#2778: M. Bison & Chun-Li



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!


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.


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.

#0635: Cyclops & M. Bison



The 90s were an interesting time to say the least. The X-Men were at the height of their popularity, which, of course, meant plenty of tie-in stuff. Capcom, makers of hit games series such as Mega Man and Street Fighter, licensed the team for a fighting game, called Children of the Atom. This ended up being a success, leading to Capcom pitting the X-Men against the cast of Street Fighter. ToyBiz already held the license for Marvel, so they picked up the Capcom license as well, allowing them to do their own tie-in two packs. One of these sets was X-Men leader Cyclops versus Street Fighter’s big bad M. Bison, which I’ll be looking at today.


Cyclops and Bison were a two pack in ToyBiz’s X-Men vs Street Fighter line, released in the late 90s. I believe these two were part of the first assortment of packs.


CyclopsBison2Cyclops is presented here in his fan-favorite 90s costume, designed by Jim Lee. It’s one of those looks that doesn’t make a whole lot of practical sense and could be considered a bit silly. That said, nostalgia is a powerful thing, so I can’t help but love it. The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and sports 8 points of articulation. That’s a little lower than the typical Marvel figure of the time, due to his lack of both elbow and knee joints. I can’t say why ToyBiz decided to leave those out, but he does at least have some extra shoulder articulation, which certainly eases the pain. Structurally, Cyclops makes use of the body of the Monster Armor Cyclops from the main X-Men line, along with a new head. The body is from towards the end of the X-Men line, when ToyBiz was trying to emulate the higher-detailed, more pre-posed figures being offered by McFarlane at the time. However, Cyclops had one of the tamer sculpts, so he doesn’t end up being too bad. The one real drawback of the original figure, the head, has been replaced CyclopsBison3with a much nicer piece. This new head does a great job of capturing the animated style Cyclops from the cartoon; it’s simplistic, but all the necessary details are there. The paintwork isn’t the best ever, but it’s not terrible. There’s a bit of slop, especially around the yellow spots. Also, the hair and headband don’t quite meet up right, giving poor Cyke a bit of a bald spot. On the plus side, the blue is a darker shade than the Monster Armor figure, which is more true to the character design, and the plastic/paint is much more matte, which has an overall better look. Cyclops came packed with an optic blast piece (Which I don’t have) and a pleather jacket like the one he was known to wear from time to time in the 90s cartoon (mostly when Jean was crazy or presumed dead. It’s his brooding jacket.)

CyclopsBison4Ah, good ol’ M. What’s it stand for? Well, apparently it’s a shortening of Mister, which seems kinda dumb. In reality, Bison, Vega, and Balrog all swapped names when the game was imported to the US, mostly because Capcom wanted avoid the potential legal issues of having a boxer character whose name was Mike Bison. So the villain became M. Bison, with little explanation of what the M was exactly. Oh well. The figure is about 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation. He also has a punching action feature, which sort of gives him two more points of articulation. Bison is built on the Spider-Man line’s Tombstone body, with some additional armored pieces added on, as well as a new head. The body isn’t a perfect match for Bison, but it’s pretty good. The proportions are quite exaggerated, but it was the 90s, so that’s sort of to be expected. There are a few oddities, such as the hand clearly molded to hold something that he doesn’t include. The head is a little on the small side and a little light in the details. The hat is really nice, though. Paint is pretty rough here. Some areas make out okay; the red sections have a nice wash to bring out the details of the sculpt, and the armored parts are clean. The biggest issues are on the head. The hair apps are almost totally missing from one side, and the eyes are at best an approximation of what they should be. M. Bison originally included a cloth cape, but mine no longer has it.


I first got this set many years ago, purchased from KB Toys while on a trip with my grandmother. I got it purely for the Cyclops, who was the most accurate version of the character available. I had no idea who this M. Bison guy was. I eventually found out, and became quite a fan of Street Fighter II, but Cyclops was still why I got these.  Somewhere in the last 15 years, Cyclops went missing (stupid house gremlins!) and Bison crumbled into pieces. I thought about replacing them, but this line picked up quite an aftermarket price, with this set being one of the highest. A few weeks ago, I came across this pair for a reasonable price and snagged them as fast as I could. Years later, Cyclops is still very much the star, but I’m happy to have them both again.