Street Fighter Alpha / Generations Anime were not the prequels we wanted
The Street Fighter II Animated Movie is one of the greatest anime movies ever, not just based on a video game, it inspired the Street Fighter II V anime series as well as the Street Fighter Zero / Alpha spin-off series which sort of become mainline entries to the franchise. Eventually that new spin-off that was inspired by the anime movie got a movie of its own and a sequel / prequel. The trailer for the ALpha movie showed tons of potential despite it having been many years after the original. Here we take a look back at the two movies and how they fare today.
Street Fighter Alpha The Movie
It begins with some dark scenes with Akuma and what seems Evil Ryu using the dark hadou, and we get the intro pic that we’re about to watch Street Fighter Zero the animation OVA for the 10th anniversary of street fighter. After the kickass trailer I was full of hype and how could we go wrong but by the time I watched it I realized it sucked. I forced myself to like it watching it over and over again and couldn’t, I felt ripped-off since I had wasted $32 on the DVD. This was when DVDs were new and anime ones rather expensive.
It begins like a mystery and it’s rather weird, we don’t get an origin of who Akuma is as you’d expect from the trailer but we do get a quick rundown of who he is. And at his point Akuma was the coolest thing ever so we’re all salivating to see more of him in action. They introduce the new character Sakura and she is cute enough in her introduction. Chun-li is awesome here as well when we first see here with some cool shots. Music in general feels epic, the dub is not replaced by a 90s rock soundtrack like the original movie sadly but its still good.
The problem is we get a new random kid who is supposed to be Ryu’s younger brother named Shun which makes no sense and wasn’t needed. He gets too much screen time and while he was likely added to form an emotional bond it didn’t work so all this time is wasted. The villain is a weird scientist and some robot Hugo like character named Rosanov / Sadlerbot trying to get data of the fighters. Akuma is just a tease here, a lot of dialog is repeated and it’s not as interesting and melodramatic as it thinks it is. You have great scenes wrapped in a horrible plot that I guess they try to say Shadowloo is invovled. Aren’t the Street Fighter game plots for games like these now though?
The movie loses the good pacing it had about halfway through. The fight scenes are rather good and high impact, they feel natural. Chun-li shines here but even she has this weird interpol agent with her for no reason that is not needed. Sakura could’ve been better but she’s fine, weird that Ken gets more moments with her than Ryu since she’s supposed to be obsessed with her Ken gets all the great moments with her.
While it is not in continuity with the original movie, I guess it could work as a prequel if you really wanted to.You do have an Akuma cameo in the SF II anime as well and I guess the robots that Dr. Sadler has to gather data kind of match what the androids Street Fighter II movie had. None of the other fighters in both movies had any significant scenes that would contradict it but it just feels too different to be part of the same story. Roe appears randomly and who knows who she even is based on it. Most fighters here are just background characters with little personality and while the original movie also had fighters randomly they felt more important.
The art style is unique and good in a way but not as great as the art style of the Alpha games. Some of the fights we get are Vega vs Dan which is weird, Dan vs Zangief good., Adon v Birdie. Sodom x Rolento, Dan v Birdie which was a lame fight. Dhalsim vs Guy, Rolento v Adon. And Ibuki makes a cameo when Sakura is playing a Neo Geo Pocket fighting game. Overall the movie is not good despite having enough here to make it work, hard to recommend outside Street Fighter fans.
Street Fighter Alpha: Generations
Coming out in 2005 and first in western countries for whatever reason since this movie super Japanese, more than the previous Street Fighter animes. It was also many years after the original Alpha movie and years before Street Fighter IV or The Legend of Chun-Li live action movie came out so I’m not sure why it was created but I was still happy. Just from the cover alone it seemed to be an apology over the marketing of the previous movie since it deals with Goutetsu, Gouken / Gouki and the origin of the Dark Hadou.
This one like the previous movie are called Original Stories by Capcom which perhaps what made the original anime movie so good is that Capcom had less interference with what the story should be. The movie is really quite short at only 45 minutes, half the length of the previous one which makes you wonder why it was even created. I was still burned by the previous movie but the random announcement made me get it when it came out just based on the hype from the previous trailer hoping it would give me what I had always wanted.
It had plenty of stuff against it since it was still a full price DVD for a short movie, it didn’t look great either and overall it isn’t as big of a disappointment but it’s still not a good movie. The art style is just ugly, the previous movie had a weird art style that benefitted in certain aspects but not so much in others but when it played to its strengths it was good, here it rarely looks good.
As far as continuity I might be a new and different canon than even the previous movie but It could also work as a sequel story since Sakura’s story can be seen as a continuation. The storyline with Akuma also sort of fits with what we previusly knew. Ryu looks younger but that can be explained as it just being the art style. Ken has a good design here as well even if his role in the movie is not big, I’m glad they went to the trouble of it. We get some original characters with Old Master and Fuka which at least here they serve a purpose that makes more sense.
It’s cool we finally get an origin for Gouki / Akuma, we already knew it in a way but to actually see it happen is neat since I wasn’t expecting it. I feel Gouken could’ve had a bigger role but at this point he was still a bit untouchable for Capcom and others to use which is why we got the original character the old man “Old Master”. We also get the fight we wanted to see with Ryu vs Akuma, it’s a bit lackluster but it at least gave us a fight.
We do get some fanservice with a hot springs scene which is lacking in the previous movie, maybe Capcom got a bit strict after showing Chun-Li’s BOOBA in the original movie and eased up here a bit. The story gets a good enough ending, the movie is better than the Alpha anime but its not that great, shorter and less memorable perhaps. Easier to recommend to a Street Fighter fan if just because its more solid and its shorter but not because it’s great.
Overall neither movie is anything to write home about, that is if you are not me and while watching both movies in a row it made me realize that we could’ve had one solid movie with both of these movies since the most interesting parts of the original are the focus in the second. Had the plots of both movies been intertwined we could’ve gotten a solid movie, some aspects would’ve needed to be a bit different to make it work since they don’t seem to be in the same timeline but as I mentioned they could and you could surely make an edit of both movies taking out the original aspects of each movie and keep it more Street Fighter lore only.