And now, Scary-Crayon continues to review... 2005 SDCC Exclusive CvS2 Mai Shiranui & Chun-Li 2-pack by: Wes

Having introduced High Dream's SDCC 2005 Exclusive Capcom vs SNK 2 Mai & Chun-Li 2-pack and scrutinized the Mai Shiranui figure on the first page of the article, it's now time for us to take an in-depth look at the self-proclaimed strongest woman in the world! If not for the fact both of my Chun-Li figures had one leg with a super-stuck thigh swivel (I ultimately had to do a leg swap in order to get one Chun with two good legs), she'd get a strong recommendation from me despite having several minor articulation shortcomings.

Chun-Li's Articulation Diagram

First things first: the sculpt, the sculpt, the sculpt. Now, I've noted that this isn't the only Chun-Li action figure available. It's not even the only superarticulated Chun-Li action figure out there, as there are also the fun 4" Microman and excellent SOTA Street Fighter versions. (Michael Crawford's done pretty extensive reviews of those figures here and here, respectively.) But -- at least for my money -- High Dream's CvS2 Chun-Li is the only figure with a sculpt that really screams, "I'm the strongest woman in the world!" SOTA's Chun is probably superior in terms of quality, and it's got a few useful points of articulation that the Chun-Li above lacks, but it ''Gomen nasai!''Chun-Li's taunt/winning pose (SVC Chaos)also has a kind of docile and even weak look to it... which is why, despite my love of Chun-Li, I left it on the shelves way back when. The face looks blank, the limbs are spindly (yet the wrists are oddly fat), and even the thighs fail to convey the power of Chun-Li's mighty legs. I mean, Zelevol from The Fwoosh forums (check out his awesome action figure photo manipulations on his Flickr page!) made that figure look about as good as possible in this image and Chun still looks fairly tame. Yes, SOTA's version was a great action figure in its own right, but back at the time I found it about as appealing as a flat-chested Mai Shiranui.

By contrast, the CvS2 Chun-Li looks powerful. The facial sculpt is cute, but also resolute and determined. The arms are strong (even if the right arm is just a tad bit longer than the left); the interchangeable fists and knife hands threaten both defensive action and brutal offensive retaliation. The oversized spiked bracelets are a testament to just how hardcore this Chun-Li is in battle. And the thighs are appropriately meaty and mighty. In short, this Chun-Li is ready and well prepared to stain her white qipao red with the blood of M. Bison... and maybe yours too if you interfere with her mission to avenge her father's death.

Figure Area Joint Type POA Total
head neck ball 1 1
arms shoulder (2) ball-hinge 4 14
bicep (2) swivel 2
elbow (2) double hinge 4
wrist (2) swivel-hinge 4
body waist double ball 2 2
legs hip (2) ball 2 10
thigh (2) swivel 2
knee (2) double hinge 4
ankle (2) hinge 2
Overall 27

So there's the articulation breakdown, if you care about the actual number of points. Most of Chun-Li's joints are fairly effective and do what they need to do, though again there are a few points worthy of further discussion. The first involves the shoulders. Chun-Li's large and puffy sleeves naturally restrict her upper-arm movement, but perhaps less that one might expect since High Dream has gone the rather unconventional route of giving her ball-hinged shoulders. It does result in a gap between her arms and torso -- through which, Hyakuretsu Kyaku (SF2 Turbo)OLD SCHOOL Lightning Kick!in certain poses, you can clearly see the thin connecting piece that extends from the shoulder hinge to the interior ball -- but it gives her a better range of motion than the cut shoulders that would be necessary to completely eliminate any gaps. Still, SOTA's version does a better aesthetic job here since it connects the arms via larger balls.

Another noteworthy point concerns the odd ankle joints. Chun-Li's ankles are hinged, but they only allow her feet to turn inward -- like one-way rocker ankles -- rather than point her toes or heels in the standard fashion. It looks pretty good in kicking poses (provided you can successfully balance Chun-Li on one foot) and allows her to plant her feet in multiple combat-ready spread-leg configurations, but again SOTA's version one-ups this Chun-Li by featuring standard forward-backward ankle hinges as well as toe articulation and a mid-foot swivel. Granted, the swivel doesn't look quite as good as the side-hinged ankle, but it serves the same general purpose... and all of those other joints let the SOTA Chun-Li assume poses that the High Dream figure can't match.

NEW SCHOOL Lightning Kick!Hyakuretsu Kyaku (CvS2)

However, one area besides the sculpt in which the CvS2 Chun-Li is markedly superior to her SOTA sister (which isn't technically an articulation issue, but I'll still address it here) deals with the interchangeable hands. I love swappable hands and accessories as much as anyone, but admittedly the tight fit of the mushroom pegs on SOTA's SF figures -- and the excessive force sometimes required to remove the hands -- makes me incredibly uneasy. I'm always afraid that, one day, I'm going to accidentally tear off the peg, thus forcing Ken and Ryu to either master Oro's fighting technique or abandon the fighting arena and spend the rest of their days at the pub with Candyman and Captain Hook and that Ultimate Battle Megatron that was this flippin' close to G2 Megs perfection. (Damn you Hasbro and your intentional Transformer sabotage!) But since High Dream's Chun-Li makes use of long, thin pegs rather than the stouter mushroom cap variety, swapping her hands is pretty easy and safe. I imagine the tight fit might eventually loosen with age or prolonged use, but for the time being they're perfect. If companies aren't going to use magnets (which admittedly wouldn't have worked too well here given the hinged wrist articulation), this is how I prefer my interchangeable hands done.

Kikouken (SF3 Third Strike)I remember when she couldn't do this.
Take that, you murdering bastard!Kikouken (SF2 Turbo)

And finally there are the hips. They're the same ball configuration as Mai's -- so I won't describe them in detail again -- but again this is one of the few articulation-related areas where these figures really impress me. They don't allow for the same range of motion as traditional ball or swivel-hinge hip joints, and the resultant gap means that they're best suited to figures with some way to cover them up (here, Chun-Li's qipao satisfies that criterion nicely), but I think they really do benefit the sculpt tremendously. Unfortunately, for them to be used most effectively, one needs to be able to take full advantage of the thigh swivels as well... and assuming that my Chun-Li figures with their stuck thigh joints weren't isolated cases, you may find the usefulness of the hips to be less-than-optimal depending upon your luck. They'll still work well for light standing poses, though.

''I'm the strongest woman in the world!''SOTA SF Ryu versus HD CvS2 Chun-Li.Am I still the strongest woman in the world? Tell me!
I hope Kristin Kreuk bulks up for the role.It's kinda like the Spinning Bird Kick, anyway...Oh come on, this was practically obligatory.

Despite the limitations of her articulations (as seen in the screencap-to-photo comparisons that accompany the previous paragraphs), Chun-Li is able to assume a handful of poses that recall her in-game attacks and special moves. Really, the potential for stuck thigh joints is the main thing that keeps me from wholeheartedly recommending the SDCC Exclusive Mai & Chun-Li 2-pack -- at least insofar as Chun-Li is the main draw for you. However, for collectors of other Street Fighter-related lines, there's also the scale to consider. If you care about scale and are planning to display her with your SOTA or even Jazwares SF toys, think again: at 7" tall, this Chun towers over many of the SOTA figures and is only about a head shorter than monsters like Sagat. Keeping in mind that Sagat is supposed to be around 7'4" in the games (and taking into account the 8" height of the SOTA figure), that would make this Chun-Li 6'5" -- a full 9" taller than her recorded height of about 5'8". While my observations during my visit to Shanghai suggest that even 5'8" is pretty tall by Chinese standards, any unusual deaths among the SOTA world warriors would probably result in the CvS2 Chun-Li's Interpol colleagues arresting her under suspicion of murder by snu-snu. She's even bigger than most DC Direct figures! That said, Chun-Li does display a lot better with the older Resaurus line (though Cammy should be slightly shorter than Chun instead of the other way around), so scale-minded collectors with some of those figures should be more inclined to give her a chance. Considering the limited articulation and static poses of those figures, displaying her with them may minimize the stuck thigh issue as well.

HD CvS2 Chun-Li, Jazwares SF Bison, and their Minimates counterparts!Vega <3s Chun-Li.Discipline, Justice, Commitment!!!

As I keep saying, I really, really, really like this Chun-Li figure. She's got the best sculpt of any superarticulated Chun-Li yet -- perhaps even the best sculpt of any Chun-Li action figure period -- and pretty good (though not superior) articulation to boot. Unfortunately, given my experience, I simply cannot vouch for the quality of the product you might end up with. Still, if you find yourself drawn to the sculpt of the CvS2 Chun-Li, don't mind her being a little tall compared to most action figure lines, and are up for a gamble (or don't so much care about the potential for stuck thigh joints), I definitely recommend the 2-pack over the single-boxed versions. Again, whereas you'll probably end up paying at least $10-15 before shipping for the individual figure, some online retailers (like TISInc!) will sell you this set for roughly the same price. That's certainly the better deal!

Chun-Li will apologize for kicking your ass.''Me bouncy!''Those bracelets are fierce, I tell you what.''You must defeat my fan to stand a chance!''

That about does it for this review, then! As I've said throughout -- provided that the figures aren't broken -- the SDCC 2005 Exclusive Capcom vs SNK 2 Mai & Chun-Li 2-pack from High Dream is a pretty compelling set. If I were scoring it numerically, I'd probably give it something along the lines of a 7.5 out of 10, but that score may be weighted since I have such a noted affection for both characters. That said, even if you're not too into these fighting femmes, you may still find the set appealing because it contains two of the most attractive superarticulated female action figure sculpts on the market. Customizers may also find Mai and Chun-Li to be worthwhile, as they're excellent sources for strong-looking female parts and sexy facial sculpts (as opposed to the spindly limbs and butter faces of most female action figures) -- and because they'd be cutting the figures apart and modifying them anyway, any possible breakage issues wouldn't matter so much.

Feisty fighting femme fatales.Welcome additions to any SF figure collection -- but mind the scale!

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I think it's worth the risk to go for the Mai & Chun-Li 2-pack... but only if you can get them fairly cheap and have a particular interest in either the characters or the sculpts. Aside from the potential quality issues, a few places where the articulation could have been improved, and the scale issues they may have with your preexisting collection -- the latter of which isn't really a strike against them given that they're from a different line, but still -- these girls are stellar. My quality issues with Chun-Li pissed me off, and I imagine my experience with the figures wouldn't have been nearly as positive if TISInc hadn't been such an awesome and accommodating retailer, but in the end I'm glad I bought them.

-- Wes --
Heaven's meshes let nothing through...?Looking at Mai would make *anyone* desperate.

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