Codex Gamicus
Template:Street Fighter character
Zangief in Super Street Fighter II. Drawn by Bengus
Series Street Fighter series
First game Street Fighter II
Created by Akira Yasuda
Voiced by (English) William Johnson (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie)
Michael Sorich (Street Fighter II V, Animaze dub)
Anthony Landor (Street Fighter IV)
Voiced by (Japanese) Wataru Takagi (Street Fighter Alpha series)
Tesshō Genda (Capcom vs. SNK series, Capcom Fighting Evolution)
Kenta Miyake (Street Fighter IV)
Tetsuo Kanao (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie)
Hidenari Ugaki (Street Fighter Zero: The Animation)
Ryūzaburō Ōtomo (Japanese television dub of the Street Fighter film)
Katsuhisa Hōki (Japanese video and DVD dub of the Street Fighter film)
Live action actor(s) Andrew Bryniarski (Street Fighter)
Fictional information

Zangief (ザンギエフ Zangiefu?, from Professional Wrestler Viktor Zangiev) is a fictional character in the Street Fighter series of video games. Created by Akira Yasuda for Capcom, Zangief first appeared in Street Fighter II, later appearing in other games, media, and promotions related to the Street Fighter franchise. Zangief is considered to be the first fighting game character whose moveset is centered around grappling.

Conception and creation[]

Designed by Akira Yasuda, Zangief was initially conceived as a character named "Vodka Gobalsky", planned to be strong in all attributes but extremely slow.[1] 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. Many have theorized it was also based, in part, to animated character Bluto-as well as mannerisms. Later in development, his name was changed to Zangief (alternately spelled throughout the games as "Zangrief"/"Zangiev"), with the initial storyline that he was banned from professional wrestling for breaking the rules, currently engaging in underground wrestling.[2] As the game's development progressed his backstory was changed entirely. One tidbit of history was an apparent friendship with (another Capcom franchise) fellow pro wrestler Mike Haggar. Zangief is based on the real life freestyle wrestler Viktor Zangiev.[citation needed]


Various actors have voiced the character in his video game appearances: he is voiced by Wataru Takagi in the Street Fighter Alpha series, Tesshō Genda in the Capcom vs. SNK series and Capcom Fighting Evolution, and Kenta Miyake in Japanese and Anthony Landor 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.

Appearances in other media[]

Zangief appeared in Masaomi Kanzaki's Street Fighter manga, which was released in the early 1990s. In his depiction in the comic, Zangief was depicted very much like his video game self. One of his main motivations was to defeat Guile. This was because Guile, as an American, Guile represented the rival country of Zangief's homeland.

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.

Zangief also shares his name with the Liverpool based Heavy Rock unit of the same name, dedicated in part to his power, underdog status, and single-minded destructive capabilities.

Film and Anime[]

Zangief appears in almost every Street Fighter movie adaptation to date except 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. He is last seen being electrocuted by him in a somewhat comical fashion due to his reaction of the process.

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 (although he had kindly asked Ryu to come quietly). 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 a long, violent battle which takes its toll on both fighters, until Guile manages to knock Zangief out with a severe blow to the head. He is not seen again after this, but it is likely he escaped the explosion of Bison's base.

In Street Fighter Alpha: The Movie, he appears as a competitor in a fighting tournament. He does battle with Shun, Ryu's supposed little brother, and begins to ruthlessly beat the boy to within an inch of his life until Ryu intervenes and battles Zangief. Zangief appears to have the upper hand, and Ryu, enraged, 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, he is once again a lackey of Bison's, only this time, he truly has a good heart and believes that the A.N., and not Bison, are the enemies of world peace and freedom. During the climactic battle, Zangief battles E. Honda, who appears to have the upper hand. 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 the point that Bison had been paying Dee Jay a fortune while nothing to Zangief). To redeem himself, he 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 the thumbs-up when he survives the explosion.

Promotion and reception[]

A Zangief-inspired costume for players to use in Sony's LittleBigPlanet was released on December 12, 2008 as downloadable content for the title.[3]

IGN ranked Zangief at number thirteen in their "Top 25 Street Fighter Characters" article, 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."[4] GameDaily listed Zangief at number three in their "Top 20 Street Fighter Characters of All Time" article, describing his appearance as "menacing" as well as praising the strength of his fighting style.[5] In the January 30, 1997 issue of Gamest magazine in Japan, Zangief ranked at No. 18 on the Top 50 Characters of 1996 poll.[6]


  1. Capcom Sound Team Alph Lyla (1992-11-15) (CD/booklet). Capcom-004: Street Fighter II Complete File. Capcom. p. 3. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  2. Capcom Sound Team Alph Lyla (1992-11-15) (CD/booklet). Capcom-004: Street Fighter II Complete File. Capcom. p. 4. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  3. Acevedo, Jay (12 December 2008). Weekly Playstation Store Update - December 12. Game Focus. Retrieved on 18 December 2008
  4. Top 25 Street Fighter Characters - Day III. IGN. Retrieved on 15 August 2008
  5. Top 20 Street Fighter Characters of All Time. GameDaily. Retrieved on 13 November 2008
  6. Ishii, Zenji (December 1996). "第10回ゲーメスト大賞". Gamest Magazine 188: pg. 46. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 

Street Fighter and Related Characters
Street Fighter
AdonBirdie - Geki - Mike - Joe - Lee - EagleGenKenRetsu - RyuSagat
Street Fighter II
AkumaBalrogCammyBlankaChun-LiDee JayDhalsimE. HondaFei LongGuileM. BisonT. HawkVegaZangief
Street Fighter Alpha
CharlieDanJuni and JuliKarinIngridR. MikaRoseSakura
Street Fighter III
Street Fighter IV
AbelC. Viper - El Fuerte - GoukenHakanJuriRufus - Seth
Street Fighter V
F.A.N.G. - Laura - Necalli - Rashid
Final Fight
BelgerCarlosCodyDeanGuyHugoKyleLuciaMakiMike HaggarPoisonRolentoSodom
Goutetsu - Street Fighter EX characters