Jade (Mortal Kombat)
|Mortal Kombat character|
Concept art for Jade in Mortal Kombat (2011)
|First game||Mortal Kombat II (1993)|
|Created by||John Tobias (character)
Katalin Zamiar (idea)
|Designed by||John Tobias (MKII, UMK3/MKT)
Jennifer L. Parsons (Annihilation)
Jennifer Hedrick (MK:D, MK:A)
Mark Lappin (MK:SM)
Atomhawk Design (MK2011)
|Voiced by||Linda Lee (MK2011)|
|Motion capture||Katalin Zamiar (MKII)
Becky Gable (UMK3, MKT)
|Portrayed by||Irina Pantaeva (Annihilation)
Evgeniya Rukavitsina (promotion)
|Fighting styles||Fan Zi (MK:D, MK:A)
Kuo Shou (MK:D)
Bo Staff and Boomerang (UMK3 / MKT, MKD, MKA, MK2011)
Jade is a fictional character from the Mortal Kombat video game series. Debuting in 1993's Mortal Kombat II as an unplayable secret character that was a green palette swap of Kitana, Jade made her first playable appearance in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 in 1995. Since then, Jade has become a stalwart supporting character in the series, also appearing in some other media and merchandise in the extended Mortal Kombat franchise.
In the games, Jade's backstory is of an assassin in the service of the otherdimensional emperor Shao Kahn of Outworld. Plotwise she is linked to Princess Kitana, usually being her longtime friend and, in most of the later games, a fellow patriot of their home world of Edenia that was enslaved by the evil Shao Kahn and an ally of Earthrealm warriors. In non-game media and some of the games, she is just a minion of Shao Kahn.
The character has received mostly positive reception, largely due to her sex appeal. She is also often regarded as one of the best characters in the series in terms of gameplay.
In video games
In Mortal Kombat II, Jade was a mysterious hidden character who played no part in the game's storyline other than appearing at the start of random fights to drop cryptic clues on how to access her so the players be transported to Goro's Lair to square off against her. Jade was simply a bronze-skinned, green palette swap of Kitana who fought with increased speed and gold duplicates of Kitana's fans, and though she was identified by name in one of the clues, her energy bar was left blank. In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, the 2005 beat'em-up retelling of MKII, she appears to fight against Liu Kang and Kung Lao alongside Mileena and the brainwashed Kitana; once defeated, she is stabbed in the eyes with Mileena's two sai and killed.
Jade made her official debut as a playable character in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1996), in which her backstory as a fellow Edenian and long-time friend of Kitana is revealed. She once served as Shao Kahn's elite assassin along with his adopted stepdaughter Kitana (and later also Mileena). After Kitana was put on trial for killing Mileena and escaped to the Earthrealm, Jade is ordered by Kahn to bring Kitana back to Outworld alive. He sends Reptile with Jade, ordering him to kill Kitana if necessary. The two locate Kitana and Jade narrowly prevents Reptile from killing her. Convinced by Reptile's actions and Kitana's words, Jade turns against Kahn and aids Kitana in freeing her resurrected mother, Queen Sindel, from Kahn's mental control. The three later join with Kitana's Earthrealm allies to help defeat Shao Kahn.
After they liberate Edenia from Outworld, Jade serves Sindel and Kitana for years. After the events of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002), she witnesses the death, resurrection and capture of Kitana and her allies by Onaga under an enslaving spell. In Mortal Kombat: Deception (2004), Jade rescues Sindel from imprisonment in the dungeon of Edenian palace. They escape to Outworld, attempting to free Kitana from Onaga's sorcery. Jade seeks revenge against the traitorous Edenian Tanya. In the game's Konquest story mode she orders Shujinko to bring another Edenian traitor, Rain, to her.
In Mortal Kombat, the 2011 reboot of the series, Jade is a member of Edenia's noble family that served Shao Kahn once he conquered their realm and she was given to him as tribute as a child. After years of rigorous training and service as an Outworld assassin, Jade earned a reputation as an agile and stealthy warrior. She was awarded the position of a bodyguard to Princess Kitana and the two became close friends. Jade's confident, self-assured and sassy personality stands in contrast to Kitana who struggles to fulfill Kahn's expectations and begins doubting her origins. Under orders from Kahn and Shang Tsung, the two of them initially fight the Earthrealm warriors. Later Jade suspects that Kitana is not following orders and unsuccessfully attempts to stop Kitana from learning the truth about her heritage. After learning the truth from Kitana's recently created clone named Mileena, Jade switches her allegiance and helps the Earthrealm warriors to free Kitana from captivity. Later, Jade joins them during Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm, but she is killed by the arriving Sindel, who rips out her stomach. She was last shown as one of the warriors resurrected and enslaved in the Netherrealm by Quan Chi.
Jade first appeared as a green palette swap of Kitana with darker skin (except for the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) and Sega Saturn versions, where she had Kitana's skin color) and fans that are gold-colored instead of silver. The green color scheme of the yet-unnamed character was an idea put forward by Katalin Zamiar, the actress for Kitana, Mileena and Jade, during a brainstorming session to introduce a new fighter. (Zamiar also portrayed a Jade-like ninja character named Chae Lee in the 1996 PC fighting game Catfight.) In Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and subsequent titles, even as Mileena's skin color is sometimes mildly darker than Kitana's, Jade's skin remains consistently the darkest. Like their male ninja counterparts in the Mortal Kombat games, Kitana, Mileena and Jade evolved considerably from their original palette swap, gaining distinct costumes and other features such as different hairstyles later in the series.
Since becoming a playable in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Jade's weapon became a magical steel bō staff (featured heavily in her Fatalities; in Deception it was turned into a spear) and bladed boomerang projectiles, while her Animality was a black cat that shredded her opponent. One of her new UMK3 attacks, a smoking kick, is a variant of Johnny Cage's classic Shadow Kick. In the Sega Genesis and SNES versions, Jade's fighting stance is Mileena's and Kitana's, respectively. Jade's moves, along with these of Mileena and Kitana, were used to create the composite character Khameleon (who has Jade's moves if her name bar's letters are green) in the UMK3-based compilation game Mortal Kombat Trilogy.
When she debuted as a secret opponent in Mortal Kombat II, Jade (described as "an undiscovered warrior from Mortal Kombat One") uses Kitana's "Fan Throw" but is extremely fast and possesses immunity to projectile attacks. She was later available to be selected and played in a hacked version of the game, retaining all her special abilities. Jade has been playable in almost all the games she has appeared in since Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, where she is a powerful player character whose invincibility to projectiles is partially retained, becoming a special move, and gains uniquely multi-directional projectile abilities. In Shaolin Monks, however, Jade is only a non-playable boss character who fights alongside Kitana and Mileena all at once.
Jade has been often ranked as one of the most powerful and easiest to play characters in the series. In a retrospective article, GameSpot called her and Noob Saibot "incredibly overpowered, with moves that run from rendering projectiles ineffective to making characters momentarily powerless." According to Sega Saturn Magazine guide to Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, "Jade's variety of projectile attacks makes her a difficult character to get near, and her invincibility can make her tricky to get away" while she also "has got some devastating combo attacks" and is especially hard to win against as the CPU-controlled opponent. EGM Strategy Guide for UMK3 stated that "if it wasn't for her killer combo, she wouldn't be that popular." According to Total 64, "with a wealth of special moves, some bloody death moves and some easy combos, Jade is the hardest bird on the block" in Mortal Kombat Trilogy.
Prima Games' official guide for Armageddon rated her an overall score of 7/10 (higher than both Kitana and Mileena). According to Prima's official guide for the 2011 Mortal Kombat, "Jade's speed, safe attacks, and savvy combo abilities put her near the top of the cast."
In other media
In Malibu Comics' 1995 Mortal Kombat miniseries Battlewave, the comics' version of Jade is an evil assassin serving Shao Kahn. Although she appears identical to Kitana save for the colour of her costume (Jade has no dark skin in the comic) and also uses steel fans, the characters have no ties. Instead, Jade is always paired with Smoke, unsuccessfully trying to kill first Jax and then Johnny Cage. Introducing herself as "Jade, storm warrior", she attempts to redeem herself by slaying Raiden during the comic book miniseries Rayden [sic] and Kano, where she also appears alongside Smoke.
Jade was originally set to appear in the unfilmed scene in the first live-action Mortal Kombat movie's original screenplay. In it, Jade is described as "a diminutive woman dressed in an ornate Kabuki kimono", whose weapon is a stiletto hidden in her hair bun. Jade duels Sonya Blade and quickly loses. Jade only appeared on screen in the second movie, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), portrayed by the Siberian-born model Irina Pantaeva in a role of "a beautiful refugee from Outworld". The film version of Jade secretly remains loyal to Shao Kahn and her relationship with Kitana is not explored at all. Jade appears to test Liu Kang and attempts to seduce him, later leading the other Earthrealm warriors to an ambush. When she fails to defeat his enemies, Shao Kahn has her devoured by a gargoyle in his palace.
Jade appears in the novelizations of both feature films. She has only a minor role in the 1995 Mortal Kombat novel by Martin Delrio. She is described as a long-haired Asian woman in a green silk dress with and covered in tigera and dragon tattoos, wielding two half-moon shaped daggers. She is killed with a single kick by Sonya Blade after being tricked into returning the bow of respect (this happens at about the same time as when Liu Kang fights Kitana). The "absolutely, stunningly beautiful" Jade's role in Jerome Preisler's 1997 novelization of Annihilation is similar to this film, as she first tries to seduce Liu Kang and later lures the Earthrealm warriors into a trap and is revealed to be Kitana's former lover. She is eventually put to death by the enraged Shao Kahn, who first strangles her and then feeds her to a living stained glass window monster.
In promotion and merchandise
In 2005, Jade represented the cast of Mortal Kombat: Deception in G4's program Girls Gone Wired, making "a special virtual appearance" in the form of a CGI Jade hosting the show and introducing herself as being superior to Pamela Anderson. In 2011, a "free exclusive Jade character costume download" for the PlayStation 3 version of the reboot game was featured as part of promotional content in the Blu-ray Disc release of the two (sold separately) Mortal Kombat feature films. Jade and Kitana are the only characters to have two additional "Klassic" costumes (their outfits from MKII and UMK3) in the additional content (first featured in pre-order bonues and then added in downloadable content) for the 2011's Mortal Kombat. A live-action version of Jade, cosplayed by Evgeniya Rukavitsina, was featured in a Russian advertising for the PlayStation Vita version of Mortal Kombat in 2012.
A figurine of Jade in Mortal Kombat II came with a special issue (featuring also the cover story "Jade: a warrior of mystery") of Argentinian magazine Top Kids in 1995. Two different action figures (basic and 10-inch models, each with different featured weapons) were released by Toy Island in 1996–1998 as part of the collections for Mortal Kombat Trilogy. A 1/6 scale limited-edition statue of Jade in her primary costume from MK2011 was released in the Mortal Kombat Enchanted Warriors line by Syco Collectibles in 2012. She is also featured in the collectible card games Mortal Kombat Kard Game as a common character and in Epic Battles as one of the rare characters. "Klassic" UMK3 Jade 1:4 statue was announced by Pop Culture Shock Collectibles in 2014.
The character has received mostly positive critical reception. In 2012, UGO.com ranked Jade as 21st top character in the series, calling her "one of the greatest heroes in the universe of Mortal Kombat." Jade won in the Mortal Kombat category of "Miss of Video Games 2012" by the Polish console magazine PSX Extreme; ultimately placing 13th overall. Kotaku's Mike Fahey described himself as a "big fan of Jade." The readers of Dorkly voted her the series' 23rd greatest character in a 2013 poll. Game Informer included one of her finishing moves in Deception, dubbed "Head Gymnastics", on their list of the best Fatalities so far. In 2014, her other Fatality from the same game was ranked as the 33rd best in the series by Robert Workman of Prima Games.
In G4TV's 2005 Video Game Vixens beauty pageant's contest "Sexiest Finish", Jade won third place out of five contestants (the winner was Summer from Outlaw Golf 2) and was awarded the score of 8.7/10. In 2008, Jade "just barely missed the cut into" GameDaily's list of the 50 "hottest game babes". Complex ranked her as number one in the 2011 list of "best looking sideline chicks in games", declaring a preference for her over Kitana, Mileena and Sonya, and also featuring her on the list of top "beach-ready bikini babes" in video games the following year. Her breasts were ranked as the third finest in video games by Ross Lincoln of GameFront in 2011, and named as having the seventh "best pairs of boobies" in gaming by Drea Avellan of Complex in 2012. Together with Kitana and Mileena, Jade was also included among the top 10 "hottest" female villains in gaming by Travis Huber of Cheat Code Central in 2014.
On the other hand, some criticized what they perceived as oversexualization of the character, with io9 including her costume among 2011's "sluttiest and weirdest" store-bought Halloween dress-ups. In 2012, Complex chose her and Kitana to represent the "women who fight" trope on the list of the 15 most stereotypical characters in video games, as embodying "half-naked skanks who can fight, hurl lasers and perform aerobatic attacks while wearing thongs, high-heeled boots and keeping their giant breasts under scarves." Additionally, in 2010, Game Informer also listed them among unwanted "palette swap characters" for future Mortal Kombat games (demanding an inclusion of only Scorpion and Sub-Zero).
In 2011, when comparing the Mortal Kombat characters to the seven deadly sins in Dante's Inferno, GamePro chose Jade to represent Lust. According to UGO.com, "Jade seems to fetishize Eastern culture. She is a paradox: equal parts exotic slave girl and Asian princess, her most powerful weapon being her sexuality. She's the mystical, foreign black widow, a relic of post-war pulp novels." GameFront's Phil Owen noted her popularity among the more attractive cosplayers (as did the staffs of Heavy.com and TF1), stating, "Jade, I love you." Fitness model Alicia Marie dressed up as Jade for the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, appearing together with Adrianne Curry dressed as Mileena.
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