July 26, 2018
Why would a 5th grade girl enter a Pro Gaming team? We ask her what she thinks about it.
Fugu here. I thought this was an interesting article, so I decided to translate it. The US equivalent school year might be either 5th or 6th grade. All errors are mine, I'm not a professional translator, constructive criticism is welcome. In interviews like these, the interviewer will often directly address the intervee by name, I might drop that to make for a more natural sounding interview at times. If I use "you", it will generally be ths subject of the interview, Honoka-san, unless it is clear from previous context. Please see the source article at inside-games.jp for a much nicer formatted version with nice pictures.
Momochi (left), Honoka-san (middle), Touru-san (right)
The Kacho-Fugetsu1 team started operation in March of 2018. It is a pro gaming team started by Shinobism2, who also started a Street Fighter V team at the same time called Fudoh. Kacho-Fugestu is a Splatoon2 girls gaming team, and has been operating for about four months.
本日より忍ism発足 スプラトゥーン2 女性ゲーミングチーム 花鳥風月星組に所属させていただきます。— KF*S｜ほのか (@srhh0628) July 13, 2018
Kacho-fugestu announced that they will create a new "star group", and add a streamer to their lineup, and announced, of all things, that the fifth grade girl Honoka-san @srhh0628 will join them.
We editors at Inside-games were very interested in all sort of questions, like "How does a fifth grade girl come to join a pro gaming team?", "What rank are you?", "What kind of person are you?", and so on, so we asked Mr. Momochi as the Shinobism representative, and the manager of the Kacho-Fugetsu team Ms. Tooru, Honoka-san herself, and both of her parents to join us for an interview.
We asked her parents what they think of gaming and this situation, how she will join Kacho-Fugestu activities, and many other things.
――Thank you very much for joining us today. Since this is her first interview, I would like to ask about what kind of person you are. First off, what was the first gaming console you played with?
Honoka-san: Hello, I'm Honoka from the Kacho-Fugestu Star Group. I'm pleased to meet you. The first gaming console I played on was a Wii.
Momochi: I feel a big generation gap here. (laughs).
Honoka-san: The games I played were "New Super Mario Brothers Wii" and "Mario Kart Wii".
Momochi: That's not so different from me. The first game I played was "Super Mario Brothers" on the Famicom3
Tooru: I also started with "Doctor Mario". Wow, Mario really gets around.
――The first Splatoon came out on the Wii U, did you play it from then?
Honoka-san: I started playing when the beta came out. I got my rank up to S+.4
――So now you play Splatoon2. What is your favorite weapon, stage, and game mode?
Honoka-san: I really like the Inkbrush Nouveau but I usually use Slosher weapons. I like the Kelp Dome stage, and the Turf War game mode.
Tooru: She plays multiple weapons, and will change based on the stage and the game mode.
――What do you like about the Inkbrush Nouveau?
Honoka-san: I like that you can run really fast.
Momochi: In Clam Blitz, there are people that only just run around. But when I'm on the offensive, my trigger finger gets sore. (laughs). I use the Octobrush, but in fighting games you almost never pound on the trigger button repeatedly, so I'm not used to it.
――What do you like about the Slosher weapons?
Honoka-san: The arcs are really strong. You can hit enemies on the other side of a wall with it.
――Do you ever plan Splatoon2 with your friends at school?
Honoka-san: We do! Everyone has a Switch so we'll get together online and play. Sometimes in private matches we'll play "Girls vs. Boys". We don't really use voice chat though.
――Incidentally, what rank are you at?
Honoka-san: My rank is All-X.
Momochi: Are you the best player at your school?
Honoka-san: Maybe …?
Momochi: That's impressive. I also was trying to get to X rank, and tried for it in June, but I hit my limit at S+4.
Tooru: I only ever got up to S+0! Momochi, you started after I did and already passed me by!
――I bet when you are that good, your friends ask you to teach them.
Honoka-san: My friends who just recently bought Splatoon2 ask me to teach them. When that happens, I'll go over to their house and teach them.
――Are there things that you do specifically to get better?
Honoka-san: I don't really practice aiming very much. I go back and watch the videos of matches that I lost, and think about what I could have done to win those matches. I also go on "walks", or investigate myself how far a bomb can go or things like that.
Momochi: You really are a gamer, aren't you?
――So you really don't like to lose, right?
Honoka-san: It's so frustrating, sometimes I've even cried about it.
Momochi: When you lose, your rank also goes down, and since it is a team battle, even if you perform well yourself, you might still lose sometimes. It can be very frustrating.
――How much do you play every day? I think you must play a lot…
Honoka-san: On weekdays, usually about two hours, on days off, around four.
Tooru: Is that because of a promise you made to your parents?
Honoka-san: No, it isn't that, I decided for myself.
――I thought you would have played more than that. Is it possible to get up to X rank by playing two hours a day, and sometimes four hours a day?
Tooru: No, no, I think that is a really just her talent.
Momochi: If you think back to when you were a kid, you just couldn't stop after four hours. Being able to decide how long to play and have the willpower to do it is amazing I think.
Honoka-san: Also, I'll practice Kanji and do other homework while I'm waiting between matches.
Momochi: I think that is super funny!
――Multitasking… Amazing! Outside of play time, is there anything that you have promised to your parents?
Momochi: For example, "I'll do my homework every day" or something like that?
Honoka-san: I decided myself to do my school work, so my parent's haven't ever had to say anything like "Go and study now!" or anything. But, they did tell me that "You can play as much as you want, but don't give up halfway through". Because I decided to do it myself, they tell me that "You can't just give up because it is hard".
――Are there any subjects that you are particularly good at, or have trouble with?
Honoka-san: I'm good at math, and I'm bad at cooking and arts and crafts.
Tooru: I hear that she has very good grades at school.
Momochi: I think it's the case that kids that are good at studying are also able to become good at games. They way that you think, and how fast you are able to react to new situations really has an impact on game playing, and you can actually improve those things by playing games, so it can actually improve how well you are able to study as well. All over the world "games" have a bad reputation, but I don't think that is deserved.
――Do you play any games besides "Splatoon2"?
Honoka-san: I really like "Xenoblade". I play that a lot too.
Momochi: That's pretty hard core (laughs).
――Other than games, what do elementary school students do for fun these days?
Honoka-san: We play tag at that park, the boys will play card games outside of class.
Momochi: That at least hasn't changed very much from when I was a kid.
――Right now you are a streamer on YouTube, but what got you started with that?
Honoka-san: At first, my older sister said "I want to try that!" and she started, and then I got into it with her. At first we streamed together, but now my sister just watches me. (laughs).
Tooru: She's like, "you're too good, I can't keep up with you!"
――Have you also talked to your friends at school that you play with about being a streamer?
Honoka-san: Yes, I have.
――How did they respond? Did they say things like "wow!"
Honoka-san: A bunch of them said "that's really cool" and stuff.
――Do you enjoy streaming?
Honoka-san: It's really fun!
Momochi: For people of my generation, having an elementary school student stream would just be unthinkable. Does you father do the video editing?
Honoka-san: My dad does the video editing for me. I sit next to him, and tell him what are the important points while he edits.
Tooru: If you watch her videos, you will understand, but there is a lot of analysis text included. And, she uploads new stuff almost every day.
――It sounds like it's really tough work!
Honoka-san: It is a lot of work. But my dad also likes games, and I think that's why we can keep doing it.
――Does your father play with you sometimes?
Honoka-san: I'm the only one that plays "Splatoon2", but we did play the earlier game together. My dad would ask things like "Is this what I'm supposed to do here now?" and stuff like that while we played.
――This might be a difficult question but, when you stream on YouTube, sometimes people leave unreasonable comments, or say things that are hurtful. Do you worry about those things?
Honoka-san: Sometimes there are things like that, but it doesn't bother me at all.
Momochi: You're very strong. That's even tough for adults sometimes (laughs).
――Sometimes you will be on stream yourself, but aren't you worried about having your face broadcast on the internet?
Honoka-san: I'm not too worried about it. (I'm not on stream too much).
Parents: We are a little bit concerned about that, but at one point there was a bit of a kerfuffle when someone asked "Is she really an elementary school student?". At that time we were forced to show proof. She had worked so hard up to that point that we thought it would be a real shame if people wouldn't be able to see her videos any more.
――Do you ever have any interaction with the people that watch your videos?
Honoka-san: When there are people that watch the videos and say that they want to become friends, I usually accept the friend request. Also, usually for an hour each day I'll play games with the people that watch my videos.
Tooru: She really takes care of her fans.
――What is it that you think is fun about "Splatoon2"?
Honoka-san: No matter how strong your opponent is, if you try hard you can win! I really think that makes it fun.
――Thank you. I'd like to talk about "Kacho Fugetsu" now. Could you tell me again about the concept of your joining Kacho Fugestu?
Tooru: Previously, we ran a "Splatoon2 Business Competition" and one of the people that joined as a helper, Dosukoi☆Hanako (now a member of Kacho Fugestu, Flower team) said "I would really like to play Splatoon2 together with people where we can have lots of fun while playing, and if we lose we can commiserate together." When I heard that I started to talk with Momochi and Chocoblanka, and our current sponsors. I wanted to make a team that would focus not just on how strong a player is, but instead where people could support the attitude one has of playing games normally, the process of growth, and having a strong connection to the community.
――So the team is sponsored, but does that mean it is a Pro team?
Tooru: It isn't a Pro Team. Unlike "Street Fighter", there isn't a large scale world tour tournament supported by the publisher, and right now there aren't any regularly occuring e-Sports events other than the ones put on by the community. I don't think that the players on the "Kacho Fugetsu" team would call themselves pros either, so I want to get across the idea that we aren't going for that kind of thing.
On the other hand, the team is sponsored, and so people might ask "Are you a pro gamer?" To that I answer "We're active in this game, even though there is no officially recognized Pro Scene for it" and there might be people whose goal is to become sponsored and become a pro gamer. So we should act with such effort that it would be appropriate to be called pro players. That is what I tell our team members. In that way, more people will learn about us, and support our cause.
For example, if any of our members are tweeting on social networks about their dissatisfaction with the game, or put out offensive tweets, there's no way that people would want to support us, and companies would not want to sponsor us either. That's true no matter how good of a player that you are.
Of course, there is a certain limit to what you can do based on your rank, but before getting to that, I want to promote how we can show people having a good time playing games, and we can put forward positive things to the community through playing games.
Through playing games, you can show your respect to your opponent, and it doesn't matter whether you are a pro or an amateur, you show how every day through your matches how your connections and feelings get stronger and grow wider. Of course Momochi, but also all people connected to the gaming industry in Japan, and all the people in the various communities over all these years have continued to support each other and grow. It is specifically because of this environment that someone like Honoka-chan is able to exist, because of everything that has come before. I personally was able to see these "good points" of the gaming community because of the efforts of Momochi and Chocoblanka, and I want "Kacho Fugestu" to continue on this great tradition.
――It is very unusual for a fifth grader to join a business, did you reach out from Kacho Fugestu to Honoka-san?
Tooru: That's right. The player "Akutorion", who belongs to Kacho Fugetsu's Flower team, had watched her videos and sent Honoka-chan a DM at some point. That's where things started.
――Honoka-san, did you know about the Kacho Fugetsu team before that?
Honoka-san: Yes, I knew about them. I first heard about them in a comment on one of my videos.
――What did you think when they first reached out?
Honoka-san: I was really excited! I had really wanted to play "Splatoon2" with Kacho Fugetsu originally, so I had followed them on Twitter.
Tooru: I wanted our team to be one that anyone could support, so I was really happy that we could make this opportunity.
――I would like to ask your parents as well, what did you think when Honoka-san said that she wanted to join Kacho Fugetsu?
Parents: As a general rule, when our kids say that they want to do something, we say OK. We told her that if she wants to do it, that we would give her our full support. Of course, we first had to investigate what sort of company Shinobism is. We looked into the company representatives, and the players. They all looked very committed and serious so we thought things were ok.
――I'm jealous that you have parents that are so understanding
Momochi: That's right.
Tooru: Honoka-chan's grandfather also apparently records e-Sports TV shows and shows them to her. Her whole family really does their best to support her.
――I think all the other players on the team are older than you. Does that make you nervous?
Honoka-san: I do get nervous…
Tooru: I heard that all the other members of Kacho Fugetsu told her that they want her to use "chan" when she talks to them5, but she's so nervous that apparently she never does. (laughs). The team isn't very formal about structure, so I think they all just want her not to worry about it.
――Is there anything that you think you would like to try now that you have joined Kacho Fugetsu?
Honoka-san: I would like to join their regularly scheduled streams. I also want to go to a tournament.
Tooru: The Star Group is focused on streaming, so if you were to go to a tournament, I think it would have to be one where other elementary school kids could go as well.6 We would love to have you on the streaming program though!
――By the way, how do things work for pay?
Momochi: We had the pay over to her parents, and they decide how to use it. That's the same as what we do for the high school member of our Fudoh7 team.
――I think this is probably the first time you have money that you've made yourself, but is there anything that you want to buy with that money?
Honoka-san: Um, not particularly.
Parents: When a new game comes out, she'll say "I want this!", but other than that there isn't much that she wants.
――Is there anything that you would like to say to people that see your activity with Kacho Fugetsu, or your videos of "Splatoon2"?
Honoka-san: I want to let them know that "I won't give up until the very end!"
Parents: I think that's because children are especially likely to give up on things halfway through.
Momochi: I think you can really see that when you watch Honoka-chan play. Even when she's losing, she keeps on fighting to the very end.
――I don't think there is any difference between you and the other members of "Fudoh" or Kacho Fugetsu in terms of your mental preparation.
Momochi: I think she might even have more resolution than adults even. Our other high school members are also very serious about how they interact with games, and are determined to give back to us value for the support they get from Shinobism. Of course, they can't be negligent in their studies either. I think young kids now understand about the importance of that as well.
――So, we have to wrap things up pretty soon, but I would like to hear about what you are excited for now that you've joined Kacho Fugetsu.
Honoka-san: I really would like to join one of the live broadcasts that Kacho Fugetsu does some time. I also would really like to be on the MVP list of the Hyakketsu festival for Splatoon2 one day.8 Thank you for all your support!
――This is my final question. Please tell me what your dream for the future is. It doesn't have to be related to Splatoon2 or Kacho Fugetsu at all!
Honoka-san: I want to keep on streaming games on YouTube just like this!
――Thank you very much!
I was really curious about what kind of person a "Fifth grader who uploads videos and joins a gaming team" would be. After meeting her and talking with her, I found out that she is a very serious and gentle child. However, her determination is no different from an adult, and I was able to really feel the passion for "Splatoon2" hidden within her. Please look forward to seeing her activity in the future, and cheer her on as part of the "Kacho Fugetsu" team.
Kacho-Fugestu is literally the kanji for "Flower, Bird, Wind, Moon". Mr. BornFree has a great interview with Momochi where they talk about the meaning of the name. It is a phrase that means something like the beauty of nature, beautiful natural scenery. It has a positive imagery associated with it.
The company that Momochi and Chocoblanka started up to accelerate the FGC in Japan.
Translator note: I initially wrote "Nintendo Entertainment System" but I figure the audience around here knows that the Famicom is the Japanese version of the NES.
Translator note: I don't know much about Splatoon, and I definitely don't know the ranking system they have. It might differ from what is in America.
In Japanese there are typically honorifics attached to names. Usually people who are younger will use an honorific like "-san" for people who are older than them. The team wants her to call them by "-chan", which sounds very friendly and kind. The social structure really is quite rigid, and sometimes it can take a very long time for friends to drop or change the honorific used when talking.
Fudoh is the name of Shinobism's SFV team. They have some young players on the team that are still in high school.
I don't really know much about Splatoon, but it sounds like there are online festivals for the game, and one of them, the Hyakketsu, is a big online tournament or something. The best players are put up on a leaderboard of some kind. I just quickly checked out this splatoon2 wiki and that's basically what I understand from it.