People seemed to enjoy my last write up on the world of Japanese animation. As such, I figured that I would do it again. After all, There Has Never Been A Better Time To Watch Something On Tubi. Also, never been a better time to watch the Virtua Fighter an*me…several weeks after the rerelease of Virtua Fighter 5 on the PS4, and during a time where the only fighting game I’ve played for the last week is Guilty Gear Strive (I’m on the 10th floor, btw, making me a high-level player). Like The Tower of Druaga, I heard that this adaptation sucked too. But as we all found out, Druaga got good after the first episode (follow-up: having watching several more episodes since, the show has improved even more). Maybe this will also be the case? Let’s find out!
When I think about it, this show in and of itself is not a bad idea; Virtua Fighter is a series notoriously known for having zero plot development in the games themselves, leaving it to supplemental materials, like the instruction manual. So, to have something like this, that can expand upon characters that are otherwise simply faces given to real-life fighting styles, can be a good thing. I guess it will all come down to its execution.
Episode 1- Akira of the Hakkyoku-ken
As the title gives away, this episode introduces us to Akira Yuki. Unlike the games, where Akira is a stoic, no-nonsense Karate Man, Akira in the show is a goofy, hapless idiot with a bottomless stomach who also uses dumb luck to take out guys trying to kill him. Basically like a less charming Goku. He’s at this restaurant, taking an all-you-can-eat challenge so as to get free food, since he is broke.
While this is all going on, Pai Chan, who is now apparently a teenage girl instead of a fully grown woman who stars in martial arts films, is being chased by a bunch of dudes because of reasons. To get away, she runs into the restaurant that Akira is eating at.
I need to make it clear that is a painfully unfunny sequence. The worst kind of wacky bull shit. Hey look at all this chaos going on, but Akira is too busy trying to stuff his face to care! HA HA! Bad guys are trying to beat him up, so he deftly avoids their blows and catches slowly falling dumplings in his mouth! Hilarious!! It works when Jackie Chan does it in his movies, but it always seems to fall flat whenever it happens in an an*me. It comes across as obnoxious, rather than humorous. Maybe it’s the subtlety of Jackie’s performance, and not him constantly making that expression that I can only describe as the A-Word equivalent of a Soy Face:
Anyways, Akira and Pai end up accidentally kissing in the fracas and it’s so funny because Akira ate so many dumplings that his breath smells like garlic and this was Pai’s first kiss and it sucked so she beats him up and the bad guys kidnap Pai and I hate this show.
Look, confession time: I’ve been working on this post for the last three days. I have watched one episode per day. Virtua Fighter starts bad, and manages to get even worse. I hate the writing. I hate the bad animation. I hate the shitty 4Kids voice acting. And while I’m at it, fuck this too:
There’s a stupid villain who isn’t in any of the games, and he sounds like Stewie Griffin. Then Akira disguises himself as a racist Chinese stereotype to break Pai out of the evil Kung-Fu jail, before he suddenly gets all serious and starts to actually fight, complete with a Magical Girl-esque transformation.
The whole crux of Virtua Fighter is that it is, you know, a 1-on-1 fighting game. Combat is the focus of the whole thing. The an*me? 1 minute fight scenes where it is very obvious that this show was made on a small budget, with static images with speed lines that cut before you see fists making contact with a face; the kind of thing that makes it clear this was meant for kids, with the typical American censorship of the era. Then the episode ends with Akira chasing Pai around with a plate of garlic dumplings, because THAT IS FUNNY.
I’m tapping out. Like I said, I watched three episodes of this crap, and I don’t feel like going back and re-watching them so I can get screenshots. Don’t watch Virtua Fighter. Play the game instead; it’s free for PS Plus users until August. Have a few matches before you do what I did and start playing Strive again, marveling at the latter’s amazing netcode. Play Guilty Gear Strive. Watch literally any other an*me in the world. Do not waste your time with goddamn Virtua Fighter.