The Kuniang M.A. (Martial Arts) Team are a recurring team of enemies in the series, appearing in all versions of the original coin-op as well as its two sequels. In Japan, they are called the Three Chinese Girls (中国３人娘) in the first game, and Tong Pooh Three Sisters (東風三姉妹) in all later appearances. Out of its three members, Tong Pooh (also written "Ton Pooh" or "Tong Poo") is the most representative of the group, having the most on-screen time and guest appearances in crossovers.
The Kuniang M.A. team is a trio of Chinese sisters that offer their services as bounty hunters . Their strength lies in their hand-to-hand mastery and teamwork, employing perfectly synchronized and magnificent dance-like movements. Their mastery of Chinese martial arts is beyond that of ordinary people, with their kicks being strong enough to generate a "Plasma Whirlwind", a plasma-like arc of energy not dissimilar from the one made by Hiryu's Cypher.
Each sister has their own weapon (introduced in the 2014 game) and signature attack (introduced in Strider 2), using the plasma generated by their kicks differently, though they also sport techniques shared by all three of them.
(東風, east wind)
alt. Tong Poo, Ton Pooh
|Middle sister as well as the leader of the trio, recognized by her green clothes and hairstyle, two braided pigtails. She's the most vocal out of the three, usually taunting Hiryu after being defeated. Her signature attack is a back kick which generates an arc of plasma energy. An expert in kenjutsu, her weapon of choice is a Chinese Rinkaku sword.|
(西風, west wind)
|Youngest sister, recognized by her blue clothes (purple in the first game) and hairstyle, twin pigtails. Her signature attack is a descending flying kick engulfed in plasma energy. She's not featured in the 2014 Strider.|
(北風, north wind)
alt. Bei Pooh, Nam Pooh
|Oldest sister, recognized by her red clothes and hairstyle, a long ponytail. Her signature attack is a series of rapid kicks which release small blades of plasma energy. Fans mistakenly localized her name as Nam Pooh. Mixing her martial arts with gunfighting, she wields short Jizhaorui hook-like blades with a built-in submachine gun in each hand.|
The "Fourth" Member
In the original Strider, there's a second optional boss fight against the trio in the last stage, the Third Moon. In contrast of the different coloured suits used by the Kuniang, this trio uses a grey-and-black attire. They are faced in a much smaller space, making their continuous attacks more difficult to handle. Some official sources refer to this character as Black Tong Pooh (ブラック東風).
A minor enemy in the crossover game Namco × Capcom seems to be a nod to this boss fight, being identical to Tong Pooh and wearing a grey costume. According to the game, these are named Nang Pooh (南風, south wind), and are clones of Tong Pooh. It is unknown if this information applies to the main series, since there was no prior mention of this fact before or after Namco × Capcom.
In the 2014 Strider, the spear-wielding Nang Pooh became an official member of the team, replacing and inheriting most of Sai Pooh's characteristics (being the youngest sister and wearing blue clothes). The sisters' master Xi Wang Mu, introduced in this game, is considered the team's fourth member, even though it's rare for all four members to fight together.
The Kuniang M.A. Team was contracted by Grandmaster Meio to eliminate Strider Hiryu after his victory over the higher-ups at Kazakh, having placed a large bounty for his head. As with fellow bounty hunter Solo, Hiryu is intercepted by them as he makes his way through a siberian plateau, the sisters leading an entire airship force. Hiryu finally engages the trio aboard the leading airship, the Sky Thunder Mk-II, after he commandeered it in-flight. After defeating them all he confronts Tong Pooh, demanding to be taken to "[her] boss", but Tong Pooh instead calls him a fool and reveals to him the existence of the Flying Battleship Balrog, which she proclaims invincible based on her previous experience against it.
The Kuniang M.A. Team is a trio of sisters who provides their deadly martial arts training to use as ruthless assassins. When they're not hunting down targets, however, the sisters have a cover job working as entertainers in the "Míng Liàng Acrobatics Troupe" (明亮雑技団, roughly Chinese for "shining"), where they perform as contortionists.
The Kuniang M.A. Team takes part in the terrorist attack on Neo Hong Kong City spearheaded by the Chinese Mafia, with Light Sword Cypher's support. Hiryu confronts them in the high society residential area, on a speedway crowded by flying cars. Jumping from car to car, Hiryu faces the three acrobatic assassins and defeats them at the end. Following Hiryu's destruction of the Emperor Dragon, a defeated Tong Pooh taunts him with his foolishness in believing he can take "her Lord", and that the whole world (and Hiryu himself) belongs to him. Hiryu retorts that she's the only one that will always be Meio's servant, and leaves her behind.
The Four Winds are a team of freelance bounty hunters with a worldwide reputation. Trained by the mysterious expert martial artist Xi Wang Mu, also known as "The One Who Controls the Wind", the three sisters are themselves expert martial arts masters, each specializing in different individual styles as well as powerful combination attacks between them. The sister trio work as subordinates of Grandmaster Meio and are specifically tasked with assassination missions. While the three sisters are well-known across the world, no one has seen the team's fourth member (Xi Wang Mu) in action, and there are only unconfirmed rumors about the existence of "a martial artists from the same school" in Kazakh City.
Before Hiryu's infiltration in Kazakh City, the Winds confronted and defeated the twin Striders Kuga and Raiga, having overcome their combined attacks with those of their own. After Hiryu infiltrated the city, the sisters confront him at three different points. Pei Pooh fights him first on her own and is defeated, then Nang Pooh and Pei Pooh attack him together to no success. Finally, all three sisters fight him in the Industry area with their combined strategy, but are defeated in the end.
Later, the sisters' master Xi Wang Mu confronts Hiryu at Grandmaster Meio's orders and to avenge her students, but not even her inmense strength is enough to stop Hiryu.
Skills and Abilities
The Kuniang team's main strength lies in their combined hand-to-hand attacks, which is why they always work together as a trio. Their strategy consists in using martial arts with their strength and speed to overwhelm their opponents with quick and agile movements and lethal attacks, coming from all directions and with enough strength to generate a sharp plasma arc on their own. It's said that when the three work together as a team their combined might can overcome any other fighting style. Besides enhanced strength, they are also shown to be extremely fast (in Strider 2, they move fast enough to literally vanish in front of Hiryu and leave afterimages in their wake) and move with delicate and graceful movements, an ability born from their mastery of martial arts.
As previously stated, each of the three sisters has her own signature attack, but they also possess two special techniques that any of them can perform.
- Back Spin Kick: The signature attack of Tong Pooh, originally used by the whole team. Tong Pooh starts out by doing a small hop forward, and quickly spins in mid-air. Once her back is facing the opponent, she does a back kick with enough strength to generate a long arc of plasma energy.
- Flying Kick: The signature attack of Sai Pooh. After jumping high into the air, Sai Pooh descends with a fast angled flying kick, while her feet is covered in blue energy.
- Rapid Kicks: The signature attack of Pei Pooh. As soon as she lands from a jump, Pei Pooh makes three quick kicks in front of her, each one trailed by a small blade of red energy.
- Somersault Kick: A technique used after one sister is eliminated, replacing the signature attack of the remaining ones. Right after landing from a jump, the attacker does a backflip kick engulfed by a large plasma arc. The technique also release a large plasma projectile straight forward.
- Three-Way Kick: A technique used by the remaining sister, after the other two are eliminated. After a quick jump, the attacker stands in mid-air and quickly kicks at three different angles towards the enemy (diagonal-down, center, diagonal-up), each releasing a large plasma projectile in said direction.
- Backflip: Not an attack, but an evasive technique used by all three. If they are hit by Hiryu, they will perform a quick backflip to back away and then move out of Hiryu's range, in order to resume their attack.
- Ying-Yang Combination: A 2014 game's technique used by Pei and Nang Pooh when fighting together. Joining together, Pei Pooh performs her Wild Shooting attack while Nang Pooh keeps Hiryu away with her Whirlwind attack, difficulting the dodging of Pei's shots. As they do this, a red and blue ying yang forms around them.
Strider: The Kuniang Team's design was influenced by the boom of Bruce Lee and Kung Fu at the time, and the popular image of a chinese girl expert in martial arts. Since Isuke wanted a scene against a human-like boss rather than a giant one, and it'd involve martial arts, he considered a chinese girl would look good. Their pixel animations were drawn by Isuke himself, as he likes "dance-like movements".
The name Tong Poo was inspired by the popular song "Tong Poo" from Yellow Magic Orchestra's self-titled album. The name of the team used in English, "Kuniang", is an alternative spelling of the Mandarin Chinese word for "girl", gūniáng (姑娘).
Strider 2: In the early stages of development, Tong Pooh was considered to take the 2P character spot, but the concept was scrapped and she eventually became a mid-boss instead. During development, the design team tried different concepts while designing Tong Pooh, but ultimately ended up simply updating her original look. In designing Tong Pooh, main artist Harumaru bought actual Chinese clothing in order to use as reference material.
The team as a whole were given unique hairstyles and individual techniques to set them apart, as they were identical palette swaps of the same sprite in the original. Sho Sakai also designed Pei Pooh and Sai Pooh with unique appearances and styles, but their designs aren't reflected in the in-game sprites which are identical to Tong Pooh's except for their colors and hairstyles.
Strider (2014): Pei Pooh and Nang Pooh were the first two enemy characters revealed during a Capcom "Special Stage" event held at the 2013 Tokyo Game Show, while the full team (now including Tong Pooh and their master Xi Wang Mu) was officially revealed 3 months later through the official site. The youngest sister's name being Nang Pooh instead of Sai Pooh was presumably done to keep the "four cardinals" theme naming and avoid redundancy, since both Sai Pooh and Xi Wang Mu feature "west" in their names.
As most of the returning characters, their design attempts to "rebuild" them by fusing together elements both old and new. The sisters' new design, however, was difficult to adapt while keeping in mind a balance between them and the new original bosses. New elements such as the elaborate hair ornaments were introduced, while their original coloring was kept intact. In addition, thanks to modern hardware allowing for more variety of expressions (like lightning and textures), the new designs attempt to bring back the original team's dynamic feel while expressing an atmosphere more appropiate of the 21st Century.
The three sisters were given their own individual weapons to set them apart even further, although in exchange they lost most of their signature melee attacks, including the back-turning kick. Each sister was also given a specific flower motif shown in their uniform, as a shower of petals during certain attacks and when defeated: Pei Pooh has a peony, Nang Pooh a lily and Tong Pooh a red rose.
Tong Pooh (Ton Pooh in-game) appears in the fighting game as one of several "Special Partners", characters which can be called forth during battle to deliver a quick attack and then leave. Tong Pooh's alternative costume color is inspired by the gray-and-black boss fight from the Arcade game, nicknamed the "Mourning Dress version".
Tong Pooh appears as a minor enemy alongside Solo and Strider Hien, and uses the Back Kick and Somersault Kick as her attacks. She serves Grandmaster Meio and protects the Third Moon. She commands the Nang Pooh soldiers, gray-clothed clones of herself. Since they are merely mindless pawns, they have no dialogue at all.
While the other two sisters are not present in the game proper, according to a Japanese site there are remnants in the code that implies they were planned to appear at some point, but were ultimately scrapped.
SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters
Tong Pooh appears as cards in two of the three games. In the second game (Card Fighters 2), she and her sisters appear in the art for a Reaction Card named "3 Sisters" (3しまい). In the third game (Card Fighters DS), she's an actual character card alongside Hiryu. She's a card of "C" Rarity (common) with 400 hit points and no special ability. Her card profile in the English versions states she's "the daughter of Meio", a mistranslation of the Japanese original phrase which simply states she's a "Chinese girl subordinate of Grandmaster Meio" instead.
Street Fighter × All Capcom
Tong Pooh appears as one of the 500+ character cards found in this crossover mobile phone game, striking her iconic "leaning-down" attack pose.
Project X Zone 2
Tong Pooh appears as a secondary antagonist in Project X Zone 2, working alongside other villains with a single goal in mind: the ressurection of Grandmaster Meio. Pei Pooh and Sai Pooh also make a cameo appearance, assisting their sister in her Multi-Target attack animation.
- Reportedly, the design of Street Fighter's popular Chinese warrior Chun-Li was inspired by Tong Pooh. While artist Akiman has said his inspiration was the character Tao from the anime/manga series Genma Taisen, an early sketch from him shows a remarkable resemblance to the Kuniang's attire as well.
- Instead of her usual green, Tong Pooh is seen wearing a more blue-ish color in her official art for Strider, blue in her portrait in the Master System port and purple in the PC-Engine portraits. Coincidentally, both colors have been used by her younger sister Sai Pooh, purple being her sprite color in the Arcade game.
- Interestingly their costume colors resembles to three main protagonist from Joukamachi no Dandelion, which Pei Pooh is like Akane Sakurada, Tong Pooh is like Kanade Sakurada, and Nan Pooh is like Aoi Sakurada.
- Kirin, the main protagonist in Isuke's Strider-inspired game Osman, possess a similar ability to create long arcs of energy with his kicks. According to Yotsui, he drew the character after imagining him as a member of the "Tong Pooh clan", making an indirect connection between the two characters.
- All sisters' wind-based names are incorrectly romanized in butchered Chinese that is different from either their pinyin or Japanese on'yomi renderings.
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|Strider video game series|
|Strider (Home computers • Mega Drive • Master System • PC Engine • Sharp X68000 • PlayStation • Mobile)|
Strider (NES) • Strider II/Returns • Strider 2 • Strider (2014)
Compilations • Crossovers • Related Games
|Hiryu • Grandmaster Meio • Solo • Kuniang M.A. Team|
Tong Pooh • Hien • General Mikiel • Ouroboros
|Striders • Cypher • Climb Sickle • Options • Kazakh Federation|
Anti-Gravity Device/Gravitron • Mecha Pon • Flying Battleship Balrog • The Third Moon
|Capcom • Moto Kikaku • Tiertex Design Studios • Double Helix Games|
Isuke • Patariro • Other key staff • Strider Hiryu (Manga) • Capcom Gamebooks
Merchandise • Soundtracks