Street Fighter Bishoujo Chun-Li Review
Few game franchises are as synonymous with longevity and success as Capcom's Street Fighter series. The popularity of Street Fighter isn't merely contained to gaming though, as action figures, statues, movies and clothing based on the license have become a staple of gamer culture. Kotobukiya is the latest company to take a crack at bringing the video game to life with its line of Bishoujo statues. After spending some time with the first character in the series, Chun-Li, we're convinced there's no better way to have brought the female fighters in Street Fighter to life.
For a few years now, Kotobukiya has been expanding its Bishoujo line to include a variety of different licenses. Where once there was only DC and Marvel heroines to enjoy, now there are statues from Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Mass Effect and Street Fighter. Chun-Li is the debut collectible in the Street Fighter branch of the Bishoujo line, which makes a great deal of sense given her history with the game and how important she is to the long-running series. Based on the designs of Shunya Yamashita and her look in Street Fighter IV, Chun-Li is an eye-catcher of a statue that will definitely appeal to fans.
Standing nearly eight inches tall (from the base to the tip of her extended kicking foot), Chun-Li is definitely one of the larger Bishoujo statues Koto has released. Granted, even though many other Bishoujo have been posed in some great action stances, few can reach the heights of Chun-Li's infamous kicks. And what a kick it is. Yamashita's design called for Chun-Li to be at the apex of her attack, which not only gives her a very unique pose, but also allows for the illusion of motion to be portrayed in the sculpt.
What's great about the pose is how it draws your eye to from the foot to the face in a clear line. The point of emphasis allows you to "read" the statue the correct way, bringing your attention from the sole of Chun-Li's boot, down her massive legs and right to her focused face. While the eye-line of the finished statue isn't quite looking at the right spot, it doesn't detract from the overall aesthetic much at all. Chun-Li's eyes should be trained at the tip of her kick, but instead she's looking slightly more even with her knee. Yamashita's concept art (which adorns the box) has the right idea, but something was lost in the translation. Even though Chun-Li's gaze isn't fixed properly, the overall design of the statue will still have you following the action correctly.
Once you get beyond the initial glance, there are plenty of details to soak in. Obviously you're going to be staring at her feet and legs first. The boots are sculpted well, and though Chun-Li's SFIV design took a lot of grief over the size of her thighs, the musculature her is spot on. Kudos to Kotobukiya for not thinning Chun-Li down for the sake of a sexier look, and leaving her impressive tone intact. The paint application on the legs also gives a sense of more depth to the dozens of bulging muscles in Chun-Li's legs. The flaps of her qipao are also flowing in response to Chun-Li having just thrown that head kick, and do well to provide a false sense of action.
As you move up to Chun-Li's torso, the intricate detailing really takes off. Her qipao has a lot of ornate design, and the difference between the striking blue base and gold highlights is obvious and well orchestrated. There are a lot of wrinkles in the outfit caused by the just-thrown kick, and you get a sense the fabric is responding realistically, even though it's actually static. Given how closely all the pieces of fine detail come together, it would have been easy for some paint app mishaps to occur, but our version of Chun-Li was virtually spotless. There was a hint of bleeding on her chest, but beyond that, almost every portion of the statue was painted perfectly.
The Bishoujo line has drawn some flack in the past for less than ideal facial sculpts, but we're happy to report Chun-Li's face doesn't warrant much criticism. Though she's a strong fighter, Chun-Li has always had defined feminine facial features. Shunya Yamashita's artwork inspired the cute-but-focused look of the final product, and even though the eyes aren't fixed to the correct focal point, the face looks fine. There's a light bit of make-up and her hair is sweeping out of her eyes in accordance to the posture created by the kick. The standout feature though is the fine sculpting on her ox horn bows. Both are swept up in the action, and drive home the sense of motion echoed in the dress. It's hard to craft a true sense of believable action with a statue, but Kotobukiya has managed to do it with great success here.
Fans couldn't ask for a better debut figure from the Street Fighter Bishoujo line. Chun-Li is captured perfectly, and her character shines through in the sculpt. With two others already planned for release (Cammy and Juri), the future of the Bishoujo line based on Capcom's fighter is extremely bright. Whether you're a fighting game fanatic or just an avid admirer of these Yamashita-inspired statues, Chun-Li will make a great addition to your collection.
The Kotobukiya Street Fighter Bishoujo Chun-Li statue will be available at specialty stores in February for ~$60. A review sample was provided by Kotobukiya.