Our Third Review!!!

Tony Blackmore, aka T. Pickles, journalism certificate recipient, English literature degree holder, and keeper of the blog tpicklesexpat.blogspot.jp is unique among my friends. We started as coworkers for the same English teaching company in Japan and became good friends. I have always been a fan of both Tony’s wisdom and his sense of humour.  But while I stayed in Japan, Tony eventually made his way to China where he teaches the EAP Program at the Sino-Canada HIgh School at Soochow University High School, Suzhou, From there, Tony keeps me informed on the truth about China and its people. They are people much like us with hopes and dreams, people you would love to get to know. They’re just stuck with a crappy communist government that keeps them from living life to the fullest and standing happily with the rest of the world the way they should.

Who better than someone living in China, Chun-Li’s homeland, to do our non-fan review? Tony, the blog is yours.

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“Street Fighter: The Heart of the Battle” gives every fan the ending that they yearn for:

As the pace of technological change accelerates, generations become shorter.

I was born too early for Street Fighter. I remember when a game of Asteroids at the arcade was considered a good night out. 

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Yet, we did have fan fiction back in the day—mostly of the Star Trek variety. It was smazidat in those pre-internet days, low-quality and stained photocopies being passed hand to hand. Also, it was a more innocent time as no one, at least in my immediate circle, had thought of Pac Man “slash” Donkey Kong fanfic.

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So, most of my own experience with the characters of Ryu and Chun-Li consisted of me ignoring Sean while he blabbed on about them. It sounded like cabalistic crazy talk to me. Yet, I was not completely unsympathetic as I too had experienced the obsession that can come with fandom when I was at a younger age. That allowed me to parse some of Sean’s crazy talk.

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In all genres of fandom, there is a constant tension between desires of the fans and the interests of the producers. The fans yearn for what they see as the natural ending of the story. The producers, on the other hand, never want it to end as that would kill off the goose that lays the golden egg. The tension must always be maintained—and when you run out of stream, just reboot, but never complete.

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So, the fans have stepped into the gap and produced the ending to the tale that they lust to overcome their own frustrations as they know it’ll never be forthcoming from the powers that be. 

The tale begins with Ryu showing up at the door. He’s barefoot, dirty with the dust of the road, with a bag slung over his shoulder. Despite his claim of inadvertence, he’s obviously the traveler who has returned home after a long and arduous journey like Odysseus returning to Penelope.

The image harks back to original Street Fighter—Bruce Lee! This is how all his movies begin. We know who he is, the familiar archetype of the street fighter, the working-class everyman hero.

On the other side, we meet Chun Li as (for a panel or two) the harried waitress-like character, another familiar archetype. They have a mysterious past together—that’s clear—but they’re both struggling to get beyond it. She seems to be further along that path—maybe because girls mature faster than boys—but Ryu is not resisting the path as shown by the fact that he may have, on a level unbeknownst to himself, sought the path out in the first place.

So the archetype is set out in broad strokes in familiar colors from the first pages. This is a tale of maturity; it represents the last struggle of late adolescence, one last battle before settling down into an adult role as the nurturer and teacher for the next generation. 

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It is the natural ending for a story of this type overarching narrative; it’s what everyone instinctively knows is the final chapter for the scenario that the original producers created—even though they themselves are too timid to go there.

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On the downside, there are short-comings that distract from the story itself. For example, there is a confusing backstory that I as a nonfan can’t wrap my head around. Second, characters pop in and out without being adequately introduced. Finally, there are phrases, actions and stances which might thrill the fan but are again jarring and odd to the non-fan  The consequence of this story taking place after something called “Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike”, I imagine. Sean tells me this game has a huge narrative history, one he has very likely taken into account, and one I will unlikely read up on. Non-fan, remember?

Yet, the overall benefit for the non-fan is that “Street Fighter: The Heart of the Battle” presents an archetypical story that delivers what any fan of any genre instinctively knows in their heart of hearts to be the natural ending of all and every narrative of this type: Evil is conquered once more. Boy gets girl. Girl gets boy. And all is well with the world.

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And if by chance fans dare… If they just dare…to demand and support a sequel from what should be a natural ending? The two titular heroes will be ready to face that sequel in the way fans of this couple have always hoped: together.

T. Pickles (Tony Blackmore)

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Our Second Review!!

When it comes to Street Fighter, there are many types of fans, but they all fall somewhere amongst the serious and the casual. Kris Jensen, Applications Consultant with ISM Canada – IBM Global Services (and an amateur author) , is the definition of a casual Street Fighter fan. Kris and I used to play Street Fighter together on the Sega Genesis while we waited for the latest episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation to start. Kris almost always played E.Honda as Honda’s screen owning hundred hand-slap was a deadly weapon in Kris’s hands.

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Kris and I both bought and watched the Street Fighter: Animated Movie and the Street Fighter II V animated series together when they first came out for VHS. We thrilled at the movie and every episode of the series. And Kris, a huge fan of the B-movie genre, actually liked “Street Fighter: the Legend of Chun-Li.”

 

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Now now….put the weapons down. On a planet of six billion people, odds are someone has to like the movie, right?

The fact is, Kris is the perfect definition of the casual SF fan. He knows the SF universe well enough to enjoy it, but not enough to discuss its finer points, or to be hurt when a bad movie about the franchise comes out. He can take or leave the series at any time.

He has also been my number one friend for decades. He has stood by me in the good times and the bad, taught me what a good friend truly is, and how to be one myself. Without his life lessons, there was no way I would have been able to make this project what it has become.

 

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Kris finished reading “Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle” last night. Here are his thoughts:

I used to play Street Fighter II with Sean when we were teenagers, at his house, before watching Star Trek TNG on a Friday Night. He won’t admit it, but I will. I really sucked at the game and didn’t really like it. I lost count the number of time I got crushed. Out of all of that I learned two things. E-Honda was my favourite (The 100 hand slap was cool) and Sean absolutely loved Street Fighter. I think that is why I played the game, because Sean was so passionate about it.

So I was not surprised when he told me about this project. Our monthly Skype chats always included updates and he would tell me how cool the art was and the response he’d had from people all over the world. Then finally, he said it was done and he wanted me to review it. So here goes. Now remember, I’m not a Street Fighter fan (although the anime was cool), so this is purely on story and art. I give it an 8 put of 10. Story flowed well, the different arts styles were cool, and I always figured those two should end up together. You can see Sean’s passion of Street Fighter in the story. Street Fighter fans will take this and leave with a smile knowing they got a quality story worth keeping. I liked the intermissions and some of the art at the end.

So why only 8 out of 10. Well, like I said I’m not a Street Fighter fan, so I don’t follow the games, story lines, or characters. So some plot points didn’t make sense to me. I knew they were specific to the plot and that the Street Fighter fan would understand, so he wrote for his audience, like every good author should. Also, E-Honda only had one panel. One! Come on! E-Honda with the 100-hand slap! Come on man! He should’ve had at least two. Just saying… So there you go. My review. Hope this helps people out there and I encourage other to review it as well when they get it!

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We’ve had a review from the serious fan (Patrick) and the casual fan (Kris). Next is… the non-fan!

Watch this space!

 

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

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Our First Review!

Patrick Reynolds, CEO of Kenzai, is one of my best friends. We met years ago when I became an instructor at the English school he and I used to work at. His company was small then, but Kenzai has since grown into a strong player in the online health industry. Patrick, the man,  has a standard of quality in his work that I wish many more companies had, and its been a honour and a pleasure to learn the ways of the entrepreneur from him. Over the years we have bonded over many things, and we have become partners in another amazing business venture, Question Quest, but the thing that started our friendship really rolling was Street Fighter.

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We have beaten each other to virtual pulp, Patrick’s Ken and my T. Hawk trading blows night after night online, and both of us became stronger players because of our many battles. We have become too busy over the last couple years to pick up controllers like we used to, but the fun-scars our games have left on us have never healed, and we don’t want them too!

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But while Patrick and I see eye to eye on many things, Ryu/Chun-Li is not exactly one of them. He doesn’t hate the idea. He’s more wary. Patrick is the one who pointed out to me that having Ryu and Chun-Li together in the Street Fighter story may have a significant impact on the Street Fighter experience and made me ponder just what that impact would be. He also reminded me of one of his greatest lessons in entrepreneurship, unless the final product on this project–on any project–is quality, no one is going to care.

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So, keeping these things in mind over the course of this graphic novel endeavour, my people and I finally finished the main story. And last Saturday I gave the story to Patrick to read. I tried not to watch him while he read, but it was impossible. While I sat next to him trying to focus on my online newspaper, I kept glancing over at his face to see if he was enjoying himself. I glanced over so much I knew exactly where he was in the story at all times. He had a poker face all the way through.

When he finished, Patrick didn’t say much, but that’s normal. He likes to let things percolate in his mind a while before commenting, something I’m still trying to learn. But, to my relief, when he finally did speak, his feedback was positive. He said “Good job, man!” He said the story was well written and the twists were good. He also said the book sent a clear message and the motivations of the characters were believable. And like most comics, you wish there were more pages to give parts of the story more room, but sometimes that can’t be helped.

 

In the end, Patrick summed up his feelings about the book in the following review:

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Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle intertwines a fast-paced, action-filled story with the tender moments of a budding relationship between the two most famous characters of the Street Fighter universe. We get to see the relatable, human side of Ryu and Chun-li as they wrestle with their feelings for each other vs. the paths they’ve chosen to walk. Any fan of Street Fighter will love all the small details and cameos that pop up throughout the story. Whether you’re a lover or a fighter, you’ll find plenty of great moments in this 110 page, full colour story. And the over 120 pages of bonus content are a true delight!

Patrick has been more than a friend. He has been a mentor over the years of our friendship. After all my people and I have done to bring this book to life, I’m so glad (and relieved) he is pleased.

 

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More next time!

And see you on February 14th, 2015 for the official release!

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

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Crossing the Bar

Brian Yip, aka Night or NightDragon, the young man who wrote “Hero of Heroes” aka “Ryu and Chun-Li Forever.” It’s fitting that with the main story of this project complete, I finally got to see what he looked like. I only wish I could have talked to him, maybe even worked on this project together with him. Thanks to David “Duake” Muich for the help finding the video link.

Brian, you set the bar for a Ryu/Chun-Li story. I hope somehow you get to read the work my people and I have produced, and hope that my people and I have raised the Ryu/Chun-Li bar high enough that CAPCOM, UDON, and the producers of Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist will see it and take it even higher.

You can see the memorial video for Brian below.

(May 24, 1980 – Feb 26, 2010)

Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,

   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.

   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;

   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.
“Crossing the Bar”– Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

 

 

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

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Christopher Moore

Hey RXCLP blog readers.  As we get closer and closer to our launch date, we hope more of you would step up and share your RCL experiences with us. This time, we have a wonderful entry from RCL fan…

 

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Christopher, the blog is yours.

I was approached to write a blog submission for the Ryu X Chun-Li Project-which would basically tell why I paired these two characters together. So hold on, and here we go!!!

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I have been playing video games for a long time. And one day in 1991-a video game would change my life forever-and that was CAPCOM’s Street Fighter II. But in an unusual twist, it wasn’t this game that gave birth to the idea of pairing Ryu, the game’s primary male character, with Chun-Li, who was not only the primary game’s female character, but the first female playable character. In fact, it wasn’t any of the games in the Street Fighter universe.

Nope-it was a totally different game that turned me on to the R/CL pairing. And that game-released nearly 10 years later-was Marvel v. CAPCOM: Clash of Super-Heroes.

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I remember hitting the arcade, and seeing this game. I put in my tokens, and hit start. And what caught my eye was the two characters occupying the upper left corner.

It was Street Fighter’s own Chun-Li and right next to her was Ryu.

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‘Big deal’, I thought. All the CAPCOM characters occupy the upper half of the select screen, so I didn’t think too much of that. But…why would those two characters be placed right next to each other? Was CAPCOM trying to tell its fans something without coming right out and saying it?

Well-since the concept of this game was two-on-two matches-my go-to pairing in MvC was Ryu and Chun-Li. In fact, I believe 90% of the matches I played used the team of Ryu and Chun-Li. And in 2000, I bought a Sega Dreamcast-and one of the first games I bought for it was the perfect arcade port of Marvel v. CAPCOM. And the trend continued-with the bulk of my team matches being Ryu and Chun-Li.

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And then something happened,  I decided to search for Ryu and Chun-Li fansites. I wanted to see if there were any others who might have felt this way. And in my searches, I happened upon the fanfiction story that would change my life. And no-that isn’t hyperbole or being overdramatic. I happened upon the story Hero of Heroes, written by Brian ‘Night’ Yip. And while Brian is no longer with us, his story lives on-a magnum opus chronicling a love story between these icons of video games.

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After that, there were many other stories that I had read on the now-closed SF Archives. But it felt as if there was no community for the fans of this couple to get together and support their union. And then-nearly 13 years after stumbling into Hero of Heroes, I discovered the Ryu X Chun-Li Project-a group devoted to a goal that so long ago, I thought impossible. And now that they are here, I cannot wait to see how they have done this couple justice!

Why do I support the Ryu x Chun-Li Project-and this pairing as well?

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-A shared pain: It’s well known that Bison murdered Chun-Li’s father (on a Tuesday-that monster).  And Ryu suffered a similar loss in that his ‘father’-Sensei Gouken-was killed by Akuma (before he was retconned resurrected). It may seem shallow-but this is a common ground thing for both of them.

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Photo by Photos By Alexander Nerozya

-A shared interest: They both happen to be world-renowned street fighters-who both enjoy fighting each other.

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-An unexplored past: It’s quite possible that Ryu and Chun-Li met and fought in the past-and quite possibly trained together; both under Gen and Gouken.  This is a possibility that CAPCOM should explore…

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But all of that wasn’t significant. I needed a place with others who loved and supported this pairing.  And that’s when I discovered the RXCL Project, and discovered their mission to create a serious fan-created work to show their support of this pairing.  And I was a fan.

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But I didn’t support them.  And for a long time, I came by, checked up on the progress, and viewed art submitted on their Facebook page, but I didn’t show any kind of support.  Not a great way to be a fan, huh?

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And then I donated to this project.  Because I wanted to see it reach its conclusion.  And there may be a fan of this couple who might read this blog.  He or she might feel that same fear.  But you must get past that fear, if you are a fan.

I have a quotation actually, it’s paraphrased- from the character Aemon Targaryen from Game of Thrones.  And when I saw the quotation, it felt perfect for those fans who may be on the fence:

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We can all be fans when there is no cost to it.  Being a fan comes easy then.  But sooner or later, there comes a day when it is not so easy.  A day when a fan must choose.

And for a long time I called myself a fan of this couple.  But when it came time to be a true fan-I wilted in fear.  I would think, ‘I can’t afford to donate’.  But then, I chose to be a fan-and I donated to the RXCL Project.  And other fans need not be afraid, you too can be fans and choose to show your support.

OK, I’m off my soapbox…RXCL forever!!!!

ryuxchunliproject@gmail.com

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98%: A final truth…

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There is one universal truth about great writing. You cannot write a great let alone good story unless you love the characters you are writing about. You need to love them. How the hell are you going to spend the amount of time with them you need to in order to make their story worth someone else’s time if you don’t? And I of course love Ryu and Chun-Li. Their characters, or more specifically the version of their characters in my head, vibrate at the exact same frequency as my very soul. Why else would I go to the trouble of making this book exist?

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Well, there is one other reason. The greatest one of all. A reason, even after all this time, I haven’t had the courage to admit. But I will admit it now because it needs to be done before this blog comes to an end. I’m running out of time.

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Okay… (deep breath) Here goes….

The thing that has made me bring all these people together and work so hard on this project is that I take great pleasure in the version of Chun-Li in my head… the version of her character I have put in this graphic novel I have produced… I take great pleasure in seeing her…happy. Perfectly, wonderfully happy. But not just any type of happiness!  It must be the happiness one can only experience when one is in love.  To me, that is the greatest happiness there is.

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When I finished Street Fighter III 3rd Strike for the first time with Ryu and Chun-Li years ago, and I saw their endings where they carried on “alone,” somewhere in my mind, with my love of…well…love, I just could not accept the idea that either of the characters were truly happy on their own, even in Chun-Li’s case: raising children.  And I know it was this dissatisfaction, this perceived unhappiness in two fictional characters I had come to care about (as we come to care about characters in stories we love), that drove me to look online for a Ryu/Chun-Li love story. And that’s when I found my very first fan fiction, Brian Yip’s “Hero of Heroes” a.k.a. “Ryu and Chun-Li Forever.” And once I read it, savouring every word I might add, my love for the idea of Ryu and Chun-Li together became not just fancy, but part of my very soul.

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And the rest is soon to make history!

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Since I first became interested in girls, I have always taken pleasure in seeing them happy. And that carries over to the fictional ladies in my life as well. I love seeing them happy too, especially when they are in love.

So there is my otaku truth, blog readers.  I started this…

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…to make the Chun-Li in my head happy, so I might take pleasure in that happiness myself. But to accomplish this, I must see to it she gets no one less than the absolute best hero the Street Fighter universe has to offer. And we all know who that is…

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There…the truth is out. Let the world think of me what it will. I’m too old now to care. I only hope that all this love I have for the characters will result in you, faithful reader, loving the Ryu/Chun-Li story I have produced as much as I do.

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Well, I’ve got a book to finish: the first Ryu/Chun-Li graphic novel for the English speaking world. If you can still stand to follow the journey of someone as weird as I am, see you here again in a percent or two, and let’s make some Street Fighter history!

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More next time.

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