Posted by: Jintoo | December 30, 2008

Review EN gamebook Queen’s Gate Mai Shiranui.

I received at the end of this year this book with combat illustrations… right on time for Xmas. What a perfect timing 🙂 So I made this little review in order to help you if you were hesitating 😉

About Mai Shiranui.
Mai Shiranui is a mythical character from SNK’s universe: she wears sexy clothes that make guys drool over her and does smart moves of ninjutsu. Some of them creates flames: it’s called pyrokinesis. Mai firstly appeared in Fatal Fury series and then The king of fighters (KOF) ones. Someway she’s the female character who could symbolize both this video games.
I planned to reinstall a Neogeo emulator to do some screenshots but I finally found out some animated gifs ^.^

I also show you some gifs where she wears her kimono (I’ll deal with it later) :

Here is a video with 3 characters… Mai is the first. This vid shows HSDM (kind of ultimate special move in KOF 2002). It’s to remind players some memories =3

Lots of Mai’s cosplays have been done. The most known is France should be Marjolaine’s one for the magazine GameFan (Marjolaines has been discovered in the French TV show “Greg le millionnaire”):

About Queen’s Gate.
In fact I was a bit lost between Queen’s Blade and Queen’s Gate 😮 I had to do some researches to understand the basis.
The starting point is “Lost Worlds”. That’s the reason why there is the logo of Lost Worlds on the bottom of the “artbook”. Lost Worlds is a game that is played with combat books. Of course you play the character whose book you own. The characters seem to come from several universes: there are trolls, samurais with katana, skeletons with scimitar, unicorns, etc…
You have to give your book to your opponent to play: when you do a specific move, the opponent has to open your book to the specific page. This way he can see on the page what your character is doing (it’s a like a “FPS”). There is a character card where the health points (HP) are counted. The purpose as you can imagine it is to lower the number of HP of your opponent down to 0.
Several spinoffs saw the light of day: for example there was serie of books related with the dinosaurs; would you be interested in a little “Tyrannosaurus vs Triceratops”? =3 Well, that’s not really the topic: I should talk about the spinoff called “Queen’s Blade”. The first books or Queen’s Blade were published by Hobby Japan in 2005. The characters of this books are female character with an ecchi design. According to what I’ve understood (I can be wrong), each characters has been exclusively created for Queen’s Blade. This is the contrary for “Queen’s Gate”: Queen’s Gate is a collection of gamebooks with female characters like Queen’s Blade BUT all the characters already exist: Mai Shirahui is the 4th character of Queen’s Gate after Nijihara Ink (Moetan), Alice and Iroha (Samurai Shodown):
list of Queen’s Gate’s characters (Japanese)

Dizzy of the 2D fight video game Guilty Gear has been announced as the 5th character at the Comiket75.
Unfortunately I did not play… because I haven’t any opponent. Besides I haven’t (yet) the translation of the content. By the way, if you own Alice’s book or Ink’s one, translations are available on Flying Buffalo. You’ll be able to play 😉

The artbook the combat book.

General specifications:

Titel: Queen’s Gate – Mai Shiranui (クイーンズゲイト 紅の忍 不知火 舞)
Artist:
Mahiru Izumi (泉まひる)
Publisher: Hobby Japan
Release date: October 2008
ISBN code:
978-4-89425-775-7
Price excluding VAT:
1429 yens (~12€ in December 2008).
Size:
between D4 (272mm x 192mm) and Executive (267mm x 184mm).
Content: about 30 illustrations color pictures of a single character (Mai Shiranui) in several combat stances + character card (for playing).

Once again I was surprised when I received my parcel: gosh! it looks like so small >_< I opened and I became relieved: the book is smaller than the A4 format but has not the same size as Togihime Zohushi no Ni.

Here is the combat book with another artbook which have a classical size:

Under the cover made of coated paper, the hard cover shows the same illustration but Mai’s clothes are blue: it is an alternative color like in the videogame when players choose the same character (Mai vs Mai).

Mahiru Izumi has already made several doujinshis (cf list on a doujinshi DB). His “CG” style (computer graphics) is really different from the “sketch” style that I used to see. Somewhere I feel it’s fully digital but anyway it is efficient.

Yoko of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann “Mahiru Izumi’s version”.

Each page of the combat book can be divided into 2 areas: a part with an odd number which is the illustration. This pictures have a frame with patterns inspired by Mai’s kimono and with flames. The zone with the even number (the bottom of the page) displays several numbers: this numbers are used to redirect the player toward another page (kind of instruction for playing).

For some pages, there is the input for the game controller (quart circle back + button A or C eg). It’s undoubtedly something special for people who know which move in the videogame that the picture represents. I personnally use to see some sprites and this time I rewatch the special move with a different point of view (a point of view more advantageous to appreciate Mai’s silhouette :P).

Example of game input on some pictures

Of course the character card comes with the book. But I also found an order voucher for the figure produced by Volks that will be released in April 2009. If you play, you rather should do a write on a copy of the character card…

the order voucher for the figure of Volks and the character card

The order voucher shows what has inspired the figure: pixelised pic is a screenshot of the video game where Mai’s wearing her kimono (it looks like the 1st animated gif with the kimono):

The illustration at the page 55 depicts this stance… and the figure has the same stance. I guess that the face expression is different but we will see that when the figure will be released.

The conclusion of this review.
Artbook ? Gamebook ? Both ? When I ordered it, I was rather thinking of an artbook. It is because I did not know what was exactly Queen’s Blade or Queen’s Gate. Like usual I try to get some information about what I bought… I finally was able to learn about “Lost Worlds” and I discovered an artist: Mahiru Izumi. I hope you’ll enjoy the fruit of my Internet researches 😉
As former KOF player, I found it was strange to see Mai as Queen’s Gate’s character at the beginning. At the end I am really happy ^_ ^ Someway I rediscovered another version of Mai.
Of course knowing Mai Shiranui influenced my choice to buy this book. De facto I am aware that my review is a bit subjective… but I trust you to take it into account while reading it 🙂
This artbook has also comforted me because Mai is not a character of the latest 2D KOF (The King of Fighters XII)… lol

Other links:
Mahiru Izumi’s official website (Japanese)
Wikipedia’s article about “Lost Worlds”
DB of sprites of Neogeo games

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Responses

  1. Thanks for this great Review!
    Dankeschön!
    I was slightly disturbed by the appearance of Mai since im used to a different one.It takes some time to get used to it.
    Im grateful for the information on the game aswell.I thought several times about ordering one but didnt because i thought that it isnt worth it since i cant understand a thing.If im ever in France and have a Queens Blade book handy well play a round ;D

  2. Grüsstig lieber Blowfish. Thanks for having read ^.^
    So I have to train a bit if someday we’ll be able to play together =)


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