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Mai Shiranui (不知火 舞, Shiranui Mai) is a character from both the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series of fighting games by SNK. Her official nickname is The Alluring Ninja Girl (魅惑 の 女忍者, Miwaku no Kunoichi). [5] [6]

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 [7] and #5 in Game Informer's "Top Ten Hottest Girls of the 16-Bit era."[citation needed]  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 installlments.

Development

FF2 Mai Design

Fatal Fury 2: Concept art.

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 including an idol character into 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.

Mai-shiranui-kofxiv-facial-expressions-concept-art

Mai's concept art in KOF XIV, showing her personality: Happy, Angry, Serious.

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. [8] [9] Due to this pose's potency, however, Mai's eye-popping motions were stilled in the KOF '94 international home version. [8] [9]

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..." [10] In the Neo Geo Freak's 1997 Volume 8 character poll, she was voted as the third favourite character with a total of 1,604 votes.[11] 199 votes from the male fans and 1,405 votes from the female fans.[12] And in Neo Geo Freak's August 1998 issue, she was ranked as the 7th best character. [13] 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 favourite SNK characters. [14]

History

Fatal Fury

Mai-ff2

Mai in Fatal Fury 2.

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 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

Mai XII

KOF XIII Artwork by Ogura

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, in the following tournament was asked to step out to allow Blue Mary 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 disiple, 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.

Personality

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.

Powers

  • Pyrokinesis: Mai is able to create and control fire. She cannot control flames she didn't create however 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.
  • Bushin: Mai can temporarily project shadow images of herself and her weapon.

Skills

  • 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 -Also because of her 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.

Fighting Style

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 tassle 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 being strong enough to throw enemies heavier than her and using her strong elbow strike capable of breaking through her enemies defense's incapacitating them.

Music

  • 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

Image Songs

  • 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

Voice Actors

Live Action Actors

Game Appearances

Mobile Appearances

Cameo Appearances

Anime Appearances

See also

Cards

Maicfc1 Maicfc2 Maishiranui SVC Card Mai Chun-li Weiss Schwarz Hana Arashi Snkhsu13 Snkhsu14 SNKHighSchool-Mai SNKHighSchool-Mai2 Cos大乱斗- Mai YC-Mai KOF98UMOL-Mai KOF98UMOL-Mai Remake Ver 11011701 KimiWaHero-Mai Shiranui KimiWaHero-Mai-Shiranui2P KimiWaHero - Teacher Mai KimiWaHero - Mai Heroines Kof-card008 Kof-card049 Kof-card050 Kof-card051 Kof-card064 Kof-card065 Kof-card066 Kof-card103 Kof-card150 Kof-card-new year andy and mai Kof-card-valentine mai Kof-card-valentines Kof-card-summer-1 Kof-card-summer-4 Kof-card-summer-6

Sprites

MaiMSD Mai-sprite5 Mai-NQ Maiffs Maiff3 Mairbffs Mai94 Mai96 Maingbc Maikofxi Mai-sprite1 Mai94ReBout Maikofxiii

Maimb Maimakai Maiheaven

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mai's profile page from the Fatal Fury 15th Anniversary website (Japanese)
  2. Official character profile from The King of Fighters 2001 website
  3. Official character profile from The King of Fighters 2003 website
  4. Mai's profile page from the Official website for Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
  5. Official character profile from KOF Maximum Impact Regulation "A"
  6. http://game.snk-corp.co.jp/official/kof-xiii/arcade/character/index.html
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20030608095829/http://www.gamespy.com/top10/may03/gamebabes/index3.shtml
  8. 8.0 8.1 The King of Fighters ’94 – Developer Interview originally featured in the “All About KOF’94” mook
  9. 9.0 9.1 Official character profile from KOF anniversary website.
  10. KOF 10th anniversary website Shinkiro's interview.
  11. Neo Geo Freak 1997-08 archive Neo Geo Freak character popularity poll results.
  12. Neo Geo Freak 1997-08 archive Number of votes from both genders, from Neo Geo Freak character popularity poll.
  13. Neo Geo Freak 1998-08 archive Neo Geo Freak 10 best character set original image collection.
  14. Falcoon's page from SNK 40th anniversary website.
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