In this week’s edition, I am exploring a show I have never watched. That is Street Fighter II: The Animated Series. Being a kid with a Super Nintendo, of course I played Street Fighter II and Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter II Championship Edition and Super Street Fighter II and you get the idea. There were a lot of Street Fighter II games, and everyone played them. Also, of course I’ve seen the movie with Jean Claude Van Damm. Who hasn’t, unfortunately? But I digress. The Animated Series came out in 1995, which in my memory seems to be near the tail end of the Street Fighter II popularity. Maybe that’s why I never watched this.
Since this is my first time watching the show, I figured I might as well start with the beginning. This episode is titled “The Adventure Begins.” Seems like a sensible title for the first episode of a show.
Oh no. I’ve got a bad feeling about this. The intro opens on Guile, the least interesting of all the Street Fighters. Guile leads a global crime fighting unit called Street Fighter that includes, Chun Li, Ken, Ryu, Cammy, and Blanka, and they compete in fighting tournaments as a cover for their crime fighting and trying to stop M. Bison. I assume the fighters not in Street Fighter are working with M. Bison. I’m barely through the intro, and already I feel terrible. Why can’t they just be fighters, fighting for pride, honor, revenge, glory, or any other number of things? Why dumb it down so much into an overly basic good guys versus bad guys thing? Kids are never as dumb and simple minded as adults want to think they are. Let’s see what the rest of the show has in store.
The episode opens with Guile, the lamest character in Street Fighter, in a fight, and fans are calling him a traitor because of reasons. Apparently, there is a story that he abandoned his troops in an international peace keeping force. But he beats his foe with a single Sonic Boom, and says not to believe everything you hear. And no one really is surprised that he made energy come out of his hands, so I assume this is just a common every day thing that happens in the run down buildings these fights happen in. Guile returns to Street Fighter headquarters, which is also in a run down building, inside and out, and receives his mission. Seriously, I get why the outside of HQ looks run down in order to fit in with its surroundings, but the inside is a mess as well. Guile is to stop a virus by finding some medical team. His Street Fighter team is going to include Chun Li and a couple of free lancers Ken and Ryu.
Please let Ryu be decent. Please let Ryu be decent. Please let Ryu be decent……
We’re introduced to Ken and Ryu, out treasure hunting, and these voices are just….ugh. Ryu has a cough. In no show with a virus does a character have a cough, and not get sick. They happen to run into Guile while getting supplies, and he brings them onto the mission. We’re introduced to Chun Li as she’s fighting off a couple of muggers. Guile greets her immediately afterwards.They go to where the medical team was abducted and Chun Li was able to fix the main console to gain some more intel on what happened to the medical team.
And great, Guile, the dullest of the Street Fighters, is getting his back story expanded. Coincidentally, he used to know one of the medical personnel that was abducted. Probably a love interest that he had to leave in order to save the world. Lame. Guile does some more investigating, see that hovercraft scratched nearby trees and proclaims that Bison did this. Bison, the man who murdered Chun Li’s father.
Now, we are introduced to Blanka. Who breaks through some prison bars to chase after some hovercraft. And now we get to Bison. He’s got the medical staff, and claims he kidnapped them because they weren’t working quick enough to find a cure for the virus. He threatens to infect some locals to get the crew working quicker. Not entirely certain why Bison wants the cure. Maybe to control both to hold the world hostage? Who knows? It makes as much sense as anything else in the first half of this episode.
Blanka attacks Guile, assuming he was behind the abductions, but that is quickly cleared up. They all know Blanka, who was turned into this beast by Bison. I’m getting a sinking feeling that this show is a follow up to the live action movie. Maybe I should go back and watch the animated movie that came out before the live action movie. Ken and Ryu run off to a nearby temple, abandoning the team, and oh no, Ryu has passed out. Remember that cough from earlier.
Guile, Blanka, and Chun Li invade Bison’s base to rescue the hostages. In the end, Blanka takes the brunt of an explosion that would dispearse the virus while Bison tries to make his escape. Somehow, even with a head start, Bison is able to cut Bison off. Guile is knocked off of Bison’s hover craft, but “fortunately” landed on a hover craft that Ken somehow stole. I’m not certain that would really be a softer landing than the ground, but whatever. And before you can say deus ex machina, Blanka is immune to the virus, and Sophia, the doctor creates a cure. Everyone says their good-byes, and has a jolly good laugh.
I don’t want to say that this episode was disappointing, because disappointment requires some expectation of the show actually being good. With the talk of using international fighting circuits as cover, there sure was a lack of international fighting circuits in this episode. Having a love interest for Guile, the dumbest of all the Street Fighters, that thinks he’s an awful person probably seemed like some deep, emotional story-telling, but it’s not. It’s lazy. It’s cliche. And immediately, in the first episode, the love interest can easily see that cover story of Guile is some bull jive. What’s the point of even having a cover story if it gets blown by the end of the first episode? This was not enjoyable to watch. Not even in a so bad it’s funny sort of way. Not certain if I’ll return to Street Fighter II: The Animated Series in the future.