In Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code”, the protagonist Robert Langdon must follow a cryptic set of clues to discover the secrets of the enigmatic Priory of Sion and solve the mystery regarding the murder of a French art curator. He ends up finding out that there’s a worldwide treasure hunt for an object that has eluded mankind for centuries – the Holy Grail. As the world-renowned symbologist closes in on the truth, he faces the wrath of several organizations that want to bring his investigation to an end, and entities who want to bring him and his associates to an end as well.
In Street Fighter, we haven’t really seen anything along the lines of a long-standing Grail quest. Yes, we’ve had the Illuminati since Street Fighter III, but their intentions have been science-focused considering all of the experiments they’ve conducted (Necro and Twelve being just two of their creations). Shadaloo has a similar mode of operation in the experiments department, creating everything from the Dolls to the Psycho Drive to the Black Moons. Both the Illuminati and Shadaloo have the same goal: conquering the world, and they’ll stop at nothing to achieve it. With the addition of G in Street Fighter V, there’s a possible third faction that will soon be involved; with G’s design heavily inspired by Freemason imagery, it’s likely this faction will be some sort of expy of that organization.
In other words, there’s probably going to be a standoff between the Freemasons, the Illuminati, and Shadaloo… and these are just the antagonists! There are factions fighting for good like the Kanzuki Zaibatsu and the United States Air Force (you could also potentially throw in Ken Masters’s own financial contributions to the mix). However, it’s unclear just how involved these groups are willing to go. Karin’s zaibatsu seems to be prepared for just about anything, but the Air Force has already been shown to have been infiltrated by Shadaloo, which tells me Karin is on her own when it comes to financing any sort of response to the three cabals that want to take over the world (and judging by Shadaloo’s actions in Alpha 3, they may also want to take her zaibatsu away from her as well).
With multiple institutions fighting for control of the Earth, the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been in the Street Fighter universe. However, while conquering the planet would be the end result, it may not be the ultimate focus, as Gill has stated he wants to unify people towards utopia, G wants to unify people under the banner of Pangaea, and Bison outright states he’s beyond conquering the Earth.
So, what is the possible end focus? If both the Illuminati and the Freemasons involved, it would make sense that the entire focus would be on the Holy Grail itself. We can tell this not just from real world stories of the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar, but within Street Fighter itself. There is one character, especially, that leads to this ultimate conclusion: Kolin.
As I was looking through Udon Entertainment’s “How to Make Capcom Fighting Characters”, I remember reading somewhere (I believe it was TV Tropes) about just how sexually charged the Street Fighter series is. From the half-naked characters to their alternate costumes to the fanservice and questioning of sexualities left and right, Street Fighter has some of the strongest sexual undertones of any game ever made. The game is basically a giant metaphor for sex and all of its consequences, both good and bad. The developers must have understood this, because when it came to Kolin, they were about to leave no doubt whatsoever about their intentions:
They were going to design Kolin as a prostitute. Moreso, they were going to make her a masochistic “reformed” character who practiced self-harm to ensure her purity and loyalty to the Illuminati. In other words, they were going full “Like a Prayer” Madonna.
They ended up making Kolin an ex-soldier, but it’s pretty clear who Kolin is supposed to represent. Gill, the Dark Messiah of the Illuminati, was inspired by Jesus Christ, thus making Kolin his Mary Magdalene.
Now here’s where things start getting interesting. In “The Da Vinci Code”, (as well as the book it was based on, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”) it is revealed that the Holy Grail was not a cup, as it is often portrayed, but was a representation of the Sacred Feminine, a concept adopted by pagan religions that were eventually oppressed by soldiers of Christianity. In other words, the Holy Grail was actually the remains of a woman, and the Grail was actually her womb. Why is this, you may ask? Because her womb held the seed of Christ. The Holy Grail was Mary Magdalene, who copulated with Jesus and bore a child.
This was the big secret that the Catholic Church was trying to hide in “The Da Vinci Code”. To learn that Jesus had a child would cause a crisis of faith the likes of which the church would have never seen, and so, to keep power and the status quo alive, they had to find and eliminate the Holy Grail and any witnesses.
So, what does this have to do with Kolin? Well, Kolin, being modeled after Mary Magdalene, would be in a position to be Street Fighter’s version of the Holy Grail. She is the companion of a man modeled after Jesus Christ, and is a staunch and loyal supporter of his goals and ideals. However, Gill being labeled as “The Dark Messiah” means he is an inverted version of Jesus. While he claims to have mankind’s best interests at heart, his methods are not very Christian; kidnapping, murder, and scientific experimentation are at the heart of the Illuminati, which Gill not only allows, but encourages. It’s the reason why Necro hates him.
With Gill as the Dark Messiah, and by association a “false prophet”, then Kolin’s standing would be as a dark or false Holy Grail. In other words, Kolin, while outwardly being Street Fighter’s Mary Magdalene, is not the true Holy Grail of the game.
So, who is? Well, before we can figure this out, we have to examine another part of the Holy Grail story. It turns out that there is a guardian of the Holy Grail who keeps watch over it: the Fisher King. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher_King
The story of the Fisher King varies depending on what mythology you would look at. Sometimes there’s a single man in a boat; sometimes, there are two men, a father and a son. There are a few common themes among these stories, however:
1) The Fisher King has been wounded, but not mortally. He is said to have taken an injury to his thigh, which can either be interpreted as a leg injury or as an injury to his genitals. If one interprets the injury as to his genitals, this implies the Fisher King has no way to continue his bloodline and therefore no heir to watch over the Grail.
2) The injury is said to come from the Lance of Longinus, the lance that pierced Jesus Christ at his crucifixion.
3) The wound doesn’t just keep the Fisher King from producing heirs – it’s also deep enough that it affects his movement. In other words, even though the wound is not fatal, it does leave him immobile.
4) If a destined person asks the Fisher King “a certain question”, then the wound will be healed. The question appears to be, “Whom did the Grail serve?”
If we take the tale of the Fisher King at its most basic of terms, the story is of the protector of the Holy Grail who was injured in a significant way. In Street Fighter, there are two very strong candidates who would fill the position of the Fisher King, and leaves us with the choice of two women, both who could be the true Holy Grail.
The first possibility is Tom, Alex’s friend and father figure who we see in Alex’s endings. Having fought and been wounded by the prophesised messiah Gill, his injuries are not severe enough to kill him, but are enough to render him bedridden. We later see him on a crutch, having recovered enough to walk, but not without assistance.
One of the most incredible, if coincidental, details about Tom is that he was originally modeled after French actor Jean Reno, who inspired the character Bezu Fache in “The Da Vinci Code”, who ended up playing the character in the Ron Howard movie.
If Tom is the Fisher King, then this means that the Holy Grail is his daughter, Patricia.
There’s a few problems with this, however. First, Patricia has very little character depth. She is said to be a good friend of Alex, but not much else is known about her storywise outside of the idea that she makes Alex sandwiches in his Street Fighter V Story Mode. Also, in Alex’s story, there is a possible hint by the designers that Patricia is the Holy Grail, as the big yellow mark on his shirt does vaguely resemble the cup version of the Holy Grail. It’s just very hard to tell if it’s meant to be a logo or simply sweat or grease from him working on his truck. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAi4QPUEhrI
Moreso, Tom has been redesigned as of SFV, losing his striking resemblance to Jean Reno in the process. While this appears to be simply cosmetic, it actually severs the link between Tom and the Holy Grail story, with “The Da Vinci Code” being the link between them. Without Jean Reno, the link can’t exist.
This brings us to our second candidate for the Fisher King, and the most likely one. You have to subscribe to a certain Street Fighter theory to believe it, but if you do, then you begin to see how this candidate can be Street Fighter’s version of the legend.
The most likely person to be the Fisher King is:
The whereabouts of Dorai is one of the biggest questions that remain unanswered in the story of Street Fighter. One theory that has been bounced around the fandom is that Dorai was turned into Q, something that Udon alluded to in one of their comics and a theory I’ve touched upon in previous articles. If Dorai is Q, then it’s easy to see how he fits the Fisher King motif: he is gravely injured and rendered at least partially immobile if Q’s gait is any indication. Even though he is likely being mind-controlled, his presence alone would qualify as, even though he is incapable of protecting the Holy Grail at the moment, he was able to teach the Holy Grail to protect herself.
That’s right. The true Holy Grail is Chun-Li.
If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, this should come as no surprise, as I talked about Chun-Li’s uniqueness to Street Fighter’s plot in 2019. She is the center of the Street Fighter universe. All major things in the story affect her, either directly or indirectly. Every other major character, from Ryu to Cammy to Bison to Akuma, affects her plot in some way. As such, the idea of Chun-Li being a much more complex character than what she’s normally portrayed as shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. Being the First Lady of Fighting Games, she has the most plot relevance of any character in the series, enough that an entire game could revolve around just her story and be both familiar and incredibly nuanced. https://manestreetblog.com/2019/06/11/the-goddess-of-street-fighter/
In my research for this theory, I discovered a few things that fit into the Street Fighter narrative quite well. For example, the idea of Kolin being such a loyal follower of the Illuminati that she did self-mutilation doesn’t just tie her to Mary Magdalene, but also to Silas from “The Da Vinci Code”, an assassin monk who is loyal to the antagonist Bishop Aringarosa and who kills several people throughout the story. Also, Dorai’s name ties into my previous theory on Chun-Li’s connection with the Pleiades, as seen in the Japanese kanji for his name, 銅昴. The second symbol, “rai”, can also be translated as Subaru, the Japanese name of the Pleiades. Dorai’s name also has another indirect connection with the Fisher King, as his name actually translates to “king” in Hindi.
However, there was one piece of research I knew I had to expound on, one that affects the FGC as a whole and, coincidental or not, is important enough that it could change the way you see the FGC on a meta level.
While researching this theory, I stumbled upon a story that led me to create what you see above. It’s a legend that is known in Japan and among the devout, but it was the first time I had ever heard of it. The story goes that Jesus did not die on the cross, but instead fled through Russia and Siberia and made his way to Japan, where he became a rice farmer and lived to the age of 114. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_bloodline#Jesus_in_Japan
The BBC did a story on this legend back in 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/5326614.stm
It is said that in Aomori Prefecture, in the village of Shingo, Jesus was buried in a place that is a popular tourist attraction for Christians today: Kristo no Hakka, Christ’s Tomb. While the real world final resting place of Jesus can be debated, it could be that Capcom used this legend as inspiration for Kolin’s character in SFV. Jesus passing through the areas that would be known as Russia and Siberia and leaving progeny there, with both Kolin and Chun-Li being His descendants, and one going down a dark path and one going down a righteous path, would make for an incredible revelation in the story of Street Fighter.
However, there is something else closer to the FGC’s heart. Shingo is only about 50 miles away from Aomori, the town which Aomori Prefecture is named after. A young boy was born there in 1981. Beginning at the turn of the century, this boy would undergo a transformation from boy to man to beast, a person who has become known among the fighting game community as a messianic figure and one of gaming’s greatest legends.
It’s Daigo Umehara.
Perhaps He has risen again. Perhaps Capcom did some research into his birthplace, found the Christ’s Tomb story, and adapted it for their games. However you look at it, one thing is for sure. Whether it’s Daigo, Gill, Kolin, or Chun-Li, the story of Jesus and the Holy Grail is a part of Street Fighter and the FGC. The deeper we look, the more we find.
And the more we find brings us one step closer to deciphering the Street Fighter code.