Fighter Round 3
Welcome to my Sakura review! I was supposed to
do Guile first, but I figured I'd clump all the Alpha people
together since they've had less exposure than their Street
Fighter II buddies. Besides, some friends have been clamouring
for upskirt pictires.
Sakura Kasugano is an upbeat, athletic
schoolgirl introduced in Street Fighter Alpha / Zero 2, the sole
new character in the batch of 5 that were added for that game.
In the time since, she has gone on to become one of the most
recognizable mascots for Capcom.
Sakura spotted Ryu once, during a tournament
battle. While other girls her age started swooning over pop
stars, she idolized Ryu instead. She became Dan's student to
learn the basics of the shotokan style, but soon surpassed him.
When her best friend Kei Chitose (you know, that long haired
girl who follows Sakura around in some of the Vs games) got into
trouble, she instinctively copied Ryu's fighting techniques to
save her friend. Sakura then decided to seek out "the man who
wears a white headband, and red gloves", to learn the meaning of
the fight from him.
Sakura is the featured female of this Round, and
she marks the last of Capcom's "Big 3" Street Fighter ladies
(gee, guess who the other two are). As expected, she's a very
small figure, standing shorter and slimmer than all the other
figures. In package, she seems really insubstantial compared to
muscle mountains like T Hawk or Balrog. Looks are, of course,
Sakura comes with the usual two interchangeable
heads and extra hands, and a whole lot of other accessories. So
much so that, if not for the figure itself, you'd think you were
buying one of Palisade's Muppet figures! Going through them one
Sakura's head has been the subject of much
argument online (much of which was fueled by yours truly! :-D).
SOTA has a very good knack for doing ugly guy heads, but when it
comes to bishonen and bishojyou (That's what the Japanese call
pretty boys and girls), they still have some ways to go. Chun Li
and Vega were short of the mark, but Cammy was quite good.
Sadly, Sakura doesn't score very high either. I do not like this
head, and I think that those who have seen the Sakura
merchandise that have come out of Japan will find that this
sculpt is unsatisfactory as well.
The regular head is kinda cute, truth be told.
But that's not Sakura. The shape of the face looks flat, with
strangely contoured cheeks and jawline. Her hair is slightly on
the wide-side, which gives it a Cindy Lauper-esque funk that
broadens her already broad face sculpt. Her eyes have got an
over-exaggerated, anime-wannabe look, and to me it looks like
she's squinting to entertain some unseen infant. That's not to
mention her wide, goofy smile. It's like there's something just
ever-so-slightly wrong with each component of her face, and
while you can't really say she's fugly, you can't say it's
spot-on either. So like I said, it's cute, but it just doesn't
reflect Sakura's personality at all. All in all, it reminds me
of the Resaurus Chun Li, and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
While I'm ranting, let's look at the alternate
head. It's more or less the same sculpt, with Sakura's mouth
open in a huge laugh. Concept-wise, I think it's a perfectly
justified choice, although if they hadn't done the closed-eyed,
laughing Chun Li head for Round 1, I would have preferred that
kind of expression, since Sakura does have a winning pose that
looks that, and it'd be more accurate to her taunt.
I do have to fault the execution, however. It
looks like they just resculpted the mouth-portion of her face
with a new laughing mouth. Now, when I was a toy-customizer
starting out, I used to do this all the time to get a new
expression. After studying anatomy, I know now that it usually
just looks strange. Moving a facial organ will pull and stretch
skin so the whole face changes, and that's what makes this head
look really disconcerting.
I apologize for griping so much about her head.
I'm a huge Sakura geek, having once made an internet shrine and
all that, so I really care about how her figure turned out.
With that off my chest (I feel a bit better
now, sniff sniff), I have to say that the figure does hold up very well. The
design is pretty much spot-on, right down to the white circles on her
shoes. She does come with an extra shoe to simulate her win pose
where she sends one flying and it bops her on the head. It can kinda hook onto her hair protrusions if you really like that
pose. It is however, missing the white circle, and she doesn't
come with a socked foot so she'll end up having 3 shoes on at
the same time...
Sakura comes with 3 extra hands, for a total of
5. 2 closed fists, 2 open "fireball" hands, and a left hand
with a pointed finger. The last is what you'll need to simulate
her infamous taunt, that actually causes damage in the game.
(Man, I love offing opponents with that. It's so insulting! I'm
I do like that they sculpted her physique to
look like the original Sakura artwork. Her body definitely
belongs to a person who's active in sports, and is neither too
beefy nor too streamlined in a girly sort of way. Quite a bit of
Japan-originated sculpts tend to play up the "girl in a
schoolgirl outfit" angle to appeal to the ecchi (perv) crowd,
and some of those Sakuras don't look like they can swing a punch
Sakura also comes with a set of interactive accessories: a
schoolbag, 2 books, and a camera. They're all accurately scaled,
and the best part is that EVERYTHING fits right into the bag.
YES, EVERYTHING. They go in easy, and the bag shuts with no
problems. The bag has only one open strap, which fits very well
over her shoulder. Tuck it under her collar to make it more
secure, and it won't drop off even with some serious play. She
can't quite hold her books, since they're too small for her
hands, but with some fiddling, her "hadouken" hands can hold her
camera quite securely.
Accuracy wise, you won't find these in the Alpha games. Well,
she's never appeared with books before, so they are pretty much
a liberty SOTA took, but they are in line with what Sakura is.
Her camera is off-model. In the Alpha 2 game, the one she holds
looks more like an instamatic, and not the 1970's version the
toy comes with. I've blown-up some screengrabs for reference.
You'll also see that her bag in Alpha was pink. However, in the
Capcom vs Marvel type games, Sakura does appear with a brown
schoolbag similar to the one the toy has, so it does pass the
If you own any of the other girls, you can expect the kind of
articulation Sakura offers. She does, of course, come with the
double jointed elbows everyone loves, and the new Round 3
calf-twist is located at the top of her socks. She has a very
good range of movement, especially at her hips, as like Gen, her
ball joints are quite well exposed, allowing her to do almost 90
degrees on her forward bend. Her skirt does hamper things very
slightly, since it is sculpted and solid. But it's soft and
bendy, and there's enough allowance for Sakura to sit while not
looking like it's over-billowing in the breeze. The skirt is
really well-designed, and looks natural whether Sakura is
standing or sitting.
Her neck does seem to stick out quite a bit. If
you bend her upper torso backwards, she looks fine, as the neck
straightens perpendicular to the ground. She'll look like she's
sticking her chest out in pride or defiance. Bend the body
forward, and her neck looks like it's straining forward, like in
the running picture above. It does add a strange look to her
body language, in certain poses.
Overall, she has quite a good range of movement,
and can be posed in a either active or passive stances. She
doesn't have big feet either, and for some reason the front
portions of her soles bend slightly upwards, so she does have
some small problems standing. Big no no on flamingo, tho. That
goes for poses that unevenly space her weight around as well,
like half-squats. She does do a mean hadouken, and her hands can
come together, unlike her mentor's.
Upskirt shots here ->>
One inaccuracy would be the cut that they gave
her bloomers. Contrary to popular belief, no, Sakura does NOT
wear red panties. In Japan, girls wear gym shorts that they call
"bloomers". They're cut very low much like volleyball tights,
and that's what Sakura has on. To be even more specific, Sakura
has red bloomers with a white stripe running down each side
(told you I was a Sakura geek!). SOTA didn't seem to know. Her
underpants are red, but they're painted to look like underwear,
with a relatively high cut. It would have been better to just
paint her entire crotch assembly red. Now you may say think that
it's a small matter, and that no one's going to bother since
it's hidden under the skirt anyway. How naive, my friend. How
In closing, I'm still positive about the Sakura figure, despite
my disappointment with her face sculpt. She's nicely scaled, and
barring her face, she does look good with lots of excellent
accessories that really work well. If she had a nicer set of
heads and properly painted bloomers I'd give her an A+. Oh well,
there's always the chance that SOTA's femme faces will improve,
and that Sakura will get a new head by way of an accessory pack
(or a custom resculpt... hmmm). Till then, hey, you can't have a
decent Street Fighter collection without Sakura!!!
Sakura will be available in 6(!!!) colours. One regular, and 5
variants based on her palette swaps in the Alpha game. You can 4
of these variants at Gamestop and various online retailers.
Blue Sakura - Regular mass
retail version, packed 2 per case.
Black Sakura - Randomly packed assortments at Gamestop stores
Orange Sakura - Exclusive to various online retailers.
Green Sakura - Exclusive to various online retailers.
Red Sakura - Exclusive to various online retailers.
Dark Sakura (not shown here)
- Exclusive to
Variant pics courtesy of SOTA toys.
Coming up next: The individual reviews! Click on
the links to read em!
Back to Street Fighter Round 3!
Got a question or feedback? Think I suck at
this? Do let me know...