Street Fighter Chun-Li

Medicom RAH

Chun Li RAH action figure by Medicom Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

We have a new guest reviewer tonight - Yong Qiang Koh! He's covering the new RAH version of the classic Street Fighter character, Chun-Li - tell us all about it!

Street Fighter to many video game fans, and even people who follow pop culture, was more than just another game. It was a phenomenon. Street Fighter single-handedly kick started the fighting game genre of video games that would result in dozens and dozens of clones after it, and it would escalate creating company, Capcom, to become one of the most successful companies to date. With several games in the long running series, and with Street Fighter celebrating its 20th anniversary, it has gone through lots of good and bad times and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon.

Amongst the numerous innovations Street Fighter made in its arcade debut, one of them has got to be the introduction of a female character. While a scant few other fighting-based games before it had featured female characters, they were little more than token, either being a brief antagonist for the player to swat aside, or the ever-classic damsel in distress. Street Fighter thus, introduced the first female fighter that was a full-fledged character, and Chun-li was born!
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys
Chun-li definitely made waves being a female character that could beat the snot out of the boys and tango with the best of men. It definitely didn’t hurt that she was an attractive design back then that has prevailed over these past 20 years. With numerous appearances in various media such as Animes, manga and of course video games (less said about the live action movies, the better…), Chun-li has become a pop-culture icon in her own right.

Thus, when Medicom announced that they would be honouring the First Lady of Fighting Games with the RAH treatment, it made a long time fighting game fan like myself ecstatic to say the least! The fact that this would be my first ever female 1/6 figure made my anticipation for her even higher, and snapped her up on release. Does Medicom do ol’ Chunners justice?

Packaging: **1/2
Wow, this is boring. I mean, really. Don’t get me wrong though, in terms of functionality, the box definitely delivers. The cardboard is nice, glossy and fairly sturdy, in the usual Medicom rectangular box dimensions as well as a fifth panel, and there are absolutely no twist ties in sight.

But boy is it boring. Just plain black with the Street Fighter logo and Chun-li’s name on it, and the inner flap merely states the features (in English) and that’s it. No pictures of Chun-li herself, no background, no nothing. While I generally am not too concerned with a toy’s packaging, I do notice a toy better when its packaging as some flair to it. Packaging should protect the toy, as well as attract any potential buyers to it, acting as a ‘BUY ME!’ billboard. And on that front, the box totally drops the ball.

Sculpt: ****
Thankfully, the lady herself more than delivers and makes up for the ‘meh’ box. While Medicom’s ability at doing realistic sculpts has been very hit-or-miss, they usually do Anime/Video game character likenesses reasonably well and here is one great example of that.

Chun-li’s face is not only very pretty, but she is what I call appropriately pretty. She isn’t so young looking that staring at her would get you arrested, nor is she so old looking that you’d give up your seat on the train willingly. What we have here is a nice blend of her original character art design, as well as some very slight pseudo-realistic touches added to it.

It’s nice to see that Medicom avoided giving her a generic cutesy Anime look and instead, made it seem if they ever did the other SF girls (Sakura please!), Chun-li’s seniority is apparent. Here, we have classic Chun-li in one of her finest representations yet – she has enough of a glow to her that shows her strength and inner youthfulness, yet she looks very much like the mature, seasoned fighting woman that she should be.

The work on her body is also exceptional work from Medicom. Her body is the standard female RAH 301 Kai, with the exception of her legs. As this is Chun-li, Medicom had sculpted all-new leg parts for her to recreate the ‘Thunder Thighs’ that the First Lady of Fighting Games is so famous for, and they work beautifully. They look sleek and powerful like how they should for a fighter who’s claim to fame are her lighting-quick kicks, yet they don’t look so out of proportion that they make Chun-li look Amazonian. Capturing the perfect balance of a strong fighter and a classic beauty is what Medicom has done here with Chun-li, and they get top marks from me in this category.

Paint: ***1/2
Medicom gives a fairly strong performance with Chunners’ paint applications as well, although it isn’t quite as perfect as her sculpting.

Her head is cast in a flesh coloured plastic as per the norm for Medicom. Her hair has a nice, natural gradient to it at where her hairline is, and her eyes have a gorgeous, yet determined and confident gaze to them that’s very appropriate to the First Lady of Fighting Games.

What strikes me the most however, are her lips. They are given a noticeable, but ever so subdued shade of pink. This makes her lips look nice and naturally pretty, instead of making it look as if she frequents Lancome’s make up counter.

She has paint applications on her other accessories such as her also famous spike bracelets, as well as her ‘ox-horns’ hair buns, all nice and clean. What doesn’t work so well for me however, are her boots.

Her boots are cast in their classic white colour, but also have a strange blue-ish wash on them. While my best guess is that it’s meant to simulate wear, it just doesn’t really work for me and looks strange. It’s a little uneven, and makes it look as if Chunners accidentally stepped in a bucket of blue paint during a fight, rather than wear from years of fighting. This is but a minor nitpick, but it was still enough to bug me enough to lower the score a tiny bit.

Articualtion - ***3/4

Now if you have any experience in 1/6 figure collecting, then it’s probably old news to you that Medicom’s RAH body is extremely well articulated and hangs very naturally in almost any pose you can put it in. But most of the time, how well the final product takes advantage of that articulation is highly dependant on the clothes its wearing, as well as brittle nature of the RAH body. These are usually the two biggest factors that tend to hold back many an RAH figure.

Not so with Chun-li.

While I will mention more about her outfit in the appropriate section later, it has to be said that its nature gives Chun-li almost free range of movement. She can assume virtually any of her classic poses one would associate her with. She can punch, she can kneel, she can kick as high as you want her to (and yes, I know that sounds suggestive), it’s all there. Chun-li is a woman of action, and Medicom knew that and made sure she could articulate as well as they could possibly let her. And it all works brilliantly, making her a RAH figure that’s actually very playable and a ton of fun to pose and photograph.

The only hitch to this unfortunately, is that her upper torso is covered by a layer of rubber ‘skin’ up to her neck much like a few other of Medicom’s female figures. While this helps to give her a nice smooth neck with no seams, it does make it a bit tricky to make her do sharp turns with her waist. This isn’t too big of a deal, but it is worth mentioning, so take care so as to not accidentally stress the rubber too much.

Accessories: **
This is probably one of the only real big strikes against the First Lady. Not counting her spike bracelets and standard display stand, Chun-li comes with an extra pair of open palm hands – and that’s it.

No really, that’s it.

Again, it’s not news that Medicom is generally rather ‘stingy’ when it comes to accessories for their figures, but what we have here is probably one of the worst examples of this. While Chun-li isn’t affected functionality wise, as you can assume and recreate most poses you’d want to with just the hands, that doesn’t change the fact that Medicom got really lazy here.

Just because Chun-li doesn’t wield any weapons of any sort is no excuse. A little extra accessory could have gone such a long way here. A stage accessory, an extra face and hands to recreate her ‘yatta!’ winning pose or hell, just more hands - anything. There are many possibilities for additional accessory ideas for Chun-li, although admittedly there isn’t really any object that the casual fan would immediately associate Chun-li with.

But just because there isn’t, doesn’t mean it’s a good excuse to just forget about it. Companies like Sideshow and Hot Toys making it the norm to include at least one meaningful accessory to each and every one of their figures. Medicom needs to cut this kind of stuff out. With their pricing being higher than the rest, and providing much less value in return, this just doesn’t fly anymore in today’s competitive market.

Outfit - ****
Thankfully, the work on her outfit is once again, Medicom at their ‘A’ game. Chunners is clad in her classic blue qipao with her brown leggings and her white boots.

The detail on the qipao is amazing, with the trademark gold pattern faithfully replicated on it. As if that wasn’t enough, the front and back ‘flaps’ of the qipao have wires in them as well, which really adds a nice touch to all the dramatic poses you’d want to put her in. Her sleeves appear to be stuffed as well, as they have a nice puffy look to them and they didn’t once go out of shape for me after much posing.

Her leggings are also nicely done, in just the right shade of brown and they hug her massive legs nicely. The stitching is probably a little large for my taste, and they do tend to bunch up a little during posing, but that’s nothing a little fussing can’t solve.

The surprise detailing here however, has got to be her belt. Medicom could have easily given her a plain white belt and call it a day as that was what we mostly saw of it in the various games Chun-li has starred in. Instead, we get a white belt with a very meticulously detailed dragon pattern emblazoned around it that looks absolutely stunning. This is truly exceptional of Medicom, who tends to be the sort of company that sticks to the basic design of a character and rarely goes out of their way to add something ‘extra’ like this.

The outfit overall is outstanding work, with the belt being the cherry on top this amazing metaphorical sundae.

Fun factor:  ***1/2
Let’s see now. Do you like beautiful, acrobatic, butt-kicking kung-fu women? If you have any love for fighting women or well-articulated action figures in general, you’d have a blast with Chun-li. It’s even better if you’re a fan of Street Fighter and Chun-li as well, but that isn’t really necessary to appreciate how fun it is to fiddle with her. I’ve spent hours seeing how dynamic a pose I can get her in, and she almost always pulls it off with ease. And let’s not forget the potential figures whose butts she can whup!

The only thing holding me back from giving this full marks is the RAH body’s tendency to break when manipulated incorrectly, so you’d still want to be careful and not hand her to your 5 year old cousin.

Value:  **1/2
This is a tricky one. Chun-li isn’t as expensive as some of Medicom’s other figures (their Alien and Kamen Riders come to mind). However, she still isn’t chump-change by any stretch of the imagination, and will run you between $160-$180. The high price, together with the almost complete lack of accessories does hamper her value a fair bit.

However, if you know you’re a huge fan of good-looking figures, or are a huge Street Fighter fan, you can easily add another star to the score. I personally found her worth it as I fall under both categories, but if you’re uncertain about even that, I would think very carefully.

Things to Watch Out For -
Be careful with the wired flaps of her outfit. They move very well, but don’t overdo it, ‘lest you risk snapping the wires. I’ve not had any mishaps yet, but I don’t want to risk it.

Aside from that, also be mindful of how you move her limbs. She’s very flexible for the most part and has more ‘give’ than most other RAHs, but you still don’t want to overdo it, as a breakage could still happen. With Medicom not having mass-released their female body yet (to my knowledge), a breakage is an ugly scenario I never want to see happen to anyone.

Overall: ***1/2
There was a time when I was wondering if 2D fighting games like Street Fighter were out and down for the count. It was a pretty glum time, as the market was flooded with shallow 3D fighting games, and I was preparing to mourn the loss of one of my favourite franchises ever.

But years later, I am happy to say I’m wrong, with the return of Street Fighter in ‘Street Fighter 4’, and I’m doubly happy that a company has finally produced figures worthy enough to honour these classic characters. And of all of them, I am immensely delighted that Medicom decided to start with the ‘strongest woman in the universe’.

Despite the flaws which although few, are apparent, Medicom has still done a figure that finally does justice to one of the most classic videogame characters of our time and that truly captures her essence.

Move aside, Barbie. Go home, Cool Girls. Chun-li has arrived. If you have a problem with that, you’d be on the business end of her Spinning Bird Kick.

Packaging: **1/2
Sculpt: ****
Paint: ***1/2
Articulation: ***3/4
Accessories - **
Outfit - ****
Fun factor: ***1/2
Value: **1/2
Overall: ***1/2

Chun-Li RAH action figure from Medicom Toys

Figure from the collection of Yong Qiang Koh.

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