”Please forgive us,” says director, while explaining that Smash Bros. is “a game for good little children.”

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate already had 74 playable characters when it was released last December, but Nintendo’s crossover extravaganza has never followed a “less is more” philosophy. There’s been a steady stream of new guest characters added since launch, and the latest is one of the all-time all-stars of the fighting game world: Terry Bogard.

The protagonist of developer SNK’s Fatal Fury series, which started in 1991, Terry is also a regular participant in the King of Fighters franchise, SNK’s own crossover series, and the Smash Bros. team wanted to give a tip of the cap to SNK’s rich history by putting a whole bunch of KOF characters background cameos in Terry’s Smash Bros. stage.

“We ended up making a lot of different characters, 20 in total,” says Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai, speaking in Japanee in Terry’s introduction video. “To be honest, it was a pain in the butt. Or, more accurately, it took a ton of time and effort. But there are a lot of fans who have so many memories of a specific character, so we had to give it our best.”

Despite his team’s efforts, though, Sakurai knows that some SNK fans are still going to be disappointed, because, as the English dubbing of his comments says:

“By the way, you may have noticed that a very important character from the Fatal Fury series was not included. Yes, Mai Shiranui. Super Smash Brothers Ultimate is for good boys and girls, many different ages, so we decided not to feature her. Please forgive us.”

So who’s Mai Shiranui? She’s a ninja who first appeared in Fatal Fury 2, and arguably the most famous busty character in mainstream fighting games.

▼ A collection of Mai win poses from the King of Fighters series

▼ Mai’s idle animation in KOF XIII

In his original Japanese comments, Sakurai is a little more specific about the reason for Mai’s omission, saying:

“By the way, there’s one important character from the Fatal Fury series who doesn’t appear, right? That’s right, Mai Shiranui. Unfortunately, Smash Bros. is a CERO A-rated game for good little children, so we couldn’t include her. Please forgive us.”

CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization) is Japan’s video game rating board, and A is its all-ages rating. The next lowest rating, B, is for players aged 12 and up, essentially meaning that CERO A games are supposed to be acceptable for kids 11 and younger, and Sakurai alludes to Mai’s heaving, swaying, bulbous bosoms being enough to bounce Super Smash Bros. Ultimate up to at least a CERO B rating, beyond the squeaky clean image Nintendo’s franchise wants to maintain.

▼ More Mai appearances from previous games she’s been in (and yes, that’s her cosplaying as Street Fighter’s Chun-Li at the bottom).

Considering how prevalent large breasts are in Japanese animation and video games, Sakurai’s concern might seem misplaced. However, a look at various entries in the King of Fighters series on the Japanese PlayStation Store does indeed show that they’re rated CERO B, with icons designating the ratings are due to violence and sexual content, and with Mai having the most revealing costume of any female fighter in the series, it’s hard to imagine the “sexual content” designation isn’t referring to her.

Mai not making the trip to Smah Bros. has been deeply saddening for her fans, who have responded with fan art and cosplay photos.

“In commemoration of being barred from participation by the CERO A rating!!” tweeted this Mai fan artist.

▼ This also seems like a good opportunity to clear up the decades-old misunderstanding among English-speaking gamers, and explain that Mai’s victory voice sample is not her proclaiming “Me bouncy!” but “Nippon ichi!, meaning “I’m the best/strongest in Japan!”

▼ Even Masami Obari, director of the Fatal Fury anime series (which, yes, includes a Mai shower scene), commented with “So it was impossible to include Mai Shiranui…”

So does this mean we’ll never see Mai in Smash Bros.? Maybe, but then again, maybe not. As some have pointed out, Bayonetta, star of the series of the same name, has been a playable Smash Bros. character since the previous game Smash installment, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and was a launch character in Ultimate. This, despite the fact that her clothing is made out of her own hair, and in her own games she frequently appears near-nude, with a generous helping of S&M overtones.

▼ Bayonetta in her own games (left) vs. her appearance in Smash Bros. (right)


So maybe Mai could be let into the Smash Bros. party with a more conservative outfit, like the one she wore in this 1994 ad for the PC-Engine CD port of Fatal Fury Special.

It’s also totally possible that, as one of SNK’s most popular characters, Sakurai is simply holding back on giving Mai a cameo because they’re thinking of making her a full-fledged playable character to come bouncing along at a later date.

Sources: YouTube/Nintendo, YouTube/Nintendo 公式チャンネル, PlayStation Store
Top image ©SoraNews24

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’d like to remind everyone that the metal-plated cap in Terry’s alternate Smash Bros. costume should be ©Masami Obari.