Street Fighter Alpha - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Manga Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Street Fighter (All Variations)

Street Fighter Alpha

By Chris Beveridge     January 30, 2001
Release Date: January 30, 2001


Street Fighter Alpha
© Manga Entertainment


What They Say
Ryu must undertake the ultimate journey of self-discovery and learn to control the force threatening to consume him. But with his confidence waning, will he have what it take to confront Akuma ? the vicious master of the Dark Hadou himself? Find out as allies old and new join forces against a sinister new threat in the pulse-pounding sequel to the phenomenally popular Street fighter IIV series.

The Review!
Originally released in Japan as Street Fighter Zero, the US version made a speedy transition since it was a coproduction with Manga Entertainment. This also means that some fairly nifty extras were included, but the sweet Japanese packaging wasn't.

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to the show in its original language, Japanese. Dialogue and effects throughout were pretty solid, though there wasn't a lot in the way of directionality for dialogue. Some of the action effects made good use of the stereo channels, though a quick check with the English 5.1 track shows some good uses for them in terms of separation and placement to the rears. Dialogue was clean and distortion free.

Video:
This is a pretty decent looking transfer overall, but there are some problems worth noting. I was initially critical with the disc base d on the opening couple of seconds where a fair amount of artifacting was visible with the reds and blues in the scene. Throughout the disc, it's rarely seen again, but was noticeable during one of the night blue sky sequences. The animation is pretty nice for the OVA's it was originally created as, but some rainbows do creep up here and there. The softness in a few areas isn't much of a problem, but the amount of minor jaggies throughout really started to bother me after awhile. Smooth solid lines along a lot of characters were slightly alive and jagged due to the edge rainbows and pretty much drove me nuts here and there.

Packaging:
The front cover is fairly subdued in color and tone, as well as giving top billing to the five star rating from Gamers Republic over the logo itself, which feels oddly small. Ryu is the only one to get any color on him for the front, so he stands out fairly well. The back gives a good rundown of the show and lists out all the features. The foldout insert provides a variety of animation shots and doubles as a chapter list sheet. Overall not bad, but it just feels lacking in style.

Menus:
The menu system is pretty nicely laid out, with the main page having some minor animation with music playing along. There's not a lot of depth to the menus so everything is laid out in a logical way, with the nice addition being in the extras where you can select which actor you specifically want to start with.

Extras:
The main extra here is the 30 minute series of interviews with various voice actors and creative staff. They vary in length, as they were recorded just after the second half of the show was finished being worked on. Some are naturally more interesting than others, but overall it's a great extra to have, especially for those who love hearing their favorite voice actors talk about their roles.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For the most part, I've never been a big fan of the fighting genre of anime. I've also never been a big fan of the video game to anime productions that have been done. Unfortunately a great number of them tend to be combined together, producing something that I just generally don't care for.

Street Fighter Alpha reconfirms that.

Of course, I've also never been a big Street Fighter fan. My fighting video game tastes never really adapted to the series and I always ended up on other games instead. My previous exposure to Street Fighter anime was the great looking but fairly mediocre Street Fighter II movie released by Sony.

At least that had a Chun-Li shower scene.

Street Fighter Alpha takes place some time after the Street Fighter VII TV series (which is being released to DVD about a month after this movie), so I'm obviously going to be missing some probable key parts to the storyline. A good percentage of the movie works fairly well on its own, but there's things that just don't make much sense unless you've gotten some smatterings of the game/anime lore over the years.

The show revolves around the central character Ryu, whose struggling not to go down the same path as Akuma. The Dark Hadou that swallowed up Akuma threatens to do the same to Ryu. While at his training area, his friend from his younger days (as seen in the TV series) returns to pay homage to their dead master(?). Ken and Ryu talk about things when out of the blue, a kid arrives claiming to be Ryu's brother from Brazil.

While not outwardly saying it, you can tell Ryu doesn't believe him but plays along with things. With Ken in town for a big prize street fighting contest, they all decide to head to it. While there, they end up meeting up with Chun-Li and her InterPol mission as well as with young Sakura, a girl smitten with Ryu after seeing him fight recently.

They all end up at the arena for the fight and take in the blood soaked violence. Shun, Ryu's supposed younger brother, takes part in the contest and proves to be quite the fighter, until he reveals that he uses the Dark Hadou power too. This brings Ryu into the fight and into a protective mode for Shun, knowing that the two face the same inner battle, though Shun appears to revel in the Dark Hadou power.

The animation for the show is pretty good looking, though a bit off from the norm. The character designs provide a lot of angles to them and sharp edges instead of the usual flowing linework. Colors are a bit soft and the settings are generally fairly pale and common. There's not much sense of lushness to the settings or of real life to them. There are a few moments during the various fights where there's a great fluidity to the animation, but overall it doesn't really rise up to a great level for a fighting based anime.

Overall this is a pretty nicely put together package, one Street Fighter fans are likely to really enjoy. Unfortunately for myself, the content just didn't cut it. When you count down the time remaining every five minutes on the DVD players timecode display, you know you're in trouble. I don't do that often, but this was definitely one of those times.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Interviews with the Japanese actors and creative team,Street Fighter Alpha Trailer,Original Japanese Credits

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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