Super Suck Unfighter Four
A dude doesn’t expect much from a fighting game adaptation. No plot? Fine. The games had nonexistent plots, so the anime doesn’t need one either. Bad characterization? Nope. Chun Li doesn’t need to be DEEP, she just needs to have kickass thighs.
All a fighting game adaptation needs in order to be watchable is some decent, extended action scenes. The first Street Fighter anime movie did that. It wasn’t a masterpiece like some 90’s anime movies of the action persuasion (Ninja Scroll, Ghost in the Shell, etc.), but it was pretty damn watchable.
Fighting games are about fighting, so any anime that rifts off of them should also be about fighting.
Whoever made the Super Street Fighter 4 OAV didn’t get that memo.
The primary sin that the OAV commits is its lack of action scenes. There’s one fight scene at the beginning of the movie where Juri and Chun Li clash, and for the five seconds or so that they actually fight it’s pretty damn cool. Both characters show off several of their trademark moves. They trade blows. Things are starting to heat up, like the real action’s about to bust out since you know Cammy and Guile are right around the corner.
But the fight stops. Juri pulls off some shounen fighting anime super move that consists of her moving super-duper-ultra fast, then she follows that up with a Super Saiyan Kick that nearly kills Chun Li in one blow.
All of that tension– all of those exchanged blows– were for naught. Nevermind that this doesn’t play like an actual fight in any Street Fighter game, where the only way such a power move could take someone down so easily is if you had already whittled down their health bar significantly (and that wasn’t the case with Chun Li in this fight). It isn’t a matter of the fight not feeling like something out of a Street Fighter game. This is a matter of the fight being poorly conceived.
My primary problem with many shounen fighting series is the fact that it almost always comes down to some “secret technique.” It isn’t about someone outsmarting their opponent or wearing them down and getting in one final blow or anything like that. It’s all about finding the right super move to use at the right time that’ll go through your opponent’s defenses as if they weren’t there. Shounen fighting series play like werewolf movies in that regard– it’s all about finding someone with a silver bullet and firing that bullet at the right time to finish off the big bad. That’s fine in a god damn werewolf movie, but that just plain sucks within the structure of any other storyline.
The only thing that SSF4 changes in this equation is the fact that it’s the villain using this power-up. It was somewhat excusable in the first scene, since you could say it was used to show how much of a badass Juri by taking down Chun Li in such an easy manner, but then she uses it against Guile as well at the end of the OAV. Her fight with Guile played just like Chun Li’s. A few blows are landed by each of them, then Juri turns on her Feng Shui Engine and KOs Guile in one killer hit. This aint’ fucking Killer Instinct with its auto-finish Ultra Combos or any shit like that, so these insta-kills just don’t make any sense.
All of that could have been forgiven if the sole remaining World Warrior, Cammy, had an awesome showdown with Juri. They were on board a jet. The loading bay was open. Juri couldn’t use her super move because it would blow that jet clear out of the sky and kill both of them. The playing field was leveled, so you’d think there would be some kickass final battle or something. Right? Right?
Nope. Juri shoves one of Bison’s comatose chick clones (the MacGuffin that Juri wanted for her sugar daddy Seth) at Cammy, causing both Cammy and the clone to fall out of the plane. No climactic fight. Cammy didn’t even get to pull off a Cannon Spike or anything like that. She threw a few punches and kicks earlier, but she didn’t get to bust out any of her trademarks the way Guile and Chun Li did earlier.
The OAV ended with a stretcher being shoved out of a plane. That’s it. That sucks.
So, there’s about 30 seconds worth of fighting in this OAV. 30 seconds of Street Fighting in a Street Fighter OAV. What else takes up that screen time?
Because, you know, Street Fighter is well renown for its plot and dialogue.
I know you gotta have some semblance of a plot linking the fight scenes. Unfortunately, said “plot” basically consists of Juri getting lengthy eye exams at Seth’s HQ, all of which end with Juri gritting her teeth in a toothy, sinister smile while saying how it’s so fun to hit people. Yeah, that’s fine when you do it once. It’s cool to see that Juri’s a fucking nutcase who wants to beat the shit out of everything that moves. But you have her do this every single time she talks. And the rest of the characters just stand around and say “Gasp! S.I.N. is up to something!” “What? S.I.N.! What are they up to?” “Something. S.I.N. is up to… something!” “No! Not S.I.N.!”
To make it worse, the characters actually say “es ay en.” Not “sin.” They pronounce each letter. Every time. It’s like Cammy and Guile are too illiterate to catch the wordplay or something. Y’all are supposed to be native English speakers. The map in every SF game says y’all are from American and England. Y’all should be down with simple anagrams. I seriously doubt being born in one of Bison’s cloning vats made you not comprehend that sort of thing, Cammy. I’m really disappointed in you.
And that brings me to my last gripe. Notice how I only mentioned five characters in this entire rant? Juri, Cammy, Guile, and Chun Li are the only ones that get to fight. Well, maybe you can count other Juri and Juli, who make a brief cameo appearance as the Bison clones that get their asses handed to them by new Juri, but they don’t. Only four World Warriors get to show their stuff, while two others (Seth and Crimson Viper) make brief cameos so they can spout meaningless exposition.
No Ken. no Ryu. No Dhalsim. No Zangief. This may be a ~30 minute OAV, but you gotta cram more peeps into this thing. If you have that much time to spend on stupid dialogue that has absolutely no bearing on anything in the world, you can spend that time showing Ryu and Ken shooting the shit or Dan and Sakura training under a bridge somewhere or Rose reading Tarot cards for Adon or Sagat sharing a milkshake with Balrog. Anything. Something that actually tells us that we’re in the Street Fighter world.
The Super Street Fighter 4 OAV was like watching an episode of K-On. You know they can bust their moves, but they’d rather sit around and do nothing. That makes me a sad Street Fighter fanboy.