The Street Fighter series holds a very large number of characters who are polar opposites of each other: Ryu & Kage, Chun-Li & Juri, Cammy & Decapre, and G & Q are a few of these pairings. Despite their being opposites, it appears that one character has their eye on the other in some way. Kage wants Ryu to accept him as his true strength, Chun-Li wants Juri in jail (and likewise, Juri wants Chun-Li for… um, reasons of her own), Decapre wants to kill Cammy because of brainwashed jealousy, and, if we assume that G is trying to create a bunch of followers, G wants to create as many Qs as he can. However, one of the characters you would be surprised to learn has a polar opposite is Rainbow Mika.
Who is out to get her, and what do they want? Well, first, we have to look at Mika’s identity and see what her ideals are.
Mika is a young, beautiful woman with a strong sense of justice. While she’s a bit ditzy, her heart is in the right place. You can see this in both the entirety of her Street Fighter Alpha 3 arcade mode, and her Street Fighter V story mode, particularly when she faces Birdie. https://youtu.be/ZvPA_Ezbioc?t=121
She believes in the power of “muscle spirit”, a concept created by Zangief – “the fusion of muscle and spirit,” or in its most basic terms, bravery through sheer strength. She believes in it enough to want to journey the world and spread Zangief’s ideals, but her zeal tends to tune people out, particularly Ibuki.
So is Ibuki the polar opposite of Mika? As I theorized before, it appears Ibuki and her clan are big on genetics and Lamarckism (https://manestreet.home.blog/2019/02/20/the-hidden-evil/).
The intangible concept of believing within would be, quite simply, bunk in their worldview. However, although Ibuki is annoyed with Mika’s preaching, both do end up becoming friends atfer the events of A Shadow Falls.
Ibuki, despite possibly working for Gill, has no real business with attacking Mika, so we can eliminate her as Mika’s enemy.
What about someone we mentioned before? Would Kage be Mika’s enemy? As I pointed out before, Kage appears to be misogynistic. His win quotes toward women are particularly pointed and not generalized as they are with most of the male cast. https://manestreet.home.blog/2019/02/20/kages-misogyny/
Kage’s quote to Mika specifically, “Rainbows don’t shine in hell…,” is interesting in that, when he is fighting her, his entire intention is to send her innocent soul to Hell, where she won’t be as vibrant as she is on Earth, what with the eternal damnation and fire and brimstone. There are a few other quotes where Kage suggests his opponent die on the spot, Falke and Birdie being examples of this, but Mika is the only one he even remotely suggests of sending to Hell.
There’s a reason for this.
It’s not because Kage is her polar opposite. Kage may hate beautiful things, and Mika is certainly beautiful, but he isn’t out to get her in particular. Instead, there’s something else there – foreshadowing.
Mika is all about physical ability and heroism, and as she states in many of her quotes, her symbol is the rainbow (and of course, it’s in her name – Rainbow Mika). She takes this to the most literal of extremes, as one of the things she likes doing is neck bridges, which of course puts her in the shape of a rainbow. This is what a neck bridge looks like: https://youtu.be/koLDgMf8YIw?t=30
She literally wants to be a rainbow. Since she was taking it literally, I knew had to do the same thing, and adjusted my research accordingly. I started with her name, finding out that her given name roughly translated into “beautiful blossom” and her surname translated into “seven rivers”. Therefore, I was looking for a beautiful blossom of the seven rivers. There was one city I found in Japan that was known as the City of Seven Rivers: Hiroshima, and after a quick search, found a literal rainbow bridge: Koko-kyo in Shukkei-en, an historic garden in Hiroshima.
I knew I was on the right path, and a few more minutes of research later, I found what I was looking for: the beautiful blossom of the seven rivers – the oleander.
The oleander was made Hiroshima’s official flower when it was the first to bloom after the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Fortunately, there are no references to this in Mika’s character, but there are plenty of subtle oleander references in her attacks, specifically the peach ones, like Flying Peach, Shooting Peach, and Peach Assault. Oleander comes in multiple colors, peach is one of them. Also, “Deadly Peach”, which Mika screams during Peach Assault, is a reference to the oleander being a very toxic plant – it can cause irritation if some of its sap touches the skin and can outright kill a person if consumed.
So, we have proof that Mika is based on the oleander flower. What does this mean?
It meant I needed to keep digging until I found something tangible. I did, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting – I found the Greek story of Hero and Leander: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero_and_Leander
There was absolutely nothing I could use from the story itself. It was about two lovers on the opposite side of the Hellespont (now known as the Dardenelles) who would see each other when Leander would swim across the sea to see his beloved Hero, who eventually allowed Leander to make love to her after he reasoned that Aphrodite, who Hero worshipped, would scorn the praise of a virgin. One night, a storm hits, and the lantern that Hero would use to let Leander know where she was was snuffed out. Leander ended up drowning, his body washed ashore, and Hero, in shock at seeing her beloved drowned, threw herself off of the tower she lived in to be with him.
That’s… not Rainbow Mika. There could possibly be some story in the future where Mika takes the place of Hero and Zangief takes the place of Leander, but there’s no real evidence that says this will happen. However, there were two pieces of information that tie into Mika’s oleander homages. 1) There’s a legend that states the oleander was named after this story – finding his body with a flower in his hand, she called his name out, “O, Leander!” While an apocryphal story, it nonetheless leads to the more important bit of info that… 2) Hero was a priestess of Aphrodite. Aphrodite is also known as Venus in Roman mythology, and here is where the real story of Rainbow Mika begins.
Venus is connected to the Judeo-Christian figure Lucifer, or Satan before his fall. I talked briefly about him in my Secret Society theory. https://manestreet.home.blog/2019/02/20/the-secrets-of-the-secret-society/
Take a look at one of Mika’s quotes during Mic Performance:
“Hey! Seven colors fly to the ends of the earth! With fiery heat from burning muscles! Right under the first star of the evening! Be it grapples, body slams, or blows! All will be in awe of my…RAINBOW!”
So, there’s two references to Lucifer: fire and the evening star. And yes, Lucifer is known as the morning star, but since Venus is known as both the morning AND the evening star, the connection remains. Plus, Lucifer and Mika parallel each other in one particular way: their association with light. While Lucifer is known as “the light-bearer”, Mika is known as a light to others. Kage’s quote mentions how she shines as a person, but there’s another person who mentions this as well – G. Here’s his win quote to Mika:
“When a light shines, I am there! Thank you!”
So there are two characters that mention Mika’s light. So, what does all of this mean for Mika, and what does Lucifer have anything to do with her?
The answer is Lucifer’s rise and fall. Lucifer, who was God’s most beautiful angel, rebelled against his creator and was banished to Hell for his sins.
“So, is Mika going to have a fall from grace?,” you ask. No. The fall from grace has already been canonized, and it isn’t Mika. It’s someone else – Mika’s polar opposite and greatest enemy.
Mika’s enemy was once a friend. Someone she confided with. Someone she trusted. When Mika left to pursue a solo career, she took the light she emanated with her, and her friend fell into jealousy and darkness, becoming the opposite of what she once was.
It wasn’t Mika who fell from grace: it was her partner, Nadeshiko.
Yamato Nadeshiko, feeling abandoned by her friend and unable to find a guiding light that could lead her, became the masked heel Yasha Nadeshiko, and developed a liking for cruelty and a dislike for everything her former partner idealized. https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Yamato_Nadeshiko
In fact, it was likely Mika (whether directly or through Capcom’s design team) who inspired one of Yamato’s hobbies, and Capcom worked this in in a very interesting way. Shukkei-en, the garden that Koko-kyo resides in, was planned and built by Ueda Soko. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ueda_Sōko
Ueda Soko was a Japanese warlord who, upon his retirement, devoted himself to chanoyu, even creating a school for it that persists to this day. Chanoyu is the art of tea ceremonies. Nadeshiko, as the daughter of innkeepers, does exactly that.
Rainbows may not shine in hell, but they go deeper than you’d expect.