Pick Ryu because he will teach you the basics, listen to what I say because Ryu was always the good choice for beginners u_u
None of the ‘shotos’ have the same play style, some of the fireball characters can’t even use their fireball as much as they would want to…lol
Ryu is a good mix between footsie and zoning (with fireball). Generally, the ‘main plan’ is to be at the good distance to use your cr.mk xx hadoken. His fireball recovers relatively fast, at least enough for you to punish an ennemy if he tries to jump on reaction. But he also has decent okizeme.
Ken, I don’t know if he can be considered a ‘shoto’…His fireball’s recovery is so long, even on hit it isn’t safe xD, he is more like a rushdown character, with a fireball. He uses mostly his forward+mk to advance, he has, if I remember correctly, the best kara-throw in the game. He has stylish combos xD. If your opponent doesn’t know how to block, he’ll destroy him.
Sagat is more like zoning your opponent to understand how they react, and adapt. But if they don’t know how to advance/jump mindlessly, you win.
Oni. His fireball doesn’t even travel far, you will mostly want to pressure the opponent with him, using frame traps/tick throws. His combos do a good chunk of damage/stun. I don’t want to use top players as examples…because even the top players I saw use his ex slash (which is very unsafe on block…and is very easy to block between…)… I think no one uses Oni to his full potential yet. And his shoryus can’t be FADC’d on block.
Gouken. Just like with Sagat, you will most likely zone with him, except, he has strong combos and a dive kick. So you can mix it up between ‘offense’ (even though it isn’t that great) and defense. He has some safe jump set ups, but, unlike the other ‘shotos’, he has no shoryuken to safen his wake up. Oh and, back-throw Ultra is a gift if your opponent doesn’t know how to tech-throw xD.
Evil Ryu. From what I saw from Sako…and some other E.Ryu players, they play him like a less good Ryu (zoning wise), using cr.mk xx hado, to confirm and do combos, which do really good damage/stun. His cr.mk is slower compared to Ryu’s, but cr.mk xx hado is a true blockstring, from any distance (except from the very tip), meaning they can’t mash shoryu in-between. (Go see Evo 2012, Infiltration FADC Daigo’s hado, xD)
The fireball is the same Ryu has though (start up and recovery).
So to answer your question, yes and no. With Ryu, you will learn how to zone and pressure your opponent, just, not the same way, and not with the same tools.
Dude…have you read that he plays AE since june 2011…