The show is a loose adaptation of the Street Fighter II games, taking several liberties with the established storyline and characters from the games. The show follows the adventures of young Ryu and Ken, as they venture forth to improve their martial arts skills after they experience brutal defeat at the hands of Guile. During the course of the series, Ryu and Ken become acquainted with other Street Fighter characters such as Chun-Li, Fei Long, Sagat and Dhalsim. Eventually, the duo find themselves involved with the criminal syndicate Shadowlaw, led by M. Bison, after defeating one of their subordinate organizations (Ashura).
Out of the seventeen characters featured in the Street Fighter II series, Blanka, Dee Jay, E. Honda, and T. Hawk are the only ones who don't appear in Street Fighter II V, T.Hawk appears in the second opening, but only in the Japanese version and never during the series itself. Akuma makes several cameo appearances during crowd scenes.