Dark Side of the Ring

In my last Rainbow Mika theory, written back in May of 2019, I stated that Mika’s polar opposite was her partner, Nadeshiko, as she would turn her back on Mika and become everything her former teammate wasn’t. However, the biggest thing about that theory wasn’t that there was conflict between the two, but that the theory wasn’t really about Mika. Yes, there was a lot of information about Mika being influenced by things in and around Japanese culture, but in reality it was all a lead up to the idea that Nadeshiko was going to be Mika’s enemy. https://manestreet.home.blog/2019/05/19/dark-side-of-the-rainbow/

There just isn’t a whole lot on Mika considering she’s a fan favorite character. She is very aesthetically pleasing, has two great voice actresses, one English and one Japanese, who are beloved by the community, and her quirky rambunctiousness ensures she will be a mainstay in Street Fighter for years to come. In fact, as I dug deeper into Mika’s background, one thing was constant: with her, what you see is what you get. She isn’t hiding anything. There are no dark and terrible secrets. She isn’t trying to control the world like Bison. She isn’t out to hurt people for fun like Juri. She isn’t killing children for profit like Hakan. She has no hidden agenda.

The truth is she just wants to be famous, and she wants to be famous for being a good person and a great wrestler.

Unfortunately for her, it’s also her greatest weakness. Rainbow Mika wants glory, and it’s her single-minded drive towards this goal that will end up bringing her complete physical, mental, and spiritual destruction. In other words, Mika will Shun-Goku-Satsu herself into oblivion.

“Wait,” you say. “Are you saying that Mika will fall victim to the Satsui no Hado?” It’s a very real possibility. In fact, this theory was inspired by a picture that Reddit moderator and supremely talented visual artist Quasimodox has drawn, which you can see on his Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/Quasimodox/status/1241481518066872321?s=20

When I saw this picture, something stood out to me, but I wasn’t sure what it was at first. Then it hit me – there was canon potential. Mika may never fall victim to the Satsui no Hado, but she is the most likely candidate out of every female character in the game to do so.

Why? Because every other female character fights for a purpose. Chun-Li fights to find out what happened to her father, Cammy fights to rescue her sisters. Sakura fights for Ryu’s affections and attention, etc. The three characters who have been shown to be the most susceptible to the Satsui no Hado, Ryu, Akuma, and Sagat, have two things in common: they’re male and they all fight for themselves. While fighting in general is commonly seen as a male pastime, wrestling is seen as having the most machismo, and professional wrestling ramps the masculinity level up to ten.

In pro wrestling, highly dangerous stunts are pulled off at every show. From being hit with steel chairs to going through tables to performing high-flying acrobatics, professional wrestlers put their bodies on the line to entertain millions of fans around the world. In fact, there’s an ongoing documentary series by Vice called “Dark Side of the Ring” that explores some of pro wrestling’s greatest tragedies and the toll it takes on the individuals who go out each night and do what they love. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Side_of_the_Ring

Mika’s love for performing as a wrestler comes from her desire to be known the world over. She fights to not just expand her presence and brand, but to be a superstar. This is mentioned by Blanka, of all people, in his win quote to her:

“You’re fighting to become famous…? I wanna be famous too! Uwoh, uwoh!”

It’s pretty much established then that Mika fights for personal desire, and cares deeply enough about it to be her primary motivator. She even calls out Gill over it.

“Glory, victory, comrades… You’re welcome to your foolish little dreams.” – Gill to Mika

“Glory and victory are not given… You must earn them yourself.” – Mika to Gill

Mika’s belief that you have to earn what you want makes her push herself to her very limits to achieve her dreams. This makes her very similar to Ryu, Akuma, and Sagat, all of whom have deeper, immaterial desires they want to fulfill. Ryu fights for honor, Akuma fights to rival gods, and Sagat fights for the same thing Mika wants – glory.

It’s gotten to the point that Mika has made this her very being. Any obstacle that would prevent her from achieving her dreams she will do everything to overcome. However, what happens if there’s an obstacle she can’t overcome? This scenario happened in the Japan-only game Startling Adventures. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKT3lSoC4dQ&feature=youtu.be&t=4321

Mika appears in the segment “Space Rescue Joe” as a guest character. Since I can not read, speak, or interpret Japanese in any capacity, I reached out to famous YouTube animator Emezie Okorafor, who told me what was going on in the segment. Apparently, Joe was tasked to collect payment from the milk Mika is drinking. As it turns out, a group of bad guys sent the milk, as well as a time bomb, to her gym. When I asked him if there was anything unusual (because, as we all know, collecting milk payments and planting time bombs are pretty normal in real life) he said this:

This was what I was looking for. Mika couldn’t put Joe in her “Choke Sleeper”, and became despondent over being showed up by someone who wasn’t a trained wrestler. She eventually gets over it, assisting Joe over the course of the segment, but the fact remains that this shows that anything that hinders her brings her down.

Startling Adventures is not a canon game, however, so while the portrayal may be accurate, this didn’t happen in the Street Fighter universe. So is there anything in the mainline game series that indicates that Mika is fighting against her own depression? Yes, and the evidence comes from Street Fighter V and from Mika herself.

The biggest piece of evidence comes from one of Mika’s speeches in Mic Performance. She states:
“Hey! I look in the mirror and tell myself, ‘I won’t ever be beaten by you!’ Attack will always be my best defense; and all that’s left is to do it, to make my future whatever I choose!”

Look again at the quote. She states, “I look in the mirror and tell myself, ‘I won’t ever be beaten by you!'” She is saying that she literally looks at herself in the mirror and says she will not be beaten by herself. This statement is why Mika is so gung-ho about chasing her dreams – she isn’t happy with the person she is. Mika believes that she is her own worst enemy.

This is made even more clear with her win quote to Ryu:

“You have these battles sometimes…like you’re fighting with yourself!”

In other words, Mika knows exactly what Ryu is going through. Both are having internal struggles for control, and both are trying to keep their dark sides from slipping out. Just like Ryu, though, there is a very strong possibility that Mika can and will fail. How do we know this? Because it’s already happened to both Zangief and Nadeshiko.

As I explained in “The Lost Ideals of Zangief”, Zangief created a masked heel persona for himself, The Gief, that went against everything he stood for. He embraced capitalism, stopped caring abut the fans, and started dong eveything for himself rather than his homeland. https://manestreet.home.blog/2019/05/15/the-lost-ideals-of-zangief/

In “The Dark Side of the Rainbow” (as seen above), it was shown that Nadeshiko adopted a heel persona, Yasha Nadeshiko, harboring a deep hatred for Mika after they broke up and Mika went solo. The CFN character guide on Nadeshiko explains this. https://game.capcom.com/cfn/sfv/column-112428?lang=en

However, it doesn’t state why Nadeshiko became evil. Fortunately, the answer is pretty obvious: Mika has a controlling personality. This was shown several times in Street Fighter V’s Cinematic Story Mode when Mika and Ibuki clashed. While Mika thought of Ibuki as being disrespectful, Ibuki thought of Mika as being bossy. While the two end up reconciling, it’s clear that Mika has the capability to drive people away with her attitude.

This is the most likely scenario on why Nadeshiko became a heel. Mika’s controlling attitude and desire to break up with her teammate despite their success pushed Nadeshiko over the edge. It could even be that Mika was a driving reason that Zangief became a heel as well – while he appreciated her partnership, her same bossy attitude could have pushed him to taking up The Gief persona (which he was likely going to do anyway; Mika just exacerbated the process).

Since two of her close colleagues ended up giving into their baser desires, it’s only a matter of time before Mika herself does so, but because of her self-doubt and struggle with her inner demons, instead of merely adopting a heel gimmick, she would be tempted by the Satsui no Hado, which would be further fueled by the betrayal of her friends.

Even if she can fight off the Satsui no Hado, Mika still isn’t in the clear, as the Satsui no Hado may be the only thing that could prolong her life. Professional wrestlers have shorter than average life spans. According to the website Ten Bell Salute, the average age at death of a professional wrestler is 61. The average life expectancy of a woman in Japan? 87. https://wrestlerdeaths.com/wrestler-death-data-statistics/
https://www.nippon.com/en/features/h00250/life-expectancy-for-japanese-men-and-women-at-new-record-high.html

By being a professional wrestler, Mika is potentially taking off 26 years from her lifespan, meaning there is a very good possibility that she dies young. Moreso, as Fandom points out in regards to her Shooting Peach, “Realistically, this attack can actually be considered dangerous for Mika’s future well being, as many real life wrestlers who have performed maneuvers that land in a seated position (such as a leg drop) throughout their careers have documented hip or spinal problems such as Matt Hardy and Hulk Hogan in their later years.” https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Shooting_Peach

These types of injuries happen in the Street Fighter universe as well. Mika’s own trainer, Yoko Harmageddon, retired because of neck and waist injuries she sustained in a match with the character Black Widow from the game Ring of Destruction: Slam Masters II.
https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Iwashigahama_Japan_Women%27s_Pro-Wrestling

Quite simply, Mika is risking everything for not very much in return. Whereas most wrestlers in the Street Fighter universe, like Zangief, Haggar, and Alex, all have considerable success and/or families to guide them, Mika doesn’t. She’s all alone, and the temptations of the Satsui no Hado could prove too much for her to reject.

She wouldn’t have any other choice.

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