July 13, 2018

Capcom supports SFV as an eSports game in Japan

A note on word choice: I used the word "eSports" here a lot. People have strong feels about that word. I don't mind it so much, and I could just as happily write "popularizing fighting games" or something. I certainly don't think eSports means you need to wear a suit, I think you generally should always be respectful of people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation, but eSports probably does have more of a monetary aspect in it than the grass roots does.

I've noticed lately that Capcom Japan has been doing some good things to support SFV as an eSports vehicle. A lot of people are concerned that any eSports activity around fighting games should keep in mind the grassroots origins of the Fighting Game Community, and I agree that is important. I do think there is space for a variety of content around Fighting Games, and while I love the Open Tournament format, I also see room for other kinds of events and entertainment. I'll write a bit about some of what Capcom has been doing, which is decidedly on the eSports side of things, but I still think is good for fighting games, and the community at large.

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June 25, 2018

Yoshimoto Gaming BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle tournament

The tournament is Single elimination, First to Two, random stage. Loser can change characters.

VOD up on youtube, with top 8 beginning from 3:19:50. Teddy Bui had a great comment with the players and timestamps, which I used to put this together.

Koji KOG (Waldstein / Tager) was in the tournament, but lost just before Top 8. I always loved Koji KOG's T.Hawk, and I love that he's got the big body team in this game.

The commentary team says that all the people in top 8 are well known, but with my Street Fighter background, I don't recognize the names. :-( Before the top 8 everyone introduced themselves. Lots of people from the Kanto (Tokyo) area. Kubo is from Nagoya. Dojidoji says that he has enjoyed this game so much he only gets 3 hours of sleep a night. I was hoping they would talk about the rules for this top 8.

Before the finals

Top 8:


  • 5 Taro (Yu/Tager)
  • 5 Minami (Ruby/Es)
  • 5 ROW (Ruby/Carmine)
  • 5 Dojidoji Otoko (Yu/Hyde)
  • 4 Ho-Chan (Ruby/Jin)
  • 3 Makkoi 8-sei (Ruby/Gordeau)
  • 2 Senaru (Waldstein/Vatista)
  • 1 kubo (Hyde/Ruby)

Kubo received a Yoshimoto Gaming jersey (which he is obligated to wear at EVO - the website had some interesting information about the conditions, and that was one of them) and financial support to go to EVO. Kubo says that he plays other games as well, and will continue to play BBTAG and other games. Ozawa from Arc System Works gave a little speech afterwards too, and said that Kubo was very active in the Cross beta test period, thanking him for that. He says that the DLC released on the 19th was cleared to use at EVO, and thanks everyone for coming today.

The tournament was at Akihabara eSports Square, and Kagecchi helped organize it. I don't think he gets enough recognition outside Japan for the work that he does for the scene - he puts on the weekly Fighter's Crossver -Akihabara- locals, and often organizes other events, like the USF4 side tournament at 2018 EVO Japan. Please thank your local TO and go to your local tournaments!

June 23, 2018

Interview with Itabashi Zangief: You can't win just by "being good".

This interview is from entrenet.jp. Published on 2018-06-22. I could not find an attribution to the interviewer, but if you know who it is, please let me know and I'll update this post.

I'm an unabashed Itabashi Zangief fan, so I really enjoyed reading and translating this. I'm not a professional translator, and I take some liberties here, but I think the feel of the article comes across. The original article is formatted a bit better, but this gets the information across just fine.

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June 12, 2018

Sako and Ryuusei join FAV Gaming, and we talk to them about it

Sako and Ryuusei have joined FAV Gaming to start their fighting games division. This famitsu article has an interview with them, and I thought it would be fun to translate it.

Just a little bit of background information on G'z Brain: they are a publishin / web site / marking / consulting company that is most well known for publishing the Famitsu gaming magazine, and are part of the larger Kadokawa publishing family of businesses.

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May 27, 2018

About Japan's RAGE Street Fighter V All★Star League powered by Capcom

RAGE is running an "All Star" League for Street Fighter V in Japan this year. This post will talk a bit about what RAGE is, provide information in English about the event, and include links to streams. I'll keep the post updated with new information as I see it. Many of the source links will be in Japanese, but I'll note when there is an English link.

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May 13, 2018

2018 June and July Fighting Game Events

Previous: 2018 April and May Tokyo FGC Events | 2018 August and September Tokyo FGC Events

Seems like I've gotten into the habit of tracking FGC offline events in the Tokyo area. This isn't a comprehensive list, but feel free to contact me if you want me to add anything.

Very generally:

  • On Tuesdays there is often a DBFZ event run by Jiyuna and MajinObama at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map
  • On Wednesdays SFV (Fighter's Crossover Akihabara – FCA is the event name) at Akihabara ESports Square (the place, Map) starting from 7pm.
  • On Thursdays there is usually a SFV event at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map
  • On Friday there is usually a SFV event at Studio Sky (Map).
  • On Sunday there is usually a SFV event at Studio Sky (Map).
  • Shot Bar Lucy has different events on different days, and usually on Friday night is an all-night event featuring various games (Map).
  • The Plaza Capcom at Kichijoji (Map) has the Capcom eSPORTS Club which has free SFV setups, and often runs events.
  • Game Bar Cross-up in Umeda, Osaka (Map) usually does SFV on Tuesday, Guilty Gear and BlazBlue on Wednesday, and KOF14 on Thursday.
read more (4102 words)

May 2, 2018

Various things happening in Japan and Fighting Games

It is currently "Golden Week" in Japan - a time at the start of May when there are three to four National Holidays, so it is easy to take a day or two off and get a long vacation. All sorts of fun stuff happens during Golden Week, like it being almost impossible to get airline or shinkansen tickets, hotel reservations, or find any sort of place that isn't packed with people. In the Fighting Game community, a bunch of events are taking place (I track events I know about in a different blog post). I thought it would be useful to highlight a few of things that have been happening or will happen, and write a bit about them.

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Storm Kubo's post about Vietnam's Saigon Cup

Not too long after the Saigon Cup, Storum Kubo posted an entry on his blog about the trip. I thought it was fun, and have translated it. I am not a professional translator, just a regular old Street Fighter fan who has some familiarity with Japanese. I'll translate thinsg that I think are fun and put them here. I saw this and thought it was a very fun and funny look at Storm Kubo's trip to Vietnam, and helps you get an idea of his character a bit outside of the game. Original article on Storm Kubo's blog. Many thanks to Storm Kubo for giving me permission to do the translation.

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April 14, 2018

What was EVO Japan aiming for? We ask steering committee president Hameko.

I saw this article about the goal of EVO Japan on twitter, and was interested. I've never been to EVO, and I was super excited for the chance to attend and volunteer at EVO Japan. One of my goals was to have a good time, help foreign attendees navigate the event, and share my love of both fighting games and Japan. So I'm curious to hear what the actual steering committee was thinking about. The article was written by Sawatari Masashi and published on the Alienware Zone Japan site.

As always, this is a personal translation, I'm not a professional translator, and any mistakes or misrepresentations are entirely my own.

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April 6, 2018

The Garcia Girls visit Japan

1 Arrival, 2018-03-27, Tokyo

Sunrise Express

On Tuesday, March 25th our cousins, the Garcia Girls, came for a visit to Japan. We often stay at their parents' place in Washington state when we visit, so we are super excited to show their kids around Japan. Their flight was supposed to arrive at about 5pm, but it was delayed by an hour and didn't get in until 6pm. When I asked them for the reason of the delay, I was pretty surprised: they had been in the air for almost an hour, then turned around. The airline said that they let off a sick passenger before they got going again. I've never seen such a thing happen myself.

I was happy that I recognized the girls, and they seemed to know who I was, so there's that. We headed down to the train station and waited in line to change in the vouchers for the JR Rail Pass. Anyone coming to Japan to visit should at least look into getting a JR Rail Pass. For about the price of a round trip Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto you can get a ticket that lets you ride JR trains for free, even including the Shinkansen (except for the fastest service, "Nozomi" trains, which sadly are also the most frequent). It is an amazing deal, which probably explains why we had to wait for about an hour to exchange the voucher. Once we did though, we were able to go to the Narita express and they could ride that for free.

We met up with Lisa and Alan, and then had Ramen for dinner.

We had a busy evening planned, although that was, to some degree, an accident. I knew that they left on the 24th, and told Lisa that is when they would get here, but of course the flight lands a day after it arrives. Since we were going to travel with them, we thought it would be fun to make it unique, and also do some things that we would enjoy. Alan really loves trains, so we made a reservation on the Izumo Sunrise Express, which is an overnight sleeper car train. They have various classes of service, and we reserved four individual berths. Each berth was super tiny - I could only stand up in the doorway, the rest of the berth was the bed, and my shoulder could almost touch each wall when in bed. It was longer than I was though, for which I was grateful. Lisa and Alan slept together - and the mechanics to get that to work must have been pretty difficult. She said she didn't get much sleep with all his moving around.

The Sunrise Express does have a shower on it, but you have to pre-purchase tickets for the shower from a vending machine. By the time we had settled in the tickets were sold out. Too bad. I hear that the showers are only six minutes long, but I'm sure the girls would have appreciated a shower after the long flight from Seattle. Sadly, they didn't get one.

I changed into the Yukata provided with the berth, prepared for bed, and then laid down. It was a strange feeling, trying to sleep on a moving train. We stopped every once in a while, and I realized that, but I feel like I got some refreshing sleep all the same.

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March 24, 2018

Fighting Game Events in Tokyo, 2018 April and May

Previous: 2018 February and March Fighting game events in Tokyo | Next: 2018 June and July Fighting Game events in Tokyo

Seems like I've gotten into the habit of tracking FGC offline events in the Tokyo area. This isn't a comprehensive list, but feel free to contact me if you want me to add anything.

Very generally:

  • On Tuesdays there is often a DBFZ event run by Jiyuna and MajinObama at Red Bull Gaming Sphere, Map
  • On Wednesdays SFV (Fighter's Crossover Akihabara – FCA is the event name) at Akihabara ESports Square (the place, Map) starting from 7pm.
  • On Friday there is usually a SFV event at Studio Sky (Map).
  • On Sunday there is usually a SFV event at Studio Sky (Map).
  • Shot Bar Lucy has different events on different days, and usually on Friday night is an all-night event featuring various games (Map).
  • The Plaza Capcom at Kichijoji (Map) has the Capcom eSPORTS Club which has free SFV setups, and often runs events.
  • Game Bar Cross-up in Umeda, Osaka (Map) usually does SFV on Tuesday, Guilty Gear and BlazBlue on Wednesday, and KOF14 on Thursday.
read more (3185 words)

March 22, 2018

Talking to the "Pro Gamer Couple" Momochi and Chocoblanka about esports as a job and the severe reality of money

I saw an interesting article about Momochi and Chocoblanka. I decided to translate it into English. I'm just doing this on my own, and even (gasp!) hotlinking the images, so that might disappear at some point. Any mistakes are mine, please refer to the original article to see it formatted better.

read more (4230 words)

March 21, 2018

NHK's "The Style of Professional Work: New Jobs Special"

NHK New Jobs Special
NHK New Jobs Special
NHK New Jobs Special

NHK aired a special in their series on jobs about new types of jobs, with a focus on a YouTuber and Professional Gamers.

I'll summarize some interesting points for the Pro Gamer section, which featured Diago Umehara. The YouTube portion followed Hikakin, who I didn't know anything about. Interesting guy, but I don't think people reading this blog are interested in that as much as they are Daigo. ;-)


Person Comments
Arlieth Gettting hype in a crowd.
Verloren Billed as "Pro Gamer" and he explains that Daigo is a Legendary player
Tokido "Pro Gamer Kouhai" If Daigo didn't exist, there probably wouldn't be pros in Japan
Otani (I think) Talks with Diago about the Akuma/Guile matchup.
James Chen On commentary at CapCom Cup
UltraDavid On commentary at CapCom Cup
MenaRD Beating Daigo at CaoCom Cup
Momochi Winner of previous CapCom Cup, loses to Daigo in losers as Daigo goes to top 8
Moke Beats Daigo in top 8

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March 20, 2018

RAGE 2018 Spring New Generation Esports event

RAGE 2018 Spring New Generation Esports is a large gaming event held on March 21st in Makuhari Messe Hall 6 with a variety of tournaments attached to it. The main events are Street Fighter V, Shadowverse, and Splatoon 2. The venue opens at 9am, things start at 10am, and things should end by 8pm. The website says that entry is free and anyone can go and watch / support the players.

I think you can go to Makuhari Messe and check things out - there are Cosplay competitions and booths, and lots of other stuff going on there. You might also be interested in going to the special event at Akihabara E-sports Square (Map) from 1pm to 10pm where there will be casual setups to play SFV if you just want to play.

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March 18, 2018

P2G Gaming Event at Redbull Gaming Sphere Nakano

P2G Gaming Event at RedBull Gaming Sphere in Nakano
P2G Gaming Event at RedBull Gaming Sphere in Nakano
P2G Gaming Event at RedBull Gaming Sphere in Nakano
P2G Gaming Event at RedBull Gaming Sphere in Nakano
P2G Gaming Event at RedBull Gaming Sphere in Nakano

On Sunday, March 18th, Shinobism's Project Gaming Girls (P2G) held a multi-title gaming event at the RedBull Gaming Sphere in Nakano. This was a multi-title event, with Capcom's Street Fighter V, Nintendo's Splatoon2, Blizzard's Hearthstone, and Capcom's MVCI. The event was from 1pm to 5pm, with the various P2G members hosting activities for the games that they play.

First, what is P2G? P2G is a gaming team that Chocoblanka and Momochi started last year, and have expanded this year. They sponsor women specifically, but probably not in way that you would think typical of gaming teams. Here are some excerpts from the P2G page:

  • The goal of Project Gaming Girls is to increase the number of women that enjoy playing games and to create a community of women who love games.
  • It is difficult for women to entry existing gaming communities. There are not as many commonly accepted ways for women to start getting into games, and because there are few women they often stand out and can be subject to good or bad attention.
  • Games are for fun, and we would like to increase the number of women that enjoy playing games. We'll try to do what we can to help support that goal.
  • We want to support women who enjoy playing games.
  • We have two requests for the women we support: please continue to keep playing games, and interact in a positive and fun manner with people at offline events.


  • P2G supports all people who love games without regard to a person's particular skill at a game, aiming for all people who love games to continue to express the joy they feel gaming. [TL: Super loose translation!]

So P2G has as a goal expanding opportunities for women to get into gaming, and to continue doing it. I think that is a great goal, and I also think it is an obligation of every gamer to be friendly and welcoming to all people joining the community, and to treat everyone fairly and without bias.

This is the first event that I've been able to attend hosted by P2G – and it might be the first one they've held, since I've been following since the beginning and don't remember any other events.

The event was held at the new RedBull Gaming Sphere, which is a very nice space in Nakano. Admission was free, which is amazing if you think about it. Somehow P2G was able to organize support from a variety of sponsors. That explained the presence of Nissin, who also had a big hand in sponsoring EVO Japan 2018. There was pre-registation for the event, but there weren't so many people that it was overcrowded. The space was separated into stations by game.

  • 7 SFV setups
  • 8 Splatoon 2 setups with monitors
  • 8 Splatoon 2 setups just on free standing Switches.
  • A bunch of tablets for Hearthstone and Clash Royale, one or two of which were connected to larger monitors.
  • 1 lonely MVCI setup, alone, feeling a bit sad.
  • 1 "hidden" DBFZ setup in a room that nobody noticed except the cameraman who was in training mode for quite a while.

The staff was checking names to make sure you had registered, and they asked you whether you would be OK appearing on stream or not. If not, you got a red lanyard and a name tag to write your name on. If you didn't mind, you got a green lanyard. In Japan, people are very concerned with personal privacy. You often will have notices posted at events if there is streaming, and I like that hear that have a nice little solution with red/green colors to make it clear. None of my photos should show people with red badges, and I tried to choose pictures without many identifiable features for the non-P2G members (who I assume are ok with it, since they do media appearances - although thinking about it now, I should have asked).

Mostly during the event people played casual matches. I wandered around and looked at some of the other games. I've never played Splatoon, so that was interesting. I get lost in real life though, and 3-d games like that are tough for me. I would have to play that game with the map on all the time. It does look pretty fun though. I'm going to stick with 2-d games on single plane though.

Harumy is the SFV focused P2G member, and she was playing people on one of the setups. At some point, she called for people to take part in a 5-5 team battle, and we did that. The team battle mode in SFV is really pretty fun. We later did a tournament for a random 3-3 team battle, which was lots of fun too. The winner took home a case of Nissin spicy cup noodles.

The other sections had various tournaments and activities as well, but I spent most of my time in the SFV area, playing games and talking with people.

Near the end of the event, the P2G members held a group rock-paper-scissors competition to distribute various prizes. The event was lots of fun, and they announced that they plan to hold similar events in other locations across Japan. That is another interesting point - right now, Tokyo and to some degree Osaka (thanks to Cyclops esports basement) are the only two hotbeds of SFV activity. I'm not as aware of other scenes, but it is really nice to see things happen outside of the two major population areas.

Keep your eyes out for P2G members, and give them some support if you can!

March 17, 2018

Capcom eSPORTS CLUB in Plaza Capcom Kichijoji

Plaza Capcom in Kichijoji
Plaza Capcom in Kichijoji
What is Capcom eSports club?
How to use Capcom eSPORTS CLUB
Ryu, Ken, and Bison at Plaza Capcom in Kichijoji

Capcom recently opened the "eSPORTS CLUB" (their capitalization, not mine) in their Plaza Capcom arcade in Kichijoji. It is an interesting place, and surprising to me in that it is completely free. They have two head to head setups, and I think eight side by side setups. It isn't the largest space, but each station uses a PS4 Pro, there are a lot of nice Street Fighter character images, and they provide sticks (Hori RAP 4s) and headphones (don't remember) for your use. All for free. There are a variety of places in the Tokyo area that you can go to and play Streetfighter, but none of them are free.

In March, I noticed that Capcom started running tournaments ("Ranking Battles") on Saturday there. By chance my family is out travelling on Saturday, so I took the chance to go out to Kichijoji - a but outside of Tokyo proper, an hour away from where I live anyway, and check it out. I thought it might be useful to write a bit about how to make use of the Capcom eSPORTS CLUB for any English speakers that might be interested.

First, you need to get there. That probably means taking the Chuo line out of Shinjuku (about 17 minutes) but Google should be able to tell you how to get there. Leaving the station walk through the nice shopping district, which has some covered streets which would make going there in the rain pretty convenient. The Plaza Capcom arcade is located in the basement of the Loft building. You can't miss the eSPORTS CLUB, it is a closed off area with a bunch of life size Street Fighter character cutouts standing around, and some big monitors showing what is happening on the main setup.

Once you are there, you need to register for a member's card. If you are looking at the entrance to the area, to the right there is a counter that should have a capcom employee there. Tell them that you want to register, or maybe just say something like "Street Fighter" and point over there. They will bring out a sign-up sheet and ask for your gamertag. No government needed. Sign up with that, and if you want to borrow a stick, let them know (they are visible from the counter). They will have you sign up on another sheet for that. They should also give you a business card sized member's card with a number on it that you can use when you come back. When you are playing in the area you have to wear the lanyard they give you (so they know you registered or checked in with the desk I guess) but that is it. Head over to the setups and look for one that is open. The setups are all First to Two, winner stays on when it is busy, but if nobody is waiting feel free to keep on playing.

If there is a tournament that day - and they will also host player-run tournaments on weekday evenings I'm told - talk to the person running the tournament to register. In my case on Saturday at about 3:30pm there was a capcom employee near the entrance with a sign-up sheet for the tournament, I signed up, and they passed me a ticket with a number on it. Later on, once sign-ups were closed, they called out the numbers and we pulled a piece of paper to determine seeding order in the tournament. They wrote the seeding information down on two dry erase brackets (pretty cool actually) and then started calling out matches.

Competition was very good - I knew of Raya (Diago's student), and Trashbox (a good Birdie), and everyone else there was better than me at any rate.

If you have the time, check out the Capcom eSports Club. Personally, I prefer one of the various weeklies - particularly Fighter's Crossover Akihabara - where there is a bar and I can get something to drink while I lose, but this was a lot of fun too.

March 14, 2018

A short post-Kemonomichi interview with Tokido

The Chigesoku blog (Japanese) took some notes from an interview with Tokido from 3 days after the Kemonomicni FT10. The video is from the Living The Game people - Living the Game is a documentary (in Japanese) that primarily follows Momochi, Chocoblanka, Daigo, Luffy, and GamerBee with brief appearances by many others in the FGC. I actually watched it in the theater last night, and really enjoyed it. The majority of the interview is about Tokido's thoughts on the movie, but there is a bit about Daigo as well. Here is an English version of the notes from the Chigesoku blog.

Check out the Living the Game trailer if, for nothing else, the Mike Ross Capcom Cup intro.

read more (715 words)

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"

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.

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March 11, 2018

My brief appearance on AbemaTV's Agenai! Friday

I was invited to Agenai! Friday
Production booth for AbemaTV Agenai! Friday.
Kindevu, Utahiroba Jun, FuguTabetai
AbemaTV Agenai! Friday group shot Agenai Friday

Friday, March 9th, I was invited to appear on "Agenai! Friday" (Episode 7), a show on AbemaTV. What is AbemaTV? It is a live streaming service that adopts the model of TV, and streams content on various channels at a specific time. You can also access their backlog of shows for free. I like their "Ultra Games" channel, which has various video game content. If you haven't tried AbemaTV before, check it out - there are many channels, and they have a lot of original content. They also have lots of Anime. It is all in Japanese, so that might be problematic, but some of the gaming stuff is understandable.

One of the shows that I like is called "Agenai! Friday", which is a show about games generally, but often has people playing in a contenst using Street Fighter V. They will do different events for different games, but often will have amateur challengers play against their competitors. The times I've watched, they have had Itabashi Zangief and Tachikawa as their professional players, and also Kuramochi Yuka on the show. If you don't know who Kuramochi is, I first heard about her at EVO Japan. She was a reporter for the Japanese stream, and interviewed some of the players and attendees there. I didn't realize that she is a glamour model until I followed her on twitter, and the pictures she posts pretty quickly makes it clear that she works in the glamour industry in Japan. She does play video games, and has a good R. Mika, so I assume she is on the show because of that, and to give a bit of beauty appeal to the audience.

I started watching Agenai Friday when I heard that Itabashi Zangief is on it - he's a player that I really like and have followed for a long time. How does the show work? Usually it opens with some general introduction - the MC is another Japanese Talent, Kendo Kobayashi, who chats a bit with the others on the panel. They might talk about a new game for a bit, but in the second half they introduce the challengers who will play their stable of pro players. If the challenger wins, they get a cash prize - usually about $2000 USD (200,000 Japanese yen, I'll just use USD with 100yen/dollar). If the challenger does not win, that goes into the prize pot, up to a maximum of $10,000. So that is a pretty nice prize! The Street Fighter V set is best of 5 games, so the first person to win three games.

I've watched the show a few times, and some of the challengers have been people that I recognize or know from the weekly Street Fighter event called Fighter's Crossover Akihabara (FCA from here on). I usually go every week, if I can make it. Last week, I was approached by a Mr. U., who asked if I would like to be on the show. We talked for a bit, and I told him that I wasn't very good at the game - I'm ok, generally a Gold/Platinum level Zangief, but in Season 3 I'm trying to play other characters. He thought it would be interesting though, so I agreed. This is likely a case where I'll be playing the role of "hey look, a foreigner who can speak Japanese!" but that is fine. I really like the fighting game community, and one of the things I would like to do is make it easier for English speakers to learn about the Tokyo Fighting Game Community (FGC from here on) scene. So I'm happy to go on a show and talk about whatever, but maybe I can get a few words in about how great the FGC is, and also talk about how anyone - old, young, good at the game or not - can join in, have fun, and make friends.

So the next week on Friday I showed up to the Abema (actually Openrec) offices, and met with the other people on the show. Usually there are two challengers, but this time there were four. Hidemichi, who is also a regular at FCA, Kindevu, a well-known strong FGC player who isn't a pro (yet?), myself, and Utahiroba Jun, who is a rock star - the bassist for the group Golden Bomber. He is a big Street Fighter V fan (and very good) and apparently wanted to be on the show.

We heard about how things were set up, how the show would go, and then headed over to the studio. The place was smaller than I would have thought (never having ever seen a studio of any kind before) and got ready. We set up our controllers, played a game or two, and then stood on our marks and waited for the show to start. Us four challengers lined up, we had these white boards that we wrote our name/tag, age, and occupation on, and Kendo asked or commented on each of us. Then they transistioned the show into the competition segment.

Since Hidemichi was on the previous weeks' show, he was up first, and the rest of us drew lots for order. Utahiroba Jun was first (and he was super happy about it!) Kindevu was 3rd (and he was super sad about it!) and I was second, and didn't particularly mind either way. I really want to see Kindevu go back on the show because he could potentially win it. I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell, although I'm pretty confident that I could win a set against Kuramochi.

While Hidemichi got ready for his set - the competitors also draw lots, and he was to face off against Kuramochi first - the other three of us went back into the production room to watch. Hidemichi lost the first game, but came back to win the next three, and then face off against Tachikawa. It was lots of fun watching back in the production room, and the place went nuts when Kuramochi won the first game. After that, Tachikawa was randomly chosen as the next player. Hidemichi got one game on him, but in the end Tachikawa won.

Utahiroba Jun was up next. Usually the challengers just play individually, but Jun asked if he could bring Kindevu out as support. Kindevu is a well-known strong player, and Jun knows him. He was really happy to meet him, and the whole time we were waiting Jun and Kindevu were talking technical aspects of the game, points on different matchups, things Jun should look out for if he played Itabashi or Tachikawa. I've been playing SFV since it came out, and I follow the tech and frame advantage / disadvantage, but as an old (and old-school) player, I don't pay as much attention to that stuff as I should. I prefer to play a few matched online instead of spending time in training mode (I usually get about 2 or 3 hours a week to play games) so I'm not the right guy to talk to about those technical aspects of the game. Kindevu and Jun definitely are though. So Jun asked if he could get Kindevu to come out as support, and the production team thought that was a great idea. Mostly, I think, because Kindevu's name in Japanese means "Golden Fatty" and Jun is a member of the "Golden Bombers" rock group. That makes for a fun gag on a show like this.

For some reason, they then thought that I should go out too, so I did. First up was Kuramochi, again drawn by random lot. She was not happy to face Jun, because he's very good and in a previous event they had played each other and he totally demolished her. Jun didn't show any mercy this time either, and his Ken ran pretty roughshod over Kuramochi's Mika (who still is better than average). Normally, after the loss the MC would have the other competitors draw lots to see who Jun would play next, but since Itabashi Zangief hasn't played in a while (Tachikawa keeps getting randomly selected) Kendo sent out Itabashi. Jun was really getting hype, and I could really tell that he is used to the Japanese "Talent" style of playing along with the MC / other guests on panel shows. He was talking up his game, he called out Tachikawa for being a rude young kid earlier when he won his matches, and just generally brought a lot of energy to the studio. He played well, and got a few rounds, generally keeping things competitive against Itabashi's Abigail. In between rounds he would reach out and rub Kindevu's belly (because he looks a bit like a fat Buddha golden statue, and rubbing their bellies gives you good luck) and once or twice rubbed my bald head. For luck. He's a real showman.

The show is only an hour long, and the show ended before their set did. We played out the remainder of the set and that will probably show up somewhere eventually. Overall it was really a lot of fun, it was super exciting to cheer Jun on, and just seeing how these shows work was interesting. One of the taglines on this show is that people who are watching the show could come on the show and compete for the prize money. One of the things I enjoy most about the FGC is that it was born from the arcade culture, where all you need to play is a quarter and you can play anyone on the machine regardless of level. All sorts of people can be a part of the FGC, and while we might not all be great players, we can all have fun. In actuality, I think it is very rare for someone to actually beat the show's pros in a first to three set, but I love that they open that opportunity up to people - myself, or a fan from a rock band, or a regular at the weekly local (Hidemichi) or a well-known strong unsponsored player.

If you are interested in fighting games, I think they are a very accessible type of video game to watch. The big health bar at the top of the screen goes down, and the winner is the one who has some health left. That is pretty easy to understand, even if you don't know what is happening on screen. If you are watching shows like this, and think it looks fun, try to go to a local event near you. Most local scenes are happy to see new people and help them get better.

February 18, 2018

Daigo's Panel on Money and Games in Japan

Today, Daigo streamed a panel discussion about Money and Games. It was super interesting. I just wanted to watch for my own purposes, but I took a few notes, so I guess I'll put them out there. Some disclaimers: I'm just a guy living in Japan, and Japanese is my second language. So I might be wrong on stuff! These are really just my own notes which I took for fun, and I'm not a great writer or analyst so what you see is what you get. I skipped a bunch of stuff, but took some notes on comments I found interesting.

My TLDR version of the steam was:

  • JeSU (the Japanese eSports Union) that licenses pro players didn't do great outreach to the community when they launched. They do seem to be moving in the right direction, listening, and are willing to work with the community to help improve things. I'm optimistic. My preference would be to change the morality laws to just get around the main issues (not collecting fees from participants for pot money) but even if that happened I can see how a body like JeSU still might be useful.
  • I think that it is possible, under this new system, to have open tournaments that anyone can enter and still have a pot. It sounds like that would work by granting a pro license to the winner on the spot.
  • I'm still concerned that because of this system, we will see many more invitationals in Japan instead of large open tournaments, but time will tell.

Who are the people at the round table? Players:

  • Daigo
  • Foo~do
  • Nemo
  • Daikoku
  • Raya (a young player that Daigo is teaching). This is what the "info card" for him said: "A young SFV player. He didn't come up by his strength, but in an audition with one of Umehara's projects. He is the one that made Umehara stop wearing Crocs. He's here not to give his opinion as a competitor but as a member of the community." That said, I've seen him at the weeklies, and he's good.

Community members:

  • Nyanshi, the director of Topanga. Very involved in large scale tournaments, he ran the SFV side of things at EVO Japan 2018.
  • Kagecchi, he organizes the weekly SFV event "Fighter's Crossover Akihabara" at Akihabara Esports Square.
  • Hameko, Chairman of EVO Japan, does lot of commentary, etc.
  • Nishitani Akira (NIN) - designer of Street Fighter II
  • Hamamura Hirokazu, former editor of weekly Famitsu, current President of Enterbrain. Represented the new JeSU esports organization that issues pro sports licenses in Japan.
  • Akahoshi, a well-known Zangief player from SF4 who now works behind the scenes at Yubiken
  • Gama no Abura, a well-known commentator. He was also wearing a Button Mashers shirt, so he might be involved in that. Button Mashers run the logistics for some of the larger and better-run events (IMHO). He also is involved in the orerevo series of events.
  • Umezaki, wasn't listed on Daigo's tweet about the panel, but he runs Detonation Gaming, one of the top level gaming teams in Japan. He was the first to sign a foreign player on an "Athlete Visa".

Also, check out The Sentimental Typhoon's (a Japanese FGC member) translation of the What is the definition of eSports portion of the round table.

My complete notes follow.

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