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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]

Origin

The Striders are said to have assumed descendance from the ninjas of Japan[1][2][3], and have inherited several of their techniques and abilities. The group was founded by their only known Director, Kuramoto, a man of advanced age and feared skills[5]. This indicates that, atleast in the manga's story, the foundation of the group is relatively recent.

Alternatively, the PC-Engine port offers a different origin story: The Striders are a strictly-confidential organization created by the United Nations in order to deal with the invading forces of Grandmaster Meio, who has crushed any opposition on his bid of power.[6]

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.

Striders' Mark

Striderlogo
The Striders are represented by a personal mark or logo, shown as a stylized "S" around a small staff entwined with two snakes or Caduceus, an ancient Greek symbol known as the "herald's staff" and said to represent trades and bussiness 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 tattoed in Kain's left wrist[7], leaving the impression that its customary of Strider agents to have the mark as a way for identification.

Main Headquarters

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

The Blue Dragon

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.

Desert Base

Striderbase

The Desert Base.

Appears: Manga

A desert dwelling located within a rocky formation in the middle of an unnamed desert. This base serves as the Striders' headquarters. The quarters' control room is a large chamber equipped with a highly-advanced computer 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, which he spent most of his time following his retirement, watching over his favourite japanese dramas on TV.

Moralos Island

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 anniquilation of most of Earth's living beings[8]. Nothing else is known about this location.

Worth noting is that the manual for Strider Returns' Mega Drive port refers to Moralos Island as the Striders' secret base rather than a training facility.

Ranking System

The Striders rank their members using a letter-based ranking system which goes from A to C, with a special elite class known as "Special-A". All trainee members are subjected to a hellish training program of unknown length, after which they are ranked based on their performance. It's said that out of hundreds of candidates, only the 10% is able to come out alive from the training.[9]

There are two known titles used by the 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, assumedly until a new Director is assigned.

Special-A Class

Special-A Class (特A級, also translated as Super A-Grade[10] or Super-A ranked[11]) is an elite rank only granted to the most talented graduated candidates. Agents 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[12], a complex plasma-emitting sword very few people is able to handle properly. Special-A Striders are usually tasked with the most dangerous and important missions.

Known members: Hiryu (youngest ever to attain the rank)[2][10][13], Hien[14], Kain[5], Arana[15], Hinjo (hinted).

A Class

A Class (A級) is the highest normal rank within the group. Striders on this rank have remarkable skills and abilities and are shown to be exceptional fighters, 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 missions.

Known members: Mariya (first woman to attain the rank)[16], Sheena[5], Kubira. Hiryu is referred as the youngest A-Class in some of the sources for the first game.[1][3]

B Class

Nothing is known about this class, as the class itself has never been discussed or shown. It can be assumed to exist based on the letters used in the other classes.

C Class

The lowest ranked members of the group, C Class (C級) Striders are still extremelly skilled warriors. One C-Class Strider is said to possess strength and skill equal to a whole team of special forces[5]. They are usually seen wearing the same uniform, a dark ninja costume with a face mask, and are almost exclusively seen carrying machineguns or melee weapons such as concealed claws.

Known members: Ryuzaki (hinted).

Weapons and Technology

Gliderhook

Hiryu making use of the glider and climbing hook.

The Striders organization combines the traditional arts of the ninja with advanced technology and weaponry. The equipment most Striders carry into a mission include a glider and climbing hook. The glider is a special means of aerial transportation; it has a very hi-tech look, albeit it has never been seeing doing nothing outside of carrying Hiryu into battle. 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 wall or even ceiling, providing complete freedom of movement in any position.

In terms of weapons, agents are allowed to choose any weapon that suits them. Most Striders are seen making use of firearms such as machineguns, but there are also others employing more advanced weaponry such as Arana's laser rifle and monomolecular filament or the Cypher, a very advanced sword which emits a plasma edge capable of cutting through anything.

During Matic's confrontation with Hiryu in Mongolia, he threatens him with a satellite stationed on Earth's orbit, which possess a laser cannon strong enough to wipe out an entire village off the surface[17], though whether it refers to the Blue Dragon or an independent satellite weapon is unknown. The PC-Engine port shows the group has also access to an Army's reconnaissance satellite, used to communicate with Hiryu and scout the area ahead of him.[18]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Capcom (24 Oct 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 (2000, PlayStation). Strider Hiryû 1&2 (Japanese). Instruction Manual, Pg. 10
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Sega (Sept 29 1990, Mega Drive). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Instruction manual, Pg. 5
  4. Wada, Tatsumi (Nov 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 (Nov 10 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 8. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  6. Dice Creative Ltd.; NEC Avenue (Sept 22 1994, PC Engine CD-ROM²). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Game Intro
  7. Wada, Tatsumi (Nov 10 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 21. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  8. Sega (1990, Mega Drive). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 1
  9. Wada, Tatsumi (Nov 10 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 4, Pg. 123. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Capcom (1989, NES). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 4
  11. Capcom (1992, Sharp X68000). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Cover
  12. Wada, Tatsumi (Nov 10 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 38. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  13. Wada, Tatsumi (Nov 10 1989). Strider Hiryû, Chapter 2, Pg. 53. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  14. Capcom. Official site for Strider Hiryû 1&2.
  15. Wada, Tatsumi (Nov 10 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 4, Pg. 127. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  16. Wada, Tatsumi (Nov 10 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 2, Pg. 74. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  17. Wada, Tatsumi (Nov 10 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 2, Pg. 37. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
  18. Dice Creative Ltd.; NEC Avenue (Sept 22 1994, PC Engine CD-ROM²). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Stage 01 Intro

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