All Street Fighter II V released episodes
Ryu receives an unexpected letter from his best friend Ken Masters. The letter tells him to come to America for a visit. The two of them have not seen each other in years, and so this is the reason Ken sends the letter. Ryu, after thinking about it, decides to go to America at Ken's request. When he arrives at the San Francisco airport, he finds Ken. The two of them then drive home to Ken's place, relax a bit, then go out for the night on Ken's motorcycle. They go into the pub called Mt. Fuji, where they beat up some military thugs who tried to fight them after Ken wooed one of their dates. Afterward, the leader of the military thugs, Guile, enters the bar and sees what Ryu and Ken have done to his men.
Guile and Ryu fight each other, though it is obvious Guile has the upper hand. He has much more experience and military combat training, and even though Ryu has mastered martial arts, he still cannot best Guile in the least. Guile easily overpowers Ryu, and then leaves the bar with his men, telling Ryu that he has guts. Ken takes Ryu home, then fights Guile at the Air Force Base in San Francisco. Ken loses badly as well, and then Ken and Ryu travel to Hong Kong in hopes of improving their fighting skills (their defeat at the hands of Guile gave them that motivation).
In this episode, Ryu and Ken stay at a very fancy hotel in Hong Kong. There, their tour guide, Chun Li, enters the helicopter Ken ordered before her arrival. Chun Li is meant to guide Ryu and Ken throughout Hong Kong. However, she doesn't know they want to go to the Devil's Battle Cage in Kowloon Palace to fight in the martial arts tournament there and get stronger. Ken and Ryu convince their pilot, Tyler, to land in Kowloon Palace, albeit after a tough time convincing him. Once in Kowloon Palace, Ryu, Ken, and Chun Li enter into the martial arts tournament building. Ryu defeats all the opponents there. Then, Lean, the leader of the Devil Battle's Cage martial arts tournament, tells everyone in Kowloon Palace to kill Ryu, Ken, and Chun Li on sight for humiliating him.
Ryu, Ken, and Chun Li fight their way through Kowloon Palace, defeating all the foes they encounter. Chun Li leads Ryu and Ken to the exit of Kowloon Palace, only to be stopped by the evil Lean. Lean sends his two henchmen, Sodom and Gomorrah after Ryu and Ken to stop them from escaping. Ryu and Ken defeat them, only to find Lean has Chun Li held hostage. Chun Li's father Dorai, who is the police chief of Hong Kong, shoots Lean in the hand just as he is about to fire at Ryu and Ken. Dorai, Chun Li, Ryu, and Ken then go back to the hotel they are staying in, where Chun Li tells them she will take them to go see the martial arts master Fei Long tomorrow.
Ryu, Ken, and Chun Li visit Fei Long, who is filming a movie. Fei Long picks which actor he wants (out of Ryu and Ken) for the fight scene he is currently filming, stating that "fights have to be real", rather than just act via fake fighting like a normal actor would. Fei Long picks Ken as the fighter for the scene, and Ken fights Fei Long. While this is supposedly part of the film, Fei Long and Ken take the fight a little too far for a film. The match ends in a draw when the director of the film stops the fight because of the injuries Fei Long and Ken are inflicting upon each other.
In this episode, Ryu, Ken, and Chun Li go shopping at a shopping mall. Once there, Ryu meets a strange old man who it seems is about to die, as he is sweating, and looks to be in bad condition. Ryu says he will call an ambulance for him, but the old man insists on Ryu taking him to a place of privacy. There, the old man practices a martial arts technique in front of Ryu, where he uses his ki to create a blue fireball from his hands. He swallows this fireball, and, after it explodes in his stomach, he's fine and back in good health. Ryu wants to learn how to do the technique the old man just did, and so he takes him to his shop where they can have privacy and practice the technique. Ryu doesn't master it, although he gains a little more knowledge about his spiritual self after this encounter.
The evil crime organization called Ashura, who are known as cop killers, sets up a plan to kill Chun Li's father, Dorai for foiling their plans in earlier episodes. Chun Li is used as bait for Dorai's death, and when Chun Li goes to a park and waits on Ryu and Ken to come themselves, she is ambushed by an Ashura member disguised as a clown. Ryu and Ken get there just in time to save Chun Li, defeating all the Ashura foes. Chun Li, Ryu, and Ken then go to Dorai's dojo to prevent the Ashura from attacking him and killing him. Chun Li goes inside to protect Dorai, while Ken, Ryu, and Fei Long battle the Ashura to stop them from getting inside. They eventually triumph, and the Ashura flee the scene.
Ryu and Ken decide to go to Thailand in hopes of learning the fighting style of Muay Thai. Once at the airport in Bangkok, Ryu and Ken go to separate lines to get approval to get into Thailand legally. Because of this, Donu, the member of the Ashura who fled in Episode 7 after Ryu and the others thwarted their attempt to murder Dorai, sneaks up on Ryu and plants heroine in his backpack as a way to get revenge. Ryu doesn't notice this at first, and just as he and Ken go down an escalator, Ryu is caught with heroine in his backpack, and is sent to prison. There, he endures brutal torture from Warden Nuchi, as well as taunting from other prisoners. Ryu eventually attacks the two prisoners that are taunting him throughout the episode. After that, Sagat, who is "the one to fear" according to the prisoners that taunted Ryu, gets prepared to battle Ryu. Akuma makes a cameo appearance while waiting for his bags at the airport.
Sagat and Ryu battle each other using Muay Thai. Ryu eventually stops using Muay Thai and just uses his regular fighting style, and begins to overpower Sagat slightly. The fight ends in a draw after Sagat realizes that he and Ryu are kindred fighting spirits. Sagat vows to protect Ryu as long as he is in prison, and he calls the fight off. Nuchi then insists Sagat and Ryu continue to fight because he wants 50% of the money that was bet in the fight before it was called off by Sagat. Sagat refuses, and an angered Nuchi attempts to kill Sagat. Ryu and Sagat fight off Nuchi, and then Ken, after much work, manages to get Ryu out of prison. Ryu says farewell to Sagat, and then Ryu and Ken get in the car and the episode ends as Ryu finds out who was behind his imprisonment.
Ryu and Ken travel to the Ashura's secret hideout building, where they manage to defeat Donu and the other Ashura members in the building to get revenge for what happened to Ryu. They bring them into custody, then after getting out of the building, they are fired at by a sniper in a building a few stories above. Ryu and Ken manage to escape the sniper relatively unharmed (the only thing that was harmed was Ryu's shoulder, and only slightly). They get atop the vehicle of the guy that shot at them, unknown to the sniper. They arrive at another secret hideout of the Ashura, where one of their main headquarters appears to be. There, they are severely beaten by an evil man named Zochi. Zochi carries a chainsaw on his left hand, although it is never explained how he lost his left hand. Zochi, after realizing torture will not make Ryu and Ken tell him who they are "supposedly" working for (in truth, they are working for no one, but Zochi doesn't believe them), he puts Ryu in a chair, where he is tied up. Ryu attempts to wiggle himself out, but Zochi plans to cut Ryu's left arm off with his chainsaw to add to his "collection" of other left arms. Just as Zochi is about to do so, the alarm sounds as Dorai and the rest of the police who are with him enter the secret hideout, thanks to the tracker Dorai planted on Soong. Distracted by this, Ryu and Ken defeat Zochi and the other Ashura members in the room, much to the surprise of Dorai and the rest of the police with him when they enter the room. Sagat, at the end of the episode, is freed from prison in light of new evidence proving his innocence. Sagat asks Ryu to show him the scroll he got from master Yo. He then tells Ryu if he wishes to learn about Hadou, he should travel to India, where a monk named Dhalsim lives.
Ahhh, "Street Fighter II V"... this brings back memories! I watched this series (dubbed) in my ignorant youth when anime, to me, was all about badassery and hot blooded action. Needless to say, I really enjoyed this series: it had "Street Fighter II" connections, and the action seemed uber cool, making most western cartoon seem tame in comparison. Despite being vaguely aware of the corny-ness of the dub and the atrocious amount of reused animation, it was everything that anime meant to me at the time. Now, this trip down memory lane might seem out of place in a review, but (in addition to being self indulgent,) there's actually a point buried within my ramblings: while I now look back and acknowledge that this probably isn't a great anime, it's tricky for me to judge it properly through the rose tinted veil of nostalgia. So with that in mind, time to move on to the meat of the review."Street Fighter II V", unlike "Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie", is not a faithful adaptation to the storyline established in the games. In fact, it takes an approach not too dis-similar to that other "Street Fighter" movie, you know, that awful live action one featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kylie Minogue. No, I don't mean that "Street Fighter II V" features Jean-Claude Van Damme (not as far as I know anyway). Nor Kylie Minogue. The two are similar in their treatment of Ryu and Ken - in both they're portrayed as a couple of brats running around causing trouble. Unlike that Van Damme movie though, the two of them (and not Guile) are still the main characters, and the series follows them on their journey to become stronger fighters, and gradually maturing in the process.Being a purist at heart, I wasn't initally keen on the story deviating so far from the one in the game, but I warmed to it - it ends up as a more sophisticated story than the original, which was only intended to be an excuse to have a brawl. The show's treatment of Street Fighter side characters is also a pleasant break from tradition: instead of just throwing them in cameo scenes, they get a lot more focus and are properly worked into the main story, giving them a greater sense of depth. The roles of these characters deviate somewhat from the original but not without certain similarities: here, Sagat is a former Muay Thai champ wrongfully imprisoned after refusing to cooperate with a crime syndicate; Cammy is a former MI6 agent turned mercenary assassin; Akuma is... well, he still only appears in cameos. Presumably, they couldn't find a role badass enough to suit a guy with flaming red hair and glowing, demonic red eyes. Most of the role alterations in "Street Fighter II V" work out pretty well, but inevitably there are some stinkers - Balrog's pretty damn lame, for one... he can't even fight!Character design wise, there are some puzzling changes - why does Ken have ginger hair, for example - and overall it's a bit of a mixed bag. Ryu and Ken aren't particularly interesting, but at least they get some development. Chun Li is annoyingly like a typical anime school girl, and Bison's psychotic personality is criminally over done - he must have spent over an hour of screen time doing his villainous laugh (which also creases his face up like a hundred year old coffin dodger) and another hour strangling people (to the point where I wanted to strange HIM). He features more towards the later part of the series, and as you probably guessed from my description just now, his scenes kinda dragged. The problem isn't just with him though - while "Street Figher II V" was never what anyone would call fast paced, it slows down terribly towards the end. The episodes are filled up mostly by the characters dicking around, such as Bison laughing, Ken having recurring nightmares, Bison laughing some more, etc. The amount of reused animation and general meandering completely kills off any tension the anime is trying to build up in the climax. It seems likely that by then, the series was desperately trying to stretch its shoe string budget and the over extended story to cover the whole 29 episodes... god knows why they needed so many when the material could barely cover 20.Some of the fights themselves can be quite good when they're not being prolonged/recycled too much. There are some thrilling moments and the anime makes good use of tricks such as colour inversion to heighten the drama of the fights. One major complaint I have is that the special moves from the games are used sparingly, some of them not at all, and some of the ones that are used are toned down to give the fights a more down to earth feel. It's all very good watching Ryu and Ken learning their hadoukens and dragon punches and whatnot, but the problem is, when you're watching an anime based off a fighting game and you don't see the characters pulling off their signature moves with a certain amount of regularlity, then something feels severely lacking. Perhaps this makes "Street Figher II V" more accessible to those who unfamiliar with the game, but it's a bit of a let down to those who are. After all, why else would I be watching this show? For the story??It's hard to judge the audio department of "Street Fighter II V" fairly because I watched it in dub and the dub is very cheesey. Though it's possible that the original Japanese performances are better, at least some of the cheesiness is contributed by terrible script. In terms of music, the series has a few nice tracks, the most memorable of which is often played when Ryu is gathering up his hadou (some sort of spirit energy) - you know it's good when it can make these half hour training sessions tolerable. For the most part, the background music is handled well, though there were some very dodgy tracks that stuck out."Street Fighter II V" tries to find middle ground between satisfying fans of the game and those who know very little about it, and ends up not doing too well at either. But hey, though it has its share of problems, at least it doesn't suck sh\*t like the Van Damme movie. Though I guess that's not saying much...