|First appearance||Tekken 3 (1997)|
|Portrayed by||Claudia Alan (Tekken Tag Tournament 2 "Girl Power" trailer)|
Xuan Thanh Nguyen (Tekken Tag Tournament 2 live-action short film)
Carrie Keranen (Tekken: Blood Vengeance)
Carrie Savage (Street Fighter X Tekken)
Yumi Tōma (1997–2009, 2012)
Maaya Sakamoto (2011–present)
|Motion capture||Maya Asaba (Tekken: Blood Vengeance)|
Yuka Hino (Tekken: Blood Vengeance) (stunts)
|Fighting style||Baguazhang, Piguaquan|
Ling Xiaoyu (Chinese: 凌曉雨; pinyin: Líng Xiǎoyǔ; Japanese: リン・シャオユウ, romanized: Rin Shaoyū) is a fictional character from the Tekken franchise by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Following her debut in Tekken 3 (1997), she has appeared in every subsequent game in the series. Xiaoyu is a cheerful Chinese teenager who is a friend of the series' main character, Jin Kazama, as well as a potential love interest, while trying to interfere with the affairs of the increasingly corrupt Mishima family.
She has appeared on official Tekken merchandise and alternative media such as the 2011 animated feature film Tekken: Blood Vengeance, in addition to appearances in many Bandai Namco crossover games, and has received critical and public reception for factors such as her personality, sex appeal, and representation of a strong female character in video games.
Design and gameplay
Ling Xiaoyu's age (sixteen) in her series debut was the result of the Tekken 3 development team wanting a younger girl in the game, as most of the game's female characters were "more than 25 years old". Her black hair is kept in pigtails throughout her series appearances, while her costumes have varied from a modified cheongsam in Tekken 6 to a kogal-style schoolgirl uniform in the 2011 computer-animated film Tekken: Blood Vengeance. Tekken: Blood Vengeance screenwriter Dai Satō said in 2011 that he had chosen her as one of the two lead characters because he felt she "symbolize[d] the older Tekken games".
Her fighting style is officially listed as "various Chinese martial arts", in particular Baguazhang and Piguaquan. In his 2003 book Kung Fu Cult Masters, author Leon Hunt wrote that her style "draws extensively on wushu, with graceful balletic sweeps and wide, extravagant stances—like Lei [Wulong], she is a 'shapes'-based fighter and harder to learn than the Japanese or Korean boxers." Her specialities are evasion moves that emphasize speed over strength; according to Simon Hill of Prima Games, her "main strength lies in her speed ... she's the fastest character in Tekken 3." However, GameSpy opined that her offense in Tekken 6 was "rather lacking ... most of the damage she dishes out will probably be from jabs you slip in between her evasive maneuvers." IGN said of her style in Tekken Tag Tournament: "Who says it’s bad to fight like a little schoolgirl? Xiaoyu’s graceful style and fancy setups make her a powerful fighter among the Tekken universe."
A sixteen-year-old Chinese martial artist, Ling Xiaoyu was tutored by her elderly relative, Wang Jinrei, at a young age; he believed that she could achieve true greatness, yet was frustrated by her flippant attitude. While vacationing with her family in Hong Kong, she notices a company yacht owned by the Mishima Zaibatsu. Aware of the corporation's worldwide influence, she boldly stows away on the vessel in hopes of meeting Heihachi Mishima and making her dream of owning an amusement park reality. However, she is discovered by Heihachi’s personal security, the Tekken Force, but when Heihachi arrives after being summoned, all his men are seen beaten and scattered across the deck. During the chaos, Xiaoyu then threatens to assault Heihachi if he does not accept her challenge. He agrees to build the park should she win the company-sponsored King of Iron Fist tournament. Xiaoyu moves into the Mishima Zaibatsu's Japan complex and enrolls at the Mishima Polytechnic School, where she befriends Miharu Hirano and Heihachi's grandson Jin. Heihachi additionally teaches her trained giant panda, simply named "Panda", to fight so she is able to serve as Xiaoyu's bodyguard. This encourages Xiaoyu to view Heihachi as something of a grandfather figure.
Xiaoyu remains a ward of the Mishima Zaibatsu during the events of Tekken 4, when she receives an anonymous email telling her not to trust Heihachi as he posed an immediate danger to her life; she becomes convinced that Jin, who had gone missing after the previous tournament, is the mysterious sender, and opts to enter the fourth King of the Iron Fist Tournament in hopes of reconnecting with Jin and uncovering the Mishima Zaibatsu’s nefarious deeds. Xiaoyu was saved from Heihachi's evil plans by Yoshimitsu, who informs her of the Mishima family's tragic history, but Xiaoyu is nonetheless saddened at Heihachi's apparent death in the competition. Xiaoyu therefore takes it upon herself to try and save the Mishima family, and as the fifth tournament commences, Xiaoyu learns Heihachi is actually still alive but Jin is seeking to kill him. Before she can try to stop Jin, the Mishima Zaibatsu pushes towards militarization and declares a worldwide war. When the sixth tournament is announced, Xiaoyu enters in attempt to save Jin's soul from evil.
After Jin went missing and Heihachi regained control of the Mishima Zaibatsu, Xiaoyu infiltrated the Mishima Zaibatsu building to find information on Jin's disappearance. Sneaking deep within the facility past the guards, Xiaoyu heard Heihachi's voice coming from a room; giving orders to locate Jin. Xiaoyu attempted to sneak into the room but was stopped by Claudio Serafino. Unflinched, Xiaoyu demanded that he take her to Jin. Claudio instead led her to the roof and challenged her to a fight. Not backing down, Xiaoyu accepts the challenge unaware of Claudio's true plan.
Outside of the main series, Ling Xiaoyu has appeared in numerous noncanonical Tekken spinoff games, including Tekken Tag Tournament and Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken Revolution, and Street Fighter X Tekken.
Outside of the Tekken series, Xiaoyu appeared in Namco crossover titles such as the tactical role-player Project X Zone and its sequel; the mobile game Full Bokko Heroes X; and Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament 2, in which she was unlockable along with Heihachi and Cassandra Alexandra and Raphael Sorel from the Soulcalibur series. Xiaoyu and fellow Tekken character Alisa Bosconovitch were featured on a downloadable aircraft skin variant designed by former Square Enix character designer Shunya Yamashita for the action-flight simulation games Ace Combat: Assault Horizon and Ace Combat: Infinity. Her Tekken 6 costume was included as downloadable content for raising-simulation title The Idolmaster SP, and as part of a selection of downloadable Tekken costumes for Soulcalibur V. She also appears in SNK's mobile phone game The King of Fighters All Star.
Media and merchandise
Ling Xiaoyu was omitted from the 1998 anime film Tekken: The Motion Picture, only appearing in its opening sequence. She is a lead character in Tekken: Blood Vengeance, in which she is a student who transfers to Kyoto International School after being recruited by G Corporation's Anna Williams to spy on a fellow student and film-exclusive character named Shin Kamiya. Xiaoyu meets Alisa Bosconovitch, who was sent by Jin Kazama to perform the same task, and the girls become friends but are later forced to turn on one another after Shin is captured by an unknown assailant, but Alisa spares Xiaoyu's life. After Xiaoyu is abandoned by Anna, she and Alisa take refuge in their teacher Lee Chaolan's mansion. Xiaoyu was voiced by Maaya Sakamoto in Japanese and Carrie Keranen in English.
Xiaoyu was among many Tekken female characters portrayed by models for a 2006 Maxim photoshoot. She was played by actress Xuan Thanh Nguyen in a 2012 Tekken Tag Tournament 2 live-action short film that starred performers from stunt company Wild Stunts Europe, while model Claudia Alan portrayed Xiaoyu in a Tekken Tag Tournament 2 "Girl Power" trailer that premiered at Comic-Con 2012.
Her comic book appearances includes Tekken Forever, Tekken: Tatakai no Kanatani, Tekken Saga, Tekken Comic, and Tekken: Blood Feud. In 1998, Epoch Co. released an action figure based on her Tekken 3 design that was packaged with a miniature Panda figure. Namco's 2006 six-figure Tekken "Game Character Goods Collection" package included Xiaoyu from Tekken 5. A Xiaoyu bishōjo figure was released by Kotobukiya as part of their 2013 Tekken Tag Tournament 2 toyline.
—Michael Harradence, PlayStation Universe, 2009
The character has received positive critical and public reception. Upon her debut in Tekken 3, Next Generation commented that she and fellow Tekken 3 character Julia Chang "conform to different and equally depressing 'cute schoolgirl' stereotypes". Robert Workman of GameDaily named Ling Xiaoyu as one of his favorite female Asian video game characters, calling her "a joy to behold". GameDaily rated her among the "chicks that will kick your ass": "If you mistake Ling Xiaoyu for an innocent schoolgirl, prepare to get your nose schooled." Writing for ImpulseGamer in 2008, model Tara Babcock called Xiaoyu her favorite Tekken character: "Her cute, flexible moves and kind mannerisms ... really got my attention. Besides, who doesn't dig a girl flouncing about in pigtails?" MSN said of the character in 2011: "Xiaoyu made the cheongsam fashionable again, and reminded the world that girls in tight clothing can still pull off some amazing fighting moves." Kevin Wong of Complex rated her the eleventh-best Tekken character in 2013: "Ling Xiaoyu is what happens when you put an 8-year-old girl's mind into a 19-year-old girl's body. With her plaid-skirted school uniform, barely legal hairstyle, and butt slapping shenanigans, Ling is somehow both kawaii and creepy." IGN called Xiaoyu "a fun character to use", while "everyone loves a schoolgirl that can kick some booty." Her guest appearance in Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament 2 was ranked 42nd in GamesRadar's list of "55 awesome character cameos". FHM listed Xiaoyu and Chun-Li as one of the "10 awesome fantasy fights" in Street Fighter X Tekken. Anthony Taormina of Game Rant called Xiaoyu "not just a representative of the strong female fighters in Tekken, but in video games in general", but in describing what he considered the unrealistic depiction of students in video games ("A peppy individual who enjoys nothing more than dabbling in deadly martial arts during their free periods"), David Meikleham of GamesRadar commented on Xiaoyu: "Instead, she’d be spending all her downtime writing essays, revising and generally making her brow as furrowed as possible."
In 2005, Xiaoyu was one of five characters nominated for G4's Video Game Vixens "Baddest Good Girl" award, which was won by Rikku of Final Fantasy X. In 2006, readers of the Polish edition of GameStar voted Xiaoyu eighth in a poll for the title of "Miss Video Game World", and the second-highest placed Tekken character behind Nina Williams. Digital Spy readers voted Xiaoyu their fourth-favorite Tekken character in 2012, behind Nina, Hwoarang, and Jin Kazama. In an official fan poll held by Namco, Xiaoyu was the sixth-most requested Tekken character for inclusion in the upcoming crossover fighter Tekken X Street Fighter, receiving 12.23% of 88,280 votes.  Across the series, both Jin and Xiaoyu hold a close relationship. This resulted in fans asking Harada if they will be in a romantical one. However, Harada refrained from confirming or denying it. Her popularity in China might have contributed to Chinese fashion.
For Tekken: Blood Vengeance, Scott Foy of Dread Central said in his review of the film, "I was constantly laughing at ... those peculiar moments where Ling’s behavior around [Alisa] sure made it seem like she wanted to be much more than just best friends." In criticizing the film's plot, Charles Webb of MTV.com said, "Ling and Shin are simply pieces in a larger, mostly incomprehensible game being played by father and son Kazuya Mishima and Jin Kazama."
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