The mystery surrounding Ortho K. Gotch was something I have been looking into for some time. Fans of Street Fighter would know he’s Dudley’s butler, but I was checking to see if there was anything sinister in his background. His unusual name and appearance, along with his status as a static character, certainly brings up the possibility that Dudley’s butler could have malicious intentions. His CFN profile picture alone carries shades of James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld (or for the younger generation, Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers series).
As I looked into more and more into the character and his connections with Dudley, the truth behind the man Dudley formally calls “Mr. Gotch” began to reveal itself. As it turned out, the man Dudley relies on as both a servant and confidant is more than just a butler with a name that’s a pun on accepting orders, as in, “OK, gotcha”; he is also a reflection on who Dudley is as a character.
The entire mystery of Mr. Gotch unfolded pretty quickly thanks to a simple Google search. His first name and middle initial, Ortho K., is an informal abbreviation of the word “orthokerotology”, which “refers to the use of gas-permeable contact lenses that temporarily reshape the cornea to reduce refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.” In other words, it refers to a person having clearer vision through outside means. (For the record, the word “gotch” can mean anything from an earthenware pitcher to a verb meaning drooped or cropped to men’s underwear, depending on the context. This isn’t quite as important.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthokeratology
From the definition of orthokerotology, we can finally understand what Dudley’s butler’s purpose is. Ortho K. Gotch is a corrective force, a person who uses his knowledge and wisdom to keep Dudley from being led astray. Why is this so important?
Because Dudley is a moron.
While Dudley is an exemplary study of class, civility, and grace, he is also in a lot of ways dumber than his counterpart Balrog. There are multiple examples of this being shown in the series, the first being when he finally collects his beloved father’s car from Gill in New Generations.
Dudley, not knowing his own strength, literally pulls the steering wheel out from it’s socket before replacing it.
It was a funny moment in the first Street Fighter III game, but Dudley’s comedic potential continued in Third Strike. As Dudley attends to his rose garden, his butler approaches and informs him of an event he must be present for: an “important royal match”. When the gentleman boxer is told when the match begins, the following happens:
Dudley’s beloved rose garden is a giant hedge maze that takes hours to meander through; running full sprint back to his mansion is the only way to get back on time.
Along with the steering wheel and hedge maze fiascos, we can also add Dudley’s penchant for leaving his boxing gloves on for literally EVERYTHING he does to his list of quirks.
However, perhaps calling Dudley a full-on idiot might be a bit much. His aristocratic airs give off the vibe of him having an above-average intelligence. Also, the simple fact that Dudley was able to get everything back his father had originally lost means he’s at least resourceful in his methods. Dudley can not be seen as merely eccentric, though, as an occasional foible wouldn’t necessitate his dependence on Mr. Gotch. What Dudley requires is Mr. Gotch’s corrective abilities. Much as orthokerotology corrects a person’s eyesight, Ortho K. Gotch corrects Dudley’s own myopia.
In other words, Dudley’s near-sightedness is corrected by his butler’s presence. No, Dudley isn’t visually-impaired – he merely has limited focus, as in he can only focus on what’s directly in front of him. At his core, Dudley is single-minded. Whether he is thinking about his father’s car or about his rose garden, Dudley has no other priorities except for what he’s doing in the present. Mr. Gotch knows this, and makes it his duty to see that Dudley stays on the right track.
It makes this moment in Dudley’s Ultra Street Fighter 4 ending all the more interesting:
While it’s stated in Dudley’s and Mr. Gotch’s shared character profile that Gotch can make a fantastic tea, the question is if Dudley means the tea is exquisite or the wild rose he finds in his garden is exquisite. https://game.capcom.com/cfn/sfv/column-130204?lang=en
The answer doesn’t really matter, because Gotch simply agrees with him.
This is what makes Ortho K. Gotch such a special person. He is able to identify Dudley’s erratic focus, and knows how to handle the situation with grace. He should be quite good at it anyway – he served Dudley’s father.
Based on the little we know about Dudley’s father, it’s very possible that Dudley takes after his dad in more than just looks. His father lost everything he owned through bad business decisions; as stated above, Dudley fought to get it all back. Dudley’s prized rose garden was also handed down to him by his father, making his father the original designer of the winding garden. It’s possible that Dudley’s dad had his own eccentricities, flaws that led him to make poor decisions. If this is the case, then Dudley’s quirks were inherited, and are likely very similar to his father’s. Like father, like son.
So where does all of this lead us? Well, if you’ve been keeping up, you’ll know I’ve written a theory in the past on Elena, where I present evidence that she’s deaf. https://manestreetblog.com/2020/06/06/the-deepest-secret-of-elena/
One of Dudley’s likes that is mentioned on Fandom is Elena. While this may be from the non-canon Street Fighter X Tekken, this actually originated in the manga Street Fighter III: Ryu Final. In the manga, Dudley owns a tree from Africa that Elena uses to communicate with Ryu when Dudley and Ryu spar. Certain elements from the Ryu Final manga were made canon to the games, including the idea that Dudley and Ryu had sparred prior to Super Street Fighter IV, contradicting their meeting in Street Fighter III where they did not appear to know each other. https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Street_Fighter_III:_Ryu_Final
Dudley does not appear to know Elena at all canonically, judging by the many win quotes in the games. However, he nonetheless takes a STRONG liking to her when they do fight:
“What a well behaved young lady you are. Accept my gratitude for a pleasant time.” -USFIV
“Pardon me for my violent behaviour, lady.” – SFIII: New Generation
“I will not be easy on you just because you are a lady. I see your pride and I will not insult it.” – SFIII: Second Impact
If Dudley and Elena do end up having a canon relationship, platonic or otherwise, it would make for an interesting match considering Dudley’s nearsightedness.
If Elena is deaf, then Dudley is blind.