Due to Mai's vast popularity among fans; she has been in most promotional art, game art, themes, and merchandise out of any character, making her the female mascot and sex symbol of SNK. Mai was rated #4 in GameSpy.com's "Top Ten Babes in Games" feature  and #5 in Game Informer's "Top Ten Hottest Girls of the 16-Bit era." Along with the many figures and merchandise that have been made in her image, she has made an outside game appearance in the spin-off series Queens Gate. Her great reputation has also influenced other female fighters in other fighting games, mainly Dead or Alive in which Mai herself makes an appearance in the fifth and sixth installments.
She was originally not planned to be included in Fatal Fury at all, as her fighting style was created for a different male ninja. When developers shifted their focus to include an idol character in the series, they decided to scrap the Shiranui man for Mai. Her characteristic "bounce" was loosely modified from a kunoichi (female ninja) method of assassination: to be sensual to their unassuming prey before they strike. According to an issue of Neo Geo Freak, her breasts were modeled after Fumie Hosokawa and her bottom is modeled after the late-Ai Iijima; both women were famous idols at the time.
During the development of The King of Fighters '94, Mai's designer wanted to add more animation to her neutral pose. When the designer came back with the "swaying bosom", the developers were awestruck. Due to this pose's potency, however, Mai's eye-popping motions were stilled in the KOF '94 international home version.
In an interview with one of the series designers, Shinkiro, he replies that Mai was the most difficult character to illustrate. He comments "I thought she was going to burst out of her costume..."  In the Neo Geo Freak's 1997 Volume 8 character poll, she was voted as the third favorite character with a total of 1,604 votes. 199 votes from the male fans and 1,405 votes from the female fans. And in Neo Geo Freak's August 1998 issue, she was ranked as the 7th best character. In the character popularity poll on Neo Geo Freak's website, she was voted as the fifth favorite character with a total of 2,380 votes. On Falcoon's SNK 40th anniversary page he states that both Mai and Terry are his favorite SNK characters.
Mai Shiranui is the granddaughter of Hanzo Shiranui, master of ninjitsu and Koppo-ken. Mai learned from her father the secrets of Ninjitsu. She had met Andy Bogard, during this time, who had come to train under her grandfather. Mai then had to take alternate courses from her grandfather's friend, Jubei Yamada in ninjitsu. At first, Mai was uninterested in Andy and only thought of him as another callous man only interested in his training. It wasn't until he gave her a present on her birthday that she saw him in another light and eventually fell in love with him.
She spends much of the series endlessly pursuing Andy and fantasizing about various daydreams about their wedding. When developers were asked about her whereabouts during Mark of the Wolves, they chose not to answer the question directly. However, they did divulge that she still loves Andy — as she always has — ten years later.
The King of Fighters
During nearly every King of Fighters tournament, Mai pesters Andy to enter and form a team with her. Upset at his refusals and choice to join a separate team, she forms an all-women team with the help of Yuri and King. In the following years, her teammates change, but she remains firm to enter the tournament to help encourage King and her fellow team members and to prove to Andy the error of his ways. In King of Fighters 99, she is finally able to join the tournament in the same team as Andy. However, the following tournament was asked to step out to allow Blue Mary to investigate a case. Denied again, she is angered by the request and joins the Women's team again and has remained a reoccurring member ever since. In the various team endings, she is often celebrating the team's victory at King's bar or fantasizing about Andy.
Mai did not participate in the KOF XI to search for Andy, who was busy at training his disciple, Hokutomaru. Later, Mai decides to enter the KOF XIII with her first KOF teammates, King and Yuri, as she felt that the KOF tournament isn't complete without her. She isn't upset at Andy while making her choice, content to enter a tournament with both her and him in it once more.
Mai is a very cheerful and temperamental girl. She tends to also be somewhat of an airhead and admires any kind of beauty or attractiveness, which sometimes comes across as being vain. She also at times compares attractive boys who flirt with her or acknowledge her beauty to Andy, acknowledging their attractiveness but ending with a comment saying they're 'not as cute as Andy'.
Like many girls, she has dreams of getting married to her Prince Charming. She found that same Prince Charming in Andy and self-proclaimed herself his fiancé, which at times, has creeped out Andy himself. A notable example of this is her intro with Andy in KOF97, proposing to Andy outright in a wedding dress, or scaring Andy with a mock child doll in KOF '99 and 2001. Despite this, Andy mutually acknowledges her love but prefers to keep quiet about it.
Although her peppy fighting persona suggests otherwise, Mai is actually a traditional and ideal Japanese beauty. However, her pride as a Shiranui ninja and infatuation with Andy usually keeps her from fitting the mold 100% of the time.
Despite her complex relationship, Mai has shown her support for the women's team and their notorious reputation for years and enjoys working with her teammates. As for Andy's brother Terry, Mai admires him, although she gets skeptical when she feels he's hiding something about Andy. Mai shows deference towards Joe but she feels his silly habits are a little annoying.
- Pyrokinesis: Mai is able to create and control fire. However, she cannot control flames that she didn't create, and is not immune to other types of fire.
- Create Fire: Mai can create fire.
- Fire Attacks: Mai can infuse her attacks with fire. She can also completely cloak herself with her flames.
- Fire Channel: Mai can channel fire through her clothes, weapon, and anything she touches.
- Fire Burst: Mai can cause explosions and eruptions of fire.
- Aerial Control: Mai has the ability to temporarily stay airborne and control her movements in the air. This allows her to float, glide, change directions in mid-air or gain temporary flight.
- Hammer Space: Mai can hide/pull out infinite weapons and items from her clothing and cleavage, from seemingly nowhere. She keeps multiple fans (her weapon of choice) with her that can't be seen. She also sometimes carries clothes, giant fans, and usually an umbrella.
- Bunshin: Mai can temporarily project shadow images of herself and her weapon.
- Changing - With only one gesture, Mai can change clothes within a second.
- Climbing - Due to her ninja training, Mai is an expert with climbing surfaces.
- Stealth - Because of her ninja training, Mai is a master of stealth.
- Clothing - With her revealing outfit, it's easy for her male opponents to get distracted, giving her the opportunity to defeat them. She can also create clothing, particularly traditional Japanese clothes.
- Cooking - Mai can cook food for particular occasions.
Mai uses the Shiranui-ryuu form of ninjutsu combined with her fire powers to fight.
Her style resembles normal ninjutsu with more graceful and majestic moves, somewhat in reference to traditional Japanese dance. She also uses paper fans as weapons, integrating them into her combat technique and using them to perform several combinations and moves. Her clothing, specifically, the tassel on her ninja garb, is also used to attack the opponent. She's also exceptional in hand to hand combat using different throws and techniques to gain the upper hand. Mai has shown great Strength as well as being strong enough to throw enemies heavier than her and using her strong elbow strike capable of breaking through her enemy's defense's incapacitating them.
- Enryuujin (A.K.A Flame Dragon God) - Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special
- Ne? (ね?/Isn't?) - The King of Fighters '94, The King of Fighters '98 and '98 Ultimate Match (when teamed with Yuri and King)
- Ivonnu Rurouru E no gensou Yori Piano to Harp ni Yoru Fuyuu (Floating on a Harp and Piano Fantasy for Yvonne Lelord) - Fatal Fury 3, Real Bout Fatal Fury
- Tsuchi o Hau Bass (The Ground-Crawling Bass) - The King of Fighters '95
- Get'n Up - The King of Fighters '96, The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match (When teamed with Kasumi and King)
- Hikyou no sato (Village of Unexplored) - Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition
- Mai Mai Kyuun - Real Bout Fatal Fury Special, Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, SNK Gals' Fighters, The King of Fighters R-1, The King of Fighters R-2, SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium, The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match (as EX Mai)
- Fairy - The King of Fighters '98
- 176th Street - The King of Fighters '99
- Come up Smiling - The King of Fighters 2000
- Terry 115 - The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood, The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood (shared with Terry and Andy Bogard)
- The Queen of Fighters - The King of Fighters 2001
- Diet - The King of Fighters 2002
- I'm Hot for You - The King of Fighters 2003, The King of Fighters XIII (when the music is set to "Type B", console version only, shared with King and Yuri Sakazaki)
- Who is Queen? - The King of Fighters XIII
- Splendid Soldier - The King of Fighters XIV
- Destiny - The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
- The Fight for a Job and Family - Days of Memories (Koi wa Good Job!)
- SHIRANUI - Days of Memories (Koi wa Good Job!)
- Chasing You - Days of Memories (Kaze Maou Miyako de Tsukamaete!, Sekai de Ichiban Atsui Fuyu)
- Mai Shiranui - Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle
- Mai-hime - Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture
- Mai Roulette - Garou Densetsu The Legend of Wild Wolf, Garou Densetsu Special
- Mai-chan Roulette - The King of Fighters (Pachinko)
- Sacred Flower - Dead or Alive 5 Last Round
- Enryuujin ~SNK Heroines Edit~ (A.K.A Flame Dragon God ~SNK Heroines Edit~) - SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy
- Mai Mai Kyuun - Real Bout Fatal Fury Special image song
- Kachou Fuugetsu Otome Mai (花蝶 風月 乙女 舞） - 1994 Image song by Reiko Chiba
- Non Stop! One Way Love - 1994 Image song
- Dear Mai Boy - 1997 Image song
- Heavy Baby's 1, 2, 3 - Neo Geo DJ Station shared image song
- Dance de Peace! - Fatal Fury shared image song
- Lucky Paradise - Shared image song with Andy in Garou Densetsu Special
- Akoya Sogi - Fatal Fury 2~King of Fighters XI
- Ami Koshimizu - KOF Sky Stage~present, Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos, King of Fighters movie (Japanese voice)
- Kotono Mitsuishi - Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle, Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture
- Megumi Hayashibara - Dengeki Bunko drama CDs
- Sarah Sawatsky - Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle (English voice)
- Lisa Ann Beley - Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture (English voice)
- Megumi Hayashibara - Fatal Fury Dengeki drama CD series
- Sheryl Stanley - Maximum Impact series (English voice)
Live Action Actors
- Tomomi Miyauchi - Fatal Fury 2 Super Famicom commercials
- Miki Hareyama - Fatal Fury Special commercials
- Maggie Q - King of Fighters movie
- Fatal Fury 2
- Fatal Fury Special
- The King of Fighters '94
- Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory
- The King of Fighters '95
- Real Bout Fatal Fury
- The King of Fighters '96
- Real Bout Fatal Fury Special: Dominated Mind
- Real Bout Fatal Fury Special
- The King of Fighters '97
- Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers
- The King of Fighters '98
- Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition
- Fatal Fury: First Contact
- The King of Fighters R-1
- The King of Fighters R-2
- The King of Fighters '99
- SNK Gals' Fighters
- SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millenium
- Capcom vs. SNK
- The King of Fighters 2000
- The King of Fighters 2001
- Capcom vs. SNK 2
- The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood
- The King of Fighters 2002
- The King of Fighters EX2: Howling Blood
- SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom
- The King of Fighters 2003
- The King of Fighters Neowave
- KOF: Maximum Impact
- The King of Fighters XI - Hidden character, PS2 only
- The King of Fighters XIII
- Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
- KOF: Maximum Impact 2
- KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation A
- The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match
- The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match
- The King of Fighters: Kyo
- Quiz King of Fighters
- KOF Sky Stage
- Neo Geo Heroes: Ultimate Shooting
- Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos
- Garou Densetsu The Legend of Wild Wolf - Roulette character
- Garou Densetsu Special - Roulette character
- Garou Densetsu Sougeki
- Garou Densetsu Premium
- The King of Fighters (Pachinko) - Roulette character
- Maximum Impact - Roulette character
- CR The King of Fighters
- The King of Fighters XIV
- Dead or Alive 5 Last Round - DLC Guest Character
- SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy
- Dead or Alive 6 - DLC Guest Character
- Garou Densetsu vs Fighter's History Dynamite
- Days of Memories (First, Fifth, Eighth, and Ninth game) - Non-playable
- Gungho Games - Character skin
- Neo Geo Tennis Coliseum
- The King of Fighters Mobile
- The King of Fighters Mobile R-2
- The King of Fighters Volleyball
- The King of Millionaire
- The King of Fighters Mahjong
- KOF Gals Mahjong
- SNK Beach Volley Gal's Attack
- SNK Gal's Open ~Cutey Shot~
- Moeyo! KOF Daiundokai
- SNK Gals Island Dokidoki Puzzle Shock!
- Moeyo! SNK Gals Osuin Katoukai
- SNK Gals Island Hanakaruta Oshietekudasai
- SNK Gals Island Dokidoki Puzzle Shock! 2
- SNK Gals Island Astro Quest Hoshi☆wa Nigashimasen!
- SNK Dream Battle
- SNK High School Collection
- KOF x Fatal Fury
- Dai Shingeki RPG! Sister Quest - collaboration event
- Wizardry Online
- King of Fate
- Metal Slug Defense (Unlockable)
- Brave Frontier - Collaboration event
- Game of Dice
- King of Glory - Guest Character
- Ultimate Heroes
- World Cross Saga
- Venus Eleven Vivid
- Crusaders Quest
- Tian Tian Xuan Dou
- YAMATO Chronicle
- If World
- Crash Fever
- Bokuto Dragon
- Valkyrie Connect
- Tower of Saviors
- Kimi wa Hero
- Puzzle & Dragons
- The King of Fighters Destiny (Game)
- The King of Fighters: World
- Clash of Kings
- The King of Fighters All Star
- Tokyo Prison
- The King of Fighters: Orochi Go
- Dungeon Hunter Champions
- Soul Warrior
- The King of Fighters M: Fighting Stars Assembly
- Knives Out-Tokyo Royale
- Gang Legend
- SNK Fighting Age
- Shinobi Master Senran Kagura: New Link - collaboration event
- Art of Fighting 2 - In Eiji's ending in-text cameo (English version only)
- Samurai Shodown - Cameo in Genan's and Haohmaru's ending; the name's the same but written as: "不知火麻衣"
- Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidou Retsuden (Neo-Geo CD version only)
- The King of Fighters XI - in the Fatal Fury's Team ending
- The King of Fighters XII - Cameo in Andy's profile story
- The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise
- The King of Fighters 2 - Cameo in Hawaii; also a very rare roulette character
- Garou: Mark of the Wolves - In Hokutomaru's stage, along with Andy
- Mabinogi Heroes - as an avatar
- Phantasy Star Online 2 - as a costume
- Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle
- Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture
- The King of Fighters: Another Day - 1st episode
- The King of Fighters: Destiny
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Mai's profile page from the Fatal Fury 15th Anniversary website (Japanese)
- ↑ Official character profile from The King of Fighters 2001 website
- ↑ Official character profile from The King of Fighters 2003 website
- ↑ Mai's profile page from the Official website for Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
- ↑ Official character profile from KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
- ↑ http://game.snk-corp.co.jp/official/kof-xiii/arcade/character/index.html
- ↑ https://web.archive.org/web/20030608095829/http://www.gamespy.com/top10/may03/gamebabes/index3.shtml
- ↑ - "The King of Fighters ’94 – Developer Interview" Archived from The original'
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Official character profile from KOF anniversary website.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ KOF 10th anniversary website Shinkiro's interview.
- ↑ Neo Geo Freak 1997-08 archive Neo Geo Freak character popularity poll results.
- ↑ Neo Geo Freak 1997-08 archive Number of votes from both genders, from Neo Geo Freak character popularity poll.
- ↑ Neo Geo Freak 1998-08 archive Neo Geo Freak 10 best character set original image collection.
- ↑ Falcoon's page from SNK 40th anniversary website.
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