Anime: Street Fighter Alpha: Generations
The Street Fighter universe is absolutely bursting with back story, so it’s no wonder we’ve seen so many outlets for it, from the games to movies to toys and manga. Alpha: Generations is the latest snippet of the Street Fighter story. I’m not sure if there truly is a single story line that encompasses every iteration of Street Fighter, and this movie does more to muddle any overarching story than any of it’s predecessors(excepting, perhaps the ill conceived live action movie which muddled my very view of reality). It is a prequel of sorts, telling a young Ryu’s story of vengeance for his lost master, Gouken.
Unable to shake the feeling that it is his fate to fight Gouki, the demon responsible for the death of Ryu’s master, Ryu returns to commemorate the anniversary of his master’s grisly death. Back at his old temple, Ryu is confronted with his demons. Though in this case, it’s an actual demon. Still unsure of his destiny, Ryu meets an old man who is oddly familiar with him already. Taken in by the old man’s kindness, Ryu takes up an apprenticeship to train for the fiercest battle of his life.
When he is finally resolved to fight Gouki, Ryu decides that it is not a matter of revenge, but simply a matter of fighting. He is sure now that fighting is his destiny, and that his defeat of Gouki is a given.
The animation in this film is very minimalist in nature. The characters are drawn without much detail, while the backgrounds and scenery is more of an artistic landscape than a realistic representation. I’m not particularly accustomed to seeing this kind of borderline impressionism in my anime, what with all of the newfangled computer generated images and what not. After a while, it started to grow on me. The lack of details, the scenery that blends into itself and the story elements I found were often complementary. You may be asking yourself “What is this guy talking about?” right now, and I’m glad that you asked! If you have ever found a tree with no leaves, looking decrepit, silhouetted against the night sky and pale moon, and thought “hot damn! That’s beautiful!” Then you know what I’m talking about. The elements are simple, inelegant, but the combined picture has a profound impact on you much more than the sum of it’s components. It was a good example of ‘less is more,’ as the old adage goes, though I’m not sure what it was supposed to mean when they said it first.
The voice acting was unimpressive, though I can’t in good conscience say that it was bad. It was simply lackluster and none of the characters really grabbed me like they should have. It didn’t detract much from the experience, but similarly it didn’t offer much.
Despite these grievances, the movie was very enjoyable to see. I was jaded at my first viewing as I’ve been watching Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie regularly for better than a decade now, and this seemed to have a very different, almost sunshiny feel to it. On watching it the second time, I decided that the scenery and environment aside, it stuck very closely with the tradition laid out by the original. The tradition of which I speak is, of course, Fight Scenes. None of these movies would be worth a hoot if they didn’t have some killer fight scenes. I mean, Ryu’s not a wandering minstrel, he’s an ass kicking martial arts master with a grudge and a nasty uppercut.
Considering the voice acting, which left a bit to be desired, the technical score isn’t exactly putting this movie’s best foot forward, if you’ll excuse some personification. The interview with the original Japanese cast was pretty neat though, definitely worth checking out.
Great fight scenes throughout the movie and none of those pesky morals or underlying meanings that often force us to use our overly exerted brains. Pure violent goodness.
All said, this is not a thought provoking movie, nor does it use dramatic elements to really draw the viewer into the world. It does, however, have some kickin’ fight scenes that are well glued together with the simple story line and dialogue.
DVD Features: Digitally Mastered Feature, Motion Menus, English and Japanese Languages, 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound, English Subtitles, Behind-The-Scenes, Interviews, Manga Previews, Web Links