M. BISON & CHUN-LI
STREET FIGHTER II MINIMATES
When delving into a completely new line, it does make a certain amount of sense to go for the heavy hitters right out of the gate…or at least you would think so. Curiously, there’s a little bit of a connection between Minimates lines that have failed, and a propensity to front load with heavy hitters. I mean, after all, Marvel Minimates, the definitive flagship of the brand, started with an assortment that was B-Tier for the most part. On the flipside, Street Fighter II Minimates had some of the game’s biggest names coming right at the beginning, and still failed. Coincidence? Probably. Honestly, what probably killed Street Fighter Minimates quicker than anything was forcing Darkstalkers into it, not the heavy hitters. I mean, does anyone really think that it’s M. Bison & Chun-Li’s fault the line died? I don’t, and that’s certainly got nothing to do with me being in the room with them right now…Be cool guys…they’re right here!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
M. Bison and Chun-Li were released in the first (and only) series of Street Fighter II Minimates. The main line release is the Player 1 colors for both characters, but like Ryu and Akuma, there were also offered up in their P2 colors as part of an AFX-exclusive two-pack. Bison and Chun-Li are probably the line’s most sensible pairing, given their history together and the tendency of the other media to have them pair off for battles within the narrative.
Bison is the primary antagonist of Street Fighter II and most of its spin-offs, as well as being one of the franchise’s most distinctive characters. He’s certainly got a definitive look. The figure was built on the basic post-C3 minimate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. Bison is constructed using three different add-on parts, which includes his hat, his cape, and his skirt/belt. All three pieces are new to the figure, and they do a solid job of capturing his in-game look through the lens of Minimates. Of particular note is the cape piece, which has a really fun dynamic flow to it, which I believe was a first for capes for the brand; they tended to just be hanging there. Like the other SFII Minimates, Bison is all-painted, rather than using molded colors. It looks pretty nice, and makes the colors pop a bit more. His facial expression is definitely one of the coolest elements, which a huge, mad-man-esque smile. It’s so perfect for the character. Bison featured his own unique effect piece, which is a little hard to balance, but is still pretty cool.
Chun-Li may not be the central figure, but she’s probably the closest SFII and it’s various media narratives have to a proper protagonist. She’s also become one of the franchise’s most enduring characters, despite not technically being in on the action until the second game. She’s second only to Ryu in terms of Minimate coverage, which seems about right. Like Bison, she uses the standard post-C3 body. She’s got four add-on pieces, for her hair, skirt, and her spiked wrist bands. All of the were new pieces, and would be shared only with her P2 variant. The skirt doesn’t feel as dynamic as some of the other pieces from the line, but it’s not terrible. The hair and wrist bands get just enough detailing to sell the design, without going over board. Chun-Li is, like Bison, an entirely painted ‘mate, and it’s generally pretty good. The detailing on her outfit is quite nicely handled, and apart from some fuzziness on the edge on the blue/white change over on her torso, it’s all pretty clean. Chun-Li was packed with her own effects piece, replicating her tendency for kicking. Sadly, it’s the only piece I’m missing from my set.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Chun-Li and Bison was a set I really wanted, but never got when they were new. I didn’t even get their P2 colors, as I had with Ryu and Akuma. I was definitely always bummed about that. Fortunately, when I got my standard Ryu and Akuma, I was also able to grab this pair. They’re quite nice, just like the other two, and show that DST and Art Asylum were really trying to make these guys work. It’s a shame they didn’t take off.