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RTTP - Street FIghter II: The Animated Movie - "Hey Brushead! This is not a request!"

Garlador

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With Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie recently getting a fantastic Blu-Ray re-release here in the states, I felt there was no better time to give this amazing adaptation a proper thread and an introspective look-back at what I easily consider to be the most amazing video game adaptation ever.

There's a lot to cover, so let's get this party started.
"Just a Japanese guy taking in a fight. And Ryu is my name."

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie was directed by Gisaburō Sugii way back in the golden years of 1994, just over three years after SFII first hit the scene, and eventually localized two years later for western release.

What immediately separates this adaption from so many other animated video game adaptations, such as Tekken or Samurai Shodown or Battle Arena Toshinden (remember Battle Arena Toshinden, folks?), was this film's still-stunning production values. Backgrounds are intricately detailed, character designs are impressively realistic and detailed, and the animation remains incredibly fluid, rivaling and surpassing many animated features released even today.

What also separates it out from so many other anime fighting game adaptations, which so frequently rely on an excessive amount of flashy and spectacular special attacks that tend to turn into Dragon Ball Z match-ups of fireballs and energy beams, is the film's shocking restraint, opting to instead give the fights a far more grounded and realistic approach. Actual martial artists, including K-1 founder Kazuyoshi Ishii and the late Andy Hug, helped consult and choreograph, making the fights far more dynamic and grounded. While special attacks did exist, they were kept to a minimum and even altered to have one foot planted in reality. A good example of this is Chun-Li's Spinning Bird Kick or Ryu's Hurricane Kick gaining momentum by pushing off from the ground instead of just defying gravity, even if it's still impossible to pull off in real life.

The majority of fights are hand-to-hand instead of relying on some super-move, and the filmmakers obviously took great pains to pair up opponents whose fighting styles complimented each other. Fighters lacking projectiles often squared off in the film, while those that had them only employed them as a last resort. It's one area of the film that I'm happy to see divert from the source material...

To this day, the fights in this film are some of the best ever committed to screen, animated or otherwise. A good case can be made for any of them, really, as every character gets some choice moments to shine. Fei Long vs Ryu, Ryu and Ken vs Bison, Ryu vs Sagat. For me? It's no question it's Chun-Li vs Vega. As has been talked about extensively before.

"Any man strong enough to beat the crap out of Sagat is a man I want found!"

Now, some criticism COULD be levied at the film that the plot is extremely bare-bones and basic... and I'd attest that those critics are wrong. In actuality, one of the things I consider a strength to the film is its adherence to moving the action along at a brisk and steady pace, knowing full well that the audience isn't here for a touching, introspective look at the human condition or the burgeon romance between star-crossed lovers. We're here to see our favorite characters from the video game beat the living tar out of each other, and the film makes good on that promise literally in the opening seconds of the film with two fighters fighting by the street (ha! I get it now...). From there, the plot is nothing more than a glorified game of cat-and-mouse as we jump from scene to scene of Ryu wandering the globe and taking in fights while Bison's troops kill people and Chun-Li, Guile, and Interpol chase after them both.

This structure may be light on twists and character growth, but it's heavy on giving its 16(!) characters plenty of room to show off what makes them iconic and memorable. It's a feat that almost no video game adaptation can match, really. The inclusion of every character from the game, AND they all get at least one cool-as-hell moment. While obviously some get the short end of the stick (T.Hawk and Dee Jay probably feel the most shoe-horned in), I've seen dozens of other adaptations that can't say they included the whole cast of characters, or if they did to do so as well or to give them SOMETHING to do. Everyone in this film gets to punch, kick, or grapple their way to some sort of memorable moment.

(I especially liked the part where Akuma tried to sell those people mangos. Classic Akuma!)

"The world is now your arena, not the streets!"

Part of what makes the film seem so "big" is just how global the stage of the conflict is and how diverse the locations and backdrops of the fights are. Just like the game, the film jumps around like crazy to countless countries, and the film is meticulous in detailing and showing these places off.

From the flashy and seedy fight clubs of a Las Vegas resort to the dusty roads of India to the mountains of Thailand, the film's slowest moments are when it takes a few moments to let the atmosphere and locations drip off the screen and take you into worlds and cultures foreign to the audience. The attention to detail is spectacular, from my observation and limited global travels, with accurate touches such as temple designs to popular transportation to architecture to background street signs written in the proper language to tons of other cultural details I'm still picking up on after all these years. If Street Fighter was "the world's warriors", the film does the world justice.

"Save your strength, boy. You'll need all you can muster on the battlefield."

One thing the film does better than most adaptations as well is a sense of pacing, tone, and tension. It would have been so easy to just jump right into the fights, and to some extend they do this, but the more memorable ones to me are the ones that slowly build towards the encounters. So as cool as it is to see Ryu and Fei Long throw down...

(and it is SO cool)
... it's helped by the deliberate pacing that first introduces us to Fei Long, gives us a quick run-down on who he is and what his motivation to fight even is, then showing him sneaking into a fight club to check out the scene, then seeing Ryu dragged into the arena against his will, then seeing Ryu wreck his opponent in one move, then that giddy feeling as he knows he's found a worthy opponent and jumps in. It builds towards the encounter, letting viewers know it's gonna happen and keeping their anticipation up until the fight actually commences.

And no fight in the film handles that pacing and sense of tension better than the Chun-li vs Vega fight.

As memorable as that shower scene was, it was the atmosphere and build up that made the payoff so sweet. I've written extensively on it before, but it's still absolutely worth a mention.

"No! We're not done yet! You haven't seen anything! Get ready!"

Though on the topic of the shower scene, Street Fighter II's adaption is pretty unique in just how much mature content it got away with. Street Fighter was right on the cusp of being a genuinely mainstream success. It was a year away from a primetime Kid's cartoon and a big Hollywood movie. While it was popular, it wasn't SO big yet that the filmmakers were too concerned about neutering or sanitizing the content for a wider audience... giving us a film with nudity, language, and violence Street Fighter will probably never see again.

(Both of these guys are currently considered "comedy relief" in the games...)

As a young kid who grew up on Toonami Dragon Ball Z, seeing this level of violence was eye-opening. It's certainly not the goriest anime by any stretch, but it was Street Fighter, of which the cartoon alternative was a goofy, campy Guile-led series of misadventures with some morality theme per episode. Here, men get shot to pieces, Chun-li gets shredded by Vega's claws, and Ryu caves a man's skull in with a headbutt. Certain versions insert F-bombs, people get brutally assassinated, and Chun-li's oh-so-infamous shower scene ushered more than a few adolescent boys into manhood upon their first viewing.

(I never looks at those hair-buns the same away again...)

While the film was hugely influential on the game series in numerous ways - from redesigns to staging to plot points - the series' increased popularity has made Capcom balk at ever dipping their toe into such a mature and adult anime interpretation since. That's disappointing, as I know they would consider it a bad business move, but for this perfect lining up of planets, we got a film adaption that - to my eternal shock and amazement - is more bloody, violent, and mature than the movie adaptation of Mortal friggin' Kombat.

"Japanese fighters stick together... 'Cause we're BROTHERS! HA HA HA!"

There feels like dozens of different versions of the film (and thankfully the new Blu-Ray release has them all!), but I'm going to assume the vast majority of viewers who first saw it growing up or who were exposed to it viewed the English dub with the redone westernized soundtrack, which was composed by Cory Lerios and John D'Andrea (of Baywatch fame), with licensed music from bands like KMFDM, Alice in Chains, and KORN. Now, as much as I respect and even like the Japanese version, there's always going to be something of a soft spot in my heart for watching Chun-li and Vega fight to the death to KMFDM's "Ultra".


(Or Bryan Cranston do his best Bruce Lee impersonation.)

The dub is the same way, somehow being both better than most dubs while being also indescribably cheesy yet memorable. It's sillier than many current dubs and has some bizarre inflections and direction, but it's also much better and more natural-sounding than the vast majority of early 90s dubs from the era. In a way, the dub has its own unique charms, and I think the only surprising miss from the cast is the otherwise legendary Steve Blum as T.Hawk, who hadn't yet perfected the growl he'd use for Wolverine or Grunt years later. The Japanese cast is consistent throughout, and, despite my preference for the English soundtrack, the Japanese score is well-done and has some real good tunes to offer as well.

"What do you see beyond your fist?"

The legacy of the Street Fighter II: Animated Movie lingers on strongly. Even as the game series has had its ups and downs, even as the trends of anime and adaptations have shift over the years and decades, the SFII movie remains indisputably just as watchable and entertaining as its first release. Its animation remains gorgeous and lush, its fight scenes kinetic and energetic, and its sense of pacing, style, and production values virtually unsurpassed as an adaptation. It's both amazing and sad that no other Street Fighter adaptation - or almost any video game adaptation - has come close to capturing the spirit of the games so well while remaining so delightfully entertaining.

Its influence is felt strongly still in the games themselves, in how many studios were crawling over themselves to replicate its success to diminishing returns, in how - 22 years later - old fans still relish rewatching the film and new viewers fall in love with it years after release.

It's always disheartening to revisit a film from my childhood and past and discover it hasn't held up, to be bogged down by childish humor or dated references or general poor design or ambition... but this isn't the case here. The film continues to ooze quality, care, and creativity, often exceeding its source material while simultaneously being incredibly faithful to it as well.

Over two decades later, and despite some notable competition here and there, I still don't believe it has been topped.

"Have you ever felt the fighting spirit of another?"

If you've read this far and haven't seen the film in awhile, or haven't seen it yet period, then you owe it to yourself to grab the absolutely phenomenal re-release by Discotek.

Store Link Here

Despite owning countless incarnations of the film on VHS and DVD, this is easily the definitive version and the first ACTUAL "Uncut" release of the film with an English dub in the west, finally including all the excised or condensed scenes missing from every prior international release of the film. Really, this release is one of the most impressive Blu-Ray release I've ever seen, with remastered visuals, remastered audio, and the ability to basically select any version of the film to ever have existed. This includes the ability to listen to an English dub alongside the Japanese soundtrack, for instance.

It already would have been the definitive edition of the film if they had stopped there, but throw in comprehensive production notes, the PG-13 version for posterity, narrated history of the production of the film and restoration of the Blu-Ray features, hundreds of high-quality production artwork and galleries, a breakdown of all the version differences, alternate footage, trailers, and even rare Japanese footage from the obscure video-game tie-in, and you have FAR more info and easter eggs to look over than even my post has come close to matching.


I still believe this to be a film worth celebrating, as an anime fan, as a martial arts movie fan, as a video game fan, and as a Street Fighter fan, and I'm more than happy to know my experiences and feelings are shared among a large group of viewers, including the fantastic folks at Discotek who went above and beyond to give us the best version of the film yet.

Whatever may come for the franchise, and whatever its future endeavors, the highs and the lows, it's good to know this piece of history and this part of its legacy still receives the care, attention, and acclaim it deserves.
 
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kunonabi

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This and Nightwarriors are still the cream of the crop as far as fighting game anime adaptations go.
 

gigantor21

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I didn't even know about the new re-release. Buying it now.

Far and away the best video game film adaptation (for what it's worth), and one of my personal all time favorite movies.
 

Neoxon

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I really need to get the Blu-Ray release. I remember watching the crap out of this movie growing up.
 

Strangelove77

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There's so many things going against it - video game adaption, edgy 90s soundtrack, almost no real story, nostalgia goggles, etc.
But I just rewatched this last year and it's still really fun to watch. It's held up and it's pretty faithful to the source material(not to mention that later games took a lot from the film as well) while still being its own thing.

Sadly decades later were still getting awful turds like Advent Children.
 

Mokubba

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https://youtu.be/TsJrhHrm85c

This is still probably my favourite Villain intro of all time.

The music makes you know this ain't a guy to be messed with and the walk all the way from the jet to the chair is just unmatched.

I keep on saying, it will be my wedding day walk with my groomsmen behind me.
 

Skilletor

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That is one fabulous post.

This is one of my favorite animated movies ever, and it's impossible for me to look at it objectively.

I bought the blu-ray and can't wait to listen to the original Japanese voices for the first time. The dub will always hold a special place in my heart as being so bad it's good.

I'm just a Japanese guy taking in a fight and REE YOU is my name.
 

Tizoc

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Let me know when this particular version gets a UK/EU release :/

it's funny how they just sidelined Sagat; his only role in the movie is to get jobbed by Ryu.

There's so many things going against it - video game adaption, edgy 90s soundtrack, almost no real story, nostalgia goggles, etc.
But I just rewatched this last year and it's still really fun to watch. It's held up and it's pretty faithful to the source material(not to mention that later games took a lot from the film as well) while still being its own thing.

Sadly decades later were still getting awful turds like Advent Children.

Advent Children was in 2005, with the extended cut/whatever in 2009.
This movie was from around 1994/1995. Not sure where you're going with here.
 

Rur0ni

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Was waiting on this to release, and was going to bump the thread about it. This is much better. :)

Anime like this is hard to find, and I appreciate Discotek's efforts.
 

kuYuri

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As soon as I noticed the Amazon pre-order page went up, I pre-ordered this. Got it day one last Tuesday and watched it that night. Still need to watch the other versions just to compare, but it really does continue to hold up to this day.

None of the other fighting game anime adaptations stick in my mind like this one does.
 

Kanyon

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Fucking awesome movie, just comes together so well... Amazing write up OP, inspired me to track down the Bluray re-release you mentioned so I can watch it again.
 

Skilletor

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Let me know when this particular version gets a UK/EU release :/

it's funny how they just sidelined Sagat; his only role in the movie is to get jobbed by Ryu.



Advent Children was in 2005, with the extended cut/whatever in 2009.
This movie was from around 1994/1995. Not sure where you're going with here.

Yeah, he should have said kingsglaive. That's even worse than advent children.
 

Strangelove77

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Let me know when this particular version gets a UK/EU release :/

it's funny how they just sidelined Sagat; his only role in the movie is to get jobbed by Ryu.



Advent Children was in 2005, with the extended cut/whatever in 2009.
This movie was from around 1994/1995. Not sure where you're going with here.

Advent Children sucks. That's basically it.
 

poodaddy

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This is the thread of all threads. Still my favorite video game movie of all time and to be honest I think I like it better than the games now lol. I'm glad the PG13 movie is included in the new release as well so I can share this glorious classic with my daughter.
 

pauljeremiah

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I remember watching the VHS when I was around 12 or 13 with my older brother, the VHS also included a trailer for the original GITS film, and my Mom was in the other room. We got the part where Guile challenges Bison and shouts "I'll rip your fucking heart out you filthy bastard" and my Mom came running in and freaked the fuck out.
 

Nocturnowl

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How could they leave us with that M Bison truck cliffhanger?!

Seriously though this is a damn solid watch, one of the best video game based movies.
 

Garlador

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I remember watching the VHS when I was around 12 or 13 with my older brother, the VHS also included a trailer for the original GITS film, and my Mom was in the other room. We got the part where Guile challenges Bison and shouts "I'll rip your fucking heart out you filthy bastard" and my Mom came running in and freaked the fuck out.

First time I saw it was at a friend's house. His dad knew we both liked Street Fighter, and he vaguely recognized some of the characters, so we got this as a rental.

But he was expecting it to be a movie version of this:

Right around the time Ryu ripped Sagat's chest open followed by Cammy snapping the neck of a politician, he realized he had made a keen error, but my friend and I were so glued to the screen going "wow, this is SO cool!" he didn't want to disappoint us.
 

Funkybee12

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That intro with Ryu vs Sagat is just..I don't even, I can't find the right word to describe it's majesty.
 

Neoleo2143

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Best Videogame movie? Probably. It's a damn fun watch on its own and amazing as a Street Fighter Fan.
 

Aske

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The observation in the OP that this film is significantly more violent than both Mortal Kombat movies is so on point. I'd never thought about it, but yeah, no one gets murdered with their own nose in the MK films.

Also, I love that this movie's title is just unabashedly Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie. This is not some original movie set in the Street Fighterverse. No concessions are made for viewers unfamiliar with the franchise. The subtitle might as well be this is the movie of the videogame Street Fighter 2; if this is confusing, go play it right now you loser!
 

Ashura

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Really glad and humbled you guys are enjoying this release, and appreciating all the little touches we put in.
 

Jumeira

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One of my fondest childhood memories. Ryu music, god damn sent shivers down my spine.

"Ryu....what do you see infront of you?"

I've been told the new Blu Ray re release censors the swearing is this true? I really want to add this to my collection. I read this on Amazon yesterday so withheld from buying. Someone confirm so I can get this tonight.
 

Aske

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I've been told the new Blu Ray re release censors the swearing is this true? I really want to add this to my collection. I read this on Amazon yesterday so withheld from buying. Someone confirm so I can get this tonight.

False. This release is 100% Uncut. In fact that's its biggest selling point. All the language, violence, and nudity is included.
 

Polioliolio

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I need to get this, pronto.

Might be my favorite anime movie of all time. It's got everything, and it's cool.

Alpha movie, in comparison, felt like trash. A bait and switch after this amazing movie.
 
Jun 11, 2010
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I need to get this, pronto.

Might be my favorite anime movie of all time. It's got everything, and it's cool.

Alpha movie, in comparison, felt like trash. A bait and switch after this amazing movie.

There's this scene in the Alpha OVA where Ryu does a roundhouse I think, and the guy just spins in place like a helicopter at insane speed for like a second, then falls down. I'm pretty sure I cringed when I watched that first fight scene. Animation is cheaper, choreography doesn't even exist.... Such a letdown IMO.
 

FlashbladeGAF

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This was the first movie I bought where I replayed the entire movie right after finishing it.

Thank you guys for releasing this!

How the hell did you even pull this off?
 

Ashura

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One of my fondest childhood memories. Ryu music, god damn sent shivers down my spine.

"Ryu....what do you see infront of you?"

I've been told the new Blu Ray re release censors the swearing is this true? I really want to add this to my collection. I read this on Amazon yesterday so withheld from buying. Someone confirm so I can get this tonight.

I will clarify-

IF you want to censor the dialogue, or if you want to watch the PG13 cut? It's on there. You can totally censor the dialogue IF YOU WANT TO. However, you can select all levels of dialogue, PG-13, US Unrated, UK Unrated. You name it, it's there. We even discovered a bunch of alternate takes which were never used (such as Ryu saying 'Go fuck off!' or Ryu and Ken shouting 'WAVE PUNCH!'), and compiled them all into a feature.

The main feature comes in two flavors. Completely uncut or an HD recreation of the PG-13 cut. The unrated cuts are so close to the uncut that we fixed all the dubs to sync to it. If you wonder why this release took two guys 2 years to do, this is one of the major ones.

So potentially, just speaking about the English, you can watch it like this:

Uncut Footage w/ UK Unrated Audio (F-bombs. Rock music.)

Uncut Footage w/ US Unrated Audio (Cussing with 'shit', but no f-bombs. Has rock music.)

Uncut Footage w/ PG-13/"13-Rated" Audio (Cussing of 'damn' and below, no shits, no f-bombs. With the rock music.)

Uncut Footage w/ New English Mix with original Japanese Music (this mix uses the Japanese music, and the english takes we picked are as similar to the original Japanese as we can. Deejay cussed a bunch in the original, so he has his f-bombs, as does Guile, since they fit the situation, but no 'dickhead', etc. from the likes of Ken. or "Bastard" from E Honda, etc.)

PG-13 Cut with PG-13 Audio (exactly like the original VHS tape, with rock music.)

PG-13 Cut with PG-13 Audio but the Original Japanese Music (exactly like the original VHS tape in terms of dialogue choices, but with the new mix and original japanese score.)

You can also watch it completely uncut in Japanese with subtitles, or with the isolated music track (japanese version.)
 

SiegfriedFM

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I forget from the other thread, is this region free or do I have to wait for a EU version? I do have the semi-recent EU version but that's nowhere as comprehensive.
 

Vampirolol

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Mar 21, 2012
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Loved the movie, very good post OP.
I must admit the Chun Li shower had a big impact on me at 14 years old.
 

Ashura

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The dub is the same way, somehow being both better than most dubs while being also indescribably cheesy yet memorable. It's sillier than many current dubs and has some bizarre inflections and direction, but it's also much better and more natural-sounding than the vast majority of early 90s dubs from the era. In a way, the dub has its own unique charms, and I think the only surprising miss from the cast is the otherwise legendary Steve Blum as T.Hawk, who hadn't yet perfected the growl he'd use for Wolverine or Grunt years later. The Japanese cast is consistent throughout, and, despite my preference for the English soundtrack, the Japanese score is well-done and has some real good tunes to offer as well.

This has to do with a combination of a great script by Mary Claypool, direction by the late, great Kevin Seymour (Macross Plus, among others), and Les Claypool's Magnitude 8 Post doing the recording. This was shipped out to a music studio in New York where it was scored, and the scoring studio called Les' company and told him personally that they had never heard such clean dialogue before.

Which is true. We pulled the original master tapes and they were pristine... from 1992. The new mix we did was done from scratch, each and every piece of dialogue retracked by hand, and we used the original score. Les mixed it like he would've mixed something back in the 90s, only with today's technology allowing him to sync everything. So it's sort of a throwback to that era while also being new.

I really, really like a lot of the dialogue in the dub script. Bison/Dictator has some of the best lines; he's written in a way where he's constantly shit-talking without sounding like a guy who's shit-talking. The guy they got to voice him delivered those lines perfectly; in such a way that he's a huge an asshole, but it also still seems in character.

"You know, Guile, evil is a good career choice. It has a lot to offer."

"Hello, Captain. Are you still planning to give me the heart transplant you mentioned?"

This one is so cheesy, but the way it's delivered is so good. And such a great callback to Guile's 'I'll rip your heart out!!!' line.

There's also some really great lines in there, like 'Man, I gotta kill this guy before I kill myself!' delivered by Richard Epcar as E. Honda. Which is so "what???" but also in character for E. Honda. There's a reason we used the 'Bonehead!!' take for E.Honda in the new mix over 'Bastard!!' and it's because it was much more in character and the delivery was so great.

Of course, there's some badly delivered stuff which is always hilarious. 'What's... the Shadowlaw?' 'You don't know?' 'NOPE!!!!' by Ryu and Fei-Long ALWAYS makes me laugh.

Garlador, I also wanted to say, I loved your post about the Chun-Li / Vega fight. I actually spoke to some friends about this during production of the Blu-Ray and had come to the exact same conclusion. When I got the new mix with the Japanese music, I had to watch through it to check it and the eeriness of that scene struck me. If you watch this scene with the Japanese score, this is just reinforced, too; The song that's playing there isn't crazy, pumping KMFDM, but a soft, slow guitar ballad and it contrasts the harsh violence of the visuals completely. You can tell it was very specifically picked for this scene, and meant to help unsettle the viewer even further.

To even this out, I love that they set it up such that you think that Guile is going to save her, but she saves herself. She gives it her all. She might be put into a coma at the end, but she not only defeats Vega but probably also kills him, by herself. When you watch the fight, the whole thing is earned; they purposely pit her as vulnerable, and she turns the entire fight around, going toe-to-toe. She is not shown as weaker than Vega, but instead he starts with the upper hand. She is vulnerable because she's in a vulnerable position, and not because she's some delicate flower. She has to build her momentum back after being caught off-guard and eventually gets the upper hand.

This is in direct contrast to Guile who, Bison beats the living shit out of, and only survives because Bison thinks he's so pathetic. He's left to die a pile on the ground.

Hell, the fact that they put Chun-Li up against Vega and not just another token female character like Fatal Fury is unique on its own, and I bet that has a lot to do with the director and studio. Sugii directed a lot of niche masterpieces, like Night on the Galactic Railroad, and it was odd that Studio Tac decided to do this project at the time, and I feel like Sugii and Studio Tac are the whole reason this was so good. I bet you diamonds to donuts that if any other studio had directed it, they would've done the typical girl-fight cliche and had Chun-Li fight Cammy instead of Vega. Thank goodness they decided to work on some shitty video game anime.
 

MrCarter

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That SFV gif is from the old pre-beta build by the way that wasn't even released to the public. Chun Li doesn't have double fireballs in the game. Apart from that small niggle, I like the post. I might pick up a region free DVD player just for this movie. 90's animation is a beautiful thing.
 

Garlador

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I really, really like a lot of the dialogue in the dub script. Bison/Dictator has some of the best lines; he's written in a way where he's constantly shit-talking without sounding like a guy who's shit-talking. The guy they got to voice him delivered those lines perfectly; in such a way that he's a huge an asshole, but it also still seems in character.

"You know, Guile, evil is a good career choice. It has a lot to offer."

"Hello, Captain. Are you still planning to give me the heart transplant you mentioned?"

This one is so cheesy, but the way it's delivered is so good. And such a great callback to Guile's 'I'll rip your heart out!!!' line.
Tom Wyner knocks it out of the park as M.Bison. He just is so unabashedly evil and is relishing the role so much. While I love his work in other animes like Wolf's Rain, Gungrave, and Outlaw Star, here he really takes a center stage and runs with it. The script is definitely still a bit silly, but a great voice actor can make it work, and Wyner sells the hell out of lines like "Now, aren't you the big He-man?", "The stars are all gathered on stage. Take a bow!", or Guile threatening to rip out his heart and he's just so nonplussed, "I'm afraid I don't have one."

There's also some really great lines in there, like 'Man, I gotta kill this guy before I kill myself!' delivered by Richard Epcar as E. Honda. Which is so "what???" but also in character for E. Honda. There's a reason we used the 'Bonehead!!' take for E.Honda in the new mix over 'Bastard!!' and it's because it was much more in character and the delivery was so great.

Of course, there's some badly delivered stuff which is always hilarious. 'What's... the Shadowlaw?' 'You don't know?' 'NOPE!!!!' by Ryu and Fei-Long ALWAYS makes me laugh.
I think that's the real takeaway in that a lot of characters like Honda and Dee Jay and Dhalsim don't have a very big presence, yet their voice actors do a whole lot to make their brief appearances very memorable. Richard Epcar's Honda is probably the closest thing to a comic relief in the whole movie and all his lines are memorable. I always giggled how he tries to fight Bison, runs right through him, slams face-first into Balrog, and just goes "Hi, and you are?" And yet, despite that, it's still cool to see him throw down with both Dhalsim (that's a GREAT match-up of the game's thinnest and thickest fighters) and then to have a headbutting contest with Balrog (both of whom DO employ headbutts as special attacks in the game). You can tell they put a ton of thought into who fights who.

Garlador, I also wanted to say, I loved your post about the Chun-Li / Vega fight. I actually spoke to some friends about this during production of the Blu-Ray and had come to the exact same conclusion. When I got the new mix with the Japanese music, I had to watch through it to check it and the eeriness of that scene struck me. If you watch this scene with the Japanese score, this is just reinforced, too; The song that's playing there isn't crazy, pumping KMFDM, but a soft, slow guitar ballad and it contrasts the harsh violence of the visuals completely. You can tell it was very specifically picked for this scene, and meant to help unsettle the viewer even further.
This, to me, is a huge strength of the anime (and of the Blu-Ray release). As good as the film is, you get two VASTLY different tones and moods set by the musical score. The Japanese choice of "Cry" by Big Life is REALLY good for setting that sad, almost hopeless feeling. It's a sad, slow song and it makes the scene feel entirely hopeless for Chun-li, like no matter how hard she's gonna fight, it's a losing battle that gets worse and worse as she takes more hits and starts to bleed out. In the west, it starts off pretty similar, as I think Chun-li's Theme is a really sad and quiet theme for her, while her new song choice of "Hallucinations" by In the Nursery is a moody, eerie song as well. Up until the very moment Vega appears, the film is keeping it similar. But when Chun-li becomes aware she's not alone, the difference is night and day.

And that's what I love about it. It's like getting a great scene in two different yet equally delicious flavors. "Ultra" playing in the background fits the pacing of the fight itself so well it almost feels like the song was written just for the fight scene (every time the music slows down as Chun-li picks up the couch to throw in Vega's face or when the guitar soars while Chun-li runs up the walls gives me chills). It turns the scene into one of the best action scenes ever, focusing on the adrenaline and energy of the fight, while Big Life's "Cry" shifts the focus to the desperation and tension of the fight and the uncertainty of whether Chun-li will come out on top. It makes revisiting the scene in both languages absolutely worth it, which is a very rare thing for any anime.

To even this out, I love that they set it up such that you think that Guile is going to save her, but she saves herself. She gives it her all. She might be put into a coma at the end, but she not only defeats Vega but probably also kills him, by herself. When you watch the fight, the whole thing is earned; they purposely pit her as vulnerable, and she turns the entire fight around, going toe-to-toe. She is not shown as weaker than Vega, but instead he starts with the upper hand. She is vulnerable because she's in a vulnerable position, and not because she's some delicate flower. She has to build her momentum back after being caught off-guard and eventually gets the upper hand.

This is in direct contrast to Guile who, Bison beats the living shit out of, and only survives because Bison thinks he's so pathetic. He's left to die a pile on the ground.
Obviously I love talking about this scene in particular, but you're absolutely right. When I watched this with my best friend, she also made the keen observation that the only character from the games that's most likely killed in the entire film is Vega, as all the others are shown to survive, even Bison (we don't see if Zangief survived Blanka's electrocution, I guess). Vega could have survived, but it seems very unlikely, what with falling headfirst from the top of the apartment (and mirroring Chun-li's father's "accidental" death as well. Great call-back!), and that would give Chun-li the highest body count in the movie of all the fighters.

I've talked a bit already how the fight scene subverts many tropes, but Chun-li herself is a subversion of many of them as a direct contrast to the typical "All-American Hero" Guile (whom Americans just made THE main character in their adaptations). He's obviously a very strong and powerful fighter, but... he never lands a single hit. In fact, his second encounter with Chun-li has her humiliating him by just dancing around his attacks... and then giving him a verbal undressing just to boot. Of the two, it becomes quite clear that Chun-li is both the more mature and also more talented fighter, and her juxtaposition with him is actually some of the movie's few genuine character moments. Guile's self-righteous quest to get revenge on Bison for Charlie's death makes him think he has the high-road on Chun-li... right until she drops the bomb that Bison murdered her father yet is strong enough emotionally and mentally to not let that compromise her job or her decision making. The animators did a great job with Guile there as it sinks in that "oh... crap. She's got me" and it's clear afterwards just how quickly he bonds with her over their mutual goals. But, yet again, Chun-li is the agent of change, the one with the agency, and Guile is the reactionary one following HER lead.

Hell, the fact that they put Chun-Li up against Vega and not just another token female character like Fatal Fury is unique on its own, and I bet that has a lot to do with the director and studio. Sugii directed a lot of niche masterpieces, like Night on the Galactic Railroad, and it was odd that Studio Tac decided to do this project at the time, and I feel like Sugii and Studio Tac are the whole reason this was so good. I bet you diamonds to donuts that if any other studio had directed it, they would've done the typical girl-fight cliche and had Chun-Li fight Cammy instead of Vega. Thank goodness they decided to work on some shitty video game anime.
And what has Capcom done since?...

I'm actually, genuinely surprised there wasn't a Cammy vs. Chun-li fight, and I'm curious if it was actually pitched since there's promo art for an encounter. But it may have just been that and nothing more.
Having her throw down exclusively with the big boys in the film is one of the best things about it.

That SFV gif is from the old pre-beta build by the way that wasn't even released to the public. Chun Li doesn't have double fireballs in the game. Apart from that small niggle, I like the post. I might pick up a region free DVD player just for this movie. 90's animation is a beautiful thing.
Heh. Yeah. I just needed a quick and easy gif of fireball spamming and that was Google's first search result.