I'm a fan of Street Fighter and have long appreciated it's colourful cast of characters.
With Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike, a character appeared that has captured my interest for quite some time.
Towering over an estimated 7 feet tall, mysterious, ubiquitous, grumbly and a snazzy dresser, Q made a rather large impact on me from the first time I chose him amongst the sea of new faces in Street Fighter 3.
His move design, the fact that next to no official information was given about him led me to analyze ever little detail about his identity and I've been speculating even till this very day.
Sadly, Q has not had any appearances in an official game for ages. He's made cameos in the Udon books and art has shown of his Iron-Masked mug, but outside of that it seemed as if he was forgotten.
That is, until today. With Street Fighter 5, Capcom launched an Encyclopedia that has been surprisingly focusing on minor side characters and past playable combatants in equal amounts of detail. Remember that guy in the yellow suit who bares more than a passing resemblance to WWE legend Jimmy Hart in Balrog's glorious Vegas stage? They gave him an official name and backstory!
|"I'VE BEEN WATCHING BALROG LOSE HIS FIGHT MONEY SINCE 1991!"|
So far the blog has been written from the perspective of a Shadaloo trooper carefully observing the playable and unplayable characters that are part of Street Fighter's impressive yet often overlooked lore.
Some of the entries are still in Japanese and have yet to be translated, but today, as you can guess by my obsession and subject matter, a certain someone was featured.
|"I'm ready for my close up Ono-San"|
Speculations on Q's identity have been present since his inception and it remains to be seen if we'll ever get an answer. Theories range from him being a wounded M. Bison to Chun Li's father.
In the early days I thought of him being Charlie, somehow resurrected...that is until I saw a few users mention the similarities between Q and a CIA agent named David.
Recently on the shoryuken.com forums users Doctrine Dark and bakfromon started providing scans and translating information from informative Capcom Books that sadly were never made available in the North American markets. They've been doing a fantastic job in helping new and old fans alike learn more about obscure Street Fighter knowledge!
Using their information I provided as much information on Q that was available, before deciding to share my personal observations about his character aesthetics and potential clues to his identity.
You can see my efforts below:
While the new entry does not give any clues to his identity, the past entries have made a few people realize something.
Chun Li's father - Dorai has had an honorary presence in the Street Fighter universe since the blockbuster second entry, though interestingly his name or appearance was never canonized till recently. He received his name and appearance from the non-canon, yet amazing treatment- Street Fighter II: V. A rather entertaining anime series created in the 90s.
For a while the fate of Chun Li's father has been danced around. That has led to a lot of speculation, but ultimately nothing concrete has materialized. In the Udon Street Fighter II comics, specifically Street Fighter II Turbo #10 a short story focuses on Q by way of an agent speculating about who or what he could be. While we are never given a true answer, a few speculative bits are thrown and one of the images shows Chun Li's father being injected with some sort of chemical and the iconic mask being placed on his face.
|Don't sign up to Shadaloo Uber if you're late on credit card payments...|
All this leads back to the recent entries for the Capcom Fighter's encyclopedia. One of the as of yet to be officially released Japanese-only entries featured Dorai, though his getup looked a little familiar.
Could this be coincidence? A Red herring? Only time will tell, but on a personal level, I hope that Q, if any of his identity is even hinted at, is an entirely new character and not Chun Li's father.
I personally have had issues with the idea and if you've ever seen any of my posts online regarding Q, I've made mention of this point of view.
- It would be more than a bit out of the left-field.
- I know that Street Fighter has altered and retconned events, especially now in SF5 as they're pushing for a significantly more cohesive narrative, but in SF3 Q didn't have even the slightest connection or interaction with Chun Li.
- In the arcade version of 3rd Strike, characters had dialogue against one another. Q mostly just has short, nonsensical statements, but when Oro faces off against Q, he makes a reference to the 70s show, Robo Detective K. For Chun Li, there's not a peep of "that looks like my dad's favourite tie!" or "that kick....that felt familiar."
- It muddles Bison's approach to tormenting her
- Bison has always stated her dad is dead, even his SF5 win quote against Chun Li states he'll send her to the same place. Bison directly said he killed her dad in Alpha 2, but it's been retconned that Vega seems to have "killed him" or was present to see his final moments SF5. He even recognizes the familiarity in their kicking styles .
- She's clashed with Shadaloo A LOT. Bison literally feeds on negativity to empower him and torturing people is a national pastime for Shadaloo. Why wouldn't he use her father as a trump card? Mocking her with the ambiguity of his fate until finally showing he devolved him into a shambling shadow of his former self is absolutely what he would do considering how much Chun Li and other heroes have cost him. I know the release dates of the games don't match the narrative timeline, but still, things done in SF since Street Fighter 3's release haven't made the effort to further establish a link between Q, Shadaloo and Chun Li. Street Fighter 4 started several plot elements that are now appearing in SF5 and according to bakfromon's translation of Q's latest entry, Crimson Viper has been dispatched to learn more about him by the CIA. If Bison had Chun Li's father in any form, that would be the prime way to damage her resolve. Considering how badly she's been a thorn in his side, I cannot see what he wouldn't take that avenue.
- Q running around freely for such an extended time is not feasible given what we understand of Bison's views of his property
- Bison doesn't care about loyalty, but strength...he does, however NOT like people messing with his toys or his toys gaining sentience (please refer to his treatment of the Dolls in Alpha 3 and how he crushed Seth once he started playing things outside his allotted freedom - Bison knew of him gaining sentience but didn't care as long as he played nice). Q is shown to be incredibly powerful and has been noticed by several civilian bystanders, even the CIA is fully aware of his existence, but is scrambling to find out WHAT he is. If he was a Shadaloo product that gained freedom, Bison would not let Q escape or STAY free and be visible enough to have bystanders describe him well enough that Richard Bergman (PR Chief of the CIA) has to frequently put out statements about not being able to confirm or deny Q's existence. He's achieved urban legend status due to how many photographs and images he's been found in (all of them related to crime scenes). Bison has managed to keep some of his most sinister secrets off the books entirely. It's still not known the sheer number of politicians and how much of the Military Brass he owns. Charlie never mad much headway in his quest due to his own superiors blocking him frequently due to getting too close to Shadaloo's truth. Now that we know Q's been running around well before Street Fighter 3, that makes things even more curious for why Bison would ignore him. Afterall, if he knows he can squeeze out some despair for a deal he'll take it. He made Cammy willingly give up Decapre to save her life and it still haunts her to this day much to Bison's twisted joy. If Q was as little as Chun Li's favourite manager at the clothing store, Bison would make use of that and make her suffer.
- Robs Q of his own direction and his own identity:
- He's the wildcard figure introduced in 3rd strike. No connections to anyone, he could pop in and out of the series while peppering clues to his identity and fostering new plot points. He very well could be connected to the new (at the time) antagonists -- Gill and the Illuminati or even bring in a whole new angle to the series. Connecting him to Shadaloo changes his potential story trajectory, but still gives him room to grow. Making him Chun Li's dad reduces his potential drastically;
- We're not just going to learn he's her dad and have them never meet or
quickly and neatly resolve this particular plot point with a walk into the sunset. If they meet and he's mind controlled,
it'll be a "I know you're in there!" fight, which I don't like seeing
overused in media and we already have Guile fighting to bring Charlie back to the side of light. There's also the possibility that Chun li will reconnect with him and he'll probably meet a tragic
end while saving her from whatever created him. Or he's somehow now villainous and
she has to track him down and stop him through several games. Overall, I
can't see Chun Li learning that Q's her father and not having a negative impact appear for both characters. Q goes from a Pandora's box of awesome to a frequently abused plot point for kidnapped characters close to the heroine and it's all dashed against the rocks "WHY'DYOUDOTHIS?!"
- Last, but certainly not least, it holds Chun Li's narrative back:
- For comparison, I feel Sagat is the character that has the most development in Street Fighter's lore; he went from a mountain of revenge, to a man who upon meeting Dan began to question what revenge could do to one's soul, rejected Bison's methods, came to respectfully view Ryu as a rival, and now is a father figure to two children.
- Chun has been getting there too. She started on the path of vengeance then evolved her quest to one of justice, but by Street Fighter 3, she had found peace and left behind all the business with Shadaloo after "her legendary legs brought down THAT organization" as Urien said. She took care of a girl (who we now know of as Li-Fen in SF5) and taught other kids Kung Fu. In SF4, it's a move back in time, so it's understandable that she's making trouble for ol' Shadaloo again when she learns it's not totally dead by way of S.I.N. (most of the cast in SF4 don't know Bison's alive, actually, and I can't remember if she's one of the few who does learn he is alive), but she's fighting for justice and her father but not letting that define her existence. In her SSF4/Ultra 4 ending, she said, at first she thought all the things she'd accomplished were due to her father, and she realizes, yes, in part it was for and due to him, but for her as well. She says she feels that she can be so much more and decides to stay being a cop. She will bring about justice and fight evil, but she's not doing all this just for her father or personal vendettas. She starts doing things for people like Li-Fen and those kids. She gets a sense of closure, but also forges forward, being her own person, not defined by her father's death or as a foil to Bison's evil. A dose of paternal resurrection would make her start the hunt to find out what really happened to him again and undo the progress, thus pausing her current life with Li-Fen and the others. I don't want to see that for her. Street Fighter is finally taking chances with it's character evolution by way of designs and lore -- I don't want them to repeat this aspect of her story.
Anyaways, if you made it through my rambling, congratulations! As a bonus, here's bakfromon's translation of Q's CFN entry! Until next time folks!
The mysterious enigma! Who is the true person behind the mask? Currently, this fighter is unknown.)
Blood Type: Unknown
Country of Origin: Unknown
Favorite thing: Unknown
The mysterious person who's been witnessed worldwide. He hides his identity behind an iron mask, hat, and trench coat. There have been multiple sightings of him around the world occurring at simultaneous times. There are doubts as to whether or not he's human. C.Viper of the C.I.A is currently investigating the matter.