When I'm talking about "Street Fighter" I mean that program that comes on the USA Network on Sunday mornings (last time I checked). I haven't seen the program in several months, so I don't know if there has been a third season. All observations and opinions are based on the first two seasons.
When I first saw this cartoon, I had neither seen Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie nor played Super Street Fighter II*. I had seen the stupid movie and knew that it screwed up the storyline of the games I had played (SFII and SFII Turbo) BIG time. So I was mildly disappointed when it first appeared to continue from the movie's storyline and later tried to mesh the game's plot into it. In the end it created its own "Street Fighter" universe in which Guile, Blanka and Chun-Li weret he main heroes and everyone else (except Bison) was lucky if they guest starred in an episode. I accepted it and liked the show enough to watch it, but frankly, it wasn't that good.
Then came Season Two.
That changed everything.
Where Season One had been Guile/Bison, Season Two was more diverse, stretched out. Ryu and Ken finally got some of the spotlight they deserved. Cammy also got a major push (a wrestling term meaning she is seen more often and is about to play a part in an angle -- an angle is a is a storyline like the breakup of the nWo). Though quite a few characters remained noticeably in the background, the addition of Street Fighter Alpha characters helped. And, unlike the fighters from the SFII series, the cartoon was closer to the mark^ in their stories.
And now for my opinions on the characters.
Guile -- This guy got way too much focus in the first season. Since the cartoon seemed to follow the movie, he was the main protagonist. He was drawn, like most of the characters, from the way he was depicted in the game. Like most heroes, he had a nemesis by the way of M. Bison. He also had a love interest, a woman by the name of Lucinda. (In the video game, Guile is married and has a daughter and, at least if you beat the game with him, is happily married.) I'm not going to discuss how he differs from his game counterpart because I've taken up enough speac already. All I can say for the second season is that Guile is really the same (yawn, boring) character, but he doesn't get nearly as much focus as he did in the first season.
Blanka -- I know, I know, I know. Blanka is not Charlie. But everywhere the movie went the cartoon was sure to follow. Blanka was certainly in quite a few episodes for the first season, and got quite a bit of focus as well. Mybe changing his storyline wasn't that ba--
What am I even thinking? Blanka has suffered the most in terms of alterations and I won't even go into te second season yet. In the game as you know, he was a wild man that grew up in the rainforest as a result of a plane crash. Not a mutated human as the movie liked to portray him but as a natural beast-man. Unfortunately, I was little let down when I found out his story seemed to be a ripoff Tarzan (at least from the ending), but one thing was clear. Charlie WAS NOT BLANKA! But the movie misled the three people who never heard of Street Fighter and somehow this misinformation ended up in the cartoon.
Now that I got that out of my system, I'll continue. This Blanka is much more interesting than "Jimmy." Of course he's the beast, but he's not a savage. He would have made a better lead than Guile because he has his own demons to sort out, instead of being A-Ok. Gentle and kind, many judged Blanka by his exterior. One of the best episodes of the series, "Eye of the Beholder" (I think it's the title, but I'm not sure) explores this dilemma by temporarily allowing Blanka to become human again -- he looks like his movie counterpart, only more handsome! I liked this Blanka and I hoped Season Two would continue where Season One left off.
Boy was I wrong.
The second season ruined Blanka. In one of the earlier (if not the first) episodes of the season, some chemicals spill onto out green-skinned pal, causing him to become even more savage and lose his temper really easily. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if it lasted an episode or two but EVERY episode he acts like he wants to snap out at anybody. What's worse is that he plays a major part in one of the worst episodes as well. In this one, he's being framed by a tribe for some attacks he didn't commit. Turns out it's this teenager who wants revenge because they killed his parents. Also turns out he's an alien and the squad helps him get home. Sounds dumb? It's even more terrible when you watch it.
Chun-Li - She seems to be drawn slightly differently than the game portays her. He skin is darker and her hair is slightly lighter. As for her storyline, it's about the same as the game, except they add the movie part about her being a reporter. I think that was dumb. I meean how can you report the news and make it at the same time?
[Editor's note. I never completed Chun-Li's analysis, so this is where the main text ends. I did add notes at the top of the page]
Vega -- Drawn like in anime. If they watched SFII: tAM then why did they mess up so many storylines
Balrog -- not in enough episodes
Satin Hammer -- Good villainess, but not enough spotlight.
*This is actually true. After Street Fighter II: Turbo came out I practiced on that SNES cart for a while, ignoring Super Street Fighter II then went to Street Fighter Alpha. This is why I never had that strong of an attachment to the Cammy, T.Hawk, Deejay, and Fei Long. I knew their stories thanks to game magazines and such, but they were just...there.
^Some people might cry at the inaccuriacies (like "Polite" Sakura), but at least you got the general idea of the characters, unlike the simply egregious Dhalsim-is-a-scientist-crap that the series pushed in Season 1.