I remember when I was in high school and I first became aware that there was a Street Fighter II animated movie from Japan. I likely found out about it from some kind of video game magazine. I was desperate to see it, even if I had to resort to a raw bootlegged copy with no subtitles. I begged and pleaded to get a copy from people who told me that they had seen it, but to no avail. Eventually it was officially released on VHS, and I rented a copy and just loved it. What an awesome movie. Soon afterward I bought a VHS copy of the uncut edition of the film, which had more blood and didn’t compromise on the violence. I must have watched that movie 20 times. Still own the tape too.

Yesterday, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the film, Manga Entertainment finally re released the Street Fighter II Animated Movie on a DVD they are calling the “Uncut, Uncensored, Unleashed” edition. There was an early release back when the DVD format was still in its infancy, but it’s hard to find and not really worth getting. This new release, however, contains not only the English version, but a completely untouched Japanese version that runs a little bit longer on the other side of the disk. This is the first time ever that the Japanese audio has been made available in North America. I promptly snapped up a copy, having wanting a decent version of this movie on DVD since forever.

Now, as far as being a DVD goes, this release really isn’t all that great. The picture quality is really poor in comparison to what a DVD is supposed to look like. There are scratches, specs of dirt, and other visible flaws. The colours aren’t really as bright as they ought to be, and the picture is not true anamorphic widescreen. I have to believe that they did the best they could with the material they had, but still, it’s disappointing. The sound, however, is very well done on this disk. There really aren’t any significant extra features, and I think that was a missed opportunity, but I suppose that having the uncut Japanese version is extra enough.

Now, this is the part where I have to chose my words carefully. If you know anything about this movie, then you probably know that the original uncut VHS release was not exactly completely uncut. There was a certain sequence involving Chun Li. In the shower. Even the version of the film released on VHS all those years ago that claimed to be uncut had a few frames removed from a certain shot at a certain angle, if you catch my drift. This new DVD release of the film restores that sequence to its original splendor. Was it worth waiting 10 years to finally see it?

Oh yes. If you don’t mind me saying, I am inclined to think that it was indeed worth the wait!

Anyway, the movie is still as awesome as it ever was. As far as Street Fighter animation is concerned, it has yet to be topped. The fights are incredible, all the characters you know from the video game are in there, and the story isn’t a complete abomination. They really don’t make kick-ass animated films like this anymore. If this is your thing, pick this new DVD up. It’s not a perfect release, but the movie itself far outweighs any flaws in the disk. Plus it comes with a cool little comic book from UDON!




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