Yup, I’m going after one of Street Fighter’s OGs. Dhalsim has been around since Street Fighter II and showed off Capcom’s history of depicting a nationality after just hearing about it in passing one time.
Even Dhalsim’s name is problematic. You’ve never met a Dhalsim, have you? You haven’t. Do you know why? Because when trying to think of a name for this character, they took a random word from an Indian restaurant near Capcom’s studios. It means “lentils and beans.” They just took the first damn word they thought looked cool.
He’s stretchy because the people who designed him had a vague understanding of yoga practitioners and their occasional flexibility. And can we just talk about he’s adorned with small skulls? Comedian Pete Holmes actually covered all the contradictions perfectly during his Street Fighter Red Tape segment when he interviewed Dhalsim.
When creating the fourth Street Fighter, Seth Killian wanted to create an “outlandish” character. Something like Blanka or Dhalsim that weren’t realistic and very goofy — an oddball.
Originally the idea was to create a character called…Karate Clown. But as time went on they realized that that wasn’t goofy enough. So they did what anyone looking for joke material does, they utilized an important Turkish tradition that’s almost five centuries old.
Hakan is a Turkish oil wrestler — in theory. If he is though, he’s the worst Turkish oil wrestler in the world. First off, there’s no hitting or kicking in Turkish oil wrestling, so he’d be disqualified almost immediately. But secondly, in Turkish oil wrestling, you lose if your back touches the ground. Immediately. But in Hakan’s second Ultra Move, the Oil Combination Hold, he literally spends part of the move clearly lying on his back. He lost.
So this was basically trying to come up with a silly character and deciding an ancient Turkish tradition with a ton of respect woven in would be a sillier thing for a fighter than the fighter being a clown.
Alright, check out the last page for the final two. I promise you won’t expect the last one.