Street Fighter Alpha (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: -
What They Say
A black cloud hangs over Ken and Ryu's reunion. Brought together by the mysterious death of their master, the two warriors must overcome a challenge unlike any they've faced before. Increasingly disturbed by the dark energies building within him, Ryu is unexpectedly confronted with the appearance of Shun - a boy claiming to be the long-lost brother he never knew. Soon, signs of their common lineage are revealed as Shun enters a martial arts competition and displays the same power of the Dark Hadou.
But before Ryu has the chance to consider whether Shun's timely appearance might be more than coincidental, the boy is kidnapped by agents of the insidious Shadowlaw organization. To recover Shun, Ryu must undertake the ultimate journey of self-discovery and learn to control the power threatening to consume him.
But with his confidence waning, will he have what it takes to confront Akuma - the vicious lord of the Dark Hadou himself? Find out as allies old and new join forces against a sinister new threat in this pulse-pounding sequel to the popular Street Fighter II V Series.
Like the Street Fighter game series, every few years almost without fail, along comes another Street Fighter anime. Based on the Street Fighter Alpha game (Street Fighter Zero in Japan), despite misleading references to this being a sequel to the Street Fighter II V TV series, this movie/combined two episode OAV once again throws out much of the history and reboots from scratch.
The video is fairly standard OAV quality, and the character art closely follows the slightly more bulky muscled style for Ryu and Ken started with the Street Fighter Alpha game. Audio options are 5.1 English dub and the 2.0 Japanese track. Thankfully, unlike the SF II movie, they both share the same musical score, with no badly mismatched ‘real’ music for the English track, but not even that can save the painfully lifeless dub. A curious note of editing in relation to the subtitles, they’re meant to be a translation of the Japanese track, yet they go with the English Street Fighter names i.e. Akuma instead of Gouki and Vega instead of Balrog.
The menus are nicely set out, with an animated main menu, and static pages with character line art in the background on the remainder. Thanks to Manga assistance in producing this, we get a fairly decent array of extras. The two high points are the Making of Video, a black and white 21 movie of the planning and creation silent apart from soft soothing music place, and Japanese cast interviews with first timers and familiar old hands (Shimada Bin and Nishimura Tomoichi being high points for me). Even more nice there are 3 actual real Easter eggs, three different Japanese trailers, as well as the now standard “hidden” authoring credit for Madman Interactive.
Packaging is nearly indentical to the US version, right down to the Games Republic 5 star plug on the top.
The story…well…it’s a Street Fighter anime. If you can’t guess that it will involve little but Ryu and Ken beating people about the head and neck, savagely and without mercy, you’ll quickly see that once you pop the disc in. Once again, some vague plot lines hide in the background. Taking some cues from the later Street Fighter games, this concerns itself with Ryu and his potential to become like Akuma, a killer in the thrall of the Dark Hadou. Ryu finds attacks of Dark Hadou inspired rage and chi explosions becoming more and more frequent, and things come to a head when his sparing partner and friend Ken returns at the same time as a mysterious kid named Shun claims to be Ryu’s long lost brother also turns up.
Initially skeptical of Shun’s words, Ken and Ryu realize their truth when the young Shun manifests the Dark Hadou. The remainder of the movie concerns Ryu’s battles to save Shun from a mad scientist going around stealing fighters powers, while avoiding letting the Dark Hadou claim himself in the process. Primary problems are the annoying Shun and the tacked on characters. Street Fighter has a large and varied cast, but we always stick close Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li. We see snippets of the other characters fight, but in only 5-second cuts, and apart from Birdie and Sakura, most of them are limited one line and half the time it’s cliched stock like “Why does he fight?” Unlike other SF anime, we have new comer Shun, who serves as exposition boy, mascot and princess needing to be rescued all in one. The problem is that Shun seems awfully tacked on at the best of times, and seems misplaced. Of course this is all secondary to the fight scenes, with a few interesting ones, but not on the
same scale of those of the Street Fighter II movie.
Street Fighter Alpha should appeal to fighting anime and Street Fighter fans, but won’t draw new fans to the genre like the SF movie. The volume of extras on show is a nice touch, but that can’t save this whole thing from a feeling that it’s just going through the motions.
English Dolby 5.1 track,Japanese Dolby 2.0 track,English subtitles,Making of video,Staff Interviews,Trailer,3 Manga Video trailers,Local DVD credit
JNL-7001 DVD Player, Commodore 1802 PAL Color Monitor
Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 4 - Australia / South America
Released By: Madman Entertainment
MSRP: 34.95 AU
Running time: 92
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Street Fighter (All Variations)