Back in my review of Kotobukiya’s Dizzy, I lamented that fighting games aren’t a more popular source for figure makers. That hasn’t changed at all in the year since I received that figure. In fact, I can think of only a few figures of fighting game characters that have been released since then – A-Label’s Vanessa, and I suppose the Noel Vermillion nendoroid, if you count that as a figure. 2011 isn’t looking any more promising, with the major ones being another Dizzy, a peculiarly pachycephalic Kasumi, and this figure right here. With a bunch of fighting games – Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the two Tekken and Street Fighter crossovers, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and the 3DS version of Dead Alive – scheduled for release, and with Super Street Fighter IV and BlazBlue still going strong, hopefully the situation will change and the girls of these games will grace us with more figures.
Mai Shiranui is arguably the second queen of fighting games. She’s a mainstay of SNK’s titles, appearing in their well-known franchises Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters as well as more obscure games such as Neo Geo Battle Coliseum and the strange top-down shmup KOF Sky Stage. She also appeared in Hobby Japan’s Queen’s Gate series of game books. Mai was inexplicably left off the roster of KOF XII, which was the main reason I didn’t get that game, but she returns in KOF XIII. I like picking her for my team whenever I play Capcom vs. SNK 2, but I have to admit, I really suck using her. Nonetheless, she’s one of my favorite fighting game characters, so much so that her Dollfie Dream doll was one of two that I seriously contemplated buying. I still think about it, sometimes, since it’s not too expensive, relatively speaking.
In the Fatal Fury and King of Fighters games, Mai is a ninja infatuated with fellow fighter character Andy Bogard. She is ostentatious and showy; one of her opening animations has her exhibiting her backside for her opponent’s admiration, and another shows her disrobing and changing clothes right out in the open. She battles with a traditional Asian-style fan, which she chucks at her foes and replenishes from a mysterious compartment within her dress. Equally mysterious is how her dress contains her sizeable chest.
This figure of Mai is made by Alphamax. Alphamax is one of the larger makers in the business and yet very few people seem to actually own an Alphamax figure. I have over a hundred and fifty figures in my collection and yet this is my first Alphamax figure. I didn’t really know what to expect but VF’s review of Spica allayed my concerns. Then those concerns were revived when I checked Amiami’s product page and they included this utterly apocalyptic note in the remarks section: “Obviously, there is a very high probability that several parts will break or be damaged during shipping to you. We ask that you keep this in mind when buying these products and repair them yourself during assembly in the unfortunate event that they arrive in imperfect condition.” Uhh, yeah. Fortunately, nothing of the sort occurred and no repairs were necessary.
Mai Shiranui is a big, healthy girl and at a large 1/5 scale, this is a big, healthy figure. The box is quite large and like most of the cold-cast figures I own, uses a styrofoam container rather than plastic to protect the figure. She feels quite heavy and solid compared to a PVC figure. Mai is about 31 centimeters tall not including the base. She requires minor assembly to put together; her ponytail is a separate piece that inserts into a socket in her head, and the big tail is a separate piece that actually stands alone. One end has a peg that mounts to the base and the other end has a magnet that holds it sort of securely to the knot on the back of her dress. It tends to slip out if you’re moving her around, as you might be if you were taking pictures of her. Her base is a nicely-sculpted disc meant to emulate a red brick path.
Many fighting game characters don’t retain a consistent appearance from game to game and Mai is no exception. Without a canonical appearance to draw off of, this version of Mai has a fairly generic anime face. It does the job and she does look cute, but it’s not a very memorable or expressive face.
Of course, Mai’s main claim to fame isn’t her face. Every worthwhile fighting game needs a T&A character and Mai sets the standard in that respect, with her massive breasts and her thong-clad backside. Both were briefly censored in the United States in the bad days of the mid 90s, when games like Night Trap and Mortal Kombat drew the unwelcome attention of opportunistic lobbyists and senators. Fortunately, we seem to have gotten past that and Mai’s breasts swing freely and her rear is visible to all in localized versions of SNK’s games.
Alphamax knows what Mai’s most appealing traits are as well and that’s why they call this the Hipline version. She’s got a giant ass and it’s on full display here. She’s shyly pulling her thong out – as shyly as one can do such a thing, anyway. It’s a really cute pose that I haven’t seen done before in a figure.
Unfortunately, Alphamax elected to end her thong between her buttocks rather than connecting it to the front. I’m not really sure why they did that; one would think that with a figure this big, there ought to be enough room there to keep it intact. Maybe they thought nobody would notice. And in truth, it’s not particularly noticeable unless you’re looking at it up close at the right angle. But still, her thong is one of the major selling points of this figure and it would have been better if they kept it intact.
Her fighting dress looks great and it’s noticeably skimpier here than in most versions of her as Alphamax has made her dress backless. It makes her look nearly nude from some angles – definitely a fantastic design choice.
I also like her socks. They’re very cute, especially her toes.
Oddly, Mai is missing her fan. Most of her figures have her holding one, and she could easily hold one in her right hand, but Alphamax has left it out. It’s a curious omission but not an egregious one.
The paintwork is pretty good, though she has a fairly simple color scheme and a whole lot of skin showing so there’s not much need for intricate detail. Likewise, I like the sculpt overall, apart from the issue with her thong.
Mai was a very expensive figure, and fortunately I preordered her while Hobby Search was running their half-price shipping promotion. Despite her high price, I don’t mind since she looks great. She’s got all the attributes that make Mai what she is, and quality-wise, they’ve done a fine job doing justice to the bouncy ninja. She’s big, she’s sexy, and she’s a very welcome addition to my collection.
VF has another review at his site. His pictures are beautiful so check it out.
Here is Alphamax’s Mai Shiranui next to Max Factory’s Mai Shiranui. MF’s figure was inspired by artwork by Kinu Nishimura. Both figures have very similar poses but are disparate stylistically. Max Factory’s figure is 1/6 scale, which gives some idea as to just how massive Alphamax’s statue is.
Here’s another view which, to be frank, isn’t very flattering to Max Factory’s figure. Alphamax’s figure seems to have much more of a cute factor going for it than its counterpart. Also, I’ll figure out how to take multiple-figure photographs one of these days. Just not here.