A group of Striders as seen in the PC-Engine intro.

Striders (ストライダーズ) or Strider Organization (ストライダーの組織) in the manga, is a group appearing on every one of the series' incarnations. The group plays a pivotal role in both the manga and its NES adaptation, whereas it is only mentioned in the backstory for the arcade games and Strider Returns.

The Striders are a clandestine group of freelance mercenaries with no allegiances to any country, working all over the world from the shadows[1][2]. All agents on the group are professionals of both combat and intelligence said to possess abilities and skills far beyond those of normal humans[3]. The group specialize in underground activities including espionage, sabotage and assassination[1][2], as well as infiltration, kidnapping and demolition.[4][5]

The Striders have went through several crisis, including Matic's attempt to control the group for his own selfish ends, Enterprise and their plans of world domination through the ZAIN Project and Grandmaster Meio's bid for world domination. During Meio's second rising (events of Strider 2), the Striders were reportedly decimated, rumors claiming a renegade Strider was involved in its sabotage[2]. Hiryu is the sole known survivor of the massacre[2]. During the events of Strider (2014) little is mentioned of the organization as a whole, however by the time of the game's events 11 Striders had fallen in the ongoing fight to dispose Meio.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Origin[edit | edit source]

Note: for alternative origins see the Other incarnations section.

The Striders are established to claim descendance from the ninjas of Japan[1][2][3], having seemingly inherited several of their techniques and abilities. The group was founded by their only known leader, Kuramoto, a warrior of advanced age and unparalleled skills[6]. This indicates that, at least in the manga's story, the foundation of the group is relatively recent.

The word "Strider" used to refer to their agents is said to mean "He who Runs across Fields" or "Field Runner" (野を馳せる者)[1][4][7], likely a reference to the group covering operations all over the world. An alternative to the above, "Shadows Running Across Fields" (野を駆せる影), was featured in early documentation.[8]

Mark[edit | edit source]

Manga striders mark.png

The Striders are represented by a personal mark or logo, shown as a stylized "S" around what looks to be a representative Cypher entwined with two dragon-like serpents. The symbol is reminiscent of the Caduceus, an ancient Greek symbol known as the "herald's staff" and said to represent trades and business among other things.

The mark is seen emblazoned in objects and vehicles of the group, including a stealth jet and the mantle Matic wears. It is also seen tattooed in Kain's left wrist[9], perhaps showing that its customary of Strider agents to have the mark as a way for identification.

Rules[edit | edit source]

A code of conduct appears to exist among Striders, and atleast three specific rules are mentioned. Although not much else is revealed, Kain refers to these as the Striders' "unwritten rules"[4], leaving the impression they may not be officially enforced but agents abide by them absolutely nonetheless.

  • Striders will agree to any mission they are contracted for, and risk their lives for the duration of the contract.[10][11]
  • Striders will keep their contractor's identity in absolute secrecy, even after the contract's termination.[10][11]
  • Striders must hone their skills to their utmost limits.[11]

There are two other possible rules mentioned:

  • Kain establishes that "death" is the law for leaving the Striders[12]. It's unknown if this is in fact an actual rule prohibiting agents from retiring or abandoning the organization under penalty of death or if it's just an observation about how a Strider will eventually and invariably die in the line of duty.
  • Aaron of the Zangi Brothers comments on Hiryu's reckless invasion of his group's base by reciting what he calls one of the Striders' "cardinal rules": they must carry out missions as swift as wind and without being spotted.[13]

Main Headquarters[edit | edit source]

The Striders' main base varies depending on the source. Thus far, there are three known bases used by the organization:

The Blue Dragon[edit | edit source]

The Blue Dragon Station

Appears: NES Strider

The Blue Dragon is a dragon-shaped space station located on Earth's orbit. It is equipped with advanced computer systems and machines, the most notable of which is a transportation device, which is able to send agents instantly to any location on Earth. The station's computer can also decode and analyze data files, which comes specially versatile to discover enemy information.

During Matic's tenure as the Striders' de-facto leader, he had himself designed a second station in secret in order to house the ZAIN Project's main tree, Yggdrasil. This station, known as the Red Dragon, was constructed as an identical copy of the Blue Dragon.

Strider Headquarters[edit | edit source]

The Desert Base.

Appears: Manga, NES Strider

The Strider Headquarters is a desert dwelling located within a rocky formation in the middle of an unknown desert. The quarters' control room is a large chamber with several rocky windows to the outside, equipped with highly-advanced computers and several monitor screens installed on their walls. The tip of the formation houses a hangar and takeoff platform for aircrafts. Kuramoto's office is also located at the top of the structure, a large office with a desk set in front of a large windows, and from where Kuramoto performs his duties.

Moralos Island[edit | edit source]

Appears: Mega Drive Strider (English manual only), Strider Returns

A small island found somewhere in the South Seas, Moralos Island houses a secret training location used by the Striders. The inhabitants of this island were the ones picking on the reports of Meio's total annihilation of most of Earth's living beings[14]. Nothing else is known about this location.

The island Moralos is referenced a second time in the manual of the Mega Drive port of Strider Returns, where the location is directly called the Striders' secret base instead of just a training location.

Ranking System[edit | edit source]

Hiryu in the middle of his training

The Striders rank their members using a letter-based ranking system which goes from C to A, with a special elite class known as "Special-A". All trainee members are subjected to a training program of unknown length, after which they are ranked based on their performance and skills. It's said that out of hundreds of candidates, only the 10% is able to come out alive from the training program[15]. While the contents of the program are not revealed, when Kubira talks about his time with Hiryu during training his flashback depicts Hiryu killing tigers with his bare hands.[15]

There are two known titles used by leading figure: The leader and overseer of all Striders' operations carries the title of Director (長官), while the Vice-Director (副長官) stands right below and serves as his second-in-command. It's also implied that, should the Director is incapacitated or unable to continue with his functions, the Vice-Director assumes leadership of the group as his substitute, presumably until a new Director is assigned. In atleast one source the rank of Commander (司令官) is also stated to exist.

Reportedly only Striders of ranks A and above are allowed certain privileges, such as the use of specialized weapons[16] and being granted animal-based codenames[17][18]. The latter, however, is not obligatory and a Strider can refuse to accept this honor.[18][19]

Special-A Class[edit | edit source]

Special-A Class (特A級, also translated as Super A-Grade[20] or Super-A ranked[21]) is an elite rank only granted to the most talented graduated candidates. Striders that reach this rank are said to possess skills and abilities far beyond those of normal humans, as well as mastery of both armed and unarmed combat. They are the only agents allowed to use the Striders' iconic weapon, the Cypher,[22] a complex plasma-emitting sword that very few people are able to handle properly. Special-A Class Striders are usually tasked with the most dangerous and important missions.

Known members: Hiryu (youngest ever to attain the rank),[23][2][20][24] Hien,[25] Kain,[4] Arana,[26] Ouga, Hinjo (hinted).

A Class[edit | edit source]

A Class (A級) is the highest normal rank within the group. Striders on this rank have remarkable combat skills and abilities and are shown to be exceptional warriors, being able to take on 10 skilled opponents at once or even armored vehicles by themselves. While not directly stated, it seems A Class Striders are usually paired up with a Special-A Strider to serve as support during important missions.

Known members: Mariya (first woman to attain the rank),[27] Sheena,[4] Kubira, Hoen, Rouga, Shouyo, Jingei, Koja, Hiyou. Hiryu is referred as the youngest A-Class in some sources for the first game.[1][3]

B Class[edit | edit source]

B Class (B級) Striders are first introduced in the 2014 Strider. Not much details are given about this rank's functions, although all known members have been stated to wield the same weapon, a seemingly generic "Plasma Sword".

Known members: Kuga, Raiga, Shinden

C Class[edit | edit source]

The lowest ranked members of the group, C Class (C級) Striders are still extremely skilled warriors. One C Class Strider is said to possess strength and skill equal to a whole team of Special Forces[4]. The most numerous agents in the organization, they seem to serve as the grunt force and are identified by the same uniform: a dark blue full-body costume with a hooded mask covering the entire head except for the eyes.

They wield machine guns almost exclusively, although there are others known to use concealed melee weapons such as small claws.

Known members: Clawed Striders, Matic's strike force, Ryuzaki (hinted).

Technology[edit | edit source]

The Striders' organization combines both traditional martial art skills with more advanced weaponry and technology to achieve their objectives.

Uniform[edit | edit source]

Hiryu's uniform and equipment

The most commonly seen uniform worn by Strider agents consists of a sleeveless shirt, wide-legged pants, a fishnet shirt worn underneath, a colored sash, leg wraps and tabi sandals. The large number of low-rank Striders are seen wearing the same uniform, except with long sleeves and a fully concealing head gear, leaving only the eyes visible. Although this is the costume most associated with the group, several agents are shown wearing unique style of clothing and uniforms, indicating agents (possibly those of higher ranks) are not required to wear any particular uniform.

A recurring feature of a Strider's uniform is the appearance of a personal mark or insignia located on the uniform's shirt, to the chest's right. This often relates to the agent's codename: Hiryu and the Fallen Striders carry kanji from their names, while Kain and Matic sport their name's initials.

Uniform color varies from Strider to Strider, going from Hiryu's lavender/blue to Kain and Hien's white, Sheena's green military getup or Matic's red attire. The grunt members, on the other hand, all wear dark blue uniforms.

A long scarf is also often part of a Strider's appearance, usually worn around the neck and used to cover the lower part of the face. Although not every agent wears one, it has become an iconic element of a Strider's look. Hiryu in particular is well-known within the organization for wearing a long red scarf[8][28]. Although very rarely, it can also be used as a long sash.[8]

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Other elements of a Strider's uniform include:

  • Metallic belt: A metallic, loose-fitting belt that hangs from the waist, visible segmented into squares. The belt has a "Cypher mount device" (サイファーマウント装置) built on its back side which is used to hold the weapon when not in use, folding it tighly through the use of a "mysterious force".[28]
  • Climb Sickle: A climbing tool used to easily climb through any terrain and feature[8]. When not in use, it is folded in a sheath strapped to the agent's back.
  • Glider: A mechanical hang glider used to infiltrate targets through the air. Soundless and capable of being recalled remotely if needed.

Gear introduced in the 2014 Strider includes:

Weapons[edit | edit source]

The Striders' iconic weapon, the Cypher

Strider agents are allowed to choose any weapon that suits them, but there are also certain restrictions according to their ranks. Striders are seen wielding all variety of weapons including both firearms and melee weapons, and even personal weapons like Arana's razor wire. Striders generally also carry a secondary weapon on themselves, examples including Hiryu's Kunai, Kain's rocket gun and Arana's rifle. Grunt Striders are seen almost exclusively wielding machine guns when deployed.

The Striders' iconic weapon is the Cypher, a tonfa-shaped long sword which emits plasma to generate an edge capable of cutting through any material. The Cypher is a very advanced weapon and hard to handle properly, so it is restricted to the organization's top-ranking agents. Different variations of the basic Cypher are known to exist, like Matic's long Cypher or Hien's Geometrical Cypher.

There's also a category of special melee weapons identified by the prefix "Cy-" (Cy-dagger, Cy-spear, etc.), possibly derived from "Cypher". These weapons cover a wide range of types (from swords and daggers to spears and bows), but there's little known information about them. They are in particular used by A Class Striders. Similarly, a seemingly generic Plasma Sword is listed as a weapon issued to B Class agents. Both were introduced in the 2014 Strider.

Other[edit | edit source]

As experts in demolition and sabotage, Striders are known to carry a number of explosives with them during missions. These appear to be small enough to be easily hidden within structures and buildings, and are activated remotely with a small control. Hiryu,[29] Kain[30] and Matic[31] are all seen using this type of explosive at different times.

Striders also employ assistant robots called Options during missions. These machines come in several forms and can not only attack enemies but also hack certain terminals and be used to quickly travel between locations. Some Options come in the shape of animals to mimic the ninja's use of trained animals to perform specific tasks. Some of the Options are handled through a control device located on the waist[8], possibly inside the metallic belt.

Vehicles[edit | edit source]

Striders stealth jet

The Striders are shown to possess several state-of-the-art aircrafts to travel across the world. Two such vehicles include a stealth jet used by Matic to reach Mongolia and a long-distance aircraft used by Kuramoto to travel to Los Angeles.

Matic also mentions the existence of a Strider's satellite moving around Earth's orbit with a laser cannon strong enough to wipe out an entire village off the planet's surface[32]. Whether this satellite is related to the Blue Dragon or is an independent property of the group is unknown.

Other incarnations[edit | edit source]

Isuke's scenario draft[edit | edit source]

Main article: Isuke's scenario draft

This text written by Isuke provides a detailed backstory for the Striders spanning two centuries, from their ancient origins to their creation around late 19th Century all the way to their final disbandment in 2048. This text establishes the Striders were founded by members of the Tungus, a nomadic tribe living in Eastern Siberia noted for their ability to move and climb around high altitudes with little to no effort. Hiryu is stated to have been born in a village of the Tungus[8], but other than that no other mention of the group is made in known official material.

The text expands on the group's customs and traditions, establishing it as a closet consanguineous group with a family-based matriarchal system, a teacher-student training system and a bussiness operation handled by the central family.

The draft also gives an origin for the word "Strider", inspired from a group of British archaelogists that hired members of the Tungus to help them cross through a mountain path and were in awe of their ability to "stride" across difficult terrains effortlessly.

Strider (PC Engine)[edit | edit source]

The PC Engine port presents a different origin for the group: known as the Specialized Agency Striders (特別機関ストライダーズ), the group is a top secret organization created by the United Nations in response to Grandmaster Meio's attempt at conquering the world.[33]

The Striders are able to communicate from the "Strider Base" to relay mission objectives and scout areas ahead by means of an Army's reconnaissance satellite[34]. Hiryu's death animation is also given an explanation in this setting: it is established that there's a miniature bomb inside his body that explodes once a Strider's life signals become critical. This is done as a way to maintain confidentiality, by removing all traces of an agent's existence on site.[34]

Street Fighter series[edit | edit source]

Main article: Street Fighter

In Street Fighter V Zeku is redesigned to heavily resemble Hiryu in appearance and moves, and his backstory heavily implies the group he's planning to create will eventually become the Striders. According to his story Zeku starts a journey of self-discovery after handing over the title of Bushinryu Grandmaster to Guy, pondering how an old ninja like himself can still contribute to the modern world. He concludes he needs to reinvent himself, branch out of Bushinryu and create a new fighting style and group that could better satisfy the needs of the current era.

During his character story's ending, Zeku discusses with himself a name for his evolved fighting style and at one point namedrops "Striders" among several other names, reasoning that an English name would fit the current globalized times better than a more traditional Japanese one. His Battle Costume (which heavily resembles Hiryu's standard look) is also stated to be a prototype uniform for his future group.

As of Street Fighter V, Zeku has yet to create his group and is still in the process of gathering connections, funds and members.

Crossover appearances[edit | edit source]

In most of Hiryu's crossover appearances the Striders are usually only briefly addressed in his biography or in interactions. Outside of a basic description and mention of Hiryu's rank, the group is usually not expanded further.

Namco × Capcom follows the backstory introduced in Strider 2, where the Striders were exterminated thanks to Hien's betrayal, leaving Hiryu as the only one left to carry out Meio's elimination. This event and Hien's involvement are well-known facts in this setting, to the point Captain Commando directly calls Hien out for his part on them.

In Project X Zone 2, a direct sequel to Namco × Capcom, the Striders are stated to be still operational, albeit in a very diminished capacity. Hiryu is tasked with the mission of hunting down surviving followers of Meio when he gets involved into the game's plot. During the big party held in the epilogue Hiryu states he's only there to scout new members to help rebuild the organization.

The trailer for the TEPPEN expansion "A Dark Agenda" states Hiryu is the sole survivor of the Striders[35], leaving him in a situation similar to Strider 2.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Capcom (October 2006, PlayStation). Gamebook: Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Pg. 42. ISBN 4-86233-076-2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Capcom (February 2000, PlayStation). Strider Hiryû 1&2 (Japanese). Instruction Manual, Pg. 10
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Sega (September 1990, Mega Drive). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Instruction manual, Pg. 5
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 8. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  5. Capcom (July 1989, NES). Strider (English). Introduction text.
  6. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 4, Pg. 119. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  7. Staff (1994). "Dr Light's Ask Me!". Club Capcom (3). Pg. 59
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Staff (1993). "Capcom Illustration Gallery". Club Capcom (0). Pg. 11-12
  9. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 21. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 7. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Referenced in Isuke's scenario draft
  12. Wada, Tatsumi (December 1988). "Comp Comic". Strider Hiryû Gaiden, Pg. 332. Kadokawa Shoten.
  13. Wada, Tatsumi (December 1988). "Comp Comic". Strider Hiryû Gaiden, Pg. 312. Kadokawa Shoten.
  14. Sega (September 1990, Mega Drive). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 1
  15. 15.0 15.1 Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 4, Pg. 123. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  16. Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider (English). Story Intel #13: Strider Hien
  17. Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider (English). Story Intel #12: Strider Hoen
  18. 18.0 18.1 Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Story Intel #15: Strider Ouga
  19. Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider (English). Story Intel #15: Strider Ouga
  20. 20.0 20.1 Capcom (July 1989, NES). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 4
  21. Capcom (1992, Sharp X68000). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Cover
  22. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 38. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  23. Capcom (March 1989, Arcade). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Instruction Sticker
  24. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû, Chapter 2, Pg. 53. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  25. Capcom (2000). Strider Hiryû 1&2 Official Site (Japanese). Retrieved from archive.org. Accessed April 21, 2016
  26. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 4, Pg. 127. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  27. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 2, Pg. 74. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Staff (Spring 1998). "Character Setting Museum". CFC Style Fan-Book CAP! (6). Pg. 13
  29. Wada, Tatsumi (December 1988). "Comic Comp". Strider Hiryû Gaiden, Pg. 318. Kadokawa Shoten.
  30. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 5, Pg. 169. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  31. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 6, Pg. 214. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  32. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 2, Pg. 37. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  33. Dice Creative Ltd.; NEC Avenue (September 1994, PC Engine CD-ROM²). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Game Intro
  34. 34.0 34.1 Dice Creative Ltd.; NEC Avenue (September 1994, PC Engine CD-ROM²). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Stage 01 Intro
  35. Staff (February 19, 2021). ""A Dark Agenda" CINEMATIC TRAILER" (English). PlayTEPPEN official YouTube channel. Accessed April 26, 2021
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