The issue with Laura's skin tone In Street Fighter V

street fighter v laura

A member of staff at the Japanese publication Famistu delivered the goods a little earlier than expected as leaked images for Street Fighter V's latest newcomer briefly popped up on their website, the young Brazilian woman whose name is Laura was leaked in some candid screenshots squeezing the life out of a powerless Ryu. The moment the team laid eyes on her, there was instantly a mixed reaction to Laura's initial appearance, most notably her melanin deficiency and thus disappointment soon set in.

Why the disappointment? Well the reason why Laura's skin tone is an issue is because for one she doesn't exactly stand out amongst her current SFV peers from a complexion perspective, Laura's practically the same skin colour as Ryu, we think a darker skin tone would have given Laura the extra oopmh she needed to really outshine the competition, as opposed to Capcom taking the safe route and conjuring up a character that looks similar to say Christie from the Tekken series and Jacqui Briggs from Mortal Kombat X.  The point is this was a reasonable opportunity to have a female with a darker complexion in the game without it being seemingly pandering, considering the country she comes from. Rather, they went with lighter skin.

Now don't get us wrong Laura looks absolutely stunning and there's nothing wrong with her skin tone, but in regards to fighting games you can't deny the fact that Colorism has played a huge part especially when designing women of colour. We feel that Capcom had the chance to finally create a dark skin female character who doesn't have blue eyes and straight white hair. There's only been one black female character in the history of Street Fighter and this could've been chance to finally create one that doesn't look so ambiguous that her appearance has people debating her ethnicity or race.

Street fighter v laura dark skin

Elena shouldn't be seen as the only black girl representing the Street Fighter series, especially since she falls into the stereotypical trope of black women with white silver hair, a hairstyle popular with black girls in Japanese animation and fictional media. The Kenyan princess lacks African features and instead was designed to have light blue eyes and straight white hair, features non-existent to the people of Kenya. Which is why this was the perfect opportunity for Capcom to introduce a black female character with actual African features and a generous amount of melanin.

Our problem isn't that Laura is light skin, our problem is that dark skin representation for women of colour is non-existent and this was the perfect opportunity for Capcom to change that stigma with Laura, a Brazilian woman from a country with the second largest black population in the world. And while Brazil is a melting pot of different races, that's not the point, the point is dark skin representation for women is at an all time low in fighting games and Capcom could have reversed that by simply giving Laura a darker skin tone, that's our gripe, pure and simple.

The Solution

Now we could continue to address why we feel Laura being light skin doesn't really break any barriers but instead let's come up with a solution, several in fact. Of course the initial design of Laura is already released but that doesn't mean this problem can't be neutralized.

1. Darken Laura's Skin Tone

street fighter v laura vs ryu

No character's design in SFV is set in stone so the most evident solution would be to alter Laura's melanin and give her slightly darker skin, this is something that wouldn't be hard to do, it's simply a palette swap, thus trading in the light complexion for a brown skin tone. This is the best possible method and would instantly resolve any issue we had with Laura originally. Mind you since Laura has already been revealed to the public we wouldn't imagine this happening any time soon, besides we still like Laura's current look, let's move onto the next option..

2. Alternate Colours

Street fighter v alternate colors

While not the most efficient solution, it's still one nonetheless. Bringing back alt colours for characters would be a step in the right direction. In Street Fighter IV there are 10 colours available to choose from which alter not only the character's attire but in most cases also their skin tone. With this option selectable, Laura's skin tone could be darkened by simply selecting one of the 10 selectable alt colours.

3. Debut an African American Woman

african american female street fighter

If Laura's appearance is set in stone for Capcom's character designers, then why not debut an African American female character, if there's no chance that Laura's skin tone will change then why not make this the opportunity to introduce a female African American female character for Street Fighter V? There's been over 17 American characters in Street Fighter history but there's never been an African American women. This would be the best solution, a thick and curvy dark skinned AA female character with a mixed martial arts or urban brawling fighting style.

4. Bring back Elena

street fighter v elena

It was great to see Elena again in USFIV and we'd love to see her return for Street Fighter 5, if all else fails then bringing back Elena would be another solution, while it wouldn't change Laura's skin tone it at least gives us the chance to play as a female character with lots of melanin to boot.

5 Colour Edit

street fighter v color edit

The one thing which was cool about Street Fighter X Tekken besides the crossover and hearing the Tekken characters speak English was the ability to edit your character's skin tone, hair, attire and accessories with the neat Colour editing feature, which took it one step further than the Alternate Colour system. This would also resolve the issues with Laura, allowing players the freedom to choose whether they want Laura to be light or dark skin.

What we like about Laura

Now before you write this off as an attempt to bash the character before she's found any foot, let's just say we're still digging Laura, Despite our critical analysis Capcom has done an exceptional job with her but here's why we particularly like her so far..

  • The hair 

Laura's half n' half cornrow hairstyle is exceptionally fresh and gives off a heavy afrocentric vibe, it also suggests that Capcom did a little more research into this character rather than pulling straws out of a top hat. Laura's hair was one of the first things we noticed, it also helped us decide Laura's race.

  • The attire

Laura's bright and vibrant clothes gives off not only a sensual vibe but they also remind us of another Afro Brazilian character, that's right.. Eddy Gordo from Tekken. Laura's outfit has the sexy Eddy Gordo-esque colour exterior look going on and it really compliments her skin, not to mention she has huge breasts which her outfit doesn't exactly hide. We're also loving the colourful wrist bracelets and martial arts belt around her waistline.

  • She's a shocker 

Blanka isn't the only Brazilian character to send shock waves down your spine as Laura also has access to lightning-based attacks, which has us wondering what exactly do they put in the drinking water of Brazil? While a played out and overstated ability for black characters in anime and comics, she certainly looks electrifying.

  • Her fighting style

Laura's brawling style is another interesting aspect to her character, it appears she uses jiu-jitsu as her main fighting style, with some capoeira thrown in, from the screenshots it appears that Laura has several lethal grab moves that imitates the fighting art of jiu-jitsu.


Conclusionstreet fighter v laura

As stated above, from the looks of the screenshots and the variety of strikes and clutches she's using, it seems as though her fighting style could well be Brazilian jiu-jitsu as opposed to the series' other Brazilian mainstays Blanka, who practices his version of capoeira and Sean Matuda who imitates Ken's Ansatsuken style. It seems as though Laura could share some similarities with Blanka as she also appears to have electricity-based attacks, including what seems to be some kind of projectile attack. 

The direction Capcom has been taking Street Fighter V is impressive and Laura is still an awesome and gorgeous character with so much potential but it had to be said, colorism shouldn't be an issue in 2015 whether it's in a video game, movie or real life, and unfortunately that's the vibe we've got with Capcom's latest Brazilian newcomer, nonetheless she's a breath of fresh air and really gives the roster some much needed colour. We can't wait to try out Laura and will definitely be giving her a chance.

Laura is Sean Matsuda's sister.. (Updated: 10/10/15)



It's been revealed that Laura's last name is Matsuda, indicating that she's related to Street Fighter III's original shoto Sean Matsuda. The relation? She's supposedly his older sibling, and to be honest this only further elevates our issue with Laura's fair skin tone, since they're related why couldn't she be a similar shade to her younger brother? While Sean and Laura have mixed ancestry and complexions can differ between siblings, it still doesn't excuse the fact that she's 15 shades lighter than him, where's the logic?

We believe it would have made more sense for Laura to resemble Sean due to the continuity of the plot and context of her character. Yun and Yang aren't immensely different complexions. Ken's child Mel heavily resembles his father and yet Laura looks nothing like Sean, so it appears she has almost been whitewashed. There is still a certain degree to how much the complexion differs between siblings and in this case it doesn't make much sense. Laura's light complexion distinctly sets her apart from her brother and she could easily pass for a character with no family ties to the Street Fighter universe. (P.S we sincerely hope that Sean Matsuda is not whitewashed.)

74 comments:

  1. Laura is fiiiiiiiiine, I'm sure they'll give her some darker skin tones for her alts like they did with Elena in SF4 or Hugo in SF3.

    ReplyDelete
  2. She didn't finish getting her hair done. Still I agree, colorism is no joke in Japan.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great article! I don't know why people are surprised Laura is lightskinned in a series where all the Asians are essentially white and the black characters are fairly lightskinned with inexplicably blue eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. zMaverickHunter05/10/2015, 02:16

      That's correct, Balrog has blue eyes in Street Fighter IV and he's African American.

      Delete
    2. R. Mika is Japanese with blonde hair and blue eyes...

      Delete
    3. Balrog might have blue eyes but there's no questioning his race, we know he's black. Now R.Mika on the hand, I thought that chick was American.

      Delete
    4. There are blacks with blue and green eyes. They are very rare, but they do exist.

      Delete
    5. And asian' skin is white just like "white" people' skin, even if "white" people aren't exactly real white, I mean, white like a piece of white paper, literally.

      They aren't "yellow". This "yellow color" thing is just a dumb way to "differentiate" race skins... :-/

      Delete
  4. She's just Brazilian, period. She's mixed like the majority of the country. To what level, who knows? She looks more Brazilian than Mika or Karin (or Ryu) look Japanese, that's for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The booty on R Mika definately isn't japanese LoL..she a fantasy character though ,race /realism rarely apply in anime , more about the archetype and random colors .

      Delete
    2. First of all Brazilian isn't a race. It is a nationality. I'm brazilian, and I happen to be afro brazilian. So there is no period. Brazilians are mixed with many things some more than others, but there are those who are more afro than anything, and we are proud of it. SO yes i can call my self black BECAUSE I AM. and Laura should be too, but sadly no.

      Delete
  5. Laura looks better darkskin imo.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Laura almost certainly has ties to Sean Matsuda, and I think Sean has a good chance of being eventual DLC. So I think Brazil will have a couple of shades represented when it's all said and done.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Eddy Gordo anyone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't you mean Christie monteiro? Because that's what I think Capcom were going for when they were in the board room.

      Delete
    2. I'm really going to enjoy using Laura! I'm a very big Eddy Gordo fan myself; considering how "Street Fighter" is my favorite Fighting game, Laura should be right up my alley!

      Delete
    3. She does seems like a female Eddy Gordo.

      Delete
    4. I don't mean Christie. I mean Eddy, but female.

      Delete
    5. She doesn't look like Eddy Gordo at all, for one she doesn't have dreadlocks and Eddy is darker, so NO she doesn't look like Eddy, now if you had said she looks similar to Christie then you may have had a point.

      Delete
    6. Combo Dropper05/10/2015, 02:57

      Eddy/Christie= full Capoeira

      Laura= Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

      Delete
  8. She looks like the Brazilian stereotype, tbh. Light skinned, hair with volume, sharp eyes and nose, she's beautiful overall.I don't have a problem with it, it's not like the series is known for their realism, could have have definitely given her darker skin though.

    This post is coming from a Brazilian-American, if that means anything. I'd be interested in a darker skin color as well,

    ReplyDelete
  9. She looks like the Brazilian stereotype, tbh. Light skinned, hair with volume, sharp eyes and nose, she's beautiful overall.I don't have a problem with it, it's not like the series is known for their realism, could have have definitely given her darker skin though.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Capcom adds one dark skinned female character to the Street Fighter universe every 17 years. Welcome to the party, Laura. Elena has been waiting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dark skinned? She's lighter skinned than Ryu.

      Delete
    2. In the picture of Laura choking out Ryu in a jiu-jitsu hold she's almost exactly the same complexion as him.

      Delete
  11. Shes another oversexualized female character and almost looks white. Shes brazilian. At least make her a little darker like Sean, It's too bad her design is disappointing because she looks fun to play.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't find her sexualized at all... I do wish she was a bit darker though.

      Delete
  12. I agree with her skin being a bit darker but you know how the japanese feel about dark skin and beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree with you wholeheartedly in that I wish Laura had darker skin and wasn't "white washed".
    But with the way gaming is today and how HARD it is to get a woman of color in a game, ESPECIALLY a fighter.... I am just happy to get a women of SOME color in a fighter.

    Though as alot of you have said... I really would have liked if Laura was a darker skin tone to make the diversity of the SFV roster more.... diverse. Instead of pink, pink, pink, slightly darker pink, pink, pink, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  14. FalcoThePixel05/10/2015, 02:12

    I admit, I thought her ass would have been a bit bigger and she would have least been brown skin. I was looking forward to it actually. Also, did her outfit really need to be green just because she is from Brazil? I know the colors of the Brazilian flag but--no wait. This is Street Fighter. Forget it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. zMaverickHunter05/10/2015, 02:14

    The issue with black Brazilian people is that they were originally from West African (slave trade... such as cuba, haiti, and the US). So if there was EVER going to be a tradition dark skinned female fighter in Street fighter v... Brazil would've have been the best choice for that to happen barring the US or other West African countries. But since Brazil has the most heritage when it comes to martial arts... its not likely that other black countries will be represented in a fighting game.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is so true. Capcom missed a chance to add a cool Afro-Brazilian female character to Street Fighter. At the moment, Elena is the only black female fighter, and they made her very silly both in looks and personality.

    ReplyDelete
  17. There's one black woman in the Street Fighter series and shes white washed. All the black men are awful stereotypes or a joke like Sean. The only decent chars in this game happen to be Asian.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Capcom definitely missed the opportunity to include a character of color given that they are using character from a nation where the majority of people are nonwhite, Laura could have at least been more darker in skin tone.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Damn, I'm honestly surprised at how much better Laura looks with dark skin. The brown really pops with the green somehow, Capcom fix this.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I like the darker Laura, she looks cute, it's ashamed that isn't a real thing :(

    ReplyDelete
  21. She is sexy I wish her skin was darker, nah but seriously they could make her tan, Capcom need to make a black female from america too.

    ReplyDelete
  22. There are two people with color out of 16. Rashid and Birdie, I just want her skin to be darker.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I feel like Rashid's skin tone should also be on Necalli and This new chick Laura.

    ReplyDelete
  24. charlie harvey05/10/2015, 20:40

    Yes Laura was one of the characters that I was hoping would look fully black, unless they do introduce another black female character who actually does look black for Street Fighter v and isn't called Elena then I'm going to be disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  25. still though, gotta give Japan some leeway, all they know is what white media allows to be sold internationally (blue eye, straight white hair, thief until civillized by xmen Storm) to them

    the brown representation in Japanese things like Dragonball seem okay i guess, some versions of history actually state that Yogo breathing created Buddha meditation which then created martial arts

    at least she's not like Marvel's Brazillian Sunspot/Robbie DaCosta (the angry always fighting dark skinned man until civillized by long blonde hair, blue eyed Magik/Illyana Rasputin, and later having his dark skin always fighting behavior civillized by long white hair Gidion CEO)

    ReplyDelete
  26. ^^ sorry, Yogaaaaaa

    ReplyDelete
  27. - black Cloak killer being civillized by blonde blue eyed Dagger
    - ex-con black Luke Cage/Powerman being civillized by blue eyed, blonde Iron Fist/Danny Rand
    - black Falcon and blonde blue eyed Captain America/Steve Rogers

    Thank God is seems Capcom isn't reniewing their license with Marvel, hope it stays that way

    ReplyDelete
  28. Perfect. Another article by some american liberal creep trying to push the "diversity" crap on the gaming community. Not only this kind of political stance is a joke, but it seems the guy wants to make determinate judgements on brazilian people based on how black they are or are supposed to be.
    The fighter looks just fine. Brazilians aren't that black, I can say that safely for I am one. Knock it off with this SJW BS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You typed all that nonsense and really said nothing. Dark skinned Black brazilians do exist whether you want to admit it or not. It's because people like you why the lack of diversity in video games is still accepted, the point is that is that apart from Elena who hardly looks 'black' there's been no other black female character and Capcom had the opportunity to finally create one by making Laura darker, now knock it off with your privilege.

      Delete
    2. JÚLIO SILVA07/10/2015, 03:20

      estúpido comentário

      Delete
    3. You might want to check the census OF Brazil sometime. Black Brazilians have make up more than half the country's population for a while now.

      Delete
  29. Júlio Silva07/10/2015, 03:19

    Yes! As an afro Brazilian Laura should have been a much darker complexion for the case of diversity, reason why is because so far sfv roster isn't diverse enough, the majority of characters have blonde hair and fair skin and Laura skin is just about same complexion as Chun li and Ryu and no black features.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Laura's so damn fine looking but I'm in agreement, damn this best mean we're getting Elena or back or something. I'm also loving idea number 3, cmon do it Capcom. Give us an African American female character that looks like Meagan good, Taraji P Henson or Misty Knight from Marvel comics.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I don't understand why they made her so light. Sean better not be whitewashed now thanks to her.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Laura and Sean look nothing alike and people keep on making excuses that sibling don't resemble each other all the time, but like someone else said, they made a conscious decision to make her look like that knowing full well what Sean looks like. I am a bit worried they might whitewash Sean, though I doubt it, cause it'd get massive backlash (and rightfully so).

    ReplyDelete
  33. It would have been great if they made Laura skin a little darker to enhance the similarities to Sean.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Capcom wasted a great opportunity to finally add a 2nd brown skinned female character to the Street fighter series, the only one being Elena.

    ReplyDelete
  35. SF has always been about cultural diversity, not racial diversity.

    Elena, while a step in the right direction and a cool character, has blue eyes and straight white hair. Give Elena an afro and brown eyes and we'll talk, Dudley may or not be Black and has straight hair. Balrog is the worst type of stereotype about Black men (a criminal whose official dislikes are math and hard work). Don't get me started on Birdie, who they made fat..

    You know what I'd like? A regular Black man or woman who is a fighter. No gimmick, no straight hair; just a fighter. Raven in Tekken. Jeffrey in VF. You get the idea...

    This was Capcom's chance to break the negative stereotype surrounding their black characters, which is why it was important to make Laura about the same color as Sean but instead they give her very light skin, I rest my case.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Exactly how I'm feeling with Laura and Street fighter v as a whole, they can correct this mistake by making a black female character from the united states of America who actually looks black, give the character an afro and brown skin.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Will they white wash Sean? Now that he's related to Laura. She's white as daylight. I hope not but I'm not sure what Capcom is thinking. There's literally only one dark skinned female fighter in the entire franchise. We could have gotten another one but they decided to make her pale instead.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Had laura have been a male, and sean's bro instead of his sis.I guarantee he would have been brown like sean.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Honestly... I wouldnt have mind the family ties. But it just seems that they MADE the Laura design/character FIRST... and then decided "hey, wouldn't it be cool if she was Sean's elder sister?!". There is just no thought behind it other than the fact of...

    BRAZIL = Siblings

    ReplyDelete
  40. I am disappointed that capcom values sales over racial diversity and representation. This will be the first SF I don't complete my order of.

    They need to darken her skin. So far, the only brotherly colored character is birdman, but he is a joke character... And not representative at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brazilians are generally multiracial you know.

      Delete
  41. Whether or not Sean and Laura vastly different appearances is genetically possible is hardly the issue seeing as these are fictional characters we're talking about but there was a conscious decision by the designers to not give Laura dark skin or any noticeable African features when designing her despite there relation.

    This is the same series were a girl from Kenya has a lighter skin tone and almost no African features compared to the male US born Balrog, it's just more painfully overt now with Sean and Laura being siblings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't get it. Brazil is full of multiracial people and these two's appearances are suppose to reflect that. Lots of mulattos have Laura's complexion.

      I'm from a generational mixed race family. My mom and her sister have the exact same complexions as these two.

      Delete
  42. It definitely doesn't make much sense. They don't even have the same features. Sean is pretty much black at least in look even though he isn't 100%. Laura on the other hand looks white. Has white features etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Google "twins who look different" and see what images pop up.

      Delete
  43. thought Sean was a Blasian, but his sister does not. Wanted Street Fighter had a decent capoeira (such as the Capoeira Fighter 3 or Eddy Gordo), just have a bizarre creature that does not use a blow would want and an African (only if it is from another dimension) passing a mistaken idea of capoeira (its roots are African, but she was raised in Brazil)

    ReplyDelete
  44. A good % of Brazilians aren't African apparently the OP isn't aware of that lol.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Don't get me wrong, but in brazil there are a lot of blonde girls. yes, blonde, and very beautiful that don't have any to envy to their black female pairs

    ReplyDelete
  46. I just found this article...and it's bull. So...Laura's skin tone is an issue? Why? She's Sean's older sister, why can't she have a slightly lighter skin tone than his? My older brother and I have the exact same parents, but his complexion is darker than mine. My kids also all have slightly different skin tones than each other. So I guess they aren't related and my brother isn't my brother despite in both situations...all of the related siblings have the same two parents.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Think the point is that Capcom could include a black woman .but Japan has it racism to not the same as the Vurlent racism that will get you shot in the state but it there . Believe I remmeber one sShoujo peach girl about how everyone hated her due to her deep tan . And Miss Japan who half black has expirenced all sort of racism while in japan . So Capcom and alot of japanese games have an internal prejudices toward dark skin characters and dark skin people . But that no different than china or korea to be fair . Think that more important to focus on that .

    ReplyDelete
  48. Think that more important to focus on that * oppos got cutt off that there a global whitness = good effect . I understand stylization and there making attractive woman but they could made Elena black and still make her cute and attractive. And there no conflict between Anime style and black character you could include the multi colored hair and still have a character look stylistically from a certain part of the world . It not impossible it just not very common in Japanese art , more common in korean art to be honest , Korean art is where I'll see asian character that are anime but still look asian.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I'm glad they made her the skin tone she is! I'm Bi racial African/European and shes the same colour as me. and I know plenty of Brazilians who are a similar colour as Laura. Biracial people do not look the same as Black or white people typically... they physically look different from black people and you can tell. It's only in America where the one drop rule exists, that lump so many diverse humans under one generic name... Black... I rarely ever see Bi racial people depicted as Biracial in video games... they usually draw them looking African american and just call them Bi racial. so it's good to finally see a real bi racial looking character in a game. don't get me wrong there are some Bi racial people that come out looking Black or white. but typically they come out looking 50 50. also in TV shows, where a black and white people have a babies and the baby comes out looking fully African is weird.Bi racial kids need heroes to!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, this is complete and utter nonsense. And I doubt you actually know any Brazilians, since you'd know that the "one drop rule" is even WORSE with Brazilians. Since they have more mixed race classifications, based on white/black percentage, than the US does. By far.

      Delete
  50. She is a mulatto woman, she is not a black woman. Mulattos may have different color shades and hair types, even in the same family. Mulato is mulatto, black is black and white is white - and that's how Brazilians understand.

    ReplyDelete

 

Welcome

Welcome to TheZonegamer blog which is primarily focused on video game culture, the latest games and racially controversial topics within the video game industry. Feel free to join the discussion and community by commenting on and sharing the latest blog articles. Join us and become apart of TheZonegamer community.

Follow by Email

Youtube