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Striders

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

Striders (ストライダーズ) is an organization 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 secret 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, such as espionage, sabotage and assassination[1][2]. Strider agents will agree to any mission they are contracted for, and risk their lives for the duration of the contract. They will also keep their contractor's identity in absolute secrecy, even after the contract's termination[4]. This is said to be the Striders' unwritten law.[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.

OriginEdit

The Striders are said to be presumably descended 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 amazing skills[5]. 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" (野を馳せる者)[1][5], likely a reference to the group covering operations all over the world.

In the script written by Isuke, the Striders were founded around the end of the 19th Century 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.

Striders' MarkEdit

Striderlogo
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 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[6], leaving the impression that its customary of Strider agents to have the mark as a way for identification.

Main HeadquartersEdit

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

The Blue DragonEdit

Blue dragon hq

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 HeadquartersEdit

Striderbase

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 which were used by Matic to observe Hiryu and Kain's progress in their fight against Enterprise. Close to the control room stands Kuramoto's own chambers, a spacious room with a desk, access to an outside balcony and a set of framed pictures in the wall of all active Striders. Kuramoto spent most of his time following retirement here, watching over his favorite Japanese dramas on TV.

Moralos IslandEdit

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[7]. Nothing else is known about this location.

Moralos is mentioned again in the manual of the Mega Drive port of Strider Returns, where it is now called the Striders' secret base rather than just a training facility.

Ranking SystemEdit

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.[8]

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.

It's stated in the 2014 Strider that Striders of ranks A and above are the only ones allowed certain privileges, such as the use of specialized weapons[9] and being granted animal-based codenames[10][11]. The latter, however, is not obligatory and a Strider can refuse to accept this honor.[11][12]

Special-A ClassEdit

Special-A Class (特A級, also translated as Super A-Grade[13] or Super-A ranked[14]) 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[15], 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)[16][2][13][17], Hien[18], Kain[5], Arana[19], Ouga, Hinjo (hinted).

A ClassEdit

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)[20], Sheena[5], 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 ClassEdit

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 ClassEdit

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[5]. The most numerous agents, they seem to serve as the grunt force of the organization and appear to wear the same uniform, a dark ninja costume with a face mask. Striders in this rank are almost exclusively seen carrying machineguns, though some also use melee weapons such as concealed claws.

Known members: Clawed Striders, Ryuzaki (hinted).

Weapons and TechnologyEdit

Gliderhook

Hiryu making use of the glider and climbing hook.

The Striders' organization combines both traditional martial skills with more advanced weaponry and technology to achieve their objectives. The basic Strider equipment includes a glider and climbing hook. The Glider is a special means of aerial transportation, used primarily to infiltrate heavily defended areas, and can seemingly be summoned at will to pick agents up. The climbing hook, known as the Climb Sickle, is an special sickle-shaped artifact capable of attaching to any surface and geography in the area. It allows its user to move through any sheer surface such as walls, cliff faces and even ceilings, providing complete freedom of movement in any position.

WeaponryEdit

Strider agents are allowed to choose any weapon that suits them, besides the limits stated above. Typically lower-ranked Striders are seen employing firearms such as machineguns or basic melee weapons, while those of higher ranks use more advanced weapons like Arana's rifle and monomolecular wires, though it's not uncommon to see agents like Sheena and Kain carry normal firearms as well. The Cypher is a weapon only allowed to be used by the group's best members, a very advanced weapons which emit a plasma edge capable of cutting through anything.

As experts in demolition and sabotage, Striders are also 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[21], Kain[22] and Matic[23] are all seen using this type of explosive at different times.

Vehicles & OthersEdit

The Striders possess state-of-the-art airships to travel across the world. Two such vehicles known to be owned by the organization include a stealth jet used by Matic to reach Mongolia, and a long-distance aircraft used by Kuramoto to reach Los Angeles.

During Matic's confrontation with Hiryu in Mongolia, he threatens him with a satellite stationed in Earth's orbit, which possess a laser cannon strong enough to wipe out an entire village off the surface[24], though whether it refers to the Blue Dragon or an independent satellite weapon is unknown. The PC-Engine port shows the group also has access to an Army's reconnaissance satellite, used to communicate with Hiryu and scout the area ahead of him.[25]

Strider (2014)'s equipmentEdit

StrHD armor art

A Strider rubber armor

Besides the usual equipment, Striders now possess a number of new equipment options as well.

As an alternative to the usual uniform made of cloth, there's exists a two-piece armor made of a strong rubber material, which provides moderate defense while allowing the Strider freedom of movement. This armor is usually used during long term missions, due to its higher resistance to wear and tear. The Strider's uniform also includes a number of devices known as Plasma Capacitors, which are capable of storing their inner plasma energy and expel it in different forms. There are two capacitors installed on the heels of the agent's boots, which allows them to perform the Double Jump maneuver and enhance the strength of kick techniques, as well as a mechanical Gauntlet which makes possible the high-speed move known as Plasma Catapult.

Besides the usual weaponry, the Striders also possess a category of specialized weapons which have been enhanced with plasma energy. These weapons cover a wide range of types, from short-range blades and daggers to mid and long-range spears and bows, and are identified by the prefix "Cy-" (Cy-dagger, Cy-spear, etc.), probably derived from "Cypher". They appear to be exclusively issued to A Class Strider agents.

TriviaEdit

  • The PC-Engine port offers a very different origin for the group, establishing the Striders as a top secret organization created by the United Nations in order to fight the invading forces of Grandmaster Meio, who has crushed any opposition on his bid for power.[26]
  • In Street Fighter V, Zeku is looking to start a new ninja group that could be useful in the modern world. As part of the many references to Hiryu in his design, there are several hints implying his group will eventually become the Striders in the Street Fighter continuity:
    • He lists intelligence, espionage and sabotage as the services he can offer to Karin, the same work types the Striders are established to specialize on.
    • When debating over the name for his evolved fighting style, Zeku drops "Striders" among the many English words he considers.
    • Zeku's Battle Costume (which is almost identical to Hiryu's usual uniform) is stated to be a prototype uniform for his ninja group.

ReferencesEdit

  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. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 7. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 8. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  6. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 21. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  7. Sega (September 1990, Mega Drive). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 1
  8. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 4, Pg. 123. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  9. Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider (English). Story Intel #13: Strider Hien
  10. Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider (English). Story Intel #12: Strider Hoen
  11. 11.0 11.1 Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Story Intel #15: Strider Ouga
  12. Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider (English). Story Intel #15: Strider Ouga
  13. 13.0 13.1 Capcom (July 1989, NES). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 4
  14. Capcom (1992, Sharp X68000). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Cover
  15. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 38. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  16. Capcom (March 1989, Arcade). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Instruction Sticker
  17. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû, Chapter 2, Pg. 53. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  18. Capcom (2000). Strider Hiryû 1&2 Official Site (Japanese). Retrieved from archive.org. Accessed April 21, 2016
  19. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 4, Pg. 127. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  20. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 2, Pg. 74. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  21. Wada, Tatsumi (December 1988). "Comic Comp". Strider Hiryû Gaiden, Pg. 318. Kadokawa Shoten.
  22. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 5, Pg. 169. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  23. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 6, Pg. 214. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  24. Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 2, Pg. 37. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  25. Dice Creative Ltd.; NEC Avenue (September 1994, PC Engine CD-ROM²). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Stage 01 Intro
  26. Dice Creative Ltd.; NEC Avenue (September 1994, PC Engine CD-ROM²). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Game Intro

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