|Street Fighter character|
Sakura in Street Fighter IV
|First game||Street Fighter Alpha 2 (1996)|
|Voiced by (English)||Lynda Boyd (Street Fighter cartoon)
Michelle Ruff (Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation, Street Fighter Alpha: Generations)
Brittney Harvey (Street Fighter IV, Street Fightter X Tekken)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Yuko Sasamoto (Street Fighter Alpha series, Street Fighter EX series, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Marvel vs. Capcom series, Pocket Fighter, Rival Schools: United by Fate, Capcom vs. SNK series, Capcom Fighting Evolution, Namco × Capcom)
Chiaki Osawa (Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation)
Mao Kawasaki (Street Fighter Alpha: Generations)
Misato Fukuen (Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter X Tekken)
Aya Hisakawa (SFA2 drama CD)
|Fighting style||Self-taught imitation of Ryu's style|
Sakura Kasugano (春日野 さくら Kasugano Sakura?) is a player character in the Street Fighter series of fighting games by Capcom, introduced in the arcade version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 in 1996. Sakura is portrayed in the series as a young Japanese schoolgirl who idolizes the mighty karateka Ryu, whom she wants to be trained by. The character has also appeared in several other Capcom and crossover games and was received positively by critics and gamers alike.
In video games
Sakura first appears in Street Fighter Alpha 2, where she participates in street fighting after watching Ryu win the first World Warrior tournament. She searches for him and wishes for him to train her to be a better fighter. She eventually comes across Ryu who tells her he could not train her as he still has much to learn himself shortly after a sparring. In Street Fighter Alpha 3, Sakura decides to travel the world to find Ryu. After trying to save him from the warrior M. Bison, Ryu promises her a rematch. She is also playable in the spin-off Street Fighter EX3. In Street Fighter IV, years have passed since Sakura last saw Ryu, so she decides to find Ryu again for a match in the new worldwide tournament. In introduction sequences of Super Street Fighter IV, she is often seen in a group of three with Dan Hibiki and Blanka.
Sakura makes a guest appearance in Rival Schools: United By Fate, where is involved in the adventure between her school, Tamagawa Minami High School, and various others in Aoharu City. After helping her childhood friend Hinata and the others out from within the ordeal, she realizes how much it means to her to protect something she cares about. Sakura has also appeared in various crossover games, including the Marvel vs Capcom series, the Capcom vs SNK series, Namco × Capcom, and Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix. In Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter she has an alter-ego, "Dark Sakura", who performs the Hadouken horizontally instead of diagonally and uses the techniques of Akuma. Sakura also appears in DLC of Street Fighter X Tekken with Blanka as her official tag team partner. In Onimusha Soul, she appears in three different forms redesigned to fit its feudal Japan theme.
Design and gameplay
An early design for SFIII featured her in a kimono shirt and hakama pants, but was later abandoned in favor of a Japanese sailor outfit with red bloomers. One pose used by Sakura after winning a battle is to moonwalk. Sakura is controlled in the same way as Ryu and Ken, however, her special moves flow differently and are less powerful.
In other media
Sakura is the titular character of the manga series Street Fighter: Sakura Ganbaru! where she becomes a fighter in order to fight Ryu. She also starred in the comic book miniseries Street Fighter Legends: Sakura by UDON, and appeared in other Street Fighter comic books and the Rival Schools comic. She also appears in the Super Street Fighter graphic novels, which serve as a sequel to the previous UDON comics. Here, she is depicted in her early 20's and now acts as Ryu's full-time apprentice. She is also a character in the anime films Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation and Street Fighter Alpha: Generations, and appears in the episode "Second to None" of the cartoon series Street Fighter.
Victor Entertainment released a drama CD Street Fighter Zero 2 Another Story in July 1996, which had Sakura as the lead character. A sequel followed in October of the same year. Sakura's theme song, "Kono Omoi o Tsutaetai" sung by Yuko Sasamoto, was released commercially.
The character was mostly well received. Joystiq ranked Sakura fifth on their 2007 list of the top ten girls of PSP for the "super hotness" of her school uniform and "cuteness to spare and lots of determination no matter what the odds." In 2008, IGN ranked her as 22nd top Street Fighter character, noting that while the Japanese schoolgirl design was "obvious", her attitude and funny moments offered a pleasant contrast. She also placed 13th on the list of top Street Fighter characters of all time by GameDaily in 2009. GameDaily's also featured her in their "Babe of the Week" series, commenting that "the fact that she dresses like a Japanese schoolgirl gives her lots of bonus points." In 2010, UGO featured her on the lists of the top 50 Street Fighter characters and the 35 "best school girls ever". In 2012, Complex ranked her as the 15th "most dominant" fighting game character, as well as placing her sixth on their list of video game characters that deserve a spin-off. In 2013, GamesRadar staff included her among the 30 best characters in the three decades of Capcom's history, commenting: "Sakura was only the fourth female character in the series, and her spunky, can-do attitude has made her the most popular character of the Alpha series. She was so popular in fact that Sakura appeared in multiple Street Fighter spin-offs and even found her way into the main series with Super Street Fight IV."
In 1997, Sakura ranked third in the poll for the best characters of 1996 in the Japanese arcade game magazine Gamest. In 2002, Sakura was voted the third most popular Street Fighter character in Capcom's own poll for the 15th anniversary of Street Fighter, after only Chun-Li and Cammy and before Ryu. As of August 2012, Namco ranked Sakura as the 14th most requested Street Fighter side character to be added to the roster of Tekken X Street Fighter.
On the other hand, GameDaily listed her under "hot, but annoying", questioning her about always following Ryu and wanting him to fight her as she is "either an innocent fan or a psycho." The character's outfit has also received some negative criticism. In 2010, Play listed it among the top inappropriate outfits due to her exposure in fights. That same year, Dave Cook from Now Gamer listed a fight between Sakura and Ling Xiaoyu as one of the fights he wished to see in Street Fighter X Tekken as while the two shared unsuitable outfits, the two are entertaining in terms of gameplay.
- Sakura Kusogano - IGN
- (Spanish) Galería: Onimusha Soul, SOSgamers.com, 17 March 2012
- Staff (1996). "Arcade Flyer Archive scan". Secret File #02: Street Fighter Zero 2 (Capcom): 5. Retrieved 2009-08-17.[dead link]
- Steven Bailey, The top ten girls of PSP, Joystiq, January 25th 2007
- Top 25 Street Fighter Characters - Day I. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-08-15
- Top 20 Street Fighter Characters of All Time. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-11-12
- "Babe of the Week: Babes We'll Wait For". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
- Furfari, Paul (2010-08-25). "Top 50 Street Fighter Characters". UGO.com. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
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- Elton Jones, The 50 Most Dominant Fighting Game Characters, Complex.com, May 17, 2012
- Obi Anyanwu, 25 Video Game Characters That Deserve a Spinoff, Complex.com, January 2, 2013.
- "The 30 best Capcom characters of the last 30 years". GamesRadar. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- Ishii, Zenji (December 1996). "第10回ゲーメスト大賞". Gamest Magazine 188: pg. 46. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2005-12-19. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
- "Tekken vs Street Fighter". Namco. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- "Babe of the Week: Hot, But Annoying Gallery and Images - GameDaily". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
- Mackenzie, Gavin. "Top 10 inappropriate outfits". Play. Retrieved June 30, 2011.
- Cook, Dave (2010-06-27). "Street Fighter X Tekken Character Wishlist". NowGamer. Retrieved 2011-09-05.