Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle Anime Review
Battle Fighters Garou Densetsu 2
Battle Fighters - Legend of the Hungry Wolf 2
US Release By
Game-Based Martial Arts Action
Terry Bogard, world famous martial artist, is taking it easy (sorta) after defeating Geese Howard, the man who brutally murdered his father. But one night, he is challenged by the sinister German nobleman Wolfgang Krauser, and barely escapes with his life. Terry goes completely to pieces over the loss, convinced that he'll never be able to be the best again. Can his brother Andy, friend Joe, and a young fan named Tony help Terry recover his skill to and challenge Krauser to recover his honour?
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Legend of the Hungry Wolf may have been disappointing, but the good news for fans of Fatal Fury is The New Battle is a major, major improvement on the original, with a better plot, better characters, better fighting, better everything. The existing characters are fleshed out into more interesting people, and there are four new characters that spice things up. In particular, Wolfgang Krauser is a very cool villain, and Andy's buxom girlfriend Mai Shranui and the wise (and lecherous) old Master Jubei add some humor. The plot has issues, but at least it's more original than yet another martial arts tournament and revenge quest, and it does spend as much time on the characters as the action. Speaking of which, the action is very cool, and notably more down-to-earth than average.
Martial arts anime fans or Fatal Fury aficionados who were disappointed by Legend of the Hungry Wolf should give The New Battle another go--you won't regret it!
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I found Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf to be disappointing because it was atrociously cheesy and badly executed as well. But this is good news for fans of Fatal Fury, because the New Battle, original title and all, is a major, major improvement on the original, with a better plot, better characters, better fighting, better everything.
There are four new characters (of any importance) in Fatal Fury 2: Tony, the young boy who hero-worships Terry and wants to become his disciple, Wolfgang Krauser, the menacing German nobleman whose only reason for living is to be the best fighter in the world and has no qualms about beating people almost to death, Master Jubei, the wise old man who is continuing Andy Bogard's training, and Mai Shiranui, Andy's amorous girlfriend, who has to be the best of the lot. They are all well thought out, although Tony is a little lacking in depth. Mai (and, to a lesser extent, Master Jubei) also add a whole new field of humor (you really do need crazy boy/girl relationships to get a good laugh, and a lecherous old man helps as well). And Krauser has to be one of the coolest bad guys I've ever seen--he's not really evil so much as downright nasty, and Terry must overcome him to prove himself as the best. He's a much more plausible opponent than the honestly rather lame Geese Howard.
The old characters also get a much better treatment. Terry continues with his "really good good guy act" but he is more human behind it, showing human qualities (and failings) that he lacked in the first video. Also, you get to see some of his past, what he went through during the ten years of training before the beef of 'Legend of the Hungry Wolf' took place, and it adds a whole new meaning to the way Terry fights. Andy has more depth to his character, although he is still a little too direct to be completely plausible, and his character design has drastically improved (okay, so he's slightly heavier built and has blond hair instead of blue, but its amazing how much of a difference a little hair change can generate). Joe develops more character than just the confident kickboxer, showing some serious ability for independent thought, which I appreciate.
Although I don't really buy Terry's whole "lose one fight, I'm hopeless, let's go get stoned" thing, the plot, while still cliche, is immensely better than the original (if I have to sit through one more martial arts tournament or revenge quest I think I'll scream). I think I'll leave the plot alone, but it is somewhat noteworthy for a martial arts anime to look at characters as much as action.
Speaking of action, this tape has some of the best martial arts action that I, personally, have ever seen (not that I've seen much). Making the action realistic rather than flashy made it so much more cool, especially the Terry versus Kim battle at the beginning. One note; at the start of the Terry/Andy fight at the graveyard, they both face off, one on either side of the screen, and generate their combat auras--blue for Terry, gold for Andy. Familiar? (Only if you've seen Ranma 1/2 movie 1: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China. But still...)
To conclude, those who were disappointed by Legend of the Hungry Wolf should have another go--you won't regret it!
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Obviously, this goes along with the other Fatal Fury anime, of which The Motion Picture is almost certainly the best. There are also plenty of other similar fighting game based anime out there; Street Fighter 2 Alpha and Battle Arena Toshinden probably come the closest in mood to this
Notes and Trivia
Note that the Fatal Fury series is essentially a trilogy with an ongoing story; Legend of the Hungry Wolf starts it, is followed by The New Battle, and the story is wrapped up by The Motion Picture.
Based on the series of Fatal Fury 2-D fighting games by SNK, released for the Neo Geo throughout the '90s. Later, there were several adaptations for various home consoles. Note that Art of Fighting (which also has an anime adaptation) is a sort of "cousin" series of games, and while there's no crossover between the two, a character from that series makes a cameo in this OAV.
US DVD Review
Available on a joint VIZ-Pioneer DVD together with the first OAV (Legend of the Hungry Wolf); the disc includes character bios and both English and Japanese language tracks.
Appropriately rated 13+ by Viz on account of a lot of fighting and rather revealing costumes.
Violence: 2 - Although its a fighting anime, there is no gore, and the fighting isn't very brutal.
Nudity: 1 - No actual nudity, but look at Mai! Just look, for crying out loud! Then look some more, heh, heh.
Sex/Mature Themes: 1 - Not much--surprising considering that Mai's in it.
Language: 1 - Nothing notable.
Available in North America from VIZ on hybrid DVD (a joint production with Pioneer which also includes the first OAV). Was previously available on dubbed VHS, first on its own and later combined with the other OAV on dubbed VHS ("One Two Punch").