Street Fighter II V
A 29-episode anime series released in 1995 after 1994’s Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie.
Street Fighter II V follows Ryu leaving Japan at the invitation of his pal Ken. Being young, cocky and rich, Ken and Ryu — martial arts and overall fighting fans — get into a brawl with Guile who kicks their butts. Realizing that they’re not the best and that the world might be filled with worthy fighters, both go on a world tour… to fight the best fighters in the world!
The series contains, just like in the video game, a lot of fighting sequences against regular characters who get their butts handed to them, as well as key characters from the game like Fei Long, Sagat, and Vega. However, the series focuses a lot more on Ryu’s development as a fighter. He meets a mysterious old man who introduces himself as Master Yo from the Tea Shop. Master Yo teaches Ryu about the Bodhidharma, ultimately leading him to what we all know he can do — a Hadouken.
As the show progresses from country to country, Ryu and Ken visit India where Dhalsim helps Ryu get more knowledge about Dharma’s teachings as he develops his ability to concentrate energy. Because of this, the story may seem a little bit slow and dragging at times, but it’s also easy to imagine all those little kids that grew up practicing with Ryu in the hopes of being able to pull off a Hadouken themselves.
It’s interesting to note that the series also tackles organized crime, fake evidence, as well as showing part of the world of drugs when Ryu gets accused of sneaking drugs into Thailand and gets sent to prison. However, if you can deal with 17-year-olds (who look really ripped) traveling around the world for a good beat-up in international zones without ever getting into trouble, you can deal with Ryu getting caught for drugs.
The animation style looks very 90s anime, with Ryu and Ken and every other male character looking like they’re on steroids. It flows well, even when having those minimum movement frames when characters talk. The fighting, which is central in Street Fighter II V, is well done and quite dynamic. But the best, most beautiful sequences are the ones when Ryu is meditating to get his groove on. There’s also a worthy scene in which Ryu and Ken face off in the Cave of Ancients, a place that’s supposed to make you confront your inner being.
The final quarter of the show gets all tangled up in Bison’s evil machination, getting Chun Li and Ken into their evil forms through a chip implant on their foreheads, which makes them fight against Ryu while Bison watches.
The thing is, the series knows it’s not completely about the fighting, hence the choosing of the opening songs. They’re soft pop-rock with delicate female vocals. Kaze Fuiteru translates to “the wind is blowing,” while the second opening song is called Cry. The American broadcast changed the opening tp a custom, but rather generic, hard rock-ish instrumental. It almost creates unrealistic expectations of the show.
Part of YAM’s Unofficial Animation Week.