SOTA's been having some trouble, lately, what with the upper-management changes and the remarkably delayed products and all. Even their much-beloved Street Fighter figures dropped off the radar after Series 4, leaving fans without some of the series' key players. Things are looking up now, however - it seems SOTA has found its feet again, and is fighting its way back to the respect it once commanded. Even Street Fighter is coming back, although in a slightly different form.
The line has been re-branded "Street Fighter Revolutions," and is now aimed more blatantly at collectors than casual fans - which isn't necessarily a bad move. However, SOTA describes the new line thusly: "joints are more character specific, sculpts are different in style, packaging is very much improved."
Which sounds like "we're cutting articulation, and you can forget about integrating your collection, whether you like your figures MOC or open." But that's just a reactionary, worst-case scenario. SOTA previewed the line by releasing slightly tweaked versions of the big guns - Ken, Ryu and Akuma - plus one character that's a complete joke.
Dan has suffered from the same dream for 10 years since his father perished at the feet of Sagat. A fighter of his own style, Dan has trained vehemently to avenge his father's death. He rises to his feet, filled with incredible power. He unloads his most potent attack, exploding his training sandbag into chunks of leather and sprays of sand. Dan raises his fist, proclaiming his fear is anger and anxiety is hatred. He fears Sagat no more!
Dan is one of the weakest characters in the entire Street Fighter series. His regular attacks are feeble, his special attacks have almost zero range, and he's pretty much all-around useless. If you ever meet someone who can beat the game using Dan, put down your controller and start taking notes, because that man is your master now.
But all that was intentional: Dan (whose named isn't pronounced "dAAn," like "flash in the pan," but "dAHn," like "I want this loser gone") was designed to be a joke. Because Capcom is a petty, petty company. Okay, not really. The huge success of Street Fighter II inspired many, many imitators, perhaps none so blatantly as SNK's Art of Fighting and the character Ryo Sakazaki, who stole his name from Ryu and looked almost exactly like Ken, with the notable difference that he wore orange instead of red. Unique!
Dan uses the same basic body as Akuma.
To make fun of Ryo, Dan's torn, ragged gi is a pink salmon color, and his chest has been painted black - he wears a shirt just like Ryo does. The figure is fairly muscular, like most of the Street Fighter competitors, though you might expect a joke like Dan to be more of a pipsqueak. He's wearing a black sash belt, rather than a knotted rope, and he's fighting barefoot. For some odd reason, his left shin is a new sculpt; it doesn't match Akuma or the Series 1 Ryu. No idea what the story is on that one.
It wasn't just Dan's clothes that poked fun at SNK -
his head is based on the King of Fighters mainstay Robert Garcia. The brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, the little strand of hair that curls over in front of his eyes, the self-important attitude... it's all on loan from KOF. Like many of the early SF figures, Dan has two interchangeable heads: of course, those guys typically got victory poses, which wouldn't really suit Dan. His normal head is very angry and haughty, while the second is crying like a baby. Seriously, the rivers of tears streaming down his cheeks are sculpted on. Wuss.
Dan is 6½" tall, and moves at the head, shoulders, hips (balljoints), biceps, wrists, thighs, shins, mid-feet (swivels), torso, elbows, hands, double-knees, ankles and toes (hinges). Most of the joints were very tough to move, but in a good way - the way that says "I'm not going to fall apart in a month." In addition to the heads, Dan has his choice of six hands: two open, two fists, and two taunting. See, one of the (few) ways that Art of Fighting differed from Street Fighter was that taunting your opponent played more of a role. To make fun of that, Dan is the only SF character who can taunt infinitely. The taunting hands feature one hand pointing with the thumb, and one in the palm-up "bring it on" pose.
Unfortunately, swapping the hands is not as easy as it used to be. Though the fists and open hands share their sculpt
with the set included with Akuma, they're molded from a softer plastic. The old hands were quite firm, so switching them out was no problem. Now that the plastic is soft, the pegs stretch and twist way too much -
which means they're much more likely to break. The first time I tried putting in a new hand, the peg tore apart. Yay. Time to test SOTA's customer service. To prevent any further problems, I carved a bit of plastic out of the forearms so the fit wasn't as tight - the hands stay in place fine, but swapping them is easier. If you want to avoid trouble on these new figures, carefully pull the hands out, and take a knife to the arm-stumps.
Sadly, the hand that tore was the standard open version, which is also designed with a hole in the palm to accommodate Dan's little green fireball. Unlike most characters' fireball attacks,
Dan's doesn't travel across the screen until it hits someone - it goes just past his hand, then fizzles out. Because he is a feeb. His other moves are also weakened mockeries of Ryu and Ken's moves: a dragon punch and a hurricane kick, both of which are pretty useless. His ultimate special move is a parody of Akuma's - the button combo is reversed, and while it does little damage to the opponent, it leaves Dan at only 1% health. Because he is still a feeb. The fireball accessory is a nice translucent green, and has an impressive swirled sculpt. It can fit into either open hand with some work - the paint ends up blocking the hole, slightly.
As mentioned (way) up above, part of SOTA's plan for the Street Fighter Revolutions line includes packaging that is "very much improved."
Gone are the clamshells with their graphics that called to mind the old gaming cabinets. Now the SF figures come in a huge white box that's strongly reminiscent of the way toys are sold in Japan. It takes up a lot more space, but it also really stands out on the shelf. Inside, the figure is standing in some sort of action pose - Dan's sees him taunting us, but the other characters have their own stances. Rather than being held in place by twist ties and tape, the figure is sandwiched between two plastic trays that snap together to hold the figure (and his accessories) securely. Pop the two halves of the tray apart, and your figure is free. The box has clear panels in both the front and back, so you can get a complete view of the character before you buy - how cool is that? Inside, you'll also find a folded poster of Dan, with advertisements for the various Street Fighter books and comics.
Dan is a Wizard exclusive figure, available through their various magazines (including ToyFare) or online from their website. If pink isn't your color, SOTA and Corner Store Comics are splitting a turquoise variant, but come on: this guy is a big joke and a complete crybaby -
why wouldn't you want him to look as silly as possible? Besides, if his color isn't close to Ryo's orange, half the joke is lost right there.
Dan's last name, Hibiki, means "echo" in Japanese, which makes sense since he's mimicking several other characters. He actually began "life" as a promotional drawing for Super Street Fighter II that showed Sagat standing triumphant over an amalgam of a few SNK characters - it was only later that Capcom made up a back story and a personality for their new creation. Like Sheng Long before him, he's a character that started out as a joke and later became legitimate. He's the first new character released for the revamped Street Fighter Revolutions line, and though this is probably the only time you'll ever see him, Dan isn't a must-buy. The soft plastic used for the hands is problematic, and can be a fatal flaw for an obscure character like this. Hopefully SOTA will get that sorted out before we get to the upcoming E. Honda and Dhalsim - fans would put up with problems for those characters, but they shouldn't have to. If you really like Dan, though, you won't be disappointed with this toy. Just be aware of his joint issues (and prepared to deal with them) before they show up, and everything should be fine. And after all, don't your other figures need somebody to pick on?
Evil Ryu & Psycho Bison | Cannon Spike Cammy | Gouken | Dan Hibiki