For those who’re into anime, then chances are high you may bear in mind the primary film or TV present that bought 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 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 unbelievable online game adaptation, Road Fighter II: The Animated Film, launched in 1994.
I am going to admit, I wasn’t tremendous into the Road Fighter collection after I was younger. The truth is, it most likely wasn’t till Road Fighter III: third Strike that I actually began to take discover. I did, nevertheless, dabble in Road 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 feel most individuals now would most likely agree, nevertheless, that Road Fighter II — significantly the sooner iterations — was a little bit bit goofy at instances. Trying on the character sprites within the fighter choose display screen now and evaluating them to how they give the impression of being in later video games like Road Fighter V and the just lately introduced Road 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 observe in its footsteps and be a bit foolish itself.
Not fairly, although. Road 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, each 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 struggle between Ryu and Sagat, the introduction of M. Bison in opposition to an superior, ominous soundtrack, and naturally the brutal condo struggle between Chun-Li and Vega.
For these not within the know, the narrative in all fairness easy. It tells the story of a criminal offense organisation often called ‘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 an alternative kidnap and hypnotise Ken, who shares a deep historical past with Ryu and should rival him in combating skill. Alongside the best way, after all, we meet your entire solid of the sport in numerous locales, together with Fei Lengthy, T. Hawk, Cammy, and extra.
Regardless of the relatively simplistic narrative, the true pleasure of Road Fighter II: The Animated Film lies within the smaller particulars. In the course of 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 screen.
It isn’t missing in emotional weight, both; the place some anime reveals and movies are fairly content material with their characters being seemingly resistant to a extreme beating, Road Fighter II: The Animated Films reminds us that its characters are human and fairly inclined to bodily harm. Once you see Chun-Li mendacity in hospital with 90% of her physique wrapped in bandages, you may’t assist however assume “rattling, she’s actually harm!”.
[it] may not 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 unbelievable soundtrack, too. I discussed the superior music that performs throughout M. Bison’s introductory scene, however this is only one of many moments throughout the film which can be considerably elevated by the unique rating. Not solely that, but it surely 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 Road Fighter film!”.
Road Fighter II: The Animated Film may not carry the identical clout as aforementioned motion pictures 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 your entire film is out there on YouTube. This can be a nice approach 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 Road 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.