Mai Shiranui (不知火 舞 Shiranui Mai?) is a character in both the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series of fighting games by SNK (now SNK Playmore). Mai was first featured in Fatal Fury 2 in 1992.


Mai Shiranui is the granddaughter of Hanzo Shiranui, master of ninjitsu and an art of empty-handed ninja combat called koppo-ken. She typically wears exceptionally low-cut blouses, dresses, and clothing to maximize the exposure of her cleavage, and most fight scenes involving Mai include several shots that focus especially on her breasts and buttocks. In her mind, Andy Bogard, who studied Shiranui ninjutsu with her grandfather, is her fiancé. The relationship between the two is often ambiguous, usually on the part of Andy, who at times seems to suppress his feelings for her in favor of treating her like a little sister.


Prior to creating Mai, the Fatal Fury series would feature a male ninja using the fighting style that Mai 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. According to a publication of Neo Geo Freak, her breasts were modeled after Fumie Hosokawa's and her butt is modeled after Ai Iijima's; both women were famous idols during the release of the Fatal Fury series.[2] Mai's characteristic "bounce" effect was inspired by a kunoichi (female ninja) supposed methodof being sensual to their unassuming target before they would strike.[3] During the development from The King of Fighters '94 the designer for Mai asked if it was all right to increase Mai's pause actions, and because producers thought there was enough remaining memory for the game. Due to the pose's potency, however, Mai's motions were stilled in the KOF '94 international home version.[4]


Mai's basic look changes only slightly through most of the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters games. She has long brown hair (however, in some official arts she has red) 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 and The King of Fighters games is a pair of soft-soled ninja tabi. From Fatal Fury 3 onwards into the Real Bout Fatal Fury games, she wears instep guards that leave her heels and the front parts of her feet exposed. In FF3, she also wore a red vest (which was abandoned later on) and heavier eyeshadow. Mai has been subject to much regional censoring and in the U.S. versions of Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special and The King of Fighters 2002 her famous breast bouncing animation was removed.

In The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact, her alternate costumes portray her with very short, boyish hair and ninja outfits that resemble that of Kasumi from the Dead or Alive games. In KOF: Maximum Impact 2, one of Mai's second outfit color schemes is exactly Andy'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.[5] 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", making the series less recommended for children.[6]


In video games

Mai stars in Fatal Fury 2 to assist Andy Bogard, with whom she in love, into facing the new host of the King of Fighters tournament, Wolfang 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 and Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers do not contain a storyline, while the 3D game Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition, retells the story from the first Fatal Fury, which did not originally featured 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 and 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 in order to search for Andy who was absent in 2003. However, she appears as a hidden character in the PlayStation 2 version. In The King of Fighters: Kyo, an RPG game centered on Kyo Kusanagi and settled right in between KOF'96 and KOF'97, Mai is not a playable character, but she and other fighters provide Kyo with info and help during his trials, specially when his girlfriend Yuki is kidnapped and taken abroads. Mai is also present in one of Kyo and Yuki's dates after the incident, when she treats them to a tea ceremony. She will be playable in the upcoming shooter game KOF: Sky Stage as well.[7]

Mai is present in every SNK vs. Capcom crossover series as a rival to Street Fighter's Chun-Li, SNK Gals' Fighters, Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, the mobile games Neo Geo Tennis Coliseum,[8][9] SNK Beach Volley~GAL'S ATTACK~[10] and in the dating simulation series Days of Memories. She will be playable in the upcoming shooter game KOF Sky Stage as well.[11]

She also has been known to make cameo appearances in character endings for both the Samurai Shodown[12][13] and Art of Fighting 2 games. In the U.S. release of the Art of Fighting game, it is implied that Eiji Kisaragi has feelings for her.[14] The original Japanese version contains nothing of the sort canon-wise. Following the unveiling of The King of Fighters XIII at Akihabara it was confirmed that Mai would make her return to the series along with the other two members of the '94 Women's Team.[15]

In other media

Mai makes her first anime appearance in Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle, where she follows Andy on his travels to find Wolfgang Krauser in Germany, where she is approached and later attacked by Laurence Blood. Andy defeats Blood and rescues Mai.[16] In Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture, Mai is present with Terry, Andy and Joe when the quest to find the Armor of Mars and stop the would-be conqueror Laocorn Gaudeamus is given to them by Sulia, Laocorn's sister. As usual, she tags along not so much to help save the world but more as an excuse to spend time with Andy.[17]

Mai plays a supporting role in the 2006 original net animation The King of Fighters: Another Day.[18] She is also a featured character in one of the new Queen's Gate combat gamebooks published by Hobby Japan as part of its Queen's Blade system and has a number of cards in the Universal Fighting System card game (including a starter deck).

In the upcoming live-action movie The King of Fighters Mai will be played by Maggie Q.[19] As in the case of the rest of KOF characters in the film, her appearance was heavily re-designed.


Since her first appearance in Fatal Fury 2, Mai has been converted and recognized as the main sex symbol of SNK. Japanese Gamest magazine named her one of the best characters in video gaming for five consecutive years in their annual awards, placing second in 1994,[20] 10th in 1995,[21] 21st in 1996,[22] 28th in 1997,[23] and 25th in 1998.[24] She was awarded the title of Hottest Game Babe of 1994 by Electronic Gaming Monthly,[25] and was rated fourth in GameSpy's feature "Top Ten Babes in Games" in 2003.[26]

UGO Networks ranked her sixth in their "Top 50 Videogame Hotties" article, calling her the "Chun-Li of the SNK universe", but stating a preference for her over the Capcom character;[27] they additionally cited her as one of the "Top 11" girls of gaming at number seven, describing her as "an unapologetic sex symbol" and a mascot for both the King of Fighters series and SNK as a whole.[28] GameDaily placed her sixth on their "Top 50 Hottest Game Babes" list in 2008;[29] she was also featured three times in their "Babe of the Week" series,[30][31][32] and in a 2007 article discussing breasts in gaming, which stated "When it comes to 2-D breasts, no character tops Mai Shiranui".[33]

Mai has several figurines, hardcast or otherwise, made in her image by Aizu Project,[34] Max Factory,[35] Daiki,[36][37] and more. Recently a third-party company has made a custom Neo Geo joystick controller designed to play for PlayStation consoles, which has been decorated with character-related imagery.[38] The actress Misa Nishida released a cosplay homage video to her, entitled "Queen of Fighters 2005".[39]


  1. "Famitsu interview with Ami Koshimizu (Japanese)". Famitsu website. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  2. Script error
  3. SNK Playmore (2000). ALL ABOUT SNK対戦格闘ゲーム〈1991‐2000〉. SNK Playmore. ISBN 978-4885546778. 
  4. "Successive characters: Mai". King of Fighters 10th anniversary Official Homepage. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  5. "アナザーコスチュームのこと・・・(一回目)". Falcoon official blog. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  6. "Interview with Eiji". King of Fighters 10th anniversary Official Homepage. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  7. Ciolek, Todd (November 4, 2009). "The X Button Strange Days". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 4, 2009. 
  8. Script error
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  11. Ciolek, Todd (November 4, 2009). "The X Button Strange Days". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 4, 2009. 
  12. Rey. "Ending for Samurai Shodown-Haohmaru(Neo Geo)". The Video Game Museum. Retrieved February 27, 2008.  External link in |work= (help)
  13. Rey. "Ending for Samurai Shodown-Gen An(Neo Geo)". The Video Game Museum. Retrieved February 27, 2008.  External link in |work= (help)
  14. Kitsune Sniper. "Ending for Art of Fighting 2-Eiji Kisaragi(Neo Geo)". The Video Game Museum. Retrieved February 27, 2008.  External link in |work= (help)
  15. Script error
  16. (VHS) Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle. Viz Video. 1999.
  17. (VHS) Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture. Viz Video. 1999.
  18. SNK Playmore. KOF Maximum Impact 2. (SNK Playmore). PlayStation 2. Level/area: The King of Fighters: Another Day. (2006-04-27)
  19. Ashcraft, Brian (July 11, 2009). "King of Fighters Movie Promotional Images". Kotaku. Retrieved August 16, 2009. 
  20. Script error
  21. Script error
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  25. "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". 1995. 
  26. Johnson, Bryan. "Top Ten Babes in Games". GameSpy's Official Homepage. Retrieved February 27, 2008.  External link in |work= (help)
  27. Top 50 Videogame Hotties. Retrieved on 2008-12-14
  28. Top 11 Girls of Gaming. Retrieved on 2008-12-28
  29. Top 50 Hottest Game Babes on Trial. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-12-29
  30. Babe of the Week: Outrageous Boobs. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-12-29
  31. Babe of the Week: Mai Shiranui. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-12-29
  32. Workman, Robert (2009-02-06). Babe of the Week: Asian Beauties. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2009-02-09
  33. Boobs Through the Years. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-12-29
  34. "Aizu Project Mai Shiranui 1/7 Scale Figure". National Console Support, Inc. Retrieved February 27, 2008.  External link in |work= (help)
  35. Script error
  36. McWhertor, Michael. "Daiki's Spin on Mai Shiranui's T & A". Kotaku, the Gamer's Guide. Retrieved February 27, 2008.  External link in |work= (help)
  37. Script error
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  39. Ashcraft, Brian. "Hot Tears of Shame ~ Queen of Fighters". Kotaku, the Gamer's Guide. Retrieved February 27, 2008.  External link in |work= (help)

External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:The King of Fighters seriesth:ไม ชิรานุอิ