Street Fighter II: V (1995– )
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What makes this better than the rather dour Street Fighter Zero is that it has a pretty good sense of humor, great fight scenes, interesting plots and the occasional moment of cartoonish goofiness. Each episode is made up of a brand new adventure as Ken and Ryu travel the world, getting into mischief. A simple formula, but it works.
Since the show is from the mid-nineties the animation isn't as smooth as more recent stuff, but you shouldn't let that ruin your enjoyment. The only thing I can complain about is the opening credit sequence, which just takes too long.
Whereas the movie was rather dark, you'll notice right off the bat that this series has a lot more humor into it. All the characters are very young, and some characters who are commonly presented as bad guys in the games are still on the light side on this one. The fight scenes are all very good. The humor might be a little on the cheesy side, but you can't help but laugh at the jokes. Here's one quote:
Fei Long: "Don't underestimate them, they know muay thai!" Ruy: "Haha, mai thai? That's a tropical drink, right?"
It's not to say that this is just for kids, though. Quite the contrary; in the very first episode, Ken & Ruy get into a bar fight. Later on, Ruy gets framed for trafficking heroin (!), and one of the best moments is Ken's vicious fight with Vega. Our beloved M. Bison doesn't appear until later episodes, though, which I found a little weird. All the characters are likable, and the bad guys really make you want to hate them. One of the best video game-related series ever!
However, I can forgive all that because the anime remembers to tell a good story before all else, unlike, let's face it, pretty much every other Street Fighter adaptation to date. Yes, I'm including the 1994 animated movie in that. I reviewed it already and if you care to know why I dislike it (which you probably don't), just look it up in my profile. I might call Street Fighter the Movie starring Raul Julia a better Street Fighter product, but I could just be suffering skewed vision from how awesome Julia's performance was.
Anyway, the series functions as a pseudo-prequel to the games: Ken and Ryu don't even become aware of any supernatural power until around Episode 9, and even then it doesn't factor into the story until the halfway point. The anime instead focuses on the journey that Ryu and Ken undertake towards becoming the best fighters in the world after Sergeant Guile kicks their rear ends in sequential order, giving them the idea to travel the world in order to fight and train with "street fighters" like Guile.
Ryu and Ken are good characters. They kind of come off as carbon copies of each other with their wise-cracking attitude and penchant for never taking anything seriously, but by the halfway mark Ryu's become a bit more training-obsessed and socially awkward and Ken's become a bit more mature, even sparking a downplayed romance with Chun Li. Come to think of it, the halfway mark is right about where the anime goes from decent to good.
The rest of the characters are used effectively. Chun Li is a sweet girl who is shown to be competent on her own right, Guile is the weathered badass kicks off the plot and Shadaloo's members are all given plenty of screen time and fights, with the exception of Balrog, who for some reason never throws a punch in the entire series. Steve Blum as Dhalsim does a good job of building up the mystical aspect of the series and M. Bison has the best elements of the Animated Movie's Bison combined with the best elements of Raul Julia's Bison (though I still like Raul Julia's more). The only notable characters who don't make an appearance are Akuma, E Honda, Dee Jay and Blanka, though Akuma does make a pointless cameo as he does in the animated movie.
I take a star off for minor things that didn't ruin the anime but still put a hiccup in my enjoyment of it. One of these things was the fact that Zangief sounds like a caveman instead of a Russian wrestler speaking broken English. Another was Ryu spending entire episodes practicing the Hadoken only for Ken to instantaneously learn it whilest out cold in Bison's headquarters.
But the biggest bump in the road was the declaration that Chun Li is 15 years of age. This seems... Wrong. Chun Li looks Ryu and Ken's age and sounds like she's a bit older. It gets especially off- putting when much older characters like Vega start taking a fancy to her even though she's underage. However, at that point the anime has taken to pretending that it never said any such thing, so I learned to as well.
Overall, Street Fighter II V (V as in the letter, not the Roman Numeral) is a damn good series that may drag at times but gets the tone and nature of Street Fighter right, unlike the live-action movies (though Raul Julia as Bison was awesome). It also manages to get nearly every character in and give them stuff to do other than throw them in pointless fights to pad out the run time. It's fun, it doesn't try to be too adult or too kid-friendly, and the final episode is one of the most satisfying final episodes to any series I've ever seen, animated or otherwise. The build-up, the execution, and the resolution are all near-perfect, just like the series itself.
It's funny that when you look at something from your childhood, it has a profound difference now than it did then. This comes into play with Street Fighter II V. First, this show is pretty violent. I mean, really violent for a kids television show. it is also very mature, and that may put off some viewers. Some examples would be when Ryu is falsely convicted for drug smuggling. he is beaten by the prison warden who repeatedly screams for Ryu to scream. Viewers 14 and up will realize that he gets some kind of sex thrill out of this, but younger viewers will not. Also, there are some mild swearing issues, but this shouldn't put off parents.
The story is a major diversion from the actual video game. Ryu gets a letter from Ken to come to America, and he does. During his first night, they both get thrashed by Guile, and so they decide to travel the world in search of new fighting techniques. They first stop in Hong Kong, where they meet Chun Li, who will be their tour guide. After some fights and some escaping and more fighting, Ryu, Ken, and Chun Li discover the evil Shadowlaw organization and it's leader, M. Bison.
Okay. Not exactly the video game, but a pretty straight-forward concept.
All the characters you know and love, with a few alterations to their character profiles, and with the exception of a small few, are present. Ryu and Ken battle and defeat them all.
It should be pointed out that while the concept is incredibly simple, the story lines are uniformly well done. Each episode packs enough interest and action to keep you entertained well into the 29th episode. I found myself so enthralled with the Vega vs. Ken episode that I was unable to believe a whole half hour had passed by. But that's where we come to a major complaint.
The opening credits. While the opening cinematic is nice, and you get a great feel of the show and the kick-ass soundtrack in place, it is overly long. As well as the closing credits. Together, I would estimate that they take up around 5 to 6 minutes. Not to gripe, but that is pretty long. Plus, you also have to count in the lengthy "in our last show" and "in our next show" segments.
Another small complaint are the characters. Not to poke fun at Japanese anime, but some of these characters are of different nationalities than just Japanese, so they shouldn't look Japanese. Also, some may have a small complaint about the way each character was handled. this is a small complaint (Such as the lack of an eye patch on a certain fighter. You all know who I'm talking about), and shouldn't detract from the overall quality of the show.
Finally, my last major concern. But it's not with the show. It's with the viewers. Yes, Ryu and Ken can come off as being somewhat homosexual. Before you go and spread your wild accusations that they were intentionally created this way, listen.
In Japanese anime or manga, it is NOT unusual to find stories about male homosexuality. In fact, some Japanese women find these kinds of stories entertaining. I believe this was intentionally created to appeal to both male and female viewers. Women can take delight in the fact that Ryu and Ken appear homosexual. Men can take delight in the fact that the show filled with both action and violence.
All in all. Yes, the show is for children, and naturally filled with clichéd antics and cheesy dialogue. But most can take pride in the fact that the franchise is handled so well in this anime show, and not torn through the ground like so many other tie-ins (I'm looking at you Super Mario Bros: the Movie).
Ryu visit his dojo friend Ken in USA. Ken gladly envite him around the state and take him to a bar to pick some fights, but they made one mistake they asked for trouble by the wrong man, an officer name Guile, who easily defeated them. Ken and Ryu decide to travel around the world to improve their skills as martial arts, and becoming the great street fighter.
The series live up to the great feeling of the anime movie and the story of the characters in the game, although the animation of the characters are not same as the movie but that doesn't matter because the feeling is there and chage&asuka song Cry is epic. 10/10.
Street Fighter 2 V takes a interesting take on this beloved fighting game and make it something worth your while.
The show features fan favorites like Ryu, Ken Masters, Guile, Chun Li, Cammy, M.Bison, Vega, Dhalsim, Zangief and others.
Now I only seen the US dubbed take of the show but this is one of the few anime shows from Japan that actually made the dubbing work with of course different lines but never the less each character was timed perfectly with their voice actors.
I love the intro theme to the show it gets you pump up for the show and the opening is very well done with your favorite characters battling during the intro.
The music helps the series as it serves meaning to each episode.
The voice acting is very good and again the actors timed their dubbing very well. The writing is good as well for the series you have to be a fan of Street Fighter to better enjoy the series.
Plus the series is full of action and any fan of Street Fighter would enjoy it.My personal favorite characters in Street Fighter are Guile and Chun LI
All in all Street Fighter 2 V is a very good series for fans and should be watch by any fan.
Ryu and Ken are the main characters, both aged 17 and highly skilled warriors, winning every tournament they enter. The series starts off with Ryu living with his family on an island as a tree lopper where one day he recieves a letter from his training partner and best friend, Ken Masters, the only son of extremely wealthy parents.
The letter has some cash and a plane ticket and a short note reading "Ryu, come to America" and that's it.
After thinking about it for a while, Ryu decides to take Ken up on his offer. After farewelling his family Ryu leaves for the airport and continues on his way to a different life. Upon his arrival in the USA, Ryu meets Ken and they reminisce, and later that night they go out to the local clubs and pubs. At one particular bar they run into brushhead pilot Guile and a fight ensues where Ryu has the tar beat out of him. The next day Ken tracks Guile down to the air force base and challenges him to a fight. After Guile beats up Ken with a few underhanded tactics, Ken and Ryu realise that even though they win every martial arts tournament they enter, the real challenge lies with the street fighters around the world, as they do what they need to do to win, including using many techniques not used or allowed in any official martial arts tournaments. So, armed with his father's money, Ken and Ryu set off on a journey around the world to hone their fighting skills, learn new things, meet new and interesting people and beat the hell out them.
During the series, Ryu and Ken travel to many different locations, meeting many other familiar Street Fighter characters including Chun Li (who becomes a major character in the series), Fei Long, Vega, and Bison
I feel it is important to note than I am a Street Fighter fan, loving the games and I was looking forward to this series, after the awesome Street Fighter 2 animated movie.
The first 5 tapes in this series are excellent, and the pace moves along well. At some points in the series it is actually quite profound, especially the parts with Dhalsim. The animation isn't tops though and the fight scenes have a lot of the same animation used repeatedly, usually mirror-flipped to make it look different.
I loved the series up until ***SPOILER*** Ken fights Vega. At this point I felt like the producers must have gone "ok guys, we've got to pad this out, and worse, our budget has been cut in half" as the storyline didn't progress much at all after that, and the pace of the episodes seemed to really drag in parts. The animation went down hill too with a lot less fighting than the earlier episodes. The dialogue seemed to lose a lot of charm too, as the jokes between Ken and Ryu became more infrequent, in the earlier episodes you would be laughing every episode, I can only remember laughing about 3 times in the last 5 tapes. For example the ***SPOILER*** Ken and Vega fight seems to go on for about 3 episodes with most of the fight being Ken and Vega staring menacingly at each other. When ***SPOILER*** Bison is strangling Chun Li, this scene seems to go on forever and throughout the next five tapes it is repeated CONSTANTLY, to the point where basically my brother and I were laughing at how many times we saw Chun Li's shoe fall off. Also when ***SPOILER*** Cammy is planning to kill Dorai, Chun Li's father, she watches over him whilst she plans his death. You see Cammy killing Dorai, you think "he's dead!" and then it goes "shimmery" like Scooby doo style and you realise she was just imagining it. Just that scene takes about 10 minutes! By the end I just yelled out "Kill him already!" I didn't care whether he lived or died I just wanted something to HAPPEN. More disappointing, you never find out if Dorai dies, he just chills out in a bed in a coma for the rest of the series! If this show was on once a week, he would probably actually be in a coma for the actual time it could take to recover from one! Arrgh! The last 5 tapes also don't leave Spain as that's where ***SPOILER*** Bison and his helper (who questions every command Bison gives, saying "But Sir..." after everything Bison says) are doing their "lets take over the world" thing.
Bison, by the way is a crazy b**tard who was really terrifying at first and after a while became so annoying with his constant "evil laughing" that I really did want him to die.
The actual only way this series conforms to the Street Fighter games is by Guile's pal Nash ***SPOILER*** getting offed by Bison.
At the end of the series, Ryu doesn't even return home, and Chun Li does not have any sort of ending. The series is wrapped up in about 10 minutes, where most of the `fights' have 5 minutes of just staring each other down.
After all this disappointment, when Bison is ***SPOILER*** telling them how his "friend" helps him with psycho power I was thinking "YES!! AKUMA!!" after seeing him all over the place in the series, but it was that lousy eagle's head. What was the point of that thing anyhow?
This series could have been great, but unfortunately the soul just seemed to fall out of it.
Watch the first few tapes until Ken and Vega fight and then make up your own ending
In SFII V, the characters are much younger therefor they meet each other sooner than they would have in the game. Chun Li's father is not dead, Sagat has never seen Ryu before, Balrog works for Interpol, and Cammy is a freelance assassin. SF purists will notice dozens upon dozens of inconsistencies with the game, but then again, who cares? At times it does seem like they changed a character's role (Balrog) for the sake of getting him in the film--oh well. If you're nitpicky, stay away.
This film's storytelling bothers me more than the actual story. Part of it comes from the fact it was intended as episodes in a tv series with obvious breaks between each, and watching them back to back on DVD results in a great deal of redundency such as when Ryu's taps into that great power (I think they call it Hadou here too, but I may be mistaking it for the SF Zero anime). To me, Ryu comes across this power and masters it far too quickly, so when Ken finally taps into it numerous chapters after Ryu it's even more unbelievable that he masters it even more quickly. I find myself not believing much in Dhalsim's words when he mentions that it takes a lifetime to learn and master when two kids pick it up in a couple of weeks with no real repercussions.
The V series does a better job of fleshing out more characters as a whole than any of the other entries in the Street Fighter film universe again because the fact it is much, much longer and can support more. Still though, many characters come across as shallow even though we have more time with them. The set of DVDs feels more like a ride from one place to another just to fit more characters into the series, but, at least that basically was the idea behind the plot initially.
I felt everything slowed down for the ending, as though an entire DVD was dedicated to the ending sequence--did we need a third of the series to cover the climax of this thing? It just loses momentum because suspence is really hard to sustain over the course of that long a time. Especially when the whole thing is already much slower than the film counterparts due to the episodal nature. The fact that it's broken up at the end of each episode doesn't help either--it'd be nice if you could turn on an option on the DVD to cut out the Title sequence, the summary, and "in the next episode" without having to click "Next". Just make it one loooong movie.
Many aspects were over-emphasized such as the whole hadou animation every time Ryu casts it, and he does it a lot, Cammy has an unneeded daydream before executing her mission, a bunch of little things like that that just take up time but don't add anything to either character or plot. And finally, this came across more geared towards kids than the anime movie and Zero. Characters behaved more childishly, have more simplistic logic, and easier to grasp (but less realistic) resolutions. Not necessarily bad and understandable for a program geared for television--that's why I'm not that big a fan of TV programming. I'll stick with features.
Overall, this ain't bad for tv. And it's way better than the crappy American programming we have over here, so . . .
However, that story involves a deliberate departure from the official Street Fighter canon of Capcom. But hey, it worked wonderfully. They basically played around with some of the characters' personalities both to give them some much appreciated character development, and to tie them into the overall story in a believable way. For example, Chun Li goes from Interpol agent on a mission to an innocent wide eyed doe. Dhalsim becomes a mystic spiritualist who gives Ken and Ryu some much needed lessons for their development, and not just martial. Sagat as a Muay Thai champion who befriends Ryu as a kindred spirit. Vega as a vain matador who becomes obsessed with possessing Chun Li.
And of course ... everything leads to the exciting and titanic confrontation with Bison, who was extremely well done in my opinion. Now ... I hope they pick where this left off and use Akuma somehow. Anyway, the ending was somewhat disappointing since ... what about Chun Li and her father? Oh well. Maybe for a resumption.
II V is about the main characters of the game, Ryu and Ken, barely out of their teens as they travel the world in a quest to improve their martial art skills, meeting new foes and friends along the way (most game characters of course). No top secret crime fighting organization (US cartoon) or country invasion that has nothing to do with street fighting (US movie), the show actually sticks to the premise of the title, street fighting!
The show does deviate in character designs for a bit, but most are recognizable. Fighting babe Chun-Li looks a bit different from her video game incarnation, but she's still immediately recognizable.
The show is reasonably well animated, not as good as the SF II anime movie (although that's expected considering the budget) but far superior to its American animated counterpart.
And of course, how can you not like a show that ends its previews with "Gonna burn some muscle!" You can't. Unless you're a soulless critic (oh wait...) So if you like fighting anime and don't mind some deviations from the plot in your instruction manual, do yourself a favor and hunt down the DVD's, or wait till it airs on WAM! or Encore Action. You won't be disappointed.
Great action scenes, and a very attractive plot after the fifth episode.
I allow myself to say, that this is the greatest action anime ever. If you saw Saint Seiya or Dragon Ball, and you are looking for something different, you should see Street Fighter II V.
Also is shame that this series is too short, i have seen it twice, and i still want to see more... (I could also watch it four times more and still not get bored).