The story of Ryu and his struggle to control the power of the Dark Hado.
Street Fighter Alpha (AKA Street Fighter Zero)
Release Date: April 26, 2000
Studio: Group TAC, & Manga
Running Time: 93 Min
What You Need to Know:
Ryu is a warrior that trains every day to find his purpose in life through fighting and his strength in Martial Arts. He is present in town as a Gunfight breaks out between some men from Shadow Law and the Interpol Agent Chun Lee. Lee is more than a match for the Men, even when unarmed, but one of the assailants takes a small boy hostage.
Ryu jumps into action and saves the boy, and gives her to the nearby Sakura to keep Safe. She is enthralled by his skills and ability! He saves the Boy and is off before Chun Lee can thank him.
As Ryu walks the steps to his Shrine home, he is approached by a mystic presence. She calls herself Rose and tells him that he will soon meet someone who will shape his life. And she gives him the Devil Tarot Card. Says that is up to him as the time comes to turn over the card and choose if he will embrace the Dark Hado or not.
Ken comes to Japan to visit with his training buddy and best friend Ryu. He has traveled here from his home in America for a Street Fighting Tournament. As he arrives the men are surprised to meet a young boy named Shun. He claims that Ryu is his brother. He shows them a picture of a young Ryu with his Mother, and they accept him and allow him to stay with them. Turns out that Ryu’s family was from Brazil, and Shun traveled here after his mother died some six months ago. (the father is eluded to but not explained at this time). They share some days together training, as Shun wanted to be like his brother and learn Martial arts. He has some natural talent too.
What You’ll Find Out:
Ken leads them to the Street Fighting Tournament, but they split up as he tries to get a better signal on his palm book, (Ah early days of the Internet problems). Trouble eventually finds Shun and Ryu, and we see how skilled the youngster is. He soundly beats the three attacking men within inches of death and has a clear bloodlust about him. Ryu sensing this takes him out himself with a swift Rabbit punch to the liver.
Ken runs into a grateful Sakura who was in trouble as she was met by some creeps in a Bar as she was hoping to find the Street Fighter and Ryu. Ken barges in swinging kicks to clear the room of the wannabee attackers, sending them flying into the walls. She explains that she is looking for the man who wore a headband just like this one. “Ryu?” he asks, and they head off together.
Chun Lee is also en route to the Tournament, and she catches up with Ryu and Shun. They enter together and Shun enters on his own. Ken took too long and missed his chance to enroll, so they will just have to watch.
The first Bout is Dan vs Vega, and just as you would expect, it is a brutal exchange of Vega hitting Dan repeatedly with his claw, and Dan losing badly.
Now it’s Shun’s time to fight, and his Opponent is none other than the Russian himself Zangief!
Shun in no short order takes the rotund Russian down. With his speed and a flurry of spin kicks, he has sent Zangief to the mat. Unfortunately, it will take more than that, as he regains his bearings, and grapples the boy. Shun, was powering up his Ki with Dark hado energy, that Ryu sensed. Zangief takes him in his grasp to deliver a final killing blow with all his weight and might, and Ryu steps in to save his brother. He takes some unearned lumps from Zangief, and then as his Dark Hado energy. He fires off a Blast that narrowly misses the Giant and he just stands there dumbfounded as half the building explodes.
In the chaos, Sakura gets injured, and Ken Helps her escape. Ryu is then challenged by a new opponent as Zangief falls off a crumbling cliff side.
He is an immensely Powerful Cyborg that challenges Ryu to his power limits. His goal is to collect the fighting data of the dark Hado for his master Professor Sanders. Sanders is the man that Chun Lee is pursuing, as she believes that he has her Father held captive.
Ryu defeats Rosonov and manages to take out his cybernetic eye. Sanders is impressed, but Ryu used the Dark Hado and is upset with himself.
Ken Takes Sakura to the hospital for care, and checks on her shortly after telling her all about Ryu and himself. She is truly impressed as a school girl who is obsessed with becoming a strong fighter like Ryu and Ken.
What Just Happened:
Now home Ryu, Ken, and Shun are sleeping off the battle when Ryu wakes to a Nightmare. He leaves his bed and travels into the Forrest. He is pursued by Shun, who sees him fighting off the allures of the Dark Hado. His eyes turn Blood Crimson with Rage, and he powers up his ki to throw a Blast of energy at his Brother. In a moment of clarity, Ken reacts and try to snap his friend out of this evil trance. He is able to by knocking some sense back into Ryu, but as always it is clear that Ryu can take his best shot and still keep standing. Never the less he is grateful, and tells Ken,”If I ever lose myself to the Dark Hado, Like Akuma. I want you to be the one to kill me.”
This leads Ryu to a scene where he and Chun Lee travel to the Island that Akuma calls Home. The see a landscape of carved wooden dummies and nothing else. Akuma is able to hide his Ki as he moves and is almost invisible. He toys with them, and tells Ryu, that ” A True Warrior enters the ring with all his abilities ready for the battle.” Knowing the power of the dark Hado that Ryu possesses, he tried to draw his power out by increasing his own Ki, but Ryu will not submit to the Darkness that had consumed Akuma. They may yet battle, but not this day. Ryu came simple to ask if Akuma was his Father, (Shun mentioned that his and Ryu’s Father taught him the Dark Hado).
The two return with no real answers other than what Akuma says ” I walk alone, I fight Alone.” So they do not believe that he is, in fact, Ryu and Shun’s father.
Ken, Ryu, and Chun Lee are invited to a Tournament held by Sanders. They are hoping to locate Chun Lee’s Father, and this time Ryu will be competing. The Plane is filled with their fellow Street Fighter Cast members. Including Birdie, Dan, and Dhalsim.
They arrive and are led to a compound that has armed guards of Shadow law. The walk in past seemingly zombie husks of people, just wandering aimlessly in a field of wildflowers. We later learn that these are former fighters that were sampled of their Data from Sanders, and this is the state that they were left in.
They arrive and the first match is set. A bout between Birdie and Dan. You remember Dan right? The guy who got beaten by Vega. Ever eager, he attempts to fire a Hado Energy Blast, that fails miserably, and Birdie takes him out with minimal effort.
After winning his battle Birdie is ushered by the Goons from Shadow Law into a chamber inside the complex. Ken asks if they want to follow and see whats going on. He beats Adon the Muy Tai fighter and as he is also ushered away Ryu and Chun Lee subdue the guards.
Here’s where things get strange and a bit fuzzy in the story. They encounter Birdie and try to disconnect him from a machine that is draining him of his Battle Prowess, and then Rosonov with an eye patch emerges to stop them. Ryu heads up and onward to discover Shun has been sampled and is a Husk himself.
The Two try to help Birdie escape as well as the other fighters, but Rosonov is too powerful. They are beaten down again and again, despite even Birdie saving them a few times. This is met with a hand to Birdies throat, that promptly ends his life.
Eventually, they make it to Ryu, and he watches as Rosonov beats on Ken and Chun Lee repeatedly. It was quite puzzling to see him stand there with no reaction on his face. As he snaps out of it, we hear Sanders explaining that all he needs is the power of the Dark Hado and he will be invincible. Ryu has no choice but to invoke the power, To make matters worse Rosonov has completely absorbed Shun, Shun will periodically pop out of his chest and taunt Ryu. He was a trap sent to lure Ryu here, and never his actual brother. ( a bit of a stretch I think). Ryu beats Rosonov with a Dark Hado Blast that takes his arm off and leaves a gaping hole in his torso. He is Defeated and Shun ejects from his body. As Ryu comes to his aid Sander’s machine hums with power. He emerges from the control room as a Grey and Red Glowing Man who has absorbed all of the fighting powers of the trapped combatants. Ryu must face him to save his friends. As he sets down the wounded Shun, he is reminded of Rose’s warning. That he has not turned over the Devil card.
In a somewhat anti-climactic final battle, Ryu one final time invoke the Dark Hado. He Blasts back at Sanders and disintegrates his arms in the process. Sanders crumbles to pieces saying “How?”. Shortly after Shun dies in Ryu’s hands, and then Ryu vows to never again use the Dark Hado.
As the Credits Begin to roll we see a glimpse of Ryu back on the island with Akuma, and the final scene they engage in battle from two spires over the water. Each Jump Kicking toward the other.
Final Thought: Enjoyable and a short enough film to get in my cravings for nostalgic Street Fighter action. The film is beautifully animated, but leaves a lot of explanation to prior incarnations, and counts on pre-existing knowledge from the viewers to fill in the story gaps. There is a lot of wasted time in between the fights with Ryu, that leaves me to question him as an elite martial Artist. He just seems to stand by reaction less while a good number of those he cares about get ruthlessly beaten or maimed. That took me out of it a bit. The Loveable Sakura and the little Brother Shun provide the comedic relief amidst the grim demeanor of the grizzled fighters. I say it was a fast and enjoyable watch. Worth checking out if you are in the mood for a beat em up Anime without worrying about not getting into the plot. The story is the same old Video Game trope, where an evil Scientist tries to steal data from the world’s best fighters, but really that is a secondary thing altogether, and the movie never really has this larger sense of dread as when they were facing M. Bison. For a PG-13 version of an Anime, I think this one comes through ok, and I would suggest if you like the games give it a watch.
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