The Street Fighter series has an…interesting understanding the human anatomy. All male Street Fighter characters are musclebound beasts that make John Cena look like a 90-pound weakling, and the female characters are gamma-irradiated Olympic divers with thighs that could crush gravel. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.
So, why do Street Fighter characters look so consistently brawny? Well, at last month’s Game Developers Conference, Street Fighter V art director Toshiyuki Kamei explained – it seems Capcom has been using a specific anatomy guide to create all its characters for the past 20 years.
The booklet, entitled Anatomy: A Strange Guide for Artists, was created fan-favorite Capcom artist Akira "Akiman" Yasuda, who designed all the characters for games like Street Fighter Alpha and Darkstalkers. Yasuda likes his beefcake (and girl beefcake), and so his guide is specifically designed to teach artists how to make the most over-the-top characters possible.
Want to learn from the beefcake master? Well, you’re in luck! Capcom recently posted some pages from their ancient Street Fighter anatomy guide online. You can check a few them out, below.
Hit up the next page for even more pages from the guide!
According to Kamei, Street Fighter’s bulky characters aren’t just an aesthetic choice. Their exaggerated features make them easier to read at a glance, which is important for high-level play. Also, Street Fighter characters aren’t simply muscular – there’s all sorts of guidelines governing how they’re depicted.
“[The anatomy guide] explains shortcuts and rules about how we take musculature and a character's frame and make a sprite out of it. If you exaggerate this part of the musculature it looks cool, or if you make this part slimmer it can be more efficient in the visual language. There are a lot of different rules. Even though this is over 20 years old, having this information about what's important and not important is still used today.
When you're looking at an arm from the front, the rule is the upper arm should be thinner than the lower arm, but when looking at it from the side, that same arm should look narrow in the forearm and wider for the upper arm. By following this one rule you can convey a lot of information about how this character is extending their arm, whether they're doing a straight punch or an uppercut in a really short amount of time."
Interesting stuff! Now, where are the pages of the anatomy guide that show you how to draw Chun-Li’s thighs? I’m, uh, just asking for a friend.