From arcade cabinets to home consoles to mobile games like Street Fighter: Duel, fighting games have made their mark hitting us right in the nostalgia. We all have our favorite characters who have moves we’ve memorized or outfits we’ve favorited. For the most part, fighting games have accompanying story modes secondary to tournament styles and some of those franchises were made into animated series and movies. To celebrate the recent release of Street Fighter 6, let’s take a look at some of the most iconic video games that received anime adaptations.
Street Fighter II The Animated Movie
Street Fighter actually has many anime adaptations, both movies and series, but I’m focusing on Street Fighter II The Animated Movie. Centered around Street Fighter’s golden boy, Ryu, as he tries to stop M. Bison’s organization from taking over the world, this movie feels like the most classic battle anime. We’ve got frenemies, a long-term goal and the determination to defeat the ultimate evil with all the familiar faces of Street Fighter during the Street Fighter II days. From here we’d get releases like the anime series Street Fighter II V, the anime movie Street Figher Alpha: The Animation, and a manga adaptation.
Being one of the first fighting games, it’s no wonder Virtua Fighter had an anime series as well. The series follows Akira Yuki on the quest to see the eight stars of heaven and save a kidnapped Sarah Bryant. He’s joined by Pai Chan and the two set out on their quest. The series lends itself to building a lore the game didn’t quite have — it can be marked as one of the best adaptations that brings our blocky fighters to life.
Night Warriors: Darkstalker’s Revenge OVA Series
Based on the popular series Darkstalkers franchise, this is a four-episode series created by Madhouse Studios. Named after the original game, it’s a fight between vampires, werewolves, demons and humans as the alien invader Pyron plans to take over the earth. We find ourselves in the middle of a family fight between Demitri Maximoff and Morrigan Aensland. Meanwhile, human Donovan Baine plans to fight the Darkstalkers to protect humanity. Although the film doesn’t include all of my favorite characters, I still love to see the progression of the fight between the humans and the Darkstalkers.
If you owned a DreamCast, you might remember a series of fighting games called Power Stone. Your objective was to collect three power stones and gain ultimate power. Just like the game pioneering the way for 3D fighting games, Power Stone the series made it acceptable for everyone to have a magical girl transformation sequence. The series centers on Edward Falcon, a young pilot who’s looking for his father while he has a few run-ins with some familiar faces. Ayame, Rogue and Wang-Tang join to stop Vargas from taking all the stones for himself. Adventure is out there, and the series sheds light on what ultimate power does to different people.
Samurai Shodown: The Motion Picture
Dark forces and powers come to play in Samurai Showdown: The Motion Picture. This film follows the story of the first SAMURAI SHODOWN game where Ambrosia, the Dark God of Makai, is resurrected and wreaks havoc on the world. Haohmaru is betrayed by Shiro Tokisada Amakusa, and together with the “Holy Warriors,” he tries to stop her from further damage. Unfortunately, she destroys them but their souls survive and a hundred years later they get reincarnated and work together once again to defeat Ambrosia. Though there are minor changes from the original game, the film gives a new perspective to the story.
Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf
The first fighting game from SNK, Fatal Fury, was bound to get an anime adaptation. The first Fatal Fury OVA brings us back to Southtown as we follow brothers Terry and Andy Bogard joining the King of Fighters Tournament to avenge their fallen master who met his end at the hands of Geese Howard. The tournament brings trouble with numerous failed assassination attempts but that doesn’t stop the brothers from ultimately defeating Geese Howard with the Hurricane Kick. The true test of brotherhood, we’re taken on a journey of loyalty, revenge and, of course, fighting.
The family drama that unites the world’s best martial artists into the King of the Iron Fist Tournament. Following the Mishima and Kazama family, Jin learns there is more than just one style of fighting while he sets out on a journey to avenge his mother Jun. The truths and history of the tournament unfold when Jin learns that his grandfather Heihachi is not really who he says he is. In this series, we get to see all of the classic Tekken characters from King to Nina Williams. Tekken has dominated the fight game genre since the 1990’s, so it’s not a surprise that the release of Tekken: Bloodline gives us the nostalgia of seeing the characters while retelling the classic storyline.
Every time a fighting game series gets adapted, it feels like it’s opening its door to a new audience. While many of the adaptations take notes on the source material, it’s nice to see some take liberties with story and character development.
What’s your favorite fighting game anime adaptation? Did I miss one you’d recommend? What fighting game would you like to see get an anime? Comment below!