Karin is… G?

I made my Karin is Ingrid theory video all the way back in 2016. It has since become an iconic theory, with Capcom themselves even alluding to it by giving Karin an Ingrid costume. Let’s just put it this way: there’s no way they don’t know who I am and what I do. http://shoryuken.com/2018/01/15/karins-getting-an-ingrid-alternate-costume-in-street-fighter-v-arcade-edition-available-at-launch/

However, since it’s been so long since I originally wrote it, it’s as good a time as any to return to the character who started it all. In the three and a half years since that theory, more characters have been released, more information has been revealed, and more questions have been asked. So, what further mysteries could we explore with Karin Kanzuki? I believed Capcom’s biggest secret at the time was that they would reveal Ingrid as Karin’s future self. It just made the most sense based on how each character was presented.

And now we have G.

I’m not taking any credit for G’s creation, considering Capcom’s been wanting a fighting president since Street Fighter 4, and boy did they create THE character. However, I do think that, if we believe that Capcom was truly inspired by my original theory, they must have known just how interested people are regarding mystery. In Street Fighter, they hadn’t done anything with Q since Third Strike, but it was really just a case of timing. It took nine years for them to realize that Street Fighter was still a viable product, and while Q must have been thought of on more than one occasion, there was just no room for him. However, then came 5. While 5 has been ripped for everything from its netcode to character animations to gameplay to even its Cinematic Story Mode, it excels and even surpasses several other games on one thing: its narrative.

What makes Street Fighter so unique is that every character has their own lives and stories, and it fleshes out each individual character rather than putting everyone in different groups, half-assing their motives and calling it a day. The only fighting game that can compare to Street Fighter’s lore (and some could argue even exceeds) is Guilty Gear. However, Guilty Gear bases its lore on the unproven and the pseudo-scientific. Street Fighter bases its lore on the unknown and mysterious. There are no answers given for what Necalli wants, for what M. Bison wants, or even what Chun-Li wants!

However, as I’ve shown time and again, there are hints to what direction the developers want to go with the game. Karin had plenty of subtle hints that showed there was more to her than what you saw at first glance. G was and is all about mystery. Ibuki, of all people, even has some evil hiding in the background.

My point, though, is that each of these characters have infinite potential. There’s no Backyard or Netherrealm to restrict them, as the characters do all of their fighting in the present on Earth. This is why Street Fighter can have a floating timeline and why others can’t: there are no restrictions. Birth years are no longer canon. When most people say “Street Fighter took place in the 90s”, and you see that the technology they use is from the 2000s and 2010s, we can safely say that no, Street Fighter does not have a timeline anymore. Now, Street Fighter is timeless. It can be placed in any generation from here on out, and still have relatable characters then.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself here, as this is all to point out that Street Fighter’s narrative is complex and allows for just about any story to be told and still be relevant to the game. However, Street Fighter also allows for the same story to be repeated with different characters, each of which have enough of a twist to make it uniquely different – and there are no better examples than the shoto characters. Ryu, Ken, Akuma, Sakura, and Dan all have the same story: all are Ansatsuken martial artists trying to be the best in their own way, but each of their walks of life allow them to pursue the exact same goal differently:

Ryu seeks out worthy challengers while trying to suppress his dark side.
Akuma seeks out worthy challengers while tapping into his dark side.
Ken seeks to protect his family.
Sakura seeks to start a family.
Dan seeks to start a family… of students at his dojo.

They all want to achieve the goal of being the strongest fighter, but they each take diverging paths, making their stories not just unique, but making each character a fuller, more fleshed-out character for taking that path. Yes, they’re similar, but they’re not the same. They are based on the same idea, but they are wildly disparate in their designs, and Street Fighter is one of only a few games that can do it well.

This is what makes the theory ahead so interesting: we have another case of similar concepts, but with wildly different designs. Two characters created years apart with similar motives, but with potentially opposite agendas. G is the male Karin. Karin is the female G. They are the same. They are different.

And their stories are converging.

We know very little about G, or at least his motivations. We do know a few things about him that are good jumping-off points. First, he’s social media savvy, as he is slowly gaining a following on his Footube channel. Second, his powers revolve around magma and gold. Third, he has some connection to Q that hasn’t been revealed. Last, we know Gill has encountered G’s type of power at least once before, but doesn’t remember exactly where.

Karin, on the other hand, at least has a past. Originally appearing in the Sakura Ganbaru! manga series, Karin was specifically created to be Sakura’s rival, and while at first she was fairly antagonistic, she eventually became good friends with Sakura. Karin lives for the fight, developing her own brand of martial arts, incorporating powerful moves her family learned over generations while giving them her own twist. Karin is also tremendously wealthy, being born to very rich parents and eventually heading her family’s zaibatsu.

There are two questions we need to ask now: where’s the crossover, and what does this mean for the future story of Street Fighter?

The first is going to take some time to answer, as there are a TON of similarities between Karin and G. We’ll start first with the design of the two characters.

The most obvious feature is that both are blonds. In a game where there are a lot of blond characters, this doesn’t really mean much in the long run, but it’s still something they have in common. The next most obvious is their attire. G is one of the few characters who actually wears a suit into battle, and, besides Urien, is the only male character to have it as his default. Karin is not the only one to wear a dress into battle, as both Rose and Chun-Li wear them as well. However, it’s her style of attire that sets her apart. Her very frilly outfit doesn’t just allude to royalty, but to another era in time – the Victorian era. Naturally, her dress has a few modern updates, such as zippers on her sleeves, but it overall presents a Victorian aura in the modern world (and let’s not forget her hair ringlets).

Guess whose outfit also gives off those Victorian vibes? G’s outfit even comes complete with an old-fashioned pocket watch.

While these similarities are cool, they don’t really tell us anything except that the artists really like the Victorian aesthetic. What else is there that we could look at to continue this train of thought? How about the fact that both have created their own fighting styles from styles around the world? We don’t quite know what styles G is using yet, as he merely claims that he learned various practices from around the world, but in Sakura Ganbaru!, it’s stated that Kanzuki-ryu “is actually a combination of various martial arts, including karate, judo, aikido, sambo, muay thai, taekwondo, amateur wrestling, koppo, Shaolin kung fu, tai chi chuan, bagua-zhang, etc.” https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Kanzuki_Style_Martial_Arts

Most characters in the series do have their own fighting style, but while they are sometimes inspired by moves from other styles, for the most part, they’re using a set foundation. Whether it’s Ansatsuken, pro wrestling, taekwondo, or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, those characters aren’t so much creating styles as they are adding to what they already know. The only characters who developed their respective styles completely are Karin and G (we could also count Blanka and Necalli, but they both practice brute-force brawling rather than the sort of refined martial arts that Karin and G have).
There are more than a few primary differences between Karin and G regarding how they fight, the primary one being that Karin’s fighting style is more up close and personal, whereas G can hit an opponent with projectiles from medium range. Still, the fact remains that each character created a style literally from nothing that suited them.

Of course, Victorian-inspired designs and the idea they created their own fighting styles doesn’t mean they’re the same character. It’s pretty clear they aren’t, unlike Karin and Ingrid where the two match up so well that it’s difficult to point out reasons they wouldn’t be (although if Capcom decides to screw with everyone and gives Karin a G costume, all bets are off). However, there are more details that seem to point out that there’s something in the background going on.
Alongside magma, G’s power extends to gold. He can transform his body into gold during V-Trigger, whch gives him a power boost. Karin doesn’t have the ability to transform into gold, and even though the full extent of her abilities haven’t been fully revealed yet, we can pretty much assume she can’t. There is one thing that Karin brings into battle, however, that runs counter to G’s gold power: her Story Costume’s silver necklace.

With this, we can associate Karin with silver as we can associate G with gold. If that isn’t enough, the necklace holds one other key detail: Karin’s strong connection with the moon. Karin’s surname, Kanzuki, literally means “moon goddess”, and the necklace is a subtle design choice that reflects her ties to the moon. We can also point out that Karin establishing a space colony strengthens her association with the moon even more.

If we look at G as symbolic of Earth and Karin as symbolic of the moon, we start to see the links between them. In fact, G’s win quote to Karin seems to enforce these links:

“O, beautiful citizen of Earth, you cannot and must not look down on me!”

This is an allusion to Karin’s condescension towards people she doesn’t respect and, as Menat states in her win quote to her, “her inflated ego.” Guess who else harbors condescension towards others?

There’s more to the quote than just an allusion to ego, though. If we look deeper, there is a physical aspect of Earth and the moon that makes the quote even more brilliant. The moon rotates around the Earth at a distance of 238,900 miles, or 384,400 kilometers. Because of the position of the moon in reference to Earth, it could be said that as we look up to the moon, the moon can literally look down on Earth. The “O, beautiful citizen” part of the quote would be a reference as a glorification of Karin as the moon – the moon is part of Earth – as well as being an admission to how G feels about Karin as an attractive young woman.

Of course, you may be wondering, “Does this mean G is after Karin as some sort of bride/concubine/trophy?” As of the time of this writing, there isn’t much evidence to point to this, but it could be a potential plot point in the future. Take a look at G’s quote to Vega:

“What is beauty? The answer is simple! It is nothing without me! NOTHING!”

Although this is likely a reference to Vega’s own perceived beauty as being pointless without worshipping the President, it’s more than a little suspicious that he would say this to Vega while also telling Karin that he saw her as beautiful. To combine the two quotes into one idea, he would be saying, “Karin Kanzuki, beautiful citizen of Earth. You are nothing without me.”

Since we’ve already established that G is likely trying to turn people into Qs, this could just be another way of him saying that he wants to transform her into a mindslave. Is there anything else though, that might make it seem that he’s targeting her specifically, and if so, why?
I’ve stated in previous theories that G is seeking out to control people with influence, and Karin, being a world-famous socialite and the richest person in the Street Fighter series, would be the ultimate influencer, what with her connections to powerful people and the sheer amount of resources at her disposal. If G was able to control Karin, he would instantly become a very powerful person and nearly impossible to stop since he could get anything he wanted.

While there isn’t much I was able to find that states G’s entire mission is to find Karin and take her and her zaibatsu over completely, there are at least two things we know that directly tie them together: Rashid encountering both of them, and Karin watching his FooTube channel. By taking over Rashid’s body with his handshake, it would be easier then to get in contact with Karin since they had already met previously and Karin would have her guard down. The FooTube channel also ensures a likelier chance of Karin coming across his channel and accepting his fighting challenge, meaning he would fulfill his plan of gaining direct contact with her.

It’s likely true that G doesn’t care who he ends up “recruiting” as part of his plan to take over the world, as he seems to be perfectly content with shaking hands with anyone who chooses to fight him. There was one character he speaks to, though, in a way I found too odd not to pass up – Sakura.
“An amusing exchange indeed, little citizen of Earth.” https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/G/Quotes
G makes a reference to some detail about the opponent he fights in every one of his win quotes, except for Sakura. He merely states their fight was “amusing.” He mentions nothing about her love for Ryu or her desire for children. In a sense, it seems like he completely blows her off. Sakura’s win quote to him also seems equally nonchalant:

“Cool cosplay, I guess. You s’posed to be a president or something?” https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Sakura/Quotes

Of course, I look at this in a different context: as a lead-in to something ominous. Let’s look at G’s reaction to Lucia’s quote:

Lucia’s quote to G: “President of the World?! Okay, there’s exaggerating, and then there’s whatever you’re doing…”

G’s quote to Lucia: “”President of Earth” is not exaggeration! The Earth and the universe are one!”

We can even look at G’s reaction to Menat’s win quote:

Menat’s quote to G: “You’re working hard on something stupid. Does that make you a hard worker or just stupid?”

G’s quote to Menat: “Am I stupid, citizen of Earth?! The answer to that lies within us all!”

In comparison, it appears that the more generic the quote, the more dangerous G will be to that character:

To Rashid: “Come, shake the hand of the President of the World!” (Rashid does end up shaking his hand.)

To Sagat: “Let us do glorious battle, citizen of Earth. Your fight is my fight. It is my power!” (G states that Sagat’s power belongs to G).

To Falke: “None can bind me, so none can bind you!” (Considering that Falke was created to specifically be bound by another person, and if we assume that everything I’ve written about G in the past year and a half is true, Falke would just end up being bound under G instead of Bison.)

So how does all of this come back to Sakura? G is playing it cool because he knows Sakura is the one with the most untapped potential inside of her. Being able to control her would mean that G would have control of the one character who could very well end up being the most powerful fighter in the world. Sakura herself is also known around the world, as seen in her Ultra Street Fighter IV: Aftermath trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3720qXA5rU&t=144s

What it all comes down to is what Capcom is potentially outlining for the future. We can see what they’re going to do based on what they’ve done in the past. Each numbered installment had a main story focus, and you can sort of see where Capcom would like to go with it. SFI had Ryu and Ken facing off against Sagat, SFII had Chun-Li and Bison wanting to stop Bison, SFIII was about Alex getting revenge against Gill, SFIV was about everyone stopping Seth, and SFV was about everyone stopping Bison. Rashid and Karin were the centers of SFV’s story, and it would only make sense that the next Cinematic Story or even next numbered game would have some sort of primary continuance. Basically, what I’m thinking is Sakura and Karin will likely be the centers of the next plotline, and G will be their primary rival.

Along with everything listed above, there is one other detail that would set this into motion – their ages.

It would be the battle of young versus old.

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