Ryu gets an unexpected letter which contains a plane ticket and a fair amount of US currency, along with a cryptic message from Ken that he should come to America. On his arrival in San Francisco, Ryu is astounded at how well Ken seems to be doing. The two friends have been sparring partners for as long as they can remember, and almost nothing can keep them apart. The two year long break had been a long time for them, so it was great to see one another once more.
Ken decides to take Ryu out on the town for their first evening. Armed with Ken’s Harley Davidson, the pair hit San Francisco’s night-life. While having a drink at the Mount Fuji bar, Ken and Ryu run into a little trouble with a couple of airforce troops.
Just what Ryu and Ken needed – an opportunity to get back into fighting form! However, after facing off against and getting beaten up by the airforce sergeant Guile, Ryu and Ken come to realise that there is a whole world of fighting out there, far removed from the confines of competitive tournaments. This is the dangerous world of Street Fighting, where a fighter’s skills are all that might protect their very life. Deciding that this is the world which they both need to explore, Ken and Ryu decide to travel the world, honing their skills and becoming the greatest street fighters of all.
But out from the shadows, a dark and powerful figure watches. He recognises the potential in these two young fighters – and will claim it as his own!
Street Fighter IIV is based on Capcom’s hugely successful Street Fighter game franchise. As usual, the story revolves around the two main antagonists, namely Ken and Ryu.
Although the inspiration for this anime is a simple fighting game, there exists enough depth in the characters to weave a convincing storyline for the anime to follow. The writing is well done, and the characters carefully selected. The story remains as true as possible to the original game characters, introducing new cast members only to further the developing plot. This is great for fans of the game who enjoy seeing their favourite fighters appear in the anime. Unfortunately, not all the characters from the game are included in the story, so some fans may feel a little let down.
The focus on martial arts and the mysticism surrounding it is incredibly well researched. The story takes this research and embellishes it a bit, making for a great story that somehow manages to stick on the side of reality. The end of the anime may lose the plot slightly, but in general, the realism of the story is always maintained.
The animation throughout the series is superb. The fight scenes are great, with much attention paid to the various styles each character is supposed to be representing. The action is fluid and the characters are very well designed. The only complaint I have about the art is the incredibly hairy eyebrows everyone seems to have.
The voice talent for the anime, both the original and dubbed version, is really good. This is one of the few times that I really enjoyed a dubbed anime. The music is okay, but it doesn’t really stand out. Both the original and dubbed versions have a really stupid opening track though.
Overall, I really enjoyed this anime. It concentrated a lot on the fighting, and as a fan of the game, it was great fun watching all your favourite characters battling it out with one another. You can almost shout for joy when you see Ken performing his famous Sho Ryu Ken or Ryu performing his Hadou Ken special attacks. A fun anime to watch, the violence does pick up a little towards the end of the series. The story also seems to lose the plot slightly, introducing a whole supernatural angle that would have been better left out. Still an enjoyable watch for both fans and newcomers to Street Fighter alike.
(Historical Note: This was written way back in July 2003. Thankfully my writing has gotten a whole lot better since then!)
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_Fighter_II_V