he knows about what happened to her father. Gen quitely fades away, leaving her alone in her mission to stop S.I.N from taking over the world. When the S.I.N. base is destroyed, Gen protects Chun-Li from the ensuing collapse, though it's not shown how. While partially trapped under the rubble, Gen witnesses Akuma and Gouken fight over an unconscious Ryu, internally referring to the two fighters as "Life and Death". He muses that "Death is indeed strong.". Impressed by what he called their "ultimate battle", in which both men were "prepared to give up the ghost", Gen resolves not to die until "the final battle between Life and Death", so he returns to what he calls "my own fight to the death".
One of Gen's more popular special moves (similar to moves by Chun-Li and E. Honda) is the Hyaku-Ren-Kou (百連勾, Hyakurenkō?, "Hundred Rapid Captures"), in which he strikes the opponent rapidly with hand stabs.
Gen is the only Street Fighter character that can change fighting styles in mid-fight. This gives him access to two different movesets, and knowing which is the best to use in the situation is the key to using him effectively. The Mantis Style focuses more on quick jabs and low-level, repeated damage, while his Crane style is slower but with more damaging, longer-ranged attacks. Overall, Gen excels at comboing moves together and executing 'air juggles' - moves that link together to keep the opponent off the ground.
Gen appears as a main character the live-action movie, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, portrayed by Robin Shou. Depicted as a younger martial arts master, he serves as the leader of a secret anti-crime organization known as the Order of the Web. It is Gen who teaches Chun-Li her more advanced moves, including the Kikoken, and accompanies her in the fight against Bison and Shadowloo. His back-story also reveals he was a partner-in-arms with Bison in their earlier days as criminals, but Gen eventually left him, no longer tolerant of stealing from others.
- Gen's restaurant is one of the stages in Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix (Pocket Fighter in Japan) where Fei Long, Dhalsim, Birdie, M. Bison, Victor, Rolento, Charlie, Sodom and Bishamon can be seen having lunch, Gen himself is seen on the leftmost side of the stage, slicing a duck.
- In the UDON comics, Gen has stated that Akuma has not yet mastered his dark powers during his talk with Ryu.