Mai Shiranui

Mai Shiranui
Mai Shiranui
Mai Shiranui in NeoGeo Battle Coliseum
Series Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters
First game Fatal Fury 2 (1992)
Designed by Shinkiro, Falcoon and others
Voiced by (English) Lisa Ann Beley (Fatal Fury anime)
Sarah Sawatsky (Fatal Fury 2 anime)
Sheryl Stanley (KOF: Maximum Impact)
Voiced by (Japanese) Akoya Sogi (all games but KOF Sky Stage)
Kotono Mitsuishi (anime)
Megumi Hayashibara (drama CD)
Ami Koshimizu (KOF Sky Stage)[1]
Portrayed by Tomomi Miyauchi (Fatal Fury 2 TV commercial)
Maggie Q (film)
Fictional profile
Birthplace Japan
Fighting style Ninjutsu of the Shiranui style (不知火流忍術 Shiranui-ryū Ninjutsu?)
Weapon Kachōsen ("Butterfly-Fan")

Mai Shiranui (不知火 舞 Shiranui Mai?) is a player character in both the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series of fighting games by SNK and in related media, also appearing in a large number of other games. Since her first appearance in 1992, Mai has been converted and recognized as the main sex symbol of SNK, becoming one of the most popular KOF/Fatal Fury fighters and female characters of video gaming in general.

Mai Shiranui is the granddaughter of Hanzo Shiranui, the now-deceased master of ninjitsu and an art of Shiranui-ryū ninja hand-to-hand combat called koppo-ken. In her mind, Andy Bogard, who studied Shiranui ninjutsu with her grandfather since their early teens, is her fiancé; the relationship between the two is often ambiguous (usually on the part of Andy). Mai has also studied at her grandfather's friend, the judo master Jubei Yamada. She uses a closed fan while fighting and is able to create and control fire ("Shiranui" is the Japanese name for will-o'-the-wisp).


Character design and development

Prior to the creation of Mai for Fatal Fury 2, the Fatal Fury series would feature a male ninja master using the fighting style that she would use. Later, the SNK staff changed their focus to including an idol character into the series, and they decided to replace him with Mai. Inspiration for Mai's physical appearance and attributes were culled from a variety of sources. According to the official Neo Geo publication Neo Geo Freak, her breasts were modeled after Fumie Hosokawa and her buttocks were modeled after Ai Iijima; both women were famous Japanese gravure idols during the creation of the Fatal Fury series.[2] The characteristic "bounce" effect of Mai's breasts was inspired by tales of kunoichi, or female ninja, who supposedly used seduction to catch enemies off guard.[3] Due to censorship, Mai's chest motions were stilled in the international home version of The King of Fighters '94[4] as well as in the UK version of '95 for the Sega Saturn.[5]

Mai's basic look changes only slightly through most of the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters games. She has long brown hair (however, in some official art she has red) with long bangs framing the sides of her face, tied up in a thick, long ponytail which flows behind her back. Her costume is usually a sleeveless, skimpy red outfit or tunic. The costume is held at her waist by a decorative waistband, often with long, trailing decorative tails, leading down to a loincloth with a thong underneath (or mini-shorts in the U.S. version). Her footwear for Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special and The King of Fighters games is a pair of soft-soled tabi. From Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory onwards into Real Bout Fatal Fury, she wears instep guards that leave her heels and the front parts of her feet exposed. In Fatal Fury 3, she also wore a red vest (which was abandoned later on) and a heavier eye shadow. Mai has been subject to much regional censoring and her famous breast bouncing animation was removed in the U.S. versions of Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special and The King of Fighters 2002.

In The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact, her alternate costumes portray her with very short, boyish hair and ninja outfits that resemble that of Kasumi from the Dead or Alive series. In KOF: Maximum Impact 2, one of Mai's second outfit color schemes is exactly Andy Bogard's standard palette, even giving Mai blonde hair. Another of her outfits bears a resemblance to the character Lum Invader from the manga and anime series Urusei Yatsura (long green hair, clothes sporting tiger prints, and her hairpin even makes it look like she had small horns). This costume is also considered to be a cosplay of Cham Cham from SNK's Samurai Showdown series. The Maximum Impact series' producer, Falcoon, stated that designing Mai's alternate design was one of the ones he felt "unforgivable", as he felt unsure of fans' reaction to the change.[6] Shinkiro, an illustrator from The King of Fighters, commented that Mai was the most difficult to draw since he "thought she was going to burst out of her costume", making the series less recommended for children.[7]

In video games

Fatal Fury series

Mai stars in Fatal Fury 2 to assist Andy Bogard, with whom she is in love, into facing the new host of the King of Fighters tournament, Wolfgang Krauser. She also plays a supporting role in Fatal Fury 3 and Real Bout Fatal Fury into fighting Geese Howard, the criminal who killed Andy and Terry's father, Jeff Bogard. The following games from the series, Real Bout Fatal Fury Special and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers do not contain a storyline, while the 3D game Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition retells the story of Fatal Fury: King of Fighters, which originally did not feature Mai.

The King of Fighters series

The King of Fighters series tournament also feature Mai as a regular character participating in the annual tournaments in the Women Fighters Team. Initially, the team is composed of Mai and King and Yuri Sakazaki from the Art of Fighting series, but it changes constantly. In The King of Fighters '99, the teams were expanded to four members, and so Mai goes to the Fatal Fury Team (composed of Terry, Andy and Joe Higashi). She returns to the Women Fighters Team in The King of Fighters 2000 for the following games, until she leaves competition in The King of Fighters XI in order to search for Andy who was absent in 2003 (however, Mai appears in the PS2 version of the game as a hidden character). In The King of Fighters: Kyo, a role-playing game centered on Kyo Kusanagi and settled right in between KOF'96 and KOF'97, Mai is not a playable character, but she provides Kyo with info and help during his trials. Following the unveiling of The King of Fighters XIII at Akihabara it was confirmed that Mai would make her return to the series along with the other two members of the '94 Women's Team.[8]

Other games

Mai is present as a playable character in every game in the SNK vs. Capcom crossover series (as a rival to Street Fighter's Chun-Li), as well as in the off-shot fighting games SNK Gals' Fighters and NeoGeo Battle Coliseum,[9] the mobile games SNK Beach Volley~GAL'S ATTACK~ and Neo Geo Tennis Coliseum,[10][11] four games in the dating simulation series Days of Memories (first, fifth, eighth and ninth), the quiz game Quiz King of Fighters, the shooting game The King of Fighters Sky Stage,[12] and many minor mobile games (such as The King of Fighters Mahjong, The King of Fighters Volleyball, The King of Millionaire, KOF Gals Mahjong, SNK Beach Volley Gal's Attack, SNK Gal's Open ~Cutey Shot~ and SNK Gals Island Dokidoki Puzzle Shock!).

Mai appears as a roulette character in several pachinko game machines (including Garou Densetsu The Legend of Wild Wolf, Garou Densetsu Special, The King of Fighters, The King of Fighters 2 and Maximum Impact). She also made cameo appearances in character endings for both Samurai Shodown[13][14] and Art of Fighting 2, as well as in Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidou Retsuden (Neo Geo CD version only) and The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise. In the North American release of Art of Fighting it was implied that Eiji Kisaragi has feelings for her,[15] but the original Japanese version contains nothing of the sort canon-wise. Being a character featuring in Queen's Gate erotic gamebook series, she also appears as a playable character in Namco Bandai SRPG Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos for the PSP by Namco Bandai.[16]


According to Sega Saturn Magazine, Mai "is one of the easiest characters to master and also has a huge range of pyrotechnically astounding special moves" in Real Bout Fatal Fury.[17]

In film

Mai makes her first anime appearance in Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle, where she follows Andy on his travels to find Krauser in Germany, where she is approached and later attacked by Laurence Blood. Andy defeats Blood and rescues Mai.[18] In Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture, Mai is present with Terry, Andy and Joe when the quest to find the Armor of Mars and stop the would-be conqueror Laocorn Gaudeamus is given to them by Sulia, Laocorn's sister. As usual, she tags along mostly as an excuse to spend time with Andy.[19] She also has a minor role in the original net animation The King of Fighters: Another Day.[20]

In the live-action movie The King of Fighters, loosely based on the game series, Mai was played by Maggie Q,[21] bearing little resemblance to the video game character.[22] As in the case of the rest of KOF characters in the film, her appearance, biography, and personality were re-designed from scratch.

In other media


A large number figures, hardcast or otherwise, was made in her image by Aizu Project,[23] Max Factory,[24] Daiki,[25][26] and more. There is also a Cy Girls action figure.[27] A third-party company has also made a custom Neo Geo joystick controller designed to play for PlayStation consoles, which has been decorated with Mai-related imagery.[28]

Mai is also a featured character in one of the Queen's Gate gamebooks, published by Hobby Japan as part of its Queen's Blade erotic system,[29] and has a number of cards (including a starter deck) in the Universal Fighting System collectible card game.[30]



Japanese Gamest magazine named Mai her as one of the best characters in video gaming for five consecutive years in their annual awards, placing her at second place in 1994,[31] tenth in 1995,[32] 21st in 1996,[33] 28st in 1997[34] and 25th in 1998.[35] She was also awarded the title of Hottest Game Babe of 1994 by EGM.[36] In a retrospective article "Game babes: A history", GamesRadar commented in 2007 that "gaming magazines were abuzz with commentary on what Mai's bobbing bosom meant for the industry - it was like witnessing (half-naked) women entering the workplace for the first time."[37] (An example of this was the review of Fatal Fury 2 by VG&CE, commenting that "if Street Fighter's Chun Li turns you on, you're bound to be tittulated by the sight of Mai Shiranui, who jiggles through the battle wearing next-to-nothing from the waist down."[38]) Mai is also noted to be popular in the cosplay community,[39][40] including a homage video Queen of Fighters 2005 released by the pornographic actress Misa Nishida.[41] In 2009, SNK Playmore's decision to not add to her in any form in The King of Fighters XII has disappointed and even upset many fans.[42][43][44]

Critical reception

Mai was ranked tenth on the list of Top Ten Fighting Women by EGM in 1993,[45] and as fourth on GameSpy's list of Top Ten Babes in Games in 2003.[46] In 2009, MSN included her as fifth on the list of Gaming's Hottest Babes, commenting that "the developers may have created a character that will upset every feminist out there, but the guys ain't complaining".[47] In 2010, Complex featured her in the lists of The 50 Hottest Women In Video Games and The 10 Hottest Video Game Girls.[48][49] Mai was also included on several lists of video games' top ninja characters, including by CrunchGear in 2008 (ranked seventh)[50] and Wild Gunmen (ranked ninth)[51] and PC World in 2010 (ranked sixth).[39] ranked Mai sixth on the list of Top 50 Videogame Hotties in 2010 (calling her the "Chun-Li of the SNK universe" and stating their preference for her over the Capcom character),[52] and in 2011 named her as one of the Top 11 Girls of Gaming at number seven (describing her as "an unapologetic sex symbol" and a mascot for both the King of Fighters series and SNK as a whole);[53] also in 2011, UGO also featured her on the lists of 25 Hot Ninja Girls[54] and Fighting Games' Finest Female Fighters.[40] GameDaily placed Mai as sixth on the list of Top 50 Hottest Game Babes in 2008,[55] and featured her three times in the Babe of the Week series in the galleries Outrageous Boobs,[56] Asian Beauties[57] and the special gallery Mai Shiranui,[58] as well as in the 2007 article Boobs Through the Years, adding: "when it comes to 2-D breasts, no character tops Mai Shiranui".[59] In 2010, PopCrunch ranked her as fourth on the list of 10 Hottest Video Game Babes Ever.[60]


  1. ^ "Famitsu interview with Ami Koshimizu (Japanese)". Famitsu website. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  2. ^ (in Japanese) KOFキャラクターズ―KOF’94~’97 全45キャラ設定資料完全収録. Neo Geo Freak. 1998. ISBN 978-4874654064. 
  3. ^ SNK Playmore (2000). ALL ABOUT SNK対戦格闘ゲーム〈1991‐2000〉. SNK Playmore. ISBN 978-4885546778.  (Japanese)
  4. ^ "Successive characters: Mai". King of Fighters 10th anniversary. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  5. ^ Computer & Video Games 188 (July 1997), p. 76
  6. ^ "アナザーコスチュームのこと・・・(一回目)". Falcoon's official blog. Retrieved 2009-01-21.  (Japanese)
  7. ^ "Interview with Eiji". King of Fighters 10th anniversary. Retrieved 2009-01-24. [dead link]
  8. ^ "アッシュ編がついに完結! 舞にユリ、キングも参戦する『KOF XIII』は夏稼働 - 電撃オンライン" (in Japanese). Dengki Online. 2010-03-25. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  9. ^ Famitsu. "ネオジオキャラが大暴れ! 『ネオジオ テニス コロシアム』" (in Japanese). Famitsu. Retrieved February 7, 2008. 
  10. ^ SNK Playmore. "スポーツ:SNK WORLD-i" (in Japanese). SNK Playmore. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved February 27, 2008. 
  11. ^ SNK Playmore. "NEOGEO TENNIS COLISEUM" (in Japanese). SNK Playmore. Retrieved February 7, 2008. 
  12. ^ Ciolek, Todd (November 4, 2009). "The X Button Strange Days". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 4, 2009. 
  13. ^ Ending for Samurai Shodown-Haohmaru(Neo Geo), The Video Game Museum
  14. ^ Ending for Samurai Shodown-Gen An(Neo Geo), The Video Game Museum
  15. ^ Ending for Art of Fighting 2-Eiji Kisaragi(Neo Geo), The Video Game Museum]
  16. ^ "Official website for Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos" (in Japanese). Bandai Namco Games. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  17. ^ Official Sega Saturn Magazine 13 (page 19)
  18. ^ (VHS) Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle. Viz Video. 1999. 
  19. ^ (VHS) Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture. Viz Video. 1999. 
  20. ^ SNK Playmore. KOF Maximum Impact 2. (SNK Playmore). PlayStation 2. Level/area: The King of Fighters: Another Day. (2006-04-27)
  21. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (July 11, 2009). "King of Fighters Movie Promotional Images". Kotaku. Retrieved August 16, 2009. 
  22. ^ SMEH – Casting Maggie Q as Mai Shiranui « Revo-Emag | It's funny for geeks
  23. ^ Aizu Project Mai Shiranui 1/7 Scale Figure, National Console Support, Inc
  24. ^ 西村キヌコレクション 不知火 舞 CAPCOM VS. SNK2, MAX FACTORY (Japanese)
  25. ^ Michael McWhertor, Daiki's Spin on Mai Shiranui's T & A, Kotaku, November 28, 2007
  26. ^ ザ・キング・オブ・ファイターズ 不知火 舞 PVC:SNKプレイモア ゲーム情報総合サイト NEOGEO WORLD, SNK Playmore (Japanese)
  27. ^ Mai Shiranui 12-inch action figure - by bbi - RTM Spotlight
  28. ^ NEOGEO STICK 3 -扇-version (Japanese)
  29. ^ Mai Shiranui Ravaged - Kotaku
  30. ^ Mai - Universal Fighting Wiki
  31. ^ Staff (February 1994). "ベストキャラクター賞 [Best Character Award]" (in Japanese). Gamest (Shinseisha) (107): 32. 
  32. ^ Staff (30 January 1995). "ベストキャラクター賞 [Best Character Award]" (in Japanese). Gamest (Shinseisha) (136): 50. 
  33. ^ Staff (30 January 1996). "ベストキャラクター賞 [Best Character Award]" (in Japanese). Gamest (Shinseisha) (162): 48. 
  34. ^ Staff (30 January 1997). "ベストキャラクター賞 [Best Character Award]" (in Japanese). Gamest (Shinseisha) (188): 54. 
  35. ^ Staff (30 January 1998). "ベストキャラクター賞 [Best Character Award]" (in Japanese). Gamest (Shinseisha) (212): 102. 
  36. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1995. 
  37. ^ Game babes: A history (The era: Early '90s), GamesRadar, December 14, 2007
  38. ^ VGCE, March 1993 (page 39)
  39. ^ a b Top Ten video game ninjas, PCWorld, August 6, 2010
  40. ^ a b Fighting Games' Finest Female Fighters,, January 14, 2011
  41. ^ Brian Ashcraft, Hot Tears of Shame ~ Queen of Fighters, Kotaku[dead link]
  42. ^ Fan-Favorite Mai Definitely Not In Next King of Fighters, Kotaku, 17 June 2009
  43. ^ King of Fighters XIII bringing back Mai's breasts, Destructoid, March 25, 2010
  44. ^ KOF XIII - No Mai no Buy? | Orochinagi: The King of Fighters
  45. ^ EGM 53 (December 1993), page 66
  46. ^ Bryan Johnson, Top Ten Babes in Games, GameSpy, May 4, 2003
  47. ^ Gaming's Hottest Babes: Mai Shiranui, MSN, September 7, 2009
  48. ^ The 50 Hottest Women In Video Games |
  49. ^ The 10 Hottest Video Game Girls | Complex
  50. ^ CrunchArcade: Top Ten Video Game Ninjas, CrunchGear, March 31, 2008
  51. ^ The Top 10 Ninjas In Video Games, Wild Gunmen, September 15, 2010
  52. ^ Top 50 Videogame Hotties. Retrieved on 2008-12-14
  53. ^ Top 11 Girls of Gaming. Retrieved on 2008-12-28
  54. ^ Ninja Chicks are So Freakin' Hot,, January 5, 2011
  55. ^ Top 50 Hottest Game Babes on Trial. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-12-29[dead link]
  56. ^ Babe of the Week: Outrageous Boobs. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-12-29[dead link]
  57. ^ Workman, Robert (2009-02-06). Babe of the Week: Asian Beauties. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2009-02-09[dead link]
  58. ^ Babe of the Week: Mai Shiranui. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-12-29[dead link]
  59. ^ Boobs Through the Years. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-12-29[dead link]
  60. ^ 10 Hottest Video Game Babes Ever, PopCrunch, March 25th, 2010

External links

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