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The international criminal organization Shadowlaw is covertly recording fights of the world's top street fighters using human-like Monitor Cyborgs -- the purpose of these recordings is to help Shadowlaw's leader, the vile M. Bison, weed out the best of the best so that Shadowlaw can abduct those fighters and convert them into brainwashed slaves. This was the case for Cammy White, a young fighter who assassinated an English politician while under Shadowlaw's mind control. Similar attacks get the attention of Interpol and their lead investigator, Chun-Li; realizing that Shadowlaw may be after Ryu, a powerful fighter who had beaten ex-champ (and Shadowlaw operative) Sagat, Chun-Li recruits U.S. Air Force Captain Guile to help search for Ryu and bring down Shadowlaw. Both Chun-Li and Guile seek revenge on Bison (Chun-Li for the murder of her father, Guile for the murder of his military partner), but Guile's drive for vengeance makes him initially hard to work with.
Ryu is traveling Asia searching for fights, improving his skills and kicking the ass of criminals he happens to be running into, not knowing the danger he is in due to Shadowlaw's interest in him. In the United States, Ryu's best friend/rival/former training partner -- Ken Masters -- is also searching for fights, but he is unsatisfied with his challengers; Ken wants to fight Ryu again and take care of their "unfinished business", as well as test the limits of his abilities.
Through the use of the Monitor Cyborgs, Shadowlaw has been following Chun-Li, Guile, and Ken; Bison sends the assassin Vega to deal with Chun-Li, while Bison himself kidnaps Ken (who uses the same fighting style as the elusive Ryu) and turns him into another mind-controlled slave. Guile eventually finds Ryu, but at the same time, Bison and Ken find them both -- and while Guile battles Bison, Ken and Ryu have their long-awaited rematch, only with Ken under the control of Shadowlaw...
As opposed to other movies based off of Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is mostly faithful to the original game and its iterations; whatever changes that were made still do their best to represent the spirit of the series. Soon after the release of this film, Capcom made a video game after the movie following the events of an upgraded Monitor Cyborg recording various Street Fighter battles. Several fight scenes and new ideas introduced in the movie -- such as the fight between Ryu and Sagat at the beginning of the film, Ken having longer hair when he was younger, and a two-on-one battle -- were eventually integrated into the Street Fighter Alpha series. Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is still a huge fan favorite.
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie provides examples of the following tropes:
- The Anime of the Game
- Anime Theme Song: "Itoshisa to Setsunasa to Kokoro Tsuyosa to", played during Ryu and Ken's fight with Bison. Street Fighter Zero, the Japanese version of the first Alpha game, even features an instrumental version for the Dramatic Battle mode.
- Battle in the Rain: The opening scene of the movie features the famous fight between Ryu and Sagat.
- Billing Displacement: Cammy is featured prominently in almost every piece of merchandise and promotional material released in Japan, even getting top billing on the Japanese flyer (as seen above), despite having a total screen time of less than five minutes (even Ken's girlfriend Eliza, a non-player character in the games, has a bigger presence in this movie).
- The Cameo: Akuma in Calcutta.
- Canon Immigrant: Dr. Senoh, the old scientist working for Shadowlaw, makes a cameo appearance in Bison's ending in Street Fighter Alpha 2.
- Climb Slip Hang Climb: Ryu gets a scene like this.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Guile gets his ass firmly handed to him by Bison. He doesn't even get one hit in, because Bison keeps dodging.
- Demoted to Extra: Cammy, Zangief, Blanka and Dee Jay.
- Dramatic Thunder
- Everyone Remembers the Shower: It's THE most talked about scene in the movie.
- Fan Service: Chun-Li's shower scene!
- Fan Disservice: It horribly turns into this when Vega shows up and almost kills her.
- Foot Focus: There are tons of sole shots of Chun-Li's bare feet in her fight with Vega, as well as when she is walking around her apartment barefoot.
- Gainax Ending: Bison coming at Ryu with a semi-truck.
- Heroic Build: The number of guys in this movie who aren't utterly ripped to shit can be counted on one hand. Notably, Sagat and Bison take this to almost Top-Heavy Guy proportions.
- I Know You Are in There Somewhere Fight: Ryu with Ken who's been brainwashed by M. Bison.
- Improvised Weapon: After being wounded by Vega's claw, a slightly ticked off Chun-Li retaliates by throwing her couch at him.
- Lowered Monster Difficulty: M. Bison, who after mopping the floor with Guile using his Psycho Power, decided to fight Ryu and Ken without it. He lost.
- Licking the Claw: Vega
- Market-Based Title: Released in Japan as Street Fighter II Movie. Retitled for its overseas release to avoid confusion with its live-action counterpart.
- Meditation Powerup: How Ken regains his strength and center after being nearly killed by Bison.
- Not Worth Killing: What Bison thinks of Guile after beating him.
- One-Scene Wonder: Given that the film's producers were tasked at trying to fit in all 16 fighters from Super Street Fighter II into the film somehow, naturally a few of them got the short end of the stick. The Zangief vs. Blanka match in particular bears no significance to the plot. Since Super Street Fighter II Turbo was barely announced right after the film has just started the production, the only way the animators could include Akuma in the movie without making his presence feel shoehorned was to include him as a background extra in Calcutta.
- Perfectly Cromulent Pronunciation: Oh, Sagat? The "moo tie" champ?
- Recursive Adaptation: Much like its live-action counterpart, there was a video game based on the film for the Play Station and Sega Saturn, but it was only released in Japan.
- Ret Canon: This movie influenced many aspects of the Street Fighter Alpha series.
- Second-Person Attack: A lengthy example at the end of Chun-Li's fight with Vega.
- Series Continuity Error: The name of Ryu and Ken's sensei is displayed as "Goutetsu" on Bison's monitor. This isn't a mistake. The name "Goutetsu" was going to be used for Ryu and Ken's sensei in the movie, but it was left unspoken. After Gouken (a Canon Immigrant from a Street Fighter II manga) was made into Ryu and Ken's sensei in the games, the name "Goutetsu" was instead used for Gouken and Akuma's sensei.
- Shower Scene: With Chun-Li; changes to a Shower of Awkward thanks to Vega.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Bison's organization is referred as "Shadowlaw" instead of "Shadaloo", even on printed documents. Admittedly, Capcom was using the spelling "Shadowlaw" in the manuals for the home versions at the time, before they made "Shadaloo" into the standard spelling.
- Stat-O-Vision: One of the Monitor Cyborg's abilities.
- Title: the Adaptation
- To the Pain: Vega to Chun-Li. This serves as a Berserk Button for Chun-Li, and Vega pays dearly for it.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After Bison gives Sagat the order to leave for America to dispose of Cammy and Vega, he is not seen, or acknowledged for the rest of the movie.