- Main article: Ryu
- "As the hero, Ryu is the only character who must be in your party at all times. His quest to shed light on his mysterious past propels him into a journey spanning his childhood and adolescence. He's a well-rounded character, naturally quick in battle and useful for his healing spells, powerful attacks, and Dragon-transformation abilities. He's the only party member who can use the Brood Genes scattered throughout Breath of Fire III."
- — Prima strategy guide description
- "Ryu is a blue-haired young man with a moral heart. He is the only known survivor of the dragon race the Brood, and he uses his strength and dragon abilities to help his companions. Ryu learns a good set of healing and assist magic, and putting that together with his dragon abilities make him the most valuable member of your party."
- — Bio
Ryu is the main protagonist of Breath of Fire III. As a member of the mythical Brood, he has the ability to transform into dragons, and is heralded as the Prince of Dragons by those in Dragnier. Being one of the few remaining Brood left, it's up to him to find out why God wanted his people destroyed in the Great War.
Appearance and Personality
As a child, Ryu sports a beige and dark green tunic jumper shorts with a white undershirt with large, white and brown boots. As an adult he wears a blue gray and red breastplate under a white long vest, with a large baggy olive green pants and brown boots. Both in his childhood and adolescence, he wears red shoulder guards and the orange scarf that they wear is different which the color of his scarf in his childhood years is red orange as his adolescence years' scarf is yellow orange. His hair is always seen blue and spiky, and his eyes match that color.
Ryu is a silent protagonist, and thus the player does not observe any dialogue of his during the course of the game. However, he does appear to speak as the game will show him interacting conversationally with the rest of the party who seem to understand him. Further, you are able to hear him call out spell names in battle. As a child, he seemed to be a crybaby, as he would often cry when something bad happened, though this disappeared over time. He is also shown to be shy around females, such as comically fainting when a faerie kisses him as a child, and blushes feverishly when he sees revived Deis in the nude (as an adult), turning away as other male characters, like Garr and Rei, don't turn away.
He seems to be protective of Nina and cares very much about her. He will often resort to extremes to protect her from harm. She is also the main reason he uses his Brood powers: in order to protect her, something that Garr took note of during the trip. While he did try to deny it at one point, Nina was able to pry the truth out of him, vowing to become stronger so he wouldn't get into trouble for using his powers. Some of the most notable events where Ryu resorts to extreme measures to save her life was when the two jumped down the side of a mountain and he transformed into a Whelp to soften her fall as children, and when he killed the Rakda to feed her the nutrient-rich and water-filled meat when she passed out from heatstroke as adults, both times taking large gambles for her sake.
His favorite food appears to be apples, as when idle while a child, can be sometimes seen eating them.
Ryu first appears in the beginning of the game as a Dragon Whelp sleeping in a giant chrysm crystal in Dauna Mines when two miners, Mogu and Gary, blow it apart with dynamite. This causes Ryu to wake up and the miners are startled by finding a Dragon Whelp in the giant crystal, and in fear attack him. From here Ryu goes on attacking several miners but is finally stopped when a voice yells out in his head, and in this moment the miners knock him out and cage him. As they are transporting him he wakes up and shakes the cage off, and lands in Cedar Woods where he is rescued by Rei. He takes him home way out in the middle of the woods where Teepo also lives and they head to McNeil Village to get Ryu some clothes. Teepo is somehow able to learn Ryu's name before he even tells him what it is, and like Ryu he was abandoned in the forest alone. Rei and Teepo take Ryu along with them to make some money thieving on Yraall Road, but stop when they notice Bunyan heading down the road.
After being caught by Bunyan, Rei is sent off to kill the monster Nue on Mt. Glaus, and so Ryu and Teepo head off after him and meet up in an old hut on the mountain. There they battle the Nue and follow it to its den to finish it, and by doing so they end up bringing a plentiful harvest and peace to the village, and for the first time the villagers see them as heroes.
Afterwards, the team is separated at McNeil Manor, after they had agreed to steal the return the mayor's money to the farmers. Ryu and Teepo, after having to fight several ghosts of McNeil's past relatives, joins up with Rei and get the money and spread it to the villagers. This attracts unwanted attention however, and the Crime organization becomes aware of the team's actions. After they hear of this from Bunyan they run back home and find it up in flames, and Balio and Sunder reveal themselves and try to kill them. Ryu wakes up in Bunyan's house and despite Bunyan saying he found no one else, he heads off to Wyndia to see if Rei and Teepo headed the same direction.
While crossing Mt. Myrneg he bumps into Balio and Sunder again, who stab him in hopes of killing him. In doing so however they cause Ryu to transform back into the Dragon Whelp again, and the two get the idea to turn him over to the King of Wyndia in hopes of presenting Ryu as an evil threat to get a reward. But when they reveal the thing in the cage Ryu has already reverted back to his human form, and the King imprisons all three as con artists. Just when things looked grim the King's daughter, Princess Nina, came down to try and free him but she gets tricked by Balio and Sunder and gets kidnapped. Ryu breaks out and chases after them and through fighting them saves Nina. They escape the graveyard and Ryu learns that Teepo was in Wyndia but chased out to Eygnock Road. Upon arrival though they are once again captured by Balio and Sunder.
They escape again and flee into Mt. Boumore and eventually meet and befriend Momo and Peco, who join at their respective locations (Tower and Dump), only to be captured again. Nina suggests that they let your party enter the Contest of Champions to gain their freedom. However Ryu loses the Contest in the final round to Garr who sets the party free as his prize. Balio and Sunder, in anger of having been betrayed and having their prisoners escape yet again, fuse together to form the Stallion, and attacks the party. Garr intervenes, and together they finally defeat the brothers.
They finally make it to Angel Tower, and once they reach the burial ground in there Garr asks the rest of the party to wait upstairs so he and Ryu can continue ahead. Inside are gravestones with the names of the 4 Guardians and a number below them. Garr tells Ryu and the number signifies the number of Brood they have killed and attacks Ryu, the last known surviving Brood. Ryu easily defeats him, and ends up transforming into a giant Kaiser Dragon and flies off, with Garr telling everyone that Ryu had died.
Several years go by, and a Dragon Whelp can be seen running around Dauna Mines again. Garr subdues it, and it transform into a much older Ryu. Garr leaves him some clothes and says Ryu can kill him at any time if he chooses, but he spares him. Garr wants to take Ryu to talk to God, to learn why he had to slaughter the Brood when they never even fought back, since if they had Garr would have easily been defeated just like Ryu defeated him in Angel Tower. As they try to leave Dauna Mines a dead Brood's spirit known as the Dragon Zombie appears and beckons Ryu to help him slay Garr. Ryu refuses and he attacks them both, eventually being overpowered and defeated by them.
The 2 head down Ogre Road and are attached by a man eating tiger, who later escapes once they hurt it enough, heading towards Cedar Woods. Ryu decides to check it out, and upon visiting his old burned down home he confirms his suspicions; the man eating tiger was none other than Rei. Rei has the power to transform into the Weretiger, and is happy to see that Ryu had survived that terrible night. He still vows revenge against the people who killed Teepo and broke up his family and heads to McNeil Village, viciously attacking Loki before running off. Ryu and Garr go to McNeil Manor and reunite with Nina, who is with several Wyndian guards that are hauling away Mayor McNeil. She talks with them and decides to accompany them in taking down this organization.
As the team's objective turn into finding God, Ryu learns that he needs to find Guardian Gaist. They head to a small town called Cliff and find Gaist, who challenges Ryu to a 1 on 1 fight to see for himself the true power of the Brood that God feared. By defeating him, Ryu releases the seal that imprisons Deis. She then bestows upon Ryu the prana, a third eye that will show him the path to God.
Eventually the team discovers Dragnier. Here they learn more about the history of Ryu's people from the elder Jono. In a battle where he couldn't use his Brood powers, Ryu fought and defeated Jono. In doing so he gained the full power of the Brood, and set off to confront Myria.
From Dragnier they go through The Factory and come upon the Desert of Death, and after several days of walking and fighting Manmo, Nina passes out from heat exhaustion. She is saved when Ryu sacrifices the Radka to feed Nina the nutrient rich meat it possesses, but from here there is no turning back as the Radka was their last resort to getting back to safety.
After finding the lost town of Caer Xhan in the depth of the desert, they enter Eden and find none other than Teepo there, who had no interest in no one else but Ryu, a fellow Brood. When Ryu refuses to give in to Myria, he sends him into a dream world where he meets the rest of his party members. Refusing to let himself be defeated by Arwan, Ryu slays him to exit the dream. Seeing that he won't give in to Myria's reason, Teepo transforms into the Dragon Lord and does battle with the party. After being brutally killed off, Teepo says all he ever wished for was to have lived peacefully with Rei and Ryu, and leaves behind a keycard that leads to Myria. They finally reach her and, after hearing what she has to say she gives Ryu two choices; be like Teepo and live here with her forever to keep the world safe, or refuse and live for yourself. Ryu refuses her offer, not willing to lose a part of his very being, and Myria transforms into a scary looking giant lizard, attacking the party.
With Myria destroyed, her station collapses, and the team escapes to the desert. Ryu is seen having survived the fall with Nina, Rei, Momo, and (presumably) Peco and Honey.
Like the past Ryu's before him, he wields a sword and can wear all heavy armor. He also has a plethora of healing and support magic at his disposal, and combined with his physical feats and the diversity and power his Brood powers grant him, he's the strongest character in the game.
As soon as possible, put him under Mygas to give his AP and Intelligence a boost, since his Power and Defense grow well enough that the drawback doesn't hurt them much. After you feel he's gained enough, D'Lonzo is a good choice in boosting his Power and Agility, along with his accuracy, which will help reduce the drawback of him wearing heavy armor, which often lowers Agility, plus him acquiring Steal helps in places where Rei isn't around, and it fits his Thief "occupation" rather well. Hachio is a good option for later on, focusing on offensive might and HP, plus Demonsbane Skill is rather helpful for later in the game. Ladon is a good late-game master, as the skills he gives can be powerful, but make sure Ryu has ample amounts of HP and AP before taking him on, so an early enrollment to Giotto to bolster it doesn't hurt for a little while. Another popular option is to apprentice him under Bunyan early in the game and later under Deis, doing so will rise his physical attributes in early game where Dragon Forms are less needed and build the necessary AP later on to sustain the forms.
In terms of Skills, some good ideas are getting Jump early on, which can deal some easy, often impressive damage, though it is random, but oftentimes it can be strong enough to kill a monster, or even a mini-boss, with one blow. Snap is also useful if obtained early, as it can help whittle down tougher foes by reducing their Defense. Since Ryu is always in a team, giving him Influence can help tame Weretiger so Rei doesn't turn against his allies in a berserk attack. Up until just before your first visit Angel Tower, it's a good idea to have Burn and Frost to deal with monsters like the Nut People, Tar Man, Lava Man, and Vulcan (the former of which can awaken Vulcan, allowing you to gain more EXP and possibly the Lavaburst Skill). If you want to go for a more support role, then Kyrie can be helpful against enemies like Dragon Zombie and Arwan, especially the latter, as it saves time, energy, and AP that you would need to focus on other things.
|-||Heal||Heal||Heal light wounds on one target||4||"アパ利府！" / "Apurifu!" / "Uplift!"|
|6||Protect||Assist||Raise one target's Def||2|
|10||Rejuvenate||Heal||Heal medium wounds on one target||7|
|16||Shield||Assist||Raise all targets' Def||4|
|19||Raise Dead||Heal||Chance of restoring dead member||10|
|20||Remedy||Heal||Cures all status changes||7|
|23||Vitalize||Heal||Heal medium wounds on all targets||20|
|26||Barrier||Assist||Raise one target's magic defense||4|
|29||Restore||Heal||Heal heavy wounds on one target||12|
|31||Resurrect||Heal||Restore dead member||20|
|34||Vigor||Heal||Heal heavy wounds on all targets||50|
|36||Bonebreak||Attack||Attack: Usable at fixed intervals||0|
|Event||Accession||Attack||Change into dragon form||0|
- Main article: Dragon Form System#Breath of Fire III
Ryu has access to the unique ability Accession, which lets him combine Dragon Genes to form a dragon. Depending on which genes were used, the dragon will have different stats, elemental properties and abilities.
- Ryu's child sprite is unique among the characters in the game because it has two different attack animations. Ryu begins the game with an attack animation that has him flailing the sword around while crying to show he's terrified of combat. Once Nina joins the party, Ryu's animation changes to a more focused standard attack to show he's grown in confidence of his fighting ability.
- His child sprite is unique in another way, possessing two different defending animations. In the beginning, when he defends, he crouches down, ducks his head, and holds it while sweat animations emit off it, showing he's scared. When Nina joins the party, he instead stands upright, crosses his arms in front of him, and holds his sword near his face, showing more confidence.
- His child sprite is unique in a third way as well, possessing two different idle animations. Prior to defeating the Nue, Child Ryu's idle animation is putting his finger in his mouth and looking around nervously. After defeating the Nue, Child Ryu's idle animation is eating an apple.
- Not counting palette swaps, Ryu in Breath of Fire III has more unique dragon forms than any other incarnation of the character in the series.
- Though unknown if this was intentional or just an odd coincidence, Adult Ryu's outfit incorporates elements from both Rei and Teepo's fashion. He wears similar gauntlets, breast plate, and a scarf like Teepo while incorporating bandages and color choices from Rei.
- His battle stance in his adult sprite resembles Teepo's battle stance from his childhood stance.
- It's possible that the female apparition in Dauna Mine that appears after defeating the Dragon Zombie is the ghost of Ryu's mother.
- When Ryu uses Accession, there is a frame of animation where Ryu's face turns into the face of Doraemon. This was removed in the PSP version.