A 65 minute OVA released together with the collector's edition of the new Street Fighter IV game. It serves as a lead in to the game's main storyline which is a sequel to the Street Fighter II game. OK so it is a prequel of sorts to the game, but even so, the story is less than interesting. Other than the character driven subplots of Ryu and the dark Hadou, Ken and his wife, the other plot threads are thin and boring. The main storyline about some experimental molecule destroying weapon plays out like a pre-teen adventure spy storybook with minimal intrigue or sense peril to the characters involved. One can't help but feel that the climax is a throwback to the cheesy 1994 Jean Claude Van Damme Street Fighter movie with the main characters joining forces to invade the enemy stronghold and defeat the power mad main bad guy.
The characterization and personalities are give and take at best but if they are keeping true to the characterizations in the game, then i can only blame the source material since many of the characters in the game have been based on cultural and one dimensional personality stereotypes.
Now on to the animation itself since this is what sets this apart from the game.
The animation is bad.
The quality is inconsistent, looking more like a low budget TV series than a OVA. The coloring is flat, shadows and shading are present but only in the simplest form and on close-up shots, and the animation movement is very stiff. There are many scenes which involves just long boring pans over landscape or a single talking head with monologue looped over it. Characters stand as still as statues throughout lengthy conversations without so much as a twitch aside from very basic mouth movements(yes the mouth movements and word shaping aren't even properly synced to the voices in both the Japanese and English versions) The fights are brief and utilize a lot of animation short cuts and a low frame rate resulting in jerky punches and kicks. The art leaves much to be desired with many of the characters sporting a "puffed", roundish, cartoony look. A far cry from the muscular gritty look in the game. On the other hand, There are a few scenes of well used 3D CGI and the "special power" scenes aren't too bad.
In summary, this OVA prequel is not worth the extra 20 bucks for the collector's edition. Even fans of anime itself may be put off by the lousy production values of this show. Only the most hardcore of Street Fighter fans, or those put off by how much the latest Street fighter movie deviates from the game, will be able to sit through this.
A silly, shoddy mess of a show with numerous production flaws, shoddy voice acting in both language tracks and juvenile storytelling.
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