Who is Seth and why is their return in Street Fighter 5 an important step for the fighting game franchise?

Does Seth mark the end of new SF5 characters?

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • February 13, 2020 at 1 p.m. PST

When Gill and Seth's announcements first leaked for Street Fighter 5 last fall, the fan reaction was rather split between a mixture of curiosity and yawns though Capcom seems to have exceeded everyone's expectations with the villains' redesigns.

Seth will become SF5's 40th roster member when they release this week alongside Champion Edition, but the big bad's return has many wondering: What even is Seth? Why do they have a female body now? Plus, why are they still alive(?) in the first place?

Well for starters, Seth is an artificial intelligence created by Shadaloo who came to be in charge of S.I.N., the shadow organization's weapon division, and served as the main antagonistic force of Street Fighter 4.

The name Seth appears to be both a reference to the biblical story of Cain and Abel along with former Capcom employee Seth Killian though they most closely tie in with Abel, M. Bison, Juri and C. Viper within SF4's story.

Powered by the Tanden Engine, Seth's original body featured the ability to use martial arts techniques copied from the Street Fighter 2 world warriors including Ryu / Ken, Chun-Li, Guile, Zangief and Dhalsim.

Seth's mannequin-like form was designated number 15 and could perform everything from Sonic Booms to stretching his limbs like the Yoga master though they were the only ones to contain any sort of personality — the rest Seth designated merely as puppets.

After setting forth the events of Street Fighter 4 with a new world warrior tournament, Seth is essentially assaulted from all fronts with the righteous heroes like Ryu and Chun-Li, the resurrected Bison and his Shadaloo generals, and even from within S.I.N. itself with Viper and Juri working to undermine and usurp the antagonist.

Juri's Street Fighter 4 Arcade ending appears to show Seth's fate at the conclusion of their original story

Ultimately, Seth is seemingly taken down by Bison to re-take control of his organization though it would be Juri who would land the finishing blow. Seth and most of the other puppet body replacements were presumed destroyed following the story's conclusion. We know now, however, that is not the case after all.

Seth is back, back again

At Capcom Cup 2019, Seth's new form was unveiled in that of a female body though they retained their male voice and personality.

This new body is dubbed Doll Unit Zero leading us to presume it was another Bison back up body kept in case of emergencies now controlled by Seth's consciousness.

Unlike body 15, Doll Unit Zero cannot stretch its limbs like Dhalsim, but in its place Seth can now change the muscle mass of their body to perform certain attacks like Abigail Punch or SPD.

Gone too are the built-in copied techniques, technically, though Seth can still absorb these old abilities and more using the Tanden Engine as V-Skill 1. It doesn't seem quite as powerful in the same way as the first, however, as stored moves can only be used once before resorting back.


Seth's new appearance thanks to the body of Doll Unit Zero

We don't yet know how Seth's character story will shake out in Street Fighter 5, but based on their intro and win quotes, the android's personality appears much more fragile and fractured.

With exclamations like, "don't you dare call me defective!" Seth's superiority complex appears to have inverted to the point they seem like anything could trow them into a delusional rage.

They also understandably seem to have a vendetta against Juri for what she did to Seth's original body in her betrayal.

What does Seth's return mean for Street Fighter's future?

In Street Fighter 4, Seth served as a strange amalgamation of the legacy of Street Fighter 2, and a little bit of Street Fighter 3 with some moves pulled from Urien, though the AI's presence seems to have a much different meaning in SF5.

Missing the Shoryukens and Lightning Legs of yesteryear, Seth's new moves go beyond referencing SF2 and instead seem to be an assimilation of the legacy of all of Capcom's previous fighting games.

The Mad Cradle DP is pretty much lifted straight from Darkstalkers' Demitri including its V-Trigger 1-powered up version, but there's so much more built into their new appearance.

Elena, Remy and especially Makoto seem to show up as fairly overt references in Seth's move set to pay homage to Street Fighter 3 though there's even more moves which move on to other franchises entirely.

HiFight put together a great compilation comparing Seth's new moves to other Capcom fighting games and beyond

The rapid Hecatoncheires punches are nearly identical to those of Star Platinum and The World of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future from Capcom back in the 90's. Plus, Seth also manages to steal some of Dio Brando's signature poses and phrases — useless!

One of the stranger inclusions falls on Seth's absorbed Tanden Engine install attack gained from the mirror match where they'll perform a giant straight punch they call Brutal Impact. This move may serve as reference to Jin Saotome's Blodia Punch hyper combo from the Marvel vs. Capcom series though that one is more speculative.

Capcom has slowly been resurrecting many of their older and under used fighting game characters within SF5 as crossover costumes within the game — even for titles like Red Earth — so it feels almost right that they'd round things out with a fighter who represents their broader fighting game history.

Speaking of which, Seth is the 40th character to appear in Street Fighter 5 in playable form, and many have been speculating that this could also mark them as the perfect end cap to the game's DLC additions considering we know nothing about Capcom's plans post Champion Edition's launch.

Street Fighter 5 is over four years old now, and creating some weird culmination of everything to come before to set us up for where we may be headed in the future beyond 2020.

This part is all just speculation, but Seth appears to be the near-perfect end cap to Street Fighter 5's mixed legacy though I certainly wouldn't mind a Season 5 either. Seth just feels like the final bow.

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