Street Fighter V’s Laura Matsuda Is A Groundbreaking Brazilian Game Character, Here’s Why

Capcom has officially unveiled Laura Matsuda for Street Fighter 5.

Capcom wasted no time revealing her online after the official announcement at today’s Brasil Game Show. So who exactly is Laura?

Laura is the heir to the  Brazilian Matsuda Jiu-Jitsu school, and roams the world to spread jiujitsu’s name around the world. Laura is an outgoing spirit, who seems happiest in the heat of battle. She is also the first jiujitsu fighter in the series, but that’s not all.

Laura is also the first grappler in the series to have a projectile, called Thunder Clap. Older Street Fighter fans are likely overly familiar with the grappler versus projectile matchup since The World Warrior, but Laura having one changes up how she and her opponent can approach each other.

Distinguishing herself from the three other grapplers, Birdie, R. Mika, and Zangief, Laura has to get in close, but her strikes and grabs are quick, and she’s tricky. Opponents will have to stay mindful lest they get overwhelmed.

Laura’s V-Skill, Linear Movement, is activated by holding back or forward and pressing both medium buttons. She quickly moves in and out of range, and if you make no other action she will end it with an overhead kick. Her V-Trigger, Spark Show, powers up all her movements, increasing Thunder Clap’s range, giving her more stun, and allowing her Linear Movement to get further.

It should be noted that Laura’s characterization is notable in and of itself. As some fans have speculated, Capcom confirms that she is the older sister of Sean Matsuda, Ken Master’s ward in Street Fighter 3.

Now, one must understand that Brazil has a great and unique history with games (20+ years running of the Sega Genesis and Master System), but have not been represented well in the Street Fighter games. Their most famous character, Blanka, is literally a man made monster. While Sean was light years better, Capcom of 1999 made strange decisions with him; casting him as a street urchin and making him Ken's protege when Brazil has a rich martial arts tradition that goes back centuries.

Now, in contrast to Blanka and Sean, Laura is the first Brazilian fighter to use a Brazilian martial art, and they made her the school's matriarch to boot! This doesn’t excuse the hypersexualization in her portrayal, but there are definitely more dimensions to her than it first appears.

Street Fighter 5 will be released on PlayStation 4 and Windows in 2016. You can see the official trailer above, and check out some screenshots of her in electrifying action below.

Street Fighter 5 – Laura Matsuda