Written by Paul Monopoli
Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie
By: Manga Video
Note: Before we begin, this review is written with the assumption that the reader has prior knowledge of the Street Fighter series & it’s characters. With that out of the way, on with the review…
Back in the early 90s Street Fighter 2 was a phenomenon. The original “World Warrior” game spawned pseudo sequels in the form of “Champion Edition”, “Turbo Hyper Fighting”, “Super” & “Super Turbo”. While these games were basically all the same bar a few differences, audiences continued to buy them & they frequently topped the gaming charts for almost every system they were released on.
As well as the multitude of game variations, Street Fighter 2 merchandise could be found everywhere. From comics to action figures, a crappy live action movie, & this little anime gem.
The movie is called “Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie”, but a lot of people at the time argued it should have been called “Super Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie” as it included Cammy, DeeJay, Fei Long & T-Hawk, the 4 “New Challengers” from “Super Street Fighter 2”. Either way, I never thought it was particularly important, but Super Play magazine did mention it along with a few other publications at the time.
The DVD I am reviewing this from is the Region 1 US release incase anyone was wondering. This release is a double sided DVD with the English version on one side & the full Japanese version on the other. I say “full” Japanese version as the English dub is missing 2 minutes of footage. Well actually, there’s a bit of confusion about the various versions of the movie floating around, but I won’t go into that here. Straight away I have to mention that I hate double sided DVDs, & I know I’m not alone when I say that. They are too easy to damage & really, with the price of DVDs these days I would have happily paid a couple of dollars more for a 2 disc set with both versions of the movie. This is the way they decided to release it however, so we just have to put up with it.
Strangely, when I opened the box I ended up with 3 inserts. I don’t know how this happened, but I guess I have 2 spares… yay… The inserts have a variation of the cover art on one side with the chapters listed on the other. Nothing special really, but it does the job.
Upon inserting either side of the disc you’re greeted with an “Insert Coin” screen written in the same text as the Street Fighter 2 arcade machine. You hear the sound of a coin being inserted, then the little chime you hear when you start the game & the menu appears. It’s a nice touch which really shows that whoever created the menus put a little thought into it. The front menu screen features the original 8 characters that were selectable in “The World Warrior” & shows a small cut scene of each of them from the movie one by one.
I actually had some issues with this, as there were 16 playable characters at this stage, so why focus on the original 8? Anyway, it’s only a menu so I can live with that. The extras are basically 4 trailers, 2 of which are for Street Fighter Alpha & Alpha Generations. Anyway, you’ve probably read enough about the DVD itself. Let’s take a look at the movie:
During the title sequence we are shown snippets of the famous battle between Ryu & Sagat, inwhich Sagat gets a Shoryuken to the chest which will eventually heal into that scar he has in the games. Something is amiss though, as both fighters are being monitored & their fighting abilities are being assessed. Why is this? Well you’ll find out later… After Sagat gets his chest burst open & a Hadouken to finish him off the main movie starts.
As far as the story goes, Bison & his Shadowlaw (Shadaloo in the games & Japanese dub) organisation are seeking fighters of exceptional skill to kidnap & brainwash into assassins. These assassins are then deployed to take out world leaders so Shadowlaw can get their own people in power. Cammy is the first assassin we see & after her mission is complete she is taken down by security & sent to Interpol headquarters where Chun-Li is investigating Bison’s operation.
Interpol are working with the US military, which means Chun-Li has to try & form an alliance with Captain Guile who wants nothing more than revenge against Bison for killing his friend. That is until Chun-Li reveals that Bison killed her father. Following this revelation she quickly points out that her mission still comes before her revenge. Guile appears to understand & the 2 begin their investigation, visiting potential fighters who Bison may be targeting.
You discover at the start of the movie that Sagat & Ryu were being watched & assessed by one of Bison’s cyborgs who gathered their fighting data & sent it back to him. Bison employed Sagat after the battle but the ever elusive Ryu continued on his journey seeking worthy opponents, oblivious to that fact that he was being hunted. Bison was impressed with Ryu’s abilities, & he wants to use them for Shadowlaw’s evil purposes.
Bison decides to slow the Interpol investigation down & sends Vega after Chun-Li. After an obligatory shower scene featuring the very naked & very well endowed female street fighter, a very bloody battle takes place between the 2. Let’s get the obligatory shower shot out of the way…
… Yes there is a frontal shot, but for the ladies reading this I decided to choose a back shot. Anyway, both fighters are fast but Chun-Li wins out, though ends up with a lot of cuts thanks to Vega’s claw. Guile arrives straight after the battle is over & takes her to the hospital. It’s good news from here on though as Interpol has found Ken, who was one of the fighters they were looking for. The problem is, so has Bison…
One of Bison’s cyborgs discovers Ken during a battle with T-Hawk. Bison figures if he can’t get Ryu then Ken is close enough. They both trained together, they both know the same moves & have similar fighting potential. He also figures that he can use Ken to bring Ryu out into the open giving him two for one.
So Bison goes “hunting” & after a short battle & remarkable display of “psycho power” Ken is under his control. Guile also hurries to Ken’s location but arrives too late. Shortly after however, Interpol discovers Ryu’s whereabouts. Guile heads to where he was spotted & this time he’s one step ahead of Bison.
Ryu has found his way to the home of E.Honda. The 2 met earlier in the movie when Honda was battling Dhalsim. Dhalsim felt Ryu’s intense energy which distracted him & allowed Honda to win the fight. Honda thanked Ryu & offered him a share of his winnings.
Ryu is training at Honda’s hilltop training ground, when they are interrupted by Guile arriving & warning Ryu of Bison’s plan. It’s too late however as Bison followed Guile to the location & it’s time for the final battle.
A brainwashed Ken battles with Ryu who refuses to fight back, Guile tries to take on Bison & Balrog jumps off Bison’s plane & battles Honda. Guile can’t lay a hand on Bison & is quickly defeated, & Honda’s battle with Balrog shortly ends up with them both falling down the side of the mountain, so the main focus is on Ryu & Ken.
The battle provides a lot of flashbacks of the 2 of them training together when they were younger. These little scenes are spread throughout the movie, but as Ken struggles against the brainwashing while trying to fight Ryu we get to see more of them.
Eventually Ken breaks free of Bison’s hold & the 2 of them take Bison on together. Bison makes a big mistake & decides to stop playing his little “psycho power” games & takes them both on in a proper fight.
The 2 warriors initially struggle to even lay a finger on Bison, but Ryu manages the first couple of hits. When Bison recovers & throws Ryu aside Ken comes in & continues from where his friend left off. Eventually the fight comes down to Ryu & Ken’s most famous move, the Hadouken.
A double fireball from both of them at the same time blasts Bison back to his ship which gets destroyed in the process & the battle is over. Honda arrives carrying a very battered Guile & Balrog, & for now it’s a happy ending.
The characters go their seperate ways, Bison’s base is destroyed & the world is safe once more. That is, until the very last scene where Ryu has a surprise encounter… but I won’t spoil that.
With the movie synopsis out of the way, how does it fare as a DVD? Well the video quality on the English side of the disc is rather average & it’s clear that little to no restoration was done. Infact I had a few issues trying to capture screens of some of the action scenes for this review. Really, I noticed little difference between this & my VHS copy apart from my VHS copy being a bit worn. The Japanese version looks much better, but apparently that was taken from the original master. Here’s a comparison shot. First the English version:
Then the Japanese version:
The soundtracks are different between the versions, with the English language release going for your traditional early 90s grunge inspired music you would expect to find in a film based on “Street Fighter 2”. The Japanese version has more of a traditional anime style soundtrack with music that doesn’t really fit the scenes in a lot of places. In my opinion neither soundtrack is particularly noteworthy, but each has its fans.
One little thing that does bother me is the lack of screen time given to the 4 new “Super Street Fighter” characters. Cammy gets a small scene where she pulls off an assassination only to be caught, & a brief interview with Chun-Li later on. T-Hawk gets a fight with Ken & that’s it. DeeJay… that poor guy gets his name spelled incorrectly as “DJ” when he’s being scanned by the android & he’s only in the film for a few minutes.
Fei Long is really the only one to get a bit of a story as well as a battle with Ryu. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention Akuma’s “blink & you miss it” cameo. Have a look on the left:
Storyline wise… look, it’s an anime, so it’s not something you want to scrutinise & dissect. Yes it’s over the top, yes it’s unbelievable, but it’s fun & that’s the main thing. Before we sum up this release, what of the extra 2 minutes on the Japanese version? Well there’s nothing major, just some extended scenes of little importance, & more Chun-Li in the shower. Well hey, for some people that IS important.
I saw this movie when it first came out on VHS & I was blown away by it. I enjoyed the movie then & I enjoy it now, but do you know what the best thing about this release is? It’s cheap!!
Yes, this DVD can be picked up cheap enough that you can forget about the video quality issues & just enjoy some early 90s anime based on one of the finest video game franchises ever created. I paid less than $20 with postage from the US. As for a rating I give it 92%. In my opinion it really is the best Street Fighter based anime out there, with Street Fighter 2V coming second.
Anyway, that’s my verdict. What do Ryu & Ken think?
I think that says it all really…