Having stood on the sidelines since her debut in Street Fighter Alpha 3, R. Mika returns in Street Fighter V. As a wrestler, her arsenal of moves would surely make Hulk Hogan proud. She also didn’t come to this fight alone, as her tag team partner Nadeshiko swoops in from time-to-time to lend a helping hand (or butt). Does she have what it takes to make a run at the championship belt?
At her core, R. Mika is a grappler. While she certainly has the ability to pound people with her punches and kicks, she really wants to smash you to the ground with one of her three command grabs. The first is the Brimstone, a body slam that leaves her opponent directly at her feet. By staying this close, she has the opportunity to apply pressure as soon as her opponent wakes up. The second grab is the Rainbow Typhoon. Grabbing them by their legs, R. Mika twirls them around before launching them across the screen. This is a great way to either create some breathing room between you and an aggressive attacker, or to throw your opposition into the corner.
Last but not least is my favourite, the Wingless Airplane. Leaping into the skies, she snags her foe out of mid-air and slams them to the pavement. What makes this move particularly special is that you can combo into it in a number of different ways. Where possible, this slam is an excellent way to end a combo.
There is, however, some huge caveats to her grabs. If she whiffs her air grab, she’s vulnerable in the air and on the ground. Worse yet are her ground grabs. Both of them start up slow and have a ton of recovery on whiff. Also, you’re going to have to be close to point-blank range for the grab to connect. Basically, if you miss, you’re a sitting duck. With no way of confirming into a ground grab, you better have a really good read on your opposition before reaching out.
Besides her devastating grabs, she can also smash your face in with her butt. The Shooting Peach does great damage and the EX version is a multi-hitting attack. Be careful though, as the move isn’t safe on block, so don’t wildly throw it out there.
Normal attacks are generally not the greatest for grapplers, but she has some really useful normals in her arsenal. Standing medium punch is a Ric Flair inspired chop to the chest, which opens the door for a myriad of combo possibilities. She can link the standing medium punch into a standing heavy punch and finish things off a Shooting Peach. She can also link into her command medium punch, which is a clap move followed by an Irish Whip.
Just like in wrestling, R. Mika throws her opponent towards the corner. If they hit the corner, they’ll bounce off the wall and stagger forward for a bit before falling. During that stunned phase, you can attack them for even more damage. If you time it just right, you can slip under your opponent with a crouching heavy punch, putting you in a position to attack them from the other side for a tricky reset.
As her V-Skill, R. Mika pulls out a microphone to cut a promo. The longer she talks, the more powerful her next grab becomes. If she’s given the time to complete her full speech, her next grab will do 100% damage. Odds are, no one will allow her to charge up that long, but since she can absorb one hit during her speech, she can likely squeeze in a few words for an incremental gain. When you let go of the medium attack buttons, she stops talking and tosses the mic to the ground. Players can get hit by the mic on the way down, though its limited range and damage make it pretty useless as an attack. Time it carefully as well, as her recovery can’t be cut short by dashing or attacking.
With a fully charged V-Meter, she can call in Nadeshiko for a Marvel vs. Capcom style assist attack. By holding left or right on the joystick when you hit the heavy attacks, Nadeshiko will sail in from the side to perform a powerful dropkick attack. If your joystick in a neutral state, Nadeshiko drops from the top of the screen for a body splash. You can even delay Nadeshiko’s timing by holding the buttons down.
As a raw attack, it’s not particularly useful. Regardless of which direction she comes in from, you still just have to hold back to block it. Instead, it’s far more valuable as a combo extender or mix-up tool. Once you lamd a hit confirm, it’s easy to call Nadeshiko in to add an extra hit to your combo. Or, you can delay her attack and grab your opponent as they block in anticipation of Nadeshiko.
Last but not least in her arsenal is her Critical Art. It’s a grab move that ultimately ends with her and Nadeshiko crushing their opponent’s head with their butts. Besides doing a ton of damage, it breaks a fundamental Street Fighter rule in that you can combo into it. Having that option available to you makes the move far more useful.
R. Mika is a lot of fun to play as. Unlike other big-bodied grapplers that plod along, she’s highly mobile with a great set of normal moves to attack with. By using just combos that end with her butt attack, she’s a threat. Add in the command grabs and she has the potential to be a monster in the right hands. Be careful though, as a missed command grab can be absolutely disastrous due to their slow start-up and recovery times. Assuming her character is largely unchanged between now and launch, expect her to be a very popular and worthy adversary.