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Warning

This text is the second part of the commentary for the “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” novelization. If you haven’t read the first part, please go there first.

Part 1

The tournament schedule

Long before I wrote the story, I created a schedule about how the tournament shall work out:

Schedule

As told in the story, there were many combatants participating in the Street Fighter tournament. (The letters A to G stand for unimportant fighters that aren’t shown on-screen.) So, this schedule only shows the last part of it, not the whole competition. For example, in the first battles that aren’t shown anymore, Cody won against the guy he knocked out in the intro.

The way the Grand Master battles work (where three fighters fight against the first three Grand Masters, then winner 1 against winner 2, then that winner against winner 3 and then the last remaining fighter against M. Bison) was taken from the manga by Masaomi Kanzaki.
I only used the system, not the actual pairings from the manga, even though there are some parallels, but I’ll tell you later how they came to be.

However, that system for the Grand Master battles was the very first thing that was ever fixed for my schedule. I think Masaomi Kanzaki devised the perfect way to do this.
The way UDON did it wouldn’t have worked for me since my schedule needed the possibility to declare a third place because Ryu’s and Dhalsim’s endings show a winners’ podium for the fighters who reached place one, two and three. And in UDON’s system, there is no place three.
Another version could have been to let the normal fighters fight each other until only one remains. And then that one would have to fight all four Grand Masters. But this would have been quite boring, so it was never an option.

The rest of the schedule is merely the standard k.o. system with half of the fighters being eliminated after each portion of battles.
Besides, if you have a look, every normal fighter would have to win the same amount of battles to reach M. Bison.

After deciding the structure for the Grand Master battles, my next step was to define who will fight whom in the tournament.

I decided to have three main characters: Ryu, Chun Li and Guile. The tournament winner and the two fighters that have a personal interest in bringing Bison down.
All of the battles should include one of them since it’s not interesting when there are fights between two unimportant characters. But none of the three should fight each other since I didn’t want anybody of them to be responsible for the other ones not reaching their goals.
I could have made Ken the fourth main character, but I will tell you later why I didn’t do that.

A little side note: Ryu being the winner of the “Street Fighter II” tournament was actually the original intention by Capcom. I later wrote an essay about this topic: The winner of the “Street Fighter II” tournament.

When devising the battles, I thought who of the main characters should battle which opponent.
I started with the obvious pairings:

Since Ryu wins the tournament, he of course has to fight M. Bison.
And Sagat is seen on place three in Ryu’s ending, so they have to fight too. That battle would have been done anyway because Sagat was defeated by Ryu in the last tournament and wants revenge now.
Also, Ryu has to fight against Ken, his old friend and rival.

For Chun Li, I didn’t have a specific opponent that she has to fight, so I went on with Guile.

Guile shall fight against Zangief. Again, this idea was inspired by the Masaomi Kanzaki manga and I find this totally fitting: The story takes place in 1991 (the year when the game came out) where the Soviet Union still existed. And Zangief fights for his country while Guile is a soldier with the American flag tattooed on his arms. So, yeah, it would have been a waste not to let Guile fight against Zangief.

The next step was to assign one of the three lower Grand Masters to each of the main characters.

Now, one might assume that Sagat has to be assigned to Ryu, but that’s not true. Ryu has to fight Sagat in the semi-final because in the end, Sagat is on place three. That means that Sagat has to win against someone else before and Ryu has to fight one of the other two Grand Masters first.
I find Guile a more fitting opponent for Sagat than Chun Li, since they are both big, strong men.
Chun Li on the other hand, who is quick and athletic, fits best for Vega.
And Ryu already has three of the interesting opponents, so he can stick with the least interesting one of the Grand Masters, Balrog.

Ryu has four opponents now: Ken, Balrog, Sagat and M. Bison.
Chun Li has one: Vega.
And Guile has two: Zangief and Sagat.

Three opponents remain: E. Honda, Blanka and Dhalsim.
To even it out, Chun Li will get two of them and Guile will get one.

Dhalsim has to fight against Chun Li. Why?
Well, my intention was that every fighter would have experienced his ending sequence from the game if he had won. That means: Even though Ryu wins the tournament and his ending happens, if Dhalsim had won the tournament, his ending would have happened just like in the game. And in Dhalsim’s ending, we see a picture of the winners’ podium with him on place one and Bison and Sagat on place two and three. O.k., technically, it’s a picture with Dhalsim and two generic fighters. But there is an old artwork that shows the picture and on it, it is Bison and Sagat. For “Super Street Fighter II Turbo”, they even updated his ending sequence and used a better rendition of the picture where the persons are clearly recognizable. So, it was definitely supposed to be Bison and Sagat and I’m not someone who tweaks the story based on technical limitations of the graphics.
What I wanted to say: On the schedule, Dhalsim has to be in a position where Sagat would have been on place three if Dhalsim had won the tournament. In my schedule, this constellation is not possible if Dhalsim is in Guile’s bracket because there, he would have encountered Sagat before the semi-final and Ryu would have been his semi-final opponent. That’s why Dhalsim was assigned to Chun Li.

With E. Honda and Blanka, I just think that Honda fits better for Chun Li than for Guile. So, Guile was left with Blanka.

The order for Guile’s opponents was easy: Zangief is definitely the more important opponent, so he comes last while Blanka comes first.

With Chun Li, I originally intended Honda to be the first opponent and then Dhalsim because I consider Dhalsim the more interesting character. But then I remembered that Dhalsim says in his ending: “I can finally go home to my family. I’ve been gone so long.”
If he had been Chun Li’s second opponent, the fight would have taken place in India. And in this case, if he had won the tournament, he wouldn’t have been gone for very long. That’s why I made him the first opponent, fighting in Chun Li’s own stage. In this case, we can assume that he was away from home for many months.
In retrospective, it was even an improvement to make Honda the second opponent because the chemistry between Chun Li and Honda in my story is much more personal than I could have ever made it with Chun Li and Dhalsim.

I decided for a double k.o. in Chun Li’s fight against Vega because if she had won, she would have fought Ryu. And as I already said, I didn’t want Ryu to be responsible for the fact that she cannot encounter Bison in the final.
But if I had made Vega the winner, then the next fight would have been Ryu vs. Vega. And I didn’t want that either since Ryu already has one more battle than Chun Li and Guile and this fight would have been just a filler battle without any importance on the storyline.
So, the double k.o. was the best solution.

Originally, I wanted to use the idea from Masaomi Kanzaki’s manga: Chun Li defeats Vega, but is too injured to continue in the tournament and gets into a hospital. But then I thought this would be too much.
I mean, the tournament schedule system for the Grand Masters is straightforward enough that someone else could come up with it independently. And Guile vs. Zangief, USA vs. USSR, is something where I actually wonder why everybody else doesn’t use it. (It might have to do with the fact that the Soviet Union collapsed some months after “Street Fighter II” came out, though.) But using that idea of Chun Li getting to hospital would have been outright stealing. (O.k., “Street Fighter II – The Animated Movie” stole the same idea. And “Street Fighter Alpha – Warriors’ Dreams” then basically did it again, probably taking the idea from the animated movie. But that doesn’t mean I should do the same.)

Now, why didn’t I make Ken another main character who gets to fight one of the lesser important fighters first?
Simple: If I want Ryu and Ken to fight each other, I would have had to put Ken in Vega’s bracket, so that Ryu and Ken meet in Spain. But there would have been two problems with it:
Firstly, Chun Li and Guile would have had to fight each other.
And secondly, Ryu’s battles would have mirrored the one from the last tournament: First, he fights Ken, then he fights the “sub-boss”, then he fights the final opponent (Ken, Adon, Sagat in “Street Fighter I”, Ken, Sagat, Bison in “Street Fighter II”). And that would have been too similar.
So, I made Ken Ryu’s first opponent, but maximized his role in the storyline as much as possible: He gets to fight Cody, he is shown in the car smashing scene and in the flashback and he accompanied Ryu to Las Vegas.
He might not be one of the main characters, but he definitely has a bigger role than the four side characters Honda, Blanka, Zangief and Dhalsim.

About the introduction

Even though my novelization is not a screenplay, but a normal story, it is still written in a way that it could be made into a movie, or rather, an anime, with relative ease.
For example, the narration usually only describes the things that are visible on the “screen”. It doesn’t describe things that don’t have a direct visual or audible representation, like, it never talks about the backstory of the characters. Those things are either mentioned in dialogs or in flashback scenes.
I said anime because this would be the ultimate version of my story. The game is the basis, the novelization is the original rendition of my story and an anime would be the ultimate accomplishment. Everything else in between, like comics or videos created by in-game scenes, would be inferior. Theoretically being able to create this story as an anime is what I had in mind when I wrote the text, even though I’m aware that in reality, this will probably never happen.

Some narration texts are written in a different font in small caps and in italics. This is supposed to be an actual narrator. In an anime, you have to imagine those texts as an audible voice-over.
So, the text that describes what the Street Fighter tournament is, is a narrator that you can actually “hear” from an off-commentator while the text that describes the location and what the fighters are doing is just a description of what you are supposed to “see” and basically equals stage directions.

The underlined texts are subtitles. They would literally appear as readable text on the screen if this was an anime.

The introduction scene is taken directly from the game’s intro.

It is often assumed that the two fighters from the intro are Joe and Mike from “Street Fighter I”. But I don’t believe that.

Because originally, Mike and Balrog were probably supposed to be the same person. (Balrog is called Mike Bison in the Japanese version.) So, this would mean that they put Balrog, the first of the Grand Masters, into the intro and he instantly gets knocked out.
But even if Mike and Balrog had always been separate characters, they are nevertheless both based on Mike Tyson. And the guy from the intro looks nothing like Mike Tyson.
That’s why I assume he’s just a random fighter. He’s definitely not Mike from “Street Fighter I”.

The other fighter could be Joe. Joe already appeared in the intro of “Street Fighter I”, so this is not too far-fetched.
But since “Final Fight” was always supposed to play in the “Street Fighter” universe and since that fighter from the intro wears exactly the same clothes as Cody and since there are artworks where Cody, unlike in “Final Fight” itself, has blond hair, I believe it’s actually him.
Another indicator might be his facial expression. Whenever Joe is shown in “Street Fighter I” he is always grinning: In the intro, in his profile picture, in official artworks. And even his actual sprite shows him like that. He always looks like an easygoing jokester character. Cody on the other hand always looks dead-serious, a tough no-nonsense guy. Just like the fighter in the intro whose grim expression would be totally out-of-character for Joe, but fits perfectly for Cody.

By the way, if this was an anime, then the scene would play out exactly like in the game:
Cody knocks out his opponent and then the camera moves upwards along the skyscraper. On the skyscraper, you then see the “Street Fighter II” logo which zooms in and appears on a black background with the words “The World Warrior” coming into view.
All with the correct music of course.

About chapter 1 (Ryu vs. Ken)

Some of the people at Capcom once said that originally, Ryu was not supposed to be a vagabond. And there’s even an old artwork where he wears normal clothes: A shirt, jeans, shoes.
But the game implies something different: Even though it’s not even an in-game sprite, but an image specifically drawn for that scene, in his ending when he walks along the alley, Ryu still wears his fighting clothes and no shoes. That’s why I stayed with the typical image of him always wearing his fighting gi.

To connect the intro with the story and, as I already said, to give Ken a bigger role, I let him fight against Cody.

The fact that Ken laughs at Cody after he defeats him with the Fireball is taken from the manual where it is written that Ken does exactly that with his opponents.

Cody saying “You win” is of course an allusion to the game saying this to the player.

The manual also says that it was Ryu who challenged Ken to the tournament and rekindled his fighting spirit, that’s why Ken mentions a letter here.

And yes, I’m aware that Cody is a top fighter who beat up the whole Mad Gear Gang. But I had to make sure that the fight between Ryu and Ken is a fair one, that’s why I presented Ken’s fight against Cody as one where Ken barely gets hit.
Let’s just say that Cody has a bad day here. I mean, it can happen that a fighter defeats his opponent near perfectly, and this is one of those situations.

Some of the winning quotes in the game don’t make sense if they are said after the fight. Like: “Attack me if you dare, I will crush you.” That sounds more like something that’s said before the battle. Guile’s “Are you man enough to fight with me?” even works less as a winning text.
Fortunately, since the images where you see the face of the winner and the beat-up face of the loser are just symbolic anyway, I had a bit freedom here and could interpret the whole thing as if a text from before the battle was put under the symbolic image of the end of the battle.
My rule in this case was that if the text does work as a winning quote, I will use it for the end of the battle. Only if it doesn’t make sense as a winning quote did I use it as an introduction text.
For example, I would have loved to use Bison’s “Get lost, you can’t compare with my powers.” But I couldn’t because that’s what he would have said to Ryu if he had won the final.

Whenever a text like “Ryu vs. Ken” appears, imagine it as the versus screen from the game: The scene cuts away for a moment, the versus screen is shown with the correct music and then it cuts back to the scene.
In the cases of Chun Li and M. Bison, the images would even show them with a yellow dress and an all red hat with a star respectively because that’s the way those images are presented in the original game.
The clothes in the actual scenes would still be a blue dress and Bison’s hat would be red and blue, without a star. Or any symbol for that matter. Because the winged skull was a later invention and all the original artworks show him with no symbol at all.

The text “Fight!” would be presented in the same way and with the same voice as in the game. No “Round 1” though, for obvious reasons.

I emphasized the difference between Ryu’s and Ken’s respective throwing techniques (plain and simple for Ryu, fancy for Ken) because in the original game, that’s the only move where they actually differ.

The texts like “Ryu wins” would also appear on-screen just like in the game. Only this time, there wouldn’t be anybody saying it because the old games only said “You win” and “You lose”. And since those were just messages to the player and not in-universe texts (just like the word “Fight!” itself), I don’t have to keep it and it wouldn’t fit anyway since this is a story and there is no player who wins or loses.

About chapter 2 (Dhalsim vs. Chun Li. Guile vs. Blanka)

I decided to tell Chun Li’s and Guile’s stories together because both are about revenge against Bison while Ryu’s story arc is about the fighting competition itself.

Chun Li’s backstory is just told, but not shown in flashback scenes. This has to do with the fact that she was not present when her father got killed.
So, unlike Guile, who was directly involved in the dramatic scenes, Chun Li probably just got to know about her father’s death after they found his body. Therefore, all I could have shown is her police work which wouldn’t have been that interesting since it wouldn’t have included any of the characters from the game except for Chun Li herself.

The time jumps in this chapter may be a bit confusing, but you can thank the game for it:
Both, Chun Li’s and Blanka’s backgrounds play at daytime. But Chun Li’s is in China while Blanka’s is in Brazil. And due to the time difference, I cannot pretend that they take place simultaneously.
On the other hand, the battles themselves are not important enough to justify one chapter for each of them. That’s why I had to jump back and forth.

The place where Guile prepares for his departure to Brazil is of course his stage from the game. Since there are no on-screen battles held in front of that background, I at least show the location and let Guile and the other soldier talk about how he fought opponents there.

The soldier that Guile talks to is this guy here:

Soldier sprite

By the way, Guile makes a mistake in his assumptions. He says the sooner he wins, the better. But it doesn’t really matter after all. Even if he made it to Sagat and beat him the same day, he still would have to wait for Ryu getting to the semi-final before he could encounter Bison. So, as long as he doesn’t need more time for his battles than Ryu, he’s not really in a hurry.

Blanka doesn’t have much text due to him being just a minor character in the story. But in the little text he has, I made sure that it’s clear that he speaks proper English, just like it’s the case in his winning quote in the game and in his ending.
I don’t like it when third party works let him speak like a primitive creature. “Blanka never lose!” That’s just not faithful to the game. Besides, it’s a cliche. But the ironic thing is: Even Capcom itself eventually followed that cliche: In “Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival”, Blanka only uses the sound “aw” for communication.

Whirlwind Kick, Spinning Bird Kick. Again, the manual is one of the sources for my story’s canon. And if a special attack has another name there, I will use both. In this case, Spinning Bird Kick is the name Chun Li calls out when she performs the attack since she does so in the game. Whirlwind Kick are the words that are used when the attack is named by someone in dialog.
The same counts for Ryu and Ken’s attacks: Sho-Ryu-Ken is only used in battle. When they talk about the attack, they say Dragon Punch.

I wanted every special move of the three main characters to be said “on-screen”, so that, if you saw this as an anime, you would hear the names.
You can check it: Not even counting the “Street Fighter I” flashback, the following names are all said by the characters:
Fireball, Ha-Do-Ken, Dragon Punch, Sho-Ryu-Ken, Hurricane Kick, Tatsu-Maki-Sen-Pu-Kyaku, Lightning Kick, Whirlwind Kick, Spinning Bird Kick, Sonic Boom, Flash Kick.
And Psycho Crusher, the villain’s most powerful attack, had to be used on-screen too.
Since in the game, not every move is called out in battle (like Flash Kick or Psycho Crusher), I had to come up with situations where they are mentioned.

All eight fighters basically experience the things that happen in their game endings.
Of course, it’s not possible that every ending happens exactly like in the game. For example, Dhalsim doesn’t win the tournament, so his son won’t ask him about the picture where he stands on the winners’ podium.
But every ending happens on broad strokes: E. Honda demonstrated the strength of sumo, Blanka found his mother, Ken will marry Eliza, Zangief met the president of the Soviet Union and Dhalsim went home to his family.
Chun Li’s and Guile’s endings even happen verbatim, although in a slightly different context.
And Ryu’s ending, since he’s the actual winner and thus, his ending is the canonical one, of course happens exactly like in the game.
But I’ll talk about the three main endings later.
In the moment, I just wanted to say that Dhalsim’s final words to Chun Li shall allude to his ending scene. Because none of the less important endings is actually shown. They happen off-screen and are just mentioned by various characters.

The way Charlie dies in my story is based on the descriptions from the manual.

If my story was converted into an anime, Charlie’s death scene would be shown from his point of view. The reason: At the time of “Street Fighter II”, Charlie’s appearance wasn’t known yet. And since the “Street Fighter Alpha” games don’t exists in my story’s canon, we can’t use his design from there. That’s why the whole scene is shown through Charlie’s eyes.
The night scene where they run through the jungle is not a problem, by the way. In this case, you would only see two small shadows anyway since it’s dark and the camera shows the scene high from above.

About chapter 3 (Bonus stage. “Street Fighter I” flashback)

The name of this chapter doesn’t refer to a person who is a street fighter, it refers to the name of the game “Street Fighter”. While the story as a whole is based on “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior” and is named accordingly, this chapter contains the story of “Street Fighter”, i.e. “Street Fighter I”.

No, Ryu and Ken don’t vandalize a random car that happens to stand in their way. The car was placed there specifically for training purposes.

In an anime, the flashback scenes for “Street Fighter I” would be drawn in a different style to reflect the different graphics in the game in comparison to “Street Fighter II”.

The idea behind the structure of the “Street Fighter I” battles is that Ryu and Ken both start in their respective home countries and then fight their way to Thailand: Ryu starts in Japan, then goes to China, then to Thailand. Ken starts in the USA, then goes to England, then to Thailand.
Since Ryu and Ken are the only playable fighters in that game, they have to fight against all the others. But of course, just like in “Street Fighter II”, you can imagine that there were many more participants and the 10 on-screen fighters are just the ones that Ryu and Ken encountered on their way to the top.

I showed only the ending of each battle because the flashback is supposed to be just a summary. Showing whole fights would have been too much here.
And to be honest, I didn’t feel like actually seriously playing that crappy game and analyzing the different fighting styles of the characters anyway.

When Ryu says what Retsu told him, it’s a reference to the text that all the fighters say to you when you defeat them in the game:
“What strength! But don’t forget there are many guys like you all over the world.”

“Ball of Fire” might sound a bit silly, but as I said: My story is based on the American versions of the games. And the American version of “Street Fighter I” unfortunately translated all the attacks. (In the Japanese version it is indeed “Ha-Do-Ken”.)

I didn’t show anything of the battle between Ryu and Ken at all for various reasons:
Firstly, they already had a fight in this story, so it would have been a bit redundant.
And just showing how Ken gets knocked out, like I did with the other “Street Fighter I” opponents, would have been a waste as well since I show how Ryu and Ken met in Thailand, and then Ken from the present already refers to Ryu’s next opponent Adon, so a scene where Ken falls to the ground, followed by a scene where Adon falls to the ground, it just wouldn’t have fit.
Besides, in this case, we have different treatments for the different kinds of opponents: The unimportant opponents are shown getting knocked out. The player 2 character, Ken, is only shown at the beginning of the battle. And for the final opponent, Sagat, the whole last part of the battle is shown.

Ken might be arrogant during fights, but I showed him in a way where he can be self-reflective and honest to himself and to Ryu when they’re alone and they’re not in a competitive situation. This way, he’s not a complete jerk, but also a sympathetic person. And without this kind of insight, I doubt that he would have made it as a student under Sheng Long.

Yes, Sheng Long. The name might have originated in a translation error. But the manual uses this name for Ryu and Ken’s master, so it is canon for my story.
The ironic thing is: Even though the translation error was corrected in the Super Nintendo version, the name still appears in its manual. Despite the awareness of its origins, it seems that for Capcom of America, the name was canon at least for some time.

The current official canon says that in the “Street Fighter I” final, Ryu got consumed by the Dark Hado because he wanted to win at all costs. So, he attacked Sagat with the Metsu-Sho-Ryu-Ken, knocking him out and leaving a scar on his chest. Of course, you won’t find that in my novelization because, as I said before, all those new story elements that were invented later are not included here.

Sagat really loses his eye patch when you knock him out in “Street Fighter I”.

About chapter 4 (Chun Li vs. E. Honda. Guile vs. Zangief)

As I said, I got the idea to include the east-west-conflict from Masaomi Kanzaki’s manga. But I toned it down a bit.
In the manga, Guile and Zangief were outright hostile to each other. I don’t think that fits to their personas in the game, so I merely turned it into some light prejudices that are quite normal for that time.

The manual says that Zangief copied his Spinning Clothesline from Mike Haggar, that’s why I mention it here.

Chun Li is determined to avenge her father’s death. But as we see in her ending, she still longs for the life of a normal young girl. And I used Honda to loosen her up a bit.
This also explains her one winning pose where she jumps up and down and laughs: Unlike Guile, who is bitter and filled with rage until he finally reaches his goal, Chun Li can be happy from time to time if she gets the opportunity.

And just like Chun Li loosened up a bit in the fight against Honda, Guile and Zangief gained mutual respect for each other. Which isn’t so unrealistic because they didn’t hate each other in the first place and Zangief has a sunny disposition anyway.

The scene where Guile says that Zangief is not his enemy, then looks away and, with a dark facial expression, says: “No. My enemy is someone else” was in my head long before I ever decided to create a novelization of the story. In an anime, the camera would zoom on Guile’s face when he says that sentence and then the screen would fade to black.

About the intermission

In the game, you won’t see the Grand Masters until you reach them. When you defeat the last regular opponent, the faces of Balrog, Vega and Sagat appear on the map and then turn into flags.
I did a similar attempt here: I didn’t introduce the Grand Masters until now, when their battles begin. (Except for Sagat of course who appeared in the flashback about “Street Fighter I”. But still, I didn’t mention that he will be a participant in this tournament.)
And just like in the game, where you won’t see M. Bison until you actually reach him, I don’t show him until right before the final battle.
Until now, I didn’t even mention his name. Guile only referred to Bison as “him”. But since the Grand Masters work for Bison, his name will be told in the upcoming chapters.

Visually, the intermission scene has to be imagined as a scene where the screen is split into three parts that are placed next to each other:
When the narrator mentions Balrog, a moving image of him is shown in the first part of the screen.
When he mentions Vega, the first image freezes and the second screen part shows a moving image of Vega.
Then the narrator mentions Sagat and the second image freezes and the third part shows a moving image of Sagat.
Finally, Sagat’s image freezes as well before the scene ends.

About chapter 5 (Ryu vs. Balrog)

This is how Blanka’s story works: After his battle against Guile, his mother read about it in the newspapers and saw photos of him.
If Blanka had won the tournament, the following would have happened: After his victory over Guile, his mother would have followed his progress in the tournament via television. When he had defeated Ryu in the semi-final and his mother had known that Blanka will be in the final, she would have bought a ticket to Thailand, gone there and watched the final battle. After Blanka’s victory over Bison, she would have walked up to him and the scene would have played out like in the game.
But since Blanka lost against Guile, the following happened instead: After reading about him in the newspapers and knowing that he lost in the tournament, Blanka’s mother immediately traveled to Brazil and they reunited there.
That’s why Ryu, Ken and Eliza can already talk about that incident here, even though if Blanka had won, he wouldn’t have met his mother until after the tournament.

Why did I use the name Sheng Long for Ryu and Ken’s master, but didn’t use the text: “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance”?
Simple: That quote is a mistranslation. It was never supposed to be a reference to Ryu and Ken’s master.
Which wouldn’t make sense anyway. I mean, are we supposed to believe that Ryu is so arrogant that he thinks people can only defeat him when they first defeat his master, considering his master inferior to himself? No, that would be totally out of character.
The intention has always been that the text refers to his Dragon Punch. But due to misunderstanding the incorrect translation, Capcom of America indeed canonized the words Sheng Long as the name of Ryu and Ken’s master.
As I said earlier, the name was still canon to Capcom of America even when they already corrected the winning quote in the Super Nintendo version.
So, in my story, Sheng Long is Ryu and Ken’s master, not because of that winning quote, but because the manual says so. The winning quote itself on the other hand, that’s just a mistranslation and it’s corrected in my story, just like I also corrected Bison’s “drug” into Bison’s “drug ring”.

About chapter 6 (Chun Li vs. Vega)

Ryu and Chun Li meet. But I didn’t include a love story or any romantic tension between them, as many others can’t resist to do. Not only is this not canon in any way, I also don’t think that Ryu would fit as a boyfriend for Chun Li. Or for any woman, since he doesn’t seem to be interested in relationships at all. So, no shipping here.

In Masaomi Kanzaki’s manga, it was Vega who killed Chun Li’s father. That was a convenient solution. In this case, Chun Li could avenge her father’s death without having to fight Bison.
I couldn’t do that. Neither in the game itself, nor in the manual is there any indication that Vega has any connection to Chun Li.
But the manual does mention that Vega is used by Bison as an assassin. So, while it would have gone against the canon to invent a common backstory for Chun Li and him, it is absolutely legitimate to make Vega the person who is ordered to kill her. It’s not the reason why he entered the tournament. It’s just that he happened to be paired against Chun Li and thanks to that coincidence, Bison decided to take the chance and to get rid of Chun Li through his top assassin.

In the manual it is said that Chun Li thinks that one of the Grand Masters might be responsible for her father’s death. In her game ending, she refers to Bison being destroyed. So, there needs to be a moment during the plot where she gets to know that Bison was her father’s killer. And in my story, that moment is when Vega tells her so.

This is the man who helps Ryu to steady Chun Li:

Man sprite

You might have noticed that Ryu never gets to know about Chun Li’s mission in the tournament. There’s a very specific reason why I did that and I will talk about it later.

Besides, Ryu’s travel to Spain basically was for nothing. He could have stayed in the USA until Chun Li’s battle against Vega was over and then headed straight to Thailand. But who could have guessed that the fight would end in a double k.o. and he would get a free pass to the semi-final?

About chapter 7 (Guile vs. Sagat)

The name of this chapter, “Revenge is near”, has a double meaning: It can refer to Guile and his statement from the previous chapter that the day of revenge gets closer and closer. But it can also refer to Sagat and his upcoming battle against Ryu.
Ironically, none of them will get their revenge in the way the title implies, though.

Another flashback of Guile. It’s a preparation for his later ending scene where his wife and his daughter appear. But it also serves as a connection between fleeing the jungle and having to take revenge on Bison.
I consciously remained vague about the details: What was Guile and Charlie’s mission in Thailand about? Why were they captured and by whom? And what does Bison have to do with it? It’s never made clear in the game or in the manual. And I didn’t want to invent any own explanations. I think this would have extended Guile’s backstory too much with my own made-up ideas. So, I remained as vague as the game itself.

This time, the text “Fight!” is not written after the text “Guile vs. Sagat” because the scene starts right in the middle of the battle.

By the way, the fighting scene starts with the words: “Guile fell to the ground. He had been hit by Sagat’s attack.” This off-screen attack that the viewer never sees was the Tiger Uppercut.
I didn’t show it because Sagat having created the Tiger Uppercut as a response to Ryu’s Dragon Punch should be a surprise that is only revealed in his fight against Ryu. Even though in reality, there’s probably no reader of this story who doesn’t know about the Tiger Uppercut. But just like it is basically needless to make Bison’s appearance a mystery because everybody knows him, it’s still a dramaturgical act if we regard the story as a standalone work.
I know that the information that the attack against Guile was a Tiger Uppercut is needless as well because it makes no difference and Guile could have been hit by any other attack. But I think it’s a nice detail, so yeah: When Guile falls to the ground at the beginning of the scene, it’s because he was just hit by the Tiger Uppercut.

Just like his computer-controlled counterpart, Sagat seems to love spamming Tiger Shots.

About chapter 8 (Ryu vs. Sagat)

I’m surprised how short this chapter has become.

In my story, it’s not the Sagat of today’s canon who, at the time of the “Street Fighter II” tournament, only wished for a proper rematch against Ryu. No, this one is the old-school, rage-filled Sagat who wants revenge for his defeat. That’s why Ryu has to give him some lectures.

I always liked the idea that in the rematch between Ryu and Sagat, Sagat won’t get hit by a Dragon Punch. Whenever Ryu unleashes one, Sagat either evades or blocks it, but he never gets clearly hit. The Dragon Punch that gave him his scar was the only one he ever experienced.
On the other hand, some of his Tiger Uppercuts do hit Ryu.

Sagat remarks that he teamed up with Bison. This is alluded to in the manual and it is common knowledge in general.
But I never understood how Bison wanted to help Sagat to regain his title. He didn’t teach him any fancy new attacks. And let’s not forget that even if Sagat was able to defeat Ryu, he still would have to fight against Bison himself in the final. So, all in all, Sagat joining Shadoloo to get revenge on Ryu doesn’t make much sense to me. But I acknowledged the fact by Sagat’s statement.
And just like the manual merely alludes to it and just like it has no real influence on Sagat in the game, it’s merely a throwaway line in my story as well and not inspected any further.
For example, unlike Vega with Chun Li, Sagat was not specifically sent out to kill Guile. Except for the fact that it wouldn’t fit to him anyway, there’s a reason why I didn’t make Guile and Sagat talk to each other about Bison. I will tell this reason later.

About chapter 9 (Ryu vs. M. Bison)

This chapter is called “Finale”. Only much later did I find out that the final battle of a tournament is called “final” or “finals” and that “finale” is only used for the final arc of a story, like a movie or a theater play, or the final episode of a TV series.
So, what can we do to eliminate this linguistic error which was created by the fact that I’m not an English native speaker? The story is written and I can’t change it anymore. O.k., I could, but I don’t intend to. When it was finished, I didn’t want it to be changed ever again.
That’s why let’s take this explanation:
Inside the world of my story, the final battle of the Street Fighter tournament is called “finale” specifically to allude to the finales of TV shows and the like. After all, the tournament is not just some random sports event, but filled with personal drama and all kinds of colorful characters. To reflect that, the tournament organization names their finals “finale” as if they were the concluding arc of some epic plot that was built up for months through the other tournament battles.
Yes, that should do. Sure, it’s an explanation that I made up out of thin air, years after the novelization was finished, but so what? This explanation is canon inside my story now.

As I said, I wanted to make every game ending happen at least on broad strokes. But Zangief’s is the most difficult one: What reason could there be for him to dance with Mikhail Gorbachev if he doesn’t win the tournament? In fact, I have no idea. I just stated that Zangief is famous in his country and that the dance happened, but I didn’t bother with the details.

Chun Li’s remark that there will be no way for them to get Bison if he wins the tournament was specifically included by me to let the final battle remain exciting and relevant. Because otherwise, if you know that Chun Li and Guile are about to confront Bison anyway, it wouldn’t really matter if Ryu wins or loses. Exactly why it’s impossible to bring Bison to justice if he wins is left ambiguous. But it had to be said, otherwise the outcome of the final battle wouldn’t have been that relevant for the overall situation.

One important thing about the plot of my story: Ryu and all the other fighters, except for Chun Li, Guile and the Grand Masters, have no idea that Bison is an evil crime lord. They only know him as the top street fighter, but they don’t know anything about the criminal acts Bison is involved in.
In today’s official canon, everybody seems to be aware that Bison is evil and many fighters have a personal history with him. But the original game doesn’t support this at all:
In Ryu’s ending, Ryu leaves the award ceremony and you see Bison standing on the winners’ podium. Can you imagine Ryu just leaving the scenery while knowing that the boss of an international drug ring that he just defeated is still on the loose?
None of the other endings refer to it either.
For example, Gorbachev congratulates Zangief for making his country proud by showing that the Soviet spirit can overcome all obstacles. He doesn’t congratulate him for capturing an internationally wanted crime lord.
Or take Dhalsim: In today’s canon, Bison’s organization terrorizes his village. But in “Street Fighter II”, you see a picture of Dhalsim happily standing on the winners’ podium, rising his arms, while Bison stands right next to him.
So, it seems that in the game, the only ones that are aware of Bison’s ploys are indeed Chun Li, Guile and Bison’s henchmen. Everybody else, even Ryu, only sees him as a street fighter, a potential opponent in the tournament. Maybe they have some vague knowledge about Bison being a businessman or some military guy or whatever. But he definitely remains mysterious to them and they aren’t aware of his criminal acts.

And that’s also the reason why Chun Li never got to tell Ryu about her mission in my story. Because that would have made Ryu’s in-game ending basically impossible for my version since he would have reacted differently towards Bison.

Another thing that might be unfamiliar to people who know the “Street Fighter” games: In my story, M. Bison is not the host of the tournament. But this one has less to do with old canon vs. new canon and more with American version vs. Japanese version.
Today, it’s common knowledge: Sagat hosted the “Street Fighter I” tournament, Bison hosted “Street Fighter II”. But if you have a look into the old manuals, you won’t find anything of that in them.
Bison’s character profile talks about his criminal organization and about his fighting abilities. But there’s not the slightest hint that the Street Fighter tournament is his scheme.
In the contrary: Sagat is described as the former champion who has lost his title to Ryu, implying that the Street Fighter tournaments are regular events and that Sagat won at least one of them prior to “Street Fighter I”. If Sagat hosts “Street Fighter I” to compete with other fighters and Bison hosts “Street Fighter II” as a stepping stone to take over the world, then both tournaments would have nothing to do with each other, there wouldn’t be a common champion title and Sagat wouldn’t be described as the ex-champion since he wasn’t the Street Fighter champion in the first place, only the host of a tournament.
I don’t know how clearly the old Japanese sources described “Street Fighter II” as Bison’s own tournament, but it seems that the American version not only removed those references, but concretely changed them.
In the American version of the old days, there is no indication of Bison being the host. And Sagat was explicitly called the former champion who didn’t just lose to Ryu, but lost his title to Ryu (something that, to my knowledge, is never mentioned in the Japanese games). And since my story is based on the American version, I did the same here.

Interestingly, the name “Psycho Power” never appears anywhere in the old American sources. The manual only talks about Bison’s “psychic abilities” and it of course knows the Psycho Crusher, but the words “Psycho Power” never appear. Not in the game, not in the manual, not in Masaomi Kanzaki’s manga. The first time when this term was used in an English translation was in “Street Fighter II – The Animated Movie” (and then later in the “Street Fighter Alpha” games).
The name appeared in Japanese texts back in 1991, though. For example, the video game magazine Gamest used it various times when it described Bison’s backstory.
So, we have a term that was only mentioned in Japanese sources, not in American ones. But this isn’t problematic since it doesn’t contradict the American canon. And “Psycho Power” sounds pretty cool, so, yeah, I would have used the name anyway, even if I had been aware of the fact that it didn’t appear in American works prior to the anime.

The way Bison is knocked out is again something that I made up in my mind long before I ever planned the novelization.
This scene, where Ryu is dizzied and Bison attacks him with the Psycho Crusher only to be hit by Ryu’s Fireball in the last moment, was the most dramatic way I could imagine this battle to end.
Another way would have been to counter the Psycho Crusher with the Dragon Punch. But firstly, this is much more dangerous for Ryu since he would have to time it exactly (and then, people might ask why he didn’t just throw a Fireball instead). And secondly, Ryu already ended the last tournament with a Dragon Punch, so this time there had to be something new.

From the camera perspective used in the game, the statue that Bison crashes into is the one on the right side.

About chapter 10 (The ending sequences)

Since I wanted to be true to the game, Ryu’s ending sequence is of course an exact recreation from the game’s one.
Only that I extend the scene a bit. But that doesn’t violate the rule of faithfulness because I didn’t change the familiar things themselves. The new stuff is just what happens after the camera cuts away in the game.

I already said: The side characters only get their endings on broad strokes and off-screen. Ryu, the tournament winner, gets his ending exactly like in the game. And Chun Li and Guile, the two other main characters, get their endings verbatim, but in a slightly different context:
When Chun Li says that she destroyed Bison, here she is referring to their encounter after the tournament when Bison tried to get away. If she had won the tournament, she would have referred to the final battle.
And Guile’s wife and daughter don’t appear at the temple site, but in the meadow. Which is even justified from within the game: They always appear where you just defeated Bison. If you defeat Bison on the left side of the screen, they appear there. And if you defeat him on the right side of the screen, they appear there. In the current case, Bison is knocked out in the meadow which means they appear there. Since the location of their appearance is not fixed by an artwork cut scene, but determined relative to the position of Guile himself, Guile’s ending in my story is technically still done according to the game.

Both, in the game and in my story, Guile asks Bison if he remembers him. That’s the reason why Guile and Sagat didn’t talk about Bison. Because if Bison had sent Sagat after Guile, this question wouldn’t have made sense anymore.
So, the interaction between Chun Li and Bison and the one between Guile and Bison are quite different:
Chun Li interrogates Vega about all that stuff and Vega says that Bison ordered him to kill Chun Li. Also, Bison immediately reacts when Chun Li appears in front of him, being annoyed by her. Had Chun Li been the finalist, she would have had a word duel with Bison before the battle and they probably would have talked during the fight.
Guile on the other hand doesn’t talk with Sagat about Bison or Shadoloo. He doesn’t even know if Bison still remembers him and he has to ask him. If Guile had been the finalist, he wouldn’t have talked with Bison at all before the end of the battle.
It looks like Guile either completely escaped Bison’s attention during the tournament or Bison didn’t know that Guile knows that Bison was responsible for Charlie’s death. Or maybe Bison really has forgotten about Guile and only remembered who he is when he got attacked by him.
Take whatever version you like, but the following is definitely true for my story: Guile was not on Bison’s “radar” like Chun Li was.

In the game, the narrator asks: “Where is Ryu as his admirers chant his name?” Then he explains: “Already seeking the next challenge.”
In my story, those two texts are parted by the scenes between Chun Li, Guile and Bison. That’s why I made Chun Li ask a woman where Ryu is. This way, the narrator could go on with his text. Otherwise it would have sounded a bit strange if the narrator answers a question that he asked some minutes ago, before there were other long dialogs.

This is the woman that Chun Li talks to, although this time, she doesn’t carry the child:

Woman sprite

What happens with Bison in the end? Do they arrest him? Well, it’s not shown. Because it isn’t shown in the game either.
Chun Li says that she “destroyed” Bison, whatever that means. But I left his ultimate fate ambiguous because, again, I didn’t want to make up an own explanation.
Like in the game, we know that Bison is defeated. (And since the sequels don’t count for my story, you can be sure about that. Bison didn’t escape and he will not return.) But like in the game, the exact details about it are not shown.

If this story was made into an anime, there would of course be credits after the last scene. The credits would be done in two parts:
The first part would look like the credits in the game. We would show the following images, maybe partly with some different faces and names:

Credits 1 screenshot

Credits 2 screenshot

Credits 3 screenshot

Credits 4 screenshot

Credits 5 screenshot

I would probably insert my own face under a new category “Story” or something and Thamanator’s face under “Special thanks”.

Unfortunately, the original game doesn’t have that great song “Ready to Fight” for the credits which they included from “Street Fighter II’ – Champion Edition” onwards. The original game just uses the standard Game Over music. So, we have to do the same.

The second part of the credits wouldn’t be based on the game, but it would be the standard credits for a movie.
We would show a black screen where the texts with all the names of the people who worked on the anime scroll from bottom to top.
During those credits, the following images would be shown. Not as animations like in the game, but as still images:

E. Honda’s ending screenshot

Blanka’s ending screenshot

Zangief’s edited ending screenshot

Dhalsim’s edited ending screenshot

Ken’s ending screenshot

Guile’s ending screenshot

Chun Li’s ending screenshot

Ryu’s ending screenshot

The order of the images follows a certain rule:
At first there are the side characters in the order they are always presented in the game: E. Honda, Blanka, Zangief and Dhalsim.
Then Ken, the fighter who is an intermediate between side and main character.
And then the main characters from least to most important. (Judging from old group image artworks, Chun Li is always shown much more prominently than Guile.)

Whenever an image is shown, the music from that game scene would be played.

I had to change the images for Zangief and Dhalsim a bit.
Dhalsim’s image doesn’t have the picture with him on the winners’ podium since, well, he didn’t win the tournament in my story.
And Zangief’s image originally had Bison’s stage as the background. But in my story, Zangief didn’t meet Gorbachev in Thailand, but in the USSR. That’s why I used a symbolic background (like the game designers themselves did for Blanka) and placed the Soviet flag there that you can see in the game when it shows a close-up of Gorbachev.

The Grand Master endings from “Street Fighter II’ – Champion Edition”

When I wrote my story, I didn’t have the endings for the four Grand Masters from “Street Fighter II’ – Champion Edition” in mind. Simply because they don’t belong to the original game anymore.
But since the Grand Masters are not selectable in the original “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior”, they of course don’t have own endings there. So, to see what would have happened if one of them had won, the endings in “Champion Edition” are the best reference.

Again, the endings can be seen at www.vgmuseum.com:

Grand Master endings for “Street Fighter II’ – Champion Edition” (arcade) (www.vgmuseum.com/end/arcade/c/sf2cebal.htm)

But here, it is a bit different than with the other fighters.
As I said, every fighter more or less got his ending. All eight endings at least happened on broad strokes.
But for the Grand Masters, the endings are purely what-if events. In the actual story, none of them happened in any way.
So, if you don’t like including anything from “Champion Edition”, you can still ignore them. I just want to say as an additional information that if one of the Grand Masters had won the tournament, then his ending from that game would have occurred.

Balrog’s and Vega’s endings are pretty basic. But about Sagat and M. Bison, I’d like to say some things.

Sagat’s ending seems to imply that Sagat didn’t meet Ryu during the tournament. Of course, this isn’t true for my novelization, so we have to interpret the text a bit in our favor. But it’s not that difficult.
In one case, the choice of words even works better if Sagat fought against Ryu: The text says that Sagat “looks around” for Ryu. Now, if Ryu didn’t fight Sagat, but lost against someone else, for example Ken, then Ryu never appeared in Thailand. So, why does Sagat look around for him? But if we assume that Ryu lost against Sagat, then this description makes sense: It’s the award ceremony and Sagat hopes to see Ryu again, who was expected to stand on place three of the winners’ podium. But Ryu already left long ago and just like in his own ending, doesn’t attend the ceremony.
Sagat’s statement that Ryu shall learn what it means to be a loser could be based on some dialog that they had after their battle. If Sagat had defeated Ryu, he probably would have acted arrogantly. Then, Ryu would have lectured him that Sagat fought for the wrong reasons etc. and that Ryu is still not the loser of this battle. Something like that. If I ever planned to do a what-if version of my story that shows how the tournament would have gone with Sagat as the winner, then I’d come up with some matching dialog.

Since this is not “Mortal Kombat”, it would take more than win a martial arts tournament to be the ruler of the world. Fortunately, this version of Bison’s ending, unlike the one in “Super Street Fighter II”, knows that and therefore describes Bison’s armies and how they subjugate the countries. So, what happened?
In the story itself, Bison says that if he wins the tournament, the whole world will see how astonishing his powers are. And even though I didn’t think of the game ending when I wrote that scene, it still fits quite well:
With his victory, Bison became world-famous. At the award ceremony, he gave a speech and offered people to join his organization or something like that. The actual details would need some more elaboration, but all in all it would probably be about Bison recruiting followers (Remember: In my story, it’s not common knowledge that he’s a criminal.), then opposing certain governments, all under the pretension that he’s on the side of the common people. And finally, when he has gathered enough loyal followers, he attacked country after country until he owned the whole world.

Final words

So, that was the commentary about my novelization of “Street Fighter II – The World Warrior”. I hope you liked the story and I hope this comment gave you some insights about my decisions concerning its details.

If you like, you can write me and tell me your opinion. I’m grateful for both, positive and negative feedback.
You can also send suggestions for things that should be included in this commentary. Because even though the story itself is finished now and I’m not planning to alter it anymore, the commentary can be updated and extended anytime. So, if there’s something from the story that you like to have commented, just ask and next to writing you personally, maybe I’ll include your suggestions here if the topic is interesting.

My e-mail address is denny_r._walter@web.de.

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