I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to talk about the anime DVD that came with the SF4 game. So apparently Capcom decided to release a companion anime to go along with the launch of SF4. Great idea, but shoddily executed. My first issue with the movie is that I’m not sure when it is supposed to take place. It’s not a prequel, and it seems to take place in the same timeline, but its link to the game is extremely tenous. There is no mention of any “tournament”, many characters, including guys like Honda, Blanka and Zangief are no where to be found. Of the new guys, you get a glimpse of Abel, and no Fuerte or Rufus. Crimson Viper has a major part, as does Cammy. Then of course Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, Guile and Sakura round it out, with small baddie parts from Claw(US Vega) and Boxer(US Balrog). Seth takes the evil boss role, with Dictator(US Bison) in a smaller part. Anyone else I didn’t mention is pretty much out.
Cast issues aside, there just isn’t enough action. There’s a fair bit of exposition, with characters running around investigating and maybe only 3-4 ‘fight” scenes. The fight scenes are fairly bland and the big boss fight is anticlimactic. The animation itself is very clean, but not very detailed. It’s pretty much the same stuff in the arcade mode intros and endings.
I would have been okay with all this, had the translation been on par. Unfortunately, Capcom for some reason instead of commissioning an alternate script translation for the subtitles decided to go cheap and dubtitle it. Dubtitling, if you don’t know, is simply using the English dub script as the subtitles. Therefore, instead of getting a better, more accurate translation with subtitles, dubtitles just give you the English dub, like closed captioning. The thing about dubbed anime, is that usually certain liberties are taken with the dub in order to match the mouth movements of the characters. So normally the dub translation, while adequate, is not as accurate as it could be since it is dealing with the constraints of the medium.
I guess I’m not entirely surprised that Capcom skimped on the translation, seeing that the anime itself is pretty subpar. It’s strange that they’d be hesitant to spend money on something that’s supposed to promote the RETURN OF STREET FIGHTER! In a way, perhaps this is an indication that they might have not been as certain that SF4 was going to succeed as we thought. It sounds like a no-brainer now, but keep in mind that before the game actually gets released, they only know it did well in arcades, which is not a guaranteed success on console/PC.