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Pet Sins August 2000

Street Fighter

This popular video game released by Capcom has many incarnations - Street Fighter, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter X... The game also has an accompanying comic strip (manga). The most well-known and oldest Street Fighter characters include Ryu and Ken, a Japanese and an European American who are students of the same karate master. The Street Fighter cartoon series has been released in the US. The cartoon focuses on Guile, the blonde US commando who leads the Street Fighters.

Ryu and Chunli

Romantic Couples in Street Fighter
Unlike other fighting video games which center on a white-male-Oriental-female coupling in order to gain white male adherents, Street Fighter's main couples are mostly intra-racial. In the cartoon series, Colonel Guile's love interest is a non-fighting character, a European American military doctor. Ken's fiance is Eliza, a European American woman. The Japanese manga links Japanese Ryu and Chinese Chunli romantically during their teenage years. (more like a one-sided crush by Chunli on a very nervous Ryu)

Sout Asians and West Asians in Street Fighter

Street Fighter is probably one of the first Japanese video game to feature brown-skinned South Asians or West Asians. Most Japanese video games focus on European and East Asian characters, with the occasional character of African descent thrown in.

Dhalsim, a long time Street Fighter good guy, practices yoga, which is arguably a somewhat stereotypical attribute. According to the cartoon series, he was previously a scientist who was kidnapped and coerced into illicit activity by M Bison. He escaped and lived as a recluse in Nepal, trying replace the science in his life with mysticism.

Street Fighter EX introduces Indian wrestler Darun Mister and the beautiful Arab princess Pullum Purna.

Portrayal of black characters in Street Fighter

Street Fighter II introduces a number of black villains. Balrog, a henchman of Bison (the main villian), is a boxer with an anger management problem. He loves money and women. Birdie, a British black man, is dressed like a punk and sports a green mohawk. He is described as "slow-witted" in game literature. Birdie is not evil but aspires to join Shadowlaw. (Bison's evil organization)

In Street Fighter, characters have a specific pose/punch line after beating a level. Birdie's punch line/self description is "Am I ugly or what?" In his winning pose. he is sticking his tongue out and licking a mental chain. Most white characters, on the other hand, are always portrayed as attractive, even if they are negative characters.Vega, one of the villains, is described by game literature as very handsome Spanish bull fighter.

The "good-guy" black character is the Jamaican DeeJay, who, as we can guess, works in the music industry. (It is worth noting that another Japanese video game, Dead or Alive, also features a DJ as the sole black character) After a character wins a round, he has some personal victory gesture. In the case of East Asian characters, the gesture may take the form of a bow. Some other characters raise their fist in victory. DeeJay's personal gesture is to put his hands into his pants parallel to his sides and extend his arms outwards. The lack of dignity accorded to the portrayal of the sole "positive" black male reflects stereotypes of blacks.

Street Fighter III (New Generation) introduces a couple of new, perhaps less stereotypical black "good-guy" characters. There is Dudley, a black Briton boxer who grew up in a wealthy family and graduated top of his class in college. And there is the tall Elena, an African princess who somehow has white hair. Her father is a witch doctor as well as a medical PhD.

Design of Female Characters

Long time Street Fighter favorite Cammie, who is supposed to be a Mi5 agent, shows off her bare legs in a high cut leotard. Many male gamers are hooked on the scantily clad women of Street Fighter, typically Cammie and Chunli.

Street Fighter Alpha 3 features Rainbow Mika, a blond wrestler with half-exposed boobs and a heart shape on each huge breast.