She is one of the most beloved characters in Street Fighter history. She’s known for being adorable, ditzy, and, as typical of schoolgirls her age, boy-crazy. I have wanted to do a theory on her for sometime, and at first, I found nothing. Everything seemed to be up-front, positive, and even normal, considering she’s a teenage ninja. However, the more I looked, the deeper her story became. As it turns out, behind the bubbly and sometimes frustrated exterior, she hides one of the darkest stories in the entire canon.
This is the story of Street Fighter’s hidden evil: Ibuki.
There are a couple of things we need to get out of the way. First, in-game, Geki’s story has not been expounded on since the original Street Fighter. Yes, in the Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki comic, Geki is the name of an entire clan that wants to kidnap Ibuki to turn her evil and become the ultimate ninja they planned for her to be. Since this is not canon, however (although it really SHOULD be), so we can’t use this story to say for certain if Ibuki is good or evil. Second, Ibuki’s personality is, for the most part, genuine. While this theory is going to examine how she has had a duplicitous nature this entire time, we can still assume that Ibuki wants to be a regular girl, her established friendships with characters such as Sakura and Karin are real, and that she really, really hates training. These are 100% within her character. However, these are just the things Capcom wants you to see, to make you think she’s just an ordinary girl. The truth is they’ve been hiding the real story for years.
The first part of Ibuki’s story goes all the way back to Street Fighter III: Second Impact. She is on a mission to retrieve important documents from Gill that were stolen from her clan. In the intro before the fight, she even tells Gill, “You have something that doesn’t belong to you. Hand it over!” This confirms that the information he hands her upon his defeat was originally developed by the Glade of Ninjas, Ibuki’s clan. According to Gill, this was not just part of the G File, the massive Illuminati plan that contains volumes and volumes of pages, but it was also “utter perfection.” In other words, the work the clan had begun was perfected by the Illuminati.
So, what was the Glade of Ninjas working on before Gill intervened? The answer isn’t obvious. It took some serious digging to find out what the Glade’s hidden mission is. However, once the connections were made, it didn’t take much to put two and two together, and it all started with Ibuki herself.
For whatever reason, Ibuki is a fan of midwife toads, which seems completely out of the ordinary for someone who prefers cute and fluffy animals like her pet tanuki, Don-chan. However, if you understand her boy-crazy nature, and know the mating behavior of midwife toads, you’ll understand why Ibuki likes them so much. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwife_toad
Basically, it’s the males of the species who end up carrying the females’ eggs on its back and protects the young from predators. This likely fits Ibuki’s preference for men: strong, mature, and protective. The end of Ibuki’s story mode seems to show this as Karin tells her that many handsome men show up at her parties, and the men Ibuki does hang out with are far bigger and older than she is (though it could be argued that Ibuki’s actually uncomfortable around them and this is more telling of Karin’s preferences in men). https://youtu.be/F3Ll1Au2rT8?t=305
However, this is only half of the story, because it isn’t just the midwife toad’s habits that interests Ibuki. There’s an infamous story in the scientific community surrounding midwife toads, and it shines a beacon on the agenda of the Glade of Ninjas.
Paul Kammerer was a scientist who is best remembered for his experiments on midwife toads. A believer in Lamarckism, “the hypothesis that an organism can pass on characteristics that it has acquired through use or disuse during its lifetime to its offspring” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism), Kammerer bred midwife toads in varying environments in order to induce certain traits to appear, primarily nuptial pads that allowed the toads better grip for mating in arid climates. His experiment was deemed fraudulent, however, when it was determined that the nuptial pads of the toads were injected with black ink to make them look more distinct from previous generations. After Kammerer was exposed, his career in ruins, the scientist was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/paul-kammerers-experiments-midwife-toad-1905-1910
What do Kammerer’s experiments have to do with Ibuki and the Glade of Ninjas? Quite simply, Ibuki’s clan has a huge interest in genetics, and lo and behold, so does the Illuminati. The part of the G File that belonged to the Glade of Ninjas must have been scientific papers written on genetics that intrigued Gill enough for him to steal it.
“Plausible”, you say, “but I need proof. Sure, the ninjas must be engaged in some of kind science for the weapons they create, but genetics? That’s a bit out there.” It actually isn’t, because the ninjas are doing the same experiments that Paul Kammerer was, only with different animals, and their results have been far more successful. In fact, the product of one of their experiments has been in front of us this whole time, and is just as well known as Ibuki. In fact, he has always been with Ibuki from the time he was born.
It’s Don-chan, Ibuki’s pet tanuki.
Don-chan has sentience, understands human language, and even uses ninjutsu. There are 256 tanukis in Ibuki’s village, and Don-chan is the only one who is capable of all three. Each of the tanukis have their own individual characteristics, and it’s likely they all played a hand in Don-chan’s unique abilities. However, there is one other tanuki who unequivocally proves that there’s a breeding experiment going on. Take a look at the Fandom website: https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Tanuki
In the picture of the tanukis, look at the tanuki on the far left. That tanuki’s name is Half, and there are two characteristics he has that sets him apart from the others: 1) He’s Canadian-born. 2) He’s half-raccoon. Raccoons are not native to Japan, although they were introduced into the ecosystem in the 1970s due to the popularity of a children’s book (and are causing chaos to this day). It’s possible that one of Half’s parents was a Japanese-born raccoon, but it’s the first part that tells a different story: he was born in Canada and ended up in Japan. In other words, someone deliberately brought a tanuki, which is not native in North America, to Canada to mate with a raccoon and bring the offspring all the way back to Japan. The idea must have been that the raccoon had some qualities that could be passed on to a new generation of tanukis, so the Glade of Ninjas did what they had to do to get those traits.
Convoluted? Yes. Do I know what those traits are? No, but it doesn’t matter. The point is that Don-chan is the result of a successful genetics experiment conducted by Ibuki’s ninja clan. “Great,” you say. “You’ve convinced me that the ninjas are conducting genetic experiments. But where does Ibuki fit in all of this?” Simple. She’s a willing participant in the genetic experiment as well.
Ibuki’s interest in midwife toads was the first clue, as her study of them would mean she’s aware of the Kammerer experiments. Her clan believes in Lamarckism, so it isn’t too much of a stretch to say she does too. However, it goes deeper: Ibuki wants a boy for herself, but she’s looking for the right one. Her quotes to men in the entirety of the Street Fighter series show she’s looking for particular traits. She loves bad boys like Cody since they give off the right aura of strong, mature, and protective she wants. Their rebellious nature also appeals to Ibuki’s yearning for freedom. Yet, it’s been shown time and time again that Ibuki always returns to her village, no matter how bizarre she feels her life and training may be. She is loyal to her clan no matter what the circumstances.
…Well, I would have said that and ended it there, except for one small detail in Second Impact that needs to be addressed. Ibuki’s intro with Gill suggests something else. She demands Gill hand over the G File, but Gill states he would only do it “in exchange for your life, Shinobi girl.” It could be that this wasn’t a physical threat – it was part of a deal. Gill would give Ibuki the G File in exchange for her life, or more accurately, her servitude. Ibuki agreed to it. Why? There could have been any number of reasons, from keeping an eye on him to mutual understanding of the importance of Lamarckism. However, the most important reason could be Gill promising to make Ibuki a better fighter through genetics. She is considered weak and childish by nearly every other fighter on the roster, and if Gill promised to make her stronger, despite her good traits, Ibuki would not have hesitated to accept. Yes, she still wants to be a normal girl, but she wouldn’t be treated with perceived disrespect if she could hold her own against anyone (as was the case with her arguing with R. Mika in Street Fighter V’s Cinematic Story Mode).
If Ibuki works for Gill, then her treachery also solves one of the biggest mysteries in Street Fighter: who threw the kunai that killed Seth in Fei Long’s Street Fighter IV ending? There are only two characters in the series that use kunai: Guy and Ibuki, and while Guy seems to be the correct pick as he wanted to stop S.I.N. cold, Ibuki had more reasons to kill Seth. The first is to prevent Seth from killing a potential mate. The second is she was under orders by Gill to kill Seth.
You may be thinking, “Wait! Street Fighter IV came before Street Fighter III chronologically!” Yes it did. Keep in mind Ibuki’s ending in Second Impact, though: her encounter with Gill was shown to be a flashback. Ibuki’s meeting with Gill could have taken place before the events of Street Fighter III. It also makes her attack on Sarai more enlightening; she could have been nervous that she was going to be attacked by Gill or someone who discovered her duplicity.
Lastly, there is one more thing to examine: Ibuki’s quote to Kage in Street Fighter V: “A ninja’s taught to walk hand in hand with death…. I want to choose a different way.” Ibuki wants to leave the ninja life behind. With her wanting to live as a regular teenager, her knowledge of genetics, and her servitude of Gill, her rejection of the ninja way leads her down a path that is more evil than death: life.