Street Fighter II V
Buddies Ryu and Ken are your typical teenage martial artists in that they can't last long without trekking the world getting themselves into some sort of trouble. So why should we think twice when Ryu leaves his cozy home in Japan (complete with cute childhood sweetheart) after receiving a letter from Californian millionaire Ken Masters?
Upon arriving in America, Ken shows Ryu the American way--babes, bucks, and booze--sneaking them into a bar (while they are only 17 years old?) and of course getting into a load of trouble after that. After your obligatory bar-room brawl, the boys get their noses rubbed into the ground by none other than Guile, who mocks them while serving them a humiliating defeat.
After realizing that (OMG!!! NO WAY!!!) they aren't the greatest fighters in the world (!!!), the chums decide they need to squander some of Ken's millions travelling the world, learning some "bodacious fighting skillz" so they can come back and show that Guile fella who he's really messing with.
Yaarg! *insert flex here* (This is what you get for having a shoujo-lover review a video game series.)
Would you believe that I am a Street Fighter II fan? It's what started the entire anime craze for me in the first place. So it is only natural I give this baby its dues with a thoughtful (but still fun) review, since I imagine this is one of those titles that is collecting dust on the rental shelf.
How much can you expect from a television series based on a video game? Apparently from Harukanaru Toki no Naka de, not terribly much, but while HaruToki tries too hard to be deeper than what it actually is, Street Fighter II:V knows what it's supposed to do, and does it, for the most part, quite well.
Fans of all the characters will not be disappointed, as each of them is given sufficient screen time, though admittedly the fan favorites hog the spotlight away from the other characters. Ken and Ryu serve as our innocent heroes that will take on the tyrannical General M. Bison as the series finale rolls around.
Chun-Li (voiced by Yokoyama Chisa) serves as Ryu and Ken's cute tour guide-slash-damsel-in-distress who can kick butt when the going gets tough, but is a far cry from the vixen from earlier animation featuring the strongest woman in the world from China. A little bit of chemistry is observed later between playboy Ken and daddy's girl Chun-Li, and it actually makes for some gripping anime viewing when the vain pretty boy Vega comes into the picture to antagonize the two.
The oft-overlooked Cammy White gets a substantial part in the latter part of the series as a sleek, cunning assassin ... though whose side is she really on?
What could have been a thin string of gratuitous brawls after brawl after brawl is actually a complex inter-woven plot of political intrigue and classic terrorist conspiracy on a global level. It just so happens that instead of giant machines putting an end to the evil, we have larger-than-life martial artists getting their hands dirty instead.
Of course, the series hails from the mid-1990s, before animation was completely taken over by computers. Therefore the animation style (to my recollection, it has been several years since watching the series) is not as fluid as most modern-day works, but I don't recall it being particularly painful on the eyes. The character designs were extremely loyal to the video games, while still being able to bring more life and humanity into their eyes, whereas other animated versions have portrayed them all as ruthless, throbbing killing machines.
The music, while not imitating the video game sequences (thank goodness), are very loyal to the overall feel that the actual Capcom game had. This includes the theme song "Kaze Fuiteru," which seems to have been inspired by the tunes from the video game.
In conclusion, I am not telling you to go out of your way to see this series. Especially considering it is a television series and not a one shot--heck, not even a short OVA series, you have to really be a fan to invest yourself into 29 entire episodes of this puppy. But not because it is bad, per se. Looking back on the current selection of anime being promoted right now, you could do a lot worse than checking out Street Fighter II V. But you can't go into this expecting an epic to be made out of a fighting game.
What can you expect from a video game adaptation? But for what you go in for, you won't be disappointed. Unlike most of the other adaptations of this series, this one has a solid plot and actually succeeds at developing somewhat likeable characters, though none of them have the depth of your manga-based titles. — Melissa Sternenberg
Recommended Audience: Guys and gals fight ... a lot. There are a few suggestive shots (such as shower scenes) and a few tight outfits here and there, though they keep it relatively in check. A lot of the fights are fairly brutal but they don't get exceedingly graphic. Overall, appropriate for teens above.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (29/29)
Street Fighter II V © 1995 Amuse Video / CAPCOM / Group TAC / Yomiuri TV
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