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Ready, fight! A review of Street Woman Fighter 2

Image Credits: MNET's official website.

The highly-anticipated second season of Street Woman Fighter (SWF) recently aired its final episode. For those debating whether it’s worth their time – here’s why you should add it to your watchlist. Having had high viewership and ratings ever since the first season of MNET’s SWF 1 and Street Man Fighter, many dance lovers have been looking forward to watching SWF 2.

Even if you haven’t been following the episodes, it is more likely than not that you’ve already seen one or two clips of the dance missions or battles on TikTok. In this new season of SWF, the different genres of dance in Korea converge on one stage, this time, joined by two international crews – Jam Republic from New Zealand, and Tsubakill from Japan.

Consequently, MNET has been advertising this season as the “first SWF competition of a global scale”, appealing to international audiences like ourselves.

Spoiler alert for those who have yet to watch the last episode, by the way!

Introducing the Crews

This season, there are eight crews competing for the ‘champion’ title. They are: Bebe, Jam Republic, 1Million, Mannequeen, Lady Bounce, Wolf Lo, Deep N Dap and Tsubakill.

The show starts off with tension – the crews are made to pick out the dancer they have ‘No Respect’ for, and videos of the crews criticising each other are played. Provocative comments were dished out, such as calling each other “boring” or “outdated”.

What really put tensions at a high, though, were the unsettled scores between some of the contestants. Most notably, Mina Myoung (leader of Deep N Dap) and Lia Kim’s (leader of 1Million) long-standing grudge, as well as Harimu (1Million) and Redlic’s (Mannequeen) tough past.

Although these tensions all serve towards making the show more dramatic and entertaining, it also made the show more personal, providing us audiences with a glimpse into the dancers as people.

Moving on to the ‘No Respect’ Battle, these tensions made the dance-off much more exciting at some points, and emotional in others. When Harimu battled Redlic, Redlic broke down when it came to her turn to dance, as old wounds were dug up and facing off with a junior she used to adore.

Despite the entertainment, there has been criticism by viewers on the internet about MNET’s ‘need for drama’. Personally, some moments did feel quite scripted – such as the stereotypical ‘Japan vs Korea’ remarks when Tsubakill entered the fight zone.

Nonetheless, the ‘No Respect’ Battle was one of my favourite segments, as it is the only segment focused solely on the dancer’s individual battle skills.

The Battle Missions

As the season went on, new missions were introduced and more crews were eliminated. Staying true to expectations, SWF 2 included more or less the same missions from the previous season – the class mission, the K-Pop Death Match, the Mega Crew mission, and the Hwasa Choreography mission.

The last two missions, however, are new to the viewers – the Battle Performance mission and the Global Artist + Ending Credit mission.

What was most meaningful about these missions were of course the growth of each crew. Bebe, having been known as “Bada and the girls”, proved their capabilities through their strong performances and impressive teamwork in the K-Pop Death Match.

Their journey in SWF 2 proved to be a rollercoaster of emotions as they later faced a crisis during the Mega Crew mission, where others doubted their performance and their overall ranking was low.

Bada doubted herself as a leader, and the team lost motivation. However, they were able to bounce back and come back stronger. In the Battle Performance mission interim check, they once again received negative feedback. No one voted for them as the team they expected to win.

Instead of breaking down as she did previously, they picked themselves up and worked on improving their piece, eventually placing first for that mission. Bada told the production crew in an interview, “I think I’m getting the hang of this now”.

Image Credits: @mnet_dance on Instagram.

Aside from Bebe, some of the other crews had to push themselves into trying new genres they would otherwise have never tried – Wolf Lo members pushed themselves out of their comfort zone many times.

While Wolf Lo specialises in Hip Hop, their image of a cool and powerful crew was put to the test multiple times – Yeni Cho (Wolf Lo) had to embody a ‘sexy’ concept for the song How to Twerk for the Class mission, while the crew had to copy ‘sexy’ moves for the K-Pop Death Match (courtesy of 1Million).

As much as they struggled, all this effort eventually came through – their item for Hwasa’s choreography challenge was well-accepted, and their unique concept for the Battle Performance mission was executed really well, receiving praises from the fight judges as well as the public.

Image Credits: @mnet_dance on Instagram.

Another crew with a unique style would be Jam Republic. Although receiving criticism at the start for their struggles with the language barrier, they rebounded during the K-Pop Death Match and have been one of the highest ranking crews since.

Image Credits: @mnet_dance on Instagram.

Through SWF2, many of the contestants also managed to resolve years of tension. From glaring at each other and making backhanded remarks at the beginning of the show, Mina Myoung and Lia Kim eventually patched up their friendship. As the two of them are extremely well known in the Korean dance scene, this also warmed the hearts of many audiences.

How SWF2 Ends

The final mission – the Global Artist + Ending Credit mission was undoubtedly impressive, with all the finalist crews putting in their best performances. Of course, one of them stood out more than the others, and that is how Bebe won the “Champion” title in SWF 2.

Their performance was nothing short of jaw-dropping. The use of masks, formations, and their piece in general was original and really creative. The fight judge Mike Song even called them “the new generation of leaders'' in dance.

Before I start professing my undying love for Bada Lee, the other crews’ performances were outstanding too. Mannequeen put on the performance that I considered to be their best one of the show. 1Million showed us precisely why they got the recognition they deserved.

As for Jam Republic, the crew that came closest to clinching the first place, stood out in a different way from the rest. Their performance was powerful in a feminine, Beyonce sort of way, and their incorporation of New Zealand culture into their Ending Credit mission piece was really refreshing.

Nonetheless, there was much criticism of the voting process, about how the placings were determined by 80% of the live crowd’s votes, and only 20% of the judges’ votes.

While it is true that the fight judges, as professional dancers themselves, would probably understand and know dance better than the average viewer, a large part of dance and performing is still to entertain the audiences.

In that sense, audience votes should still form a substantial portion of the end result, but perhaps the weight distribution could have been more equal.

Despite that, it was really soul-stirring to see all the previously eliminated crews dancing on stage together, reminding us that dance is ultimately a culture that all can enjoy – something that transcends languages and genres, and brings people together.

Personally, my favourite part of the finale would be when Bada and Kirsten jointly danced to Smoke at the centre of the stage. While the show or even audiences might pit these dancers against each other as competitors, enjoying their passion is ultimately the most important.

Picture from: @SWF2_tweets on X.

The Verdict

All in all, SWF 2 did not disappoint the expectations I had, having watched the first season. The stages and mission pieces were incredible and the behind-the-scenes segments were very entertaining and heartwarming as well.

It was a 10/10 experience for me. If you’re still thinking about whether to watch it, I’d say give it a shot!


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