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Influential Female Characters: Chun-Li

Influential Female Characters: Chun-Li

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Let’s just be honest about this from the jump; Chun-Li is a boss. She is the first female playable character in fighting games. The unofficial First Lady of arcade games. She has a great backstory and an unwavering sense of justice. Also, it is just so fun to play her and kick the actual snot out of people.

Chun-Li is also one of my favorite characters because she is closely tied with my early childhood.

When I was a kid, we went out for pizza a lot. Most of the local pizza places had some arcade style games. The real arcade was too far, so this was where my brother, my cousins and I played these games. One of these restaurants had Street Fighter. My brother and I loved Street Fighter. I always played Chun-Li. I loved how strong she was. I particularly loved how she could kick forever and kick so high. Thankfully, the owners thought it was cute to have me yell; “KICK! KICK! KICK!” as Chun-Li would decimate her opponents in battle. You can get away with causing some shenanigans as a cute little girl in pigtails bent on slaughter till your pizza is ready.

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There weren’t a lot of choices for me as a little girl to play a female character that were not a damsel in distress. Chun-Li was that option. She has always been a capable and highly ranked character in the games. She high kicked her way into my heart and let me know I could get myself out of situations and even be a little sassy about it.

Now that I am older, I can also really appreciate her backstory. Most of the time her origin story is that, as a little girl, she was very interested in martial arts and her father trained her. Her father was a detective who would go missing. She became a detective herself to find him. From there, she goes to all sorts of places and lengths to stop villains. 

chun-li_various_agesChun-Li fights for justice. Sometimes she fights for vengeance. She is a police officer and an overall likable person. She has been voiced and played by some pretty cool actresses, including Ming-Na Wen in the movie of which we do not speak from 1994.

Chun-Li is a fun character. She doesn’t have to be someone’s girlfriend. She is a career women with a backstory that is a part of her but does not define her. She uses her talents to help others. Chun-Li is also a favorite of cosplayers and who could blame them with her cool outfit? Honestly she is just a really great character to play.

Let us know what you think about Chun-Li in the comments below!

Always keep sparkling (and kicking), my friends!

About thiathebard

Lover of games, writer of articles and member of Real Women of Gaming. Thia the Bard has been writing from a young age and has always been a fan of the fantastic. She grew up playing video and board games. She loves trying different table top and role playing games. Thia is a proud geek and member of many fandoms. She is also interested in cosplay and Steampunk. Thia is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Time not spent gaming or running around in garb is usually spent writing. Always keep sparkling!

2 responses »

  1. I always liked Chun-Li, because she was one of the few female characters who could really stand on her own and had a “normal” backstory (I’m looking at you, Mortal Kombat). I’m glad to see the industry beginning to move in a direction in which female characters aren’t *always* the damsel in distress.

    Reply
  2. What a great piece! Liked the anecdote about the street fighter game in the pizza place.

    Chin li rocks. She’s a true trailblazer. We could all stand to be a bit more like her. (I’ll get practicing my kicks)

    Reply

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