a.k.a. Garou Densetsu: The Motion Picture
Aided by skillful fighters, Laocorn is on the hunt to find the legendary pieces of the Armor of Mars to attain godlike powers. His twin sister, Sulia, worries about the welfare of her brother, let alone the world. She will need to gather warriors of her own to fight her now demented sibling. Luckily, she bumps into the renowned martial artist Terry Bogart who swears he and his friends will do whatever it takes to stop Laocorn before he gathers all the pieces of the puzzle.
summary by Kjeldoran
Highs: Some plot twists
Lows: Appalling animation; inconsequential characters; featureless choreography
How do you stretch fifteen minutes of content into a hundred-minute movie you say? Just ask Obari Masami, director of Fatal Fury, whom you also have to blame for Battle Arena Toshinden and Samurai Showdown. He’ll probably tell you all about cameras moving endlessly on static backgrounds, pointless fights, characters serving no purpose whatsoever and Mai’s plentiful bosom.
If you are not already familiar with characters from the Fatal Fury game this anime is based on, don’t expect to learn much about them aside for the way they fight. Some make brief apparitions, display a few of their trademark moves and are never heard from again. Add to that chronic fighting as well as crude dialogues and you have a humdrum scenario that will make your teeth grind. Animation does not atone for the rest… Anything beside key close-ups is botched and each of my pet peeves are employed recurrently; recycled cels, flashing backgrounds, red strokes simulating blows, still frames… Why have animation when you can simulate it, right?
In some weird and creepy way, Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture could be worse. It does have a dramatic ending, adequate score, something similar to romance and tries to incorporate a plot that isn’t related to tournaments or street fighting, which is rare in martial arts anime. Wait, did I say martial arts? I meant, “Energy blasting while yelling hackneyed punch lines”.
Hardcore fan of the games or not, a bad anime remains a bad anime. Leave this one on the shelves.
Highs: Decent music; dramatic moments
Lows: Weak and superfluous characters; half-baked plot; poor animation for format
I think there are two ways of looking at Fatal Fury: if you have ever played the games or if you have not. If you have played the games, this movie might be some fun as you watch Terry, Andy, Joe and Mai in action; if you have never played the game, then expect to be disappointed because there is not much here for you.
One of the few things that Fatal Fury has going for it is the musical score; Sahashi Toshihiko may not be a Iwasaki Taku or a Kanno Yoko, but he still put together a rather solid musical score. Although the music has an epic feel to it, this movie is not of epic proportions, but that is a bit beside the point. The only other aspect that this movie does well are the dramatic moments. This movie may be primarily action-based, but the dramatic moments, although not particularly moving, are still done well and made believable.
This anime caters way too much on fans of the games; characters receive no information other than a name and a few fighting moves. Laocorn and Sulia have a fair amount of background, and while they are crucial to the movie, the numerous other characters that make useless cameos are not. Despite the amount of on-camera time, even the bad guys who follow Laocorn possess only a shred of background at best. The characters may be hollow, but the plot is pretty sturdy, right? I can just imagine Obari Masami getting the plot out of a Cracker Jack™ box and believing that it would be worthwhile to send fighters on a quest without requiring any logical reasoning behind it. Top this off with quite a few action scenes and unexplained events that make Dragonball Z look appealing and you have a plot that is confusing and dull. OK, so not all action anime are supposed to have deep plots, but they should have good animation… Fatal Fury does not. At best, the animation is on par with that of a low-budget OVA, and even that may be giving it more credit than it deserves. Nothing says poor animation like a use of stills in fight scenes.
Other than an opportunity for guys to see Mai’s bare chest a few times, I am at a loss for why anyone would want to see Fatal Fury. It would be a good Christmas stocking stuffer… for people that you hate.
Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.