I know you know that I don’t really game all that much, but even living under a gaming rock as I do, I know Street Fighter. I remember seeing the first versions of this in arcades in my youth and I’ve seen, although never played, any number of the iterations since. ^_^
Well, when Okazu Superhero Louis P offered to sponsor today’s review, he made a very charming pitch. Warning me about the art, he suggested that the characters make up for the visual pandering. I find him to be pretty spot on about that kind of thing, so I took him up on his offer and here we are talking a look at Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki, put out in full glossy color by our friends at Udon Press.
The premise is a bit similar to DC’s Super Hero Girls series, (which follow key DC female characters as teens at school. Never been done before, you know.) in which we see the private life of teenage ninja Ibuki. Ibuki is balancing ninja training and life as a “normal” teenage girl and that balancing act is, for the most part, the bulk of the story. We meet Sarai, her utterly non-powered friend, and transfer students Makoto, a martial artist with a chip on her shoulder, and Elena, a not-at-all African looking African princess. I found Elena’s portrayal endlessly fascinating as a foil to the issues around casting Scarlet Johansson as Major Kusanagi in the Hollywood remodel of Ghost in the Shell. It does not comfort me particularly to note that we are not alone in erasing ethnic identity and un-darking skin. If I had been drawing Elena she’d have looked more like a young Grace Jones, ala Red Sonja, sans bullshitty fur bikini. But no one asks me.
Ibuki is herself an admirable heroine, working hard at both school and fantasy ninja training, even with an entire rival ninja clan after her, tests of courage and will and college exams in front of her. The main point – one that I actually appreciated – wasn’t whether she won, but that she tried. The culture of “trying” is still seen as weak in many parts of the world, and while sincerity isn’t always a valid replacement for competence, we also have to learn how to deal with failure.
Of course our rivals become our allies and the cute guy ninja is at the college she is going to attend, so bonus!
The story reads very tween-aged audience, and even the pandery gallery art isn’t explicitly oversexualized, but it still is pretty pandery. Apparently Capcom thinks 12 year old boys and girls will both be able to enjoy this book. Girls can, but they have flip past some of the pics to be able to do it. As usual. Sigh.
Art – 7
Story – 7, +1 for lessons that make sense
Characters – 8 Definitely the strong point
Yuri – 0
Service – 2 Mild by the game’s standards
Overall – 8 More enjoyable than expected, you were right on the money Louis!
…sometimes I fantasize about a media and entertainment complex that didn’t compulsively sexualize women, an industry that cast black-skinned and Asian people in roles without controversy. It’s not just a fantasy. All we have to do is be a little less lazy and we could change this.