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Chun-Li is a character in Capcom's Street Fighter fighting video game series. First appearing in the 1991 video game Street Fighter II, Chun-Li was the first female playable character in any fighting video game to achieve mainstream recognition, appearing in nearly all Street Fighter installments and related media, as well as in crossover video games. The character has been a popular subject of fan art, cosplay and memes online.
On February 6th, 1991, the fighting video game Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was released by Capcom for arcade systems. The game introduced fighter Chun-Li, a Chinese Interpol officer seeking revenge for the death of her father at the hands of M. Bison (character progression video shown below, left). Chun Li's best-recognized move is Hyakuretsukyaku, commonly known as Lightning Kick, during which Chun-Li performs a flurry of high and low kicks (example video shown below, right).
Street Fighter Franchise
Chun-Li appeared in nearly all main and minor Street Fighter installments since Street Fighter II's release, as well as in Street Fighter manga, anime and films. In the 1994 action film Street Fighter, Chun-Li is portrayed by Ming-Na Wen. In 2009, Chun Li became the main character of the martial arts action film Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li in which she was portrayed by Kristin Kreuk (seen below).
Since 1991, Chun-Li made appearances in crossover games and other franchises. Chun-Li's cameo appearances include Breath of Fire and Breath of Fire 3, Final Fight 2, Mega Man 9, Saturday Night Slam Masters, We Love Golf, Fortnite and the animated film Wreck-It Ralph.
One of the most popular female video game characters of all time, Chun-Li has been a popular subject of fan art on social media, with an extensive amount of dedicated fan art found on Tumblr, Pixiv, DeviantArt, Twitter and other sites (examples shown below).
Chun-Li has also been a popular choice among cosplayers for many years (example photographs shown below).
In 2019, Chinese bodybuilder and doctor Yuan Herong went viral due after sharing her cosplay of the character (video shown below).
Thunder Thighs refers to Chun-Li's extremely muscular thighs. According to Capcom composer Yoko Shimomura, game designer Akira Yasuda was motivated by his own fetish to give the character muscular legs. Chun Li's thighs have often a point of focus among artists in their fan art in addition to references in memes.
The addition of the character prompted a surge of memes, fan art and hornyposting online, with users highlighting that prominent thighs of Chun-Li's in-game model would inevitably attract players' attention (examples shown below).