Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

So a year or so ago, a friend of mine and I stayed up late night playing Street Fighter II on the Xbox Live service. Everyone and their mother has played this game to DEATH. But for some reason, we still love it.

I remember that everybody loved Blanka when that game came out. But after a few years it really just came down to everyone playing the same characters: Ryu, Ken and Chun Li. Maybe once in a while you met someone who worked with Guile, Sagat or even Vega. And you could go ahead and be that guy and play Bison and just slam back and forth across the screen. But you know.

In the middle of a slew of very close matches, I decided to mix it up a little bit. I went with Honda.

After literally YEARS of fireballing and upercutting the hell out of each other back and forth, my friend was probably unprepared for my fat sumo self to come flying right at him across the screen just before I preceeded to hand-slap the crap out of him, up close.

When the fight was over, my friend responded: Wow.

To which I simply said: Honda is under-rated.

This became a running gag for a brief period, where I often just stated Honda is under-rated in appropriate situations, as if the meaning of the phrase was: This is actually a good option that most people wouldn't think to use themselves.

The thing is? Since then Honda has become my favorite character of the entire Street Fighter series.

I don't know why. It's sort of like he isn't quite menacingly huge enough, like Zangief, and he isn't quite fast enough, like Blanka. He's just this short, fat guy that can propel his body across the screen at you on command. And that's just become my favorite strategy in that game.

In the spirit of celebrating this somewhat outlandish but under-appreciated Street Fighter, I went ahead and dug up a little material on Honda throughout the Street Fighter series. By now, Capcom's fighting game has expanded into a wealth of media including mangas, movies and more (did you know White Wolf publishing had a Street Fighter II role playing game? That's right: the guys who make Vampire and Werewolf, and all that stuff? Dead serious here.) Their characters have really become their own universe filled with its own mythology and storylines.

Digging through a lot of Street Fighter comics and so on, you find some interesting stuff. Here are a couple of cool bits about Honda worth knowing:

1. Honda has been training to be a Sumo wrestler since he was a small child.

2. Honda's reason for entering the original tournament was ACTUALLY to investigate the use of illegal drugs among his own Sumo students and trainees. He traced the source of the drugs to Bison's organization, Shadaloo. This makes Honda a GOOD guy, basically, right up there with Guile and Chun Li, as he's really got just as good a reason to take Bison down as everybody else does.

3. While Honda rocks the face paint during the fights, he actually takes it off and moonlights on the side as a detective looking into Shadoloo. So he actually has a bit of a secret identity thing going on.

3. Street Fighter Alpha fans will recall that Honda actually fought Sodom from the Final Fight series. Sodom tried to recruit Honda and other Sumo wrestlers into a new incarnation of the Mad Gear gang. Honda promptly whoops Sodom.

4. More from the Street Fighter Alpha series: Honda and Zangief teamed up to trash one of Bison's bases and Honda actually ends up rescuing a bunch of Bison's dolls, the women that are pre-programmed to obey his every command (like Cammy).

So I'm just SAYIN'- there's more to this guy than there seems. You know how IDW does those Transformers: Spotlights, comics? I want a Spotlight: Honda comic from UDON. For some reason, I just want a huge exhibition on how bizarrely kind of awesome he really is.