Mai Shiranui has been a favorite muse for figure manufacturers for well over a decade now, and for good reason; she is one of the earliest female fighting game heroines and stars in one of the most long-running game franchises, with The King of Fighters celebrating its fourteenth core game release in 2016. Her exuberant personality and agreeable appearance are also obvious explanations for her enduring popularity. Curiously, she’s scheduled to get at least three – and perhaps four – figure releases this year; quite a respectable quantity for any character. One is a large 1/4 scale figure from Chinese maker Infinity Studio; it’s of rather unconventional design being that she appears far more realistic than the anime-style designs that have represented her since her Fatal Fury days. Another is an exorbitantly-priced 1/6 scale figure from Gantaku, which looks to be very much in the same style as Alphamax’s polystone figures, before they switched gears and become a purveyor of high-quality pornographic PVC figures. The third – which hasn’t been shown off yet – is one that will supposedly be done by Kinetiquettes based off of an illustration drawn by Stanley Lau. But of the ones that have been sculpted, this one – by Amakuni – is in my view the best of the group.
The King of Fighters isn’t quite the sexy fighting game franchise that it used to be, so here’s a quick run-down of Mai Shiranui: she’s a Japanese ninja who is madly in love with American martial artist Andy Bogard. Although she’s generally portrayed as an elegant and refined woman, she is also effervescently cheerful, flirty, and bouncy in more ways than one.
This figure was manufactured by Amakuni; as is typical for their products, it wasn’t sold at the usual stores and required overseas customers to use a proxy service to buy (although a few US stores, like Bigbadtoystore, are apparently carrying it). This is a 1/6 scale figure, standing an impressive 26.5 centimeters in height; in terms of size she’s not that dissimilar from Max Factory’s old figure from a decade back.
When this figure went up for preorder, I wasn’t entirely certain whether I liked it. In particular, her face looked odd; Mai Shiranui has never had a consistent appearance over the years but this was a look I hadn’t seen before. After pondering it a little more, I decided that she didn’t look that bad; while the design of her face was different, it reminded me a bit of Ooyari Ashito’s style, and I didn’t think that was a bad thing. Seeing her in person, though, I think her face is very beautiful. The slight part of her lips adds a slight yet palpable element of sexiness to her look, which provides an unexpected bit of contrast; while Mai has always been sexy, subtlety is not something one would typically ascribe to her character.
She’s posed in her normal fighting stance, which highlights the best parts of her body: the majestic length of her legs, her out-thrust ass, and of course, her voluminous breasts, which have always been a hallmark of her look.
Speaking of her ass, I know what brings in the pageviews, so here it is. Mai of course wears this lovely thong, as she has for nearly a quarter of a century now. It’s nice to see that SNK, Capcom (with Cammy White), and Bandai Namco (with Ivy Valentine) have no problem dressing their female characters in this sort of outfit, no matter what ESPN might think. (It is amusing to imagine staffers at the worldwide leader in sports sitting around a conference table discussing the attire of female fighting characters.)
True to the character, her ninja dress is loose while still hugging her figure in all the right places. Note that her dress is not removable without inflicting major damage to the figure.
Her clothing is remarkably detailed; the flower print on her dress is very intricate and realistic.
The big tail protruding from the back of her costume is thoughtfully parted to the side, and in pointing this out, I get another opportunity to show off her magnificent backside. Aside from the obvious highlight of this view, her hair is very nicely sculpted; she’s got a big ponytail that sweeps out to the side without being too ostentatious.
The attention to detail includes the thick rope that wraps around her shoulders and ends in a big knot behind her back. I wonder who ties it?
The one accessory provided with this figure is a folding fan which can be slid into her right hand. I suppose it’s not as detailed – one might not know that it’s a folding fan if one weren’t familiar with Mai – but it gives a bit more visual interest to her lower body, which is otherwise bare skin – not that that’s uninteresting to look at. Note, however, the simulated braided rope hanging off of its end; they could have just formed it from an untextured piece of plastic wire and nobody would have really cared, but they took the extra step to make it look even better.
And just pointing out a couple more interesting spots: this is the print on the big bow on her back …
And here is the print on the ball at the end of her tail.
Mai has gotten a number of figures over the years but in my view, this is the best one of them all. She looks absolutely beautiful, with her sexiness modeled to the fullest effect here. Her design is faithful to her look while putting just enough of an original touch to the design of her face. The manufacturing quality is impeccable, and the size of this figure – always a major consideration for me – is perfect. In my mind, no other figure of Mai exceeds this one in quality, look, and appeal.