Getepe and the Seven Sisters

Since Street Fighter V came out, many questions have been brought to the forefront regarding the mysteries the game holds in its lore. Is Bison still alive after having his body evaporated? What happened to Marz after her fall? Who or what is G, and what is his connection to Q? However, there is one mystery that fans have been arguing over since the game was first released that is deserving of an answer. I’ll let Lucia, Final Fight 3 character and Street Fighter newcomer, explain:

“The hell’s “Getepe” mean?” – Lucia’s win quote to Necalli

The theories around what Getepe is range from it being a variant of “Get up!” to it being the phonetic of a word in Hebrew that means “Fruit of Life”. However, neither of these truly explain one of the biggest plot points in SFV’s Cinematic Story Mode: the vision Necalli gives to Ryu.

In the context of the story, there was absolutely no point to giving Ryu any kind of vision, unless you want to count this as Necalli’s feeble attempt to get him to unlock the Satsui no Hado within him (he would fight Bison, unleash the Satsui no Hado, and then Necalli could eat them both at the same time – actually not a bad plan overall, but Necalli is still considerably weaker than either of them). Even so, giving Ryu an option runs contrary to everything Necalli has shown in the plot – all Necalli wants to do is eat Ryu’s soul, and his mind is pretty one-track.

However, keep in mind that Necalli’s title is “Emissary of the Gods”, something that is important to understanding who he is. He isn’t acting of his own accord, but of someone else’s – the gods he serves (Udon took this point and ran with it in the comics, but since the Udon comics have their own lore, we can’t call this canon to the games). I mentioned this in my theory “Necalli’s True Purpose”, where I show he’s under the direct control of the goddess Itzpapalotl.

Being “Emissary of the Gods”, however, it becomes clear that Necalli is under the watch of more gods than just Itzpapalotl, and as such, it’s safe to say he awaits the commands of the group as a whole. When he seeks their guidance, he calls on them by their collective name: Getepe.

However, there is nothing in the game that proves this, nor is there anything in the character guides! There is only one explanation why they went with the name Getepe: developers’ convenience. Necalli is stated to be Aztec, and his design originates from Mexican cultures, but Getepe’s origin isn’t Mexican – it’s Portuguese.

Street Fighter V has a very prominent space theme throughout, as Necalli comes from space, Bison launched his Black Moons into space, Karin is starting a space program, and Zeku’s Strider clan will eventually fight beings from space. In other words, Street Fighter is turning into a story about space fighters. Therefore, it’s fitting to have a collective of gods named after something related to space, and the word Getepe is related to space.

Getepe was an acronym by the Brazilian Ministry of Aeronautics for a space executive group formed in 1966, the Grupo Executivo de Trabalho e Estudos de Projetos Espaciais, or translated into English, the Executive Group for Space Studies and Projects.

Getepe was instrumental in creating advancements for the Brazilian space program, eventually leading to the formation of the modern day Instituto de Aeronáutica e Espaço (IAE), the Institute of Aeronautics and Space. Getepe’s primary concern was to oversee projects at the Barreira do Inferno Launch Center.

Barreira do Inferno translates to “Hell’s Barrier”, the name coined from local fishermen who noticed that the natural hills in the area would turn red as fire at dawn. However, as cool and important-sounding the name seems to be, it actually isn’t as important as to what the launch center did.

The Barreira do Inferno Launch Center was the location where several sub-orbital research rockets were launched, the most familiar one being the Nike Apache rocket. The rockets were used for everything from atmospheric studies, like the study of the ozone layer, to the study of radio waves. Interestingly, Bison’s Black Moons, being stratospheric spacecraft, fits the types of instruments the launch center would use in its studies. Moreso, Shadaloo operates a base in Brazil, and the idea they would have some control over the launch center in-game isn’t that much of a stretch.

Basically, it’s completely possible that the developers at Capcom studied the real world Getepe and, seeing how the acronym was a naming convention for a group of executives, used it as a name for Necalli’s group of gods (it should also be noted that the acronym Getepe is currently being used for an educational non-profit as well).

In other words, there’s not really that much of a mystery. Getepe is simply a borrowed name. However, there was something else that caught my eye in Cinematic Story Mode that led me down yet another rabbit hole.

In this screenshot from Necalli’s vision, we see what appear to be Necalli’s eyes superimposed over the image of Bison with his back turned to the viewer. However, it isn’t the eyes nor Bison we should be looking at: it’s the Black Moons at the top and middle of the image.

I’ll bet that you didn’t catch this watching through Cinematic Story Mode. I admit I didn’t catch this until doing research on Getepe. When I saw this though, I had to look it up.

The Black Moons take a particular shape: six moons around a central one. This is the 7-dots glyph, a symbol found on Mittanian (ancient Syrian and Turkish) cylinder seals that were used to make impressions on things like jewelry and art (the seven dots were also placed in lines of four and three, but this has no bearing on either Street Fighter’s plot or this theory as a whole).

The seven Black Moons in the style of the 7-dots glyph are extremely important, because this signifies what the seven Black Moons symbolize: the Pleiades star cluster. More important is the most famous story it inspired – the story of the Seven Sisters.

I’ve already stated that Chun-Li was symbolic of the lost Pleiad Merope, as all of the evidence in-game pointed to the idea that she was a literal goddess. If she were to be killed, the world would fall into chaos.

However, this led to another mystery: if Chun-Li was Merope, who were the other six sisters? In researching Necalli, I found the answer. In Season One, including DLC, there were seven girls in all: Chun-Li, Cammy, Karin, Rainbow Mika, Laura, Ibuki, and Juri. In Street Fighter, they are the incarnations of the Pleiades. How do I know that it’s them and not Sakura, Kolin, Menat, Falke, Lucia, or Poison? Simple: the first seven were in Cinematic Story Mode and the others weren’t (Kolin technically was, but she went under an assumed name at the time. Plus, she wasn’t playable until Season Two).

So this leaves the question of who Cammy and the others are representative of, and after looking at the mythologies, here is the best I can come up with:

Cammy is Alcyone, whose name means “kingfisher”, a type of bird. In Street Fighter V, Cammy is all about taking flight, from her intro animation to her critical art.

Karin is Taygete, the “Mistress of the Animals”. In the Street Fighter tarot cards, Karin is Strength, and in her card, she has tamed a lion with her bare hands.

Rainbow Mika is Electra, whose name means “shining”. There are multiple references in the Street Fighter lore that symbolize Mika as being symbolic of light.

Laura is Sterope, whose name means “lightning.” Laura is known for her electric attacks.

Ibuki is Maia, who is symbolic of Earth and nature. Ibuki lives in a village in the middle of a forest. Even deeper, though, is that I pointed out in a previous theory that Ibuki was a fan of midwife toads. The meaning of the name Maia? Midwife.

Juri is Celaeno, whose name literally translates to “The Dark One”. Juri herself is considered the most evil female character in the game, but there is a very subtle reference in Juri’s story mode that all but confirms that Juri represents Celaeno. When she faces off against Balrog, Balrog straight up calls her a harpy, a mythological being that is half bird, half woman. As it turns out, there was a group of harpies that lived together in Greek mythology. The name of one of the harpies? Celaeno.

Don’t think it ends here, though, because there’s another huge thing to point out: the meaning of the acronym in Shadaloo’s plan, Operation C.H.A.I.N.S. If we go by the convention of F.A.N.G.’s name, then we can assume that C.H.A.I.N.S. is a meaningless acronym. F.A.N.G.’s name was shown to be a meaningless acronym in the character profiles as he teamed up with characters named T.U.S.K and T.A.I.L.

C.H.A.I.N.S., however, is completely different, as nothing has been released by Capcom in regard to what it stands for. Also, even if it was a meaningless acronym, you would expect that chains of some kind would be represented in some way, like steel chains or combo chains – even F.A.N.G. is known as the “Fang of the Nguuhao”. This tells me that C.H.A.I.N.S. actually does stand for something, but what?

After digging even deeper, I realized that the acronym would have to do with space and deities as well. Putting all the pieces together, I came up with an interesting possibility: the acronym exists as a Shazam scenario – it’s six names put together to spell out the word “chains”.

There are six letters in “chains”, but seven Pleiades in total. Who do we eliminate to get the name? Merope, the lost Pleiad. This means the other Pleiades would be part of the name… except for the fact they aren’t. Only three Pleiades have the first letters to make this a possiblility. However, it turns out we can use deities of similar backgrounds to each of the individual Pleiades to make this theory work.

For C, we can turn Maia into Cybele, as both are symbolic of the Magna Mater, or “Great Goddess”. Funnily, while Maia is the eldest of the Pleiades and Cybele is depicted as being an older woman, Ibuki is actually the youngest of the Street Fighter ladies in season one.

For H, we have Hecate taking the place of Celaeno. Hecate is a goddess that more or less represents the supernatural, i.e. magic, witchcraft, ghosts, and necromancy, all of which ties in to the dark arts and occult. This fits the motifs of both Celaeno, “The Dark One”, and Juri, Street Fighter’s “Dark One”, even though Juri’s powers are based around science rather than magic. However, Hecate also represents crossroads. Juri has the ability to never forget a path she’s taken before, so this compliments the idea of paths that Hecate symbolizes.

For A, we get Artemis, goddess of the hunt and Taygete’s companion. Both Artemis and Taygete represent being masters of animals as well as huntresses. Besides Karin’s tarot card showing her mastery of a lion, she herself is something of a hunter, actively seeking those she deems worthy of a good fight, like Oro.

The goddess for I, Iris, is perhaps the best case that Capcom had meant for the acronym to be the names of female deities. Electra, and Mika especially, translates very cleanly to Iris, as where Electra represents light, Iris represents the rainbow.

N represents Nike, the winged goddess of victory, and since both Alcyon and Cammy represent flight, Nike being the stand-in of both fits pretty well.

Last, we have Sterope representing herself. The reason? The name of the goddess of lightning, Astrape (along with her sister Bronte, goddess of thunder), is so close to Sterope it’s pointless to change the name at all – both Astrape and Sterope mean “lightning” in Greek.

We can end this theory here and be happy with the results, but there is something we still need to go over: the control keys of the Black Moons.

Each key has a symbol atop it to represent one of the moons: a star, the Sun, the Moon, a horse, a sword, a crown, and a pitcher. As I looked into these symbols, I realized the most likely origin of these symbols was Turkey, especially considering the way the pitcher and sword were designed. However, since I couldn’t place exactly where the design came from, this will have to be a theory for another day. That being said, we can at least try to figure out if the keys symbolize the Pleiades.

The answer is yes, but there are some strong discrepencies that need to be addressed.

Examining the seven Street Fighter ladies as well as both the Pleiades and the goddesses, I determined that the symbols on the keys corresponded as follows:

Sun – Cammy, Alcyon, Nike – The sky

Moon – Juri, Celaeno, Hecate – Darkness

Crown – Ibuki, Maia, Cybele – One of Cybele’s symbols was a mural crown

Pitcher – R. Mika, Electra, Iris – Iris is seen in some artworks holding a pitcher of water; Mika’s tarot card has her holding two

Sword – Karin, Taygete, Artemis – From my research, while Artemis is mostly known for having a bow and arrow, there are depictions of Artemis with a sword as well

Horse – Laura, Sterope – I honestly wasn’t sure about this one, until I discovered that Sterope is also the name of a female horse that belonged to the god Helios (Bronte is the name of the other female horse he has)

Star – Chun-Li, Merope – The Lost Pleiad

On the surface, this looks like pretty solid guesswork, until you realize two things: 1) Most of the pieces were sent to men, specifically Rashid, Alex, Guile, and Zangief; 2) The symbols on the tarot cards do not line up with this theory, especially because the tarot cards are canon.

Rashid ended up with the Sun piece, Alex was given the Crown, Guile got the Moon, and Zangief received the horse. Also, Chun-Li got the Star and Karin got the sword, but Laura got the pitcher and Ibuki, Mika, Juri, and Cammy didn’t get a piece at all, even though Cammy was the one who delivered the Star to Chun-Li.

As for the tarot cards, there are even bigger discrepencies. The corresponding symbols on the tarot cards go to completely different people: the Sun is Sakura, the Moon is Vega, Mika represents both the pitcher AND the Star, the sword is Chun-Li, and the crown is Urien. Since Zangief is the Chariot tarot card, the horse is the only symbol that remains consistent. So, what gives?

I blame this on something very common in the game industry: the developers changing their minds on ideas as they went along, and this mangled, inconsistent symbolism is what we got. However, we can’t blame Capcom on this too much because it happens to every single game developer out there, so now we have to at least understand the reasoning of why every choice was made the way it was.

Regarding the plot, with the exception of Rashid, the usher likely chose what characters got what piece at random – she just wanted the pieces gone. Rashid getting the Sun made sense, not just because of his sunny personality, but because a) he was the main character in A Shadow Falls; b) his friend, the usher, was the one who sent out the pieces, and since Rashid was her best friend and the light of her life, she sent him the piece that symbolized this (the verdict is still out if they were actually more than just friends – anyone out there want to prove this?).

For the other characters, we have to look at the developers’ decisions by trying to connect the symbols. Zangief, as stated before, was the Chariot, so the developers chose him to get the horse (whie Zangief is being pulled by bears in his tarot card, the Chariot was depicted as being pulled by horses or sphinxes; the sphinxes didn’t make the cut here). Karin got the sword because she was Strength, and a sword would be the perfect display of it. Chun-Li was very deliberately the lost Pleiade, so she got the Star instead of Mika.

Why didn’t Mika get a piece at all? Because she was too closely associated with Zangief, who already had a piece. Also, at the beginning of Cinematic Story Mode, Zangief, Mika, Alex, and Laura all fight in the same ring together. Zangief and Mika were already established as a tag team. Laura and Alex,who both received pieces individually, weren’t. It’s possible then that Zangief and Mika were thought of as one unit. Also, Capcom needed a way to make Laura more important to the plot, so they gave her the pitcher key. Plotwise, we can safely guess that the usher saw everyone together on TV, and sent the pieces accordingly.

As already stated, Alex ended up with the Crown key. The Crown is actually Urien’s symbol on the tarot cards. Urien being a bad guy meant that, by default, he wasn’t getting a key, so it went to his antithesis, Alex, instead. Also, Alex is the main character of Street Fighter III, and is of extreme importance to the Secret Society, so Alex being seen as the crowned one makes sense.

Finally, we reach Guile, who has the Moon. Like Urien, Juri didn’t get a key because she sides with the bad guys, but the connection between Guile and Juri is far more complicated. First of all, Vega is the Moon in the tarot cards, and both Guile and Juri end up fighting him in Cinematic Story Mode. That is only the most obvious connection, though. It’s time to go deeper. Guile is the Hierophant in the tarot cards, and one of the symbols of the Hierophant are keys. As it turns out, Hecate, the goddess associated with Juri, is also associated with keys. The Hierophant holds the keys to Heaven, while Hecate holds the keys to Hades.

Now that everything regarding the symbolism in Street Fighter V is clarified, we just have one final thing to wrap up: how the Pleiades relates to Necalli. This is actually rather simple: the Aztecs that Necalli was based on based their calendar on the movement of the Pleiades. However, the Seven Sisters story was unknown to them. Instead, they called the Pleiades Tianquitzli, or “marketplace”, referencing the idea that the stars were all gathered together in one area.

However, according to the site Windows to the Universe, the Pleiades were watched with great care: “They watched the Pleiades carefully move in the sky to ensure that the world would not end. At the end of each cycle, a religious ceremony would take place to ensure the movement of the cosmos and the rebirth of the sun. Aztecs believed that they could prevent the demons of darkness from descending to Earth and devouring men, by offering to the gods human sacrifices.”

It’s that last part that connects the Pleiades to Necalli – the Pleiades were specifically used to time the presence of and ward away the tzitzimitl through a religious ceremony. As I stated in my Necalli theory, Necalli is a tzitzimitl.

In Street Fighter, the presence of the Seven Sisters could not stop Necalli from coming.

One thought on “Getepe and the Seven Sisters

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