The day on which Chun Li's father was murdered was the day that would spark the young martial artist's transformation into "the strongest woman in the world".
A decorated member of Interpol, Chun Li came from humble beginnings. Raised in a small fishing village, she studied martial arts under her father and Gen, a family friend. Having barely anything to take with her on her journey to find her father's killer, she was stopped by her grandfather who had prepared for her a gift.
In his soft old hands sat a shiny Pokeball. She picked it up, and pushed the release button to find a blue serpentine creature looking up at her.
The young and beautiful creature was a Dratini, caught earlier the week in which Chun-Li decided to leave home. Of all the years the Grandfather had commited to his trade and life of fishing, he had never caught such a rare Pokemon. There were always myths and rumours that a dragon might take the bait and succumb to his humble Old Rod, but this time, the proof was real and the highly sought after dragon type in his possession meant the heavens would smile on his family after the tragedy.
He took this as incredibly lucky and prosperous sign of things to come, for him and his granddaughter.
"This creature shall look after you, and bring you luck and prosperity in all that you do. May good fortune favor you,"
Chun Li gladly accepted the gift, not knowing how much the companionship of her new ally and friend would soon change her life forever.
Today, Chun Li and Dragonair are a force to be reckoned with. The quick and agile Chun Li fights as gracefully as her partner appears. Rather than giving commands to her Pokemon, Chun Li and Dragonair fight as an extension of one another. Dragonair slithers and glides through Chun Li's various forms and styles, and together they execute the Ultra Combo "Spinning Dragon Dance". The attack is a multi hitting combo that chains many of Chun Li's iconic specials with the reach and speed of Dragonair's tail used as a whip and an additional limb to watch out for.
Besides battling, Dragonair is useful in capturing Chun Li's suspects. With his speed, Dragonair can catch up to running suspects in no time, and in extreme cases, fly to reach them. When caught, Dragonair uses it's long body to constrict the suspect in lieu of handcuffs.
Design and Concept
Of the 5 illustrations I had planned for this series, Chun Li was the only one I hadn't started last year before I started the One a Day project. I don't have a specific reason as to why she wasn't drafted early, but the best bet revolves around the fact that it took a while for me to settle on Dragonair. The biggest contender was Mienshao, a fighting type creature that is given shuixiu, or water sleeves to be used for whip fighting. The sleeves which are an extension of its arms are in reference to flowing sleeves seen in Chinese fashion, in this case used in operas and at times by martial art fighters in pop culture. The Chinese background was a strong advocate as to why Mienshao could have been chosen and be a sparring partner.
I think that's why I pulled back – Lucario and Blaziken are also sparring partners as they are fighting Pokemon, and I wanted to go with something graceful for Chun Li. The Chinese dragon is long and serpentine, so seeing a blue Dragonair fighting alongside the blue draped Chun Li was a nice image. I then imagined the long sleeves whip fighting style for Chun Li, who could punch and kick and have those motions extended by Dragonair.
Where Ken and Blaziken shared colors and were separated to be positioned horizontally and vertically, I decided to have the double blue subjects sort of blend into one. This further demonstrates the friendship of the two as well as the fighting style of extending one another's reach as well. Like Blaziken, Dragonair looks bigger than we normally see it but as I've done with the others before, I wanted to make sure the sizing ratio was right so I tried to get that length as accurate as possible.
As for the mini background, which was adapted from a photo, I decided to make her stage based at night time rather than the iconic day time scene in a small village. Ryu and Ken already got the nice grassy feel so it's nice to have a change. This time around, Chun Li is busting baddies in a bustling city. The bit of ground they stand on in the illustration is a a street, as indicated by the road lines. Actually, I'm not sure what's painted on the ground there....I sorta made it western. D'oh! I'll have to look it up and fix it later.
So, I guess that about does it! What do you think about this pairing and who did you have Chun Li with paired with before this revealation? Of course, let me know what you think about the art and any critiques you may or may not have!
Hope you guys had a nice weekend!