Recently I've become a very big fan of the Street Fighter characters. Maybe it's the fact that Street Fighter IV re-ignited my childhood memories of Ryu and company, but something about the colourful cast of brawlers really clicked. Udon Press was awarded the Capcom license in 2003, and subsequently they've provided comics for several properties, including Darkstalkers and, of course, Street Fighter. They've produced several volumes of the core, in-house titles, but they've also translated manga from Japan, including Masaomi Kanzaki's early 90's effort.
Sakura Ganbaru is a far more recent effort, and the artwork is a little more "cartoony" than other Street Fighter books, which is appropriate given Sakura's light-hearted demenour and boundless energy.
The book concentrates on Sakura's earliest foray into street fighting, exploring her relationship with other members of the SF universe, and in particular with her self appointed sensei, Dan Hibiki. Street Fighter fans will know that Dan has always been a joke character, and subsequently Sakura soundly beats him every time they train.
Perhaps realising that this one joke would become stale, the book quickly introduces Sakura's rival, Karin, who promptly organises a tournament to take Sakura on. Other notable cameos include Ken Masters and Maki.
I really enjoyed the energy and humour of this title (something Udon have emulated in their own Sakura spotlight series). The pace is quick, the characters endearing and the fights suitably spectacular.
As an introduction to Street Fighter, this is a great book, especially for younger fans who might enjoy getting to know the main Street Fighter cast through the eyes of a novice.
The book includes some colour illustrations, some nice bonus pages (Karin's outfit complete with commentary) and a preview of Street Fighter Alpha, another Udon translated manga.
All in I can heartily recommend this book. It's not quite at the level of Udon's own superb Legends: Sakura, but it's a treat nonetheless.