Street Fighter V has not been kind to the World Warrior. Ryu was considered one of the strongest characters in the game during Season 1, but a series of updates sent the character tumbling down the tier list, where he remains as of today. Even longtime Ryu professionals such as Daigo and Alex Valle have long since moved on to other characters.
There are a plethora of issues with Ryu’s current design, and nothing does a better job of showcasing his glaring flaws like this clip from Javits:
Javits demonstrates how Ryu’s medium kick is so short, it actually puts him in a worse position for having used it. Rather than serving as a sort offensive check, it just puts him into the hands of Karin for a full-damage combo. Medium kick to fireball is a classic Ryu tool that is safe on shield and also provides ample damage, but if the move can’t even reach the opponent? Yikes.
This is basically the story of Ryu’s life. Historically, Ryu has been strong for having strong normals with a respectable amount of range, and a fireball to zone, which give him all the tools he needs to force most characters into uncomfortable situations which he can then punish accordingly.
But in Street Fighter V, the reduced range of some of his most important attacks mean his tool kit is smaller, inherently making him more predictable. And because his moves just aren’t as fast in areas that are important, he is essentially always having to guess correctly with little margin for error. In a game described as “rock, paper, scissors” by some players, it’s not wise to choose a character that can only ever choose two.