In 1995, a big exhibition took place in Nara honouring Japan’s first capital city, Fujiwara. Among the sponsors and partners helping out was Capcom, who went to the trouble of commissioning a 27-minute Street Fighter II movie that was only available on VHS at the venue, at the time.
Called Street Fighter II: Return to the Fujiwara Capital, it was quickly forgotten — this is the first I’ve ever heard of it! — and as the Street Fighter wiki says, in the years to follow it “remained almost completely unknown”.
Beginning in the modern day, the “plot” sees a selection of the cast of Street Fighter II invited to check out E. Honda’s new special move. Instead, four fighters — Honda, Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li — somehow find themselves transported 1300 years back in time, to Fujiwara.
While you’d expect this to be the setup for some fighting in the streets, it’s actually just an excuse to get some Street Fighter characters walking around an animated recreation of the capital, learning about its past and its importance in the civic and political history of Japan.
Even when this short was dug up by Capcom, as a DVD bonus for Street Fighter’s 15th anniversary in Japan, it remained largely anonymous to Western fans of the series since it hadn’t been translated into English.
So a big thank you to SFII Yomigaeru Fujiwara-kyō, who having got hold of one of these DVDs, has gone and translated the entire thing into English so we can all enjoy it.
Which I sure did! The short is mostly educational, given that’s the reason it was made at all, but it’s also got some fantastic mid-90s animation reminiscent of the more famous Street Fighter II animated features.
You can check it out below. And if you’d like to see a more illustrative review of a Street Fighter II anime, you can check that out here.