When Street Fighter Alpha 3 launched back in 1998, it introduced a brand new character to the Street Fighter universe: Rainbow Mika. A strong, over-the-top fighter, the outspoken professional wrestler fit in well with the franchise’s already extensive cast of world warriors and quickly became a fan favorite despite the disparity of her appearances on the competitive circuit.
Apart from R. Mika’s incorporation of suplexes and hipchecks, the enthusiasm of the voice acting provided by Junko Takeuchi went a long way towards entrenching her in the minds of fans. In 2002, Takeuchi would go on to voice Naruto in the anime adaptation of Masashi Kishimoto’s manga series of the same name, an iconic role filled with the same energy she brought to Street Fighter.
With R. Mika’s return in Street Fighter V, many assumed Takeuchi was invited back to resume her previous duties due to the similarities of the voice used in promotional materials. Furthermore, folks were also led to believe Maile Flanagan, who is perhaps best known as Naruto’s voice actor in the English localization, was brought on board to bring R. Mika to life in North America.
While all of this could have added up to a pretty fun story (especially with the similarities between R. Mika and Naruto’s childish Oiroke no Jutsu), details provided to us by Capcom confirm that our ears may not be as good as we think. According to this new information, Hiromi Igarashi has been employed to voice R. Mika in Japanese while Bonnie Gordon is handling English duties. Arc System Works fans may recognize Igarashi’s work in Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-, where she voices newcomer Jack-O.
Whether this is a case of Takeuchi now being either too busy or expensive to reprise her role or Capcom looking to go in a different direction, one thing is for sure: R. Mika is in great hands.
Street Fighter V is scheduled to launch for PlayStation 4 and PC in March 2016.