It only takes one sequel to make things interesting. Who is the canonical protagonist of Street Fighter 2?
I can tell you immediately who isn’t even in the running. Many of the World Warriors of Street Fighter 2 are just there to fill slots. E. Honda, Zangief, Dhalsim, and Blanka have nothing to do with anything. As of the story of Street Fighter 2, they don’t even have rivals, which means they essentially see the entire rest of the cast as strangers. Similarly, the only character introduced in the Super(/Super Turbo) revision that has a direct connection to the “plot” is Cammy’s aborted concept of being M. Bison’s ex. Maybe T. Hawk squeezes in there thanks to Bison wrecking up his tribe’s land. This was back when even Akuma did not yet have a stated canon connection to Ryu and Ken! He could have learned how to do those dragon punches through a correspondence course!
And speaking dragon punches, Ken and Ryu arguably have the exact same “plot” as Street Fighter 1, but that is now irrelevant. Once again, Ryu and Ken are fighting for the general sake of fighting, and their endings portray men who like taking long walks and marrying blondes (respectively). And while that is technically enough for a fighting game plot, it does not make you the protagonist in a story where an evil general and his three lieutenants are attempting to take over the world. M. Bison, Vega, Balrog, and (to a lesser extent) Sagat are up to no good, but Ryu and Ken have the opportunity to put an end to the machinations almost as an afterthought. Sagat is Ryu’s rival going back to Street Fighter 1! And the cyclops learned how to do his own Tiger Punches to counter our favorite martial artist! And none of that matters!
So that leaves us with two possibilities: Guile and Chun-Li. Both characters premiered in Street Fighter 2. Both characters are involved in some kind of international law enforcement organization. Both characters have a loved one that was killed by the final boss. From a plot perspective, both possible protagonists are extremely similar. And, when you get right down to it, they have remarkably similar endings, too. Guile defeats Bison, and his old life (represented by his hitherto unmentioned wife and daughter) returns to see that Guile goes home to become a family man. Analogously, Chun-Li beats down Bison, and then she goes back to “being a young single girl” (or, in later editions, she can continue to be an international cop… which looks remarkably similar to “young single girl”). In both cases, the fights of Street Fighter 2 are seen as a hardship that must be overcome (Guile literally calls it a “nightmare”), and the peace of a world without M. Bison is the reward for suffering through a thousand yoga noogies. This is the hallmark of a hero’s story, and, in a world where Street Fighter never saw another sequel, it would be an excellent capper for either character. Guile and Chun-Li both have valid claims at the title of protagonist.
But between the two, Guile is the fighter that is completely impossible to beat in arcade mode.
So Guile is the protagonist of Street Fighter 2.
Even Worse Streams Presents Street Fighter 6
June 13, 2023
- We are back for a full night of World Tour Mode with BEAT, fanboymaster, and Jeanie.
- Beef not Afraid has a new master, and BEAT would recognize Chun-Li’s ass anywhere. Let’s assume that is a good thing.
- March 1, 1968 is Chun-Li’s birthday according to initial editions of Street Fighter 2. She is 55. That is forever canon.
- “Are you saying Beef Not Afraid is not the perfect evolution of humanity?”
- Vegeta is a displaced foreign prince that is sending requests to raise funds to rebuild his planet and defeat the hated Kakarot. Bulma was the only sucker that replied to those emails.
- “Did I just fight a Roomba?”
- Ample Vigour joins as BEAT explains how he is replaying Tears of the Kingdom (as a confused, drunken drifter).
- Final Fight break! And let’s talk about Haggar’s obvious aesthetic influences.
- Beef not Afraid flies to Europe to meet Marisa while we discuss gay cartoon mice.
- Horrifying thought of the day: what if you have been wiping your butt wrong your entire life?
- Beef not Afraid Lore is discussed: she is the Taylor Swift of her universe.
- “Everybody in Metro City has brain damage. The mayor gave everyone so many concussions.”
- Ample Vigour shares tips for socializing as we fly to Brazil to meet Blanka/get a souvenir.
- And then it is off to Jamaica, home of Dee Jay. He’s good now! Like… as a playable character. He has always been morally good.
- And we close with Beef not Afraid learning to use drive skills while BEAT and fanboymaster discuss the saddest people on the internet.
Next time on The Ballad of Beef Not Afraid: A tournament that is actually a tournament!
“Who does your hair?