Street Fighter is a fighting game created by Japanese game studio, Capcom in 1987 that has become the basis upon which every other fighter game has been measured on. In commemoration of the 15th anniversary of Street Fighter, Sota Toys released a line of Street Fighter action figures in North America.
Sota Toys had something great going on for a while. In 2004 and 2005, they had begun shipping StreetFighter action figures across North America and beyond. Sota Toys, an acronym of State of the Art Toys was born as a special effect and props studio working on various horror films and similar projects. Through their excellent skills at designing sculpture, the company extended its reaches to do limited edition collector action figures that didn’t move much.
Street Fighter was an exception for Sota Toys. Instead of focusing on highly posed but nearly non-articulated action figures and statues, Sota would make toys whose articulations would rival the best from Toybiz which produced Marvel Legends at the time. Sota’s challenge was great and its quest was a magnificent experiment. Sota would combine great articulations with great scultpting. In North America, that’s almost unheard of. It’s usually one or the other. McFarlane Toys, focused on looks, not on whether the action figure could move well.
Sota beat the odds and made these toys that looked great and were well articulated. Each series featured five characters and the company’s goal was to produce almost every conceivable StreetFighter character possible. But something had to go wrong. That story has not been well documented but something wrong happened and changed things internally at Sota. There are many things that probably went wrong.
First, the toys were made of bad plastic that could easily break. The first series of StreetFighter action figures were plagued with broken limbs and parts. The problem was such that Sota Toys had to enact a recall on all broken toys and replace them with new ones. Sota had a dedicated following of collectors. Though their customer service was exceptional – what toy company has ever replaced toys on such a wide-scale - it did hurt the company. The cost must have been enormous. And what were they going to do with all these recalled action figures? Then, there was the first break in the flawless cult following of a company action figure collectors liked.
Months later, there was the departure of Jerry Macaluso, one of the founders of the company. People come and go in companies, but in creative ones such as action figure design and manufacturing, when one of the main driver behind a product line leaves a little dies with him.
Sota Toys never did achieve their goal of a complete series of StreetFighter characters. Instead, they rebooted the entire line, focusing only on the most popular characters. Collectors could no longer vote on whom they wanted to see in figure series. Variants of main toys of course, continued to be produced. The line was simplified and so was the risk. Yet the special charm of these initial release from Sota was better than anything ever released before in action figure form. The props and additional heads each character had were great. The paint jobs were excellent, and both the scultpting and the articulations offered excellent value for action figure collectors. It is our goal at The Bin to one day finish reviewing most of the initial StreetFighter action figures. They are no longer easy to find, but our resident StreetFighter action figure collector and reviewer has all of them – or almost. Put more pressure on him by sending requests for the completion of all reviews at The Bin. We’re sure our publisher would like to complete what he started years ago.