Chun Li Xiang (1994)
When the 80s-90s Real American Hero line ended in 1994, I had been heavily involved in buying the latest figures for going on three years. I couldn’t wait to see what was awaiting me the next year after the 30th Salute. Naturally, I was highly disappointed when it all ended. For those like me who were bummed out by the end of the era, the licensed video games lines like the movie Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat series released following the end of ARAH GI Joe at least provided more output of the classic o-ring mold style.
Chun Li was part of the initial Street Fighter line that was actually branded with a (fairly tiny) GI Joe logo. That first figure was one of the spring loaded type with a kicking leg feature. As such, and like Ninja Force Scarlett, it didn’t fully incorporate the usual o-ring GI Joe style. This movie-based Chun Li still has an action feature (a spring-loaded arm) but at least this time the legs have full articulation. I find this to be a generally superior figure in other ways, most specifically the head sculpt, and the overall more game accurate look of the costume. She even had little rubberized spiked bracelets, as well as the signature skirt.
I still find the movie Street Fighter figures to be fun and interesting cousins of GI Joe. Some of that is related to the spectacularly awful yet entertaining film, to be sure. I bought most of the line back in the day, and though some of them are a bit tougher to track down and more expensive than their fully integrated GI Joe line counterparts, they are worth the hunt. After all, who wouldn’t want a game-accurate Chun Li, or even a Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia to beat up on their Joes and Cobras?