His next appearance was in 's Street Fighter II, which features an older looking Ryu with darker hair and a red hachimaki. He also fought barefooted this time. Set several years after Ryu defeated Sagat in the first tournament (with Sagat bearing a chest scar from his defeat by Ryus Dragon Punch), Ryu participates in a second tournament, inviting his old friend Ken to compete against him. In his ending in the game, Ryu wins the tournament against Sagat and M. Bison, but does not stay for the ceremony, already seeking his next challenge. This ending defines Ryus characterization as a "wandering warrior".
Ryus backstory, along with those of other Street Fighter characters, would be explored in the subsequent Street Fighter Alpha prequel series. Set between the original Street Fighter and the Street Fighter II games, the Alpha series features a young Ryu much like the one depicted in the original Street Fighter with light red hair and a white bandanna.
The first game, Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams features Ryu confronting Sagat as his last opponent in a rematch following their first fight. Street Fighter Alpha 2 ()) depicts Ryu on a quest to confront Akuma, his masters brother and enemy. After their match, Akuma reveals that Ryu possesses the "evil intent" or "Satsui no Hadou" within him, the same power Akuma uses. An alternate version of Ryu using this power is featured in the game as hidden character (see Evil Ryu). In Kens ending, Ryu is shown receiving the red headband he wears in Street Fighter II as a gift from Ken (a concept previously used in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie). In Street Fighter Alpha 3 Ryu is sought by Bison, who seeks to use Ryu as his next host body. Ryu defeats Bison and destroys him (it is explained that Bison had a new host body constructed for himself prior to Street Fighter II).
Ryu and Ken would return in Street Fighter III , with a new character named Alex serves as the new lead character. It was followed by Street Fighter III 2nd Impact and Street Fighter III 3rd Strike. While Ryus motivation in the game and rivalry with Ken would remain the same, he also shown getting acquainted with several of the new characters featured in the game, such as becoming a tag partner for Hugo in 2nd Impact or Oro's pupil in 3rd Strike.
Ryu is set to appear in Street Fighter IV.
Gameplay-wise, Evil Ryu has more powerful attacks than his normal counterpart, strikes faster, and possesses some of the attacks of Akuma (such as the Shun Goku Satsu).
Like Akuma, Evil Ryu has a signature symbol that appears when he performs the Shun Goku Satsu. Evil Ryu has had three different symbols: In Alpha 3, his symbol was Satsu, for "Murder" (殺) , though it only appears in his ending, not during gameplay, and in Capcom vs SNK 2, the symbol was Metsu (滅) for "Destruction." In Street Fighter EX Plus he also appears to have the same sign as Akuma, which is "Ten", for "Sky/Heaven" (天).
Interestingly, in Street Fighter Alpha 3, if the player matches normal Ryu against Evil Ryu, they become two separate characters and act like sworn enemies; they have a special introduction in which the former attacks the latter with a rushing elbow which the latter parries, and then the former blocks as the latter pushes him away.
While Ryu and Ken follow the same martial arts discipline, as the Street Fighter series evolved, the differences between the two characters was portrayed by their attacks: Ryu focused on technique while Ken opted for stylish unpredictability. Ryu's normal attacks are slightly slower than Ken's, albeit straightforward. His special moves are more focused; Ryu inflicts damage with individual strikes rather than combinations. His Shoryuken does only one hit, so Ryu can effectively use this move at full power against airborne opponents. Ryu focuses more on the Hadou principle of his style, which translates to him being very skilled with his usage of ki - Ryu has the most concentrated Hadouken amongst all users.
Ryu has a unique ability in Marvel vs. Capcom, where he is able to change his fighting style (and outfit), to those of Ken and Akuma (to compensate for the lack of the two characters in the game). When giving his quote at the end of the fight, however, they are the same no matter which "mode" he's in.
Since the SNES version of Street Fighter II, Ryu's fighting style has been referred as "Shotokan" in the English localization of the games' instruction manuals and related literature, despite the fact that the term not being used in the Japanese versions or in the games themselves.
Ryu was played by Byron Mann in the 1994 film version of Street Fighter, where Guile is the lead character. Ryu (given the surname "Hoshi"), and Ken are traveling con artists who steal money from rich crime lords through schemes such as selling modified toy guns. He and Ken eventually work with Guile to infiltrate Bison's headquarters. Mann also portrayed the character in two separately produced video games based on the film, both titled Street Fighter: The Movie, where he wears Ryu's characteristic white karate gi and red headband.
The premise of the 1995 Japanese TV series Street Fighter II V centers around a young Ryu and Ken, who travel the world to improve their martial art skills by challenging other Street Fighters. The series' depiction of Ryu differs from his video game counterpart, as he has spiked black hair and lacks his trademark headband, wearing a set of beads on his right wrist instead, which is given to him by a female friend during the first episode. He is usually dressed casually, but wears his white karate gi for some episodes. He was voiced Kōji Tsujitani in the Japanese version and once again by Skip Stellrecht in the English dub.
The American Street Fighter animated series, which also debuted in 1995, follows a loose combination of the depictions of Ryu in the live action movie and in the games. Ryu, once again given the last name of Hoshi, is once again a traveling con artist, paired, as ever, with Ken, but like in the games, he is also dedicated to his training. Originally, Ryu and Ken were supporting characters in the series, but later episodes focus around the duo, adapting backstories from the game into the series. He was voiced in the series by Tony Lung.
The 1999 original video animation Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation centers around Ryu's inner conflict with the Dark Hadou, as seen in the Street Fighter Alpha manga and games. The 2005 OVA Street Fighter Alpha: Generations features a similar storyline, but is unrelated to the previous Alpha anime. The story of Generations establishes Akuma (or Gouki, as he retains his Japanese name in the English dub) as Ryu's father.
IGN ranked Ryu first in their "Top 25 Street Fighter Characters" article, stating "Ryu is a testament to the virtue of simplicity in character design. White gi, dark gloves, red headband for a little touch of color, and that is it. It's rare, when you think about it, to see too many fancy pieces go into the making of an icon".