Young millionaire Laocorn Gaudeamus is on a crusade to recover six pieces of armour said to give the user the powers of Mars—the legendary God of War. Fearing that her twin brother is slowly losing his sanity with every armour piece he collects, Sulia runs to Terry, Andy, Joe and Mai to form their own global crusade to stop Laocorn from opening a potential Pandora's Box and releasing an uncontrollable form of destruction.
I really like the fresher approach this anime did. It succeeds where the Street Fighter Zero anime fails which also tried to do something different. What they both have in common is that they used completely new villains. The idea of a mad scientist was just way too cliché. Sure Street Fighter II The Animated Movie also somewhat had it with M. Bison, but having the mad scientist as the main villain just doesn’t really make sense. While with the Fatal Fury movie, it takes a mythical figure and putting him in a modern day context in which the Fatal Fury characters can physically confront.
But Laocorn’s minions on the other hand were just opposite or symbolic mirror images of some of the cast. Like Jamin is more like Terry. He uses a variation to the burn knuckle and the power wave. Hauer is a pretty boy like Andy. And Panni is like Mai. Mai uses fire as her attack, while Panni is water.
Other characters that are also briefly featured are Kim Kaphwan, Jubei Yamada, the Duck King, Richard Meyer, Billy Kane, and Geese Howard.
The quality of the art and animation is more or less like the new battle, the previous OAV, but brought in a more theatrical quality with the resolution of the colors and the finer and more define details of the characters faces. Especially with Andy. Again, the costume designs are still faithful of that to the original gaming series. I think Laocorn’s design is pretty cool. He looks like a youth, but he is menacing looking and his get up really represents his acrobatic and free-flight abilities. Panni’s get up is like a spandex version to Tony’s get up from the 2nd oav. And Jamin looks somewhat like Krauser with his armor and built. And Hauer you can say in terms of personality with how he dresses to protect his good looks is like Vega from Street Fighter II mixed with some of Kefka’s clothing from Final Fantasy. But I know there is an SNK art book out there where the primary character designer, Shinkiro, has his own art work of Laocorn and his villains. My brother may have a copy. I’m sorry I couldn’t show pictures, but if I did, I would have.
Now time to talk about the action and animation. Rather than just being more of an anime being based off a game. With the new villains and original story line, it’s becoming more of an anime itself than just being related to the game. In addition to the story and characters, the presentation of the action itself takes a different approach. The action came across as more DBZ-ish and becomes more of what you see in typical shounen anime though as usual, the characters moves are still presented. But some of the action gets really explosive that isn’t really in the tradition of the games or in most fighting games in general.
The fights are again a bit too short like in the first oav. Though still somewhat exciting but the tactics are too cheap. Some of my favorite fights was when Joe fought Hwa Jai in a kickboxing match. It had some good angles to it and I liked the fast movement and thought it represented Muay Thai very well. It’s just from what I called playing the games, Hwa Jai was one of the bosses and was pretty hard. Then in the anime he was reduced to being a glass jaw villain where you can knock him out with one blow. I liked seeing Kim Kaphwan fighting again and I enjoyed that fight because there were no fire balls or any of that mumbo jumbo. But I thought it was totally cheesy that Kim use a transformation sequence to go from ripping suit to his Tae Kwon Do gi.
Then when Panni fights Lawerence Blood, she just has to result to using her water powers to win. And Terry and Jamin’s 2nd fight was just a power struggle between their burn knuckles. I mean, wasn’t Jamin supposed to be as good of a fighter as Krauser was which was a blow for blow fight in the end? Then when they get to fighting Laocorn, I think it’s cool we get to see Joe, Andy, and Terry fighting together at the same time for once, but this is where it gets really DBZ-ish. The characters are “flying,” and it’s really reliant on their special moves. Though the original oavs did provide the action with the special moves, it didn’t get too excessive that you were watching Dragon Ball Z. You were just watching an anime being faithful to the game it was being based off of. A lot of people may disagree, but that’s how I felt. Sure I thought the explosiveness was cool, but this movie in some of the fights lost the original martial arts element that was more present in the last OAV.
And yes, there is a shower scene with Mai. Apparently back when video game based oavs or anime movies came out. There always had to be a fan service shower scene with a character. Tekken had to have it with Nina. Toshinden had to have it with Sofia. And Street Fighter had to have it with Chun Li. So I hope this makes some of you happy. But I first saw this anime when I was 11, and I must say it was something I was not used to yet.
On one final note, I really liked some of the photography. I really liked the scene where Laocorn first introduces himself to Terry and Sulia on that water tower on the roof top. I liked how the moon was in the background and cast him only as a shadow. It really brought not only a villainous trait in the character, it made him look pretty cool as well symbolizing his strength and his abilities to lets say anticipate where a person may show up.
Before I would to talk about the new features with the voice acting. I would like to point out a couple of things I failed to do in my last two Fatal Fury reviews. The Japanese voice actors of Keiichi Nanba, Andy’s voice actor. And Nobuyuki Hiyama, Joe’s voice actor actually happen to play those roles in the games as well and to this day they continue those roles. So I thought I wanted to point that out. Now time to talk about the finest additions in both the Japanese and English tracks. In the Japanese track, veteran voice actors Miki Shin’ichiro who plays Takumi in Initial D and Mizuki in Naruto is casted as the main villain, Laocorn, while seiyuu veteran Kenji Utsumi who played Raoh in Hokuto no Ken plays his henchman, Jamin. While in the English version, Matt Hill who played Ryo in Ronin Warriors and Kira in Gundam SEED is casted as Laocorn, while Miriam Sirwain (I believe that’s how you say her name) plays Sulia.
Both Miki and Hill are excellent voice actors in bringing this character to life. They each have respective qualities in each country of how to express how maybe a casual teenager or a “cool” teenager may speak. So with a character like Laocorn, that is something they did an excellent job of. In the Japanese version, Laocorn came across more as maniacal and insane, while in the English version, I liked how he came across as scheming and clever. And as usual, the rest of the cast in both Japanese and English version reprise their roles and still do an excellent job.
Some of the dialogue in the English version comes across as very American. Especially in this one airplane scene and approaching Rodos island after Sulia meets the crew. I don’t know how to describe it but when you hear it. It sounds very casual in an American like way and that’s the best way to describe it. It’s a little corny, but felt natural. It has a little more swearing than usual, but it doesn’t suit the characters voices in my opinion. Because of the level of the dialogue in the English version has gone down a little bit, it doesn’t have the same sense of superiority it had over the Japanese version like the oavs had.
The music is what I call an improvement. Some of the background music from the 2nd oav is once again used in the movie. Remember the Eastern like sounding song when Terry fought Kim in the 2nd oav? Well, that song is used again when Kim fights the fat guy wearing the mask. Forgot his name, but I can say he was a playable character in the games. And the remaining soundtrack has a great variety of orchestra, techno, rock, and other eastern like songs. And yes, I really love the ending theme Oh Angel. Both played in Japanese and in English in their respective tracks. The Japanese version is sung by Terry’s voice actor and I don’t know who sung it in English. But they both do an equal job and they bring out the same meaning and feel of emotion.
Well, I thought it was a great conclusion to the trilogy, but leaves a lot open. Like Geese is shown to still be in training and it would have been cool if they made another movie or oav based on the Fatal Fury game also called Real Bout. I thought the new villains were a real great idea. It’s a shame they never made it to the games because I thought they would have worked out. But with the way the action was presented, it would make a total imbalance. I mean, the Fatal Fury games are hard enough already. We don’t need characters that can get the abilities of a god or fight a god itself for God’s sake!!! Despite being 13 years since the anime has been put on a hold, I still hope for future releases. Maybe Terry can meet Blue Mary this time. I don’t get why he was going after a school girl in this one. Man, I am still over shock that there won’t be a sequel to Mark of the Wolves, my favorite of all the Fatal Fury games. I say fans of the Fatal Fury games may not like this anime too much, not because of the new characters, but because of the presentation of the action is not in tradition of the games, but those of you who like general action anime, then this is something to give a shot though the fights are short.
I can easily say that I am not a fan of Masami Obari. For as good as his art can look (at times), his stories are horrible, and while I could write about some of his more detestable work (Voogie's Angels or Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer), I wanted to slice open the fifth seal in God-awful directing, Fatal Fury the Motion Picture.
STORY: Obari just did not try with this franchise. I always thought it would be easy to tell a story about a group of steriod-injected martial artists who fire Hadokens out of their feet and can launch air combos, but it's
impossibly bad how little this story makes sense or how you can care!! Apperently, having cool villans like Geese Howard and Billy Kane aren't compelling enough to put in our FATAL FURY MOVIE, so their roles are reduced to 30 second cameos as the audience is supposed to care about some stupid armour that grants the wearer AWESOME POWER so Laocorn can take vengence against those that betrayed his ancestors. Trust me, the movie does very little to explain this and it has no ties to our heroes whatsoever.
ART: The art is fairly decent. The backgrounds look good for the most part, given the movie's age, but there isn't too much to look at. The character designs for the villans just don't seem to belong, but I'm sure Mr. Obari has a fetish for skin tight spandex and half shirts. These baddies just look like they're more from Samurai Shodown than Fatal Fury. The Lone Wolves all look good, but they looked much better in A New Battle. The fight scenes are kind of choppy and generic, with the exception of Joe Higashi's fight against Hwa Jai in the beginning, which looks great. But the only art detail anyone will probably wait to see is Mai's breasts constantly defying all laws of physics.
Sound: The music is actually quite good at setting the mood in particular points in the movie. The voices are good, with the exception of Sulia's english dubbed voice. Since her character spends so much time in the movie crying, she sounds like she's going to break into tears at any given moment. I guess it's good for what it is, but it's just so grating that I stopped giving a crap about it. Jason Gray Stafford steals the show as Joe Higashi, and he's so much fun to listen to, and Mark Hildreth (maybe one of the most underused voice actors out there) is again great as Terry.
CHARACTER: Yeeaahh, this is pretty much the Andy, Mai, and Joe show, because Terry is rendered useless with Sulia as a potential love interest and spends most of the movie still brooding over a girl that NEVER existed. As I said eariler, the FF cast is virtually used mostly as cameos like Kim Kaphwan, Big Bear, Duck King, Lawerance Blood, Jubei Yamada, Cheng Sin Zan, Billy Kane, Geese Howard. You know, the CHARACTERS FROM BLEEDING FATAL FURY!!!!!!!!! These people are used to get their asses handed to them buy the most generic group of bad guys that just exist for the point of trying to move this piss poor excuse of a plot. You have Laocorn, the guy who wants to get the armor of Mars to, you guessed it, take over the world. His whiny twin sister Sulia, who of course, wants to stop him.
And then there's Jamin, Hauer, and Panni, who sound more like a Cirque De Solei trio than henchmen. I get why Laocorn and Sulia are there, but who are these three, and why do they follow Laocorn? Who knows Obari doesn't have time to tell you, because Mai's shower scene is coming up. These antagonists are underdeveloped, have no personality, and serve no purpose except to get disposed of by the good guys. Unexceptable, but I did like the cameos buy Nakoruru and her voice actor in the beginning who gave the flowers to Joe. Yeah, cause people will get that reference, thanks for editing it, VIZ!!!
ENJOYMENT: This is just a boring movie. So much time is spent trying to explain this story that Sulia's narration is OVER CHARACTER DIALOUGE WHILE THEY'RE ON A PLANE!!! The fight scenes are bittersweet, because when you finally get some action, the fight is over just as fast as it started. It's hard to care for the original characters because they're just not that ineresting. There's just too much talking and the dialouge doesn't really serve much of a purpose other than a history lesson for the twins, which after all the talking, isn't that deep. They're trying to stop Laocorn and fail at every turn, making any scene completely worthless. And the final battle is just a mess, that's all I have to say.
OVERALL: I HATE THIS MOVIE!! It's a bastardization of anything Fatal Fury!
The plot is stupid, the backstory is poorly fleshed out, the villans are just a box of bad guys, and the love tension between Terry and Sulia is so forced and unbelievable. Watch this movie if you like Mai, Andy, and Joe. Just don't expect them to do anything. I promise I'll try and trim my next review in half. I apologize for the length.
Animation... poor. For an anime such as this I would at least expect some kick ass fighting scenes, and I didn't get them here.
Sound... can't remember any of the music so it can't have been too outstanding. But I do remember something about the character's voices though - they were annoying.
story... nothing spectacular
characters... tries to be deep but at the end of the day is still laughably shallow. You might get a kick from seeing a lot of cameos from the characters of the franchise though, if you're familiar with it that is.
Conclusion... this anime sucks. Yet another one of those action anime that tries
to be too deep and end up rattling off some senseless mumbo jumbo about life and love and trying to find some pseudo-philosophical justification for why they fighting etc.
There's only one point of interest in this "Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture", and that's the fact that it appears to be a SEQUEL to the "Fatal Fury 2", not the prequel. I was quite confused by the characters talking about what I thought was supposed to be future events that occur in "Fatal Fury 2". And then I found out that "Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture" is indeed the sequel - it comes after the two OVA's "Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf" and "Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle". The first OVA wasn't listed in the database that I checked, and this naturally made me think the movie, as the only other Fatal Fury title, is the prequel to "Fatal Fury 2". So yeah, turns out this isn't such an interesting point after all, sorry to get your hopes up :P As a side comment, "Fatal Fury 2" is actually a lot better than this, as it doesn't make the mistake of trying to appear deep when it's blatently not.
As many people who have watched this can tell you, this is basically one for the hardcore beat-em-up gamers only, and on top of that you probably need to be a fan of the "Fatal Fury" games to have any chance of enjoying this. Compared to other fighting games to anime conversions, this is not even in the same league as the animated street fighter 2 movie, but at least it's better than the Tekken movie, though that's not exactly saying much...
When it comes to video game adaptations, sticking close to the source material will often times more than not lead to a successful outcome, however, there are some unique cases where some how some way an over reaching story line can ultimately make for a good viewing experience and such is the case with Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture.
The art style for the Fatal Fury anime's were always constant leading up to this final film and I never took an issue with this direction. Character's always managed to stay in line with their original look and to be honest it was nice to see
them get the anime makeover so to speak.
The animation and fight scenes in this title, while pretty decent, lacked consistency. One minute the attention to detail and movement looked astounding, another minute it looked a bit questionable. I also felt that often times the scenes were over to quickly and things would stop before they even got started.
Fortunately the fight scenes, which I am normally all about, was not the highlight of this film. The story, which ran completely off track of the video game series, was actually not all that bad. A mysterious girl, seeks the help of main protagonist Terry Bogard and friends to find pieces of the infamous armor of mars also sought by her brother the antagonist of the film who is slowly losing himself as he finds each one.
This leads them in a race around the globe as the film tries to entangle historic figures, mythology, and few cheap tie ins from the game to create a progressive story line. It certainly does pain at some points especially if you have a bias towards the source material yet and still some how it managed to keep me interested.
The biggest fault of the film lies with the interest of the villain and his powerful underlings and not with the heroic quartet especially Terry whose ability seems to get down turned at every moment until the end of the film. While the story was a fairly decent one, looking back, you realize that the creators of this film blew a big opportunity to make this a true classic by not focusing the plot on the character that mattered, Geese Howard...what an ending that should have been.
The soundtrack was another stand out part of the film and certainly adds a much needed ambiance to each scene. The music always seemed to cue in at the right time adding some great intensity at certain moments during the film.
Barring any affinity you may have for the films origin, Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture was a pretty good watch. It is unfortunate that the OVA did not continue after this as I believe they would have gone back to a more canonical timeline. With all that being said, I still recommend you take a gander. The effort they put into this film shows and that can at least be appreciated.