|Another series that’s gone too far because of strong sales.|
A 1991 Cantonese comic by Xu Jing Chen has got some pretty outrageous extension based on the famous arcade game (specifically SFII, if 1991 means anything to you). Xu worked till issue #88 and quit after a contract expiration. Chen Wei Wenresumed the project that had a half-baked ending at issue #100. Then artist Hu Shao Chuan resumed to milk the project that finally ended at issue #113.
The story’s premise presents a post apocalyptic environment similar to the likes of Fist of the North Star: a drastic universe issued from a nuke heavy WWIII in which all kinds of messed up things go around. The world is so messed up that in the first chapter the comic gives you a rape scene right out of the door. And this subject returns on page regularly with Chun-li as a frequent potential target.
As an amusing twist, part of the premise is that the continents have merged into one due to the radioactive contamination/natural disasters. Strangely, because of this set up I kept thinking that at one point Capcom did have a mutated map somewhere on the character selection screen….
|The new world map after WWIII. Learn Mandarin if you want to know the details.|
The very first tournament promises the winners to be legitimate immigrants to the dream city, which happens to be governed by M. Bison and his followers. The first arc sets up Bison as the main opponent reasonably. However, after a brief showdown between Ryu and Bison, the later was killed by a third party character. The focus then shifted to the rival/ally relationship between Ryu and Ken, which I think was a more successful run relatively. Then as it turns out Bison had a secret brother who died in his place. The rest of the story continued to its own destruction.
Some fights are done pretty well. But without an interesting plot to balance it out, later on things become incredibly repetitive and tiring as the so called plot became merely as an excuse to have more fixed up fights.
The comic does a decent job by incorporating the background locations, even though some situations are pretty forced (namely Ken jumped onto the jet in Guile’s stage to fly himself to his fiancee).
|It’s good to see those backgrounds being appreciated.|
First of all, check out the names in this comic (some pronunciation translations):
Ryu -> Crimson dragon
Ken -> Bunny
Chun-li -> Chun-li
E. Honda -> Sakamoto Okura (???)
Zangief -> Scodrov
Blanka -> Green wolf
Guile -> Gulie (note the difference)
Dhalsim -> Dhaliar
Balrog -> Tyson
Vega -> Iron mask Yugat
Sagat -> Thai king Sagat
Bison -> Red eye commando
|Ken is called Bunny|
It’s fair to say the majority of Cantonese comics become Dragon Ball – characters keep getting powered up through the rough as stronger opponents keep showing up. The comic faithfully surround its plot around the core characters from the game. But then in order to maintain this, they all take turn to power up. They get to dominate each other at different times. It’s kind of fun to wait for your favorite character’s turn to dominate, but don’t expect much from the less marketable ones. Zangief was probably the only dude who didn’t get any cheap boost ups, therefore he remained one of the weakest later on.
Ryu and Chun-li started as straight up righteous characters who had a feeling on each other right away. The “less pretty” characters such as E. Honda and Dhalsim got the nod to be evil and dirty. Though ultimately they all earn the chance to unite together against this big mean final boss.
Once the “alternative costumes” were introduced to the arcade version, the comic was fast to adjust accordingly by bringing out the so called “inner devil” characters which I think is appropriate. Some other alternative costumes were adapted at stranger places – Blanka powered up and turned into blue, while the dark gray Guile became a “cyborg Guile”.
|Yes, they tried being creative with the colors.|
I think it’s totally fine for the comic to implement some conventional Chinese martial art “chi” systems into the characters’ special moves. But things got kind of awkward when characters started learning named moves from famous Chinese fictions, such as the True Manual Of Nine Yin from The Legend of the Condor Heroes. On the flip side the comic has some decent modification of existing special moves such as the split images Hadoken and the upside down Shoryuken. As an interesting twist, Guile’s invincible stand glitch and throw glitch are both incorporated as special moves in the comic.
The comic’s ripping doesn’t end there. It’s probably every fanboy’s fantasy to have a monster fighter universe featuring characters from all arcade games. I admitted having that guilty pleasure and I still wish more of the Capcom versus series. This comic doesn’t just feature characters from Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting, they were all trashed. I was truly out of words when I saw Vega performing HaohShohKoh-ken. Geese Howard ends up being Gorbachev’s son and owns a Chinese name. I wondered if the credited legal consultant was doing his job here.
|Fatal Fury thugs.|
The original characters from this comic show why maybe it’s better to borrow from others. One of the cooler characters who had a heavier role than anyone not named Ryu and Ken, the Battle Tiger, turns out to be borrowed straight from another popular Cantonese comic Dragon Tiger Gate. Perhaps the team’s creativity on character design can be summed up by an alien boss character called “Clinton”, in whom the writers proudly talked about their witty integration of the contemporary world situation. Oh, did I mention the explosive plot twist of Ken being the son of the alien boss? So Ken Master’s full name in the piece is Bunny Clinton (see top image). Great.
|Meet Clinton, the human-turned-alien guy who easily crushed the previous boss character. Great design and even better character set up. Bah!|
Xu, at age of 24, definitely had some outstanding fundamental skills down. The series is full of great cover arts. However, I can’t say I love his style. His pretty characters have a heavy Ryoichi Ikegami flavor, while his other characters feature big cheekbones and fat jaws. The consistency of the character faces can use some balance…
|The artist should know there are fans out there|
It’s needless to say that Cantonese comics are heavily influenced by the American styles. Xu kept the sound effects in pure English, but strangely that trend only stayed for the first chapter. Xu also seems to enjoy having chibi styled characters here and there. They are really cute, but putting next to his realistic/rough/scruffy style things look a little bit off.
It’s my belief that Chen attempted to keep the style once he took over, but some faces and figures look pretty ugly (namely Chun-Li). However once he started showing his own style, the figures are quite clean and the faces are more comfortable. In a bad way they sort of lost the menacing, down to earth feels.
Hu’s style even brought Chen’s to the next step with cleaner lines and prettier faces. I think it’s comfortable to look at but whether it fits the whole Street Fighter texture that’s up to you to judge.
|Too pretty to be a fighter on the streets?|