Anime Flashback: Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie

Late last week I celebrated my 32nd birthday and I kicked it off with a film that came out when I was nine—Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie.

This was my one of my earliest anime experiences which I discovered the anime boom of 1995-1996 kicked off with Ronin Warriors, Eagle Riders (Gatchaman II), Samurai Pizza Cats, Dragon Ball, Robotech, and Sailor Moon on UPN and Cartoon Network showing G-Force (Gatchaman) and Speed Racer in the same period.

When I finally got to see The Animated Movie I remember it was after going to 3rd Avenue Video with my dad and brother and getting that, Tecmo Football (my dad got that damn game every time we went), and Cool Spot (I got that game all the time) on Genesis.

Reading the back cover on the way home I was getting stoked about what fights would be in the movie. Not even the storyline itself I just wanted Ryu vs. Sagat and everything else was a bonus. What I got in the first six minutes set the pace for everything.

First Ryu fights Sagat on a field during a storm. Sagat is my favorite street fighter and in this he isn’t really done justice since he gets fed to Ryu in the first five minutes—see Street Fight II V for a better depiction of Sagat. This first fight was mainly to measure Ryu’s fighting potential as M. Bison really wants Ryu.

Now this is something I LOVE about battle anime/martial arts anime: technology and systems are mainly based around measuring someone’s fight potential or power level. In Dragon Ball Z you had scouters which had a maximum power level ceiling during the Saiyan Saga apparently.

In Pokemon trainers are ranked. In Naruto there’s a rating system. Also in martial arts anime and fighting games there’s a thing with robots out to fight human fighters and someone’s manufacturing them: Mortal Kombat, Fatal Fury, Street Fighter II, Tekken, and Dragon Ball Z.

Not only do we have Ryu and Sagat in the first six minutes, we get Cammy killing a politician by breaking his neck then going on to make sure the politician’s security detail don’t earn their money.

Almost 40 minutes in and we get Ken vs. T. Hawk, Ryu vs. Fei Long, and E. Honda vs. Dhalsim. Of those three, the best fight was Ryu vs. Fei Long. It was short, but it was fast paced purely based on speed which was different from Ryu vs. Sagat which was power. 

Ryu vs. Fei Long was mostly hands and feet flying with Ryu breaking collecting Fei Long’s arm like he was Dean Malenko. Fei Long should’ve been out, but continued and picked up the pace against him. It was my second favorite fight of the movie.

Fights after these were Dee Jay beating up some scrubs in the street after kicking them out of a club—he was just in there barefoot—then beat up some dudes who probably touched the jukebox. There was also Blanka vs. Zangief in Las Vegas at a party held by Balrog…which no one cared about.

With Shadowloo carrying on about finding fighters to serve them and hunting Ryu, they find Ken as a likely match to at least beat Ryu while MI6 is still hot on their trail and trying warn fighters. It is during this time M. Bison is perving on live footage of Chun Li after her and Guile go to warn Dee Jay. He sends Vega after her and it results in the best fight in the movie.

Chun Li’s taking a shower then goes to settle in for a night of music in her apartment and wait for investigation partner Guile. Vega breaks into the room and watches her before springing his attack!

This fight was very similar to Ryu vs. Fei Long in it was all speed and agility, but it was more intense because Vega was coming for her life while Ryu and Fei Long were just having an exhibition bout in a fighting den. After getting cut up by the Spanish assassin’s claws she sees her own blood, picks up a sofa, and flings it at Vega, staggering him.

Some moments later after Guile gets to her apartment after not getting a call back from Chun Li, she puts him through a wall with the Lightning Kick, sending him falling to what should be his death. It’s one of my all time favorite anime fights because of how quick and condensed it is while keep the intensity.

This is a movie so it’s not going to be a lot of standing around and talking and explaining what a move does and going into childhood trauma—thank fucking goodness—but it’s still paced as a straight forward fight. Even if the fight was in a series it wouldn’t be several episodes long.

Due to her injuries, she’s put in the hospital and Guile vows revenge. Ken has a run in with M. Bison after dropping off Eliza and falls prey to his PSYCHO POWER. The movie continues towards the end where Guile finds Ryu staying on top of a mountain with E. Honda—who he met in India during the fight between Honda and Dhalsim. He is there to warn him only for M. Bison to show up having tailed him.

Brainwashed and under M. Bison’s control Ken and his cooler than M. Bison’s cape show up to fight Ryu and bring him in. This leads to the fight showdown of the movie in Ryu, Guile, and E. Honda vs. M. Bison, Ken, and Balrog. Guile’s really no match for M. Bison’s PSYCHO POWER, E. Honda and Balrog is a hoss fight and they end up tumbling off the edge of a mountain, while Ken and Ryu are evenly matched…only because Ryu doesn’t want to bury his foot to the ankle in Ken’s ass.

Eventually Ken remembers that Ryu is his best friend through flashbacks from their training. Pissed, M. Bison uses his PSYCHO POWER to toss Ken…probably off the mountain or in the distance. Pallet swap Ryu definitely flew over a ridge and it should’ve been to his death, but he just busted his leg. So he crawled back to where Ryu is fighting M. Bison.

In the final moments Ken draws on his training and mastery of fighting spirit to recover and join Ryu. M. Bison still can’t be fucked with and he’s blocking all their attacks. Like Ryu is throwing DBZ-speed rush punches and M. Bison not only dodges them, he headslams Ryu then baseball slides through him and Ken.

M. Bison gets a little cocky and Ken and Ryu double team him before hitting him with that double Hadouken and sending him into his Shadowloo jet which explodes Team Rocket style. PSYCHO POWER was no match for Shotokan Karate.

After that everything is gravy. Good triumphs over evil, Shadowloo is shutdown, Chun Li is playing games having Guile thinking she dead, and Balrog is apparently dead because E. Honda came back. Ryu and Ken say their goodbyes and agree to meet up again. M. Bison survived the Hadouken and is about to run Ryu down with that same CAPCOM truck that almost hit Ken and Eliza earlier in the movie but Ryu is ready for it.

The end theme even asks “ARE YOU READY?!!” before going into Korn’s Blind.

All in all this was a great piece of old school early 90s anime and one of the best things Manga Entertainment came out with at the time that didn’t have AKIRA, Ghost in the Shell, or Ninja Scroll in the title. The story wasn't deep or anything, but it's up there with Dragon Ball Z and Fist of the North Star as far as high octane anime goes. 

I definitely suggest checking it out for a history refresher and it’s essential if you’re a huge Street Fighter fan. For a better alternative I also recommend Street Fighter II V which is more of a series version of the film only taking place during a break from young Ken and Ryu’s training.

M. Swift is a long time wrestling fan. When he's not writing about wrestling history and other stuff he is often writing short sci-fi stories, listening to heavy metal, and playing RPGs.
Anime Flashback: Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie Anime Flashback: Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie Reviewed by M. Swift on Sunday, January 01, 2017 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. We need more reviews from metal. I need more articles from this man especially old anime reviews.


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