Video game developer Capcom seems to have settled into a pretty comfortable pattern regarding the marketing of its upcoming Street Fighter V. About once a month, the company releases a new video highlighting another addition to the game’s cast. Fans watch the video over and over, looking for clues as to what they can expect in the game ahead of its release next spring.
And then come the complaints about the female characters being ugly.
Capcom chose the currently ongoing Tokyo Game Show to break the news that Karin Kanzuki will be joining the roster for Street Fighter V. Previously, the rich schoolgirl had only appeared in one of the company’s other fighting games, 1998’s Street Fighter Alpha 3. For 17 years, Karin’s fans had been clamoring for another chance to enjoy her unique play style that mixes aggressive rushdown charges with attack-reversing defensive stances, and their hopes were finally answered with Karin’s Street Fighter V introduction video.
The decision to include Karin, who retains many of her signature moves from Alpha 3, has been a definite crowd pleaser. The video also shows off an amazing background that blends a Japanese castle exterior and Western manor house interior, with the whole thing illuminated by some extremely atmospheric lighting effects.
But even if the background is drop-dead gorgeous, some fans don’t feel like the same can be said about Karin herself.
▼ Karin’s Street Fighter V model (left) and promotional artwork for Street Fighter Alpha 3 (right)
なんでや・・ なんでや・・ http://t.co/8X1GZehA0x—
もち大名（妖怪化） (@peace_one) September 17, 2015
Just like what happened when British martial artist Cammy made her Street Fighter V debut, some gamers are taking issue with what they feel is the extremely unattractive design being used for Karin’s newest appearance.
かやじんクッション (@kayajin) September 17, 2015
▼ More comparisons of the new and old Karin, including her in-game Alpha 3 win screen artwork (bottom right)
邪魔ジョー (@Jhama_VJ) September 17, 2015
Among the comments that have been made online in Japan:
“Karin looks scary!”
“She looks like a character in Fist of the North Star.”
“[Or] a character from Fire Pro Wrestling.”
“This is just some middle-aged woman from Osaka doing Karin cosplay…I hope.”
“That’s not Karin.”
“I’ve already decided to call her Katharine.”
Perhaps part of the reason some fans are so startled is due to the differences in art direction between Street Fighter V and Alpha 3. The franchise’s Alpha branch went for a distinct anime-style aesthetic, giving the characters more slender frames and sharper line work, which became especially pronounced by the third Alpha release.
On the other hand, Street Fighter V is clearly going for beefier physiques for both its male and female combatants, and the thick shadowing being applied to the graphics (in order to evoke a bit of a hand-drawn feeling), sometimes has the effect of making skin folds look especially large, giving the characters a flabby or sunken-eyed look.
Following the less-than-enthusiastic response to Cammy’s Street Fighter V reveal video, it seems like Capcom gave the character a bit of a makeover. There’s no word on whether or not Karin’s design will be similarly touched up or altered before the game’s release, but in the meantime, we wouldn’t make any snide comments to her face.
▼ After all, potential beauty queen or not, she’s still capable of punching a dude hard enough to make him explode.