Rainbow Labs Inc.: a summary of Mika technology

Rainbow Mika (Mika Nanakawa) is a mix-up grappler who first appeared in Alpha 3. She makes her return in SFV to much fanfare as her tooling has received significant improvements.
Mika excels when her opponent is knocked down in the corner and her toolset reflects this nicely. Solid corner-carry options, access to conversion off corner meaty normals, and command throws make for a scary pressure game when there’s no screen behind her opponent. Currently she is the only cast member who has, via V-trigger, access to a tag team partner, allowing combos which are reminiscent of tag-team combos from other franchises.

Mika’s corner strength comes at a cost: her mid-screen and footsies game is weaker than some of the more “standard” SFV characters. While not exactly useless in this area, Mika will net higher damage and stun opportunities in the corner so there should be some focus on getting into the corner as part of the overarching plan.

[] Frames will be provided in the following form: +3f, 2f, -12f (plus 3 frames, 2 frames, minus 12 frames respectively)
] Frames will only be mentioned if significant; there are many resources available for detailed analysis or light bed-time reading :wink:
[] Normals will be notated with the international convention of light, medium, and heavy, in the following format: s.lp, c.mk, b.mp (standing light punch (jab), crouching medium kick (forward), back medium punch (strong) respectively)
] Normals (charged). One of Mika’s moves is ch.hk - this is a charged heavy kick (hold hk until it automatically executes). Partial charging will be explicitly detailed if the need arises.
[*] V-Trigger in short form will be referred to as vt. As Mika has both directional and timing based options on her vt, notation will follow this style: f.vt(instant), n.vt(delayed) (instant forward V-Trigger and delayed neutral V-Trigger respectively)

Footsies, or The Neutral Game
What follows are some of Mika’s basic tools for dealing with footsies. Although getting your opponent into the corner is always the primary goal, Mika has sufficient tooling to be able to handle herself in the mid-screen. Players familiar with an abare-heavy style should feel right at home.

Grounded Normals
[] s.lp/c.lp arguably Mika’s best normals. 3f startup and 2f active for both standing and crouching, good range, special and CA cancelable. Great for interruption or 3f punish opportunities. The standing version has slightly more range than crouching.
] s.mp can link into lp, mp, f/b.mp, s.hp, s/c.lk, or c.mk - with -2f on block, you may be giving up your turn by fishing with it.
[] f.mp/b.mp has an excellent hitbox and is active for 4f. As it is cancelable into passion press (pp) and can be linked out of on counter hit, it is a tool worth fishing with. Like s.mp it is -2f on block.
] c.mp should only be used as a gimmick on the ground and will whiff crouching opponents. As an anti-air, is it excellent and sees heavy usage at any level of play.
[] s.hp is another of Mika’s AA options and is used for heavy punish combos as it can be linked from s.mp.
] f.hp (Lady Mika) is one of Mika’s signature moves. On counter-hit, it causes CC (float state), and on block is +3f. On point-blank block, Mika is in range for an ex.typhoon. Has some value as an AA.
[] c.hp moves Mika forward with a respectable 6 active frames. If she connects early in the animation, expect to be punished as it is -4f blocked, but correct spacing (or meaty) can mitigate. Commonly used as a whiff punish (to follow a retracting limb), as a VT canceled normal, or intentionally whiffed into a command throw.
] s.lk is a very standard SF s.lk. Although not special cancelable, it can be canceled into her target combo (s.lk xx s.mp). On counter hit it can be linked into itself. A good tick normal.
[] c.lk as a good normal for fast low hits. The hitbox is slightly lower than the animation implies. Useful for pushing your opponent into s.hk or c.hp range. Another good tick normal.
] s.mk is likely Mika’s most important footsie normal against most of the cast - spend time learning how this normal works. Tap or hold forward to introduce forward movement to the move.
[] c.mk can be used as an AA for some situations giving Mika a low reset. Decent footsie poke.
] s.hk is a CC normal best used at max range during footsies exchanges - makes for a good poke at the end of a block-string. Goes over lows.
[] c.hk is a slide sweep which, if timed well, can get under fireballs and hitboxes of that variety. Very punishable on block.
] ch.hk takes 35f to start-up then propels Mika very unsafely about a third (maybe half?) of the screen. On block or hit it’s positive, creates a grounded spinning CC on counter, and can be stuffed in a variety of ways. Great move, but carries a high risk if used without smoke and mirrors. Links into lp or s.lk on hit.

Air Normals
[] lp - a standard downward angled air light.
] mp - Mika’s air-to-air when her opponent is above her.
[] d.mp (forward jump only) dramatically slows Mika’s horizontal trajectory and she drops down with a hitbox covering her descent. Will cause knockdown if it connects and is incredibly unsafe (24f) on block. Use as a gimmick cross-up (or fake) or as a standard trajectory manipulator.
] hp - a run of the mill close-ranged air heavy. God hitbox on the bottom of Mika.
[] lk is a standard light cross-up. Stays active for 8f (good for avoiding air-CC) and works as an air-to-air.
] mk works as a long-range air-to-air when Mika’s opponent is above her (long-range version of mp).
[*] hk - this is the king-pin and it behooves all Mika players to learn the action on this bad-boy.

Shooting Peach
Peach is Mika’s range finisher and has some bootleg value as a movement tool. All versions of peach are vulnerable on block - unless you can land a meaty (non-EX). During footsies, there isn’t much call for non-EX peach outside of combos. hp.peach can be used to get over fireballs and close distance, but it’s a risky move, so apply with caution. EX peach is an excellent punishment special - the startup (5f) is great considering the range it has and it attains 1 armour hit from frames 3-9.

Wingless Airplane

Brimstone and Typhoon

Anti-air options
Mika isn’t hurting for AA options. Between her 3 (c.mp, c.mk, s.hp) good AA normals, ex.wa (wingless airplane), c.hp/c.hk (cross-up avoidance), good selection of air-to-airs (lp, mp, lk, mk, hk), and other, more esoteric options (f.hp, for example), she’s quite capable of dealing with high attack vectors.

Mika’s most used AA is her c.mp - by far. c.mk should be used for low resets or against incoming attacks which are too active for c.mp to deal with - the height it can connect at is sufficiently low that most air moves aimed to stuff c.mp have begun recovery. c.mp and c.mk are a pair and should be used as such.

s.hp (and to a lesser degree) f.hp work as long range AA normals. If Mika’s opponent prefers to try and stuff c.mp/c.mk by using a slightly longer ranged jump with a long poke, these are good options to try.

Wingless Airplane is an excellent AA tool and the EX version is invulnerable between frames 5 and 15. Because Mika will swap positions with her opponent, some thought will be needed when using this option.

There is value in taking to the skies when defending or pressuring a jumping opponent and Mika’s air normals are generally good in that area. Notably, mp can be used early when dealing with “floaty” jumps or air specials (like a Claw wall dive) and hk is active for 7f making it a versatile pressure tool in the air.

Combo opportunities

Using V-Trigger during footsies

Mika can’t really fish for counter hits too easily during footsies as ch.hk and f.hp have limited value at her mk range which is where Mika does her work - most of Mika’s counter-hit opportunities occur on wake-up.
s.hk has value in this regard. It starts up in 17f and is active for 2f and leaves Mika at -4f on block.
Not a compelling sales pitch, I know, however, it does go over low attacks and has sufficient range such that punishment can be difficult or impossible depending on the situation. On counter hit, it causes a spinning float state (ex.peach is the best option after this happens) which allows standard wake-up pressure. The key to success is liberal application with good timing.
As @S-Laughter pointed out, in not so many words, if you’re going to give up your turn anyway, s.hk makes for a solid full-stop at the end of an exchange and, who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky.

It goes without saying that any punish combo is based on your available window and your distance from the target. In SFV the execution of combos is less about straight memory and more about choosing appropriate links and cancels based on those two factors. With that in mind, I have divided this section up accordingly.

Note: in any combo situation, a link to a s.lk is likely able to be replaced with a link to Mika’s target combo.

[] c.lk is a 4f low and can link into c.lp (handy off a j.lk crossup: j.lk(cu) > c.lk > c.lp xx lp.peach)
] s/c.lp is 3f, has good range, can link into itself; special/ca cancelable.
[] s.mp is 5f, has good range, and on hit can link (s/f/b.mp, s.hp, s.lk) or cancel. Note: you are able to hit-confirm link s.mp into peach or CA.
] s.lk xx s.mp (target combo) starts up in 4f; special/ca cancelable.
[*] ch.hk provides +4f on hit, has exceptional range, goes over lows and through fireballs (depending on timing), and has a massive 35f startup. Links to s.lp or s.lk.

Counter-hit openers and links
Counter-hits in SFV add 2f to your hit-advantage and fishing for counter-hits is an important part of the combo mechanic. Again, depending on range, the following links will work:
[] lp, s.mp
] f/b.mp, s.mp/s.lk
[] lk, lp/s.mp/s.lk
] mk, s.lk

[] peach. Choose the strength based on the preceeding hit - lp combos with lp.peach (does not combo at max range), medium combos into mp/hp.peach. ex.peach can follow any cancelable normal.
] passion press. Any opener that leaves Mika at +6f or better can link into passion press.
[*] critical art. The only real consideration for using CA in a combo is range - I haven’t found one that doesn’t work though.

Passion Press
Passion press rope throw (commonly referred to as her “irish whip”) is the corner-stone of Mika’s combo and reset game. Fuudo believes that without her mp and pp options, Mika would be “dead”. Any Mika player worth his or her salt looks to land and convert the rope throw when ever possible.

After a passion press (pp) there are 2 types of follow-ups, damage or reset. Note that if you perform a pp mid-screen, you must dash back in order to “pull the screen” back to make your opponent wall-bounce. A trick you might like to know is that if you don’t back-dash, a hk.wa will put you right where your opponent wakes up and Mika will be at frame advantage (mid-screen only).

Once the opponent is running, they are considered air-borne and any hit will reset them and wa will connect appropriately.

[] f.dash (or lp.peach), wa (all versions) mid-screen, meterless
] ch.hk xx ex.peach/ex.wa mid-screen, damage
[] f.dash, c.hp mid-screen, reset
] ch.hk, ex.peach/ex.wa corner, damage
[*] ch.hk/f.hp, d.mp corner, reset

Meaties and set-ups

Check this gear out: Peaches and Irish Whipped Cream - R. Mika Knockdown Omnibus

V-trigger combo mechanics

This should have some ideas: Nadeshiko Megathread: V-Trigger resets, set-ups, combos, unblockables, etc

v-trigger mix-ups


Notable players

For the moment, refer to: Top 100 Mika Players(CFN)