If you happen to’re into anime, then chances are high you possibly can keep in mind the primary film or TV present that acquired you hooked on the medium; your “gateway drug”, if you’ll. For some, it is likely to be TV reveals like DragonBall Z or One Piece, others maybe a particular film like Ghost within the Shell or Akira (certainly, I needed to actually return by way of the reminiscence archives to find out whether or not Akira was the primary one for me; it was positively extremely early in my life). For me, nevertheless, the very earliest reminiscence I’ve of watching anime was the unimaginable online game adaptation, Avenue Fighter II: The Animated Film, launched in 1994.
I will admit, I wasn’t tremendous into the Avenue Fighter collection once I was younger. In actual fact, it in all probability wasn’t till Avenue Fighter III: third Strike that I actually began to take discover. I did, nevertheless, dabble in Avenue Fighter II’: Particular Champion Version on the Mega Drive. I used to be horrible at it, naturally, since I used to be nonetheless in single figures on the time, however I actually loved taking part in as Ryu or Ken and simply spamming the ‘Hadoken’ transfer continuous (which nonetheless wasn’t fairly sufficient to win more often than not, granted).
The Animated Film manages to take each single fighter from the sport and make them look utterly badass.
I believe most individuals now would in all probability agree, nevertheless, that Avenue Fighter II — notably the sooner iterations — was a bit of bit goofy at occasions. Wanting on the character sprites within the fighter choose display now and evaluating them to how they appear in later video games like Avenue Fighter V and the not too long ago introduced Avenue Fighter 6, a few of them look significantly bizarre (and do not even get me began on the bloodied variations of the characters on the post-match screens). It is a fairly light-hearted sport with restricted scope for a compelling narrative, so you would be forgiven for pondering the film adaptation would comply with in its footsteps and be a bit foolish itself.
Not fairly, although. Avenue Fighter II: The Animated Film manages to take each single fighter from the sport and make them look utterly badass. Whether or not it is Ryu, M. Bison, or Chun-Li, every character is given his or her second within the highlight. Heck, even the purposefully goofy characters like E. Honda and Balrog are elevated by the film’s distinctive animation and storytelling. Stand-out scenes embrace the opening combat between Ryu and Sagat, the introduction of M. Bison towards an superior, ominous soundtrack, and naturally the brutal residence combat between Chun-Li and Vega.
For these not within the know, the narrative in all fairness simple. It tells the story of a criminal offense organisation often known as ‘Shadowlaw’, headed by M.Bison alongside together with his henchmen Sagat, Balrog, and Vega, who’re looking out for brand spanking new fighters to affix their trigger and set their sights on the extremely adept fighter Ryu. Unable to find Ryu, they as a substitute kidnap and hypnotise Ken, who shares a deep historical past with Ryu and will rival him in preventing skill. Alongside the way in which, in fact, we meet all the forged of the sport in numerous locales, together with Fei Lengthy, T. Hawk, Cammy, and extra.
Regardless of the reasonably simplistic narrative, the true pleasure of Avenue Fighter II: The Animated Film lies within the smaller particulars. Throughout the center portion of the film, M. Bison sends his right-hand man Vega to “take care” of Chun-Li, and this ends in one of many coolest brawls ever placed on display.
It isn’t missing in emotional weight, both; the place some anime reveals and movies are fairly content material with their characters being seemingly proof against a extreme beating, Avenue Fighter II: The Animated Films reminds us that its characters are human and fairly inclined to bodily harm. If you see Chun-Li mendacity in hospital with 90% of her physique wrapped in bandages, you possibly can’t assist however assume “rattling, she’s actually harm!”.
[it] won’t carry the identical clout as Akira and Ghost within the Shell, however match completely rivals them when it comes to sheer high quality.
A particular shout-out has to go to the unimaginable soundtrack, too. I discussed the superior music that performs throughout M. Bison’s introductory scene, however this is only one of many moments in the course of the film which might be considerably elevated by the unique rating. Not solely that, nevertheless it additionally makes glorious use of licensed music, with one specific stand-out scene involving Ken driving together with his spouse and listening to ‘Them Bones’ by Alice in Chains. When the identical track got here on the in-game radio on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas a decade later, I instantly thought “oh hey, it is that track from the Avenue Fighter film!”.
Avenue Fighter II: The Animated Film won’t carry the identical clout as aforementioned films like Akira and Ghost within the Shell, however for me, it completely rivals them when it comes to sheer high quality. It efficiently elevates what was already a monumentally influential online game by giving its characters significant backstories and superior moments on-screen.
If you have not seen it earlier than, the excellent news is all the film is on the market on YouTube. This can be a nice technique to watch the film as it has been lovingly upgraded to HD with a gamer-friendly 60fps, however I will hold my fingers crossed for an official 4K blu-ray launch quickly.
Did you watch Avenue Fighter II: The Animated Film when it first launched again within the ’90s? Does it nonetheless maintain up for you? Share your ideas within the feedback under.