September Sakura: Street Fighter Sakura Ganbaru! Volume 2 Review

Sakura Ganbaru

Mike Zaimont, creator of the indie game Skullgirls, when asked why he didn’t change the name of game since there were two male DLC characters, responded

“the same way Capcom can still call it ‘Street Fighter’ when they fight inside”

And its true. For all the Street Fighting Street Fighter boasts, there’s not a lot of action on the streets. There’s jungles, shrines, temples, airfields, but rarely do brawls ever occur on the street. The same is true in Sakura Ganbaru! Volume 2 where we go on a jet setting adventure on the search for ‘that person’ a.k.a. Ryu.

Sakura Chun Li

Street Fighter Sakura Ganbaru! Volume 2 (2007)
Author: Masahiko Nakahira
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Binding Reviewed: Softcover (200 pages)

Following on from where the last book left off, a travelling man in a suit comes to buy Sakura’s Street Fighting trophy and she uses the money to head to Hong Kong on the search for Ryu with Dan tagging along as a guide. The book is reminiscent of Street Fighter II, migrating to different areas and finding new patrons to fight. Along the way she meets many Street Fighter greats like Chun Li, Cammy, and Zangief. Its cool to see many familiar faces but whether canonical is debatable. Cammy is somehow the same age as Sakura, forgotten her name and only vague hints of Shadaloo are mentioned under the guise of “The Organization”. It seems lazy not to use Shadaloo since Nakahira was given the rights to the whole franchise.

The Humour has been turned down for the better
The humour was dialled back a bit, for the better

Sakura Ganbaru Volume 2 keeps the pace fast by having Sakura constantly on the move with big fights occurring in every chapter. Sakura also isn’t the only one getting her knuckles dirty; Chun Li steps into the ring from time to time and a double team against Zangief made the fight more interesting to see. One part I disliked reading through both books was the emphasis on finding out why Sakura fights or what it means to be a Street Fighter. When it waxes philosophical, I feel it loses its charm and takes its self too seriously. This is evident in the Gen match which I thought ended on a very cliche note.

Looks like Sakura Ganbaru influenced Sakura's ending in Super Street Fighter IV
Looks like Sakura Ganbaru influenced Sakura’s ending in Super Street Fighter IV

The art remains unchanged for the main part from the first book to this one. I thought the depiction of Hong Kong was detailed and spot on, filled with street signs, tall buildings, and congestion. Other locations are nice references to Street Fighter Alpha/ Zero 2 stages. The fights are heavy on the shading and explosions making things seem a lot more chaotic for just punches and kicks. Sadly there are no double page finishers as Sakura appears to be relying a lot on her Hadouken move this time round, probably because it uses a lot of white.

Saku and Dan

As this book drew to a close I began to miss the companions that Sakura had gained throughout the story. Its strange because I didn’t think I’d grow attached since I only met them in this book but it was bittersweet to see them depart at end of her journey. I also thought Dan’s pay off was fantastic for a comic relief character. Its a shame that Blanka wasn’t included as part of the core team. Dan and Blanka (or Jimmy) are famous for their close friendship so I would’ve liked to explore their dynamic too.

Cover

I enjoyed Sakura Ganbaru Volume 2 more than the previous. The fact that Sakura was constantly moving from place to place, the return of famous world warriors, and a satisfying payoff for supporting characters makes it the stronger of the two. I wouldn’t necessarily say that volume 1 was essential to read before this one. There were only two call backs to the first volume and the second of the two was just to explain why a temple could be accessed by bus. If you were a fan of old school Street Fighter II but never quite grasped the Alpha/Zero series then I would recommend this book.

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One thought on “September Sakura: Street Fighter Sakura Ganbaru! Volume 2 Review

  1. […] The Street Fighter Legends series serves as side stories to the main story line being crafted by Udon based on the popular Capcom fighting games. Each character got four issues and a trade paper back. What I like about the Legends series is that its fun. There’s no world ending story or deep meaning behind each attack, just simple problems needing simple answers. Sakura is the star of the first Street Fighter Legends book so let’s see how it matches up to her last outing as a protagonist. […]

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