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Poison from Street Fighter V.

Game Series Street Fighter series, Final Fight series
First Appearance Final Fight
Birthplace: Los Angeles, USA[1]
Fighting Style: Self-taught martial arts
Creator(s): Akira Yasuda
Voice Actor(s): Atsuko Tanaka (Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike)[2]
Masae Yumi (SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos)[3]

Poison (ポイズン Poizun?) is a fictional character in the Final Fight and Street Fighter series of video games. Created by Akira Yasuda for Capcom, Poison first appeared in Final Fight alongside a similar character, Roxy, later appearing in Capcom-produced games, media and merchandise related to the Street Fighter franchise. She is voiced by Atsuko Tanaka in the Street Fighter III series,[2] and Masae Yumi in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos.[3]

Originally conceived as a female thug in Final Fight and part of the game's antagonist group, Mad Gear, concerns about reactions from North American audiences to fighting women resulted in the character being changed to a newhalf. After the Final Fight series she later appeared alongside wrestler Hugo, acting as his manager, with her schemes revolving around finding a tag team partner for him or developing their own wrestling organization. Poison was also to appear in both Capcom Fighting All-Stars and Final Fight: Streetwise; however, the former was canceled, and she was omitted from the latter as development progressed.[4][5]

Because of the alteration to the character during Final Fight's development, her gender has been debated by both fans and media alike, and described by IGN as one of the most memorable "traps" in video games. Regardless of her gender, she has been noted as one of the most attractive video game characters by UGO.com, and praised for her design by others such as magazine editor Wataru Maruyama and GameDaily.

Conception and history[edit | edit source]

Poison's first appearance in Final Fight featured her and a palette swap character named Roxy as recurring minor enemies for the player to fight. Named after the band by an unnamed female employee at Capcom,[6] she was designed by Akira Yasuda to contrast against the bigger characters in the game and move about randomly.[7] According to the book All About Capcom Head to Head Fighting Games, the characters were originally planned to be female, but were changed to male transvestites (or more specifically "newhalfs")[8] due to the suggestion that "hitting women was considered rude" in America and the concern that feminist groups would sue.[6][9]

A later appearance by Poison as playable character in Final Fight Revenge, an American-produced 3D fighting game spinoff of Final Fight, portrayed the character in a highly feminine manner and had her romantically interested in Final Fight hero Cody. Commentary about her ending in the game in All About Capcom suggested that the character might have gotten a sex change.[9] The Final Fight-related character profiles featured in the 2005 compilation Capcom Classics Collection acknowledges Poison's transvestite characterization, while addressing Roxy as a "she" who dislikes Poison's cross-dressing.[10]

The discrepancy regarding Poison have been addressed more than once in interviews with former and current Capcom employees. Final Fight developer and Arika founder Akira Nishitani stated he supposed the character could be male, but added it was up to the viewer to decide.[6] Street Fighter IV's producer Yoshinori Ono, when asked in an interview about the matter, stated "Let's set the record straight: In North America, Poison is officially a post-op transsexual. But in Japan, she simply tucks her business away to look female."[11] He later emphasized it again when asked about what female characters could be included in the game Street Fighter IV, stating that it would be too confusing to include her due to the region-specific gender.[12]

Designs[edit | edit source]

Poison is shown to be a Caucasian female with long pink, somewhat rugged, hair. She wears a black cap, blue cutoff shorts, red high heels, and a tank top cut just below her breasts. In Final Fight Revenge and some artworks, her hair is shown to be purple instead.[13] She wears several armbands around her right arm and neck, and has chains and a pair of handcuffs suspended off her shorts. Final Fight Revenge features her also possessing a whip used in attacks, though the character has not been shown with one in other titles or artwork.[14] Poison stands about 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm) tall and has three sizes of 34-25-35" (88-66-89 cm).[9]

Poison was given a secondary outfit for Capcom Fighting All-Stars alongside her primary classic attire. Made of shiny, silvery material it consisted of boots that extended halfway up her thighs and a combined sleeveless shirt/short skirt with a plunging neckline. Gloves and a small hairband were also added, as well as a belt, with the handcuffs hanging off of it. Her arm straps were removed, though the strap around her neck remained.[15]

The concept art section of the promotional comic for Final Fight: Streetwise showcased concept art by designer Trent Kaniuga for the game, including a reimagined Poison. The design features red hair, a red micro skirt showing a hint of underwear, jacket, button-up white shirt showing some of her abdomen, black high-heeled boots, gold belt, and a wool cap.[5] In August 2006, Kaniuga revealed three additional alternate designs on ConceptArt.org's internet forum;[16] one being the classic look; another being a white button-up shirt with red pants, high heels, and short hair; and the third keeping the high heels and pants, but adding shades, returning her hair to full length and swapping the shirt for a jacket with deep cleavage. All four designs use the same color scheme, belt, and handcuffs.[17]

In video games[edit | edit source]

Poison was first introduced in the original Final Fight. She is an orphan from Los Angeles, but in the American version she was turned into a transsexual due to problems a tester had with violence against women. She enjoys fighting and uses it as a means to stay in shape,[1] making use of her ties with the original Mad Gear gang to keep herself out of prison.[18] In Final Fight Revenge, her behavior was represented as womanly and sultry, ranging from flirtatious comments to pole dancing. She frames Cody for her assault crimes and gets him arrested by Edi E., though she later visits him in jail having developed romantic feelings for him.[19] In the Street Fighter III series, she reappears working as a wrestling manager for her friend Hugo, who could not find a tag team partner due to his immense strength. From here their plots would focus on the two searching for a tag partner or starting their own wrestling association, echoed in their SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos appearance.[20]

Poison was also planned to appear both in Capcom Fighting All-Stars and Final Fight Streetwise, though the first game was canceled and she was cut from the second. In Mighty Final Fight, a super deformed parody of the character named "Poison Kiss" appears as a generic enemy, a corrupt cop and characterized as her younger sister.[21] Poison has also appeared based on her role as Hugo's manager on cards for SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash and the game's Nintendo DS sequel, as well as the related printed trading card game.[22]

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Images shown during the "Poison Kiss" attack present a very feminine Poison

In the original Final Fight, Poison and Roxy both utilized standing and acrobatic flip kicks to attack the player.[23] As one of the fighters in Final Fight Revenge, her moveset was expanded heavily, and she was armed with a whip. The whip is used primarily in her Cat Claw and Thunder Whip attacks (which are comparable to shoryuken/shinryūken styled attacks, respectively), and can be used to steal a weapon from the opponent. Additionally, her handcuffs can be thrown as a horizontal projectile move to immobilize the opponent for a short time.[14]

One particular attack, Poison Kiss, has her blow a large heart-shaped kiss at the opponent that travels in a sine wave path. If it connects, a quick peep show of Poison in several erotic poses is displayed, and afterwards the opponent is shown stunned with hearts dancing over their head.[24] Defeating an opponent with this attack results in Poison doing a pole dance for her win pose, with her whip serving as the pole.[25] Though not playable in the beta test of Capcom Fighting All Stars,[26] promotional material released by Capcom for the title show that this move would have been retained for her gameplay.[27]

Censorship[edit | edit source]

When Final Fight was ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, an American playtester working for Capcom reviewed the content during the localization process with one of the Japanese designers, and objected to the protagonist hitting females. Akira Yasuda pointed that the "female" enemies were actually transvestites, and despite his objections,[7] Poison and Roxy were replaced with regular male punks named "Billy" and "Sid" in the English localization.[28] This change has been repeated with every English port to Nintendo consoles, including the Game Boy Advance version Final Fight One and the Wii's Virtual Console.[29][30] English versions of the Sega CD port censored the characters in a different manner, redrawing both with longer shirts and shorts, and covering the under-cleavage shown when the characters were struck.[25]

Promotion and reception[edit | edit source]

Poison has been featured in various promotional Street Fighter related artworks,[31] as early as Street Fighter II.[32] Additionally she has been used as a cameo character three times in the Street Fighter Alpha series. In terms of merchandise, an immovable model was being made for the 2008 Capcom Girls Collection line of figurines by Mitsumasa Yoshizawa, using her Final Fight attire and at 1/6th height, standing nearly 11 inches tall.[33] A similar model was released later on, identical to the previous figurine except with her giving a thumbs down gesture and darker colors.[34] A version with blonde hair was later released as well.[35]

Because of uncertainty regarding her gender, there has been constant debate whether she is technically male or female on several fronts.[4][36] IGN listed Poison as one of the most memorable "traps" in video games, stating "Final Fight Poison isn't a trap in a gameplay sense, but proved to be a psychological, Crying-Game mental twist for gamers."[37] GamesRadar named her one of twelve Street Fighter related characters they wished to see in Super Street Fighter IV, arguing that her gender should not be an issue against her inclusion and that the character deserved another stand-alone appearance of her own.[38]

In February 1991, Gamest magazine named her one of the top fifty characters in video games of 1990, placing her twenty-sixth on their list.[39] UGO.com ranked her thirtieth on their "Top 50 Videogame Hotties" list, citing her as "one of the most controversial video game characters to date."[40] Former Tips & Tricks executive editor Wataru Maruyama cited her design as an example of how an outfit is worn compared to its complexity can make a character memorable and stand out, stating "to use a phrase I don’t particularly like to use, she totally worked it."[41] She has also been a subject drawn by non-Capcom artists, such as Falcoon.[42] GameDaily ranked her twenty-third on their "Top 25" list of their favorite Capcom characters, stating "The Mad Gear gang is a feisty bunch, and we could've picked anyone from the list...Instead, we selected Poison".[43]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Capcom. Capcom Classics Collection Vol. I. (Capcom). Level/area: Final Fight biographies. (2005-09-27) "Poison grew up in a Los Angeles orphanage. Even though Poison is a guy he chooses to wear women's clothing. He, err, she even feels that fighting is the best way to stay in shape and maintain her looks."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Game Credits for Street Fighter III: Third Strike. MobyGames. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  3. 3.0 3.1 Game Credits for SvC Chaos. MobyGames. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  4. 4.0 4.1 Staff (2002-09-19). Capcom Fighting All-Stars Preview. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  5. 5.0 5.1 Capcom (2006-02-28). Final Fight Streetwise promotional comic. Capcom. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Staff (March 2007). "The Making of Final Fight". Retro Gamer (37): 52. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Capcom staff (2000) (in Japanese). Capcom Design Works: Early Days. Enterbrain. p. 197. ISBN 978-4-7577-0412-1. 
  8. Capcom (1993-05-23). Final Fight CD, instruction manual. Capcom. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 スタジオベントスタッフ; スタジオベントスタッフ (2000) (in Japanese). ALL ABOUT カプコン対戦格闘ゲーム 1987-2000 (All About Capcom Head-To-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000). スタジオベントスタッフ. スタジオベントスタッフ. p. 339. ISBN 4-88554-676-1. 
  10. Capcom. Capcom Classics Collection Vol. I. (Capcom). Level/area: Final Fight biographies. (2005-09-27) "Roxy grew up in the same LA orphanage as Poison. She always looked up to Poison although she doesn't really dig the cross-dressing thing."
  11. Leone, Matt (January 2008). "The Big Comeback". Electronic Gaming Monthly (224): 68. 
  12. Street Fighter IV Producer interview. GameVideos (2008-06-06). Retrieved on 2009-08-09
  13. Capcom (2000-03-30). Final Fight Revenge instruction manual. Capcom. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Walmsley, Michael. Final Fight Revenge characters. GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15 Retrieved on 2009-06-01
  15. Walmsley, Michael. Capcom Fighting All Stars trivia (secondary outfit montage). GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2007-12-21 Retrieved on 2009-06-01
  16. Kaniuga, Trent (2006-08-21). Trent Kaniuga art dump from Maximo 3 and Final Fight Streetwise. ConceptArt.Org.. Archived from the original on 2008-02-14 Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  17. Kaniuga, Trent. Concept art montage from Final Fight Streetwise by Trent Kaniuga (GIF). TrentKaniuga.com. Archived from the original on 2007-05-19 Retrieved on 2009-06-01
  18. Capcom Studio 8 (2000-05-30). Final Fight Revenge, instruction manual. Capcom. "Poison had been a Bad Girl, a really Bad Girl. And she did NOT want to spend any amount of time behind bars. But, what could she do to avoid that situation? She could always give up the Mad Gear and the life of crime that went with it. But, it was so much FUN! Playing cat and mouse with the cops, making them bow and scrape before her when they thought that they had "caught" her, only to be confronted with Damnd, Andore and the rest of the Gang. But lately, the gang haven't been showing up to help out..." 
  19. Capcom Studio 8. Final Fight Revenge. (Capcom). Sega Saturn. Level/area: Poison ending. (2000-03-20) "Fearful of serving time, Poison and friends develop a plot to frame Cody for their crimes." / Poison: "He'll never love anyone but Jessica anyway. Unless..."
  20. SNK Playmore. SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos. SNK Playmore. Level/area: Pre-match dialogues between Hugo and opponents
  21. Capcom (1993-07). Mighty Final Fight, instruction manual. Capcom. 
  22. VERSUS TCG SNK vs CAPCOM カードファイターズ マネージメント ac-043U (Japanese). Wanted Internet Group. Archived from the original on 2005-05-05 Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  23. Capcom. Capcom Classics Collection: Reloaded. (Capcom). Level/area: Final Fight design artwork. (2006-10-24) (in Japanese)
  24. スタジオベントスタッフ; スタジオベントスタッフ (2000) (in Japanese). ALL ABOUT カプコン対戦格闘ゲーム 1987-2000 (All About Capcom Head-To-Head Fighting Game 1987-2000). スタジオベントスタッフ. スタジオベントスタッフ. p. 264. ISBN 4-88554-676-1. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Kalata, Kurt. Hardcore Gaming 101: Final Fight - The Story of Poison. Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on 2007-11-20 Retrieved on 2010-02-02
  26. Capcom Fighting All-Stars Pictures. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  27. Trailer Part 1 for Capcom Fighting All Stars. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  28. Sheff, David (1999). Game Over. Cyberactive Media Group Inc. p. 225. ISBN 0966961706. "With Capcom USA, Phillips's team edited some of the grislier games that came in from its Japanese parent company, although Capcom's own censors weeded out the most offensive touches...When a Capcom USA representative suggested that it was tasteless to have the game's hero beat up a woman, a Japanese designer responded that there were no women in the game. 'What about the blonde named Roxy?' the American asked. The designer responded, 'Oh, you mean the transvestite!' Roxy was given a haircut and new clothes." 
  29. Wolpaw, Erik (2001-10-11). Final Fight One for Game Boy Advance Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  30. Navarro, Alex (2007-05-09). Final Fight for Wii Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  31. Capcom staff (2000) (in Japanese). Capcom Design Works: Early Days. Enterbrain. pp. 45, 158. ISBN 978-4-7577-0412-1. 
  32. Capcom Sound Team Alph Lyla (1992-11-15) (CD/booklet). Capcom-004: Street Fighter II Complete File. Capcom. http://fightingstreet.com/folders/artworkfolder/artworkpages/sf_art_pages/sfii_art_pages/sfiiww_art_pages/sfiiww_bwart2.html. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  33. McWhertor, Michael (10-09-2007). Short Shorts Watch: Final Fight's Poison Brings Daisy Dukes To Collector Shelves. Kotaku. Retrieved on 2007-10-10
  34. Prepainted 1/7 Final Fight Poison - Reflect (Colored) Anime PVC, Figures, and Models. HobbyFan. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  35. Capcom Girls Collection Final Fight: Poison Black Version 1/7 Scale PVC Figure. Robert's Anime Corner Store. Archived from the original on 2009-08-16 Retrieved on 2009-08-16
  36. McWhertor, Michael (2007-12-12). Final Fight's Poison: The Final Word on Gender. Kotaku. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  37. Staff (2008-10-06). Memorable Traps in Video Games. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  38. Reparaz, Mikel (2009-10-02). 12 fighters we'd like to see in Super Street Fighter IV. GamesRadar. Future Publishing. Retrieved on 2009-10-02
  39. Ishii, Zenji. "ゲーメスト大賞" (in Japanese). GAMEST (54): 10–16. http://www.netlaputa.ne.jp/~dummy/gamest/magazine/gamest/v054.html. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  40. Top 50 Videogame Hotties. UGO Networks. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  41. Maruyama, Wataru. (2006-02-27). Simple kind of wonderful. Costume GET!. Archived from the original on 2007-10-24 Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  42. Kanaoka, Tatsuhiko. Artist website. Retrieved on 2009-06-16
  43. Top 25 Capcom Characters of All Time. GameDaily. AOL. Retrieved on 2009-06-16

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