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Street Fighter character
Super Zangief.png
Zangief in Super Street Fighter II. Drawn by Bengus
First appearanceStreet Fighter II: The World Warrior (1991)
Designed byAkira "Akiman" Yasuda and Ikuo "Ikusan.Z" Nakayama (Street Fighter II)[1]
Portrayed byAndrew Bryniarski (Street Fighter)
Voiced by
Motion captureAndrew Bryniarski (The Movie games)
OccupationProfessional wrestler
Fighting styleSambo
Professional wrestling

Zangief (Japanese: ザンギエフ, Hepburn: Zangiefu), often called the Red Cyclone (Japanese: 赤きサイクロン, Hepburn: Akaki Saikuron), is a character in Capcom's Street Fighter series.[2] Considered to be the first fighting game character whose moveset is centered on grappling, he made his first appearance in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior in 1991. In the series, he is a professional wrestler that fights to prove Russia's superiority over other nations' fighters.

Conception and creation[edit]

Designed by Akira Yasuda, Zangief was initially conceived for Street Fighter II as a character named "Vodka Gobalsky", planned to be a very strong but extremely slow character to play as.[3] Early designs of the character closely resembled the character's finalized appearance, but with the addition of a black tanktop and anchor tattoo on his upper arms.[4][5] In an interview with Game On!, Capcom Research and Development head Noritaka Funamizu stated that of the series' characters, Zangief was one of the most popular characters with American audiences, alongside Ryu and Guile.[6]

Zangief appears as a tall, muscular man clad in red wrestling tights and boots, a studded gold belt, and red/gold wristbands. His brown hair is cut in a short Mohawk style, and he has a beard/mustache and a large amount of hair on his chest. His arms and legs are covered with scars. His appearance is similar to real life professional wrestler Ivan Koloff.


Various actors have voiced the character in his video game appearances: he is voiced by Wataru Takagi in the Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter EX series, Tesshō Genda in the Capcom vs. SNK series and Capcom Fighting Evolution, and Kenta Miyake in Japanese and Peter Beckman in English for Street Fighter IV. In anime, he is voiced in Japanese by Tetsuo Kanao and in English by William Johnson. In the live-action Street Fighter film, the character was portrayed by Andrew Bryniarski, who was dubbed over by Ryūzaburō Ōtomo in the Japanese television dub and by Katsuhisa Hōki in the video and DVD dub. In the film Wreck-It Ralph, he was voiced by director Rich Moore. Zangief also appears as a playable character in Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix.

Appearances in other media[edit]

Zangief appeared in Masaomi Kanzaki's Street Fighter manga, which was released in the early 1990s. In his depiction in the comic, he was depicted very much like his video game self. One of his main motivations was to defeat Guile, who as an American, represented the rival country of Zangief's homeland, but found himself coming up short in their battles. In more recent adaptations, Zangief is shown to interact more with Ryu, either as an enemy or ally, and his win quotes in Street Fighter IV imply that it was Ryu who knocked him out of the second tournament.

Zangief appears in Masahiko Nakahira's Sakura Ganbaru! manga, in which he is introduced fighting in his exact same stage from Street Fighter Alpha 2. He first defeats Blanka, and then is engaged by Sakura and Cammy, whom he easily overpowered. He was later defeated by the duo and his friendly and good natured personality soon surfaced.

He appears as a playable character in the crossover fighting Street Fighter X Tekken, with his official tag partner, Rufus.

Zangief appears as a Spirit in the Nintendo crossover fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. After the player defeats Incineroar from Pokémon and rescue Zangief's spirit, they have access to a dojo where he can teach other spirits the "Overthrow" style.

Film and anime[edit]

Zangief appears in almost every Street Fighter movie adaptation to date, save for Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.

In Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Zangief appears very briefly during a brutal battle against Blanka to entertain an audience of crime bosses, where he is electrocuted by him, though his fate afterwards is unknown.

In Street Fighter II V, he is a henchman for Shadaloo, and sent by M. Bison to capture Ryu, whom he had seen displaying talents of Hadou on a beach earlier. Ryu resists, and they fight for a while until Zangief manages to knock him out. As they are leaving, Zangief spots Guile watching them from afar, and later on, while Guile and Nash are infiltrating Bison's base, Zangief corners Guile with the intention of killing him under Bison's orders. Guile and Zangief fight until Guile manages to knock Zangief out with a severe blow to the head. He is not seen again after for the rest of the anime, leaving his fate unknown when the base is destroyed after Ryu and Ken defeat Bison.

In Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation, he appears as a competitor in a fighting tournament. He fights Shun, Ryu's alleged little brother, and begins to ruthlessly beat the boy until Ryu intervenes and battles Zangief. Zangief appears to have the upper hand, but Ryu, in his rage, almost gives in to the Dark Hadō and fires a lethal dark Hadōken which narrowly misses Zangief but causes the building to collapse. Zangief, stunned by Ryu's power, subsequently falls through the crumbling floor.

In the live-action Street Fighter movie, Zangief is portrayed by Andrew Bryniarski. He is once again a lackey of Bison's, only this time he has a good heart (though he is extremely simple-minded) and truly believes Bison's propaganda that the A.N. are the enemies of world peace and freedom. Zangief gives Ryu and Ken their signature white and red gis, which are actually training uniforms for Bison's men. During the climactic battle, Zangief battles E. Honda. After the battle ends, he is told by Dee Jay that Bison was in fact the enemy and had been fooling Zangief the whole time. To redeem himself, Zangief helps Ryu and Ken hold the emergency exit door open for the hostages to escape. He is last seen complementing Guile's bravery and gives him the Bison salute, which Guile turns into a thumbs-up.


Zangief makes an appearance in the 2012 Walt Disney film Wreck-It Ralph, voiced by the film's director Rich Moore. He and M. Bison are among the game characters present at a meeting of "Bad-Anon", a villain support group, when Wreck-It Ralph decides to attend. Ralph later finds a pair of Zangief's tights in the lost-and-found box at Tapper's bar and reacts with disgust. Zangief appears again in the 2018 sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet where Ralph and Vanellope wonder how he only has hair on his chest, shins and face, and later at the end he attends a book club with Ralph, Sonic and Q*Bert.

Zangief was featured in ScrewAttack's internet series Death Battle. He fought Mike Haggar from Final Fight in a hypothetical match and won thanks to his greater size and youth as well as the animals he usually spars with which are brown bears where as his opponents spars with bull sharks that are considered less dangerous. In the indie game Punch Club, a Russian fighter named Ivangief shares the same appearance as Zangief.


Zangief placed 18th in the Top 50 Characters of 1996 poll in the Gamest magazine in Japan.[7] IGN ranked Zangief at 13th place in their list of top Street Fighter characters, stating "he's a bit of a stereotype, a hulking lug from Mother Russia, but he plays the type so well, though. Between the Mohawk, the muttonchops, and the all-over bear-wrestling scars, it is hard to imagine a more perfect embodiment of the muscle-bound grappling goon."[8] GameDaily listed Zangief at number three in their list of top Street Fighter characters, describing his appearance as "menacing" as well as praising the strength of his fighting style.[9] UGO Networks placed Zangief at number five on their list of top Street Fighter characters, stating "Zangief can be an intimidating character to play because he is far slower than other competitors; however, he makes up for that in his ability to close range quickly and bypass and counter projectiles from his opponents."[10] WhatCulture ranked him first on its list of top 10 Street Fighter characters of all time due to his "chest bigger than the sun and a beard to make Chuck Norris jealous."[11]

GameDaily included him on their lists of the hairiest chests in gaming and characters with scars;[12][13] they listed him as the buffest video game character, stating that readers "cannot deny his awesome."[14] GameDaily also called him one of Russia's greatest patriots in video games, stating that he is "by far the most successful" Russian character.[15] Complex named him as the most "badass" Russian character in video games, as well as "by far the most popular and lovable Russian badass to ever appear in a video game."[16]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Street Fighter IV: Return of the World Warriors", Game Informer 178 (February 2008): 90.
  3. ^ Capcom Sound Team Alph Lyla (1992-11-15). Capcom-004: Street Fighter II Complete File. Capcom. p. 3. Archived from the original (CD/booklet) on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  4. ^ Capcom Sound Team Alph Lyla (1992-11-15). "Street Fighter II Complete File". Capcom-004: Street Fighter II Complete File. Capcom. p. 4. Archived from the original (CD/booklet) on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  5. ^ Elston, Brett. "Super Street Fighter IV 3DS - interview with Yoshi Ono". GamesRadar. Future Publishing, Inc. p. 2. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  6. ^ Staff (1996). "A Fighter Speaks". Game On!. Horibuchi, Seiji. 1 (1): 6.
  7. ^ Ishii, Zenji (December 1996). "第10回ゲーメスト大賞". Gamest Magazine. 188: pg. 46. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  8. ^ Top 25 Street Fighter Characters - Day III. IGN. Retrieved on 15 August 2008
  9. ^ Top 20 Street Fighter Characters of All Time. GameDaily. Retrieved on 13 November 2008
  10. ^ Furfari, Paul (2010-08-25). "Top 50 Street Fighter Characters". Archived from the original on 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2011-09-29.
  11. ^ Starling, Jake (June 26, 2012). "Top 10 Street Fighter Characters Of All-Time". WhatCulture. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  12. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (2012-07-27). "Joystiq". Retrieved 2012-08-01.
  13. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (2012-07-27). "Joystiq". Retrieved 2012-08-01.
  14. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (2012-07-27). "Joystiq". Retrieved 2012-08-01.
  15. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (2012-07-27). "Joystiq". Retrieved 2012-08-01.
  16. ^ Larry Hester, The 10 Most Badass Russian Characters In Video Games,, May 14, 2013.