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The series as a whole

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Ryu. Is he an exceptional example of the warrior spirit and also one of the finest examples of how a Blood Knight can be a genuinely good person? Or is he a flat out generic "karate man" who doesn't have a life outside of fighting? The former often like to point out his Character Development in the Street Fighter Alpha series. The latter often point that aside from the first game, Ryu is very much a Supporting Protagonist as well as a Living MacGuffin in the main series.
  • Bragging Rights Option:
    • Akuma is traditionally one of the most well-rounded characters in the series, with incredible combo potential. He's built specifically for players that enjoy Ryu and Ken, but want to be exceptionally flashy. His super attack, the Raging Demon, is an especially awesome and humiliating way to defeat an opponent, being one of the most damaging throws in the game and serving as proof that you've read your opponent's moves. Ending a round with it even produces a unique screen flash with a giant Kanji appearing (usually "Heaven").
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    • This also often applies to Evil Ryu as well, who possesses extremely similar abilities to Akuma.
  • Complete Monster: M. Bison is the head of Shadaloo, and desires world domination and ultimate power. A talented martial artist who killed his mentor, Bison willingly cast aside the good within himself to gain Psycho Power. Bison kills Chun-Li's father, and also has Juri's parents murdered, also maiming the latter's left eye. Kidnapping teenaged girls and having his scientists brainwash them into becoming his "Dolls", Bison links their life force to his, to ensure they will die if they betray and kill him for his cruel treatment. Setting his rights on taking Ryu's body when his own begins to ail, Bison torments Ryu by forcing him to fight his best friend and subjecting Ryu to his own Psycho Power to try and rend his mind. Attempting to gain control of seven powerful satellites, Bison intends to use them to cause havoc across the globe with their deadly electromagnetic pulse waves, the ensuing chaos of which would elevate his own Psycho Power to godlike levels, allowing him to rule supreme. A vile man of limitless ambition, Bison is a man who will kill or hurt anyone he has to get what he desires.
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  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Fanon really likes the idea of Ryu/Chun-Li. Street Fighter V's "Hot Package" special edition cover art only adds more fuel to the fire. The Street Fighter EX 2 Plus manhua actually has them getting married.
    • His questionable orientation aside, fans have toyed with the idea of Zangief getting together with his No. 1 fan, R. Mika.
    • On the Crack Pairing side, there's R. Mika/Hakan. Many wish these two would at least cross paths, even if their encounter doesn't become romantic (which wouldn't be good, given Hakan is Happily Married with kids).
    • Juri/Cody and Juri/Adon, as far as hetero Juri pairings go.
  • Fanon:
    • It's a general consensus in the fandom that Ken beat Ryu when they met during the events of II. Ken promised not to marry Eliza until he defeated Ryu in a fair fight (during their match in Alpha 2, Ryu was preoccupied with other matters, namely the aftermath of his fights with Sagat and Akuma), and their marriage turned out to be canon. By the time of IV (one year later), Eliza is expecting a child and actually gives birth to Mel in SSFIV; Mel appears as a child in III.
    • Chun-Li is usually given a surname of Xiang/Zhang (originating from the live-action movie, where most of the characters were given full names). It might actually be Chung, but this piece of info reportedly came from a source in the early '90s and was probably forgotten or kicked out of canon by Capcom. The games don't bother giving Chun-Li a full name (unless that is her actual full name, given how most Chinese given and family names are monosyllabic).
    • Thanks to the first live-action movie and American cartoon, several additional names have stuck such as Ryu's last name (Hoshi), Sagat's first name (Victor), Guile's full name and rank (Colonelnote  William F. Guile), and since he was called Dr. Dhalsim in the movie, Dhalsim would be his last name.
    • In the EX series, a common theory claims that EX is meant to be a retelling of Street Fighter Alpha/Street Fighter II. This one isn't so far-fetched, given the appearance and apparent motivations of the cast, the SFII and SFA vets in particular, and also how some of the Arika characters' stories was entwined with the SF universe (like Doctrine Dark being an ex-USAF soldier under Guile's command who went crazy after his entire unit was decimated by troops commandeered by Rolento, or Allen having a rivalry with Ken).
    • Ibuki is highly subjected to this, particularly in rumors that she's the daughter of Geki from the original Street Fighter.
    • Fans often assume that the Shadow transformation from Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter happens in the series as well. UDON even used it in the comic.
    • Until Capcom canonized it, Charlie Nash's name was the combination of his American and Japanese names.
    • Many fans claim Rose is a grown-up Anita from Darkstalkers.note 
  • Foe Yay: Vega has a one-sided case with Chun-Li. She's a cop who's only concerned with arresting Bison (and him, by association) by any means necessary, but Vega shows concern for Chun-Li because of her beauty; he looks forward to the next time when they may cross paths.
  • Fountain of Memes: Any depiction of Bison.
  • I Liked It Better When It Sucked: A minor example. The first live action film and the cartoon series are both meme fountains for their cheesiness. More faithful adaptations like Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie and the UDON comics, despite being well-received throughout the fandom, don't get quoted anywhere near as much.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Pretty much one of the biggest complaints about Street Fighter is that it's one of the most popular fighting game series. Some newcomers who are interested in the games may start to despise them since the series attracts so many pro-gamers and fighting game champs who've mastered all the characters and their tactics, resulting in a Curb-Stomp Battle for newbies trying to get into it. The fact that certain characters can spam attacks until an opponent can die also results in some players rage quitting and ditching the games entirely. It certainly doesn't help that even some of the most dedicated fans of the franchise view the series as Capcom's primary source of easy money.
  • Memetic Badass: Between his hyper-patriotic design, being a Game-Breaker in his debut game, the protagonist of the Street Fighter movie and the cartoon series, and a frequent source of memes, Guile is often said to be completely unstoppable, and his theme song a catalyst for hilariously impossible feats:
    Comment on Guile's Theme: I fell asleep with this playing, I woke up ripped with a tattoo of the American flag on my newly formed 32 inch left bicep.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Blanka is well-liked by Brazilian gamers despite him being associated with a quite stereotypical view of the Amazon Jungle. This is because Street Fighter II was the first widespread example of an individual video game character explicitly representing the country.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Many fans tend to complain whenever a Street Fighter adaptation that has M. Bison as the Big Bad casts Guile as The Protagonist instead of Ryu. In Street Fighter II and its variations, Bison is the personal arch-nemesis of Guile, not Ryu. The developers also considered Guile the protagonist of the game, though starting with the Alpha series, Bison does take an interest in Ryu for his plans and by V, Ryu is the only one who can stop him.
  • Moe: Chun-Li is the biggest source of Badass Adorable fan art. Sakura, Ibuki, and Elena, all of whom are spunky, happy-go-lucky fighters who attend high school (formerly in Sakura's case), aren't too far behind in this department.
  • Ugly Cute: Blanka. A green-skinned feral guy with fangs, clawed fingernails, and orange/red masses of hair on his head, chest, forearms and shins, who can electrify his opponents. But he loves his mother and friends (like his "master" Dan and Sakura), and can be very nice if he doesn't consider you a bad guy.
  • Values Dissonance: Also overlaps with Artistic License – Sports as well, from a Japanese POV with both Mike in SFI and Balrog in SFII: In their original backstories, they were originally both expelled from boxing after they accidentally killed their opponents in the ring. In Japan, killing your opponent in an official-sanctioned martial arts match (boxing, karate, judo, etc.), even if it was accidental, could and can destroy the career of the person responsible for it. Since both Mike and Balrog are Americans, their backgrounds were retconned with more realistic explanations as to why they aren't professional boxers anymore—that they ignored the rules of the ring and were overly violent.
  • Woolseyism: Cammy's English ending in Super Street Fighter II has Bison claim they were in love rather than her being his clone, with implied brainwashing as the cause and leaving her devastated either way. The American cartoon also used the "brainwashed lovers" plot point, and several fanfic writers have written about the localized revelation or her being his clone AND lover.

The first live-action film

  • Awesome Ego: M. Bison. He has a Napoleonesque painting of himself in his living room and plans to establish a Capital City and a currency named after him. No one's complaining, though.
  • Awesome Music: Not many people know that the movie had its own soundtrack, a collection of soundtrack-exclusive hip-hop songs from some of the biggest and best at the time. A video was even produced for the MC Hammer song "Straight to My Feet," whose video prominently features Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Guile is attacked by a hitman posing as a waiter while discussing his plan for dealing with Bison with the other Allied Nations personnel. It is revealed that the hitman was working for the Shadaloo Tong. However, this scene is never mentioned again and serves no purpose, since Sagat (the Tong's leader) is already in captivity at that point.
  • Broken Base:
    • The film itself gets this. There are those who consider it to be a terrible, In Name Only adaptation that pales in comparison to the likes of Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. Others, however, consider it to be a fun lighthearted adaptation. They also like to point out that the series didn't have much of a plot at the time of the film's release.
    • Guile being the protagonist instead of Ryu. Some see it as a modern example of Mighty Whitey. Others feel making Guile the protagonist makes sense since the Alpha games weren't made yet, and at the time Ryu didn't have a personal relationship with Bison while Guile did.
    • Blanka being the mutated form of Charlie. In the games, Blanka and Charlie are completely different characters and Shadaloo has nothing to do with Blanka. Some, however, actually like the idea behind this subplot as it gives Blanka a sense of importance in the storyline, while Guile's deceased war buddy Charlie was only talked about and never seen until the Alpha series. The movie both explains Blanka's appearance and shows Charlie's connections to Guile.
  • Cliché Storm: A few of the most prominent action movie clichés show up.
  • Critical Dissonance: The movie was ripped apart by critics and some fans, but was still a big box office success. It was also Van Damme's second highest grossing movie at the time, only slightly below Timecop by a couple million in profit.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Bison's (in)famous Tuesday line. Chun-Li emotionally called him out for having her father killed. Bison couldn't remember it because it was, well, Tuesday. Sure, it's horrible, but the build-up and delivery of the line was so glorious that it spawned a trope and a meme that often runs on this.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Even those who hate the movie love Zangief. It helps that Andrew Bryniarski captured the essence of the character, looked the part, and had some of the film's best lines.
    • Dee Jay, who tends to get the snarkiest lines and expressions, as he's not on-board with Bison's brand of madness but is too smart to say it to his face.
    • Vega only has four lines total, but is one of the characters most accurate to his game counterpart, including the looks department. His implied relationship with Sagat also won him fans.
  • Evil Is Cool: Bison is fondly regarded by fans, thanks to the acting chops of Raúl Juliá.
  • Fountain of Memes: There's a reason that on the meme page for the franchise, most of the ones from the film come from Bison — virtually every line he has is quotable, some just more than others.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • The final Guile vs. Bison battle takes on a darker tone when you realize that Van Damme is beating up a terminal cancer patient.
    • The Sequel Hook showing that Bison lives. But Juliá did not.
  • Ham and Cheese: Juliá's portrayal of Bison. It's even the page picture on the trope page:
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Guile flirting with Chun-Li at the end of the movie becomes this after Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey, who have voiced Guile and Chun-Li, respectively, since Street Fighter IV, got married in real life.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Vega and Sagat can be read as being in a relationship. Sagat praises Vega's fighting skills as nearly equal to his own, Vega knows him well enough to read his intentions via glances and is very close to him in the prison scenes, and they tag-team Ryu together.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Many watch the movie just to see Juliá's performance as Bison.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The charismatic, witty M. Bison clawed his way from a mere drug dealer and killer to rule Shadaloo via brilliance and skill. Attempting to conquer the world, Bison demands ransoms for hostages as a front for his real scheme of turning captives into new super soldiers, to wipe away all distinctions between mankind so the world may know peace under his fist. Bison intends to force nations to submit to him economically and utilize his own currency in place of theirs, while putting in a multitude of contingencies against the heroes when they come to stop him. With a respect towards Colonel Guile, his nemesis, Bison also enters into battle with a set number of advantages to empower himself, even as he savors the chance to engage and kill Guile in direct combat. Rarely taking anything personally, Bison brings a unique charm to his dark vision, convinced his rule is best for all humanity.
  • Narm Charm: There is some kind of charm behind all the intentional and unintentional hilarity.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Leatherface plays Zangief.
    • Vega was Jay Tavare's first acting role. Modern gamers might recognize him as the voice of Code Talker.
  • Rooting for the Empire: On the one hand, you have Van Damme as the boring, traditional hero giving a bland, corny performance. On the other, you have the magnificently absurd and entertaining performance of Juliá, a great actor who tragically died in his prime shortly after completing the film, and chose it to be his last role so his kids could enjoy it. He also has the stupid but entertaining Zangief and Deadpan Snarker Dee Jay on his side. Who do you think the audience is siding with?
  • So Bad, It's Good: One of the most prominent among game-based films.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Heroic army lead by a handsome blond American takes on a crazy megalomaniac who wants to take over the world and his shiny-domed weapons supplier. Are we sure this wasn't originally a script for an unmade G.I. Joe film?note 
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
    • Watch the "making of" featurette on the DVD. The actors seem well aware of the ridiculousness of the movie they are making. Director Steven E. de Souza seems to be under the impression that he's making the next Die Hard or Lethal Weapon, though in the commentary he notes the tongue-in-cheek nature of the film.
    • Juliá is a standout example: yes, he's being a ham to such a degree that's he's practically consuming parts of the set, but it's absolutely clear it's how he thought the character should be best approached. He took the role of Bison because his kids really wanted him to, and it is obvious when watching that he's doing his absolute best to give them a performance to remember and that would delight them... because he knew that the cancer he's struggling with would claim him sooner rather than later.
  • Video-Game Movies Suck: Unless you're in the So Bad, It's Good camp.
  • Vindicated by History: Fans are a lot kinder to this movie than they were when it first came out. Some like it for the So Bad, It's Good factor, while others Watch It for the Meme. In addition, there are those who think that while this was cheesy, given Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li's even more thorough panning it could have been a lot worse.
  • Watch It for the Meme: Specifically, watch it for Juliá's ham-tastic acting.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Jean-Claude Van Damme being cast as Guile, apparently at the behest of Capcom executives and one of the first ones cast. It fits with the whole "guy who kicks people" aspect, but there's an inherent and undeniable silliness in Guile —an all-American U.S. soldier who proudly hails from the United States of America— having a Belgian accent thicker than waffle batter.
    • Exactly whose idea was it to cast a 52-year-old classically-trained theater actor with absolutely zero martial arts background in an action movie based on a video game? Juliá's kids, that's who. However, as it turns out, he's by far the most memorable character of the movie for his Large Ham performance, so it all turned out good.
    • In the games, Cammy is a muscular Amazon with a British or Japanese accent. So, this role obviously goes to tiny Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue. She was apparently cast at the absolute last minute before shooting began in South East Queensland, because they needed someone in Australia who could be counted on to learn lines fast.

The American series

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • In "Getting to Guile," Guile has a dream where Escher turns into, of all things, a werewolf. The same episode had giant versions of the cast pushing Guile around. That's not even getting into the bacon house monster that Guile and Bison walk inside of in said dream sequence.
    • Every time Blanka flips out in the later episodes.
    • "Final Fight":
      • A restaurant patron is caught and dragged by a hook after Damnd throws a smoke bomb inside the building. It isn't revealed who caught him or what happens to him afterwards.
      • Damnd sticks electrical equipment into his mouth for no apparent reason.
  • Bizarro Episode: "The Warrior King." Even if you knew about the crossover event that was going on at the time between this show and all the other USA Network original cartoons (Savage Dragon, Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, and Wing Commander Academy), the presence of the eponymous character, his homeworld depicted in the opening scene, and the orb that powers it just make the whole episode an Out-of-Genre Experience for the show.
  • Broken Base: There are many fans who feel that this is a bad adaptation of the series, much like the 1994 movie. Others, however, feel that while the series is flawed, it is not as bad as most make it out to be. Those who like it have noted that the series started to become a bit more accurate to the games as it went on.
  • Critical Dissonance: While the series have been panned by critics, there are fans who enjoy it for a variety of reasons.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: One similar to the example in the movie. Chun-Li tries to call Bison out for having her father killed. A completely unfazed Bison replies "Yes, yes. I killed your father. What is is with you women anyway? I killed my father too and you don't hear me whining about it!" in such a hammy and gleeful manner you can't help but laugh.
  • Evil Is Cool: Bison is one of the most popular characters in the series due to his Fountain of Memes.
  • Fountain of Memes: Bison has several memes that are very popular today.
  • Growing the Beard: Season 2 has several character arcs through its episodes (i.e. Blanka's accidental further mutation, a growing rivalry between Ken and Ryu, Cammy's brainwashing, and Bison's acquisition of an ancient healing statue that, over the course of the season, drives him to world-destroying insanity). All this and Final Fight too. Adding in some Alpha characters didn't hurt either.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Bison's back-up plan in "The Medium is the Message", which involves Balrog faking footage of Guile, Blanka, and Chun-Li destroying sacred idols in a temple to anger the populace, is even harder to watch now that such technology exists in real life and is available to pretty much anyone.
    • When Rose looks at her cards, the final one is "Doom," which is portrayed as a flaming tower. In almost every one of her endings in the games, she bites the dust or is somehow otherwise imperiled.
    • In "The Warrior King," Bison gains control of the Orb of Power, which can create all sorts of weather and nature phenomenon, and holds the world for ransom with it; one of his demonstrations of power is to create a flood in Tokyo, Japan. Fourteen years later...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Many fans complained about how "The World's Greatest Warrior" depicted Gouken as merely being "injured" by Akuma. It would later be established in Street Fighter IV that Gouken did not die and was simply hiding while recovering after Akuma attacked him.
    • In "The Warrior King", Chun-Li wears a formal dress to a ball. She wants to get out of it and into her Street Fighter uniform as quickly as possible, though, because she has a hard time fighting in the dress. In Street Fighter IV, she wears a dress as an alternate outfit. The popularity of the dress would eventually lead to it being her default alternate outfit.
    • "No one has ever defeated Sagat, and no one ever will!" Cut to Street Fighter IV, when Sagat is top tier.
    • Guile's Flash Kick sends out a projectile in addition to working as an anti-air attack. More than 20 years later, Guile's V-Trigger 2 in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition buffs his Flash Kick the exact same way.
  • Idiot Plot: In "No Way Out," the villains probably would have won if they just used the tanks to bust down the gate first.
  • Memetic Badass: Bison.
  • Narm: Some of the music falls into this; it's meant to be dramatic, but the melodramatic way it's executed evokes giggles instead. One such example is the music heard when Cammy tells Bison, "Nicely done, love. Here, give us a big kiss", and Guile shakes his fists: "NOOOOO!!!"
  • So Bad, It's Good: For those who consider the series to be a guilty pleasure.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: In "Final Fight", Mike Haggar is relegated to the sidelines while Cody, Guy, Ryu, and Ken save Jessica from the Mad Gear gang. In the game, Haggar is one of the three playable characters and, to some, is an example of a Memetic Badass. So his limited role in this episode is a letdown.
  • Wangst: Blanka is sometimes criticized for being incredibly whiny about the whole "mutation" thing. While he was unwillingly mutated, literally every single appearance that centered around him had him angsting in some way or another.
  • Watch It for the Meme: Admit it — you're watching to see Bison yell stuff in a hilarious manner.

UDON's comic books

  • Hilarious in Hindsight: There's one story in the New Generation GN where E. Honda and Hakan argue before the Olympic Wrestling Committee to have their respective sports represented in the games. They're outraged when they're told the next available spot for both sports would be in the 2032 games. The IOC dropped wrestling from the Olympics (starting in 2020) about two weeks after the GN came out.

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