Sunday, January 10, 2016

Those Tits Won't be Necessary Part VI: More bounce to the ounce!





This is part 6 of an Eight part series if you would like to check out the other parts, click on their respective numbers 5,4,3,2,1 Or if you want more in depth discussion, try the bonus chapters: The Myth of Selective Diversity, The Fat the Lean and Everything in between and Lingerie may not be armor (but it's as thin as your arguments)

So it's been a while since we've talked about Taki , and we partially covered the history of the female practitioners of Ninjitsu, last time, but that was clearly for a good reason. If we were to divulge all the secrets of the craft in Taki's part, we wouldn't have much more to share while discussing our current victim of overdressing, right? Right? Right.


So without further ado, let's talk about the bouncy Ninja , Shiranui Mai.




Of course what episode of this series would be complete without the statements of our fascinating yet incredibly shortsighted friends at Svampricket?

MFW I realize that I've been misnaming their site this entire time.

Let's take a look at what they have to say about Mai...

Potato-no-jutsu!


"Here we have a design that dares to refuse underwear. Obviously. A strange but super charming bow with their trailers cost the other hand on it. King of Fighters premier lady is wearing a type of tunic that we recognize from before. Though they have porrat it down completely, so I simply took and restored it to the original design. And when I was at it so she got even a few hearty leggings, for those really high kicks."

Of course, as we move towards the last two entries, you'll begin to see some really interesting statements that prove that the people working on these redesigns really have no idea who the characters are, nor care. The only thing that seems to matter, here is sanitizing risque designs because a small group of people have a problem with it. This paragraph sounds like a bunch of children playing dress up rather than trying to implement design changes that would be both functional and true to the core elements of the character.

There's a lot more of this that needs to be addressed, and trust me, it will definitely be, by the end of this chapter, but Let's talk a bit more about the origins and design of Mai before we cover the flaws of the redesign.


The female of the species is more deadly than the man.




So going back to the first chapter, we talked about the existence and use of Kunoichi to infiltrate enemy territory. Often, they disguised themselves as maids and lovers as a means of assassination and information gathering. Since we've covered the history of Kunoichi back in part one, Let's talk about the only Kunoichi who has historical information of her deeds (and by the look of these deeds, is definitely the most badass of her trade). Chiyome Mochizuki. Ninja Encyclopedia has more on this.. 

I hope you're hungry. I packed a full asswhupping in this bento
The reality of kunoichi in history is a little obscure because the documents written about kunoichis are few enough to think that they did not exist. Mochizuki, Chiyome (望月 千代女) is the one and only kunoichi who solidified her name in Japanese history. Originally, the Mochizuki-Family were the leaders of Kouga (甲賀) - ninjas and the routes of the Mochizuki-family existed in the Shinano-koku (信濃国), that is within the territory of the Takeda-family (武田氏).

Chiyome was born in Kouga, but she got married into the Takeda-family. Chiyome must have mastered Kouga-ninjutsu (甲賀忍術). Her husband was Takeda, Moritoki (武田盛時) who was the nephew of the strongest-Daimyo (大名) Takeda, Shingen (武田信玄) but Moritoki was killed in a battle in 156 and Chiyome became a widow. Shingen gave Chiyome the position of the chief of ninja mediums. As described many times, ninjas and Syugendo (修験道) had strong relationships with each other. In the Warring States period, ninjas often pretended to be practitioners of Shugendo and at Kai (甲斐) in those days, the commercial network had advanced well. Kai was the home territory of Takeda-Family. Shingen made full use of this advantage in order to gather information from all around Japan. Religious practitioners could go anywhere without being watched carefully and even more so if a female. They would be trusted by poor people who needed divine protection. So, it must have been quite easy to gather important rumors from them. Chiyome collected orphan girls,who lost their families because of wars, and educated them both as Kunoichi and Shugendou-walking mediums. Especially, beautiful girls were chosen and it is said that more than 200 walking mediums were dispatched throughout Japan. It is believed that Shingen is the first Daimyo who utilized female mediums for espionage.

Legends that have surfaced about Mochizuki state that she may have been a direct descendant of Mochizuki Izumo-no-kami, 15th century head of the clan of Koga-Ryu, and a specialist in Kayakujutsu (or The art of gunpowder/explosion). It's often stated that he was the “Hattori Hanzo of Koga-Ryu” Which is a rather high honor. The Explosive technique becomes a mainstay in media depictions of Ninja; often used by characters such as Deidara in Naruto Shippuden, and Joe Musashi, of the Shinobi games. Chiyome was no slouch, either. According to sources at Badassoftheweek.com , She gathered her 200 (possibly 300) something army of orphans and Street urchins she personally discovered, and sent them to what appeared to be a charitable private school for girls. In reality these youth were being trained in the art of espionage, sabotage and assassination, using any tool the had available, even their own beauty.

The two reasons why you're staring at this are not "historical" and "consistency"

Historically, the Kunoichi employed under Chiyome were dressed inconspicuously as shrine maidens (or Miko), Noblewomen, traveling entertainers or as prostitutes. Whatever it took to get them through the gates and into the enemy camp, where they can schmooze their way into where they need to be. This is largely the reason as to why when we see games like Red Ninja: End of Honor, or the Tenchu games, practitioners of the art of Kunoichi-no-Jutsu are always presented provocatively. This is a means of distracting an enemy in order to either subdue them, or gather information via seduction, or drunken confessional, or what-have-you. In the case of media such as this, Anime such as Ninja Scroll or Manga in the vein of Lady Snowblood, This is a more “to-the-point” way of showing how these ladies did their thang.... Oh god, that was terrible... sorry.  


Shiranui style


According to Wikia's SNK character entry, Mai was almost left on the cutting room floor, entirely. Her fighting style was created for a male character, and her design was only considered after the developers wanted an Idol character in the roster. With the male character scrapped, Mai's design was finalized using two real-life idols; Fumie Hosokawa, the “Original Kyonyu (or “large breasts”) idol” , and Ai Iijima, an adult film star and Idol, who is so popular for her shapely rear and "T-back" thong shots, that she has her own Sega Saturn game... 

No, seriously.

found after hours of "research"

By these powers combined, we now have the Number one busty Ninja using her signature “bounce” animation as a means of distracting teenagers into getting their collective arses beat twenty-ways-to-Sunday! But of course we're getting ahead of ourselves..

The surname Shiranui is based from a spectral fire phenomenon from Japanese legend much like Europe's Will-o'-the-whisp. The name fits in naturally with her fighting style, Shiranui-Ryu, as she tends to use pyrotechnics in her martial arts moves, a nice callback to Izumo-no-Kami's Koga Kayakujutsu style. The name “Mai” comes from a slow Japanese folk dance that features hand gestures. It is surmised that this is why Mai uses fans as her primary projectiles, As well as her attacks being graceful as if she's dancing in embers. The pony tail and the flowy-ness of her bow and train are there to also show dynamic movement, and compliment her “dance-like” moves, as well.

Mai have you grown....
Her original costume in Fatal Fury 2 seemed to be a bit more.....well “modest”, only evolving into her current KOF costume after multiple iterations. Capcom, not to be outdone, literally copied this design to create Final Fight character, Maki Genryusai. Maki, who was Guy's future sister-in-law, and ally to Metro City Mayor, Mike Haggar, aided him in defeating the second iteration of the Mad Gear Gang. To add to this quick aside, Maki was so popular she eventually reappeared in Capcom vs SNK 2, as well as portable versions of Street Fighter Alpha 3 for the GBA and PSP respectively. As with Marvel and DC, Capcom and SNK have been known to commonly copy each others' designs to create new characters (Remy, Donovan, Dan Hibiki, Ryo Yuri and Takuma Sakazaki Terry and Andy Bogard, ect ect).

Mai's costume colors are basic red and white, which as we've stated before, Red (or “Aka”) in Japanese culture is a heroic color, which when teamed with white mirrors the color scheme of the Japanese flag, “Hinomaru” or “The sun's circle”. Red often symbolizes Passion, love, Seduction, violence, danger, anger and adventure, while white symbolizes purity, innocence, wholeness and completion.

These are attributes that actually play a big part in Mai's personality, which shows her to be very traditional. With a hint of pride and vanity. The innocence comes into play with her appearing to be saving herself for her “Prince Charming”, Andy Bogard whom she peruses ruthlessly. Her obsession with Andy and her training in Ninjitsu, seems to be the only thing that keeps her from being truly traditional in every sense of the word, but that seems to not stop her from at least trying fit the mold.


Bringing Sexy Back..


So let's get back to the bland redesign, and it's equally bland design notes, shall we? Like before, we'll place the original and the redesign side-by-side for comparison.



Here we have a design that dares to refuse underwear. Obviously. A strange but super charming bow with their trailers cost the other hand on it. King of Fighters premier lady is wearing a type of tunic that we recognize from before. Though they have porrat it down completely, so I simply took and restored it to the original design. And when I was at it so she got even a few hearty leggings, for those really high kicks.”

 Going off of initial looks, it seems like there's really not much of a design change other than erasing the cleavage and throwing on leggings to decrease a chance of actually showing off any thigh or undergarment. Though, our more observant viewers will notice that Mai's top looks to resemble a qipao, or a Chinese dress which looks strangely reminiscent of Chun Li's cheongsam. The comment “I restored it to it's original design” seems half-hearted due to actually seeing Shinkiro's original designs of the character, and the leggings, while actually sticking to the color scheme, actually seem really out of place now that we know the historical context of the character's fighting style.

The “super charming bow” leads us to believe that the artist really had no idea as to why the design choice was made, but it's still kept intact, and like with the other designs, here There's no sense of personality, or intent to be formidable on the battlefield. This is a static “Grey's Anatomy stare- longingly-into-the-sky-at-the-end-of-an-episode.” pose. To make it short, one could easily dismiss this design with the words “Girl, you basic!” and be just as accurate. Points will be awarded, however for the possibility of dynamic range of movement, but the design is so much of a snore that this version of Mai would likely be talking your head off rather than kicking it off.

In a way this seems reminiscent of what Mex says about revision in Part 20 of “How to design a Street Fighter character.

it was a challenge for designers to present the iconic characters without making them unrecognizable. It also served as an example for designers that want to create the next generation of SF character. How did the team at give the world younger versions of the SF II cast? What cues did they use? What changes in Proportion were exploited to make the characters appear younger? Did the use of large, bulbous muscles on characters like Zangief and Vega make them appear younger? What about the angles used on Gen and Rolento? Did the change from pseudo-realism to anime presentation for the in-game sprites make it easier for the gamer to accept the age changes? What about the visual changes to the Moves used by Ken and Ryu?

It was through the use of Revision that the team at Capcom was able to convince the gamer that these changes were acceptable. Potential character designers should be able to challenge themselves and their character designs and try to create a version of their character 5, 10 or 20 years older or younger while still maintaining the cues of their vision. In doing so an artist or designer might actually discover that their character works better when presented a little older or younger. It allows the designer to see not only what an alternate Color choice would be, but how potential alternate Costume would work as well. It also allows the luxury of knowing how the character will appear down the road and whether or not they can maintain Timeless Design as the series progresses.

With Chun Li's redesign for her younger appearance in Street Fighter Alpha, Her costume changed things up while still retaining elements of the core character design. Alpha Chun Li still had the patterns from her cheongsam, while incorporating a blue bodysuit not unlike a pallet swap of what Bruce Lee wears in Game of Death. These elements of Lee's costume which summon images of his lightning fast kicks and movements, with the original elements of Chun Li's Street Fighter II costume (the top and a more subdued version of the spiked bracelets) go further in bringing the design home. On a subconscious level you would be aware that Chun Li's kicks were just as powerful as Bruce's, so it makes sense to tie that into the final design.

Do something, homie! I dare you!


The Mai design has no practical use for leggings, even though with better implementation they could potentially work to enhance the design, but may leave it looking too "busy" and not as simple as the original. As they are, the leggings and the top only succeed in making the design look generic in comparison. The redesigned Mai looks aged, but only as a side-effect of the conservative nature of the design (or due to the artist's own limitations), and it's generic nature looks as if she's merely a background character in her own game. Lastly, this design seems less simplified and more of a hodgepodge. The design itself drives your eye all over the place, where as her KOF XIII design starts from the top and brings your eye down to the tip of her fan. Unlike the other designs, thus far, this one really could have worked out, but only with a more in depth understanding of the character, and without the need to cover her up for the sake of censorship implied moral decency.


 Before we close this out, let's take a look at Mai's redesign for the KOF Maximum Impact games. This particular piece was drawn by Artgerm, who's artwork is nothing short of phenomenal. Link to his work will be at the bottom of the page.

style for days


While this design shows slightly less skin than the original (the costume has a back to it and covers the buttocks, while showing ample cleavage and thigh), it still retains the core elements of the original design, while making use of an alternate color scheme. The redesign, here also portrays Mai as older, and more sophisticated (due to her shorter hair) while still retaining youthful beauty through her posture and body language. There is a lot going on especially towards the bottom of the image, but it remains consistent, and ties everything together rather well.

Thinking back to part one, even with the breasts being covered in the Taki design, the artist still had a problem with them, which seems disturbing in hindsight. Do breasts intimidate this person to the point of wanting them to be completely erased from a design? Wanting women to look like twelve-year-old boys, seems unrealistic and may require some further insight in order to be addressed. Logically, it would be strange to walk around in public yelling at women with large breasts to “cover up, you whore!” and if someone actually did, then it might be good to do a bit of soul searching to figure out whether the problem lies with that person rather than the people they're out shaming into covering up. Of course we don't know if that's really the intention, but these examples reek of that mentality.

Ultimately, this should be left to you, dear reader, to figure out for yourself, as you use the knowledge of this mini-series to make your own observations. Hopefully, this will help you on your way to becoming better character designers and artists, while trying to not make the mistakes of those on display, here.

We're down to the wire with only two more to go before we end this, and I think it's time to “switch gears” - so to speak.. Next time, we'll be answering the question of “how do you make a Rock goddess in a witch hat look like Roy Schieder in drag?


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