Street Fighter V Akira Kazama and Oro: FGC First Impressions

After a lot of teasing and hype, they’re finally here, Akira and Oro have joined the rest of the cast as part of the August Summer Update for Street Fighter V, and already they’ve got the Fighting Game Community all excited. Akira Kazama, the biker girl, is making her highly anticipated first appearance in the Street Fighter franchise. First seen in Capcom’s other fighting game series Rival Schools back in the 90s, she has a combo-heavy playstyle and comes with her own stage if you have the Season Pass. The wandering hermit, Oro, is another returning SFIII character who’s so strong he limits himself by fighting one-handed and carrying a turtle with the other hand.

The two new characters have very different playstyles as well. Akira is a little more suited for beginner players and those looking to play a close-range game, and she even has a couple of long-range moves to help keep her opponents from straying too far. Oro has retained some of his SFIII kit with a few new additions and is a powerhouse of a character; whilst a little more complex to play than Akira, he’d be the perfect character to pick up for the more experienced Street Fighter player.

As part of the FGC First Impressions series, I spoke with a variety of different people from the Fighting Game Community and asked them about their initial thoughts and opinions about the two newest additions to Street Fighter V.

 

This is what the experts had to say:

WSO Logan (FGC Commentator and Host)

“I really enjoy the designs of both Akira and Oro. The extra time taken to ensure they are complete is really showing as they seem very well fleshed out.

Akira, for me, seems to be reminiscent of Karin in that she has solid groundplay, which confirms into good damage and corner carry. Her V Trigger 1 allows for some really fun setups. Despite her V skill and special moves, I think she can still have problems with projectiles. Her frame data and push-back on block is certainly not as favourable as Karin’s, and I think this will ultimately hamper her success. I think as she stands she will be a fun secondary for players to utilise.

Oro, however, is still very much unexplored. He has very obviously good matchups against the bigger grapplers due to his projectile and V skill. And he has a lot to still be explored with his V Trigger 2. In a way, I wish Oro had come sooner because he is the type of character who would really benefit from a long run of exploration and competitive play. Perhaps we still have time left in SFV to unlock his full potential?”

 

Joe Munday (Street Fighter subreddit Mod and Host of The Online Local)

“Akira outright seems like the stronger of the two new characters. She has a great V Trigger with Otoko no Senaka (VT1) and decent ability to build V Meter with V Skill 1, Kiko Rensei. VT1 +  VS1 seems like the right combo for most matchups, even though V Skill 2 (the launcher) is fun, it just doesn’t have the breadth of utility as VS1. It’s early, but I feel like her matchup chart will be similar to Karin’s. She’ll struggle to open up characters with decent zoning tools, but she’ll melt their health when she gets in. Then consider that her V-Trigger is a great way to open up her opponent, similar to how R. Mika utilizes both of her V Triggers. Akira is strong and seems to fit right in with the style of gameplay typical of Street Fighter V, for better or worse.

Oro is still a wildcard. Specifically, the way that all of his juggle points are coded, I fully expect to see some really janky looking stuff from Oro players over the next year. I give it a long run up because “unique” character tech usually doesn’t hit mainstream meta until someone uses him for a major tournament. Oro’s V Skill 1, Onibi, seems like the better V Skill at the moment, but it’s so slow that all of the week 1 tech you see requires a delayed rise or hard knockdown to get anything going.

I could be wrong, but I don’t see V Skill 2, Minomushi, offering as much utility, even when combined with V Trigger 1. Oro might end up being a character whose V system choice is dictated by the matchup. Both of his V triggers are useful but in entirely different ways. Sidebar, seeing his command hit grab catch people from a full screen away has made me very happy. I’m very excited to see F.A.N.G. mains pick him up and mess around with his toolkit.

All of that said, this patch feels like they finished designing Rose. Her pressure and damage have both been buffed slightly, which will definitely help her run away with sets.”

 

Tyrant (Capcom Pro Tour and DBFZ World Tour Commentator and Host of FrameAdvantage)

“Akira plays like a very neutral-based, footsies-style character who rewards confirms and situational awareness with her varied combo routes depending on if the opponent is crouching/standing. She also has a very strong V-System overall!

Oro, on the other hand, seems to be more effective when playing a zoning, keep-away style. He has great space control with his fireball and V-System and can punish you hard if you make a mistake on approach. His V-Trigger 2 also provides some insane combo extensions and mix-up potential, so I feel like we may be seeing a lot of ‘robbery’ factor with him.

Of the two, I have definitely been enjoying Akira more, she seems to suit my playstyle and feels really fun and rewarding to play!”

 

John Guerrero (Assistant Editor for EventHubs and Host of the EventHubs Podcast)

Akira has proven to be one of the most fun DLC additions to Street Fighter V to date. She boasts some particularly powerful neutral tools (walk speed and meaningful hit confirms), and her V-Trigger 1 (Daigo assist) makes for effective mix-ups. Her game plan is straightforward enough but execution of said plan requires a decent bit of Street Fighter experience as you’ll rely on the ability to make single-hit confirmations and dance with precision in and out of your opponent’s reach.

You do have the option to play a somewhat gimmicky game with Akira as her EX Elbow is a safe “just do it” or “skip neutral” move, and her Hotenshu kicks can be used to cheese out hits against opponents who don’t know the frame data. Other characters, like Karin or Cammy, may be a bit better at manipulating neutral and rushing down than Akira, so she might not make it into the top 5 of SF5. That said, I don’t see her being much worse than high mid-tier with her effective blend of honest and sneaky strategy.

Oro is…unique, to say the least. He’s unlike most any other character on the game’s roster and seems to be an odd blend of mid-range threat and up close rush down. His fireballs and V-Skill projectile lead us to believe he’d be more of a zoning type, but it seems the strongest strategies thus far tend toward frustrating opponents at mid-range and then pouncing on them when chaos and emotion causes them to lower their guard.

With his unconventional techniques, I think it’ll be a while yet before we see Oro’s true potential manifest as he’s most certainly not going to appeal to everyone and will take a while for those who do like him to master him.

Both of his V-Triggers make for big time damage, but his Tengu Stone is surely the standout as it serves both to effectively open foes up and dole out massive amounts of pain. The types of players who gravitate toward the old hermit are likely those who enjoy thinking around corners and venturing off more traditional paths. He has a lot of good tools, but being able to use each one at the precise, right moment during the heat of battle won’t be easy.”

 

StaticGorrilla (Competitive Fighting Game Player and Host of DoubleTap)

“Akira, at first glance, seems very shorthanded. She does not have the best ranged normals, a tough time getting in and can seem to be a nostalgia act. However, after digging, she has some solid special moves and oppressive pressure. Uraimon/elbow, despite being -4, has solid pushback, Hotenshu/DP is a solid anti-air. I’ve spent the most time with V-Skill 1 and V-Trigger 2. VS-1 powers up KikoKai, and the airborne can crumple, and VT-2 applies crazy pressure. I can’t wait to get good with V-Trigger 1 because Daigo was one of my favourite characters in Rival Schools. Overall, she seems like a lot of fun and has plenty of combo routes for different styles but may have some trouble getting in without EX elbow. 

As far as Oro, I’ve heard that he has some trouble in match-ups and struggles in this game, but one thing I do know that scares me is Oro’s St. Mk. It’s plus and barely pushes back. He’s never been my favourite character, but I’m sure I will enjoy watching Oro enthusiasts like Nemo in the future and what they come up with.”

 

Bafael (FGC Scientist and Content Creator)

“My general impression is that Capcom are definitely making characters that can’t be learned overnight. Both Oro and Akira feel like really complex characters built around really abstract movement and attacking patterns, which were previously unrepresented in the game. I think with the DLC characters in general, they want to destroy the idea that SFV is simple and sterile, which is a reputation it’s had somewhat since launch.

As for Oro specifically, he probably has the best movement in the game, and only Rashid comes close. As a veteran of SF3, I can say that while Oro is quite different to play in SFV, he has all the same strengths and weaknesses. For example, Oro is quite strong at zoning in both games. In SF3 you typically zone the opponent by standing at mid-range, poking, and being generally non-committal. However, in SFV they’ve removed a lot of his strong poking options. In contrast, in SFV you typically zone the opponent by throwing fireballs, checking dashes with light normals, and watching for clean anti-airs. Oro’s fireball was alright in SF3 but feels MUCH stronger in the SFV engine, and the way they made his super fireball into a meterless V-Skill makes it so he’s STILL very difficult for many characters to approach.

Another strength Oro classically had was anti-air launchers to high damage juggles, which made him extremely dangerous to jump at. He still has a lot of attacks that are very weak to jumps, such as his fireball, VS1, and a lot of his medium/heavy pokes, but he can still do anti-air juggles that deal about double damage compared to most meterless anti-airs (as well as leaving the possibility to spend trigger or super).

His Tengu Stones were insanely broken in SF3 in dozens of ways, and it feels like while there’s more counter-play against them in SFV, they’re still incredibly potent for pressure, mix-ups, and mounting comebacks in general. I’d definitely say it seems like Capcom made something where they didn’t know the upper limits of the utility, and they wanted to see what players could find, and I’ve been getting linked to new Twitter clips with new Tengu resets every day since he came out.

As for weaknesses he maintained, Oro’s still very complex, which might put off new players, and I think he has a high skill floor along with his high skill ceiling, which might make him a bad first character. A lot of his buttons are pretty committal, from his long-duration pokes to his fireballs to both his V-Skills. And characters who can ignore his fireballs or rush him down efficiently are extremely overwhelming. 

I think he’s pretty strong in most defensive matchups, but he might lose to rushdown characters like Cammy, but it’s still very early to say. He does have one of the best reaction punishes for divekicks in the game, with the caveat that you do need to keep charge to use it.

The double jump is similar to SF3 mechanically, where it seems to give certain characters a hard time but not others. It feels very unique in SFV‘s engine but not overly powerful.

Overall, my initial impressions at least, he’s generally pretty honourable to his SF3 appearance, and while he takes some relearning, I do at least feel like I’m playing the same character.”

 

El Chakotay (Pro Street Fighter Player and Streamer)

“I think Akira is very fun, and her strengths are her pressure and rushdown. Her weaknesses seem to be fireball characters, but I think her DP and other tools help with that. I’m unsure where I think she stands with the rest of the cast right now.

Oro seems really cool. I’ve labbed his V Trigger 2 a bit, but I haven’t played him in a real match yet and haven’t really tested him, but from the looks of it, he’s solid right now. I’m unsure where he sits with the rest of the cast, but time will tell.”

 

James Chen (FGC Commentator and Host of UltraChen Podcast)

“Akira seems really strong. I originally thought she was gonna be very straightforward. But it turns out she has a lot of juice to lab. The way they did her Air Combo was FAR more freeform than I expected. I thought it was gonna be really forced, but they let you do everything and built in some very interesting systems into it, like the limiter but still allowing for the Forward + HK ender every time and such, and people finding ways to stay in the air to get Meaty Jump Attacks after Air Combos. She’s super fascinating.

As for Oro, I’ve seen all sorts of opinions on him, but it does seem like he’s very V-Trigger-dependent right now. Tengu Stone almost feels required, but even having said that, I’ve been seeing people using the other V-Trigger still for better opportunities to open people up. But Tengu Stone just results in SOOOO much damage that it feels like it feels really strong. I have the feeling in tournaments, we’ll still mostly be seeing Tengu Stone.

We’ve definitely already seen more success early on with Akira. While she is more complex than I expected, her game plan is still far more straightforwardly Street Fighter V than Oro. I expect to see her in a CPT Top 16 much sooner than we see Oro, but I’ve been surprised before. Especially since JPN 2 is coming up and Nemo has been playing a ton of Oro recently. If anyone is gonna get an Oro into a CPT Top 16, it might be him. That is if he’s legal by then. I’m not 100% sure. Haha!”

 

Jammerz (Fighting Game Commentator and Host of SETS)

“When Capcom announced they were adding more characters to the SFV roster back in 2020, I really wasn’t expecting Oro or Akira to make an appearance. I never played SF3:3rd Strike to know how Oro functioned in that game. But from what I have seen in SFV, he definitely has the potential to be a menace to a few members of the SFV cast. Things like his V-Skill 1, Onibi, his ability to double jump, and of course, his V-Trigger 2, the Tengu Stone.

Akira, on the other hand, is a character who is more accessible for players that are new or currently playing. I feel she is an alternative for people who don’t want to play Karin and want more expansive combos. She has brilliant walk speed, two interesting V-Skills to work with, and of course, her brother, Daigo, as a V-Trigger! All the characters so far in Season 5 have been a breath of fresh air to experiment with. So, huge props to Capcom for that!  

A couple of things that come to mind for Akira’s strengths are, one, her amplified Kiko Kai (the projectile) through VS1. It helps with pressure strings and some combo extensions, the EX version can catch opponents out mid-screen, as well so expect to see that a lot. 

The second thing would be how potent her corner game looks (it feels quite similar to characters like Sakura and Lucia, I feel). Mixing up throws with medium attacks, and of course, baiting defensive throws with her walk speed. Once Akira has you in the corner, things are going to look dire unless you spend resources to get out!

There are other tools like her forward dash, which is pretty quick, as well as EX Urarimon (the elbow attack), which is useful for catching opponents off-guard in the neutral, but I think over time, players will have proper countermeasures in place against these tools.

The first and probably biggest weakness I noticed about Akira was how difficult it can be to deal with traditional projectiles (Ryu’s Hadouken, Guile’s Sonic Boom, etc.). I know she has her EX Kiko Kai and Hotenshu (her rising kick) as options, but the former requires meter, and the latter needs to be perfectly spaced so that it connects properly. The last thing Akira players want is her Hotenshu to completely miss against their opponent, which may result in them losing the round. 

It also seems like Akira will struggle against the zoners in the long run (Dhalsim, Menat, Poison, etc.). With the combination of her having low vitality and the space the zoners can cover in neutral, she will probably lose a lot of health via stray hits from them whilst taking huge risks before she can apply some real pressure against them.

A strength of Oro’s, to me, is definitely his aerial options as I mentioned before. The fact that he can double jump in three different ways is a clear sign players will really have to study how to counter it with their respective character(s), as well as what kind of mileage he gets from successfully baiting out an anti-air.

Jump-arc changing moves have always been a huge problem for quite a number of characters in SFV, so this just adds to the pile. He also has that air stomp, which looks awkward to deal with too. If Oro feels he cannot do well on the ground, then he will take things to the sky.

Another thing that people should be on the lookout for is his VT2, the Tengu Stone. That seems to be the go-to comeback factor for him (which is a typical thing in SFV). Despite it being three bars of V-Meter, the damage potential and versatility I have seen via social media makes it something you can’t ignore. I actually need to sit down and study it myself, haha!  

His weaknesses are a tricky one for me to give a solid opinion on (with things being early days, of course). Oro’s projectiles seem great on the surface, Nichirin Sho (the slow fireball) having different travel speeds and the EX version semi-tracking the opponent. And his V-Skill 1, Onibi, covers a good portion of the screen once it’s out. But SFV as a game is littered with anti-projectile moves from top to bottom. So, characters do have answers to those, and his VS1 takes quite a while to appear on-screen. Yes, there are ways to summon it safely, but some characters won’t be kind enough to allow him to get in on-screen without losing some health in the process.

Another thing that comes to mind is Oro’s anti-air game, I think he has multiple anti-air options to work with, but they all seem suspect in some way, shape or form. Too slow on startup or strict spacing for it to consistently work. And in a game where jump attacks are extremely prevalent, you want your anti-air options to be as reliable as ever!

Final opinion on both:

Neither character has anything that immediately screams, ‘Oh, they are definitely top tier’ to me. They both have some similarities mechanically (having a 3f button, an invincible reversal, jump arc changing moves, etc.), but they’re also vastly different at the same time. Both have very stylish combo routes too, which is always a plus.

I feel Oro is more of the investment character of the two, can’t wait to see who becomes an Oro specialist, whilst Akira definitely rewards players who have solid fundamentals. I am really hoping we see both characters a fair bit in tournament play!”

 

Steven Mane (Street Fighter Lore Master and Theorist)

“Unfortunately, I fear we may have seen the last of Akira for the time being. Her story isn’t particularly deep in Street Fighter V. Nonetheless, I’m holding out hope that her story is meant to be a plateau before Street Fighter goes into its apocalypse/reset stages. I would love to see her and the other girls in her story (Sakura, Karin, and Ibuki) being more proactive and more involved with the events of the next game. It doesn’t have to be Ryu being the hero all the time. 

Speaking of, it seems Oro is implying this exact scenario for Ryu in the future as Ryu has been heavily promoted through the entire series as the fighter with the “pure heart”. I’d argue a case that this should be Sakura, but Ryu’s the main character of the game.”

 

F-Word (FGC Commentator/Analyst for Capcom Pro Tour and Former Pro USF4 Player)

“I defo have views but none I’m confident enough in standing by at this point.

First impressions are that neither will come close to challenging that top 5 spot….but both could be viable in the hands of a specialist.”

 

Akira and Oro are both available as part of the Season 5 DLC Pass and sold separately on PS4 and PC.

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