Super Smash Bros. Ultimate received a huge dose of SNK today with the release of Fatal Fury protagonist Terry Bogard as a playable character, a King of Fighters-themed stage featuring cameos from characters like Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami, and 50 new pieces of music from the studio’s extensive history. One popular fighter that won’t be making an appearance, however, is Mai Shiranui, the ninja that debuted in 1992’s Fatal Fury 2.
During a presentation of the new content, Super Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai was very upfront about Mai’s absence, saying that “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is for good boys and girls of many different ages.” The community immediately understood what Sakurai meant: Mai’s design most famously features her in clothes some would consider too revealing for an ostensibly family-friendly game like Super Smash Bros. Here’s her idle animation from King of Fighters XIII, for example.
On the other hand, it does raise some concerns about the developer buying into the way society sexualizes human bodies. Too often, women are objectified into being a collection of separate parts rather than a whole person. And that’s not to mention the constant discrimination inflicted on trans and non-binary folks who might not fit into narrow-minded notions of gender and anatomy. Mai was obviously designed to titillate, but there’s nothing inherently sexual about breasts; everyone’s got ‘em!
As they are wont to do, the denizens of the internet used this opportunity to clown on the situation, providing us with some great reactions in the process. For some, this was their very first encounter with Miss Shiranui, or they at least played up that unfamiliarity for laughs.
Sakurai might as well have said horny people have no rights.
Many current Smash fans have been playing the games since the beginning and are now adults who can handle seeing some cleavage, making this classic (and fake) Michael Jordan quote applicable.
I’m not sure how many Smash players were clamoring for Mai Shiranui in the first place after the meltdowns over Terry Bogard’s inclusion, but I can imagine this being Sakurai’s response had she been a fan favorite.
There are so many first-party and guest fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate now that being left out probably feels pretty lonely in the fantasy world where video game characters are sentient and have complex emotions.
Some reactions have rightly pointed out that characters like Bayonetta and Zero Suit Samus are pretty adult themselves.
This dude (I think he’s from Xenoblade Chronicles? Who knows, Smash has too many damn characters!) is full on fighting in his underwear, Sakurai.
This is the ideal male body. You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like.
It’s a silly, confusing situation for sure, but maybe the answer was right in front of us all along? It is the Millennium of Luigi, after all.