March 12, 2018
Behind-the-scenes discussion with Daigo about Kemonomichi 2, "Why I played the neutral game", "This was a match that I absolutely would not allow myself to lose", "What I think of Tokido"
Table of Contents
- 1. Otani was his training parter
- 2. The reason for holding the stick neutral
- 3. Why he did EX flash kick form the start
- 4. Daigo's thoughts about Tokido
- 5. His thoughts on Tokido crying
- 6. Kemonomichi makes people stronger
- 7. Daigo prepared for this knowing it will tank his chances at the CPT opener at Final Round
- 8. Tekken 7 and SFV are "Games and Money". It was a risky match for Tanukana.
- 9. There are no plans for the next Kemonomichi
- 10. You are under a lot of pressure when you go on Kemonomichi
Translator's note: This is a translation of http://chigesoku3.doorblog.jp/archives/53114976.html which transcribed the audio from a twitch stream with Daigo.
On March 11th, Sunday, Daigo held an "at home" stream in which he talked about his recent match. It was a stream with the usual members of Daigo, Fuudo, and Orikasashi, and they talked about the recent events, including "Kemonomichi 2". This article excerpts the discussion about Kemonomichi 2.
Here is the archive link from Twitch [Translator's note: it is in Japanese]. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/237606343
Here are the relevant bits about Kemonomichi.
Update: 2018-03-19. Many thanks to Toph for clearing up that ニュートラル means stick neutral, not "neutral game". I've touched up a few places to make that more clear.
1 Otani was his training parter
- Both parties agreed to the Diago vs. Tokido matchup at the end of February.
- Daigo's strategy was to train Otani. Daigo: "He's young, so he is able to absorb things quickly, and it would be unforgivable if I asked him to be my training partner and there was no benefit for him. I thought I would teach everything I know to Otani, and tell him as we play my intention and why I'm doing this or that, what I'm paying attention to and how I adapted, tell him all of this, and from there Otani could get stronger.
- Daigo planned to train with Otani up until the day of the event, and for the last spurt he planned to go to Otani's hometown of Toyama to cram in more training. [Translator's note: like 3 hours by Bullet train from Tokyo.] Otani was able to come to Tokyo though, so they were able to practice there. Daigo: "I had two training partners, Otani and Rinta".
- Up until now, he had "trained with strong players" but this time he changed his approach to "train people to be strong". Daigo: "I wanted to see whether I could train with them until they became strong. But that was my only plan."
- Daigo got drunk, and said some harsh things to Otani. Daigo: "I don't really remember too well, but the nuance was that I do these first to 10s because this is my last chance. Even though there is a gap between us you can't just think that you will try harder next time, you really have to take this seriously and do your best." Daigo: "I've given you a lot of very important personal strategic information that I would normally keep to myself. (Otani you are) young and are quick to learn, and have changed a lot quickly."
2 The reason for holding the stick neutral
- The reason is so I don't give up positioning.
- The problem with crouch blocking is that it takes time to stand back up. (The hit box is also larger.) Daigo: "It takes one or two more frames for the Sobat to come out. Same thing with the air throw. You have the flash kick but Akuma's air fireball can force you to delay the timing. Your hit box becomes larger, and it takes time to stand up, so I started to think there weren't many benefits to crouching. With those factors in mind, I think you should stand up. If you are standing, then there are only three patterns, moving forward, backwards, or keeping the stick neutral."
Daigo: "If you play normally, as long as you don't get cornered, Guile won't lose. So you should stand and keep the stick neutral or walk forward to stay in the center for the screen. If you walk forward you will eat your opponents attacks. For me, keeping the stick neutral means to `Stand and wait`. Usually Guile crouches and waits. (But there are drawbacks to crouching)."
Fuudo: "Tokido's Heavy Punch often whiffed. There is a big difference in whether it will whiff or not depending on if you are standing or crouching. Were you doing that intentionally? I think that's a bit gross."
Diago: "If you are crouching, your movement will definitely be too late. Akuma will go on the offensive so I wanted to keep my distance, and if Akuma backs off, I would walk forward to keep that distance. Above all else your movement is most smooth from stick neutral. Just like everyone goes crazy from one or two frames of lag from the monitor, you have the same loss when you are crouching."
Daigo: "If there is no benefit to crouching, you shouldn't do it. Once Guile gets into Sonic Mode, that is his ultimate offensive mode. You aren't waiting in that mode. If you hit them with multiple sonics it's like hitting them with a command throw. If you want to play it safe you can use the Sobat kick. Using the Sonic boom against your opponent has the greatest risk/reward to keep them from coming aggressively at you. It is important to many different things to create that kind of situation. Once Tokido went into the mode where he would do Tatsumaki kick [TL: hurricane kick] when he saw a sonic boom, you have to immediately go `don't do that` by hitting him with a Sobat kick. That is how you play standing neutral."
- Absolutely do not stay in standing heavy punch range when playing neutral.
Daigo: "I want to keep this distance, but I don't want to crouch. Movement is too slow when crouching." Fuudo: "The problem was that you were too good at going from neutral to blocking." Diago: "While walking, my predictions were off. I thought he might crouch, or watch what I was doing ~ so I went neutral. It's a small read but, once I started to think I would lose I would crouch. As a result of being neutral, I was able to block his Tatsumaki kicks and the like just in time."
3 Why he did EX flash kick form the start
- Out of all of the pro gamers, Daigo and Tokido have a connection. It was important to show Tokido the posture that he absolutely was not going to lose.
Daigo: "This was not a match where we were going to both play a clean game, try out our tactics, and smile whether we won or lost. I was going to win no matter what. I wanted Tokido and the audience to understand that from the start, and I thought I would be able to hit them so I went all out from the start."
Fuudo: "I won't think it was about winning or losing, but it was a competition about paying with conviction until the end. You wanted to show that you would play however it took to win. I saw that suddenly right from the start, and I thought `I've really got to watch this!`"
Diago: "I approached that day with the feeling that if I lost, my standing in the FGC would change. If I lost in that battle, then gradually I would begin walking down the path of a regime change. This was a match that I needed to win 100%. I would do anything possible within the game to win. I played neutral like that in order to win. I thought EX flash kicks would be the best way to win."
Diago: "I know that it was humiliating for Tokido when it was over. I thought, even with that though, it was not possible for me to lose, you know? If I lost it wouldn't just be humiliating. I wish that is all it would be." [Translator's note: I used "humiliating" here, although I could have also gone with "difficult" or "frustrating", but in my reading of this, it really is more severe than that. It isn't about public shaming, but personal, individual feelings here.]
Fuudo: "If you had lost, we wouldn't be here drinking alcohol and streaming. We drink because we are strong. As someone close to this, I have complicated feelings and it is hard to see the fun in it."
Daigo: "When I won, I thought that I could keep playing fighting games. Had I lost, I think Tokido would have thought that." [Translator note: I'm not as clear what the second half is here that Daigo is talking about it - this is my inference. He literally says "Had I lost, I thought Tokido".]
Fuudo: "There's a real story behind having that kind of performance now."
Daigo: "First to 10 is the final kind of doubling down. You have time to prepare, and there are many matches, and at this time he is very strong in this kind of match. He won EVO, he got second at Capcom Cup, and if he had won the first to 10 it would have signaled a major change."
- In the past few years the only ones who have had a chance to become the best are Momochi and Tokido [Translator's Note: They are talking about a reference to a manga Usogui and strong characters trying to surpass each other. I haven't read it though. This won't be as nuanced as from someone who knows that background. I don't know what 屋形様 is in this context.]
Daigo: "Usually with that combination, if I have one or months to prepare I can do a first to 10."
Fuudo: "Even with the loss to MenaRD, this battle between you and Tokido was different."
Daigo: "We didn't have any money on the line, this had no relationship to the Capcom Pro Tour, it was just like an extended battle at the arcade. When I saw how Tokido was so shocked at his loss, I thought `This is what fighting game players are about.` It is all about putting your pride on the line."
4 Daigo's thoughts about Tokido
- Daigo felt like he was being tested by Tokido. If he lost, Tokido would think that is because he was still inexperienced in the past and that is why he idolized Daigo. There was a time when he could not deny Daigo in the past.
Diago: "Tokido has achieved amazing things, and Infiltration is a story from the past… I'm sure people have been saying things like that to him. I haven't seen it myself though. I don't think he should be bound up by his illusions of Daigo from the past. I think he's very strong, and should have confidence in himself and his play. But I think maybe he can't get past that. He's idolizing the past. I was wrong back then, I think… Maybe I'm just imagining it all, but I think that maybe he had a conflict about whether he could play with confidence going forward. That's what I've felt about it."
Daigo: "Tokido and everyone else says that it was just a match, but I think he came to test himself. What was `that`? Was I just imagining `that`? Is how I felt. Like he though `Back then I was still inexperienced, and people just thought that I was very strong.` or something. I think he was testing me. If Tokido won he would have felt like `I was just inexperienced then. I was really behind held back by that. ah, thank you Daigo!`" and that would have been the end. I didn't want people to think it was like that. If you are going to try to deny something, you should do it immediately but you have that memory so you aren't able to get past it."
Fuudo: "His denial gauge is really full. Maybe."
Daigo: "I think that he can do a bit more denial, it would be good if he could deny a bit more. I think that's important. Like back when Infiltration was at his peak, I think he thought he could do it, and of course he was a bit anxious about it. I also wanted to test myself. I wanted to see if I could beat Tokido since he has grown so much."
Diago: "(What I wanted to test about myself) was how much gratitude I have for fighting games. Even if one is anxious oneself, lots of things accumulate into experience. Like those times when I should walk forward for a throw, even though I'm worried about it my hand moves on its own and decides that I should go in for a throw here. If you lose, you doubt your plan and play, and whether I should try to reformulate things from the start all over again, or if this gameplan is good."
5 His thoughts on Tokido crying
Daigo: "I was so happy that he had put so much on the line. I thought he's really going to get a lot of fans because of this. (laughs). He said that `I wanted to at least beat him in the game`, but for me if I didn't have fighting games I would hate my life. I know that's what he thinks, but if you look at it from the rest of the world's point of view, I bet people think he's the better one."
6 Kemonomichi makes people stronger
- Daigo thinks that Kotaka Shyouten is the strongest Guile player. Kemonomichi has grown his reputation that much.
Daigo: "That is how Guile should be. A jumping Guile is not Guile at all. I don't mean to completely deny jumps. I think T-Hawk should scream `paa paa paa` a bunch. Jumping is fine, but some characters should do it and some shouldn't. I think it is important for SF2 Guile not to jump. You really want to jump in the DJ matchup. He was able to use backfist to shave off the air slashes. You lose your charge when you backfist, so that is part of the challenge. Jumping is like getting a missed dragon punch punish. Backfist is mid-level risk. The gambles that you need to take within the rules are exquisite."
Daigo: "(In Kemonomichi) You have to take the limiter off of your heart. You need to take the chance of your life. You usually think that `this is good enough` but here you need to take it one step further than that."
7 Daigo prepared for this knowing it will tank his chances at the CPT opener at Final Round
8 Tekken 7 and SFV are "Games and Money". It was a risky match for Tanukana.
Daigo: "I'd like to send both a `thank you` and `I'm sorry` beam to Tanukana. SF2 doesn't have a pro scene, so I thought we would be able to do this easily. Standing doesn't matter, there are no sponsors involved, so it doesn't impact those things. Tekken and SFV are battles of (political) power. For our second round, the battles are about games and money. There's no way YuuYuu isn't getting offers after that. If nothing else she should get an offer from the Big Banana industry."
Daigo: "And of course Tanukana understood. YuuYuu was like a condemned prisoner. I felt that she is the strongest woman across all games in the world. She wouldn't even have to go all out. It wouldn't be strange at all if she declined when she heard that her opponent would be YuuYuu. If we hadn't told the story about how Tanukana has been chasing YuuYuu, people who don't know much about Tekken would be safely assuming that Tanukana's the strongest. She said that she would do it because she can't run from who she is as Tanukana the person, and will take on that risk."
Fuudo: "She wanted to put out that doubt within herself that YuuYuu was stronger. Beat her in the game and she wouldn't need anything else." [Translator's note: I'm not sure about this.]
9 There are no plans for the next Kemonomichi
10 You are under a lot of pressure when you go on Kemonomichi
Daigo: "Tokido came at it with that much passion, so the bar has really been raised." Daigo: "We're starting to brand a bit as having long sets. People who are good at long sets. I think there are lots of people who want to do that." Daigo: "People who stray onto the beast's path don't like their lives. As people, they've felt the sting of life. You realize you're alive after it's over. You can't sleep when you lose. I don't think Tokido will sleep. " Fuudo: "Next time I see him, I'm sure I'll smile. I'm excited about the next TOPANGA stream." Daigo: "If I had lost on Kemonomichi, I'd be so depressed I wouldn't be able to sleep." Fuudo: "Even if you win I don't think you should do a retrospective. " Daigo: "I just can't concentrate anymore. Games are for fun, so you get some of the thrill when you play them. Kemonomichi is about playing games with a murderous intent. Tokido thought `I think I'm stronger than him` and when he said that, I saw that murderous intent switch on inside him. "