Masahiro Sakurai explains in the recent Smash stream why Mai Shiranui does not appear

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#1  Edited By nintendoboy16
Member since 2007 • 36740 Posts

Nintendo Life

If you watched today's Super Smash Bros. Ultimatepresentation, you'll probably be aware that Terry isn't the only SNK character being added to the game today.

In the new stage released as part of Terry's DLC pack - the King of Fighters Stadium - you'll spot lots of SNK heroes cheering you on in the background. We're talking characters like Andy Bogard, Joe Higashi, Tung Fu Rue, Athena Asamiya, Iori Yagami, and plenty more; alongside the 50 music tracks that have also been added, it seems SNK has been more than generous to Sakurai and co.

Speaking of Sakurai, the game's director also spoke of another SNK star who hasn't made the cut - Mai Shiranui. Mai is one of SNK's most famous characters, largely thanks to her sex appeal; her official nickname is actually 'The Alluring Ninja Girl' and, according to snk.fandom.com, also appeared in old features like GameSpy's 'Top Ten Babes in Games' and Game Informer's 'Top Ten Hottest Girls of the 16-Bit era'. Let's put it this way - she's the kind of character you probably shouldn't be Googling when you're bored at work.

The reason for her absence, if it wasn't already obvious, is because Mai's design might not be deemed as being appropriate for all ages. Here's what Sakurai had to say:

"By the way, you may have noticed that a very important character from the Fatal Fury series was not included. Yes, Mai Shiranui. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is for good boys and girls of many different ages, so we decided not to feature her. Please forgive us."

As Sakurai said this, other people in the room behind the camera gave out a small chuckle.

Still, with the number of characters now found within this game in one way or another, we really shouldn't complain about anything.

...

In one of the only few 'family friendly' fighting games where Bayonetta appears AND where Solid Snake makes suggestive comments on Zero Suit Samus... yeah okay!

Not really complaining, but still... odd reasoning that makes no sense.

EDIT: Found this retweeted by Maximilian and it makes a bit more sense.

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#2  Edited By DaVillain-  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 39154 Posts

Mai was always eye candy, never care for the character like that in KoF. Masahiro Sakurai didn't really have another option. He couldn't really censor her because her fighting style revolves around her being outrageously sexy to mess with people. Her big Boobs gotta sway either way or she's just a generic female fighter. So yeah, no other choice and it's not a big deal. Bayo is exceptional.

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#3 Archangel3371
Member since 2004 • 28904 Posts

Well no complaints from me. It simply is what it is.

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#4  Edited By uninspiredcup
Member since 2013 • 36166 Posts

Already have her in Dead Or Alive, would be over-saturation. That's more in line with the type of game she's suitable for.

Little kids play Smash, those breasts would ruin their lives.

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#5  Edited By 93BlackHawk93
Member since 2010 • 8609 Posts

https://twitter.com/JamesPopStar/status/1192262821653778432

Sakurai is not a fan of CERO.

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#6 CrimsonBrute  Moderator
Member since 2004 • 25541 Posts

@nintendoboy16:

TL;DR version

https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/001/630/785/eb7.png

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#7  Edited By DaVillain-  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 39154 Posts

@crimsonbrute: His excuse:

She's eye candy. No need to explain this.

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#8 Juub1990
Member since 2013 • 8843 Posts

@uninspiredcup: Those breasts sure ruined my life when I played this game in the early to mid 90’s. They transformed the child I was into somebody else.

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#9 Jag85
Member since 2005 • 13856 Posts

Mai isn't really comparable to Bayo or Samus. While they wear skin-tight clothing, they're still fully clothed, and I don't remember boob physics being a thing with them. Whereas with Mai, she wears very skimpy clothing, and she's pretty much the pioneer of boob physics.

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#10  Edited By jaydan
Member since 2015 • 2720 Posts

@Jag85: Bayonetta is tastefully sexy as well. Her design as a character is never degrading as much as her sexuality is used in an empowering way and one of her strengths, and it's no wonder why when female gamer's discover Bayonetta games that they end up loving the series.

There was nothing tasteful about Mai's character creation. She was quite literally a creation for eye-candy.

That's the main difference between the two. Bayonetta really considers its female audience whereas Mai is the Male fantasy.

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#11  Edited By KungfuKitten
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@jaydan: Hmm I don't know. I don't think it has much to do with considering a female audience. Because that would suggest that women wouldn't like characters like Mai, or dressing like Mai, or wouldn't design characters like Mai and I don't think that's true. I'm not even sure that Bayonetta is less of a male fantasy, honestly.

In my eyes Bayonetta is just a better designed character. She does own and use her sexuality and that already gives her more depth than Mai. And she has to have a better design, because she's a protagonist in her own games.

But I can see how Mai is too scantily clad for the modern day children in the USA. It is odd that she isn't in the other regions but his explanation was rilly cute.

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#12  Edited By jaydan
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@KungfuKitten said:

@jaydan: Hmm yeah I don't know. I don't think it has much to do with considering a female audience. Because that would assume that women wouldn't like characters like Mai, or dress like Mai, or wouldn't design characters like Mai and I don't think that's true. I'm not even sure that Bayonetta is less of a male fantasy, honestly. Bayonetta is just a better designed character. She does own and use her sexuality and that already gives her more depth than Mai. And she has to have a better design, because she's a protagonist in her own games.

The design and intent among both characters is completely different, and the main reason why you'll see women cosplaying as Mai is because she's simply been around that much longer and engraved in pop-culture.

Bayonetta certainly is not a male fantasy as much as Bayonetta is a female power fantasy. Her sexuality in the games are ALWAYS used as one of her strengths while almost always leaving the male characters with the lower-end of the stick. The only times Bayonetta truly respects a male character in her series is if he's equal to her power - or her daddy.

I have had plenty of female friends that discover and fall in love with Bayonetta. I don't think you'd have this amount of women loving a game like Bayonetta if it treated the female characters like trash and how the male characters take advantage of them. That is virtually nonexistent in these games.

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#13  Edited By KungfuKitten
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@jaydan said:
@KungfuKitten said:

@jaydan: Hmm yeah I don't know. I don't think it has much to do with considering a female audience. Because that would assume that women wouldn't like characters like Mai, or dress like Mai, or wouldn't design characters like Mai and I don't think that's true. I'm not even sure that Bayonetta is less of a male fantasy, honestly. Bayonetta is just a better designed character. She does own and use her sexuality and that already gives her more depth than Mai. And she has to have a better design, because she's a protagonist in her own games.

The design and intent among both characters is completely different, and the main reason why you'll see women cosplaying as Mai is because she's simply been around that much longer and engraved in pop-culture.

Bayonetta certainly is not a male fantasy as much as Bayonetta is a female power fantasy. Her sexuality in the games are ALWAYS used as one of her strengths while almost always leaving the male characters with the lower-end of the stick. The only times Bayonetta truly respects a male character in her series is if he's equal to her power - or her daddy.

I have had plenty of female friends that discover and fall in love with Bayonetta. I don't think you'd have this amount of women loving a game like Bayonetta if it treated the female characters like trash and how the male characters take advantage of them. That is virtually nonexistent in these games.

I don't really think that power fantasies are gender based like that. Don't we all like the idea of having things go our way, and being rich and powerful and adventurous and healthy and young and all that stuff? I'm sure if we dig deep we can find some differences but it all seems so similar to me.

I always assumed that most men are really submissive but maybe I'm wrong about that. That's just based on my personal experience with lewd adult chatrooms. A secure woman who can stand her own but isn't evil or mean about it, sounds like someone who could get anyone she likes. For me Bayonetta is more playful about the way she handles men (and women, really) than being an actual b**** about it. Like I don't view her as someone who hates men. I think most men would find her real sexy. But again I could be completely wrong about that.

By the way I don't necessarily disagree with you that she's more popular the way she is. Or maybe I don't even disagree in general. I'm just thinking about it. She's a bit of an idol for me, in that I feel insecure about everything I do and say and the way I look, and she is the complete opposite of that. Making it all look so easy. That's the thing about her that I love, and a character like Mai doesn't have that for me. Although I don't feel like me or my sisters or my brother needed a character like her to enjoy games.

I also wonder if Bayonetta isn't just as much a power fantasy for boys playing the game as it is for girls. I'm not sure her being a woman would stop someone from being inspired, you know what I mean? I'm not sure I've ever felt like a character had to match my gender to make me feel a certain way. But that could be because I'm just weird like that. If I try and think about characters that I disliked, it's characters that didn't feel 'real' at all. I mean real as in real in their world, not ours. That was always the thing that really ticked me off about bad characters.

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#14  Edited By jaydan
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@KungfuKitten: Consider this: there are so many male power fantasies throughout all of entertainment (not just in games). We've been pampered by the male fantasy for so long. Bayonetta is a female power fantasy now. It's no different, and yeah Bayonetta does not come off as a bitch because most of the time the games play around for humorous effect.

Let's take her male servant - Enzo - for example. He is a funny character because he's always Bayonetta's bitch. Enzo only comes into the equation when Bayo needs someone to hold her luggage or keep watch of the car. Instead of Bayo coming off as a bitch it's actually funny when you consider Enzo as a character. He is always rude and foul-mouthed, he complains about everything. He's pretty much a foul character so it's funny when he gets his due treatment.

Enzo pretty much is the male character that represents the nerds that play games like Dead or Alive for the boob physics. Bayonetta is toying with the "you can't have this" to any and all male gamer's who thought they can dive into the Bayonetta games for the sexy.

For male gamer's that love the Bayonetta games, we kinda submit ourselves to Bayo's dominant charm - and then the female fans of the series it's pure power fantasy.

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#15 ocinom
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A kids game can't have lewd characters. It's that simple.

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#16 Jag85
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@jaydan: It's worth noting that Bayonetta was actually created by a female character designer. She's essentially a Japanese woman's idea of a sexually empowered badass woman.

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#17 Jag85
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@KungfuKitten: Actually, Sakurai was talking about Japan, not the West. He said he was aiming for a CERO A rating in Japan, and Mai wouldn't cut it. So yes, even by Japanese standards, Mai is considered a bit too sexy for children.

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#18  Edited By uninspiredcup
Member since 2013 • 36166 Posts
@ocinom said:

A kids game can't have lewd characters. It's that simple.

It really is. Complaining about "censorship" would be nonsense, common sense.

Thinking Mai is anything other than a big pair of jugs in a slut suit to attract male consumers is living in a magical fairy land.

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#19  Edited By R10nu
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#20 judaspete
Member since 2005 • 3270 Posts

I understand why they did this, but if she was just standing in the background in her Fatal Fury outfit, there wouldn't have been any problem. Her sexualization didn't get over the top until King of Fighters.

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#21  Edited By 93BlackHawk93
Member since 2010 • 8609 Posts

https://twitter.com/Richmond_Lee/status/913474315533746177

Mai is very popular with women, guys.

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#22  Edited By KungfuKitten
Member since 2006 • 26919 Posts
@jaydan said:

@KungfuKitten: Consider this: there are so many male power fantasies throughout all of entertainment (not just in games). We've been pampered by the male fantasy for so long. Bayonetta is a female power fantasy now. It's no different, and yeah Bayonetta does not come off as a bitch because most of the time the games play around for humorous effect.

Let's take her male servant - Enzo - for example. He is a funny character because he's always Bayonetta's bitch. Enzo only comes into the equation when Bayo needs someone to hold her luggage or keep watch of the car. Instead of Bayo coming off as a bitch it's actually funny when you consider Enzo as a character. He is always rude and foul-mouthed, he complains about everything. He's pretty much a foul character so it's funny when he gets his due treatment.

Enzo pretty much is the male character that represents the nerds that play games like Dead or Alive for the boob physics. Bayonetta is toying with the "you can't have this" to any and all male gamer's who thought they can dive into the Bayonetta games for the sexy.

For male gamer's that love the Bayonetta games, we kinda submit ourselves to Bayo's dominant charm - and then the female fans of the series it's pure power fantasy.

I see. That's one interesting way to look at it. But if I were to look at games as a male vs. female tug of war I don't know that I could still enjoy them. I mean, it almost becomes like some mental rivalry or psychological warfare that shouldn't even be there.

I guess to me all of the male power fantasies are just... well... just fantasies that everyone can enjoy, I guess. But I understand why they can be seen as - and distinguished as - targeted to a male or female. Or in some way asserting the dominance of one virtual gender over another and things like that. Plus they can get stale.

But I mean, by dissecting it into male vs. female and not in the other million ways we could, it's almost like we're looking to create that struggle. Or I guess it shows we're worried about it. I think it can easily upset people or infer some sort of nefarious intent even though it wasn't necessarily intended that way. And I wonder if it's even experienced that way. How many people actually experience male/female power struggle thoughts when playing a game? I guess more gamers today than ever before because it's so topical. But still.

It's kinda how I feel about this politics-in-games thing. We can see every game as political and having something to say... but if it doesn't say anything clearly, then don't we end up just projecting our mindset onto the game's supposed message? I feel like we're in danger of doing that, when we pick games apart on male and female elements even though they aren't clearly made to be saying something about men and women in reality.

It gets uncomfortably close to the endless martial arts discussions on the internet where we say: "This martial art is better than that martial art because it can beat it." And it's always so subjective and contextual that the discussions are basically meaningless and they never end, but the people involved do get really upset about it. In those cases I wonder if we aren't missing the point of it all. (Instead of using martial arts to stop fighting, it's like they use martial arts to start fighting.)

But if you can think of male and female power fantasies and things like that without feeling permanently upset or paranoid about it, I guess it can't hurt to look at things that way. Sometimes? I just don't know that I can do that.

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#24  Edited By Jag85
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@93BlackHawk93 said:

https://twitter.com/Richmond_Lee/status/913474315533746177

Mai is very popular with women, guys.

Wow, fascinating thread.

According to those Japanese SNK polls from 1997:

  • Japanese male fans preferred female characters with modest clothes.
  • Japanese female fans preferred female characters with sexy revealing clothes.

I get the feeling that, if this poll was in Western countries today, the results would be the reverse. Which says a lot about either differences in culture (between Japan and the West) or time (between the '90s and 2010s).

This might explain why Japanese media (e.g. games, anime, manga, etc.) are full of sexualized female characters (and plenty of sexualized male characters too, though not as frequent), because that's essentially what many Japanese female audiences want. But what Japanese female audiences want may not be what Western female audiences want. Which creates a dilemma for Japanese developers, trying to balance Japanese tastes with Western tastes.

Alternatively, the results may not have been all that difference in the West during the '90s. After all, Lara Croft became a symbol of "girl power" in the '90s, and was embraced by women during that era, enough to propel Angelina Jolie to stardom. Whereas today, the classic Lara Croft design is often perceived as "sexist". So there may have been a cultural shift over the past two decades or so.

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#25  Edited By 93BlackHawk93
Member since 2010 • 8609 Posts
@Jag85 said:
@93BlackHawk93 said:

https://twitter.com/Richmond_Lee/status/913474315533746177

Mai is very popular with women, guys.

Wow, fascinating thread.

According to those Japanese SNK polls from 1997:

  • Japanese male fans preferred female characters with modest clothes.
  • Japanese female fans preferred female characters with sexy revealing clothes.

I get the feeling that, if this poll was in Western countries today, the results would be the reverse. Which says a lot about either differences in culture (between Japan and the West) or time (between the '90s and 2010s).

This might explain why Japanese media (e.g. games, anime, manga, etc.) are full of sexualized female characters (and plenty of sexualized male characters too, though not as frequent), because that's essentially what many Japanese female audiences want. But what Japanese female audiences want may not be what Western female audiences want. Which creates a dilemma for Japanese developers, trying to balance Japanese tastes with Western tastes.

It's also interesting that Senran Kagura has a relatively large female fanbase and Dead or Alive is pretty much the no. 1 Fighting game among female gamers.

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#26 Jag85
Member since 2005 • 13856 Posts
@93BlackHawk93 said:

It's also interesting that Senran Kagura has a relatively large female fanbase and Dead or Alive is pretty much the no. 1 Fighting game among female gamers.

On a related note, I remember a manga poll where they polled Japanese female audiences on what manga they prefer. While it was expected shoujo manga (girls' manga) would be most popular among them, it turned out that most of them actually preferred shounen manga (boys' manga).

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#27  Edited By jaydan
Member since 2015 • 2720 Posts

@KungfuKitten said:
@jaydan said:

@KungfuKitten: Consider this: there are so many male power fantasies throughout all of entertainment (not just in games). We've been pampered by the male fantasy for so long. Bayonetta is a female power fantasy now. It's no different, and yeah Bayonetta does not come off as a bitch because most of the time the games play around for humorous effect.

Let's take her male servant - Enzo - for example. He is a funny character because he's always Bayonetta's bitch. Enzo only comes into the equation when Bayo needs someone to hold her luggage or keep watch of the car. Instead of Bayo coming off as a bitch it's actually funny when you consider Enzo as a character. He is always rude and foul-mouthed, he complains about everything. He's pretty much a foul character so it's funny when he gets his due treatment.

Enzo pretty much is the male character that represents the nerds that play games like Dead or Alive for the boob physics. Bayonetta is toying with the "you can't have this" to any and all male gamer's who thought they can dive into the Bayonetta games for the sexy.

For male gamer's that love the Bayonetta games, we kinda submit ourselves to Bayo's dominant charm - and then the female fans of the series it's pure power fantasy.

I see. That's one interesting way to look at it. But if I were to look at games as a male vs. female tug of war I don't know that I could still enjoy them. I mean, it almost becomes like some mental rivalry or psychological warfare that shouldn't even be there.

But this is the thing, though: there is nothing inherently wrong with having a power fantasy. I don't think it has anything to do with the battle of the sexes here.

There is nothing wrong with a man's ideal image of having a Rambo-esque muscular body just as much as there is nothing wrong with that same man getting emotional and shedding a tear.

There is nothing wrong with a woman having her ideal image being something majestic like a mermaid or a butterfly. It is just an ideal power fantasy we all have at some point.

I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with having a little "battle of the sexes" either. I don't think it is unhealthy to have these at all. If anything the day we live in today and making it seemingly unlawful to have a little sex-battle there, is a bit unproductive.

There is a healthy and unhealthy way to approach these things. Having a little sex-battle actually can contribute to foreplay or building up that competition for a healthier connection.

Sex-battles is wrong when it's degrading towards the other end, but "anything you can do, I can do better" is as innocent and playful as the playgrounds these were built in.

It would be wrong if Rambo went on a killing spree taking down women because he hates them, and Bayonetta would be wrong if she rips-off every male she comes across - these would all be degrading factors.

And sure, particularly that Enzo character in the Bayonetta games - she happens to degrade the most of any other character. Enzo also happens to be a complete slime ball when it comes to his own foul personality. So in a way Bayonetta is pointing out the unsavory qualities in an unlikable male that is present in Enzo - it all comes down to comedic effect.

That's not to say Bayonetta treats every male like shit in her series.

You've got Antonio, which is basically the Robin Hood pretty-boy in the series, and her relationship with him is almost like being the responsible girlfriend, but she treats other males in the series with the stance of a motherly figure and she treats the males equal to her with respect. When she ultimately discovers she still has her father, she breaks down as the daughter she is.

I feel like Bayonetta as a whole tackles the wide range of male personalities that a woman is likely to face in her lifetime - both the unsavory males as well as the ones she's close to - I feel like the games do a good job on all these factors without ever implying a girl is better than a male.