Street Fighter V’s new story mode brings Sean back to Brown Town

He’s also a Mega Man fan

It was only a few months ago that we saw Sean Matsuda, Ken Master’s wanna-be protege from Street Fighter 3, had lost his dark complexion and signature black dreadlocks in favor of a decidedly more Anglo appearance. His new red-brown hair and peachy keen skin seemed to come out of nowhere, though many were more than ready to offer up potential explanations for this wholly fictional character’s brand new look.

Did he come down with a bad case of vitiligo? Did Capcom make him more pale in order to match the skin tone of his sister Laura? Was he just extremely tan each and every time we’d seen him in comics, games, or promotional art in the past? Was “Dark Sean” from Street Fighter 3 a clone or a doppelganger? These were just a few of the ideas that fans offered to explain away Capcom’s definitely not racist decision to make Sean look more Irish than Brazilian in its latest game.

Regardless of the reasons why, some who saw Sean as one of Street Fighter’s leading Men Of Color were not pleased to see him suddenly go from Preto/Pardo to Blanco, which is probably why Capcom released this promotional screenshot. It seems that it’s sole purpose is to show players that Sean is brown again. Capcom also made a point to give Sean quite a few lines in the game’s new story mode, where he’s seen playing what seems to be Mega Man 2 on a fictional Capcom handheld I desperately wish were real. 

It’s looking more and more like Sean’s initial White Chicks-style transformation was simply another example of classic Capcom artist Bengus bending the rules of human anatomy to meet his wacky whims. Bengus is one of the greatest artists to ever work for Capcom, as proven by this amazing piece for X-Men: Children of the Atom, but his work on Street Fighter V has been largely suspect. As artists get older, they often turn out less and less technically impressive work, and more and more messes.

There are a lot of potential reasons for that. It could be that they aren’t getting paid as well, or that they’ve lost their enthusiasm for their work. Sometimes it’s because they’ve gone so far down the rabbit hole of the artistic process that pushing abstraction and raw expression becomes more interesting to them than seeking perfection in their craft.

Sadly, it’s also possible that they’ve simply lost the physical and mental capacity to create work that’s up to their prior standards. Regardless, it’s a well known phenomena in the art world. Everyone from Picasso to George Lucas to Frank Miller (seen above) has seemingly gone through that change at one point or another.

Likewise, fictional video game characters are often prone to random changes. Ryu used to have red hair. Birdie used to be White. Sean was once dark brown, then turned pink, and is now slightly more brown than his sister. Maybe in the next update, he’ll be blonde with a big red ruby stuck in his cleavage? While we’ll likely never know exactly why Capcom has bounced the character’s appearance between two relative racial extremes in the midst of the very same video game, it’s probably best to just enjoy the studio’s creative decisions for what they are without getting too upset either way.

Personally, I’d love to see Black Guile make a comeback. That pink hair was downright fierce.

Jonathan Holmes
Destructoid Contributor - Jonathan Holmes has been a media star since the Road Rules days, and spends his time covering oddities and indies for Destructoid, with over a decade of industry experience "Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Just like in a Gameboy game... a nice tight little world... and all its inhabitants... made out of little building blocks... Why can't these little pixels be the building blocks for love..? For loss... for understanding"- James Kochalka, Reinventing Everything part 1 "I wonder if James Kolchalka has played Mother 3 yet?" Jonathan Holmes