RYU & AKUMA
STREET FIGHTER II MINIMATES
2005 into 2006 marked a rather turbulent time for the Minimates brand. DST and Art Asylum were definitely trying to expand it, but there was some trouble with that. Attempts to add DC and Lord of the Rings kind of fell through, so a desire for other licenses to replace them was building. Marvel, still the flagship line, went on hiatus for over a year, while they tried to regroup on other licenses. In early 2006, they attempted to get into the video game character market with Minimates based on the classic fighting game Street Fighter II, hoping that might be the thing that took off and saved the line. Spoilers: it wasn’t. In the line’s one and only assortment, we got some of the game’s heavy hitters, which included today’s figures, Ryu and Akuma!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Ryu and Akuma were released in the standard retail assortment of Street Fighter II Minimates. The two of them were based on their standard Player 1 colors, but there was also an AFX-exclusive variant pack that put them in their P2 colors, as well as changing up their expressions. The standard versions also surfaced overseas as part of a blind-box assortment, which also featured the P2 colors, but this time without the changed expressions.
Ryu, one of two character’s carried over from the first game, is arguably the star of the Street Fighter series, so he’s certainly a sensible choice for the line-up. He’s seen here in his standard white gi with red accents set-up. The figure was built on the standard base body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. He has four add-on pieces, for his hair, the bottom of his robe, and his hand bracers. It’s honestly a pretty nice selection of parts, and matches up pretty well with his in-game sprite, while still helping him remain consistent with the overall ‘mate aesthetic. There’s still some flow and expression to the parts, but they aren’t overly detailed like some later parts would be. His details are handled largely through paint work, of course, and it’s pretty nicely done. The face has just enough detail to really capture the character, and his body is well defined. I appreciate that they’ve gone to the trouble of actually outline the edges of his sleeves and pants, so that they’re a little more defined. Interestingly, like Spider-Woman from last week, Ryu is totally painted. It looks nice, so I can’t really complain. Ryu is packed with a blue effects piece, presumably meant to replicate his Haduken attack, which makes for some fun posing options.
Facing off against Ryu is the game’s hidden final boss, Akuma, a pretty solid opponent for Ryu. He’s built rather similarly to Ryu, which is honestly appropriate. The only part that’s actually shared between the two is the arm bracer piece, which works well for both of them. His hair is obviously a new piece, as is the skirt piece, which they could have probably gotten away with re-using, but they didn’t, so good for them. He also gets a new piece for the necklace as well, which is something that could have been painted on, but wasn’t, and is honestly the better for it. The hair’s a little bit devoid of detail, which makes it look a little wonky, but for the most part it looks okay. The detail work on this guy is a good match for Ryu, and he is likewise totally painted. I appreciate that they actually changed up the tampo for the torso detailing, as that’s another area where they didn’t *have* to change it. Akuma is packed with the same effects piece as Ryu, but in purple instead of blue.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The SFII Minimates line was one I really wanted to support, but it was one that I unfortunately didn’t really see in person. The only ones I ever found were the P2 colors for these two, which got clearance out at KB toys of all places. Interestingly, my Ryu from that set was erroneously the single pack version, so I never had the changed up expression for him. I eventually got the chance to get the proper P1 versions when All Time got in that big Minimates collection back in 2019, which I was pretty happy about. These two are well made to be sure, and it’s a shame the line didn’t take off the way DST hoped they would.