In the last couple of days, people on Twitter have been heavily debating the animation quality in Street Fighter V, with everyone’s focus on Sakura and her attacks. Some people say that Capcom was trying to be more realistic with their characters. To what extent is the reason for debate, as some people feel they achieved their goal and others feel they completely failed at it.
The truth is the character design debate had gone as far back as season one. Have we all forgotten the Banana Ken situation?
So, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Look, they can’t design characters. Their designers are terrible. They don’t what they’re doing… and you’re about to show me something I haven’t considered yet.”
I’ve already shown on multiple occasions that the developers of Street Fighter are far more clever than people think they are. Yoshinori Ono is one of the greatest game developers of all time. If you think that he’s screwing up… well, he isn’t. Everything is going according to plan. (You can debate the netcode debacle all you want. That is something I’m not touching.)
“But Ono-san isn’t the lead,” you say. He isn’t, but he’s still the face of the franchise, still a part of the team, and his creative insight is instrumental to the overall narrative of Street Fighter V. In fact, it could even be that Capcom has achieved something under everyone’s noses that is the gold standard for any game: the integration of gameplay and lore.
And Sakura may just be proof of this.
Based on her animations as seen in these screenshots posted by @peace_one that has been circulating on Twitter, we see that Sakura’s style is not as exaggerated as it was in Street Fighter IV. It could be that Capcom was trying to make her more mature. Some people have stated that her animations lack impact. This could be explained away by saying that Sakura is stronger and more refined in her style because she grew older and smarter, and therefore has more finesse.
There’s something that bothers me though, and it’s something Ono himself said all the way back in 2016:
He isn’t lying. Sakura is still a high school girl.
“Impossible!,” you say, laughing. “Sakura’s out of high school in Street Fighter V. It’s canon! She’s working at an arcade and trying to figure out her future! She’s about to enroll in college!”
Yes, and I’m saying it’s not true. Sakura never graduated high school. She has to be present in school to do it, and after a certain point, she wasn’t. Basically, the Sakura we see in Street Fighter V IS NOT SAKURA.
Who is she, and what happened to the real Sakura Kasugano? I think you know who I’m going to say is responsible for Street Fighter’s greatest tragedy.
I’ve established many times the insane and terrible power that G likely possesses. He is a controller and manipulator, and the most powerful being anyone in Street Fighter will ever face. While I’ve gone into detail on what G can do, I’ve never explained how he does it. Based on my research, I believe I know he does it.
From G’s battle intro and gameplay, we know that G can siphon the energies of the earth with a touch of his hand. With a power like that, there’s a reason he keeps wanting to shake people’s hands: he has to touch people to drain them of their energy. And what happens to the people he touches?
In essence, G is an energy vampire. Whether siphoning the earth or siphoning other people, G’s power comes from literally ripping the lifeforce out of whatever he touches. He can then manipulate that power and launch it like a projectile, like when he uses G Barrier during V-Trigger 1 or even when he’s using his critical art, Pangaea Burst.
So, G can absorb, manipulate, and release energy virtually at will. He uses this power to turn his victims into Qs, stealing their energy and weakening them, then hypnotizing them through his pocket watch and keeping control with the mask he puts on each victim. Sounds like a lot to control someone, but this method covers all of his bases and ensures there is no escaping his influence. Of course, his plan has one weakness: people are going to notice when someone is missing. He needs a replacement that is controlled by him to keep from raising suspicion. While it hasn’t been shown that G can create bodies, the technology already exists in game to do so, and one person’s absence explains how he’s able to.
As I stated in “G is NOT the Fool!”, Marz would be the only person who would have access to Shadaloo’s technology on her computer and who G could conceivably be keeping under close watch. In this case, not only would Marz have the plans for Decapre’s mask, but she’d also have the blueprints for Shadaloo’s cloning technology. https://manestreet.home.blog/2019/05/26/g-is-not-the-fool/
Bison already had the means to hop from body to body at will. G does not appear to be capable of this, but he doesn’t need to. Why would he when he can force others to do the body hopping for him? He can take a person’s energy, manipulate it to do his bidding, and put it in a look-alike clone body. While the person’s consciousness remains within their original body, trapped underneath the Q mask, the rest of their essence, including their memories, manners, and personality, are transferred to the clone, and the clone simply picks up where the original left off.
This is the case for Sakura. The animations show an entirely different person. This clone of Sakura can not replicate Sakura exactly because of limitations with Shadaloo’s technology (as seen with Ed, Falke, Abel, and even Cammy). However, it can do just enough to fool both Ryu and Karin during the clone Sakura’s story mode. Both sensed there was something wrong with her, but neither one of them knew what exactly. Since it has the original essence of Sakura, it can fool anyone who the original Sakura knew personally, and since it is under G’s command, it can do so while fulfilling whatever G wants to do at that moment, and in the clone’s Story Mode, it’s most likely conversion.
In “The Horror Behind Ken’s Blue Eyes” (https://manestreet.home.blog/2019/02/20/the-horror-behind-kens-blue-eyes/), I revealed that anyone controlled by G also gains access to his powers, the most dangerous one being the power to control at a single touch. This could also be true for the Sakura clone, as in the clone’s Story Mode, it gets very touchy-feely with both Karin and Ryu.
Sakura happens to have an internal monologue with herself in her story mode, but this can be explained as one of two things: 1) The clone is unaware it’s a clone, which is not very likely; or 2) the developers are intentionally messing with the player, which would be Ono in top form. Considering Capcom has already broken the fourth wall on at least two occasions (one being G’s real-world appearance at EVO 2018, the other being during G’s Demonstrations in Street Fighter V), it’s most likely the second.
In the meantime, the sad truth appears to be that Sakura herself has already become a Q, waiting for someone to free her from the mask.
So the question that now remains is, “what evidence is there that might prove this was Capcom’s plan the whole time?” There are two strong pieces of evidence, both that came out well before G’s release. The first is a video from 2015 by FGC mainstay and content creator Mark “BornFree” Sheridan. In his video “Is (DARK) SAKURA in Street Fighter V? Hear me out…again.,” BornFree utilizes his experience in marketing to determine if Dark Sakura would be in Street Fighter V. He determines that since a Dark Sakura figurine was released, there was a good chance she would be in the game. He used the same methodology to determine that Oro would be in the game, and he was right – while not playable, Oro does appear in SFV in Dhalsim’s story mode and is mentioned in Karin’s. It was already revealed that Charlie would return, and BornFree did show a Shadow Charlie figurine in his video. As it turned out, the Charlie that appeared in SFV, while not exactly Shadow Charlie to a tee, was different enough to qualify; both forms of Charlie were the result of terrible experiments. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neaydiu-eMM
This leads us back to Sakura. If Sakura is indeed a clone, then BornFree is correct. The clone of Sakura is therefore Dark Sakura. This Dark Sakura does not have the Satsui no Hado, but she is still under the power of a separate force and as a clone becomes an alter-ego to the original.
The second piece of evidence comes from “The Horror Behind Ken’s Blue Eyes”. As I stated in this theory, G most likely already has control of Ken because Q was the figure in the hat and coat in his Street Fighter II stage. If we assume that Ken is one of G’s victims, and we consider everything so far as true, then Ken would also have a clone, being the first one to have it.
And who would be Ken’s clone?
I think it’s safe to say this whole thing is bananas.