Now Is the Perfect Time for a New Street Fighter Anime
Image via Capcom

Now Is the Perfect Time for a New Street Fighter Anime

We're ready for a new challenger.

To say Street Fighter 6 has been a godsend for the hallowed fighting game series would be an understatement.

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Following a wave of what can only be described as glowing reviews from most every outlet — ourselves included — the game has received widespread attention. Over 1 million players flocked to the title in its first three days of availability alone, and it was quickly confirmed that it had the sales numbers to back up this milestone while also pushing the series’ lifetime sales over 50 million units. Things don’t look to be slowing down either, with more content planned for release in the months ahead.

All of this is wonderful news for the series and its existing fans, but there’s still something missing; a final piece to the puzzle of its climb back to the top of the fighting game series rankings. It’s something the series has done before too, and most any older fan would probably agree that it’s a no-brainer in terms of re-establishing the series’ dominance.

Simply put, the Street Fighter series should receive a new anime adaptation.

Image by Group TAC, SEDIC, and Capcom

In years past, the series was as well known for having anime adaptations as it was for being a godfather of the fighting game genre. Even those that didn’t know anything about the series at least knew about the animated films, as they were readily available in video rental stores or through anime fans’ torrenting site of choice. They made their way into the general consciousness of anime fans, and acted as an excellent bridge into the series’ fandom proper.

Were they perfect? God no: the stories were haphazard at best, and the majority of the roster was relegated to brief cameos scattered throughout the plots of the respective films and series. The animation was never stellar either, and the English voice acting toed the line between passable and dismal. To top things off, more than a few of the people who took the time to seek even one of the adaptations out were drawn in by rumors of a less than safe for work scene of series mainstay Chun Li.

And yet, the adaptations still brought attention to the series. For every person who found the games and fell in love with their meticulous design, there were just as many who wanted to find out more about the cast of characters they saw in the anime. They wanted to know why Ryu was so terrified of the Dark Hadou’s manifestations, what else there was to M. Bison’s eccentric generals, and why the heck there were so many people fighting each other around the world.

Heck, I’m proof of this phenomenon. My first experience with Street Fighter wasn’t with one of the playable games, but instead the Street Fighter 0 anime film. Despite all of the flaws that were front and center, the characters’ designs, their different techniques, and the brief snippets of their stories which managed to shine through hooked me immediately. I wanted to experience even more of what the franchise had to offer.

As soon as the credits rolled, I ran out to a game store to buy a PS2 port of Street Fighter III: Third Strike. I’ve been a diehard fan of the series ever since, and it never would have happened without those shoddy anime adaptations.

This was far from a unique occurrence among the series’ fandom, and remained the case for years. The anime adaptations were a welcome point of entry for those who may have otherwise been intimidated by the sheer depth of the lore, gameplay, and norms of the community built up by the fandom.

Image by Gonzo via IMDb

Eventually though, this trend ebbed due to less ambitious adaptations being released. Major films and full-length series made way to OVAs and special episodes, while the marketing for these releases was minimal at best. The last major anime tie-in for the series was an OVA dedicated to Juri in 2012, and there have been no signs of a new adaptation coming out since.

Which is a shame, because there’s so much untapped potential for a fantastic Street Fighter anime thanks to the release of Street Fighter 6. In terms of content which could be adapted into an animated narrative, there’s plenty a studio could use and build off of from the game’s arcade and story modes, let alone all of the comics and other tie-in media.

They could focus in on Ken and his rise back to glory following his company’s involvement in a terrorist attack, and his quest to find the one responsible. There’s also the newer characters’ struggles to overcome the old guard of fighters, or the World Tour protagonist’s drive to discover what strength truly means. It’s entirely up to them, and given how much time and care went into making Street Fighter 6, it’s more than likely Capcom would work with them the entire way through to ensure it’s of at least decent quality.

Which leads into another big part of why now is the perfect time for a new Street Fighter anime: the series can finally receive the kind of adaptation it deserves. As stated earlier, the anime films and series made for the franchise in the past were just shy of bad in the best of cases. This was during a time when video game adaptations in film and anime were rare though, so fans’ expectations weren’t exactly high — meaning animation studios could get by with haphazard adaptations.

Nowadays though, more effort is put into making video game adaptations as good as they can be, especially when it comes to anime adaptations. Just last year, Cyberpunk 2077 received one of the best cross media anime offerings ever in the form of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, and its success brought a flood of renewed attention to the video game it was tied to.

If the Street Fighter franchise could receive an anime of a similar quality, with just as much love and care poured into it by the animation studio, then there’s little doubt new fans would be drawn in to the series like they did way back when.

Will it be the end of the world if an adaptation doesn’t come to light? Probably not. And yet, it’s hard not to think of the possibilities that could arise if a new anime is released. We’re on the cusp of a major revival for the series, and it could last that much longer if there’s a new, legendary anime for people to find the series through.

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Keenan McCall
Keenan has been a nerd from an early age, watching anime and playing games for as long as I can remember. Since obtaining a bachelor's degree in journalism back in 2017, he has written thousands of articles covering gaming, animation, and entertainment topics galore.