It is nothing short of a miracle that the English-speaking world will soon get the fighting-game mash-up Tatsunoko vs Capcom. This brawler has a gathering of Capcom characters facing off against creations from Tatsunoko, a decades-old animation house whose work isn’t well known outside Japan. Considering that it was made with only the Japanese audience in mind, and that Tatsunoko's properties were tied up in a ton of licensing-related red tape in both the US and Europe, we truly believed we'd never see it released internationally. Yet it's coming out early next year, with one small omission – which we'll address later – and tons of new features.
First, let’s address the biggest issue in localizing Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars: it's full of insanely obscure characters. Not only are nearly all the Tatsunoko characters unknown to all but the most devoted, long-time anime fans, but Capcom also threw in some of its own people who haven’t been seen in years. So to relieve you of your confusion, we present the 28 characters of Tatsunoko vs Capcom. With our help, and a nod to YouTube, you'll be confused no more.
Unless stated otherwise, all the videos are the openings to the first series that the characters appeared in. And at least three characters have yet to be announced for the Ultimate All-Stars version of the game, so this list is as complete as it currently can be. Stay tuned for updates when the rest are announced.
First appeared: Street Fighter III - New Generation
Ostensibly the main character of Street Fighter III – not that he could possibly replace Ryu as top dog – this New York native was known for his more nuanced fighting style that mixed wrestling and strikes and that, despite taking time to learn, was worth mastering. He had the biggest beef with SF III’s big bad Gill, the hot and cold speedo-wearer who’d beaten up Alex’s trainer, Tom. After besting Gill, Alex decided to continue fighting and improving his skills against new opponents. He hasn’t appeared in a mainline SF release since Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (but we can hope), but he has sought new challenges in crossover titles such as this one and Capcom Fighting Evolution.
First appeared: Rival Schools: United by Fate
The lead character in Rival Schools, Batsu Ichimonji transfered to Taiyo High and got involved in the many fights going on between his new school and competing education centers. He’s your usual red-blooded, all-American – er, all-Japanese – teen who’s a master of karate and exploding punches. In the first title, Batsu’s out to find his missing mother, with the trail leading to Raizo, the secondary boss and Batsu’s long-lost dad (awkward). After saving mommy and reconciling with daddy, Batsu was the lead in the sequel (Project Justice) as well, as he fought both attackers and allegations that he was the cause for a new wave of attacks on the schools. Since proving his innocence at the close of that game, this is his first playable appearance.
First appeared: Neo-Human Casshan
In a scary future, robots created to serve man have come to the logical conclusion that all man must be killed to save the earth, so they took over. Tetsuya Azuma, after the death of his father (who invented the now-evil bots), transformed into a cyborg to fight them while giving up his humanity in the process. As Neo-Human Casshan (alternately translated as Neorider Casshern), he uses his strength, pulsar gun and extending legs (seriously) to battle the evil androids. Backing him up is his dog Friender, who also became a cyborg to help Casshan by transforming into various vehicles. This duo has more than a little in common with Mega Man and his dog Rush, and probably were a source of inspiration, as the anime predates the Mega Man games by more than a decade. It’s only fitting that Casshan should now appear in a Capcom game.
First appeared: Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
What more can be said about the first lady of fighting games? Chun-Li and her insanely huge legs began their fighting journey with Interpol while hunting down the evil organization Shadaloo and its leader M. Bison for years. Her hatred for Bison stems from him murdering her father, which apparently happened on a Tuesday. After Bison's defeat, her purpose receded, but she's always brought back into the world of street fighting, putting her lightning-fast kicks to good use, such as defending an orphan girl in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.
First appeared: Yatterman
The comical enemies of the Yatterman crew, the sexy Doronjo and her sidekicks Boyacky (in green) and Tonzra (in purple) are always scheming to steal something, typically parts of the Skull Stone for their seldom-seen boss. Doronjo is the comically evil leader of the trio, usually bossing around her two idiot henchmen, and even in the game, they do most of the attacks for her. They’re always foiled by the Yatterman team, and basically work like the lovable losers Team Rocket from the Pokemon anime series. Also of note: a recurring joke is for Doronjo to be caught in an explosion, and despite being physically fine, she’s usually left in some state of near-nakedness by the blast.
Above: Doronjo and her sidekicks sing in the 2008 Yatterman remake
First appeared: Dead Rising
Despite his experience covering wars, freelance photojournalist Frank West was in for the roughest 72 hours of his life when he decided to descend into the town of Willamette, CO to cover an unexplained quarantine on the formerly quiet city. Trapped in a mall with tens of thousands of zombies, a collection of slow or suicidal bystanders, a hot but mysterious Latina, and only a handful of save points, Frank fought his way to the bottom of a conspiracy one spray of blood at a time. Last seen left to his doom being swarmed by undead, Frank returns in TvC sporting some of his most famous weapons, including a baseball bat, a Servbot helmet, zombies (?!?) and his very own Mega Buster.