|~ Ryo Sakazaki.|
|~ Ryo's victory cry.|
|“||Kokyugen secret technique!||„|
|~ Ryo as he unleashes (one of) his super move.|
|“||You're still not strong enough to defeat me. If you can't accept that, then train! There's no shortcuts!||„|
|~ Ryo's win quote.|
Ryo Sakazaki is the main character in Art of Fighting, and one of the main characters in The King of Fighters, both fighting game series from SNK. His name is most often written in kana, however, in some games kanji is used to write parts of his name (坂崎 亮, Sakazaki Ryō). He earned the nickname, The Invincible Dragon.
Ryo is the son of Takuma Sakazaki and Ronnet Sakazaki and the older brother of Yuri Sakazaki. As Ryo was deemed to be Takuma's successor, he began his martial arts training at an early age. His father instilled him with the difficult principle of self-reliance, where a person's own strength can form their worth in the world. He eventually gained a sparring partner and friend when Robert Garcia was admitted into the dojo.
On Ryo's 10th birthday, his mother died in a tragic car accident. His father left their home and left Ryo to take care of Yuri. Ryo did this by partaking in construction work and tirelessly strived to defend his family's dojo. Remembering his father's lessons during his training, he also took up street fighting. At first, he did poorly but, after many years of persistence, he eventually established himself as a fearsome and renowned fighter.
Art of Fighting
In the first Art of Fighting, Yuri is kidnapped by Mr. Big, a local criminal mastermind of the dangerous city, Southtown on behalf of Geese Howard. During his journey, he met a bouncer named King, who guides them to Mr. Big's location. With Robert and King's help, Ryo confronts and defeats the kingpin. His pursuit for Mr. Big leads him to a karate dojo where a mysterious man challenges him. When Ryo prevailed, he threatens to finish Mr. Karate unless he told them information about Yuri's safety. Before he deals the final blow, Yuri reveals the man's identity as their father. After eleven years of separation, the whole family is reunited.
Before the events of the second game, Ryo went to the mountains for training. He received an invite for a King of Fighters tournament and accepted it to test his strength. When he reaches the finals, the tournament's host, Geese Howard, expresses his desires to recruit Ryo into his services. Ryo refuses and subsequently fight him atop his office in Geese Tower, and defeats him with tremendous effort. Unfortunately, Geese manages to escape and later reenacts the beginning of the Fatal Fury story.
Ryo's role in the following game is reduced to being a supporting character for Robert. In his ending for the game, he hands his sister a ticket for Robert's flight back home and wishes the best for both of them. Additionally, he gains two new rivals: Kasumi Todoh and Jin Fu-Ha.
Presumably, after the Art of Fighting series ended, Takuma retired from fighting and entrusts the Kyokugenryu dojos to Ryo. At least two dojos are in operation, one near Southtown and one is later entrusted to Ryo's student, Marco Rodriguez. This is supported by the fact that Ryo takes over the Mr. Karate mantle that his father once held in Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition and Buriki One.
The King of Fighters
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.
Throughout the series, the Kyokugen style is depicted as a struggling family business, funded almost entirely by prize money earned from KOF and Robert's vast wealth. Each year, at the conclusion of KOF, the Kyokugen dojo would often have many applicants due to the strong performance of the team. Despite their hard fought success, most of these applicants would later quit, due to either the strenuous training regime or mysterious people who appear and trash the dojo. The family manages to keep two gyms running, one in South Town and a second in Mexico.
Ryo usually teams up with Robert, Yuri, or Takuma to continue spreading the fame of the Kyokugen style. He usually tries his best to keep his sister away from the tournaments and relents to his father's demands. In The King of Fighters 2000, he welcomed King into the team, even through his best friend's protests. Takuma apparently noticed (and somewhat mistook) the respect the young fighters had for one another and presses his wishes for her to join whenever the time calls for it. In The King of Fighters XI, Ryo indicates that Marco is currently a green belt.
Ryo is very serious about fighting and loyal to his friends and family. 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.
It has been implied that there is some romantic tension between him and King. He apparently thinks her to be a good friend though she may think more of him since he contributed to her brother's recovery in Art of Fighting 2. Their relationship is referred to various times during The King of Fighters series. In The King of Fighters XIII 's story mode, Yuri specifically mentions Ryo and King dating.
Fatal Fury/Garou Densetsu
Art of Fighting