With Makoto breathing down her neck for a fight, Ibuki must deal with mid-terms and training for her ninja exam. To make matters worse, the arrival of a transfer student named Elena sparks Makoto’s pride when she finds out that she, too, is a fighter. Can Ibuki keep the peace between Makoto and Elena while juggling her training and school work?
Story by Jim Zubkavich
Art by Omar Dogan
Letters by Marshall Dillon
Covers by Omar Dogan and Judy Jong
Published by UDON Entertainment
ONCE UPON A TIME IN JAPAN…
Previously in Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki: Ibuki struggles to maintain a difficult balance between training to be a ninja and going to school like a normal girl. Ibuki’s secret ninja lifestyle is almost revealed when Makoto enrolls at her school and challenges her to a battle. Ibuki was wondering if she should accept Mokoto’s challenge when she is attacked by a mysterious ninja. The appearance of a second ninja claiming to rescue her causes Ibuki to run after him, leaving Makoto dissatisfied.
HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER!
Makoto’s training is interrupted when she discovers Ibuki hiding in the rafters wondering if she should even agree to fight her. Makoto tries to lure her into battle by asking where her pride is as she attempts to land a blow on the elusive ninja. It’s only when Ibuki mentions that she took an oath to keep her identity secret that Makoto stops her attack. She sympathizes because she, too, made a promise to her father to show the world the might of his fighting style. Ibuki promises to fight her after she’s finished her ninja training and is no longer bound by her oath while a reluctant Makoto agrees.
There is a commotion at school when the new exchange student from Africa, Elena, draws the interest of the entire school yard. When Elena mentions that she is a fighter as well, Makoto is filled with pride and attempts to challenge her to a fight as Ibuki holds her back. Meanwhile, Ibuki’s best friend, Sarai, feels betrayed having seen her with Makoto and no longer wants to hang out with her. Ibuki must now decide on a university to attend after graduation, prepare for mid-terms, handle the extra training leading up to her ninja exam, and make room for a friendship with Makoto and Elena. While trying to figure how to not break from being pulled in so many directions, she is startled by an apologetic Sarai who wants to amend the friendship. The two friend hug as Ibuki heads home to receive the final task in her ninja exam. What Street Fighter will Ibuki have to fight to pass her training? Pick up the issue to find out.
While not a lot of action in this issue, it still made for a very interesting story. It feels like an anime that perhaps I’ve seen before that I suddenly want to watch again. This issue is purely high school drama. I think everyone who has graduated from high school (whether you’ve gone on to college or the work force) can relate to Ibuki’s feeling of being pulled in so many directions. The only thing that I found unrealistic is how she tackled all of her ever increasing assignments with a smile on her face. I would have liked it if they showed her starting to have a small break down at least. Maybe she could have taken it out on male ninja who seemed to be the punching bag of the first issue.
I have to give credit to Jim and Omar for taking 4 pages and putting together a great montage of Ibuki handling all of her different duties. In the center of each page was an image of Ibuki half in school clothes and half in ninja attire. I can’t seem to get “Eye of the Tiger” out of my head now. It was a new and interesting concept for an UDON comic and it would have been absolutely perfect if it weren’t for the fact that her body didn’t seem to line up correctly in the first 2 pages.
While not relevant to enjoying the story, I did think that it looked strange that Master Enjo looked like a color swapped version of the Shredder from the old TMNT show in the ‘80s. It was strange to see Elena in traditional Japanese school clothes as well. I think the white of her hair and the white blouse contrasted strangely against her dark skin tones. I have to admit that years of playing Final Fantasy has made me distrust anyone with white or silver hair and, at first, the light clothing and sunny disposition made me feel like she was up to no good. As the story went on, I couldn’t help but love the character for being the cutie pie that she truly is. If you don’t want to hug her by the end of this issue, I’ll be surprised.
GOT YA COVERED
Once again, I must compliment on the beautiful cover done by Omar Dogan. There is no way I was going to pass up getting this variant after seeing the sexy Elena on the cover. I sincerely hope that one day UDON or Dogan puts out a collection of these covers in a poster book because they are simply stunning.
While I do like to see a balance of action and story in my Street Fighter comics, I did enjoy this issue very much. Like I said before, there is something awfully familiar with this story though. I feel like it’s probably been done once or twice in an anime. Despite not being the most original tale, it still comes off as an enjoyable read. The art is beautiful and the covers are gorgeous. I’m going to give Ibuki’s second issue 3 and a half stars because, while it probably won’t be the best part of the 4 part series, I think it will be an important piece to an excellent overall tale.