Introduced in Street Fighter II, Chun-Li was the only female character in the game, and while not as physically powerful as the other characters, she was by far the quickest. Her most famous attack is the Hyakuretsukyaku (Hundred Rending Leg, commonly known as the Lightning Kick), where she repeatedly kicks her opponent from a tilted standing position with incredible speed.
Chun-Li is one of the earliest female video game protagonists to achieve widespread popularity. Prior to Street Fighter II being released in 1991, most female characters in games existed as objectives to be rescued or cast in the roles of other supporting characters, such as townspeople, girlfriends, the occasional opponent, or simply background decoration; as such, there were very few heroines in action-based video games.
After the success of Street Fighter II and Chun-Li's popularity, female protagonists became increasingly common. Since then, in games with selectable characters, at least one of them will almost always be female; and a number of games released since that have placed a female character in the lead role. Chun-Li is widely popular in the entire video game world for a number of reasons, one of them being her notoriously big thighs.
Chun-Li's name is Mandarin; chun 春 "spring", lì 丽 "beautiful", which means she is a single young girl filled with the beauty of spring. Older official sources from the early 90s indicate Chung was Chun-Li's surname, although it is worth noting this could very well not be the case anymore. In the live-action Street Fighter movie, Chun-Li was given the surname Zang/Xiang, but Capcom has not officially recognized it.
In the Street Fighter series Chun-Li was an Interpol investigator who had been searching for clues to the recent death of her father. Getting into a friendly spar with an old teacher of hers and friend of her father, Gen, he gives her a lead into who may have killed her father—the mysterious crime syndicate Shadaloo. Finding its leader, M. Bison, she demands he tell her what happened to her father. To her surprise, Bison attacks and basically makes quick work of her, then flies away, laughing at her and telling her if she attacks him again he will kill her just like he did her father. With tears in her eyes, Chun-Li swore vengeance.
Chun-Li teamed up with an United States Air Force member, Charlie, to try to track and take down Shadaloo. She then ran into someone she would not have expected at all. It was Charlie's good friend and fellow lieutenant, Guile. Telling Guile he should not get in over his head and to leave the two be, Chun-Li learns he has orders to bring Charlie back. Attempting to use force to stop him, she instead finds herself defeated; nonetheless, she insists that she and her partner be left alone, to which Guile replies that he will never abandon friends in need. Eventually, learning that Bison tricked the Air Force into canceling the planned bombing of the main Shadaloo base, she rushed over to the two soldiers to tell them they were tricked and would have to destroy the base on their own. Chun-Li proceeded to plant bombs about the base as Charlie and Guile headed inside to destroy the Psycho Drive, but Guile then came rushing out, grabbing Chun-Li and telling her Charlie had urged both of them to get away. Along the way, Chun-Li saw a young girl escaping with several others (who turned out to be Cammy leading the dolls away from the base). Despite being distraught over the initial lack of evidence to prove Shadaloo's crimes, Interpol and Chun-Li managed to shut down much of the evil crime empire.
Chun-Li received an invitation to the second World Warrior tournament, and discovered that Bison had apparently survived the Thailand base's destruction. With this, she had the clear motive of destroying Shadaloo and avenging her father once again. The outcome of this tournament is not clear. There has been no definitive answer as of yet, although regardless of the outcome, Bison himself finally falls at the hands of Ryu's nemesis Akuma. Having made her peace, she continued her work as a police officer, and retired from mainstream street fighting to teach young children martial arts after taking down Shadaloo for good. Urien kidnapped a young girl for his scientific projects and Chun-Li manages to catch up to him. Challenging him, she does her best to fight him and Urien, impressed by his opponent's fighting spirit, agrees to let the child go. Since then, Chun-Li has continued to raise her adopted kids.
Gameplay and Techniques
Chun-Li is a formidable fighter with masterful Tai-Chi techniques and an especially notorious leg power. Most of her strongest attacks involve the use of her very muscular and fast legs.
In almost every game, Chun-Li's signature move was the Hyakuretsu Kyaku which was her ability to throw multiple kicks in one sitting, sometimes referred to as the "Lightning Leg" by some fans. Its easy accessibility (bluntly pressing a kick button over and over again) has become a staple in many games.
Her Spinning Bird Kick acts like Ryu's own Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku. Chun-Li can also wall-jump, meaning that pressing in the opposite direction after touching the wall during a jump will allow her to bounce off of it. While jumping, she can perform a Stomp Kick on top of her opponent's heads. Beginning with Street Fighter Alpha, this move was replaced by the Sen'en Shuu, which was an overhead drop kick which knocked the opponent down. This, in itself, was replaced by the Hazan Shuu in Street Fighter III, which was a similar move where Chun-Li flipped in the air before attacking with her overhead kick. She also regained her Spinning Bird Kick in that game.
Her Kaku Kyaku Raku was basically a move where she flips in the air and drop kicks her opponents on the head, causing them to fall down. This was replaced in Street Fighter III with the "Tenshin Shuu Kyaku" which requires her to jump all the way behind the opponent to attack, but also lets her combo afterward. Her trademark projectile is called the Kikoken, and has alternately been a motion attack and a charge attack depending on the game. Her Tenshou Kyaku enabled her to jump in the air and perform 3-4 consecutive kicks that can damage air born opponents.
Other notable moves that have appeared include the Sou Hakkei, a powerful palm strike that Chun-Li can do in her X-ISM mode in Street Fighter Alpha 3; the Reishiki Kikou Ken, a toned-down version of the Kikou Shou as it appeared in the Alpha games that Chun-Li can do at any time in the Marvel vs. Capcom series; and the Tenshin Enbu in SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom, a command grab similar to Yun's Zenpou Tenshin that does no damage but leaves the opponent open to a combo.
Chun-Li's first Super Attack, the Senretsu Kyaku, was an extended Hyakuretsu Kyaku that moved Chun-Li forward and could go through fireballs. Her Kikou Shou, which she received in Street Fighter Alpha, was a stationary ball of energy that could hit attacks coming from above and in front. Her Hazan Tenshou Kyaku was a powered-up version of the Tenshou Kyaku. These moves received typical power increases in the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
Her appearance in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike saw her retain only one Super Art from before, the Kikou Shou, in a version that more resembled the Marvel version than the original Alpha version. Her two new Super Arts were the Hoyoku Sen, a re-imagined Senretsu Kyaku that was made up of two flurries of rapid kicks followed by a final kick that sent the opponent upward; and the Tensei Ranka, an aerial flip-kick that ended with a final kick crashing straight downward.
Super/Ultra Moves (Super Street Fighter IV)
- Super Move: Senretsukyaku (ChargeB, FBF K) Chun-Li unleashes a series of fast kicks at her opponent, though it's recommended you use your EX meter on other moves.
- Ultra 1: Housenka (ChargeB, FBF KKK) Like above, Chun-Li unleashes a series of kicks that end with the opponent sailing through the air. This kick can go through projectiles at close range and can even be comboed in some cases.
- Ultra 2: Kikosho (QCFx2 PPP) Chun-Li unleashes a large static fireball that can be effective at close or mid range. Though the damage output is less than U1, the fireball offers more ways to be comboed into.
Chun-Li appeared in the 1994 movie "Street Fighter" and was played by Ming-Na Wen. The movie was a critical disaster. Unlike her live action appearance Chun-Li appeared in the animated movie titled "Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie" which was met with fan praise. In it, as an Interpol agent, she requests to work with Guile to investigate Bison's organization. Guile at first doesn't want to even work with her, more eager to pursue Bison himself, but Chun-Li remains persistent and she teases him into openly attacking her to get the frustration out of his system. The two remain essentially inseparable afterward until Bison becomes aware of their activities.
Despite her importance to the games, Chun-Li does not participate in the final battle against Bison in this movie, as she is ambushed in her apartment by Vega and is badly wounded in the ensuing battle. Although she manages to defeat him, Chun-Li's injuries overwhelm her and she slips into a coma, a distraught Guile promises her he will bring Bison down and pursues the investigation without her, successfully tracking down Ryu minutes before Bison arrives. Following Bison's defeat at the hands of Ryu and Ken, Interpol tracks down Shadaloo and destroys its central headquarters. Chun-Li eventually awakens from her coma, and pulls a comical and cruel prank on Guile by making it appear she has died, before surprising him with a newspaper headline announcing the downfall of Bison's operations. The two celebrate with an embrace. Guile's family neither appear or are referenced, making the outcome of this scene ambiguous as to whenever or not the two have feelings for each other or they share a platonic, sibling-like bond.
In a famous instance of fan service, Chun-Li was given a shower scene before her fight with Vega, which has been censored to varying degrees in all American releases. In the uncensored version, Chun-Li's bare buttocks and breasts can be seen in full view. This was the first sanctioned instance of nudity of a character from a mainstream video game.
The recent re-release of the film by Manga Entertainment now offers both the "uncut" UK and original JP versions of the film on one double-sided DVD with her shower scene fully intact and uncensored in the Japanese version and clips of her frontal nudity inserted in the UK version.
Chun-Li also appeared on an animated television series entitled "Street Fighter". Chun-Li is set to appear in the major motion picture "Street Fighter : The Legend of Chun-Li" which is set to be released February 2009. She will be portrayed by actress Kristin Kreuk.
In the 1990s, Malibu Comics produced a short-lived series of Street Fighter comics, which featured Chun-Li as having known Ryu and Ken since at least their later teens, along with her having either a romantic involvement with or interest in Ryu. So far, it's the only comic or manga known to have shown Chun-Li with her hair down. The comic primarily focused not on Chun-Li or Ryu in particular, but rather on the reaction of several of the characters to the murder of Ken Masters. As this comic was never finished (it was canceled after only three issues), the storyline was never resolved, and no mention was made of Chun-Li's father or of her connections to Interpol. This series was apparently produced sometime before the release of Super Street Fighter II, as none of the characters introduced in that game appeared in it.
When Udon comics picked up the comic book license for the Street Fighter franchise for American distribution, Chun-Li again became a central character, involved in the hunt for Bison and Shadaloo. However, in the new comic, it is not Bison or Vega who is the killer of Chun-Li's father, but rather Cammy, prior to her being freed from Bison's control. Chun-Li battles Cammy when they meet face to face for the first time. Chun-Li winds up forgiving Cammy for her actions due to the fact that, as she was a brainwashed servant of Bison's at that time, she wasn't really responsible for the murder of Chun-Li's father, Bison was. As a result, she has turned her sights onto Bison in the hopes of attaining her revenge. Chun-Li's mode of dress changes several times throughout the Udon comics, from outfits worn in Street Fighter Alpha, to her more traditional qipao from the Street Fighter II games. She has received an invitation from Shadaloo to enter a tournament being held by Bison. The comic appears to be mixing elements of the various games together. The story is currently on going, though Udon has yet to release the next volume of the series.
Chun-Li has made cameos in various settings from the manga Faeries' Landing to a background scene in the U.S. cartoon Jackie Chan Adventures. She is also a regularly-used cameo character in other Capcom games, such as the Breath of Fire franchise and in the first stage of Final Fight 2. She is a playable character in the crossover game Namco x Capcom, eventually pairing up with Cammy. In one of her most recent non-playable cameos, she appears as a TV news anchor in the opening cutscene of Mega Man 9.
- "Keep an eye on me, father! I won't let you down!"
- "I feel even stronger than usual, That special training really paid off!"
- "Phew! That was no picnic! I guess I need to build up more muscle mass!"
- "Compared to the scum I deal with as a cop, fighting you was a piece of cake!"
- "I'm tired. Maybe I'll eat some sweets to recharge."
- "All men bow before me! I'm the strongest woman in the world!"
- "Not bad! We should do this again sometime!"
- "You were out of breath toward the end. You need to work on your stamina."
- "Sorry to be blunt, but you just don't have what it takes to beat me."
- "Don't worry. I didn't damage anything permanently, I think."
- "Fighting ability is important... handcuffs only go so far!"
- "I need a vacation! Being an inspector isn't easy!"
- "I'm just doing my duty... Please don't take it personally!"
- "My strength must have been something you weren't ready for!"
- "Oops! I'm sorry if I hit you there too hard!"
- "So, do you have anything to say in your defense?"
- "Speed is something more important than strength!"