Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture Review

It’s been a while since we collabed, but here we are talking about a fighting game movie! Fun times, right? The original plan came to be for this review because of the new Mortal Kombat film. This post is coming out a month and some change after that premiered, but that’s ok. We had fun discussing this film anyway. Please read our thoughts on it because this one was a fun time for both of us considering that we came from different backgrounds regarding SNK and Fatal Fury material. To know more about that, read the following stuff!

In this collab, I will be in normal text and Ospreyshire will be in bold text! Please read some of his work on Iridum Review here: Link and Ospeyshire here: Link.

S: Hello one and all. It’s time to discuss the workings behind a fighting game anime film. Fatal Fury to be specific. Considering this fact, I think it would be opening up about our fighting video game experiences because that is something that could color the way each of us could see this film.

S: I’ve never played anything SNK, so watching this film was a new experience to me. My fighting game experience usually lingers on playing Street Fighter 2 and 3 from a special game package for PS2 and I spent a lot of time playing both of them. I’ve also played some Soul Calibur 2 and Dragon Ball Budokai 1 and 2. So essentially, I am walking into this film pretty blind. How about you, Curtis?

O: Hello, Scott! It’s great to collaborate with you again.

O: I played a lot of fighting games in my youth. Like you, I’ve also played multiple Street Fighter games and Soul Calibur. I had a Dreamcast, so I was spoiled with that genre with SFIII: 3rd Strike, the first 2 Marvel Vs. Capcom games, Project Justice, Tech Romancer, etc. While I was more of a Capcom guy growing up, I definitely played SNK games. Mostly Samurai Shodown, Last Blade 2, and multiple installments of The King of Fighters game series which features several Fatal Fury characters. I haven’t played as much of the original Fatal Fury games, but I do remember dabbling with some of them although I can’t remember specifically which ones. Playing Capcom Vs. SNK was certainly fun even if 99% of the Capcom side was nothing but Street Fighter characters. I have seen two of the KOF anime works with Another Day (my first anime review on WordPress, I might add) and recently with Destiny, but I had never seen any of the Fatal Fury movies until this review idea.

Some SNK Fighting Game Styles

S: I’m happy to be collaboration with you Ah, so it seems like you will be the person I go to when I have some questions about it. :). Though, this film did seem a lot like JoJo’s Stardust Crusaders in some ways. I guess that had some influence towards fighting series in general.

S: Same honestly regarding the films and that colors my experience towards this film in some ways. Compared to something like Street Fighter, in which I have seen the Street Fighter 2 movie and some random OVAS, Fatal Fury feels like such an outcast or a bit of a quieter thing in comparison for some reason. It’s strange how the Fatal Fury movie two years before the Street Fighter 2 movie in 1996  and the prequel OVAS earlier than that. Especially since the stories are similar yet different in some ways in that a fighting game anime movie can only do so many things before destroying the identity of the series itself. I still had a fun time watching this motion picture regardless of those facts.

O: No problem.

O: That certainly was my favorite genre of video games when I was younger, but I’m not too familiar with the newer games though. Funny you mention JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure because I played the Dreamcast fighting game which existed long before the anime got a remake. I do see some parallels given the aspect of travelling the world and the treasure hunting aspect from the villains. Yes, it’s a McGuffin story, so let’s not make any illusions about it, but at least the storyline doesn’t involve a tournament. For something that’s based on a fighting game series, that stands out a lot.

O: Fatal Fury didn’t get the mainstream attention like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or Tekken, so I hear you right there. Good call with the Fatal Fury movies and OVAs predating even the Street Fighter II movie. I didn’t even think about that. Then again, if you were to show pictures of Terry Bogard or Mai Shiranui to someone with some knowledge of video games, they might associate them more with KOF than this series even though KOF is a crossover project which shows that other SNK games such as Art of Fighting, Psycho Soldiers, and Ikari Warriors take place in the same universe in canon. To be fair, no one will be confusing Fatal Fury characters with that from Street Fighter though. While there were OVAs that take place before the movie, I can still understand what was going on even if I didn’t know anything about the games or the SNK universe. I also noticed how the villains were actually fully original characters instead of using the other established villains such as Wolfgang or Geese even though they are mentioned and the latter makes a brief cameo.

SNK vs Capcom Characters

S: Oh yes, world traveling was what got to me when it came to Stardust Crusaders and the Fatal Fury film and Street Fighter as well. A MgGuffin story is a good way to get some creative action scenes in different varieties of scenarios and action set pieces in exotic locations. That being said, it does run on a lot of cliches considering that fact because it really is the easiest way or reason to create a film at all. For Fatal Fury, I find these jocks and beat ’em up characters traveling to ancient ruins as something pretty fun and didn’t borrow from Enter The Dragon for the fifth time in a row.

S: Ah, that knowledge sounds right to me. There is no way to really say that one character from Street Fighter would ever be the same as Fatal Fury at all. Even Terry Bogard who feels like a Ryu to me in some ways has such a different character design and actually has a sense of personality compared to Ryu who is the wandering martial artist. Terry just playing a game at an arcade adds so much more to him then could be said otherwise.

S: So, let’s get into the movie in a bit more focused manner. How do you feel about the characters of Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture?

O: I can see those parallels there and the Street Fighter movie had the world travelling thing going on as well since the characters are from multiple countries. I was surprised with some of the countries featured with Iraq, Germany, and Turkey of all places on there. Good point about not recycling from Enter the Dragon. Hahaha!

O: That is definitely a plus. Even though I was more of a Street Fighter guy, I will give SNK props for giving Terry way more of a personality in the games and the anime I’ve seen him in. Yes, there are the punchlines of the English he spouts in the games (“Are you OK?”, “Hey, c’mon c’mon!”), but Terry has a more unique fighting style while showing more range of emotions. Him playing in the arcade was funny in a fourth wall breaking sort of way when you realize the arcade is called Neo Geo World (in reference to SNK’s consoles and arcade cabinets).

O: I was certainly familiar with the Fatal Fury characters and it’s good that they all have their unique personalities. Andy Bogard being the no-nonsense little brother of Terry was a good counterpoint to him as well as his friend with benefits Mai Shiranui. I did have to get used to her voice being different in the games as Kotono Mituishi (Sailor Moon, Misato from EVA, Excel from Excel Saga, etc.), but the dynamics with her and him were interesting. Joe Higashi as this glory-hounding prize Muay Thai fighter does give him a more comedic edge, but you can still take him seriously as a protagonist. Those were a good choice of characters from the games to help lead the story.

The heroes Mai, Andy, Terry, and Joe!

S: I don’t know them personally, but I did get those impressions when I watched it. Andy Bogard was the most boring character in the movie perhaps, but he was who kept the group grounded pretty well. Even if Terry is grounded himself, everyone is a goofball compared to him. Joe Higashi is a fun idiotic that definitely does enough to get to like him. Also, I liked Mai. I know that she is the fanservice character, but her pushing for fun and going after Andy is pretty enduring honestly. I think Andy and Mai’s little relationship thing added a little bit to the film.

S: Also, I didn’t even know that it was Kotono Mituishi. Wow, she has some range because none of those characters are even close to each other. Voice actors are so crazy good like that.

S: Sulia and the villains lead by Dio-light Laocorn were pretty standard as far as I am concerned. Sulia was clearly a mcguffin girl, but she is very likeable. Laocorn is a bit too basic and/or power hungry or something because I didn’t really get enough out of the connection between Sulia and him to be any more memorable at all honestly. That goes along with the three villains too. They are martial artists and imposing, but nothing completely interesting I suppose. That villain who had a playful thing between Mai and Andy had some personality at least, but I don’t remember his name. I’m just bad with names…

O: Glad you were able to make those observations. I get that Andy isn’t the most exciting character ever even if he’s good in most of the KOF games I’ve played. Joe was easily the most comic relief, but I did appreciate the balance of him being a useful team member. It’s good they kept the Andy/Mai dynamic in this movie because that plays a big role in the Fatal Fury, KOF, and even in Capcom Vs. SNK of all things and Andy wasn’t in that game. As I’ve mentioned in my review of The King of Fighters: Destiny, I’ve called Mai the Jessica Rabbit of SNK. While she’s always known for fanservice, she could still hang with the other characters and not being afraid to fight.

O: While I wouldn’t call Kotono Mitsuishi my favorite voice actress ever, I don’t think she gets enough props in her portfolio with her having such a wide range of different types of characters, personalities, or voices. Mitsuishi is one of the few seiyuu I can think of who is very chameleonic in her roles. I know Megumi Hayashibara has been praised because of her abilities to voice a crazy amount of characters, she should be on that list as well. She’s not just the voice of Sailor Moon, she has way more versatility when one really knows her filmography.

O: Dio-light? Hahaha! Nice one, Scott! Sulia was that as well as an exposition fairy especially early on in the film. At least there was just enough for me to care about her as a protagonist. Laocorn was a typical villain even if he had a sympathetic backstory. The rest weren’t that memorable to me. The villain you’re thinking of is Hauer. Of course, he isn’t the first masked villain in a fighting game movie to try and flirt with the leading lady of a game franchise **cough** Vega! **cough**.

Villain Laocorn vs Terry!

S: Ah, so the Andy/Mai thing is canonical. Excellent, it really is a fun one. Oh Hauer was name, excellent. Yeah, he won’t be the last one either because that feels like a trope that will keep going for the longest amount of time. Just how things work I suppose.  Also, I feel like Kotono Mitsuishi is fantastic in everything that I’ve listened to her in and Megumi Hayashibara has this capability of overtaking a lot of other people with her skill because she is Megumi Hayashibara of all people.

S: Moving onto a little bit about the art and animation of this show, the fight scenes were incredible. Even the smaller ones had so much impact on it all. The fight in the arcade was the most simple and yet it had some much energy to it and all of it increased with all sorts of energy attacks and more exciting environments. That last fight itself was pretty incredible. Though, I did notice the characters mainly stayed more on model during the action scenes than otherwise? I guess all the artistic ability was put into fights and everything else was just…meh. What do you think?

O: That’s right. I’d argue it’s one of the biggest things accurate to the source material even though I haven’t seen the other Fatal Fury anime. Don’t feel bad because I had to look at my notes just to be sure. Kotono Mitsuishi is a very talented voice actress. It does feel weird calling her underrated given how many big name anime series she’s been in as well as having multiple leading roles. As much as I like Megumi Hayashibara and think she’s a very talented voice actress, she can overpower others with name recognition and most of her roles have been the lead role or a leading role. Of course, if she’s in an anime, there’s a good chance that she’ll get a chance to sing at least one of the theme songs more often than not.

O: There was certainly effort in the fight scenes as to be expected from an action anime. I did have to get used to the character designs. I can tell it’s the Fatal Fury characters in the games, but they felt more angular than the original game promo designs. The character designs during the fight scenes are on point, but they got off model and derped a lot during talking scenes which threw me off. Some facial expressions outside of the fight scenes did feel bush league like eyes or lips just getting bigger or angled differently for no reason whatsoever.

Mai and Andy!

S: I didn’t have that sort of connection with the Fatal Fury characters, so I was generally ok with them. You know, even if they are a bit different from a lot of other character designs from that time period that were a bit more round in nature. At least that is how things were in the mid 90’s. The character designs were from Masami Obari and he always was much more of a mecha person to me. His character designs are definitely unique and I can definitely “yup, that’s from the Fatal Fury movie”. He’s always been more of a mecha designer and animator to me, so it’s interesting seeing him do other things I suppose because his people look like some of his mecha in a lot of structures.

S: Yeah, the derp moments were something else in this movie. Maybe the production staff thought no one would look or care about the talking during those moments and they were saved for crunched time when no one really cared. Cause, it’s a fighting anime right? People walk into these series to watch characters fight and yay, those moments look great! I also feel like this was a very old anime thing as well with all the inconsistencies in characters. I wonder how fast Fatal Fury: The Movie was produced and the budget for it because most movies are definitely way more consistent then this regardless.

O: That’s fine. One plus was that people didn’t need to play the games to know what the characters are about. While there were references to the games, cameos of different characters, or assume nods to the other installments of the Fatal Fury anime, this movie can actually stand alone which does work in it’s favor. I’ve heard of Masami Obari before, but I don’t believe I’ve seen any of his other works. I recognize some of the titles and it does look like he did a lot of work in the mecha genre with Gravion, Dancouga, and even parts of the original Bubblegum Crisis series.

O: They certainly were wacky during those talking segments. Haha! It does play up the cliches of making sure the fights look good and nothing else, but even other studios at least put more effort during the quieter moment than this one. That does make me wonder if this was a rushed job in the production process.

Sullia and Terry!

S: I feel like a bit of a lesser mecha fan in some ways because I haven’t watched a lot of the things Obari has worked on. I have watched the OG Bubblegum Crisis, a lot of the newer works he’s put work on with the Gundam Build Fighters and Build Divers things, and even watched a lot of works that reference his other shows, but haven’t watched his 80’s mecha shows. I need to change that at some point in the future. There is always more anime to watch…

S: Indeed. I wonder if there is some reading about its production somewhere. In thinking about that concept, that “looks good during the important parts and bad for the non important parts” defines the story of the film itself. For those who haven’t watched the film and don’t know the references to other stories, there is enough character in the film to care about them enough while they are fighting in battles that look really good. Otherwise, it’s pretty blah looking and has enough going on to get you to the next fight scene and that’s about it. It’s a fun time in that way with those obvious flaws.

O: Don’t feel bad about it. I had to look up his filmography to see Obari’s prowess. He’s worked on some big things, but I never got to see a lot of the things he worked on. There’s certainly so much that I should watch, too.

O: Certainly makes me wonder. The fights were certainly good, but I wished the rest of the animation would’ve improved especially since this is a movie instead of a TV show or OVA where you can get away with having some production drops. Someone who doesn’t know anything about Fatal Fury or the SNK universe could watch it blind and not feel too lost, so that’s a plus. I wouldn’t call this movie horrible, but more of a decent watch if one lowers one’s expectations.

S: It looks like we had similar thoughts despite where we came from. I guess that makes everything a bit consistent across the board. :). Yay! Thanks for collabing with me, Curtis. We should do this again at some point in the future on your blog! We always seem to come up with some creative topics so I am pretty excited about what we will collab over next time!

O: I guess one can say that. Hahaha! Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture isn’t some masterpiece, but I’ve seen far worse examples of video game adaptations in my life. As an action film, it’s certainly serviceable. No problem, Scott! Collaborating is always fun with whatever we reviewed. I agree we should do this again. Who knows what movie or series we could review in the future?

S: It’s a fun mystery to be sure for us :).

Once again, thank you for reading and hopefully enjoying our little collab. This was a lot of fun and I hope you check out Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture as well. You can watch it for free on RetroCrush!


      1. Yup. Now I’m curious to check them out as well as seeing if I can find a copy of Garou: Mark of the Wolves for the Dreamcast on eBay. That’s one game I heard was good, but never had the chance to play. Interestingly enough, you can even play as adult versions of Kim’s sons in that game since this takes place several years after the original games.

        Liked by 1 person

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