Even for a Streetfighter fan like myself, you have to ask simply one question. What was the point?
What they say:
In the universe of Street Fighter, fighters of every size, shape and color collide in a global battle for supremacy. Martial artists, boxers, wrestlers and fighters of every conceivable sort perform superhuman acts in their willing (or unwilling) participation in the Street Fighter Tournament-the contest being hosted by M. Bison, the sadistic dictator and leader of the underground Shadaloo criminal organization. Some contestants fight for reasons as diverse as their nationalities...some fight for money, answers, or vengeance, while others fight for reasons completely shrouded in mystery.
In Round One - FIGHT!: Ryu and Ken find themselves setting out to investigate the murder of their martial arts master. Their search for answers takes them to Japan where M. Bison and his assorted minions including Cammy, Vega, and Sagat keep a close eye on Ryu for reasons unknown. This draws the attention of up and coming Hong Kong Interpol agent Chun-Li and US Special Ops officer Guile who each bear their own personal grudge against the evil Shadaloo syndicate.
The audio comes in a standard 2.0 release in English only. This makes sense as this was collated with the UDON comics company which released the Street Fighter comic a couple of years ago. The audio comes through fine but it’s hard to make a comparison considering there is no real animation, lip flags or transition between animation and voice, in reality you could simply find the comic and then listen to the voices so it’s hard to judge the quality here.
Again, it’s hard to judge the videos quality due to the lack of animation and coalition between audio and video due to the fact that most of the images are basically static with a little bit of animation to spice up the comic atmosphere. However, during my watching of the test disc, the DVD froze twice and during the ending credits they just ceased to show for a few seconds before they came up. Replaying those parts, it seemed like a one off and it is a test disc, but these are quite glaring problems if this is the finished product. As I haven’t had any problems on my DVD player for any of my regular discs, this is a worrying issue.
No packaging came for this test disc.
The menu is fairly standard, allowing for 4 selections between Animation Style and Comic Style (animation without the speech bubbles appearing and Comic with) as well as Chapter Selections for both versions. The menu is decorated with a nice art piece of Akuma, Ryu and Ken in colour ahead of a detailed background of pretty much everyone else in the SF canon in black and white. If you’re familiar with the UDON comics, the style is instantly recognisable to you and enjoyable for the average SF fan. Otherwise, the menu is pretty basic.
No extras at all.
I will confess up front to being a Street Fighter fan and have been since around 15 years ago. I attend occasional tournaments (winning one in 2007 for Street Fighter Alpha 3) and just have enjoyed the evolution of the games up to SF4 this year. The animes I have watched them all as well with a mixed emotions: The SF2 Animated Movie is the first true form of anime I watched and still enjoy it today – Alpha and Generations on the other hand were quite disappointing, and was confused when I got this in my review quota as it was basically a DVD version of the UDON comics which I own. I resisted temptation to actually flick through it whilst listening to the audio and see how this would work. Unfortunately, my thoughts of how it work was correct…and not in a positive sense.
The story goes through the major characters and other side characters gradually for 6 chapters (basically the first compilation book) so SF fans will be instantly familiar with many of the back stories and surroundings. We start with Ryu, a Japanese martial artist discovering his master Gouken, apparently murdered by who he believes to be Gouken’s brother Akuma. He travels to America to visit his long time friend and rival Ken along with his fiancé Eliza to explain the situation. It leads to the three of them returning to Japan to investigate the murder, and also to try and find Akuma…
…unaware that various other parties are also interested in Ryu. First of is Special Force agent Guile, who recently had his best friends Charlie’s dog tags returned to him, presumed dead. Guile is intent on finding him, who was infiltrating a shady organisation called Shadowloo. Shadowloo are very interested in Ryu, lead by M. Bison, a typical megalomaniac dictator character who has the ability to control people like mindless puppets. Guile eventually teams up with one of the games other well know characters, Chun-Li, a female detective/martial artist from Interpol, to search for Ryu and to stop Shadowloo.
A lot branches out here, as the three main parties (Ryu/Ken, Guile/Chun-Li and Shadowloo) all do their own thing, whilst intermixing with each other. Lots of cameos from other characters appear, such as when psycho henchman Vega searching for Ryu encounters E. Honda at an autograph signing, everyone’s favourite schoolgirl Sakura begins her own search for Ryu (and in turn, finds Dan, the legendary Saikyou warrior in his dojo in a very amusing sequence for her to start training), Cammy is brought in as one of Bison’s Dolls but in turn is saved by a mystic named Rose, and right hand man of Shadowloo Sagat proves his honour by not wanting Ryu to become one of Bison’s puppets and wants to fight him at his best.
It all leads to the inevitable confrontations with Akuma, and the sub plot of Ryu trying not to succumb to the Dark Hado – the evil of his Shotokan art which Akuma did. Akuma wants to meld Ryu into his own, to submit to the darkness as Ryu battles to fight it. What happened to Charlie is also revealed and the initial confrontation between Guile/Chun-Li and Bison also seems to have already reached it’s conclusion.
The story is not finished by a long shot, and if you are a Street Fighter fan then the above will make perfect sense to you. If you’re not, you’re not going to get into it unless you know the history of all the characters (various in-jokes such as mentioning Sakura’s rival Karin for example are going to be over your head unless you know Street Fighter Alpha 3 for example). For me, it would have been enjoyable…if it wasn’t for one simple problem.
There is no reason for this to come out. The comic is available, and the DVD suffers from various video problems already mentioned, in combination with a very monotone dub, which sounds like they are simply reading the comic out loud with no real acting behind it. To be fair, it comes with the Street Fighter Collection so it’s like a freebie in a way, however the fact this was only the first part suggests there are more, and I’d keep an eye on the price as even the most ardent of Street Fighter fan would need to think twice.
The grade is in retrospect of what it is, as it’s very enjoyable if you don’t own the comic and you’re a major Street Fighter fan. Otherwise, this is going to be very confusing, and ultimately pointless for a majority of people. With it being part of a collection as well you need to purchase it in full, which may suggest it’s not even worth it even for a freebie if you own any of the other Street Fighter anime franchises. Add in some poor video problems and a very lacklustre dub, it’s really hard to recommend even to Streetfighter fans. Just get the comic and make your own voices in your head.
Watch Animation Style or Comic Style (with or without speech balloons), Chapter Selection