Tomopop Review: Square Enix's Play Arts Kai Chun-Li


When I first heard about Square Enix doing Play Arts Kai figures from the Street Fighter series, I was intrigued. When I saw them in person at San Diego Comic Con, I was doing backflips. Now, with the release of the first two Street Fighter figures in the Play Arts Kai line, it's a chance to see if all the hype has really paid off.

We're starting with Chun-Li in particular for ... well, for no reason other than I started writing up her review first. Has reality met what was expected of these figures, or will Street Fighter fans walk away feeling let down? Hit the jump to find out!

Figure Name: Street Fighter IV Play Arts Kai Chun-Li
Figure Maker: Square Enix
Retail/List Price: US$54.95
Available at: Square Enix Shop

Well hey, it's a box! Chun-Li's box is basic, with one window in the front and one on top of the box. The design is reminiscent of the Street Fighter IV promotional art with an appropriate blue hue to it. The back of the box just features a few pictures of Chun-Li in different poses, and that's about it. It's simple and gets the job done.

Inside is Chun-Li's plastic prison, complete with her accessories. As you can see, her only accessories are an extra set of hands, a second yelling face, her Kikouken and a stand for it. Let's get her out and see how she looks!

Freed from the plastic, Chun Li looks great at first glance. Yes, she's got those ginormous thighs still in the sculpt, but I love the definition of them, and the color of her stockings are proper as well. Her skin tone is consistent throughout, and her dress is a proper shade of blue. I like how it appears to be moving even when she is standing still, which might look a little odd now, but once we get her posed, it'll make her look great, hopefully!

Detail-wise, Play Arts Kai Chun-Li has what you've come to expect from Square Enix. The sculpting is good throughout this figure,as her fists look natural and her big spiked wristguards/bracelets look how they should.

Her boots, likewise, have an accurate and nice level of detail to them. They don't quite mask the ankle joints, but I like how the laces line up to make the boots look consistent no matter how you have them posed.

Chun-Li's battle dress looks as spectacularly detailed as you might hope it'd be. There are some paint splotches on the edges where the gold parts are, but by and large, things look good here. I like how her dress' design works well with the joint design of the Play Arts Kai series. The bottom part of her dress is made of flexible plastic, which of course makes it easier to pose her.

Her face? Well, it looks good for the most part. The only real blemish is that there's a little bit of roughness on the paint edge on her bottom lip, but beyond that, I really have no complaints. I do like how her bangs fall off to the side partially over the edge of her one eye, though.

From behind, you can see her long, flowing ribbons and hair buns, which are well detailed, but feel a bit fragile, so be careful as they're just small pieces of plastic. The buns actually pop out and can be placed on either head, doing so in a relatively easy manner. There's nice definition on her hair being pulled up into those buns as well and the paint is consistent throughout.

But just how poseable is she? Let's find out, using the old Tomopop Box Art Pose Challenge:

First up, the really, really easy pose. Like the other Play Arts Kai figures, her joints are relatively stable except for the hip joints, which can be prone to popping out and/or becoming a little loose over time. Those joints are very basic ball and socket joints, though, so they don't have any kind of locking mechanism like the knees do, for example.

You can also see her, as I call them, "chopping" hands in this picture as well as a few others in the gallery. There's good detail on the fingers and palm of the open-faced hands, and swapping them with the closed-fisted hands isn't too painful of a task.

Boot to the face! So we're two for two so far, but there's a catch ...

Play Arts Kai figures do not come with stands, and they are not available outside of the specialty shops at events ... so you can't actually do this pose without support. It's a real shame, because Square Enix should be making those stands more commercially available like every other producer of poseable figures, as they are nice stands and would probably sell at a good clip if priced right.

Her alternate yelling face is almost identical to her normal face, just with her mouth open. It's a nice sculpt for sure, but there's a bit of paint issues again on her lips, just looking a little rough in places.

And since we've got a foot up in the air, here's a nice shot of the detail on the underside of Chun-Li's boots. Nothing's been discarded as too unimportant in the detail department.

And just because, here's that last pose on the box. So she passes the box art pose test, but with the caveat that you will need a stand of some sort to get her to hold these poses without falling over.

There's one more accessory, so let's take a look at that:

Chun-Li's Kikouken comes with its own stand (I know, accessory gets a stand and figure doesn't. Odd, huh?) and it's made of translucent PVC to give it that glow look in natural light. It's actually fairly well detailed as well, and with Chun-Li in her kikouken-throwing pose, the entire package looks really, really good.

So, final verdict? Outside of the lack of a stand and some paint issues here and there, she's a fine figure. In fact, she's about what we'd expect from a Play Arts Kai series figure: nice detail on a larger-scale poseable figure with a few accessories. Don't expect to be able to do everything with her just because poseability has its limits, but do pick her up if you're a fan of the character or Street Fighter in general.

[Thanks to Square Enix for supplying the review sample!]

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reviewed by Brian Szabelski


Brian Szabelski
Brian SzabelskiEditor-in-Chief   gamer profile

Brian Szabelski is Tomopop's Editor-in-Chief, stuck with an ever-growing collection of figures and toys. When he's not posting on Tomopop, he can usually be found working on any number of project... more + disclosures


Filed under... #gamer toys #Play Arts Kai #poseable #reviews #Square-Enix #Street Fighter #top stories



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