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Zangief Sf4charselectzangief
Zangief, as he appears in the Street Fighter IV series.
Birthdate June 1[1][2], 1956[3]
Birthplace Flag of Russia Russia[1][2]
Height 7'0"[4] (214 cm)[1][2]
Weight 253 lbs[4] (115 kg)[1][2]
Eye color Blue
Hair color Brown
Blood type A[1][2]
Fighting style Mix of Russian and American wrestling[1][2]
Likes Wrestling, Cossack dancing[1][2], eating borscht, drinking Vodka, wrestling bears
Dislikes Ranged attacks (like Hadouken), beautiful women of marriageable age[1][2], bears that can't wrestle properly
Rival(s) Ken Masters(SFA2), El Fuerte, Abel, E. Honda, Rolento (SFA3), Chun-Li (SFA3), R. Mika (SFA3), Birdie(SFA3)
Hobbies Vodka shots, cold resistance[1][2]
Moveset Spinning Piledriver, Banishing Flat, Double Lariat, Flying Power Bomb, Atomic Suplex, Russian StompingΩ, Spinning Piledriver SpecialΩ, Airplane Spin (SFTM), Screw Piledriver (Crossovers), Iron Press (Pocket Fighter), Dash Bites (MvC series), Dash Throw (MvC series), Final Atomic Buster, Ultimate Atomic Buster, Aerial Russian Slam, Flying Brain Crusher (SFTM), Russian Beat (Pocket Fighter), Heavy Bite (Pocket Fighter), Iron Body (MvC series), Super Lariat (MvC2), Ultra Final Atomic Buster (MvC series), Siberian Blizzard
Alignment Lawful neutral
First game Street Fighter II
English voice actor(s) Michael Donovan (Street Fighter animated series)
Michael Sorich (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Street Fighter II V (Animaze dub))
Joe Romersa (Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation)
Peter Beckman (Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter X Tekken)
Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph)
Japanese voice actor(s) Tetsuo Kanao (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie)
Wataru Takagi (Street Fighter Alpha series, Marvel vs. Capcom series, Street Fighter EX series, Pocket Fighter)
Yasuo Tanaka (Street Fighter II V)
Tessho Genda (Capcom vs. SNK series, Capcom Fighting Evolution)
Hidenari Ugaki (Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation)
Kenta Miyake (Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter X Tekken)
Minoru Hirota (Wreck-It Ralph)
Live action actor(s) Andrew Bryniarski
"I am...the Red Cyclone! (アイアム! レッドサイクロン! Aiamu! Reddosaikuron!?)"
—Zangief (Street Fighter IV series)

Zangief (ザンギエフ Zangiefu?, Russian: Зангиев) also known as the "Red Cyclone" (赤きサイクロン Akaki Saikuron?), is a video game character created by Capcom. He is part of the Street Fighter series of fighting games, first starring in Street Fighter II. He is a national Russian hero who is always seen fighting for the glory of his country.

In many games, Zangief is voiced by Wataru Takagi. In the Capcom vs. SNK series, Tesshō Genda voices Zangief. In Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, he is voiced by Tetsuo Kanao (Japanese) and William Johnson (English). In the English version of Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation, he is voiced by Joe Romersa.



Zangief is a massive fighter, weighing 253 lbs. and standing slightly over 7 feet tall, placing him among the tallest characters in the entire Street Fighter roster. Since his debut in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior in 1991, Zangief has been portrayed with a beard and a mohawk, along with a uniquely-shaped formation of chest hair on his torso and on his shins. His massive frame is almost entirely covered in scars from his bouts with brown bears in the barren and remote area of Siberia.

Zangief's wardrobe consists of simple red wrestling trunks with a gold belt, along with red and gold wristbands and his red wrestling boots. In one of Zangief's concept artworks, he wore a tank top and had a sailor anchor tattoo on his left arm. He would retain the tank top in all his Street Fighter II portraits (except Turbo Revival and HD Remix), in order to indicate what color the player chose for him.

Starting with Street Fighter Alpha 2, Zangief was adorned with a red cloak that he would remove before starting his matches. The cloak became an accepted fixture of his image, and he was shown with it in the 1994 Street Fighter II animated movie. Although modern 3D interpretations of Zangief have so far not shown him with his cloak, he is still depicted as wearing it before matches in his ending movie on Super Street Fighter IV.


Born and raised in the Soviet Union, Zangief is an incredibly patriotic character who has been motivated in some way to fight for his Motherland in every single game he has ever been in. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior depicted that Zangief was from the U.S.S.R. when the game was released in 1991. The Soviet Union ceased to exist by the end of 1991, but due to the heavy use of Soviet iconography in and around Zangief's character, including his homestage (an iron plant complete with a giant hammer and sickle logo imprinted on the floor), Zangief was depicted as being from the U.S.S.R. as late as 1998, when Street Fighter Alpha 3 was released (though justifiably, the Alpha series takes place between the first and second games, meaning the U.S.S.R. still existed as of then). Street Fighter IV was the first time Zangief was depicted as being from the Russian Federation in 2008.

Zangief's personality has varied from one media source to another, but he's mostly been portrayed as a very fearless and tactical fighter who's prone to quick temperaments, and is always very competitive. Zangief is a man who is immensely proud of his physique, and constantly belittles his opponent's smaller muscular build and blaming their losses on their smaller physique. Despite his short temper, Zangief has shown himself to be rather gentle-natured with a good sense of humor at times, once entering a tournament partly to win the admiration of a group of school children. According to the instruction manual of Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition for the Sega Genesis/Mega-Drive, Zangief is described as being "good natured, with a great sense of humor, and totally fearless."

Zangief can be easily misled by his overwhelming sense of patriotism for his home country. In Street Fighter Alpha 2, it was revealed that Gorbachev's intentions for Zangief are only for political gain, although Zangief fails to realize this and continues to fight for the glory and honor of Russia, no matter what the reason may be.

While not fighting, Zangief enjoys hopak (cossack dancing), vodka, and borscht. Some of the things which he doesn't like includes young women (because he views them as a distraction), bears that don't know how to wrestle properly, and (according to the manual for Super Street Fighter II Turbo for the 3DO) projectiles such as Hadokens, Yoga Fires, and Tiger Shots.

Character developmentEdit

Zangief's name is possibly derived from real-life pro wrestler Victor Zangiev, a former Soviet amateur who trained as a professional in NJPW, and who also competed in WCW and UWF International. Zangief's prototypical name was Vodka Gobalsky. Zangief's biography apparently plays upon the association between Stalinist regimes and state-funded athletics programs utilizing bodybuilding drugs following the domination of the 1954 World Weightlifting Championships by the Soviet Union. His appearance was possibly influenced by several professional wrestlers who performed with the New Japan Pro Wrestling Circuit during the time period of Street Fighter II's development in the late 1980s and early 1990's. Specifically, his physique is similar to that of Soviet wrestler Salman Hashimikov, while his facial appearance, including his beard, seems to be a slight nod to American wrestler Steve "Dr. Death" Williams, who was a staple in Japanese Pro Wrestling throughout the 80's and 90's.

Zangief is similar to the original 1987 version of Birdie, as both characters are depicted as very large men with mohawk haircuts. Zangief is also similar in terms of build and fighting style to Mike Haggar from Capcom's Final Fight series, whose spinning clothesline move he emulates, not to mention that Zangief's alternate costume in Street Fighter IV is a nod to Haggar's costume. There is a theory supported by Saturday Night Slam Masters on the Super Nintendo that Mike Haggar and Zangief know each other as former wrestling partners before Mike became the mayor of Metro City.


In the Alpha series, Zangief is a national Russian hero nicknamed the "Red Cyclone" who becomes acquainted with the General Secretary of the CPSU, and Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev (who is never identified explicitly by name, but bears more than a passing resemblance to the real life former Soviet President) at the end of Alpha 2, The President promised the country's full support in exchange for traveling around the world and showing off the might of the Soviet Union (and to improve his image abroad, an objective which Zangief wasn't made aware of). After meeting the President, Zangief is sent to train in remote Siberia (albeit with a limited budget).

Street Fighter Alpha 3Edit

Under orders from Gorbachev, Zangief is sent to combat the forces of Shadaloo, which is beginning to spread its corruption into Russia. Zangief encounters many fighters along the way, befriending some such as E. Honda and R. Mika. It is believed that he lost to Blanka before he could accomplish his final objective of destroying the Psycho Drive; however in his ending, he and Honda team up to destroy it (the canonicity of this ending is dubious). In R. Mika´s ending, she followed Zangief as he destroyed the Psycho Drive, and Zangief protected her from the falling apart base. It appears his story is a mix of the two. Nevertheless, the Psycho Drive gets destroyed by someone, at least, and Zangief returns to Russia satisfied.

Street Fighter IIEdit

He then participates in the second World Warrior Tournament, hosted by Shadaloo, at the behest of Gorbachev. He loses to either Ken or Ryu (commenting in Street Fighter IV that fireballs are a "pain in the neck" and that "Dragon Punches suck too", suggesting that he has lost to someone who uses them - whether it was Ken or Ryu is unclear, as he tells Ryu "glad you haven't lost it" in his SFIV win quote, but if he loses to Ken in SFIV, Ken tells him "Looks like you're still no match for my Dragon Punch, eh?"). In any case, after the tournament, Zangief - dissatisfied with the outcome - returns to training in the Russian wilderness, wrestling bears. Eventually, he is approached by the largest wrestling organization in the world with an eye to signing the "Red Cyclone" to their promotion. Zangief at first refuses, saying that he is less interested in money than he is in bringing honor to Russia by demonstrating Russian strength. He is promised a stage to better showcase his skills, with his matches watched by millions. Due to the obvious help this will bring to his will to show Russian strength, Zangief gladly accepts.[5]

Street Fighter IV seriesEdit

Zangief enters the World Tournament held by S.I.N. to prove to his young fans (some of whom are beginning to claim that martial artists are better) that he's still got it. After the tournament, Zangief frantically realizes that he hasn't gotten a souvenir, and says "I didn't even understand what the last guy was saying before I beat him". He then has an idea and takes a photograph holding the beaten Seth (main boss and host of the tournament) in a headlock, which is then viewed by the admiring young fans who recognize Seth as the "bad guy from the TV".[6]

It is heavily implied through his ending and throughout other character endings that Zangief was the winner of the S.I.N. tournament.

Crossover appearancesEdit

Marvel vs. Capcom series Edit

Zangief has appeared playable in some games of the Marvel vs. Capcom series.

Capcom vs. SNK series Edit

Zangief has also appeared playable in the Capcom vs. SNK games.

Street Fighter EX series Edit

He is also a playable character in the Street Fighter EX games.

Capcom Fighting Evolution Edit

He also appeared in Capcom Fighting Evolution as one of the playable characters.

Street Fighter X TekkenEdit

Zangief appears in Street Fighter X Tekken with Rufus as his tag partner.

Animations and MoviesEdit

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie Edit

Zangief appears briefly during a brutal battle against Blanka to entertain an audience of crime bosses, and ends up comically electrocuted by him.

Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation Edit

Zangief also appears in Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation; in this portrayal, he never utters a word and growls like a beast instead, showing little to no humanity.

Street Fighter live-action movie Edit

Zangief was played by Andrew Bryniarski in the Street Fighter movie. Here, he was a lackey of Bison's and served as comic relief in the movie, uttering silly lines at inappropriate times; for example, after seeing televised feed of a truck loaded with explosives about to crash into the villains' camp, he yells out "Quick! Change the channel!". Zangief was also loyal to Bison, at least until Dee Jay explained that Bison was the "bad guy", and had not promised that he would be paid. He also had a long fight with E. Honda and one "hero moment" near the end of the movie.

Street Fighter II V Edit

Zangief's role in the anime is similar to the live-action film; he is a Russian bear wrestler who frequently works as one of Shadowlaw's strong-men. He does not seem to have any particular desire or inclination to injure or kill anyone, but he's not above using his full should his orders require him to. Zangief often wears a loincloth-like shirt in the series.

Zangief is first sent by M. Bison to capture Ryu, whom he had seen displaying talents of Hadou on a beach earlier. Ryu resists, and they fight for a while until Zangief manages to knock him out. As they are leaving, Zangief spots Guile watching them from afar. Later on, while Guile and Nash are infiltrating Bison's base, Zangief corners Guile with the intention of killing him under Bison's orders, and the two fight until Guile manages to knock Zangief out with a severe blow to the head. He is not seen again for the rest of the anime.

Street Fighter cartoonEdit

Zangief is depicted as one of Bison's recurring lackeys in the cartoon, similar to the live-action film.


Zangief makes a major cameo appearance in the 2012 Disney film, Wreck-It Ralph as part of a villains support group, even though he is not a villain within the main Street Fighter storyline. According to the screenwriter, Phil Johnston, Zangief was a source of frustration for him when playing Street Fighter in his childhood.[7] Also of note is that Zangief has played the role of villain in more than a few spin-off appearances, including the movies mentioned above.

Comics and Manga Edit

UDON comics Edit

Zangief has made several appearances in UDON's Street Fighter comics. He first appears during a match in the USA Fighting Championship, overpowering a depressed Ken (who had broken up with Eliza moments before). He ends up defeated when Ken regains his fighting spirit once Eliza attends his match.

He later travels the world to perfect his fighting style, one of his stops being Japan. He enters one of Rainbow Mika's wrestling matches and challenges her, ignoring the fact that her match is scripted and his appearance alone ruined everything. Nevertheless, Mika defeats him by pin.

Zangief later appears in the Japanese qualifiers for the next Street Fighter tournament. He and R. Mika are put in a tag team against Sodom and E. Honda. Zangief takes the ring after Sodom throws Mika out with a Daikyo Burning and easily defeats him, causing Honda to tag in. A disgusted Vega, who is hosting the match, sends waves of Geki ninjas to kill them, but Zangief and Honda make short work of the opponents, causing Vega to reluctantly allow them to participate in the tournament.

Zangief doesn't make it past the first round of the Street Fighter tournament, as he is once again defeated by Ken. He then returns to Russia to resume his training against bears in Siberia.

Fighting style and gameplayEdit

Zangief's signature fighting style is close-range wrestling, with devastating throws and powerful base moves. This makes him tough up close, though often has trouble with foes with projectiles. Many of his moves are more complicated to pull off, due to the 360 motions input required to perform the moves, making him a character for advanced players. This, along with the fact that several of his moves incorporate spins, is likely the basis for his wrestling moniker "Red Cyclone".

In addition, Zangief naturally lacks range, and many of his moves have a fairly long startup; this renders him fairly vulnerable to projectiles and makes him an ideal target for many faster characters. Zangief is one of the slowest of all characters in the Street Fighter games, and presents a large target, yet he is widely considered high-tier. As of recent appearances, he has several means to bypass projectile attacks, such as Double Lariat and Banishing Flat, the ability to walk unphased into a hit during his EX Flying Power Bomb, and the ability to grab opponents out of most ground-based moves via Spinning Piledriver. In most incarnations, Zangief is extremely dangerous against floored opponents, as he is able to force them to block regular attacks so that he can pin them in place to deliver a powerful throw or hold.

The Spinning Piledriver was the single most damaging special move in the original Street Fighter II series until the introduction of T. Hawk, and is capable of "sucking in" opponents from a surprising distance. Zangief's Flying Stomach attack was also the only standard move capable of dizzying a character in one hit in the Street Fighter II series.

In Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, a "Mecha Zangief" is introduced. This is an even slower version of Zangief who can't block; however, he takes reduced damage from everything, excluding beam-style attacks. He also can't be stopped, taking only a slight slowdown when hit by almost anything, and picks up a Yoga Blast-like attack, the Siberian Breath. Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes brought Zangief back and gave him the ability to transform into Mecha Zangief, making him more viable against speed characters; he retains this ability in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

Super ComboEdit

Zangief has a unique team Hyper Combo exclusive to the first two crossover games: the Double Final Atomic Buster. He runs towards his enemy similarly to his Flying Powerbomb. Should he reach, his partner shows up from the other side, and both leap up past the top of the arena, coming crashing down a few seconds later with an explosive non-spinning piledriver.


See: Zangief/Quotes

Popular Culture Edit

Zangief/Pop Culture


  • Mike Haggar (who has a similar fighting style to Zangief as explained above) also wrestles deadly animals, in his case, Bull Sharks.
  • Zangief's new Ultra Combo, Siberian Blizzard, ends with a move that is incredibly similar to the Kinniku Driver from the popular Japanese manga/anime series Kinnikuman.
  • According to his win quote against Dee Jay in SSFIV, Zangief listens to Tchaikovsky.
  • Several images of Zangief exist that depict him with blood spewing out of a vein in his head, such as his portrait from Street Fighter Alpha 3. This is shown in the Japanese arcade releases, but censored in the American versions.
  • In Makoto's 3rd Strike ending, Zangief can be seen among the fighters defeated by Makoto.
  • In Street Fighter IV, Zangief was a powerhouse with the largest stamina and stun rating in the game. Many considered him too powerful and he was toned down for Super Street Fighter IV. However, even with the changes, Zangief still has the highest damage output in the game, including his first Ultra Combo being the most damaging move in the game.
  • Although Zangief was originally conceived as a rival for Guile, given that they are from the USSR and the USA, respectively, his behavior toward Guile likewise refers to his appreciation for their shared patriotism and hairstyles. It is rather through the late 1980's and early 1990's American fandom by the tensions of the real life Cold War that still promoted this rather uncanon depiction; not only did the 1994 live-action film portray him as a Shadowloo villain, but background notes and creator interviews of Wreck It Ralph showed that audience influence held sway on Zangief being a villain through national tensions.
    • Rather, some adaptations have depicted Zangief as somewhat of a rival towards Ryu, demonstrated in Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation (in which Ryu defends Shun from Zangief by fighting him brutally), Street Fighter II V (where Zangief, working for Shadaloo, is ordered to capture Ryu, leading to a skirmish between the two), and the 1994 live-action film (where Zangief, again working for Bison, presents Ryu with his familiar white gi and later aids him and Ken in helping Bison's hostages escape the collapsing base). His win quote towards Ryu in Street Fighter IV implies that the two fought in Street Fighter II and Ryu won.
  • Zangief has Vega's picture on his mirror in his SSF2T ending. It is common for fighters (especially boxers) to have a picture of their rival placed in the frame of their mirror (on the picture it is written something like "idiot" in Japanese, maybe because they have different views on beauty).
  • Since grizzly bears are not indigenous to Siberia and Russia, Zangief possibly wrestles Ussuri Brown Bears, which are similar to grizzlies, but are indigenous to the North East of Russia, and twice as large.
    • Other sources usually state he wrestles Kodiak Bears, but Kodiaks are mainly natives to Alaska, with the Kamchatka region (in eastern Russia, near the Bering Strait) as a secondary habitat.
  • In the UDON comics, Zangief's text is always written in yellow over red speech bubbles, much like the red flag of the USSR with its yellow hammer-and-sickle emblem, to show off his devotion to his homeland. In addition, the writing is in bold italics most of the time, indicative of how loudly he usually speaks (an exception is his flabbergasted, quiet "This is wrestling...?" after Rainbow Mika defeats him in the backup story of #13).
  • Being 7'.025" (214 cm) tall, Zangief is the sixth-tallest character in the whole Street Fighter franchise, behind (in this precise order) Birdie, Sagat, Q, T. Hawk and Hugo.
  • In his win quote against Kuma in Street Fighter X Tekken, Zangief criticizes Kuma, telling him that "Bears in Siberia are much fiercer! You are like kitten!".
  • In Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival, in the 'Fight Akuma' Time Attack mode, if the player keeps pressing the light punch button while playing as Zangief in close proximity, it will force Shin Akuma to immediately go into a crouch, and will keep being forced to a crouch as long the player keeps pressing the light punch button while playing as Zangief. This does not work for the other characters.

Stage ThemeEdit


Street Fighter II series

Street Fighter Alpha series

Street Fighter IV series

Street Fighter EX series

Capcom Games

Marvel vs. Capcom series

Capcom vs. SNK series

Namco's X series

Other Crossovers


Comics and Manga

Live-action films and TV series

Other Artworks

Cameo Appearances



Zangief-sf2-s1 Sf-zangief Zangief-evolutionstance Zangief-mechstand ZangiefSVCMM PocketZangief


Zan-sf2-walk Zangief-cape-ts PocketZangiefDance Zangief-dance-yes Zangief20gifku0 Zangiefdahhfz2 Zangief-chugging Zangief-oic Sf2zangiefstage Sfa3zangiefstage

HD SpritesEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Street Fighter: World Warrior Encyclopedia Hardcover
  3. Street Fighter II SNES manual, p.28
  4. 4.0 4.1 Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia
  7. Zangief’s Heart of Hearts: Phil Johnston on Wreck-It Ralph

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