November 12, 2001  -  Sakura is a FAKE!

I've made a lotta little comments throughout this website over the last 5 years, but I don't always explain exactly what I mean, or why I think that way.  I've already explained a few other subjects like Ryu, Chun Li, and Capcom, in other rants.  Now it's Sakura's turn.
I know I lotta fans out there like Sakura a lot.  Although I have a lot of complaints about her, I don't dislike or hate her.   But on the other hand, I really don't see anything to like about her either.   I think Sakura is one of the most unoriginal characters ever!

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What makes Sakura Sakura is the sailor schoolgirl outfit.   But lemme tell you that the sailor schoolgirl outfit is one of the lamest and most untrue stereotypes.  Schoolgirls in Japan don't dress like that!  Well, I've seen a few, but not many.  And haven't we had enough of that look with Sailor Moon?
Anyhow, see this Tomomi over there to the left?   That's what the typical schoolgirl REALLY looks like in Japan (click on her to enlarge the picture).  Every school has its own outfit, but most look basically like this.  I've lived there, and I've seen thousands of schoolgirls.  And yes, their skirts really are THAT short!  ^_^  Whenever they go up stairs, they have to put their bag up against their butt (like she's doing here), or everybody going up the stairs behind her and look in.  Are the outfits sexist?  No, I don't think so.   Schoolgirls in Japan really seem to be proud of their outfits... it's just one of those Japanese traditions.
Another thing that's stupid about Sakura's outfit is that she doesn't wear baggy socks!  How the hell is a schoolgirl supposed to be cute without baggy socks?  Almost all schoolgirls wear 'em!  Check out the picture of Tomomi again... she's wearing baggy socks!  BTW, I'm still hoping that the baggy sock craze will someday come to the USA too.  (who'da thunk that socks could be such a turn-on! ^_~)
You know what else is kind of a stereotype, and totally unoriginal about Sakura?  Her name!  It's not that so many girls in Japan are named "Sakura", but the word "Sakura" comes up all the time in Japan.  "Sakura" means cherry blossom, and if you didn't know, the Japanese really, really, really love cherry blossoms.  I couldn't think of a more generic name for a Japanese girl.
Personally, I almost never like girls with short hair.  You might, so I can't really say that it's bad or good.  I just think that it's unstylish (what can you do with short hair?), and it makes girls look too much like boys.  Dress Sakura in jeans and a t-shirt, and imagine how hard it would be to figure out if she were a boy or girl!
Maybe the lamest thing about Sakura is that she's infatuated with Ryu!  Give me break.  Who the hell could like a cheap, no-style character like Ryu?!  And on top of that, Ryu's totally obsessed with himself, so what's Sakura think he's got to offer her?  How does she even know him when he's wandering around the world all alone, and she's going to high school in Japan?   And the the little nitwit has to try and imitate his style... don't we already have enough shotoclones?  YES!!!  I bet Sakura was just created to promote Ryu (as if he doesn't get enough promotion!)
And like all of Capcom's chosen characters, Sakura's cheap!  Especially in SF Zero/Alpha 3, Sakura could pull off some of the lamest, no-talent combos I've ever seen.  And of course she's got all sortsa cheap priorities on top of that.  It sucks getting beat up by a character who's so lame!   I can accept a beating from a real fighter, but not her.  Sakura shouldn't even be in Street Fighter.  She's a joke character.  She has no realistic chance of fighting with the best in the world.  I think characters like her have diluted the SF universe and really started to make it just too dumb to take seriously.
Well, Sakura not really all bad.  I like her intensity (that scream), and she's got a lotta interesting personality quirks that are cool (always being late, having a shoe that won't stay on, etc.).  And I thought it was really cool that she crossed over into Rival Schools.  Her rivalry with Karin is cool too (every fighter should have a rival).  I think if Capcom updated Sakura, she might have a chance at being a really cool character.
People who criticize but don't give alternatives or solutions are stupid.  So, let's pretend that I get to change Sakura!   First of all, I'd give her an outfit like just Tomomi's (complete with bookbag).   And maybe for a 2nd outfit I'd give her Japanese schoolgirl's gym outfit (which is what she has on under her sailor uniform).  I wouldn't change her boyish short hair, because long hair is just my personal preference.  But I'd definitely give her a new role model!  Ryu sucks.  Hey, how about Delta Red Cammy?!  Yeah, she's a good, strong woman that schoolgirl could look up to.  Then I'd modify Sakura's fighting style to something more original.  Maybe 1/3 shotoclone, 1/3 Cammy, and 1/3 unique.  And to maybe legitimize her qualifications as a world class fighter, I'd reveal that she comes from a family of gifted fighters (or something like that).  On top of that, I'd make Sakura quit school to train... but her parents think she's still in school, so she wears her schoolgirl outfit pretending to go to school every day.   Sakura's rivalry with Karin should also be raised to another level.  And that's all I think it would take to make Sakura one of the more interesting and unique SF characters.
Anyhow, now you know where I stand with Sakura, and why I think what I think.  That was the point of this rant.  If you like Cammy better than Sakura, I don't really care to talk you out of liking Sakura, but if you're a misguided soul who ranks Sakura above Cammy... I hope I've changed your mind!
PS - Am I a hypocrite?  I just ripped Sakura up and down, and yet I own a life-sized Sakura stand-up, a rare animation cel of her form the SF Zero anime, and a whole buncha Sakura toys!  But I only have that stuff because I either got it for free, or at a VERY low price.  Basically, I'm just keeping it for trade bait in case somebody's dumb enough to trade some Cammy for my Sakura junk... ^_~