Mai Shiranui
Fatal Fury, The King of Fighters, SNK vs. Capcom series
Mai Shiranui in The King of Fighters 2001
First appearance Fatal Fury 2 (1992)
Created by Undisclosed
Designed by Art: Shinkiro, Falcoon and others in the various games
Animation: C.A.C Yamasaki (KOF '94- KOF 2003)[1]
Voiced by
Sarah Sawatsky (Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle)[2]
Lisa Ann Beley (Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture)[2]
Sheryl Stanley (KOF: Maximum Impact, Maximum Impact 2, KOF: Another Day)[2]
Motion capture Tomomi Miyauchi (Fatal Fury 2 TV commercial)
Maggie Q (film)
Voiced by
Akoya Sogi (Fatal Fury Special - FF: Wild Ambition, The King of Fighters '94 - KOF XI)[2]
Kotono Mitsuishi (Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle, Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture)[2]
Megumi Hayashibara (drama CDs)
Ami Koshimizu (Neo Geo Heroes: Ultimate Shooting, Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos, KOF XIII)[2][3][4]
class=" infobox hproduct" style="float:right; width:264px; font-size:90%; text-align:left;" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="3"
Fictional profile
Birthplace Japan
Fighting style Ninjutsu of the Shiranui style (不知火流忍術 Shiranui-ryū Ninjutsu?)
Weapon {{{weaponname }}}

|- |}

Mai Shiranui (不知火 舞 Shiranui Mai?) is a player character in both the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series of fighting games by SNK and in other media of these franchises, having also appeared in numerous other games since her debut in the 1992's Fatal Fury 2.

In the games, Mai is a modern female ninja and the granddaughter of the ninjutsu master Hanzo Shiranui, with an ability to create and control fire. In her mind, Andy Bogard is her fiancé, but the relationship between the two is often ambiguous on the part of Andy. She is also a founding member of the King of Fighters tournament's Women Fighters Team.

The character became the main sex symbol of SNK, often being chosen to represent the company in the various crossover and spin-off titles. Mai is also widely regarded as one of the most popular and recognisable female characters of the fighting genre and video gaming in general, largely due to her sex appeal.

Character design


Mai's famous breasts bounce effect, as seen in The King of Fighters XIII. Mai's design and stance in this game are actually based on her appearances in the Fatal Fury series.[5] Due to censorship, Mai's chest motions were stilled in the international home version of KOF '94[6] as well as in the UK version of KOF '95 for the Sega Saturn.[7]

Prior to the creation of Mai for Fatal Fury 2, the series was intended to feature a male ninja master using the fighting style that she would use. Later, the SNK staff changed their focus to including an idol character into the series, and they decided to replace him with Mai. As described by Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), "the character wears a revealing outfit that accentuates her buttocks and displays large amounts of cleavage."[8] In her official profile, Mai's measurements are 87 cm / 55 cm / 91 cm; she is 165 cm tall and weights 48 kg.[9] Inspiration for Mai's physical appearance and attributes were culled from a variety of sources. The official Neo Geo publication Neo Geo Freak wrote her breasts were modeled after Fumie Hosokawa and her buttocks were modeled after Ai Iijima (both women were famous Japanese gravure idols during the creation of the Fatal Fury series).[10][11] The characteristic "jiggle" animation effect of Mai's breasts was inspired by the tales of the kunoichi (female ninja) using their bodies for seduction and distraction.[12] Mai's surname, "Shiranui" (a Japanese optical phenomenon similar to will-o'-the-wisp) is a reference to her pyrokinetic abilities (Mai can create and control fire, even though she is not immune to her own flames). Her weapons are steel "Butterfly Fans" that can be used in close-quarters and as ranged projectiles.[13]

Mai's basic look changes only slightly through most of the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters games. She has long hair (usually brown or red, sometimes also black) with long bangs framing the sides of her face, tied up in a thick, long ponytail which flows behind her back. Her costume is usually a sleeveless, skimpy red outfit or tunic. The costume is held at her waist by a decorative waistband, often with long, trailing decorative tails, leading down to a loincloth with a thong underneath (or mini-shorts in the U.S. version). Her footwear for Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special (1993) and The King of Fighters games is a pair of soft-soled tabi. From Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory onwards into Real Bout Fatal Fury (both in 1995), she wears instep guards that leave her heels and the front parts of her feet exposed. In Fatal Fury 3, she is also wearing a red vest and eye shadow. Mai has been subject to much regional censoring, including having her famous breast bouncing animation removed in the North American versions of Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special and The King of Fighters 2002.[5] In most games she was voiced by Akoya Sogi.

In The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact (2004), her alternate costumes portray her with very short, boyish hair and ninja outfits that resemble that of Kasumi from the Dead or Alive series. In KOF: Maximum Impact 2 (2006), one of Mai's second outfit color schemes is exactly Andy Bogard's standard palette, even giving Mai blonde hair. Another of her outfits bears a resemblance to the character Lum Invader from the manga and anime series Urusei Yatsura (long green hair, clothes sporting tiger prints, and her hairpin even makes it look like she had small horns). This costume is also considered to be a cosplay of Cham Cham from SNK's Samurai Showdown series. The Maximum Impact series' producer, Falcoon, stated that designing Mai's alternate design was one of the ones he felt "unforgivable", as he felt unsure of fans' reaction to the change.[14] Shinkiro, an illustrator from The King of Fighters, commented that Mai was the most difficult to draw since he "thought she was going to burst out of her costume."[15] The King of Fighters logo designer and illustrator Nao Q, asked which character from which game he was happiest with, said, "You know full well it's Mai from Fatal Fury! As a fan of full-figured females, I can't do without her!"[16]


In video games

Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters

According to the games' early canon, Mai was born on January 1, 1974 (later just January 1[9]). She has a charismatic, enthusiastic and flamboyant personality. She is a practitioner of hand-to-hand martial art koppo-ken, Shiranui-ryū style, and has also studied at her grandfather's friend, the close-combat judo master Jubei Yamada.[13] The American Andy Bogard, with whom she is in love, studied Shiranui ninjutsu with her grandfather Hanzo since their early teens. She is also a friend to Terry Bogard (Andy's older brother) and Joe Higashi.

Mai stars in Fatal Fury 2 to assist Andy into facing the new host of The King of Fighters tournament, Wolfgang Krauser. She also plays a supporting role in Fatal Fury 3 and Real Bout Fatal Fury into fighting Geese Howard, the criminal who killed Andy and Terry's father, Jeff Bogard. The following games from the series, Real Bout Fatal Fury Special (1997) and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers (1998), do not contain a storyline. The 3D fighting game Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition (1999) retells the story of Fatal Fury: King of Fighters, which originally did not feature Mai.

The King of Fighters series tournament also feature Mai as a regular character participating in the annual tournaments in the Women Fighters Team. Initially, the team is composed of Mai, King and Yuri Sakazaki from the Art of Fighting series, but it changes constantly. In The King of Fighters '99, the teams were expanded to four members, and so Mai goes to the Fatal Fury Team (composed of Terry, Andy and Joe Higashi). She returns to the Women Fighters Team in The King of Fighters 2000 for the following games, until she leaves competition in The King of Fighters XI (2005) in order to search for Andy who was absent in 2003 (Mai appears in the PlayStation 2 version of the game as a hidden character). In The King of Fighters XIII (2010), she returns to the series along with the other two members of The King of Fighters '94's Women's Team.[17][18]

Other appearances

Mai is present as a playable character in every game in the SNK vs. Capcom crossover fighting game series since 1999, featured in a role of a rival to Street Fighter's Chun-Li, and appears as a playable character in Namco Bandai's tactical role-playing game Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos released for the PSP in 2011.[19] She is also a playable character in the fighting games SNK Gals' Fighters (2000) and NeoGeo Battle Coliseum (2005),[20] in the shooting games The King of Fighters Sky Stage and Neo Geo Heroes: Ultimate Shooting (2010),[21][22][23] in the quiz game Quiz King of Fighters (1995), in the PC game King of Fighters Online,[24] and in the handheld games SNK Beach Volley~GAL'S ATTACK~ and Neo Geo Tennis Coliseum,[25][26] as well as in many minor mobile games.[note 1]

In The King of Fighters: Kyo, a role-playing video game settled right in between KOF'96 and KOF'97, Mai is not a non-playable character who provides Kyo Kusanagi with info and help during his trials. She is also a character in the four games in the dating simulation series Days of Memories (first, fifth, eighth and ninth), and made cameo appearances in character endings in Samurai Shodown,[28][29] Art of Fighting 2, Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidou Retsuden (in the Neo Geo CD version only) and The King of Fighters: Battle de Paradise. In the North American release of Art of Fighting it is implied that Eiji Kisaragi has feelings for her[30] (the original Japanese version contains nothing of the sort canon-wise).

In other media

KOFXII manga cover

SNK Playmore's decision to not add to her in any form in The King of Fighters XII has disappointed and even upset many fans.[31][32][33][34][35] While not appearing in the game itself, Mai is a character in a tie-in manga series; she was also "teased" in a trailer and has been rumored to be added through downloadable content.[36]

Mai makes her first anime appearance in Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle (1993), where she follows Andy on his travels to find Krauser in Germany, where she is approached and later attacked by Laurence Blood; Andy defeats Blood and rescues Mai.[37] In Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture (1994), Mai is present with Terry, Andy and Joe when the quest to find the Armor of Mars and stop Laocorn Gaudeamus is given to them by Sulia, Laocorn's sister; as usual, Mai tags along mostly as an excuse to spend time with Andy, and is taken hostage by Hauer and participates in the final battle against Laocorn Gaudeamus.[38] She also has a minor role in the 2005 original net animation The King of Fighters: Another Day.[39]

In the 2009 live-action film The King of Fighters, loosely based on the game series, Mai was a major protagonist character and was played by Maggie Q, bearing little resemblance to the video game character.[40] As in the case of the rest of KOF characters in the film, her appearance, biography, and personality were re-designed from scratch. SpoonyOne called this film's Mai "basically a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the King of Fighters movie" as "they got every single aspect of this character, except of the fact that she is a woman I guess, completely and utterly wrong."[41] In a rare dissenting opinion, and based on Maggie Q promotional photoshoot with an entirely look than actually appearing in the film,[42] Complex ranked her as second among the "hottest women in video game movies," stating, "Aside from a couple of very...prominent differences, we're sold."[43]

Mai also appears in the Dengeki G's Magazine CD drama Fatal Fury, as well as in several manga series, including Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000,[44] King of Fighters Maximum Impact: Maniax,[45] SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos,[46] The King of Fighters '97,[47] The King of Fighters '99: Millennium Battle,[48] The King of Fighters 2000[49] and The King of Fighters Zillion.[50] Chiba Reiko's single Non Stop! One Way Love includes the vocal track Kachou Fuugetsu Otome Mai which is also featured Garou Densetsu SPECIAL Image Album Part 1 and NEO-GEO Gals Vocal Collection by Pony Canyon.

In merchandise and promotion

Mai is the main character[51] in one of the Queen's Gate erotic gamebooks, published by Hobby Japan in 2008 as part of its Queen's Blade system.[52] She also appears as a roulette character in several pachinko game machines.[note 2]

In 2011, Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft wrote "there are literally a gazillion Mai Shiranui figures."[53] Scores[54] of different figures, statuettes and dolls were made in her image, including by Aizu Project,[55] Alphamax,[56] Daiki,[57][58] Max Factory,[59] Volks,[60] among many other manufacturers. One exclusive Volks figure was sold in an auction for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.[61] Two action figures were also made in the Cy Girls series.[62][63] A third-party company has made a custom Neo Geo joystick controller for PlayStation consoles decorated with Mai-related imagery.[64] Several official Mai t-shirts were also released,[54] along with a number of cards in the Universal Fighting System collectible card game, including a starter deck "Cutting Edge: Mai Shiranui".[65]

One of the SNK events at E3 2005 was the signing of limited edition posters of Mai Shiranui by Falcoon.[66] Mai was used extensively for promotion by SNK and then SNK Playmore, such as with five promotional models dressed as Mai lined up at the Tokyo Game Show in 2008 (fifth most popular "booth babes" of the event among the visitors, according to a survey by Famitsu).[67][68] In 2009, Capcom also teased UDON's new SF20 art book with Akiman's image of Chun-Li and Mai Shiranui "almost kissing and almost punching each other."[69] An exclusive Mai Shiranui t-shirt was given to all registered participants in KOF XIII championship at EVO 2012.[70]

Reception and cultural impact

[In the early 1990s] Chun-Li was slutted out of town by Cammy, but none could hold a candle to Mai, who may very well be the first case of bouncy animated boobs. Gaming magazines were abuzz with commentary on what Mai's bobbing bosom meant for the industry - it was like witnessing (half-naked) women entering the workplace for the first time.[71][note 3]

—Brett Elston, GamesRadar

Mai's sex appeal has quickly made her a famous and popular character, turning her into a female icon of SNK. In 2010, Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku wrote: "Mai is one of the most popular and recognisable fighting game characters. Her image has been recreated in countless figurines and endless fan art."[73] Mai has been often compared to the genre's other game female icon, Chun-Li from Capcom's Street Fighter franchise. UGO called Mai the "Chun-Li of the SNK universe", stating their preference for her.[74] Joystiq's Richard Mitchell wrote in 2006 that "there's one thing Street Fighter will never have, and that's Mai."[75] In 2011, Complex pitted them against each other in the "battle of the beauties" feature, stating: "Breasts or legs? Personally, we'll take 'em both."[76] In ScrewAttack's "Death Battle!" series that same year, Mai, dubbed "the queen of fighters", defeated Chun-Li due to her superior ranged attack abilities.[13]

Japanese magazine Gamest named Mai her as one of the best characters in video gaming for five consecutive years in their annual awards, placing her at second place in 1994, tenth in 1995, 21st in 1996, 28st in 1997, and 25th in 1998.[77][78][79][80][81] In 2009, Seraphina Brennan of Joystiq wrote that "throughout all of the countless MMOs that we've played, we've always asked ourselves one important question: 'Where is Mai Shiranui and why can't I be her?'"[82] In 2012, Elton Jones of Complex ranked her as the 23rd "most dominant" fighting game character overall, stating that she "still moves faster than the wind and puts up a good fight" despite "having the most ridiculous pair of baby feeders in gaming history."[83] The character became very popular in the cosplay community,[84] including the pornographic cosplay session by Ran Asakawa,[85] a homage video Queen of Fighters 2005 released by the pornographic actress Misa Nishida,[86] and the cosplays by the Chinese and Taiwanese models Yoyo Mung,[87] Wu Xi Er,[88] Li Mengtian (Shan Shan Maity),[89] Yang Qi Han (Isabella Yang)[90] and Lan Fenghuang,[91] as well as being subject of the work by Yuuri Morishita.[92] According to Ashcraft, "In Asia—especially China and Taiwan—models keep popping in non-gaming related events" dressed as Mai as "the outfit is skimpy and revealing and has become a uniform of sorts. So if you want to show up in cosplay, its an easy go-to choice—instead of simply representing the fighting game character."[91]

The over-endowed, perpetually jiggling Mai has become not only a mascot for SNK's King of Fighters series, but also for the whole company. Mai is an unapologetic sex symbol, with her low-cut blouse and loincloth barely covering her assets as she whips ass on whoever stands in her way. While some decry Mai's ubiquitousness as pandering fan service, we're more than happy (...) to get fresh hands on this fetching fighter.[93]

UGO Team in 2008

Mai was featured in numerous lists of the most sexy female characters in all video games, including being ranked as the fourth top "babe in games" by GameSpy in 2003 ("probably went a little over the top")[94] as the sixth "hottest game babe" by GameDaily in 2008.[95] Electronic Gaming Monthly ranked Mai as only tenth on the list of the best women of fighting games in 1993,[96] but awarded her the title of "Hottest Game Babe of 1994".[97] GameDaily featured Mai in several babe-of-the-week galleries, including "Outrageous Boobs",[98] "Asian Beauties",[99] and the special "Mai Shiranui",[100] as well as in the 2007 article "Boobs Through the Years", stating, "When it comes to 2-D breasts, no character tops Mai Shiranui."[101] In 2008, UGO team ranked Mai as the seventh on the list of top "girls of gaming".[93] In 2009, MSN placed her fifth among gaming's "hottest babes",[102] while Complex included her in their lists of ten "hottest video game girls".[103] In 2010, Mai was ranked as the fourth "hottest video game girl of all time" by Johnny Firecloud of CraveOnline.[104] In 2011, UGO listed her among the 25 finest female characters from fighting games,[84] also ranking her as the sixth "hottest videogame hottie".[74] That same year, Mai's breasts were ranked as the fifth best in gaming history by the staff of GameFront,[105] and as number one by Rich Shivener of Joystick Division,[106] as well as the second best by Drea Avellan of Complex in 2012.[107] In 2012, Nintendo World Report ranked Mai as the third top chesty heroine on Nintendo systems solely for King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga, calling her "the queen of gaming cleavage,"[108] while Complex ranked her as the 18th "hottest" video game character.[109] That same year, she was also included in the lists of the 10 "sexiest girls from games" by[110] and the 20 "hottest women in video game history" by MSN Malaysia.[111]

Mai was also featured on several lists of top ten ninja characters in video games, including being ranked as seventh by CrunchGear in 2008[112] and as ninth by Wild Gunmen in 2010.[113] Ranking Mai as sixth top video game ninja in 2010, GamePro compared her to Taki from the Soul series as "a gravity-defying marvel of science and physicality," adding that she "is also notable for being the favoured costume choice for cosplay attention-floozies."[114] In 2011, UGO listed her among the "hot ninja girls" in all entertainment.[11] In 2012, Complex placed her at number one spot on the list of "hot female assassins" in video games,[115] while Gelo Gonzales of FHM included her among the nine "sexiest ninja babes in games" and compared her to Daiana Menezes.[116] That same year, ZoominGames ranked Mai's classic costume as the third most sexy outfit in games.[117] American role-playing video game designer Brian Mitsoda imagined "Continue?, a little joint on the Sunset Strip where the game development crowd goes to get away from the public" with "ninja bartenders passing along a mix of vodka and spree to the waitress in the Mai Shiranui outfit."[118]

[T]here is no denying the fact that most gamers know of Mai Shiranui. (...) The developers may have created a character that will upset every feminist out there, but the guys ain't complaining.[102]

MSN in 2009

Some commentary regarded sexualization of the character.[119] In 2011, Winda Benedetti of included Mai's classic costume as one of the five "most preposterous" outfits in games, commenting "Oh Mai! When you arrived on the scene in the early '90s, you set womankind back decades."[120] American comic book artist Adam Warren drew a picture of his character Emp cosplaying as Mai Shiranui and commenting on how "potentially mortifying" this costume is and declaring her "sincerest sympathies" for Mai.[121] In 2012, feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian included Mai among the 12 characters featured in Kickstarter bid for her announced video blog project Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.[122]


  1. Such as The King of Fighters Mahjong, The King of Fighters Volleyball, The King of Millionaire, KOF Gals Mahjong,[27] SNK Beach Volley Gal's Attack, SNK Gal's Open ~Cutey Shot~ and SNK Gals Island Dokidoki Puzzle Shock!.
  2. Including the pachinko slot machines "Garou Densetsu The Legend of Wild Wolf", "Garou Densetsu Special", "The King of Fighters", "The King of Fighters 2" and "Maximum Impact".
  3. An example of this could be the review of Fatal Fury 2 by VG&CE ("if Street Fighter's Chun Li turns you on, you're bound to be tittulated by the sight of Mai Shiranui, who jiggles through the battle wearing next-to-nothing from the waist down").[72]


  1. "Interview with C.A.C Yamasaki". King of Fighters 10th anniversary.  (archived)
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  4. "Famitsu interview with Ami Koshimizu (Japanese)". Famitsu website. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
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  10. (in Japanese) KOFキャラクターズ―KOF’94~’97 全45キャラ設定資料完全収録. Neo Geo Freak. 1998. ISBN 978-4-87465-406-4. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 UGO Team, Ninja Chicks are So Freakin' Hot,, January 5, 2011
  12. SNK Playmore (2000). ALL ABOUT SNK対戦格闘ゲーム〈1991‐2000〉. SNK Playmore. ISBN 978-4-88554-677-8.  Template:Jp icon
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  24. Mike Fahey, The King of Fighters Online Flouts Its Mai, Kotaku, June 15, 2009
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  29. Ending for Samurai Shodown-Gen An(Neo Geo), The Video Game Museum
  30. Ending for Art of Fighting 2-Eiji Kisaragi(Neo Geo), The Video Game Museum
  31. Stephen Totilo, Fan-Favorite Mai Definitely Not In Next King of Fighters, Kotaku, 17 June 2009
  32. King of Fighters XIII bringing back Mai's breasts, Destructoid, March 25, 2010
  33. Adam Biessener, King of Fighters XIII Stays Classy With Naughty Ninja Mai, Game Informer, March 25, 2010
  34. JC Fletcher, King of Fighters XIII brings Mai back this summer, Joystiq, March 25th 2010
  35. Eric L. Patterson, EGM Feature: 5 Ways Japanese Gaming Still Rules: Dragon’s Crown, EGMNOW, December 29, 2011
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  37. (VHS) Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle. Viz Video. 1999. 
  38. (VHS) Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture. Viz Video. 1999. 
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  50. The King of Fighters Zillion #21, Comic Vine
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  60. Brian Ashcraft, You Cannot Stop Mai Shiranui Figurines, May 25, 2009
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  63. Mai Shiranui ( 12" ), BBI collectible
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  69. JC Fletcher, Udon releasing Street Fighter art book this September, Joystiq, July 22nd 2009
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  76. Rich Knight, Battle of the Beauties: Gaming's Hottest Female Characters Face Off,, November 9, 2011
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External links

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