She was originally not planned to be included in Fatal Fury at all, as her fighting style was created for a different male ninja. When developers shifted their focus to including an idol character into the series, they decided to scrap the Shiranui man for Mai. Her characteristic "bounce" was loosely modified from a kunoichi (female ninja) method of assassination: to be sensual to their unassuming prey before they strike. According to an issue of Neo Geo Freak, her breasts were modeled after Fumie Hosokawa and her butt is modeled after Ai Iijima; both women were famous idols at the time.
Mai was rated #4 in GameSpy.com's "Top Ten Babes in Games" feature and #5 in Game Informer's "Top Ten Hottest Girls of the 16-Bit era." In the character popularity poll on Neo Geo Freak's website, she was voted as the fifth favorite character with a total of 2,380 votes. Along with the many figures and merchandise that have been made in her image, she has made an outside game appearance in the spin off series Queens Gate.
Mai Shiranui is the granddaughter of Hanzo Shiranui, master of ninjitsu and Koppo-ken. Mai learned from her father the secrets of Ninjitsu. She had met Andy during this time who had come to train under her grandfather. Mai then had to take alternate courses from her grandfather's friend, Jubei Yamada in ninjitsu. At first, Mai was uninterested in Andy and only thought of him as another callous man only interested in his training. It wasn't until he gave her a present on her birthday that she saw him in another light and eventually fell in love with him. She spends much of the series endlessly pursuing Andy and fantasizing various daydreams about their wedding. When developers were asked about her whereabouts during Mark of Wolves, they chose not to answer the question directly. However, they did divulge that she still loves Andy — as she always has — ten years later.
The King of FightersEdit
During nearly every King of Fighters tournament, Mai pesters Andy to enter and form a team with her. Upset at his refusals and choice to join a separate team, she forms an all women team with the help of Yuri and King. In the following years her teammates change, but she remains firm to enter the tournament to help encourage King and her fellow team members and to prove to Andy the error of his ways. In King of Fighters 99, she is finally able to join the tournament in the same team as Andy. However, in the following tournament was asked to step out to allow Blue Mary investigate a case. Denied again, she is angered by the request and joins the Women's team again and has remained a reoccurring member ever since. In the various team endings, she is often celebrating the team's victory at King's bar or fantasizing about Andy. Mai, who feels that a KOF tournament isn't complete without her, decides to enter the KOF XIII with her first KOF teammates. She isn't upset at Andy while making her choice, content to enter a tournament with both her and him in it once more.
Mai is a very happy girl with every girl's dream: get married with her prince charming. She found that same Prince Charming in Andy and self-proclaimed herself his fiancé. Although her preppy fighting persona suggests otherwise, Mai is actually a traditional and ideal Japanese beauty. However, her pride as a Shiranui ninja and infatuation with Andy usually keeps her from fitting the mold 100% of the time.
- Pyrokinesis: Mai is able to create and control fire. She cannot control flames she didn't create however and is not immune to other types of fire.
- Create Fire: Mai can create fire.
- Fire Attacks: Mai can infuse her attacks with fire. She can also completely cloak herself with her flames.
- Fire Channel: Mai can channel fire through her clothes, weapon and anything she touches.
- Fire Burst: Mai can cause explosions and eruptions of fire.
- Aerial Control: Mai has the ability to temporarily stay airborne and control her movements in the air. This allows her to float, glide, change directions in mid-air or gain temporary flight.
- Hidden weapons: Mai can hide/pull out infinite weapons and items from her clothing and cleavage, from seemingly nowhere as no space visible. She keeps at least one fan (her weapon of choice) with her that can't be seen. She also sometimes carries clothes, giant fans, and usually an umbrella.
- Bushin: Mai can temporarily project shadow images of herself and her weapon.
- Changing: With only one gesture, Mai can change clothes within a second.
- Climbing: Due to her ninja training, Mai is an expert with climbing surfaces.
- Stealth: Also because of her training, Mai is a master of stealth.
Mai uses the Shiranui-ryuu Ninjutsu. The style resembles normal ninjutsu with more graceful and majestic moves, somewhat in reference to traditional Japanese dance. She combines this style with her pyrokinetic abilities. Mai uses a lot of gestures while fighting as well. She also uses paper fans as weapons, integrating them into her combat technique and using them to perform several combinations and moves. Her clothing, specifically, the 'tails' on her ninja garb are also used to attack the opponent.