Akira Kazama puts the spotlight on Rival Schools

Aug 06 2020 3 min read
Capcom

During the Street Fighter V Summer Update stream, Capcom revealed four out of five upcoming Season 5 characters. Among them was Akira Kazama, a fan favorite from Rival Schools.

During the Street Fighter V Summer Update stream, Capcom revealed the identities of four out of five upcoming Season 5 characters. Among them was Akira Kazama, a fan favorite from Rival Schools who now feels like an ambassador of sorts.

Rival Schools: United by Fate was first released on arcade in 1997, but was ported to the PlayStation in 1998. The game featured 2v2 battles between high school kids and faculty members (yep) as they investigated the cause of a series of attacks and kidnappings in Aoharu City. The 3D fighting game had one character take the lead while the second jumped in to back them up with a special move or as part of a team attack.

Akira Kazama and Rival Schools

Before Persona 3, which was the first game in the Shin Megami Tensei spinoff series to adopt the high school simulation gameplay, we had Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki mode. Similar to Atlus’ game, this allowed Rival Schools: United by Fate console players to experience one school year in the game. This was just one of the many modes that made the game a treasure, and even today, it would probably attract new players if incorporated in a modern title. Imagine Koei Tecmo adding a dating sim mode to the next Dead or Alive sequel.

The series’ characters all hailed from one of six institutions, with Street Fighter’s Sakura Kasugano, the only fighter from Tamagawa Minami High School. Some teams even embraced themes, like Gorin High School’s athletes; Shoma Sawamura, Natsu Ayuhara, and Roberto Miura. By the third game, Project Justice matches had evolved into 3v3 affairs. 

Akira joined the battle after transferring to Gedo High School to find her missing brother, Daigo. The school’s gang leader was a non-playable character in the arcade version, but that decision was reversed in the console version. One of the beautiful things about Akira was her biker outfit, complete with helmet, which she used to hide her gender during the events of the first game. While Capcom’s concept art depicted her without her motorcycle helmet, the classic outfit is sure to make an appearance in the game after she arrives.

Akira Kazama concept art

It comes as no surprise that fans of the series are excited about her inclusion, but her cool design already has those new to Rival Schools also interested as well. It looks like the game’s tag system or something else unique to it could also make it into Street Fighter V with Akira, based on what was mentioned during the stream. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing her until Summer 2021, but at least other characters will arrive before then. And who knows, if the FGC shows her a lot of love, there could be even more characters from the series in the future.

Akira Kazama was one of the best parts of the Street Fighter V Summer Update stream, and Capcom’s new approach to communication is a breath of fresh air. Considering Season 5 content will continue to drop until Fall 2021, I predict a lot more hype moments before the game’s development comes to an end.

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