This is a list of characters in the Ninja Gaiden video games series. As the universe of the Ninja Gaiden series has been 'rebooted' as of 2004 with the release of Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox, this list will have two sections, one for the original trilogy on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and another for the 'rebooted' universe since 2004.

The NES trilogyEdit

The NES trilogy chronicles how Ryu and Irene meet up, and their conflicts with the Jaquio, Ashtar, and rogue elements of the CIA.

Ryu HayabusaEdit

Ryu Hayabusa, the protagonist, is known here as the Ninja Dragon. He is a young member of the Dragon Ninja clan, whose duty is to uphold peace and to battle evil. His father, the leader of the clan, Jô Hayabusa, has entrusted him with the family heirloom, the Dragon Sword, which is forged from the fang of a Dragon.

In the first NES game, Ninja Gaiden, Ryu goes off to America to investigate the disappearance of his father. He learns of the story behind the Light and Shadow demon statues from the archaeologist, Doctor Walter Smith, and is coerced by Foster to stop the Jaquio's plot of bringing back the Demon with the statues. Arriving in the Amazon Rainforest, he defeats the Jaquio's minions and his brainwashed father standing in his way. He defeats the Jaquio as well but is too late to stop the Demon from awakening. However he manages to banish the Demon as well as winning the love of the CIA agent, Irene Lew.

In Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom, Irene goes missing in action, and Ryu is suspected of her murder. He investigates her last known location and is met by Clancy who leads him to the Castle Rock fortress. There he encounters Foster and the BIO-NOIDs, including his Doppelganger. Although Ryu loses to his double on the first meeting, he eventually defeats him in front of Foster, effectively removing the latter's power base. Ryu is miffed when Clancy reveals his evil plot to gain control of the Life Energy used to create BIO-NOIDs. Ryu follows Clancy into the subspace to stop him. He defeats Clancy several times - each form more powerful than the previous one - and stops him from carrying out his vendetta on the world.

In Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, Ryu is informed by Robert to go into the Tower of Lahja and rescue Irene. He fights through the hordes of tribesmen from the world of chaos, and gets ambushed by Ashtar. He is saved by Robert, and follows Ashtar into the Maze of Darkness. He defeats Ashtar there, but is told by Irene to go destroy an altar. Leaving her in the care of Robert, Ryu returns to find she has been taken away again. He discovers her kidnapper is the Jaquio, and defeats him again. However Irene is killed when her soul is sucked away by the awakened Sword of Chaos, and Ryu has to fight the revitalized and transformed Jaquio again. After defeating the monster for the final time, Ryu bemoans Irene's passing. The Dragon Sword however resurrects her for a happy ending, at the cost of its disappearance.

Irene LewEdit

Irene Lew, also spelled Irene Liu and Aileen, is the main female character in the trilogy, serving as Ryu's romantic interest, and the series' damsel in distress. She is an agent of the CIA's Secret Auxiliary Unit, working under the codename "Sea Swallow".

Irene's first encounter with Ryu is in Ninja Gaiden, where she shoots and captures him with a tranquilizer dart. She passes him the Shadow demon statue, and is later taken hostage by the Jaquio to force Ryu to hand over the statue. Although Ryu complies, the Jaquio keeps Irene to be sacrificed, and drops Ryu into a pit. However Ryu manages to find a way out and defeats the Jaquio, escaping the collapsing temple with Irene. As the two fall in love, Irene disobeys an order from Foster to kill Ryu.

In Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom, Irene is attacked by Ryu's Doppelganger while investigating a secret lab. She falls off a cliff into the ocean and is presumed dead. However, she survives the fall, and turns up later in the last encounter with Foster. She points a gun at Foster to arrest him and stop his plan, but her weapon is useless against the Doppelganger. She is reunited with Ryu at the end after his journey through subspace to defeat Clancy.

In Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, Irene plays more of a hostage/damsel-in-distress role. She is captured by Ashtar and held at the Tower of Lahja. She proves to be a distraction to Ryu which lets Ashtar take advantage of to ambush Ryu. Although Robert manages to save Ryu, Ashtar manages to bring Irene away with him through the Maze of Darkness. When Ryu finally reaches her, it is for naught, as Ashtar maniacally stabs her from behind. Irene survives the blow, and tasks Ryu to destroy an altar. While she is being escorted out by Robert, they are ambushed by the Jaquio. Taken hostage by him, Irene is to be sacrificed as a bait for the demons of the dark world when the Sword of Chaos awakens. However, she is resurrected by the Dragon Sword's magic.

Supporting charactersEdit

Jô Hayabusa, named Jô Hayabusa in the Japanese version, is Ryu's father. He appears only in the first NES game, Ninja Gaiden (NES). At the beginning of the story, he engages Bloody Malth in a duel and is defeated. He has left a letter entrusting the family heirloom to his son, Ryu, and telling him to go to America to find Doctor Walter Smith if he fails to return home. Presumed dead, he is later revealed to be alive, under the Jaquio's control as "the masked devil". Ken manages to break free of the spell thanks to Ryu destroying the device controlling his mind. However he sacrifices himself to protect his son, by taking one of the Jaquio's energy bolts aimed at the latter.

Robert T. Sturgeon, also known as "Jungle Rat" Robert, is a United States Army Special Forces operative who aids Ryu throughout Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, constantly revealing information about the Ashtar. At the start, he informs Ryu of Irene's abduction and whereabouts, setting off the latter's quest. He shadows Ryu, and distracts Ashtar from finishing off Ryu in a sneak attack. After Ashtar is defeated, he escorts Irene while Ryu sets out to a nearby altar. However they are attacked by the Jaquio, and Robert is left injured. He informs Ryu of Irene's capture and makes a stand to hold off the tribesmen of Chaos while Ryu goes off to finish the Jaquio. His final fate in the video game series is unknown.

The Jaquio and the Malice FourEdit

The Jaquio (meant to be Jaki-Ou—"Wicked Demon King") is the name taken on by Guardia de Mieux. He is the antagonist for the first two NES games, and is served by the Malice Four in the first game. His title is translated as the Devildoer for the PC Engine version of the first game.

In Ninja Gaiden, he seeks to acquire the two demon statues which the evil power of the Demon was confined in. He plans to bring the Demon to this world with the statues, thereby gaining enough power to control the world. His minions steals the Light demon statue from Walter Smith, and Ryu is forced to hand over the Shadow demon statue. However the Jaquio is unable to personally witness the fulfillment of his dream as he dies at the hands of Ryu before the Demon is brought back to the world.

After being presumed dead, he reappears near the end of Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos and takes Irene Lew captive to lure Ryu into one final battle. He reveals Ashtar was his pawn, and intends to use Irene's soul to lure the demons out of the dark world while Ryu's is to open the Gate of Darkness. However Ryu defeats him, and the Jaquio's blood ironically becomes the trigger to open the Gate by awakening the Sword. The enormous power pouring out of the gate also revives and transforms the Jaquio into a monster. Even in this transformed enraged state, he is no match for Ryu.

The Jaquio's evil network is controlled by his hand picked Malice Four - Barbarian, Bomberhead, Basaquer and Bloody Malth. The Barbarian is an armored axeman slow in both mind and body, while Bomberhead was recruited for his control of the streets of New York. Basaquer is a totally ruthless, deadly fighter who tends to stay in the air. Malth, their leader, is the only Malice Four who plays a part in the story. He is the one who defeated Jô Hayabusa at the start of the game, and reveals to Ryu that Ken is still alive and will be the last thing Ryu ever sees if he goes on.

Ashtar and the Chaos TribesmenEdit

Ashtar, the self-proclaimed Emperor of Darkness, appears to be the antagonist of Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos and to have been the mastermind behind the events of the first game. He is the leader of a demonic tribe from the world of Chaos, and wields the titular Sword of Chaos, which is claimed to have been grown from the bone of the Demon.

Ashtar plans to open the Gate of Darkness to the world of Chaos, thereby inheriting enough power to rule the world. This requires him to kill someone with an immortal bloodline which turns out to be Ryu. To achieve this, he intends first to empower his Sword with souls including Irene's, and then kill Ryu to open the Gate. However he underestimates Ryu and is defeated by him.

Ashtar sends several of his Chaos Tribesmen against Ryu throughout the game. Some are created by his sorcery like Dando who is a combination of the spirits of Vikings lost at sea. Ashtar has also enhanced a lizard through science and sorcery into Funky Dynamite. Cybernatic enhancements allows this former lizard to zip through the air and attack with missiles. The large Naga Sotuva is a dinosaur, twisted by Chaos to become a nightmarish creature. Baron Spider, the leader of the Chaos Tribesmen is a reject of society picked up by Ashtar. Through a laboratory accident, he became a half-man, half-spider mutant, and is able to summon giant tarantulas.

Foster, Clancy and the BIO-NOIDsEdit

A. Foster holds a powerful position in the CIA's Secret Auxiliary Unit and is Irene's immediate boss. In Ninja Gaiden, he coerces Ryu to retrieve the demon statues and to help in defeating the Jaquio's forces. However, he later reveals his true intentions after the Jaquio's defeat when he orders Irene to kill Ryu and bring the statues to him. He returns in Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom as a conspirator behind "Biohazard" plan, his goal being to create a race of super beings. Although he was named as the one responsible for Irene's death, he is unaware of doing so. He is interested in creating a BIO-NOID out of Ryu's body to improve the project. However he is betrayed by his co-conspirator, Clancy who makes use of Ryu to get rid of him. Foster is ripped to pieces by raw energy as he tries to follow Clancy into the subspace.

H.P. Clancy is a young man who works closely with Foster during Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom. Both men are responsible for building Castle Rock Fortress, over the ruins of the Jaquio's fallen temple. After the Demon died, a continuous supply of life energy is found within the ruins. When Clancy and Foster discovered this, they built the fortress to harvest the life energy as an energy source, and used it on humans for experiments. Clancy soon betrays Foster, desiring for total control of the ruins. He lures Ryu into coming and defeating Foster, thereby achieving his aim. Clancy reveals there is a dimensional warship inside the ruins, which he intends to use to destroy the world and reshape it as he sees fit. He expresses hatred toward humanity, and their warlike tendencies. In the end, he merges with the warship but is still defeated by Ryu.

Foster and Clancy have created BIO-NOIDs by infusing life energy into experiment subjects, thereby creating super humans. The four great beasts are BIO-NOIDs designed after the four elements of fire, air, water, and earth, able to attack in ways reflecting those elements. The Doppelganger is a BIO-NOID who can be considered an antagonist in the story. Imbued with Ryu's appearance and skills, the Doppelganger caused Irene to fall off the cliff at the start of the game. When Ryu first encounters him at the perimeters of Castle Rock fortress, the Doppelganger simply taunts and defeats the latter, sparing him as per Foster's orders. He admits to causing Irene's death and challenges Ryu to meet him within the Fortress. When Ryu reaches Foster, the Doppelganger jumps down to confront him. It transforms itself into a large superhuman beast whose skin is bullet-proof but is of no use against Ryu's sword. The defeated Doppelganger appears again in subspace, and is destroyed by Ryu.

Ninja Gaiden (2004)Edit

The story in this trilogy takes place before the NES trilogy, for they both share the same universe, and is also connected to the Dead or Alive universe. Ryu is a ninja whose clan has guarded an evil blade for a long time. When it is stolen, he becomes embroiled in the ages-long battle between good and evil while seeking vengeance against those who destroyed his village and clan. After accomplishing his quest, he begins rebuilding his clan.

Ryu HayabusaEdit

Main article: Ryu Hayabusa

Ryu Hayabusa is left in charge as the 20-year-old guardian of the Dragon Sword while his father whose name is unmentioned goes off training. The Hayabusas are of the Dragon Lineage and as such, susceptible to the blood curse which can turn them into fiends.

While visiting his uncle, Murai, the Hayabusa village is attacked. Ryu rushes back only to find the village in flames, everyone including his childhood friend Kureha killed. He tries to defeat Doku who has stolen the Dark Dragon Blade guarded by the Hayabusa clan, but is cut down and killed. He is resurrected by the Hayabusa's spiritual animal, a falcon, and spends time recuperating and preparing for his vengeance.

Ryu invades the Holy Vigoor Empire, seeking to kill Doku and to recover the Blade. He sets himself against the Fiends; foiling the plans of Doku by rescuing Rachel several times, and freeing her sister Alma from the cursed existence of a Fiend. He fulfills his quest by destroying Doku's spirit as well as the Holy Vigoor Emperor. At the end, he shatters the Dark Dragon Blade after overcoming his uncle's betrayal, and returns to the Hayabusa village.

Supporting charactersEdit

Rachel is a scantily clad Fiend Hunter in the Vigoor Empire. She searches for her sister Alma, who was turned into a Fiend by Doku. Like her sister, Rachel possesses the blood which grants her abnormal strength but making her also susceptible to becoming a fiend. She dispatches Fiends with the aid of her Warhammer, the Peluda Tail (a whip), and her Blades of Ouroborus sorcery. She became a Fiend Hunter to kill her corrupted twin sister Alma. However she is unable to go through with it when given the opportunity. She later assists Ryu in escaping the collapsing realm of the Holy Vigoor Empire but is otherwise of not much direct help to him in his quest.

She is a playable character in Ninja Gaiden Sigma.

Ayane is a 14 year old subordinate and spy for Murai. She respects Ryu as evidenced from her addressing of him as 'Master Ryu'. She assists him throughout his mission, providing information and hints from the shadows. If the player chooses the Ninja Dog difficulty, Ayane throws away her respect for Ryu and becomes condescending to the player, although she will deliver more aid in the form of hints and items.

Kureha is a shrine maiden of the Hayabusa Village and a close friend of Ryu ever since they were children. She is killed by Doku when the village was raided. She possessed the Dragon Eye, a jewel carved out from an eye of a dragon, which is revealed to be the missing piece needed to bring the Dragon Sword back to full power as the True Dragon Sword. Ryu replaces the jewel back on her grave at the end of the game.

Muramasa is a great and well-renowned blacksmith, who has traveled all over the world. He helps Ryu by selling him weapons and restorative items, as well as upgrading his weapons. He will also reward Ryu for turning in Golden Scarabs. Eventually, he provides Ryu with the crucial information that the Dragon Sword needs the Dragon Eye to achieve its full potential.


Fiends are the results of the mixed bloodlines of the ancient tribes. They possess powers beyond the normal person and are immortal soulless evil beings. As descendants of the ancient twin Fiend sisters, Nicchae the Goddess of Destruction, and Ishtaros, the Goddess of Creation, most of the Fiends exist as humans until they are awakened.

Fiends come in many varieties, the most common of all are the Shadows. They are classed into four types, and are named for their ability to phase into their shadows, moving without fear of damage along the ground. The brown Shadow Fiends are the least powerful, their feet fading away into nothingness. The pink Flare Shadows are stronger, and named for the flames on top of their head. The Crow Shadows have spikes for feet, eyeballs at the major joints of their limbs, and feared for their sliding attacks. The largest Shadows are the one-eyed Ariochs, black carapaced Fiends taller than a human, and can shoot a laser beam from their single eye.

Among the strongest Fiends are the Dino Fiends, Triceratops skull mask wearing four eyed giants who crushes all with their heavy clubs. The Cat Fiends, female humanoid cats, are swift and deadly, pouncing on the slightest mistake. The great sword wielding Nightmare Fiends exude an aura of might. Able to throw fireballs and lay down exploding runes, they are a menace at all ranges.

There are also weak Fiends, like the Girtablilu, mermen who can only float around and fire globules of water, and the Phantoms, flaming blue globes which simply charge into their targets.

There are Fiends taking on forms of mythical creatures like Paz Zuu who is an enormous skeletal Fiend, and several dragon-like Fiends. The two horned Gallas stand twice the height of a human, but in terms of strength, they lose out to the beefier Gobdecks who are slightly larger and sport spikes running down their backs. The most powerful dragon-like Fiend is Smaugan, the Lava Dragon, a boss in this game.

The most sinister Fiends are the Doppelganger Fiends which can assume and copy the abilities of a warrior just by observation. They can perform almost all of Ryu's attacks, techniques, and even ninpos. They typically come dressed as Ryu in his Dragon Muscle Suit - black suit with red veins, a helmet with skeletal ribs over it, and golden blades on each of the forearms. It has also been seen wearing the Dark Dragon suit - totally black with tiny scales, a helmet with the features of a dragon, and a red scarf.

Leaders of the Fiends

The Holy Vigoor Emperor is the main antagonist of the Xbox version. According to in-game literature, the Emperor is said to be the omniprescent ruler of the Vigoor Empire. He sends Doku and his minions to steal the Dark Dragon Blade from the Hayabusa ninja clan. He intends to unite with the Blade to bring the Fiends to a new level of power. He seals himself off in his own realm with the Blade at the top of his palace. It initially appears as an idyllic, lush plain but dispels away to reveal a hellish volcanic cavern. His first form is enormously tall and angelic in appearance. His second form however is a mountain of skulls on legs. His existence fuels the blood curse of the Fiends, and with his death at Ryu's hands, the curse on Ryu is lifted.

Marbus is the protector of the Holy Vigoor Emperor and one of the three Greater Fiends. He tries to prevent Ryu from meeting the emperor by summoning out minions against him. He can even resurrect and enhance the power of bosses slain by Ryu. After Ryu overcomes the odds, Marbus takes him on personally, throwing out pillars of flame to no avail, but soon meets his demise.

Doku is the Greater Fiend that attacks the Hayabusa village with his samurai horde including the red samurai Masakado, taking away the Dark Dragon Blade while leaving only the dead and flames behind. He is also the Lord of Greater Fiends. When his physical body is defeated by Ryu, he escapes in his spirit form and tries to awaken Alma by sacrificing Rachel who was subdued by the Twin Fiend sisters doing his bidding. The sacrificial ritual is foiled again by Ryu, with even Alma going against Doku. Doku sets up a showdown with Ryu in the labyrinth but is defeated for the last time. With his last breath, he places the blood curse on Ryu, which starts to turn the latter into a Fiend.

Alma is the twin sister of Rachel. She was transformed by Doku into a Greater Fiend through a curse of her blood, but retains her soul. The start of the ritual begins to transform her, but Ryu defeats her newly awakened state and rushes off to stop the ritual. Alma at this time regains her mind and outraces Ryu, taking the blow meant for her sister. She reverts to human form in her sister's arms. The two sisters are finally able to look into each other's eyes in human form.

Vigoor military

Gamov is a bespectacled, green hat and coat wearing spy, who constantly shadows Ryu as the latter ventures through the Holy Vigoor Empire. Throughout the game, he sets up Vigoor military forces against Ryu and observes their battles. He claims to know a lot about Rachel and the Dark Dragon Blade. He has a fight with Rachel in Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Though working in cahoots with the Dark Disciple, he is decapitated by the latter with the Dark Dragon Blade at the end.

The Vigoor military force comprises MSATs (Mechanized Special Attack Team), MVAPs, the soldiers, and their cybernatic equivalents. The MSATs wear the outfits typical of SWAT forces and are the equivalent of rapid deployment forces. They come armed with a variety of knives, pistols, grenade launchers, and rocket launchers. The MSATs deployed on motorbikes or sidecars are called MVAPs. The Vigoor soldiers wear breastplates and helmets with a laser guiding eyepiece. They are equipped with an assault rifle with a bayonet or a rocket launcher. The military's elite have undergone cybernatic enhancements.

Vehicle-wise, the military include armoured personnel carriers (APCs), main battle tanks and attack helicopters. There are also the FL-2000 series of mini-copters which can independentedly fly around and attack with lasers, guns, or rockets.

Heading these forces are Generals Dynamo and Alternator. The two are large, rotund, cybernatically enhanced men wielding plasma guns.


Murai is the leader of the Shadow Clan (comprising of brown garbed lesser ninjas, and their superiors, the white garbed greater ninjas), and Ryu's uncle from his mother's side. Despite helping Ryu by providing the identity of the Hayabusa village raiders, he is actually the mastermind behind the whole ordeal. He intends to let Ryu slaughter thousands to unseal and empower the Dark Dragon Blade with souls. He follows Ryu through the Holy Vigoor Empire in his identity as the Dark Disciple, wearing a black hat, mask and long robe, altering his voice at the same time. He claims the empowered Dark Dragon Blade for his own at the end. Ryu defeats him, and sends him plummeting down to the deep chasm below.

The ninjas of the Black Spider Clan have spent 450 years tracking down the Dark Dragon Blade to steal it away from its possessors, whoever they may be. In executing this task, they beset Ryu at every turn of Tairon to prevent him from recovering the Blade. Their expedition forces in Tairon are whittled down to nothing by Ryu and the Fiends at the end of the game, though the player can read the chronicles of their tasks through diaries picked up from their bodies. It is later revealed that the master of the clan has told his minions that desires the Blade to grind it to brew herbal tea, and one of the fallen ninjas expresses disbelief in this desire.

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