Monthly Archives: June 2017

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie [Fighting Game Week]

Type: An actual good movie!

Street_Fighter_II_The_Animated_Movie_(Japanese_pamphlet)

Synopsis: Col. William Guile, one of the greatest martial artists in the world, travels the global tournament circuit, using it to conceal his top secret mission as leader of an elite group of top secret international street fighters known only by their codename, Street Fighters! Wait, oh crap! Wrong one….Eh, close enough.

Pros: My long journey is over. I finally found a good adaptation of a fighting game. To tell the truth, I probably should have started here. Street Fighter II is an adaptation of Street Fighter II. You know, the fighting game that revolutionized the industry and basically gave birth to an entire sub genre? This film actually treats its source material with respect, FINALLY delivering great fighting scenes. The animation is on point, and so is the story. Basically, this evil tyrant called Bison is collecting powerful fighters, targeting two martial artists named Ryu and Ken specifically, while Interpol agent Chun-Li and Air Force Captain Guile try to hunt Bison down. The film does an admirable job cutting between the Ryu/Ken and Chun-Li/Guile pairings. But the best thing about this film is that is actually feels like a film instead of a game tie-in. Hilariously, the film ends with a ad for the Street Fighter movie made in America, and I kinda hope that part of the reasons this movie is so good was to spite the US live action version (though that film is a definite so-bad-its-good entry).

Cons: From a fan’s perspective, maybe some of the characters are slightly off character. Like, I don’t think T.Hawk is that eager for fight. But all the Street Fighter 2 casts are included, even if they came varying lengths in cameos. Now, let’s all be real here. One of the reasons this movie is so famous, aside form it’s quality, is because of the full frontal shower scene involving Chun-Li. And while I would argue that his is a bit gratuitous, it’s actually done for a stylistic reason. It’s set up as an omage to classic horror/suspense films, with Vega as the “slasher.”

Watch it?: If your going to watch any fighting game movie, make it this one.

MVP: Chin Li

3982538_std

I liked her delightful nature

Best Moment: Chun Li sitting on Guile’s car (Guile almost ran her over!)

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Street Fighter Alpha: Generations [Fighting Game Week]

Type: Prequel to a Sequel

street-fighter-alpha-generations.22867

Synopsis: Ok, look, here Ryu’s basic backstory. Ryu was raised by a martial artist named Gouken, whose brother killed their master after succumbing to the “Dark Hado,” or killing intent. When Ryu was around 23, Gouken was killed by his brother. Enraged, Ryu fought the evil Gouki (or Akuma), but lost, as he tapped into the Dark Hado as well. Intrigued, Gouki lets Ryu live so he can grow into a worthier challenger. Ryu, ashamed at his lose and confused about the Dark Hado, goes on a world journey to find other strong fighters and finds his own strength. Eventually, he is able to overcome the Dark Hado through the Power of Nothingness, finally defeating his own weaknesses. This movie, yeah, doesn’t really cover any of that.

Pros: I really liked the animation style used in this. It was a little muted, but the action was perfect. It was able to portray the energy that Street Fighter matches deserve. The story was alright, as the Ryu-Akuma story is probably the most straight forward story in the Street Fighter franchise. Nothing about over the top evil organizations here. Sakura makes an appearance, which was neat. Always fun to have her around.

Cons: While I found it muted, others may find the animation and quieter moments a little dour. And the story is strictly non-cannon. Just take the fact that Ryu wears street clothes as all the evidence you need. The core story remains the same. Gouki killed his master and brother. He wants to fight Ryu. Ryu struggles to control the Dark Hado inside him. But the details are changed. The Dark Hado is now a blood line technique instead of a side effect of training. Ken does not appear until the very end. It’s implied that Gouki is Ryu’s father (which, to be fair, has been a long standing fan theory). Oh, and Ryu beats Gouki. That’s something. Street Fighter fans will probably be annoyed, and normal viewers will probably find this pretty to look at. (And honestly? This is probably the most understandable Street Fighter anime to date).

Watch it?: Completely Optional.

MVP: The Animation

street-fighter-alpha-generations-20051104051107101

Damn, they looked good to me.

Best Moment: Sakura vs Ryu (we fight, to find that answer!)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Tekken: The Motion Picture [Fighting Game Week]

Type: So. Not. Cannon.

MV5BMTQ1NjUzODI4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDE0NzM5._V1_SX640_SY720_

Synopsis: Kazuya Mashima has a blood feud against his father, Heihachi Mashima, for throwing him off a cliff when he was a little kid. This is the plot for Tekken 1. This plot, ah, this plot does not stay consistent in our little “motion picture,” which throws in Cyborgs, Kangaroos, Hong Kong PD, and killer dinosaurs, who aren’t suppose to show up until Tekken 2! (Tekken is kinda a weird series).

Pros: Full disclosure-I am a huge Tekken fan. It’s my main fighting game series. I’ve played every entry, (though I played Tekken 6 on the psp). I still remember getting Tekken 3 and discovering that you have to block in a fighting game. So personally, it was a hoot noting all the glaring plot errors in this. Everyone else though…..

Cons: From a strict anime/film stand point, this thing is a mess: They try to mash Tekken 1 and 2 together, making Jun Kazama and Kazuya Mishima childhood friends. Setting the entire Iron First Tournament in a Battle Royal like island. A Sloppy story with truly cheap animation. The dialogue is laughable at best. Who approved this? Who saw this and said, “yeah, that’s a good idea. Let’s sale that.” This was released at the end of 1997, with Tekken 3 having been released a few months before in arcades, with a home release the following year. So maybe this was released to catch everyone up on the Tekken story? (Which makes no sense now that I think about it, because Tekken 3 is largely a soft-reboot of the series). I just cannot fathom why this was made so poorly. Because Tekken has a reputation as one of the most cinematic fighting game series in the industry. That’s part of why I fell in love with it. But this, this was embarrassing.

Watch it: Just go on Youtube and watch the victory cinematics.

MVP: No

tekken3

No.

Best Moment: No. (No)

Tagged , , , , ,

Samurai Showdown: The Motion Picture [Fighting Game Week]

Type: Samurai Showdown, now on Saturday Mornings!

61EWAF2G11L

Synopsis: Hey kids! Don’t forget to check out the latest totally tubalur episode of Samurai Showdown, where the bodacious Haomaru and the 5 Holy Warriors fight against the wickedly uncool Amakusa! It’s be knarly, to the MAX!!!

Pros: Ah…Samurai Showdown is a fun game. Made us all believe again.

Cons: Face Plam. Sigh. Stand Up. Leave.¬†Samurai Showdown is based on the Samurai Showdown fighting game, one of the first fighters to prioritize weapon based battle. The anime takes a decidely original take on the source material. It basically converts the game into a generic cartoon. Haomaru is turned from a drifting bad-ass to earnest and young lead characters, with 5 other characters turned into the standard good guy team. It is comicly far away from the original spirit of the franchise. It’s closest parallels would be the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat American cartoons. The game’s creators, SNK, had little creative input into the film, and I’m guessing that the anime studio was trying to get a kid friendly series out of this.

Watch it?: What, no!

MVP: Charlotte

animess1-04

She’s my main, sue me.

Best Moment: Whenever someone says “Holy Warriros” (so, so, so not a thing)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle [Fighting Game Week]

Type: BUSTA’ WOLF

10211

Synopsis: The fury has never been more fatal! Terry Bogart, fresh off this defeat of the man who killed his father, basks in the glory of victory by becoming a raging alcoholic. But he lost to some random stranger in shoulder pads, which makes it Ok to show your protagonist become a big baby over one lose.

Pros: It may have just been me, but the fighting in this was actually fairly decent. Not revolutionary, but mildly acceptable. Oh yeah, and Mai’s here! More Mai, more buys! But seriously, like it’s predecessor, the anime more or less adapts the plot of the game sequel. A villain named Krauser forces Terry, Andy, and Joe to reunite. There joined by Mai, a kunoichi whose in love with Andy. Now that I know that Andy was passed over by Terry as the successor of their martial art because Andy was too emotional, it makes his relationship with Mai make way more sense. The anime also throws in way more cameos from Fatal Fury mainstays, which was cool.

Cons: The kid character, Tony. Why. Just, why? Did Terry really need a sidekick who leaves his poor destitute single mother with no warning? Screw Tony. That aside, the anime itself fluxtuates in terms of animation quality, just like the other Fatal Fury films. And this time around, the Fatal Fury crew really don’t have a solid motivation to fight the antagonist. In Legend of the Hungry Wolf, they were getting revenge for the death of Terry and Andy’s father. In Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture, they were literally saving the world. But here, Terry, Andy, and Joe are getting even for a fight that Terry lost. It kinda makes them seem like sore losers more than anything else. Especially as they treat Terry’s lose almost as importantly as Bogart Sr.’s death. (On a side note: What’s up with Joe’s misogyny? Is it a normal character trait? He straight up insults Mai in every scene they share. It’s like he’s offended that she has a vagina).

Watch it?: The Fatal Fury saga must be experienced

MVP: Terry Bogart

ffova2-1

Dunk Terry is the best Terry

Best Moment: Terry plastered at the bat (I don’t know why I find this so amusing, but I do)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Fatal Fury: Legend of The Hungry Wolf [Fighting Game Week]

Type: No Mai, No Buy

220px-Fd12punch

Synopsis: Back in the day there use to be this thing called the “Fighting Game by SNK.” It was an alternative to the popular Street Fighter series for those who liked their fighting games with rolling dashes. This anime is an adaptation of SNK’s very first fighter, Fatal Fury, which sadly has no Mai Shiranui, and no Mai, no buy.

Pros: Ya know, these early 90’s Fatal Fury movies are starting to grow on me. I’m actually getting into the story of Terry, Andy, and Joe. And I don’t know anything about Fatal Fury! I actually know anything about the larger King of Fighters universe. But as a layman, I’m really digging these films. The plot of straight forward: a businessman called Geese Howard kills the father of two boys, who sweat to become strong enough to avenge their dad. After 10 years, the boys reunite and compete over who inherits the final technique from their master. Along the way, the befriend Joe the Mui Tai boxer. The film is dumb, and silly, but you’ll enjoy it in a ” c-movie rental” kinda way.

Cons: The animation’s bad. The dialogue is bad. The story is ill paced. The freaking fighting is bad! Why do fighting game anime always have bad fighting scenes!? For the life of me, I’ll never understand that. This film is, by all accounts, a bargain basement movie. You can point to so many bad things in this: Joe’s sudden inclusion into the cast, Terry’s tacked on love interest, that love interest’s cliche death, Terry implied to be the “hungry wolf” despite getting the final technique because he can control his emotions. Geese choosing not to hire people to simply shoot Terry and Andy, etc, etc. You could probably have a pretty fun night pointing out the bad things in this movie.

Watch it?: It’s bad, but fun bad.

MVP: Terry Bogart

terry

Kick Back!

Best Moment: Terry and Andy wearing the same outfits they had as children (meaning that actively sought out and bought the same outfits for 10 years)

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Mobile Fighter G Gundam

Type: Super Fighting Robots!

1298540840711

Synopsis: So what do you do after your Mecha series has gone on for 15 years with waning popularity? Some people would double down on what brought them to the dance in the first place…but screw that! Who needs introspective war narratives when you could have Giant Robots beat each other up real nice!!

Pros: One of the most interesting things about Mobile Fighter G Gundam is the history surrounding it. The anime premiered on the 15th anniversary of the Gundam series. It was a franchise reboot, and the first to diverge from the original “Universal Century” timeline. This newest entry into the Gundam franchise moved away from military stories to a outlandish martial arts story. And it worked! Fighter G did revive the Gundam franchise. I know that it was the first Gundam series I watched. It’s had clear influences on other media, from Gurren Laggan to Pacific Rim. And funny enough, Neon Genesis Evangelion would premiere a year after. The premise, which is very Shoen inspired, is that each nation now lives in orbiting space colonies. Every 4 years, they hold a world tournament where national representatives fight one another in Gundam Mechas. So you wind up with things like the Canadian Gundam fighting the Russian Gundam, and etc. This was the funnest aspect of the show, seeing what each nation’s Gundam looked like and fought. It may not sound very intellectual, but it was very fun.

Cons: This was very much a “boys manga” anime (even if it wasn’t based on any manga). There’s only one Female pilot in the entire show. The story is exactly what you think it is. A passionate protagonist enters a fighting tournament to help his family. He finds 4 rivals; a cocky American, a Posh Frenchman, a Stoic Russian, and a care-free Chinese teenager. Hmmm, America, Russia, France, and China, where have I head those names put together before….(also: sorry Britain, someone had to go!). The story will not blow your mind. It mostly goes from fight to fight. Tonaly, it’s a complete 180 from the rest of the Gundam franchise. So traditionalist won’t really enjoy it. And the animation hasn’t help up in the strictest sense.

Watch it?: Great Fun (4/5)

MVP: Domon Kasshu

img_show.aspx

Pilot of the GOD GUNDAM

Best Episode: Ep45. “Farewell Master: Master Asia’s Last Breath” (master vs student)

Tagged , , , , ,

Sebagebu

Type: Survival Game Club

bees

Synopsis: In a world not unlike our own, young women must fight for their lives in the cruel world they were born into. Momoka Sonokawa has little to rely on, other than her shooting skills and sharp instincts, in an school club where she must weigh survival against love. The love of not doing anything, money, and her general self interest.

Pros: The gimmick of this comedy is that the characters each have guns. This leads to every scenario and skit to eventually devolve into a shoot out. It can be something as official as a shooting competition, or something as trivial as who get to sit in the new fancy chair. Why do these high schoolers have guns? Because the premise of the show revolves around a “Survival Game Club,” in which members pretend to kill each other with airguns. The show, however, depicts these battles as bloody because it’s all in their “imaginations.” The show’s great. It’s hilarious. It’s full of references (flippin’ Predator shows up), and has what TV Troupes defines as “comedic sociopathy.” Meaning that the jokes often end with one extra nasty or mean action. For example, a character could jump out for hug and get hit instead. Classic joke. But in shows like Sebagebu!, the character then lands on the edge of a chair and gets their head cracked open, bleeding out on the floor while the other characters continue the conversation. It’s an extra but of spice that sets this show apart. Of course, the medium for best jokes comes from the main character, Momoka, who skirts the protagonist curse of blandness by basically being a selfish sociopath. She’s shot every member of the club in the back at least once. She’s hilarious.

Cons: The opening does not fit the tone of the show. When I first saw it, I thought I was going to have to lug my way through some NRA nut’s wet dream. Then there’s the “transformation sequences” for lack of a better term, then the girl’s each take out their guns. This doesn’t really work for the absurdist tone of the show and always felt our of place when it occurred. I got the feeling that these sequences where added when the show was running low on time. I should also point out the first half of episode 9 is a real snooze fest. Any scene without either the entire group or guns doesn’t work. Momoka’s solo adventures with her Otoku fan boy Lemon (the only consistent male presence, as the club is in an all girl’s school) works because she often resorts to shooting him. But luckily, ep9 was an isolated incident. The rest was gold.

Watch it: I hate guns, but I do love this (4/5)

MVP: Momoka

screenshot-202

There are multiples times when she tries to commit fraud to get rich!

Best Episode: Ep5. “Ascension!? Silent Survival / The Unkillable Twin Tail / Crusade – Raganarok of Angels and Demons” (I also recommend the Yakuza riff in ep6)

Tagged , , , , ,

Expelled from Paradise

Type: Almost there

cdd6a69ab9149244eb09ab105a0c63d61416485310_full

Synopsis: 98% of people live in the matrix. 2% of people live in the real world. I’m not sure why, they never really explain it. But then someone hacks the matrix, and the only anime solution is to send a pretty girl to fix it.

Pros: Expelled from Paradise is almost, almost a great film. It has all the elements. It has a glossy digital world. It has a determined female protagonist. It has a bare bones real world. It has a robot. An intelligent robot! The plot is straight forward. A security officer, Angela Balzac, is sent to stop a hacker in the real world, while learning about life along the way. She’s funny in that modern 2010’s anime kind a way. Haughty but likable. I really liked the A.I. character, Frontier Setter (was “Settler” too obvious?), and still feel his story had the most potential. That’s what I ultimately feel about the film. It was one good rewrite away from fufilling its potential.

Cons: The film employs 3D animation style with 2D-like designs. Visually, this actually works really well, as the styles blend nicely. Then the characters start moving. Movement, especially from Angela, looks too stiff and puppet like. But kudos for trying. Story wise, I think the film would have worked better if they cut one element from the story. Any element. Even the lazy biblical allusion could have been cut out (Is Frotier supposed to be Adam? Abel? That guy with the salty wife?) The thing is, the story is just a little too crowded, and would have benefited from a more concentrated, intimate plot. Ideally, something involving Frontier Setter. It’s status as a sentient A.I. with an appreciation for human culture and innate kindness is narrative gold. The story could have focused on his relationship with Angela, a digital citizen. Or his relationship with Dingo, a salt of the earth drifter. Or just his life as an artificial intelligence in a world where all the humans have chosen to live in a digital world. But instead, the film chooses the generic route and focuses on Angela’s mission with Dingo, and exploits her ignorance of the real world for wacky results. It even has the standard scene where Angela is accosted by creeps, beat them up for a while to show that she can “take care of herself,” but then gets rescued by Dingo and undermining her capabilities, because anime. In fact, the film could have benefited from not having Dingo. I like him well enough, but he doesn’t really add that crucial that couldn’t be written around. Going back to the story as a whole, it’s tone shifts from comedy to existential to action in a way that doesn’t mesh well. Although, I did laugh my ass off while watching the ending of the English dubb, because when Cowboy Dingo finally gets to sing a song on his guitar, his voice goes full Japanese. I always find it hilarious when the English writers don’t bother to translate a song.

Watch it: Honestly? Just skip to when Frontier Setter shows up

MVP: Frontier Setter

EpxJz9W

I can’t believe they let him go by himself. He must be so lonely.

Best Moment: Dingo’s song (The Japaneses sticks out soo badly!)

Tagged , , ,