For a franchise that’s been around for so long and has been so influential, Street Fighter deserves better than this shoddy adaptation.
Just like the second entry in the series did back in 1992, Street Fighter IV revolutionized the fighting game genre providing an experience that felt old and new at the same time. But if there’s something anyone can complain about is that its insipid arcade mode doesn’t explain a lot about the popular characters and their motivations for fighting in the streets. As a way of bridging the gap, Capcom released Street Fighter IV: The Ties that Bind, an anime movie that follows the wide array of characters, but the erratic animation, confusing story and the fact that this film is non-canonical makes it hard to recommend.
Without revealing too much, here’s a summary of the story. There are strange energy discharges coming out of the Amazon and Cammy believes that evil organization Shadaloo is behind this. At the same time, members of Interpol, Chun-Li and Guile are investigating the disappearance of martial artists around the world and they also believe Shadaloo is somewhat involved. Nevertheless, leader of S.I.N. Seth is the one experimenting in the Amazon because he wants to collect data from the most powerful fighters to power up a bio-weapon known as BLECE, but to do so, he needs the perfect test subject: Ryu. So to locate the Japanese fighter, Seth sends special agent Crimson Viper to spy on Ken and Sakura.
The way in which the plot’s presented is both chaotic and confusing, mainly because this movie has the difficult job of telling the story of several characters and explaining what happened after Street Fighter II. This movie’s constantly jumping between characters and there’s not a lot of background explaining who they are. On top of that, the animation gets the job done, but it isn’t extraordinary by any measure and the combination of 2D and 3D visuals looks artificial. Finally, the Japanese voice acting sounds good and appropriate, so the that’s definitely the best version to watch.
Originally, The Ties that Bind came out as part of the Collector’s Edition of Street Fighter IV for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC and was later re-released in the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary – Collector’s Set. But even with its problems, I don’t understand why this movie couldn’t be part of the game, since it could have shed more lights in the stories of some of the main characters. Maybe it was lack of space in the disc, maybe it was because Street Fighter IV had its own animated shorts in the arcade mode or maybe Capcom wasn’t sure about the quality of The Ties that Bind, but I would have preferred to see something like this as part of the game.
Street Fighter IV: The Ties that Bind is a movie that you can totally do without because, in the end, it doesn’t explain that much about the iconic characters and it doesn’t provide a lot of background about the fourth game in the series. For a franchise that’s been around for so long and has been so influential, Street Fighter deserves better than this shoddy adaptation.