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Street Fighter
by yo go re

Palisades proved, with its Muppets line, that the way to handle a big license is to space things out, to pepper the main characters through several series rather than dumping them on the public all at once. That's the approach SOTA is taking with their Street Fighter figures, slowly doling out the popular characters over time. Sort of. They still managed to front-load the line with a lot of big draws right away.

Blanka Many people fear him, others are intrigued, or call him a freak. None will say this to his face however, which is bestial at best. Having fallen from an airplane as a child, Blanka was raised by the animals of the Amazon, and his close encounters with electrical eels have given him the ability to channel shocking power through his body. Some say he was also a victim of toxic waste pollution, as his body seems to have mutated into a beastial mockery of man, suitable for Dr. Moreau's island.

Electric eels? Toxic waste? What the hell is going on over at Amazon? I thought they were just selling books and cds, not plutonium and livestock! Maybe that's why it's taking so long for my order to ship: the box was mauled by their new nuclear-powered tigers.

WRONG! Never the winningest character in Street Fighter history, Blanka was undeniably one of the most popular, if only because he was so recognizable. In a world populated by (fairly) normal-looking people, he was a green hunchback with orange hair. Blanka has rarely appeared outside of Street Fighter II and its permutations, but he's still well-known.

Blanka's costume consists of a pair of tattered cutoffs and two giant ankle bracelets, but that doesn't mean SOTA skimped on the sculpt. The hair on his arms, legs and chest is all quite detailed, though it looks more like thin rolls of clay than actual man-fur. Of course, that's because these figures are all based on Udon's comicbook artwork rather than the in-game models, so we're lucky he doesn't just have big orange anime spikes coming out of him. In the original game, he just had a few lines suggesting hair, not the patches of shag carpeting we think of today.

too much mousse To the top of his hair, Blanka is 7 3/4" tall, the same size as Series 1's Sagat - but only if you pose him wrong. In the game, Blanka is always squatting down, and the figure is designed to be posed the same way. The giveaway is how his hair is sculpted - it's long and shaggy, but the only way to get it to rest against his back is to tilt his head backwards... or to have him hunched over and looking straight ahead. Good thing, then, that SOTA is making these figures superposeable.

This massive jungle beast moves at the neck, head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, torso, waist, hips, knees, ankles, feet and toes. It's more than enough to get him into any fighting pose, or to stage your own Marvel vs. Capcom using your Marvel Legends figures. The paint apps are great, with highlights and shadows making the figure look more three-dimensional than it really is.

two of these are for eating, one's a pineapple Blanka has a nice selection alternate body parts. He's got a growling head and a snarling head, a pair of open hands and a pair of fists. His accessories also include a pineapple, a slice of watermelon and a human skull. Where'd he get that thing, anyway? Creepy!

There's always a whole collection of variant figures for the Street Fighter figures, usually based on the alternate color schemes seen in the games, but Blanka is the first to get a variant based on a specific move. Sort of. See, that whole story about the eels was just a handy excuse to give the guy the ability to zap his opponents without giving him yet another fireball attack.

Zzzzap! Online retailer AFX offered an exclusive, glow-in-the-dark version of Blanka. While Blanka didn't actually glow when he electrified, he did flash, and this is a decent representation of that. With only minimal paint apps, GitD Blanka is mostly that standard yellowish green of all glowy things - it's just his eyes and teeth that stand out. His glow is a bit bluer than you might expect upon seeing his green body, but it's still very nice.

The variant Blanka has all the same parts and articulation as his standard counterpart, right down to the accessories. Yes, buy the AFX figure and you get glowing versions of the skull, the watermelon and even the silly pineapple. Comedy gold, that! A glowing pineapple! At least you can use the cranium to make a nifty Atomic Skull for Superman to fight.

Much as we all love the work ReSaurus did before it became the Sega Dreamcast of toy companies, its Street Fighter toys were oversized, under-articulated and ugly. SOTA has done much better, no matter which version of Blanka you buy.

Ken | Blanka | Cammy | T. Hawk | Vega

Okay, so the electricity comes from eels - why is Blanka green? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.


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