Ryo Fui - The Merchant Who Rivaled Kings: Yasuhisa Hara's creation of a GOAT Antagonist

Who is the antagonist you like the most?

  • Ryofui

    Votes: 6 50.0%
  • Riboku

    Votes: 6 50.0%

  • Total voters
Few days back I had created a thread about being the Top 1 antagonist of all time in all of manga, in that poll I had put Ryofui as well. You see even though Ryofui for me is not the superior antagonist of the two, Ryofui is my personal favorite of the two as far as antagonists go. And in my humble opinion he stands at top 5 all time out of all the manga that have existed. I'm not going to do any comparison between him and other antagonists from other series or even this series (well i'll try not to), but rather simply focus on Ryofui's character & development. Since a fellow kingdom brudda @Topi Jerami had called for this thread, it's only my duty to deliver a thread exploring the greatness that is Ryofui, the man who rivaled Kings.

Ryo Fui - Character Progression:

Before we get into specific traits or anything of that sort which make Ryofui great, let us first explore his character progression throughout the series so we are all more familiar with it when moving on to the more analytical parts of the thread. I will here be covering his progression in the series from his introduction to his demise. So lets gooo!

I. Background

His background is revealed throughout the manga, but I want to bring it up first so I can just focus on the key events that happened, rather than having to talk about the background info regarding him when it was brought up.

Ryofui used to be a merchant's apprentice, then from seeing the battlefields he got his grand ambitions, involving becoming a King. Now in order for the first step of his ambition, becoming King, to be achieved he manipulated Ei Sei's dad

II. The Introduction:

On chapter 15 of KINGDOM we're introduced to Ryofui (well at least his back), the situation at this point was that Seikyou had done his rebellion and ran Ei Sei out of the Kingdom. Shoubunkun and Sei were in need of allies to help take the throne back. Now Heki and such had assumed that Ryofui would be that person, however, Ei Sei and Shoubunkun tell them that is not so. In fact Ryofui is waiting on Seikyou to kill Ei Sei so he can then declare Seikyou a traitor and take over Kanyou in a civil war. In which the royal family would more than likely be wiped out, leaving Ryofui as the only legit person to rule Qin. Now before this explanation by Ei Sei & Shoubunkun we're introduced to the man himself, having an army of 200k (think about that number for a second here) himself against the Wei.

After this Ryofui plans a whole assassination attempt on the King, which ends up failing due to ShiShi joining Ei Sei's squad and of course because of the HSU duo of Shin & Kyoukai themselves. Then right after this big event... it was time to meet the man himself in chapter 97 titled The Enigmatic Man. Ei Sei is informed of Ryofui's arrival and he tells them to come on in, knowing very well Ryofui was behind all this. Then with great anticipation, we have the build up.

First Hara introduces his posse. With highlighting the younger Big 3 of the 4- Moubu, RiShi, Shouheikun

But it doesn't stop there, despite his squad that came into the meeting room only being politicians, each of those dudes had an aura on par with that of a generals. My reaction at this point was like.. Ei Sei is tryna take him on? I see...:zorothink:

After the insane build up of the underlings, we then have the man himself making a grand entrance unlike anything Hara has ever done in the entire manga. Like there has yet to be a character in this manga that has received as grand/epic of an entrance to anything like this man got:

Man it's truly hard to think of anyone being more charismatic or atleast coming off more charismatic than this dude right here in KINGDOM. Hara then ends the chapter with focusing on his aura. Now to keep in context here Shin at this point had met multiple GG and even a GG of the heavens, Ouki and felt their presence/aura to be insanely formidable. Even felt the aura from SHK & Moubu and such.. But compared to them Ryofui's aura completely surpassed them. To a point where our boy Shin, wasn't just shook... but straight up frightened like hell.

So after this fucking epic entrance the man goes right head to flex his power on Ei Sei's faction by saying flat out admitting he sent the assassins, but Ei Sei is forced to essentially take it as a joke, despite knowing he's telling the truth.

Following this Moubu goes on his 6 GG revival speech, and bam.. this dude Ryofui checks the fuck out of Moubu bro. lmao. Dude said "plus my foot is going numb". Mans was straight up trolling the entire time, even then suggesting that the Qin 6 should be based around him instead. Homie tells Moubu to not disrespect the King, but proceeds to do it 10-folds himself. Mans was crazy.

III. The Build-Up

But his crazyness ain't stop there. The man then fucking proceeds to finesse Riboku into coming to Qin, right after having killed Ouki, making Riboku Qin's #1 hated enemy essentially. He pulls this off by kidnapping the guy who Pedo King loved the most, knowing that the Pedo King would send Riboku to get him.

Then bam it happened, the meeting between the two biggest antagonists of KINGDOM. The conversation between these two is the greatest two-character dialogue of KINGDOM written so far. Hell I would say in general, I haven't read any other manga that match this 2-character dialogue. If you want to reread it yourself it's start is chapter 176 and ends at chapter 177.

Now after the deals go down with Riboku & Ryofui, with Ryofui finnessing a key stronghold of Zhao's which would serve as a pillar for the Qin to launch their Wei Invasion. Then stuff with the Queen Mother is going down, so on and so forth. Where he ends up getting the Queen Mother a male sex beast to keep her off of him. Man who would've ever thought that Ryofui's romance story with the Queen Mother would be the biggest romance story in the manga. We move on to post-Sanyou, where Ryofui is made into the Chancellor of State, where his authority now is only 2nd to the King himself. Forcing Ei Sei to bring out his hidden card of Seikyou.

Then the coalition war happens where Ryofui doesn't shine all that much really in terms of leadership. Rather Ei Sei manages to out do him. While Ryofui had a plan revolving around handing over Ei Sei's head to them and such. So this gives Ei Sei an edge over Ryofui for the first time, giving Ryofui a challenge was now starting to become possible.... or that's what they thought atleast. Then this mf goes ahead and pulls off something crazy like:

After turning the tide into his favor again, by simply throwing a giant ass party.. he proceeds to create the Seikyou rebellion to fracture the King's faction even more. Now Shin tries to confront him at the end of the arc, but gets owned essentially and pushed aside like a kid by Ryofui. Hara also focusing on Ryofui's stature and aura again.

IV. The conclusion:

Now with the stage ready and Ryofui's manipulations all coming into play. Some schemes foiled by Ei Sei, while others coming true and setting back Ei Sei some more. But the time had come to conclude it all. Ryofui sets up the biggest political mastermind shit in order to take the throne from Ei Sei. He uses the Queen Mother to estbalish the state of Ai. Then uses the state of Ai to attack Qin on the day of the coronation when Ei Sei is away from there, which would result in the slaughter of the royal family and what have you. Then after that he would come in to retake the capital and be it's hero, just as Ei Sei was during Sai.

However, there was 1 thing Ryofui miscalculated and it was Shouheikun's betrayal. He had too much faith in his underlings to a point he didn't even take into account the possibility of his #1 guy, the guy who he recruited 1st out of all the big retainers he had.. that he would betray Ryofui. And this betrayal by Shouheikun is ultimately what led to Ryofui's scheme being spoiled. Now despite Shouheikun's betrayal Ryofui still hoped that they would not make it in time and that the capital would've fallen by then. During this him & Ei Sei had a debate which was witnessed by other political figures of Qin. This debate was essentially left unsettled without a right or wrong (I will be exploring this in a different thread).

Shouheikun & SHK's favorite unit, HSU.. end up foiling Ryofui's plan and thus Ryofui was defeated. After the king having to risk his life multiple times, overcome great obstacles and differences in powers. An opponent that sharpened the current king of Qin, Ei Sei into being the King he is today. After his defeat Ryofui would still hold great influence, because that's just how great he was, but he would remain quiet... until it was time to pass final words of wisdoms to the King who beat him. Despite having his ambition ruined, his dream broken, being betrayed by somebody loyal... the man at the very end still wished Ei Sei, the best of luck.

Which led to the conclusion of his story from where it started...going around with the lands in a carriage.:

But going out with a cunning plot nonetheless, that quelled any issues the King had regarding his city while also being able to live his life the way he now wanted. :luffydab:

Small Analysis:

Charisma: One of the key traits regarding Ryofui without a doubt is his amazing charisma which he uses to enamor people. This Charisma stems from his ambition which had it's own stat given by Hara to highlight it. This charisma of his allowed him to gather the one who could be considered the "founder" of Qin's legalism- Ri Shi, Chief of Military - Shouheikun, The top diplomat & ex-chancelor of Qin- Saitaku, and of course a top notch general - Moubu. While having various other politicians who had the auras that rivaled military generals under him. One can only imagine the amount of talent he would've attracted had he become King, yikes.

Good guy or bad guy?: He deceived people, he used cunning ploys, he got people assassinated.. But he was doing so to replace the royal family which he thought was incompetent and that he could do a better job at running the nation (which he proved he could do a great job in). He used people for his personal gains, like the queen mother who used to love him. Yet in the end despite taking a L, he congratulated Ei Sei on taking the throne and wished him the best. He also wanted to make the people of Qin prosper by using his monetary system, by making Qin the top state. So was he a bad guy or good guy? Nah I'm just playing he was def. one bad dude, who just happened to not be a sore loser. :yasu:

Political prowess: The man literally orchestrated the creation a whole small state, State of Ai. Then used it for his own political gains with Qin, while he being completely untouched by the results of it. Then you add in prior to that the man had finessed enough power to make himself the Chancellor of State, a position that is never available normally. From gaining the better of Riboku in their negotiation of the alliance by getting a crucial city. However, his political prowess is listed as being inferior to that of Ri Shi (who I believe has the highest political stat in the series so far) & the likes of Saitaku. But its understandable why that might be the case, as they were heavily into the actual politics.. while Ryofui was more so using his Merchant ways to play the politics, rather than sheer political stuff. So despite not being the best in politics out of his squad, the man was still able to keep in check people like RiShi & Saitaku, both top dogs in politics.

Demeaner/Aura unlike any other: Now this is the crazy part about Ryofui, we have never seen a political figure (who is not a King) have an aura and intimidation factor like Ryofui ever in Kingdom. The man's demeaner was keeping in check somebody like Shouheikun & Moubu bruh. Neither Renpa or Ouki, the generals with the two biggest auras in the manga have ever had such a presence. That's how overpowering the dude's aura was. A fucking merchant rose up to have a more overpowering aura than two dudes who fought hundreds of battles. lmao. Mf was insane bruh.

Rags to riches: This is ultimately what Ryofui's story is. The guy who went from rags to riches by using his brain and using people for his benefit. He did everything he could to make his ambition happen. The girl he loved? No problem give her away (completely fucked up shit he did). Assassinating his officials if need be? No problem, long as the info stays hidden. Despite all of the fucked up shit he did, he climbed up from being a merchant's apprentice to having more treasure than arguably even the King himself, based on his statement of him just using a tiny portion of his own money to make that party happen. Like imagine how much this dude finessed as a merchant to acquire all that wealth. And it's not like he achieved it deceivingly, the wealth that is, as far as his merchant stuff goes dude was an honest/solid merchant not the shady/sneaky mfs. Man was also humble enough to have talented people around him that could balance him in things he was not good at. SHK for warfare, Rishi for laws, Saitaku for guidance, Moubu for martially, and so on. Like this is the ultimate rags to riches story in KINGDOM, it's never gonna get any bigger than Ryofui.

Cunning: No doubt about it that the dude was an asshole to the 3rd degree. Master manipulator. Manipulated everyone around him like a damn puppet to such an extent they really didn't have any idea about his greatness until even the end. It was this cunning nature of his that led to Ei Sei being messed up over and over despite making advances in fight to gain power. It was this very cunning nature of his that kept Qin on par with the super states despite the Qin6 not existing and despite there not being a king that was of age. Even Riboku wanted to personally meet the man known as Ryofui.


At this point I feel like I've pretty much stated everything that needs to be said about this guy and pretty much repeating things over and over, lmao. I want to go into his actual ambition, but I'm making another thread with his ambition being a crucial part of it, so I won't be going into it here... as it plays a key part in his role and battle against Ei Sei and his greatness as a villain. So in that regard one can consider this thread to be incomplete a bit.

You here had a cunning villain, who made Ei Sei into the man he was. Despite not being the main villain of the series, but being the main villain to a side character.. he was still on par if not greater than vast numbers of main villains out there. He rose from rags to riches to achieve the Kinghood so he could make his country the greatest. Yet despite failing hard at it and ending up in a situation where he started from... he still wished his arch-enemy the best of luck for what they were about to achieve. You see there's never been a villain like Ryofui that I can think of, who isn't the "main villain" of any single arch that the MC is fighting against... yet is still the 2nd major villain of the entire series. Has a more epic intro than the main antagonist, and was for a large extent even a bigger entity than the main antagonist (Riboku). His character just as the man himself said is truly hard to fully grasp, but I've tried my best to do so in this short thread. Thus concludes the thread on the man who rose from being a merchant's apprentice to leading armies of 200k to becoming 2nd-in-power to only the King, while only being 1 betrayal away from becoming King himself... the man known as, Ryo Fui.