Street Fighter II V – episodes 8 to 18

January 28, 2005 on 9:06 pm | In Street Fighter | Comments Off on Street Fighter II V – episodes 8 to 18

In many ways, this series rocks. Not least of these ways is its simplicity; there’s not a lot of stuff like this out on the popular market. Street Fighter II V has, for a globe trotting anime, a distinct focus. The series has been set into story arcs, but they are logically connected. As in many good series, every episode contributes something to the whole while being able to almost – almost – stand for itself.

The writers again give major signals to show that this is not, in fact, strict Street Fighter II. This is in evidence when Ryu gets imprisoned in Thailand and goes to the same gaol as Sagat. Followers of the games will know that Ryu defeated Sagat in the (by all accounts horrible) Fighting Street, making them lifelong enemies.
Here, Sagat and Ryu earn each others’ respect in the ring. Highly unorthodox, but definitely within the scope of this television series. Amazingly, Ryu’s time in Thailand both plays up to and dispels stereotypes: Ryu falls victim to the country’s harsh drug penalties and is beaten by the police after his arrest. However, the head of narcotics wants to help Ryu rehabilitate.
These Thailand episodes send so many mixed messages about society and foreign cultures, but there is some good character work involved. Not only is this story arc a good example of Street Fighter II V‘s independence, it’s also a healthy reminder that the viewer has to be aware of the slight ridiculousness of many of its set ups.
Ryu’s “it wasn’t me, it was the man with the scar on his face!” is even worse than the old “one-armed man” excuse.

Because this is only a 29 episode series, and not the infinity of DragonBall Z (keeping in mind that one battle in that program lasted 33 episodes), events are pretty sharp and fast in their turnover. Ryu and Ken’s visit to Dhalsim in India was good because it did not go the “cackling old man” route. Cackling old men treat their apprentices cruelly, only letting them know that it was all a test at the end. Dhalsim creates tests, but he’s not a bastard about it. He’s a very serious man, allowing Ryu and Ken to know that while he can take care of all situations, he would like to see them try.
Although the time when Ken and Ryu fought each other without realising it was quite stupid, this is somehow forgivable.

What looks like the final arc comes into place at 14. It probably won’t be final, as much as looks like everything will very directly lead into everything else from this point. It is important to note that in between the Japanese and English versions, there are several name differences.

In Japan’s Street Fighter II games the leader of Shadowlaw was named Vega, the masked cage-fighter Balrog and the boxer M Bison. This was a little too obvious, especially as Punch-Out! had to be re-issued, and to avoid legal hassles, there was a triangular movement. The dictator became M Bison, the cage-fighter Vega and the boxer Balrog. Somehow, this all seemed to work. In this, and any subsequent Street Fighter II V coverage, the characters will be referred to by their Japanese names. It should not be hard, from context, to sort all of this out.

Balrog is a deliciously insane opponent. He is the sort who, in preparation for a fight, licks his claws. He then licks his blood off the claws. Balrog could come across as a bit of a nancy, so they make him very masculine, deep voiced and in love with Chun Li. Love, amongst delusional cage-fighters in love with their own vanity, of course means drugging. Chun Li has an ethereal beauty while drugged, which is a strong warning sign.

The important part, not just the fact that Balrog’s battle lasts some time, is the introduction of Vega. Vega in his present incarnation is far too bulky. He has the hugest chin ever. There is some unintentionally humour in his dialogue. When he is overtaken by his amazing “Psycho Power” and holds Chun Li until her body goes limp, he “wakes up” and says “Have I done it again?”. Sure, it doesn’t sound funny, but there’s something about it that tickles the funny bone.
Vega, when he gets his red clothes on, will likely become the loveable general known all around the world.

Really, these are fairly compelling episodes of Street Fighter II V. The series is just so sincere you can’t help but like it. Although there are about three minutes of wasted animation at the end of episode eighteen, involving an hypothetical assassination, Street Fighter II V is a highly enjoyable series.

I am kind of ashamed of myself for trying to come off as a Street Fighter II historian. I was never good at the game, but sometimes I’m a fan of important cultural history.

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