M. Bison known in Japan as Vega, is a video game character created by Capcom. First introduced in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, he is a recurring character in the Street Fighter series of fighting games, acting as the final boss and primary antagonist of the Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Alpha series.
A would-be world dictator, and a pure incarnation of evil, M. Bison's ambition is to control the world's governments through his covert crime syndicate, Shadaloo (シャドルー, Shadorū?, sometimes spelled as "Shadoloo", "Shadowloo" or "Shadowlaw"). He serves as the host of Street Fighter II's fighting tournament and is the last opponent fought in the game. Several Street Fighter characters—including Guile, T. Hawk, Cammy, Rose and Chun-Li—have their personal vendettas against M. Bison and have entered the tournament in the hope of having a shot at him. M. Bison wields an inherently evil energy known as Psycho Power.
Conception and development
In Japan, the character is named Vega, derived from the star of the same name. However, during localization of Street Fighter II for the English language market, Capcom's North American branch felt that the name sounded non-threatening to North American audiences for the game's final boss, and was more suitable for the beautiful cage fighter Balrog. At this same time another concern arose that the name of another character, Mike Bison, conceived as a parody of real-life boxer Mike Tyson, would be a legal liability for Capcom. As a result, the characters swapped names, and the game's final boss was dubbed M. Bison for English language appearances of the character. Capcom has never explained what "M" stands for, calling it "part of the character's mystery". Regardless, Bison has been addressed as Master Bison in Street Fighter Alpha 3 repeatedly, as well as in the animated movie. In his introduction before a fight in Street Fighter IV, he refers to himself as "The Mighty Bison". In endings in Alpha 2, he is referred to by a henchman as Commander Bison.
When developing Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, it was decided to give him a more muscular appearance, rather than have him resemble "a middle aged man", while his face was modified to appear somewhat demonic.
Video game appearances
Street Fighter series
Bison first appears in the original Street Fighter II as the final computer-controlled opponent in the single-player mode, following the player's defeat of the other three Grand Masters. The battle takes place in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand in front of a crowd, where he poses with his cape, which he throws off prior to battle. He was originally a non-playable character in the first edition of Street Fighter II, but became selectable from Champion Edition and onward, while maintaining his position as the final boss until Super Street Fighter II Turbo, in which a hidden character named Akuma defeats Bison and challenges the player as an alternate final boss.
The storyline through the numerous versions of Street Fighter II characterizes Bison as the leader of a criminal organization called "Shadaloo" who sponsors the World Warrior tournament. A few characters who participate in the tournament have a personal vendetta against Bison. Chun-Li and Guile are both seeking to avenge the deaths of their loved ones (Chun-Li's father and Guile's best friend respectively), while T. Hawk wants to avenge both his homeland and his father, that were destroyed and devastated by the villain; the amnesiac Cammy, on other hand, believes that Bison is connected to her past and learns in her ending that she was once one of his agents (changed to being lovers in the original English localization of the arcade, and then changed into being a DNA copy made for the purpose of impersonating him in the Game Boy Advance version).
Capcom later released Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams, a prequel to the Street Fighter II games inspired by the animated movie that further fleshed out and developed the fictional universe of the series. Bison appears in the first Alpha as the final boss for certain characters and a hidden playable character available via a code. Two characters with ties to Bison were introduced: Rose, a fortune teller with spiritual ties to Bison, whose Soul Power is the opposite of Bison's Psycho Power; and Charlie (Nash in Japan), Guile's dead war buddy from Street Fighter II, who seeks to track him down. Bison, as he appears in the Alpha games, fights wearing a cape. and gains a teleport and a projectile move.
Street Fighter Alpha 2, released the following year in 1996, follows the same plot as the original Alpha, but features completely revamped endings. Bison is featured in this game as a regular playable character.
In Street Fighter Alpha 3, released in 1998, a non-playable version of Bison called Final Bison serves as the final boss of all the characters (with the exception of Bison himself, who fights Ryu). Several revelations are made in this game, including the fact that Rose is the good half of Bison's soul and the fact that Cammy is a female clone of Bison. In the end of the game (regardless which ending the player gets), Bison's body is destroyed and a new one is built for him by his scientists after the game.
In Street Fighter EX, Bison retains a projectile attack and teleport, and gains a new throw, which was later used in Street Fighter IV. In his ending in Street Fighter EX2 Plus, Bison develops an experimental drug called "SH-11". In Street Fighter EX3, he gains a tag-team super move when paired with Vega.
Bison returns in Street Fighter IV, a continuation of Street Fighter II set prior to the events of Street Fighter III. The Street Fighter IV Training Guide reveals that Bison was destroyed by Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu and now inhabits a new body created for him by his scientists. Unlike his previous bodies, this one is capable of withstanding the full strength of his Psycho Power. His ending in Super Street Fighter IV features the new character Juri.
Bison appears in Street Fighter: The Movie, a 1995 video game adaptation of the 1994 film. The game plays similarly to Mortal Kombat, with each character represented by digitized sprites of the film's actors. Bison's portrayer, Raúl Juliá, had intended to participate in the project, but bowed out due to health problems. Consequently, Bison's fight animations were performed by stuntman Darko Tuscan. Film clips of Juliá as Bison are included within the game's cut scenes.
In the Marvel series of crossover fighting games, Bison is frequently included among the ranks of Capcom characters. Both X-Men vs. Street Fighter (1996) and Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter (1997) feature Bison as a playable character. Bison's character sprite is identical to that of his Street Fighter Alpha incarnation, except that he is constantly grinning. He is noticeably absent from Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (1998), though he appears in Chun-Li and Shadow Lady's ending sequences. In Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000), the Alpha version of Bison is once again a playable character, though he must be unlocked before he is made available. However, M. Bison is not playable in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, but he is mentioned by Chun-Li in one of her win quotes.
Bison underwent a makeover for his role in the SNK vs. Capcom series, reverting to the slimmer appearance of his Street Fighter II counterpart. He has regularly appeared in each entry of the series, beginning with SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium (1999) and its sequels, Capcom vs. SNK Pro: Millennium Fight 2000 and Capcom vs. SNK 2 (2001). Bison appears at the halfway point of each game as a mid-boss (along with Geese Howard) if the player has accumulated enough points. Most recently, he was included as a playable character in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos (2003).
Bison appeared in Capcom Fighting Jam (2004), which features an assortment of characters from each individual series published by Capcom.
Outside of the fighting game genre, a Bison trading card has also appeared in the handheld collectible card game SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash (1999). He also appears in the Japanese action/tactical RPG hybrid Namco × Capcom.
Bison was portrayed by the late Raúl Juliá in the 1994 live-action film Street Fighter. Julia perceived Bison in the same vein of villain as Richard III, and approached the role with a Shakespearean tone. In the film, General M. Bison is a crazed Military General who plans to produce supersoldiers to take over the world (a possible reference to Adolf Hitler and his plans about "Aryan" people having white skin, blond hair & blue eyes being the "Superior Race" of people, further implied in the movie's opening scene where he addresses his soldiers and they begin saluting him in a very Nazi-like manner). His ambitions have led to a civil war against the Allied Nations (AN), led by Colonel Guile, the movie's main character, in Shadaloo City. To blackmail the AN, he captures a large number of AN relief workers and holds them hostage, intending for the AN to pay him twenty billion dollars in exchange for their safety. Guile refuses to relent, and in retaliation, Bison makes Guile's friend, Carlos "Charlie" Blanka, his first super soldier test subject, commanding his kidnapped doctor, Dhalsim, to mutate him into a beast. Bison also retains his relationships to Sagat, who supplies Bison's army with arms, and Chun-Li, who has a personal vendetta against him.
As Guile plans an assault on Bison's base, thanks to information provided to him by Ryu and Ken, Bison eventually captures Chun-Li, Balrog, E. Honda, Ryu and Ken, who were conspiring to kill him before Guile arrived. The deadline for the ransom eventually arrives, and Bison prepares to kill the hostages by setting Blanka on them, but Guile and his army arrive in time and a furious battle breaks out between Bison's men and the AN forces on the island. Bison, meanwhile, faces Guile alone. Guile gains the upper hand and smashes Bison into a computer, killing him, but a life-support machine resurrects the general, and he resumes his assault, this time with superpowers provided by his uniform, such as the ability to fly and manipulate electricity. Bison begins to beat Guile around, until Guile discovers Bison's weak spot: he is defenseless while flying towards him. Guile uses his opportunity to kick Bison straight into a huge screen in the monitor room, and he ends up hanging from the broken glass, unable to move as the energy shield turns unstable. Bison perishes in the ensuing explosion, but a post-credits scene reveals that the life-support machine survived, and it promptly resurrects Bison once again. This version of Bison appears in the arcade game based on the film, Street Fighter: The Movie, as well as in the home video game bearing the same title.
Street Fighter was Raúl Juliá's final film role, and is dedicated to his memory. Although the film was a critical flop, Juliá's performance was universally praised and he was nominated for a posthumous Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor. While the movie makes no mention of Bison's nationality, Bison speaks with a perfect English accent, hinting at a possible British upbringing and also possibly explaining his desire to conquer England first with his supersoldier army. In the Japanese dub of the film, he is still called "M. Bison" as opposed to "Vega", his name in the original Japanese versions of the series. For the role, Raúl Juliá had studied various dictators, and as such mimicked many of their hand movements and body language to incorporate into the M.Bison character, most notably Benito Mussolini's hand gestures, and Adolf Hitler's love of art.
This version of Bison is extremely vain when it comes to world domination, cares less about his previous rampages and massacres, to the point of remarking that for him, the assault on Chun-Li's village and subsequent murder of her father was merely another Tuesday.
The Nostalgia Critic reviewed Street Fighter along with Mortal Kombat, and praised Raúl Juliá's performance. Juliá's M. Bison is part of a running joke on the The Nostalgia Critic; when the Critic mentions the plot of a film involving someone trying to take over the world, a clip from Street Fighter is shown showing M. Bison turning his head and shouting "Of course!"
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Bison appears in the movie as the main antagonist, opposite Chun-Li. He is played by Neal McDonough. This version of Bison dons a business suit rather than his traditional costume. He is also a Nazi and an Irish international businessman based in Thailand who can speak multiple languages instead of a military man/international drug dealer. Bison was abandoned by his Irish missionary parents in Thailand. "Shadoloo" as it is referred to, is a multi-leveled criminal syndicate which is a plutarchy of an unknown number of powerful crime families that have connections ranging from the locale mafiosos of the countries to even factions of the government (in the film's current case, the department of commerce). Though Bison's full goals are not divulged, his first order of business is to buy up an entire waterfront district and restructure it specifically for the wealthy and elite, thus further adding to the funding of his operations. He first appears as a simple mob head, only to skyrocket through the ranks after killing off a number of allied families and usurping their power for himself. He is depicted as being uncomfortably upbeat about everything, as he usually reveals shortly afterward that he is in control of almost every element of espionage and intrigue he is involved with. There is a moderately less supernatural background with Bison than there was with his video game and anime counterparts. In a backstory told by Gen, Bison sacrificed his pregnant wife in the bowls of a supernatural cave, where he imbued his daughter, Rose, with the goodness of his soul, thus ridding himself of any sense of conscience. Bison's raw physical power is seen to borderline on supernatural, as he usually only required one punch or kick to send an opponent hurtling through the air. His power is first exhibited during his introduction where his spiritual energy was so immense, it heralded his arrival by a soft breeze inside Chun-Li's family manor. He is killed at the end of the film in front of his daughter when Chun-Li twists his head around by use of her legs.
In That Guy with the Glasses' 2-Year Anniversary, the Nostalgia Critic dresses up as M. Bison from the movie when he takes over Mollosia. He even makes fun of the "Of course!" joke, and quotes a line from Bison during the fight with Dr. Insano, as well as acquiring his electromagnetism. He also has the TGWTG logo on his hat in place of the Shadaloo skull.
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie
Bison is featured prominently in the Japanese anime film Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. He is the main antagonist of the film and a shared enemy of several other fighters, mainly Chun-Li and Guile. Bison is voiced by Takeshi Kusaka in the Japanese version and Tom Wyner in the English dub.
Bison's organization, Shadaloo (here named "Shadowlaw"), is stated as being an international terrorist organization. It employs a great deal of sci-fi technology, including cyborgs (known as "Monitor Cyborgs") which pose as human while broadcasting live images to Bison.
Intrigued by Ryu's fighting skill after seeing him defeat Sagat, Bison orders a nationwide manhunt to capture and brainwash him to work for Shadowlaw. Ken, Ryu's old friend, is brainwashed by Bison's "Psycho Power" after the terrorist leader easily outmatches him in a fight. Shortly after, Bison instructs Ken to attack Ryu. Ken complies due to Bison's Psycho Power control over him. Ken cannot recognize Ryu. Ken viciously beats Ryu until Ken realizes that Ryu is his friend. Bison nearly kills Ken with a large energy shot of Psycho Power. Bison toys with Ryu, while Ken shakes off Bison's attack through meditation. Ken and Ryu challenge Bison simultaneously, but are pummelled by Bison until Ryu catches him off guard and topples him. The fight ends when both Ryu and Ken launch a combined Hadouken attack which hits Bison and carries him into the sky, but suddenly bounces back into Bison's VTOL fighter jet, with Bison himself nowhere to be seen. His survival is confirmed when he reappears at the helm of a semi truck bearing down on Ryu before the film ends. Ryu leaps towards the truck ready for another battle, and the end credits roll.
Street Fighter II V
Bison appears in the second half of the anime series, voiced again by Tom Wyner for the Animaze English dub, but sporting a blue uniform instead of his traditional red one. While in the ADV Films dub he was voiced by Markham Anderson and then later on by Mike Kleinhenz. He is still the leader of Shadowlaw, which now has many subdivisions, such as the Ashura Syndicate. When Ashura is destroyed by Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Fei-Long and Dorai (Chun-Li's father), Bison orders Dorai murdered and Ken kidnapped and held ransom after witnessing him defeat Vega in a very dramatic fashion, and later sends his henchman, Zangief, to capture Ryu, whom Bison had seen on the beach practising Hadou, and have him brainwashed. In the meantime, Bison succeeds in brainwashing both Chun-Li and Ryu and setting them on Guile and Ken, respectively, after killing Charlie. In the end, Ken manages to break Bison's control on Ryu, and the two take on Bison (like in the animated movie). Bison, clearly the superior fighter, easily handles both Ryu (who is momentarily K.O'd.) and Ken, until they discover that Bison can be damaged using their Hadou powers. Ken is knocked unconscious while Ryu battles on. Bison prepares to finish off Ryu with a Psycho Crusher, but is intercepted by Ken using his Hadou Shoryu Reppa. Ken's strength is depleted and Ryu takes on Bison one-on-one who is still woozy from Ken's attack. Ryu uses a series of moves to defeat a defenseless Bison. Utilizing a Guile-esque Somersault Kick, followed by a Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku, and after with a Shoryuken, Ryu then finishes by firing a Hadouken which hits Bison square in the chest and sends him flying into the sidereal space, destroying him.
Street Fighter: The Animated Series
Voiced by Richard Newman, Bison's portrayal in the US Street Fighter series is considerably close to his portrayal in both the live-action film and significant aspects of the video game. His primary nemesis is Guile, as in the movie. In the first season, Bison's attack on Chun-Li's village (referenced in the live-action film), appears in a flashback, revealing how he killed Chun-Li's father, who attacked him in futile defiance. Bison later reveals to a vengeful Chun-Li that he also slew his own father in cold blood, and remarks that she doesn't see him whining about it as she does.
The second season explored Bison's relationship with Cammy in the same manner as the games and the anime movie, with Cammy being triggered as a "sleeper agent" in the opening episodes. She discovers the truth about Bison in the series finale, but not before she reestablishes her romantic bond with him.
Bison seems to worship a Thai deity that instructs him on what to do with his resources, and in the finale, Bison convinces himself he has been told to destroy the Earth through the launching of nuclear missiles. A final battle with Guile, Cammy, Chun-Li, Sagat, and Cammy's former teammates concludes with Bison being eaten alive by his own computers, aborting the launch and seemingly killing him.
Bison is heavily featured as the primary antagonist of the UDON-published Street Fighter comic series. His story is mostly unchanged from the official version, portraying him as the dark and sinister leader of Shadaloo. He operates behind a veil of various agents and associates who do his bidding as well as having numerous enemies (such as Chun-Li and Guile). Bison is the student of a mysterious woman whose tribe has mastered the art of Soul Power. After being exiled from further training, he studies the forbidden texts of their people and learns the nature of Psycho Power, the negative half of Soul Power. He returns to her later in life and uses this power to massacre his mentor's tribe, leaving only one survivor (Rose). Like the official story, Bison has a great interest in Ryu after watching him defeat Sagat at the last Street Fighter tournament and observing the nature of the Satsui no Hadō. At the end of the first series of comics, Bison is defeated in a battle with his own creation (Charlie, who had been empowered with Shadaloo technology) when Charlie sacrifices himself to plunge Bison into a river. Bison survives the fall and his body is reanimated with the Psycho Drive, whereupon he resumes his role as Shadaloo dictator. As the comic moves forward, Bison announces his "Street Fighter II" tournament, the second global gathering of martial artists, and is documented in the Street Fighter II Turbo series of comics. The tournament itself runs smoothly up until what would have been the final battle between Ryu and Bison. At this point, Akuma intervenes (much like the official story) and demands a fight with Ryu. Bison senses the amount of great power Akuma carries and attempts to subdue him in combat, only to be halted by Rose's spirit who restrains him while Akuma delivers the final blow and seals Bison's soul for good.