An ancient dragon dwelling in the Dimensional Rift. A massively strong will once consigned it to a certain task, but all details are unknown. It often rains devastation on those who would destroy it, causing even gods to fear its strength.
Shinryu (しんりゅう, Shinryū?) is a powerful entity and enemy exclusive summon in Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. Originally appearing as a superboss in Final Fantasy V, Shinryu is a summon used by Chaos and the only one that cannot be controlled by the player. It also plays a role in the story as the facilitator of the cycles of war.
Shinryu plays a critical but unseen role in Dissidia. When Cid of the Lufaine, Cosmos and Chaos first arrived in World B, the three came upon Shinryu and Cid made a deal with the being to return home. This resulted in the cycle of conflict where Chaos and Cosmos summon warriors to battle one another, and when all warriors of one side are killed, Shinryu revives the fallen warriors of both sides and consumes their memories, growing stronger as payment for reviving them.
Shinryu imbues Chaos with some of its power and over time, Chaos will grow into the ultimate weapon, at which point Cid intended for the three to return home and Chaos to destroy the state that had used them for purposes of war. While Chaos and Cosmos became gods, Shinryu granted Cid immortality to observe the cycle, though at the cost of his physical form.
In Dissidia 012, after Cosmos sacrifices herself to destroy the manikins, Shinryu revives her and all her champions save for those beyond its ability to resurrect as they have died outside the conditions of the conflict: Lightning, Laguna, Kain, Yuna, Vaan, and Tifa.
During the thirteenth cycle, after Cosmos is seemingly destroyed by Chaos, Shinryu aids the God of Discord in his final battle with the Warriors of Light as revenge for Cid backing out of their pact and siding with Cosmos, when previously the two were neutral observers. Shinryu lends Chaos his power, and when he is killed by the Warriors of Cosmos in the thirteenth cycle, Shinryu absorbs his strength and returns to the Rift, his pact with Cid complete.
In Inward Chaos, an alternate universe where Chaos was never defeated, a mysterious voice speaks to the warrior that takes on this challenge, remarking that only the truly powerful will be allowed further. The voice is Shinryu, who has gathered the most powerful incarnations of all the heroes and villains to create the ultimate Chaos. Upon defeating Chaos, Shinryu realizes the warrior's power outstrips that of the gods, and that he/she has obtained a might that not even gods can inherit. Shinryu says he shall cleanse this world, for it is his duty, but wishes that his next incarnation will be through the eyes of those like the warrior, instead of his lofty position.
After Chaos is defeated and the cycle of war is broken, allowing the Warriors of Cosmos to return home, Shinryu seals away Cid in an alternate, nightmarish dimension where Chaos survived as revenge for Cid's involvement in ending the cycle of war. In this alternate universe, Shinryu continues to absorb power and eventually becomes Shinryu Verus, an even stronger incarnation. Chaos, meanwhile, goes insane and becomes Feral Chaos. After killing all summoned warriors, including his own, Chaos attempts to destroy Shinryu after Cid seals the powerless Cosmos and himself away in the Cavern of Earth. After Feral Chaos ends up defeated, Chaos, in a brief moment of clarity, tells the party that Shinryu had departed for the Rift, thus ending the conflict for good.
In battle, Shinryu is a powerful summon unique to Chaos that uses Chaotic Deluge to cause one of several random effects that act as enhanced versions of the effects of other summons:
- Halve its summoner's Bravery value and then constantly increase it by 99 over a period of time; (based on PuPu; used while Chaos is under Break in Round 2).
- Double its summoner's Bravery value and then constantly decrease it by 99 over a period of time; (based on Behemoth; used while Chaos has Bravery near or above the player's HP in Round 3).
- Halve the opponent's Bravery repeatedly over a certain period of time; (based on Omega; used while neither fighter is under Break in Round 2).
- Instantly multiplies the summoner's Bravery by 1.5; (based on Ifrit; used while the player is under Break in Round 2).
- Cause the summoner's HP attacks to halve the opponent's Bravery value; (based on Iron Giant; used while neither fighter is under Break in Round 3).
- Summon a timer of 60 that turns the opponent's Bravery back to 0 when the timer reaches zero; (based on Lich; used if the player's Bravery is higher than Chaos's HP in Round 2).
- Summon a sword to gather power and Break the opponent's Bravery after a period of time has passed; (based on Ultima Weapon; used while either fighter is under Break in Round 3).
- Freeze the summoner's Bravery value for a period of time; (based on Alexander; used if Chaos's Bravery is near or above your HP in Round 2).
- Summon a timer of 51 that triples the summoner's Bravery when the timer reaches 0 (based on Tiamat; may be used in place of the Iron Giant effect).
Unlike other summons, Shinryu can be used multiple times in battle, though its effect can usually be predicted by examining both fighters' Bravery values. This means that if the player equips the "Opponent's summon unused" booster accessory when fighting Chaos, they will always retain the bonus, because Shinryu is never "used up". Though Chaos can summon Shinryu as much as he wants, there is a cooldown to Shinryu's effect, noticeable by watching for the Summonstone icon to reappear above Chaos's HP bar once he summons Shinryu. Chaos can have one of Shinryu's effects active at a time and Shinryu's Summonstone cannot be destroyed by Asura.
Shinryu can be obtained in the summon files after the player defeats Chaos for the first time, and is the only summon to have new artwork rather than using a sprite or artwork from a previous game. Shinryu Verus's color scheme appears to be partially based on Neo Shinryu from Final Fantasy V Advance, Neo Shinryu's colors being gold and blue, while Shinryu Verus is gold and red.
In Dissidia 012, Feral Chaos has access to an enhanced gold and red version of Shinryu when fought in Confessions of the Creator. This form, known as Shinryu Verus, uses a different summon command, Savage Roar. Compared to the original Shinryu, Shinryu Verus has only four timed effects that activate in 20 seconds compared to 50, and Feral Chaos uses its effects freely while Chaos uses them at set times and only uses certain effects in each round.
The summon abilities are based on the summon abilities of the Four Fiends when called as summons:
- Summon a timer of 20 seconds that triples the summoner's Bravery once the timer reaches 0 (based on Tiamat).
- Summon a timer of 20 seconds that swaps both players Bravery once the timer reaches 0 (based on Kraken).
- Summon a timer of 20 seconds that freezes the opponent's Bravery once the timer reaches 0 (based on Marilith).
- Summon a timer of 20 that turns the opponent's Bravery back to 0 when the timer reaches 0 (based on Lich).
Shinryu is the Japanese name for Shénlóng, literally "god dragon" or "spirit dragon", an important ancient dragon in Chinese mythology. It is said to preside over storms and rain, and can bring disastrous drought, thunderstorms and general bad weather if it feels neglected.