When it comes to fighting game girls, Mai Shiranui is amongst the genre’s best-loved characters. And why not? Her history is impressive and her visual appeal is obvious. She’s a favorite of fighting game fans and cosplayers alike. And of course, she’s quite popular with figure makers as well, being that we have another figure of SNK’s bouncy ninja here for our consideration.
Mai Shiranui is one of the main characters of SNK’s Fatal Fury and King of Fighters series. She’s a ninja who commands fire and fights with Asian-style fans, which she secrets in a seemingly endless supply within her outfit. In a bit of a twist on the usual relationship dynamics, she is madly, deeply in love with fellow battler Andy Bogard; unfortunately, her vigorous advances usually go unreciprocated. Nevertheless, Mai never wavers in pursuing her dream of marrying the love of her life.
The King of Fighters is SNK’s flagship franchise and is, with Capcom’s Street Fighter series and Midway’s Mortal Kombat titles, among the classics of the 2D fighting game genre. Like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, The King of Fighters enjoyed a period of steady popularity before beginning a decline, resulting in SNK’s bankruptcy and reaching a nadir with the poorly-received KOF XII (which, incidentally, dropped Mai from the character roster). Interestingly, Capcom, Midway (reformed as NetherRealm Studios), and SNK all revamped their franchise fighting games at about the same time; however, while Street Fighter IV and the ninth Mortal Kombat were very successful, KOF XIII has gotten a little less love from gamers, despite receiving positive reviews. Arguably, BlazBlue has taken its place as the major competitor to Capcom’s dominance of 2D fighting games; time will tell if SNK can get back to where it once was.
Irrespective of KOF’s status, Mai Shiranui is certain to remain as popular as ever. Indeed, this figure isn’t even Alphamax’s first figure of her; they did a 1/5 scale figure of Mai a couple of years back, just before they switched over from making very expensive, large-sized polystone figures to more affordable, mass-market PVC figures. They also started a product line called Skytube, which this figure is technically a part of, but the back of the box still has Alphamax’s name on it. This particular figure has a lot of similarities to their older figure, not to mention Max Factory’s even older Mai Shiranui figure, but it’s smaller than both, being sculpted in 1/7 scale and standing about 25 centimeters tall at the top of Mai’s ponytail.
Mai is presented as an upbeat, friendly, and confident girl, and one supposes that she’d have to be quite confident to wear a costume like she does. Mai has never worn a lot of clothing, but her KOF XIII design leaves her more naked than ever. Her back is completely bare and the front of her dress basically comprises a pair of straps that drape over her breasts rather than supporting them. Her thong – one of her best-known features – still in place and is quite evident, though. Her pose emphasizes the exposure of her body, particularly her prodigious sideboob and impressive ass.
Given all the exposed skin on display, Mai’s body needs to be sculpted well and happily, she is sculpted exceedingly well. The curves of her body are very convincing and quite appealing. The size of her bust and buttocks gives her the look of an adult but her slender body build and relatively small upper torso make her look like a younger character at the same time.
Arguably her back could have had a little more definition, given the way she’s contorting her body. It seems like muscle definition isn’t one of those things that many people like – Street Fighter IV’s musclebound girls notwithstanding – so it’s understandable that they took a more understated approach here.
It’s very difficult to cast any asperions on Mai’s rear, though. Mai’s main claim to fame might be the pendulous bounciness of her breasts, but me, I’ve always been a bigger fan of her backside. I think it looks perfect; the sculpting is superb. Kneepit fans will also be happy that the backs of Mai’s knees are also nicely sculpted.
Alphamax made two version of this figure, one in her customary red and white outfit and one with a black and gold costume. This particular figure is obviously the latter; I figure that I already had a couple of Mais with her original outfit so I’d get this alternate coloring instead. I think it looks really nice; black and gold isn’t a color I associate with Mai (I tend to think of blue as being her 2P color, since I’m most familiar with her from her appearance in Capcom vs. SNK 2), but it fits her very well. The gold color has an attractive satin sheen that gives her a bit of distinction, which seems appropriate; despite her abbreviated attire, Mai really is an elegant Japanese girl.
Mai’s face was something I was much more equivocal about, to the point that I was thinking I wouldn’t get this figure. In KOF XIII, Mai got a slightly modified hairstyle, which causes her bangs to split apart while laying flat on her head, leaving her face shaped like a football. I’m not really a big fan of that; I think she looks better when her forehead doesn’t begin from such a sharp point, and I prefer the hair intake look (where her hair sprouts upwards before falling back down). That said, she’s still very pretty, and I like her face a lot, more than I thought I would. She has a wide-eyed, friendly look that complements her pose very well.
All of Mai’s toes are sculpted, which is a very nice detail. I don’t know if many people would have noticed if they made it so that you couldn’t see her toes through her socks, but it’s still quite appreciated.
Mai’s only accessory is this folded-up fan, which slides right into her hand. As mentioned; previous games had her reaching into her dress to pull out a new one, but I’m not sure that her current oufit has enough room for her to do that.
Alphamax’s Mai Shiranui is an excellent rendition of video gaming’s most famous bouncy ninja. It’s a fairly large figure, and it shows all of Mai’s best qualities – her bold personality, her fighting prowess, and of course, her incomparable body. That sexy body is, of course, what she is best known for, and it’s not too surprising that many of Mai’s figures look sort of the same. However, of the three Mai figures I own, this one might be the best, at least in terms of sculpting quality. Certainly the 1/5 scale version has considerable charms, but this newer figure is sculpted so well that it’s difficult to consider it second to anything. At any rate, it is a very, very fine figure, a worthy homage to one of the sexiest ninjas around.