Anime: Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie

This is no video game!

Thanks to its popularity, the Street Fighter series received an anime film adaptation in 1994: Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie.

The international criminal organization Shadowlaw secretly records fights of the world's greatest martial artists with their human-like Monitor Cyborgs. These recordings help Shadowlaw's leader, M. Bison, determine which fighters Shadowlaw will abduct and convert into brainwashed slaves. One fighter in particular, Ryu, catches Bison's interest after the despot watches a fight between Ryu and Shadowlaw operative/former fighting champion Sagat.

Shadowlaw's innumerable criminal activities capture the attention of Interpol, which sends lead investigator Chun-Li to team up with U.S. Air Force Captain Guile. Guile is initially reluctant of the partnership until he discovers that Bison had killed someone close to them (Chun-Li's father and his Air Force partner). This revelation gives them common ground to work together. The duo soon learn about Shadowlaw's Monitor Cyborgs and eventually land on the trail of Ryu.

Ken Masters, Ryu's friend/former training partner/rival, spends the off-time between fighting tournaments with his girlfriend Eliza, but finds himself unsatisfied. He awaits the day when he and Ryu can settle their "unfinished business" with another fight. Ryu himself travels throughout Asia in search of fights as well, focused on honing and perfecting his skills with each successive challenge. Once Bison discovers Ken and Ryu's shared history, things go from bad to worse. Ryu is blissfully unaware that he represents the key to either Shadowlaw's destruction or complete dominance...

As opposed to other movies based off of Street Fighter, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie stays as faithful as possible to the original game (and its various iterations of its day). Any changes made to the storyline still do their best to represent the spirit of the series. Soon after the release of this film, Capcom made a video game that follows the events of an upgraded Monitor Cyborg recording various Street Fighter battles. Several fight scenes and new ideas introduced in this film (the fight between Ryu and Sagat at the beginning of the film, Ken's longer hair during his training days with Ryu, how Ryu got his red headband, and a two-on-one battle with Ken and Ryu fighting Bison) eventually became part of the Street Fighter Alpha series. Because of its adherence to the canon and the spirit of the games, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie remains a huge fan favorite to this day.

The film's original American release in 1995 came with a healthy dose of censorship attached — cuts to the infamous Chun-Li shower scene accompanied toned-down blood and swearing. Manga Entertainment rectified this in 2006 with a dual-sided DVD that contained a (virtually) uncensored version of the English dub and a (completely) uncensored version of the original Japanese version of the film. In 2008, Netflix began streaming a fully uncut version of the film's English dub with either the English or Japanese soundtrack backing the dub. It is currently licensed by Discotek Media, who have announced plans for a DVD and Blu-ray re-release.

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Chun-Li and Cammy White.
  • Advertised Extra/Billing Displacement: Almost every piece of merchandise and promotional material released in Japan featured Cammy. She even received top billing on the Japanese flyer (as seen above) — despite her screen time totaling less than five minutes. Even Ken's girlfriend Eliza (a non-playable character in the series) has a bigger presence in the movie.
  • The Anime of the Game: It's right there, in the title.
  • Anime Theme Song: "Itoshisa to Setsunasa to Kokoro Tsuyosa to" plays during Ryu and Ken's fight with Bison. Street Fighter Zero, the Japanese version of the Street Fighter Alpha, features an instrumental version of the song for its Dramatic Battle mode.
  • Antagonist Abilities: Bison. To whit, his Psycho Power has Flight, Deflector Shields, Villain Teleportation, Death from Above, Mind Manipulation, and many other abilities that no one comes even close to countering. The only reason Ryu and Ken manage to defeat Bison is because they ganged up on him after he decided to be Willfully Weak.
  • Arc Words: "What do you see beyond your fist?" It's a question Ryu and Ken were asked by their late master. During the final battle with Bison, Ken has a moment of clarity and realizes the answer: "My fate."
  • Battle in the Rain: This happens in the movie's famous opening fight between Ryu and Sagat.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Chun-Li beats the living daylights out of Vega, but ends up severely wounded in the process and is immediately rushed to the hospital.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The movie ends with Bison appearing out of nowhere, driving a truck. Ryu then jumps toward the truck and is about to attack it when the credits roll.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Bison amplifies Ken's normally healthy competitiveness with Ryu to the point of hostility or even hatred.
  • The Cameo: Akuma has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in Calcutta.
  • Canon Immigrant: Dr. Senoh, the old scientist who works for Shadowlaw, makes a cameo appearance in Bison's Street Fighter Alpha 2 ending.
  • Climb, Slip, Hang, Climb: Seen near the end of the movie while Ryu is free climbing in the mountains of Cambodia. A foothold collapses beneath his weight, though he saves himself by quickly grabbing onto a spur of rock.
  • Combat Pragmatism: It's called "Street Fighter" for a reason: because there aren't any rules, except to be the last man standing. And the characters are fully aware of that fact, because their lives usually depend on it.
    • Chun-Li uses her bedroom lamp and her couch as improvised weapons, to defend herself against Vega's claw. She also grabs hold of the rafters to give herself extra momentum to kick/shove him straight through the wall and out of her apartment.
    • Ryu and Ken also exemplify it, by teaming up to take on Bison. Near the end of the fight, Ryu even goes so far as to grab Bison's legs to hold him still, so Ken could nail him with his Tastumaki Senpuu Kyaku.
  • Combined Energy Attack: The battle with Bison concludes with Ryu and Ken throwing both their Hadokens at once. Their combined might overwhelms him, blasting him straight through his VTOL, causing it to explode around him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Guile gets his ass firmly handed to him by Bison. To elaborate, Bison's Teleport Spam left everything, even his Sonic Boom, useless, and he wore himself out trying to hit him. Once Guile was too tired to fight back, Bison one-shotted him, making it a Victory By Endurance.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Blanka, Cammy, Dee Jay, Sagat, T. Hawk, and Zangief all receive this treatment.note 
    • E. Honda fights Dhalsim while in India. Afterwards, he appears again during the final battle for no reason other than to fall off a cliff with Balrog.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Chun-Li ultimately does this to Guile. He goes from ignoring her when they first met to vowing to get revenge on Bison after she was injured by Vega.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Invoked in the opening scene, which recounts the fateful battle between Ryu and Sagat.
  • Effeminate Misogynistic Guy:
  • Evil Genius: Bison's head scientist clearly enjoys his job.
  • Fanservice: The entire scene in Chun-Li's apartment, including the shower scene. It also contains...
    • Fan Disservice: Chun-Li fights and gets injured by Vega while wearing a loose fitting T-shirt.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Moments before the battle with Bison, Ryu is forced to face his best friend, Ken, who'd been enslaved by Bison's Psycho Power. Rather than fight back against his attacks, Ryu tries getting through to him, by reminding Ken of who he was and their friendship. He takes a beating, but ultimately succeeds without throwing a single punch.
  • Foot Focus: The audience gets treated to multiple close-ups of Chun-Li's bare feet, between her Shower Scene and her fight with Vega. They're the first thing you see at the start of said shower scene, again when she finally steps out of the shower, another when she slumps against the couch after Vega kicks her, again when she steps on his chest (then his face), another when he places his feet against hers and pushes her back toward the rafters, the entire time she's kicking the crap out of him against the wall, and finally we get a gratuitous close-up of both soles as she kicks/shoves him straight through it and out of her apartment.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The Monitor Cyborgs analyzing the fighters. Pause and you can see lots of stats.
    • When Chun-Li is presenting her briefing to Interpol about some of the characters, pause and you can see their profiles behind her. They are identical to Capcom's profiles of them. In the English version, while both Balrog and Vega's profiles are listed under their English names, their Japanese names can be seen in the comments section.
    • If you pause at just the right time during the montage scene in Calcutta, you'll spot Akuma meditating against a wall.
  • Gainax Ending: The film ends with Bison trying to run down Ryu in a semi-truck.
  • Heroic Build: You can count the number of guys who don't have super-muscular builds on one hand. Sagat and Bison notably take this to almost Top-Heavy Guy proportions.
  • I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: Ryu's fight with a brainwashed Ken.
  • Improvised Weapon: During her fight with Vega, Chun-Li tries to defend herself from his claw by using the lamp post in her apartment, which he cuts in half. But when he cuts her cheek and makes a show of Licking the Blade, she retaliates by throwing her couch at him.
  • Ken Doll Anatomy: Ironically, Ken himself. He is shown naked with no genitalia while Bison brainwashes him.
  • Kick Chick: Chun-Li.
  • Lowered Monster Difficulty: After mopping the floor with Guile thanks to his Psycho Power, Bison decides to fight Ryu and Ken without it. He loses.
  • Licking the Blade: Done by Vega, to taunt Chun-Li after cutting her cheek. He winds up regretting it a moment later. See the A Taste Of Their Own Medicine entry.
  • Market-Based Title: The film, known in Japan as Street Fighter II Movie, was retitled Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie for its overseas release to avoid confusion with the live action film.
  • Meditation Powerup: Ken regains his strength and center after Bison nearly kills him through meditation.
  • Mind Rape: Bison uses a combination of technology and his Psycho Power to invade Ken's mind and brainwash him. Ken screams his head off the the whole time.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Ken's eyes become small and beady while being brainwashed.
  • Mood Whiplash: Near the end of the movie, Guile returns to the hospital to discover that Chun-Li died from her injuries that she got in her fight with Vega. This turns out to be a rather messed-up prank that she plays on him, but everything worked out in the end.
  • Mythology Gag: An unintentional one on the part of the animators, but in the comments section of different YouTube videos of fight between Ryu and Sagat, fans have snarked that Sagat was a noob for using an unsafe jump in and not expecting Ryu's Shoryuken on wakeup.
  • Neck Snap: Cammy does this to the British Minister of Justice, Albert Sellers.
  • Nipple and Dimed: The uncensored Shower Scene of Chun-Li features her nipples.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Semi-subverted, during Ryu's match with Fei Long. Ryu defeats him in short order, leaving him with a broken arm and dislocated shoulder.
  • Not Quite Dead: After being thrown off a mountain by Ryu and Ken, Bison looks like he was done for. But at the very end of the movie, he turns out to be just fine and tries to run over Ryu in a truck.
  • Not Worth Killing: Bison invokes this after humiliating Guile. Just as it seems he's about to finish him off, Bison stifles a laugh and decides Guile isn't worth the effort.
  • Panty Shot: This is seen several times during Chun-Li's fight against Vega.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Pronunciation:
    • Oh, Sagat? The "moo tie" champ?note 
    • Also, "Ree-you". The actual pronounciation is closer to "R'you".
  • Power Level: Ryu's potential fighting capacity is 3620. Martial arts masters are said to only average at least 2000.
  • Reality Ensues: Chun-Li does manage to defeat Vega when he attacks her, but not before he injures her more than a bit. And consider he's using a razor-sharp claw, it's no surprise she spends the rest of the movie sidelined. It also didn't help that during the whole fight she's just wearing a night shirt, which hardly provides decent protection in an actual life-or-death battle.
  • Ret Canon: This movie influenced numerous aspects of the Street Fighter Alpha series.
  • The Rival: The movie plays up this aspect of Ken's character, by having him repeatedly reminisce about his sparring days with Ryu and their promise to settle their rivalry once and for all, in a match to determine which of them is the superior fighter.
  • Second Person Attack: The film includes a lengthy example of this at the end of Chun-Li's fight with Vega, where she kicks the ever living sh*t out of him with her Lightning Kick. And ends it by putting him through the wall with both feet!
  • Series Continuity Error: One of Bison's monitors lists the name of Ryu and Ken's sensei as "Goutetsu"; while the film's producers intended to use "Goutetsu" as the name for Ryu and Ken's sensei, nobody spoke his name. After Gouken (a Canon Immigrant from a Street Fighter II manga) became Ryu and Ken's sensei, Capcom used Goutetsu as the name of Gouken and Akuma's sensei.
  • Shoryuken: It wouldn't be Street Fighter without it. It's first seen near the end of Ryu's fight with Sagat, at the beginning of the film, and seen again when Ryu nails Bison with it, during their showdown at the end.
  • Shout-Out: The President of the United States is named after Edward Pressman, a veteran film producer whose credits include the live action film.
  • Shower Scene: The movie provides one of the earliest and most well known examples in anime. In fact, word of Chun-Li's shower scene actually helped the film gain notoriety, during the time of its original release.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The movie refers to Bison's organization as "Shadowlaw" instead of "Shadaloo", even on printed documents. Capcom used the "Shadowlaw" spelling in the manuals for the home versions at the time before making "Shadaloo" the standard spelling.
  • Stat-O-Vision: The Monitor Cyborgs have this ability.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Bison's Psycho Power is so utterly powerful, that the heroes can't even scratch him. Guile gets curbstomped, and all Ryu manages to do on his own is singe Bison's cape. It's only once he stops using it out of frustration that Ryu and Ken are able to defeat him.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: It's practically what the movie's about, considering the video game it's based on. Gravity defying spinning kicks, dragon punches, ki blasts and elemental powers are all accounted for. It's as faithful an adaptation as it's ever likely to get.
  • A Taste Of Their Own Medicine: Chun-Li didn't appreciate the stunt Vega pulled, so she paid him back by returning the favor four times over: first by hitting him in the face with her couch, followed by repeatedly hitting him in the face with her Spinning Bird Kick, then pushing him back down on the floor, by stepping on his chest when tried to get up, and finally planting her barefoot on his cheek and doing a full pirouette (see at 5:07-6:03 here).
  • Title: The Adaptation
  • They Have Served Their Purpose/They Have Failed Me: Just before departing for Cambodia, Bison orders Sagat to eliminate Cammy and Vega, since he no longer had a need for the former, while the latter failed to carry out his assignment to kill Chun-Li.
  • To the Pain: Vega does this to Chun-Li — and pays dearly for it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The film never shows Sagat again after Bison gives him the order to dispose of Cammy and Vega.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Guile almost fights Chun-Li at one point. He stops when he learns that Bison killed her father. This is also played straight when Vega attacks her.