That Girl is Poison
One of the acrobatic duo from Capcom’s Final Fight, Poison was first introduced to us as a member of the Mad Gear gang. She appeared with long pink hair, a black cap, cutoff shorts, high heels and a tanktop that was cut just in the right place. Along with her armbands, chains and handcuffs she was the kind of girl you almost did not mind kicking your ass, but the question was, was Poison actually a girl?
Poison’s gender came into question when Final Fight was being ported to North America and then for the Super Nintendo Entertainment system. A concern for hitting women was brought up to which Akira Yasuda responded that Poison was not actually a female, but a transvestite. We are not really sure if Yasuda felt hitting transvestites was ok, but regardless having Poison as a post op transvestite did not sit any better with the censors and so for the SNES release of Final Fight, Poison and Roxy were changed to male punks, Billy and Sid. Now this does not mean the change was specifically made due to the North America release, in fact evidence, including the original concept art for the characters, showed that Poison was always a transvestite just as Yasuda said.
This move as well as seeing Poison in other Capcom games including Street Fighter 3 causes more confusion as people wanted a definite answer to Poison’s gender. We do know her name was from the 80’s metal band known for using make-up and effeminate clothing. Also, anyone who has ever watched some anime knows the Japanese love to play around with gender showing male charters that look and dress like females, just look at Haku from Naruto.
In Final Fight Revenge Poison returned and was portrayed as very feminine and even had a romantic relationship with Cody, but that does not necessarily mean Poison wasn’t playing hide the sausage from Cody. There was commentary on the game that hinted that in her ending Poison had a sex change.
So is there really a debate? Not according to Street Fighter IV’s producer Yoshinori Ono who said; “Let’s set the record straight: in North America, Poison is officially a post-op transsexual. But in Japan, she simply tucks her business away to look female.” Also consider in the guide book for Final Fight, Poison is referred to as a newhalf which is a Japanese term for male to female transvestite. More evidence comes from the Capcom Classics Collection release of Final Fight which had bios on the characters and Poison was listed as transgendered. Even in the UDON comics, Cody said that Poison was “not much of a lady.”
In the end the consensus is that Poison and her pallet swap Roxy have always been transgendered from the very beginning even though Capcom’s official stance is that her gender is ambiguous. You know you’d still do her.
Here is an excellent documentary that covers the whole story of Poison and her gender bending adventure.
Here is the follow up: