[Throwback Thursday] Street Fighter II The Animated Movie Review


Street Fighter II wallpaper

Until We Meet Again

  • Episodes : 1 (movie)
  • Genre : Action, Adventure, Fighting
  • Airing Date : August 1994
  • Producers : Group TaAC

Street Fighter II The Animated Movie Preview/Plot (No Spoilers)

Based on the legendary fighting game franchise that established and popularized the genre is the animated movie edition, most emphatically influenced by Super Street Fighter II Turbo (with the inclusions of Fei Long, Cammy, Dee Jay, T. Hawk, and Akuma/Gouki). This movie focuses on three plots but all go back to Ryu, the main character of the series, as well as Vega/M. Bison, the main villain. Vega/Bison wants Ryu as his personal human weapon, Ken and Ryu's best friend wants another fight, and Guile and Chun Li want to put an end to Vega/Bison's reign of terror and settle their personal scores. But along the way, there are going to be some of the best action sequences ever!!!

Street Fighter II wallpaper 2

Who does Street Fighter II The Animated Movie cater to?

Naturally, hardcore fans of the Street Fighter gaming series are going to want to watch this. If they haven’t, then they should see it now!!! It is an excellent representation of its source material in comparison to Hollywood’s attempts at making Street Fighter movies, and it knows its characters and the foundation of its story to the point that it’s engaging, with some of the best fights that even put Jackie Chan to shame.

What’s appealing about this work?

Its art style and design is presented in a way that is recognizable to all audiences, and it just has the baddest fighting you will ever see in ANY form of media. Plus, the English and Japanese tracks use distinct and equally appealing soundtracks, which will be explored in more detail in this review. Despite its age, it still excellently holds up and is a great gateway to anime and Street Fighter, especially for fans of the games that may have never followed anime until now. For its time, it was the anime that represented the creativity of the medium to international audiences, and with the Street Fighter franchise still ongoing with an upcoming fifth installment, it shows that this anime will also not die. Plus, if you have played the Zero/Alpha part of the series and enjoy that, this anime is recommended.

Street Fighter II The Animated Movie Trailer

Street Fighter Ii The Animated Movie Character List

Ryu

ryu StreetFighterIITheAnimated

A life-long martial artist whose journey never ends in finding what it means to be strong. After defeating Sagat, a Muay Thai champion, an international cartel known as Shadoloo wants to use Ryu as their weapon. However, due to Ryu's constant movement, they have trouble finding him and this endangers his best friend and rival, Ken.

Ken

ken StreetFighterIITheAnimated

Ryu’s best friend and former training partner in Japan. Despite all of his accomplishments in winning various martial arts competitions in the US and dating a hot babe, Ken doesn’t feel complete until he fights Ryu one more time. Unfortunately, he gets his wish when he is kidnaped and brainwashed by the Shadoloo criminal syndicate.

Bison/Vega

vega StreetFighterIITheAnimated

The leader of a criminal syndicate known as Shadoloo. In order to expand his army, he recruits some of the best martial artists/street fighters from around the world. Throughout the movie, he wishes to find Ryu and brainwash him as his ultimate weapon. Despite his need for an army, on his own, he can fight and wields his own power called psycho power which he uses to brainwash Ken.


Contains Spoilers

Street Fighter II The Animated Movie Spoilers

This is the ultimate anime in adapting video games. It just made something epic out of it. With the exception of Gouki/Akuma's brief cameo, virtually every character up to Super Street Fighter II Turbo has their own memorable placement even though some may not have any direct connection to the establishment or progressions of the main story. Some minor complaints include the lack of use of Sagat after the intro. I was hoping Ryu and Sagat would fight one more time, but that didn’t happen and I think the staff had the right reasons why they couldn’t make it happen.

The character designs are just fantastic. They are very true to the original games and are made recognizable to newbies and veterans of the series alike. The most notable change is that of Vega/Bison, who is given a larger frame. His buff up design and his creepy smile makes him look truly menacing. The art isn’t too stereotypical by relying on big eyes with the exception of its female cast, but other than that, everything is just perfect and you couldn’t ask for more. No wait, you could. You can’t have Street Fighter without some kung fu fighting, which is the heart and soul of this movie. The action goes for a more technical and yet raw approach, which translates flawlessly into this movie. The quality of the action is thanks to the coordination of Ishii Kazuyoshi, the founder of the Seidokaikan Karate association and the K-1 kickboxing promotion, and former K-1 champion and Kyokushinkai Karate champion, Andy Hug. Hug, god bless his soul, passed away in 2000 of Leukemia after winning the K-1 tournament that year.

In addition to the realistic approach to the pacing, movement, and techniques, it still balances out with the inclusion of the signature moves such as hadouken and sonic boom, and they are perfectly timed and not abused. The action is extreme and keeps you on the edge of your seat, and doesn’t get old. And to me, nothing can top the extremities and technicalities of the art and animation.

The dub and Japanese voice acting are equally excellent in their own rights. My favorite performances were both those of Vega/Balrog, which were definitely breath-taking. In the Japanese version, he is voiced by seiyuu legend Shiozawa Kaneto, also famous as M'Queve in Mobile Suit Gundam, Rei in Hokuto no Ken, and Prince Demando in the original Sailor Moon R series. Both actors capture his character of being a sadistic narcissist in a way that exceeded your expectations of what that character could sound like.

street fighter 2 the movie wallpaper

Bison/Vega in either version uses this trembling tone that sounds like someone who is going to die an ugly death. For Breaking Bad fans, Bryan Cranston happens to voice Fei Long in the English edition (he happened to mostly do voice work before he was famous on Malcolm in the Middle). In the Japanese version, Fei Long is voiced by Japanese mixed martial arts legend and pioneer, Funaki Masakatsu. The performance of Vega/Bison in the English version gives him a little sick sense of humor while the Japanese version makes him more emphatically sadistic.

The music in both versions is as opposite as night and day, but in a good way. The selection in the English version with the likes of KMFDM, Silverchair, Alice in Chains, and Korn and the Jpop in the Japanese version were appropriately used in terms of captivating its target audiences. And after only watching the English version for 12 years, listening to the Japanese version for the first time totally threw me off. The difference in the music selected in each version really captures your attention and makes you view things in different ways.

To me, watching the English version of, let’s say, the fight between Chun Li and Balrog/Vega made me feel an intensity as if I was watching a pay per view fight, while watching it in Japanese, I felt like I was watching a fight to the death and I was able to feel the struggle of Chun Li more as if she was going to lose, while with the American music, you had that notion she was going to come out on top and finish it with nothing to lose. I’m not saying one is better than the other, both will give audiences different reactions and immersions.

As for the Japanese theme song, Itoshisa to Setsunasa to Kokoro Tsuyosa to, sung by Shinohara Ryoko, the song that plays when Ken and Ryu fight Vega/Bison, I’ll admit is catchy and I love it a whole lot and is still considered a huge hit in Japan to this very day amongst Japanese 90s kids, but really felt out of place in contrast to the action presented. Even though I think both Japanese and English are great, due to the uses of different types of music, I can’t say one is better than the other and you’re going to have to watch it in both languages to have a full appreciation of this movie.

1. Ryu vs Sagat

ryusagat StreetFighterIITheAnimated

What better way to start the movie than with what is essentially the ending of the first game between Ryu and Sagat. Despite the very dark lighting and the heavy weather in this opening fight, the audience gets a full view of everything going on. The fight is intense and yet nobody is fighting dirty. The unedited version will give audiences a very graphic portrayal on how Sagat got his trademark scar from Ryu's shoryuken and the lack of lighting gives awesome views of the tiger shot and hadouken. The music in the English version accompanies this scene with heavy guitar riffs while the Japanese version does have some guitar riffs but emphasizes more on dramatic percussions.

2. Chun Li vs Vega/Balrog

chunlivsvega StreetFighterIITheAnimated

Best fight in anime history! If anime were to have its equivalent to the Thrilla in Manila, this is it! As stated earlier, the soundtrack accompanying this fight will be different and it is recommended to watch both versions because it will give audiences a different feeling of what is going on. This fight is balls-to-the-wall and pulls no stops. Balrog/Vega takes a slow and sadistic approach while Chun Li is trying to finish the fight, even if it means killing her opponent. She throws a couch, the lamppost and other stuff. In other great news, her spinning bird kick and lightning kick are used in brutal fashion all while wearing only just a sweatshirt! If you want to get your friends into anime, this is the scene to show them.

3. Ken and Ryu vs Bison/Vega (aka the Dramatic Battle)

kenryu StreetFighterIITheAnimated

Traditionally through the games, Street Fighter has always been about one-to-one but this final fight breaks the rules for this special exception. With Vega/Bison too powerful for one man, Ken and Ryu team up in this epic final battle. If Chun Li vs Balrog/Vega is the best fight scene in this movie (hell, maybe all of anime), then this is a very close second. Ken and Ryu won this fight mostly relying on moves you can learn in traditional martial arts or real life self defense classes.

The fight became the influence for Street Fighter Zero/Alpha, and in the first game, there is a secret code for Ken and Ryu to fight Vega/Bison, and dramatic battles became freer in the third edition of Zero/Alpha. This fight is another example that uses distinct soundtracks in the Japanese and English versions. As stated earlier, the Japanese version uses one of Japan's top songs from 1994. Shinohara Ryoko, the singer of the featured song, despite being in her forties, is still as stunning as ever and is still active as an actress and as a lingerie model!!

Fans and non-fans alike of either the Street Fighter games or anime in general must give this a shot. Luckily, this came out when I was getting into anime and being a fan of Street Fighter, I just had to get this. And for me, this was the right anime at the right time. I was 11 when I first watched this and many elements amazed and shocked me, and it may have done the same with a lot of people in those days. One such element being the Chun Li shower scene and all fighting game based animes that followed had to have this kind of scene including Fatal Fury, Battle Arena Toshiden, and the piece-of-crap Tekken anime.


It was something different to me and I didn’t take the scene as offensive and thought of it as something acceptable to Japanese people, which I found later on to be both true and untrue. Eventually, I got around to showing this movie to my friends and we could watch this movie all night over and over. Especially Chun Li vs Vega, which anyone who has seen this movie cannot deny is certainly one of the best anime fights of all time.

Justin

Writer

Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

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