Japan SBO report: the PAL version

Japan Super Battle Opera report: the PAL version

Im writing this on request and in retrospect about a month after coming back to France, so please forgive me if I forget anything. Feel free to ask questions if theres anything you want me to dwell on and Ill do my best. Also, I have a copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker waiting for me on my shelf so dont pay attention to the grammar mistakes -English isnt my mother tongue. Keep in mind that this is just my view of SBO, someone else mightve seen things differently. Besides, I must warn you that this is way too long, so if you dont like reading, too bad. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ill focus specifically on 3s since omni and Choi already described CvS2 and the actual SBO tournament in great detail.

We finally arrived in Tokyo on March 14, Friday around lunch-time after a 12-hour flight: we stopped for about an hour in Moscow, damn I had no idea how fine Russian chicks really were, but anyway. Our group consisted of the 3s team Europe that is to say Fabien (whom I made fun of during the trip because he was sick), [3rd] Wael and me- and three other French players who didnt qualify: [3rd]Walid, [3rd]MBarreck, Vas. Too bad none of the SC2 players made it because I really think they had a shot at winning.

At Narita airport Wael tells me were supposed to meet Kuni-san on the 3rd floor so we go there and try to look for him. None of us can speak Japanese nor has been to Japan before. Robert speaks Japanese but hes taking the next flight and will arrive a few hours after us. Luckily we had an idea of what Kuni looks like from B5/Evo/NCubed pictures so we figured it shouldnt be too hard. We search for him for 30 minutes but no Kuni. At this point were all really tired so we ask Wael to call him on his cell phone. He says Kuni just told him he was waiting on the 3rd floor, exit A. We look for exit A but alas, theres no exit A. Ugh. Fabien and I are sitting near the main exit when I see a Japanese guy whose face looks familiar, so we get up. He notices us and smiles, and instantly I realize this must be Kuni. And indeed it was. Apparently Wael misunderstood because he was waiting on the 1st floor. We apologize to Kuni, but I dont really blame him because foreign accents make it hard to communicate, especially on the phone. Im relieved though because Kuni is a great guy and his English is excellent.

We take the train to Takadanobaba together and leave our luggage at the hotel before looking for a place to have lunch. Kuni seems to know the area very well and takes us to a western-style restaurant that was a little expensive but the food was very good. Kuni and I talk a lot about Japan and Street Fighter but its a bit harder for him to talk with the others because they dont like speaking English as much, Especially Fabien who, being Peruvian, can speak Spanish fluently but cant understand a word of English except fuck blame those English guys he met at the Absolution2K2 tournament last year (ahemchunkisahem).

Kuni takes us to a small arcade in Takadanobaba where people are mostly playing ST and ISS, but no 3s. Theres an A3 machine so Kuni plays it a bit with some of the guys while I try GGXX (against the CPU, bah). The machines are all double cabinets set up face-to-face with great sticks and buttons, they seem completely new. Arcades in France arent nearly as good except for the La Tete Dans Les Nuages centers, but those are so expensive. Therefore, Japan owns.

We take the subway to Shinjuku (only 2 stops from our hotel, w00t) where we immediately head for the 5th floor of the famous More Amusement Center. Its actually a lot smaller than youd think, but they have just about every good fighting game and theyre all 50 yen. Damn. GGXX was extremely popular and they had 3 or 4 cabinets. A3 on the other hand seemed to dying, very few people seemed interested in the only machine they had. There were also 3 CvS2 and 2 3s cabinets. Its not that much when you think about it, but the level of competition is scary.

We head toward the 3s machines and take turns, losing a lot to a very good Yun player (whose name I still dont know, but you can see his picture here: http://game-newton.co.jp/3rd_rankingbattle/3rd_6_0104ran.html). He was extremely technical and had Genei setups I had never seen before (he would do a lot of UOHs into low short setups, and his follow-ups to the command grab seemed to do a lot of damage, but I cant remember what he was doing exactly). His dive kicks were also very confusing because it was always hard to tell whether theyd cross up or not. I also noticed he wasnt running away at all, he was actually playing a bit like Mester, pure rushdown. I was having a lot of trouble with the sticks and some timings but I blamed it on fatigue.

On the other machine an Oro player was doing well, but he clearly wasnt as good as the Yun player. His main strategy was to run away until his Tengu Stone meter was full, land the EX combo or chip a lot of your life with the regular version of the super, repeat x n. Most Oros in Japan would do the exact same thing or use the meter for unblockable snottball setups. Those are tricky because even when they dont cross you up, its hard to avoid jumping out of it because they use his anti-air fireball to push you back. Oro is really hard to catch for some characters and is apparently considered #7 in Japan now according to the SBO program. Hes a bitch.

At this point K.O arrives and watches how we play. Naturally its my turn to play and Im a bit nervous because this is the best player in the world whos watching me play. =/

I picked Alex and did pretty well though, with a couple of nice red parries (my opponent was being a bit careless and did the shoulder charge after the chain a bit too much). But I still lost and it was K.Os turn now. He picks Yang (sa2) and loses as well. He seems a bit pissed off and picks Yun, then proceeds to completely annihilates his opponent. I think everyone knows the way K.O plays, but its really different when you really watch him play. His hands are insanely fast (he double taps every button press for perfect execution, and since he uses Genei you can guess how tiring it must be, KSK told me most good Japanese players do that) and hes so competitive that he actually looks mean while playing. Also, hes always at the arcade and watches the way everyone plays. No wonder hes one step ahead of everyone else.

At this point we should really go to bed, but Kuni-san informed us that theres a 2-on-2 tournament at Beat-Tribe, an arcade specialized in VF4 and 3s. Apparently many good players are going to this tourney to see how we play, but some of the guys are nowhere to be found. Wael decides to wait for them and tells us hell meet us at Beat-Tribe, so Fabien, Kuni and I go.

Its now around 6 and the subway is so packed! Its a long way from Shinjuku to Beat-Tribe (or at least it seemed long) and I want to sleep badly but I cant. Fabien can play for days without sleep but Lled78 is right, sleep > BK. We finally arrive there and I must say that Beat-Tribe is a great arcade, perhaps my favorite in Tokyo. The 3s machines (all 3 of them) are in excellent condition and the staff is very friendly. Onanism is taking sign-ups for the tournament (it only costs 100 yen!!!) and Kuni introduces him to us and we try to chat a bit. He is very cool and humble, and when I mentioned the Shirube tournament in which he landed that crazy Aegis combo on Match he called him and started joking and doing the combo in real life. I was surprised, because every Japanese player Ive talked to mentioned Onanism as the best Urien in Japan, not Tokido. Onanism did tell us that Tokido was excellent though.

Match (whos wearing a business suit) is playing Beatmania as a warm up, and hes crazy good. Lots of people are watching him get perfects on that and Fabien and I are like wtf this dude is a machine. He then starts playing KOF2K2 and does really cool combos with Kula. Pure skill. He plays some casual 3s and after beating a Ken player who was probably his friend, he starts yelling: Shinnnneeeeeiiiiii! We laugh and understand that Japanese 3s players are very friendly and open-minded, not what we expected at all.

In casual play we played YSBs Hugo a lot, and it was great. Hes very offensive and doesnt parry much at all. His rushdown Hugo is surprisingly effective because he pokes very well and places deadly claps. He also uses Hammer Frenzy and uses it on wake-up whenever someone tries to pressure him (he checks the animation frames first), so the only way to beat him is to have solid footsies. He makes Hugo look like a very good character.

Lots of other good players entered the 2-on-2, including Yukino, Chemuru, K.O, Nitto, Spellmaster J, Joe, Xiao, Raoh, Boss, AFM, Meta, 178, J, YSB, Hayao and probably lots of others I forgot. Kuni teams up with Match and we have to play them in the first round. Uh-oh. Fabien beats Kunis Alex but loses against Match, so its my turn now. I decided to try Yun this time. He kara-throws the hell outta me in the first round, but in the second round I manage to land a damaging Genei-Jin combo on him. Apparently pissed off, he rushes me down pretty bad after that so I lose. I was a bit annoyed not because I lost, but because I was still having problems with the sticks and the timings. The stick holes are not square-shaped but circle-shaped, so if youre not used to it you may think youre blocking low when youre really just crouching there, etc. Fabien adapts a bit faster because hes not as stick-dependant and can play on any stick (jap, US, custom).

Meta noticed our problems and asked Kuni to translate something. He asked if we were having problems with the sticks and we said yes, but explained that the sticks were fine and we just needed to adapt. Meta was the first Japanese player to come talk to us, he was really nice. His Chun-Li is very impressive and his style is rather offensive. He plays nothing like what you can see on the SBO finals, I think hes the best Chun-Li I saw in Japan with Raohs. We watched the rest of the tournament and it was fucking amazing to see such great players go at it. There were basically no scrubs, all the players were very good. I forgot who won the tourney but I remember the Hugo team (Hayao/YSB) doing very well and K.O losing in the finals or semis -If I remember right, he was a one-man team lol. After the tournament Kuni tells us we can stay all night to play in the arcade for free if we want, so obviously we say yes. I think Onanism was the most successful player that night, he only lost a few games and was even doing well against K.O. Sometimes Fabien and I would get beaten down pretty bad (by different characters), and every time it happened wed have a quick look to see who was playing on the other side. Turns out it was always Boss. That guy is truly scary, the best competitor Ive ever seen. He never gives up and rushes down all the time, not just with Yang but with just about every character in the game. Whoever said the Japanese single-character tournament style limits their knowledge is completely wrong, they usually know a lot of characters but just stick to their best in tournaments.

We played a lot that night, Fabien did pretty well with Makoto (he even beat K.O). I had to resort to Ken or Chun-Li to win because those guys were just too good. One thing I noticed is that many of them (esp. Match) throw you a couple of times, then parry low (which is usually a good strategy, because most players tend to option select a crouching tech). Most of their offensive setups revolved around forcing you to tech throw, then hit you with some high-damage combo. And most of the time, it worked. The top players in Japan were all very offensive, while the mid-tier players seemed mostly defensive. They knew all their counters very well, but I think that the things that make them better than western players are: 1) their ability to adapt within the first actions of a match 2) their execution and patience 3) their knowledge of footsies and distances. There are so many things you cant see in their videos. If you think you can hang with them, think again. The only way to become as good as them is to compete everyday in their environment.

Later that night some players went out to buy huge packs of beer and everyone got hella drunk. Yukino could barely stand up but she could still do things like standing strong into Houyokusen with Chun. Did I mention she was hot? She spent the rest of the night sleeping on a puzzle game machine and it was really tempting. But then again, there were about 30 Japanese guys thinking the same thing in the same room as us, so maybe not. J

They set up a team tournament with everyone there (4 teams of about 7/8 players). Fabien and I were on the same team and I think our team did well. When it was someones turn to play theyd scream their nickname, which was fun. I never thought Id end up in a room with crazy Japanese guys screaming BirryKane! BirryKane! That night I saw Nitto do 4 kara-palms in a row on someone. Toward the end of the night Spellmaster J and some other guy were so drunk they got rid of their clothes and played in underwear. Crazy.

I fell asleep a bit after that and Kuni woke me up a couple of hours later when the arcade was closing. We helped cleaning a bit and went back to the hotel to sleep. Wael and the others were waiting there, they couldnt find the arcade or something, I cant remember. Fabien and I told them the Japanese were crazy and went to bed.

Several hours later there was a tournament at Game-Newton so we all got up and went there with Kuni. I started feeling sick that day, I think I caught a cold because I was too tired. Luckily Kuni took 3 of us by car this time, which was really cool of him. The others took the train. Game-newton is a really cool arcade specialized in 3s, they have lots of machines and the league rankings are always on the wall (1st: K.O, 2nd: 178, 3rd: Match, 4rth: KSK). I played an Alex in casual play and I was winning my fair share of matches before Fabien came and told me I was playing KSK. I was very surprised because I was doing pretty well against him (although Alex vs. Ken is tough, I must admit). But somehow I didnt feel as helpless as when I was playing other top players the night before, especially since I didnt know it was him. Thats probably also because Alex is a tricky character but not very consistent, at least thats how I see him.

Matsuda and KSK are taking sign-ups for the ranking battle: I decide to use Chun-Li because of my aforementioned weakness on the sticks. I played Dirty (Oro) first round and lost because I missed a crucial link toward the end of the match. Single elimination is really hard to get used to, but I like this system. The others didnt play well either in this tournament, but honestly the Japanese were better. I think Dirty placed 3rd, Hayao (Hugo) 2nd and K.O 1st. I couldnt find the results on the G-N site. Im pretty sure Hugo is getting higher in the tier rankings over there, several players are doing well with him and I saw Hayao perfect K.O during the Beat-Tribe tournament.

In casual play after the tournament we played Hayao and saw him do crazy things. He was getting 30-win streaks with Hugo and his Gigas setups were crazy. Hed use Gigas as an anti-air with no buffering involved. At one point he had no life left against Georgia (best Ryu in Japan) so when Ryu tried to chip him to death with a Shinkuu he started parrying that shit. Georgia then tried to mess up his timing by dashing and low short so Hayao stopped parrying after the 3rd or 4rth hit of the Shinkuu and BOOM, Gigased through his low short. Uproar in Game-Newton. In the same situation against Waels Urien, he did another cool trick: Wael tried to chip him with Shoulder Charge into Aegis Reflector, but Hayao grabbed him out of the Charge with a Gigas Breaker. No parry, no buffering. Hed do psychic DPs all the time. Every deep jumping would be punished with a parry, Moonsault Press/Gigas. One time against me he pushed me toward the corner, then did LP clap, MP clap (which connected), walk up Gigas. This is such a cool trick because I was blocking expecting the 3rd comboed clap (they never miss it) and because I was well ahead in life. Note I said was, because it didnt last long, hehe. He was perhaps the most flashy players we saw in Japan, even though Wael and I got quite a few wins against him with Ken and Urien. His Hugo is so amazing Kuni told us the other players nicknamed him Shin-Hugo. Shame we didnt catch that shit on tape though.

That night was also free-play all-night, just like the previous day at Beat-Tribe. I was finally started to get used to the sticks that night so I started doing well (won against 178, K.O and J). Raoh was cleaning house on another machine. I only played him once, but I got rocked. He quickly noticed that I was generally blocking low on wake-up and connected UOH into standing roundhouse XX Houyokusen on me. He got like a 20-win streak before K.O took him off the machine. Later that night the others asked K.O if he practiced on Dreamcast and he said no, whenever he does he usually tries to get the highest grade possible but he tries to avoid it, since the DC version runs at a different speed and some timings are off. This explained a lot of the problems I had since I practiced a lot on the DC version before going to Japan. I never played either version intensely enough to notice anything but a slight speed difference, but playing against top players with near perfect timings made me realize the difference was bigger than I thought.

That night was great but I noticed the Makoto players werent doing very well, and she didnt seem to be a popular character in Japan anymore. From previous tourney vids I was expecting Mak madness but they really werent doing anything I hadnt seen before. The Necros were very solid overall, they were perfecting lots of players. Something theyd do a lot if you were a tad bit late in your rushdown was back short (into Jab Hook I think) on wake-up since it only takes 4 frames to come out. They were all using Electric Snake by the way.

On Sunday there was a 3-on-3 tournament in Shinjuku-Sportsland, about 10 minutes from MORE by foot. The previous night Bob Painter arrived from San Diego so we got to meet and talk a bit at lunch that day. He seemed like a really cool guy but we didnt have much to say, him being an American ST player and I being a French 3s player and all. We ate in a very cool curry place but their curry was so spicy I couldnt finish it (and I love curry!). We met up with RobertP, a good French Makoto player who spends a lot of time in Japan. When we arrived in Sportsland it was really crowded and we noticed almost all the top players were there. There were 3 machines on free play but it was so crowded none of us got to play before the tournament. We just signed up two teams and silly me played with Ken. We got a bye first round. As usual, we played one of the favorites very early: Meta/Joe/Onanism. I so didnt want to face a Chun-Li, and of course Meta played first.

Fabien did pretty well against him and even won a round, but once Meta got his meter full he suddenly became really hard to beat. I was next and performed rather poorly. I know how to play Chun-Li and I managed to get a few sweeps here and there, as well as low forwards into supers, but it was almost impossible to get in against Meta, he was zoning too well. I was also unhappy with the stick we played on, but thats not the reason I lost, Meta was better than me. Robert played next and I cant remember how he did, but he lost as well. I didnt see how the other team did but I heard they lost very badly.

Thats when I saw my friend Keisuke in the crowd! Keisuke is a Japanese Dudley player who was studying in London last year and played in the UK team at the UK vs. France event. Hes the don (you can see his pic here, hes the guy who got second: http://game-newton.co.jp/3rd_rankingbattle/3rd_6_0405ran.html). We talked a lot and he told me he had to work the current week, so he couldnt meet up with us earlier. He also said he was a good friend of 178, Hayao and YSB, which I didnt know. Im not sure whether Keisuke tried to qualify for SBO or not but I think he mightve been able to because he was doing well in casual play.

At this point the arcade is too crowded so Fabien and I decide to go to MORE where the credits are cheaper (Sportsland is 100 yen). Theres almost no one there so we get to practice a lot against random Japanese players and notice the level of play in Japan isnt uniform at all. Japan does have scrubs, its just that their scrubs know a bit more about the game than ours (which is kinda logical, since they get to play top players all the time). We started getting win streaks when we saw Daigo enter the arcade. Like the rumors say, he seemed very shy. If you look at him, hell usually notice it but wont look at you, as if he felt a bit embarrassed. He only played GGXX and CvS2 that day, so I didnt get to play him. I watched him play CvS2 and he was attacking a lot, almost as much as Nuki. Daigo is not a turtle. I also watched him play BAS for some very intense games. The arcade closes at midnight to we caught the last train and had dinner in some cheap Teryaki (sp?) place.

I cant remember what we did on Monday, although Im pretty sure we went shopping in Akihabara for most of the day. I bought a couple of games while the others got camcorders and MP3s. We looked for the 3s frame data guide in a specialized store (they had a whole floor dedicated only to game guides) but we couldnt find it anywhere. Kuni was very nice and let us borrow his instead. After that we probably went to MORE to get some practice for SBO. TK was there wrecking shop with his great Q so I played him a lot. He was using sa3 at first, but after I beat him with Yun he switched to sa2 and suddenly it started becoming really difficult to beat him. He is the best parrier Ive ever seen, hed literally parry everything! Sometimes youd reserve your process of thought so that he couldnt parry you, and hed still do it. His parries werent random at all though, he seemed to know all the characters really well and all his parries would lead into fierce punitions. It was really exciting to play against him. The arcade closed (at midnight they just shut down all the machines at MORE, whether youre playing or not) so we went back to the hotel to get some sleep. Unfortunately the others didnt feel like sleeping, so I think I got at most 5 hours of sleep that night. Looking back, 6 hours wasnt so bad, the following nights I got even less.

The next day most of the Cali players arrived. We went to MORE where we met pyrolee and paulee. Valle was playing A3 and having some trouble winning, which I blame on fatigue and Japanese sticks. We played a few 3s games and the level seemed rather similar, although paulee was having problems with the sticks (I cant even begin to imagine how hard the transition from US sticks to Jap sticks must be). Pyrolee told me there was an arcade with similar sticks in his area so that might be while he seemed to be doing a bit better. Fabien and I went back to Takadanobaba around 12 where we met the ST players who I think were having a few drinks in the American bar. I talked with Jason Cole a bit and he was super cool, totally not like the image I got from his posts online lol. Stay like that man, youre the man. Crossover seemed also very nice and level-headed, though I cant remember what we talked about. We stopped at a convenient store and I got to meet S-Kill, whos a really cool guy. I think we talked a bit about the war or something, and this guy seemed really smart and strong-opinionated, just like on the forums. We went back to the hotel after that. Since the US players arrived we all had to sleep in the same room from now on, so 3 of us had to sleep on the ground. I agreed to sleep on the ground, but I really shouldnt have since I felt more sick when I woke up the next day. Oh well.

I cant remember what we did on Wednesday. Probably went to MORE and played a lot. People were glancing at me in the subway. Maybe they thought I had SARS or something. Bah. Fabien and I came back late to the hotel to find paulee playing with the other guys on DC. The others later told me he got banged up in 3s, but he told me he hated the MAS stick he was playing on so it wasnt really fair. As a revenge, he got a perfect on Vas in MvC2 (which I witnessed). Haha, the French really do suck at Marvel.

On Thursday Game-Newton was running a special Pre-Tougeki tournament and we were told we would play against Team USA there, so we all went. G-N was really crowded this time, lots of good players showed up just to play foreign players. They even had an extra cabinet and they had a US stick for the Americans, although there was no USA vs Europe event as we originally thought there would be. It was probably just a misunderstanding. The tournament started very quickly and it was pretty much a catastrophe for western players (http://game-newton.co.jp/taikai/3rd_0320_pretougeki.html). I played Pierre first round and did okay in the first round, then got perfected in the second. I got caught in a series of unblockables I had never seen before. Pierre uses nothing but unblockables, the rest of the time hes trying to keep you at a safe distance. Hes really good though, he was getting 30-win streaks after the tournaments against players like KSK, K.O, Ino Later that night I got a good win on him and KSK said nice. :stuck_out_tongue:

Robert didnt do too badly in the first round, he got his opponent (a solid Ken player) into Karakusa in the corner and all the Japanese were cheering for him which really surprised me. Unfortunately he missed the combo after that and lost. For the record, Robert usually plays on a joypad.

The only other western player who did ok was Fabien, who beat ID (who I think entered just for the hell of it, I dont think he plays 3s) then beat a Makoto player who had defeated Match in the first round. He eventually lost to Ueno, the winner of the tournament whose team also won SBO. Cole beat a guy with a Japanese name, but he was really a white Chun-Li player who sucked. :stuck_out_tongue:

Boss was very impressive in this tournament, he used Ken and his Ken seemed almost better than his Yang. I asked him (with Onanisms help) why he was using Ken and he said something among the lines of Im keeping Yang for SBO. He beat K.O, who seemed very pissed, before losing to Ueno in the finals. After the tournament he proceeded to beat the hell out of everyone with Yang. Another player who was doing great was Spellmaster J, who Kuni described as the best Ken player in Japan. He was constantly rushing down and his dashes seemed so fast. Sometimes hed do low short X 2, dash, and catch you with low shorts into supers before youd get the time to react.

KSK was also very good, he seemed much better than in casual play. He had very nice tick throw setups and would sometimes trick you into throwing, then stampede your ass. I talked to him a bit and he told me he thought the best characters in 3s were Chun-Li and Yun. I got 2 Cooperation Cup DVDs from him, one for me and one for my mate TheHY whos in London. The level of play was great in this pre-tougeki tournament, it seemed even better than at SBO. I hope they put some videos up on the game-newton website because the matches were great, Im glad we caught a few on tape. :slight_smile:

On Friday I was feeling so sick I had to stay home for most of the day while the others went to visit Asakusa. I got up around 4pm and went to MORE to play a bit, but I was way too tired so I left early. I walked around Shinjuku to get some pictures, ate at McDonalds, then went back to the hotel and watched tv for the rest of the afternoon. I took the train with paulee and dash (who were obviously drunk :)), tragic and ID were also there. We went back to the hotel and found out some of the guys switched rooms so we tried to look for tragics room, to no avail. He eventually decided to go to the super-packed room and I went to bed. Tragic was like one of the nicest guys Ive ever met, it was really cool to meet you.

Saturday was the first day of the SBO tournament, but apparently the others werent willing to enter the qualifications so no one went. I felt bad for Robert who really wanted to enter but heh. I spent the whole day at MORE while Fabien went to Akihabara to buy some extra tapes for his camcorder. Pyrolee was there when I arrived and we talked quite a lot, hes a cool guy I hope to meet again someday. We saw a Yun player named OJA perform kara-palms on just about every characters. Hed do them every time hed get the chance, and almost never missed. Ive only seen a couple of players who could do that in Japan (Nitto, Mester and him, really). At one point a white guy came up to me and started to talk to me in English. He asked if he knew me because he thought we met in the same arcade one year earlier. Obviously it wasnt me since this was my first time in Japan, but we got to talk a lot. His name was David and was looking for a guy named Julien or Julian, probably a ST player. He had been teaching English in Japan for a couple of years so he had lots of things to say, he even asked me if I thought a girl who was playing A3 was married, I said probably not, so he actually talked to her and asked her out. The girl seemed happy, so I guess he was right! David (Mr. Dhalsim), if youre reading this, dont worry, Im going to email you soon, sorry Ive been busy.

I also saw Keisuke that night, we talked for about an hour about Japan and he explained to me how he thought K.O was very proud and chivalrous. And indeed K.O seemed a lot like a loner. He also told me that 178s team got through the qualifiers that day, and that according to the SBO program we would play against them first round in the tournament. He also said 178 told him to send us his regards so I did the same. 178 is a gentleman, no wonder he plays Dudley.

Pyrolee recognized his friend Kyosuke who went to NCubed in December in the crowd. Masagi was also there. We all went to eat together and Kyosuke offered to pay, he was extremely nice. His English is very good so we talked a bit about languages and he taught me some Japanese. After dinner he offered to take us to another arcade but since pyrolee was supposed to meet up with the rest of the American players at MORE, we all went back to the arcade. Kyosuke introduced us to some great players like Motto and TK. Motto plays 12 and hes really good, he was getting 20 win streaks on good players at MORE. Its really hard to catch him when hes running away, and he pokes so well. I noticed he doesnt really use supers, but he tends to pick sa1 and use a lot of EX moves. He didnt perform too well at SBO but hes actually much better than that, I think he was just nervous.

TK was also very cool, always smiling. He had a pins that said Fuck Off on his jacket, so pyrolee pointed to it and we all laughed. Pyrolee and I, being both white Yun players, had been discussing about kara-palms the previous days so we decided to ask TK if he knew the definite method to perform them. Unfortunately Im guessing the kara-palm is called something else in Japanese. So it was hilarious to see us doing kara-palms with our arms in real life to try to explain what we were talking about. TK said he didnt really know (he doesnt play Yun after all) so Kyosuke went to look for someone who knew. He asked Motto and other friends who didnt seem to know, then asked just about every 3s player in the arcade. Surprisingly enough, no one really seemed to know. So we suggested asking K.O. Kyosuke seemed a bit hesitant at first (K.O does look mean) but he was real nice and called him. He introduced us to him and asked him about to perform the elusive kara-palm. K.O seemed particularly shy but he was actually nice, I think he just doesnt like to talk much. He showed us his way to do it on another cabinet and we thanked him. The arcade was almost closing by then, so we went back to the hotel and slept.

The others decided to be really dumb that night, so we didnt get to sleep until 6am. On Sunday we all woke up at 9am and started freaking out because we were so late and no one had set up the alarm. I was upset because they didnt let us sleep and Fabien and I were really sick, so the ambiance wasnt too good even within the team. We rushed to the subway station and went to SBO, which was really far from the hotel. When we got there we met up with Robert and talked with Kuni-san. He was annoyed because we arrived so late, which I can perfectly understand. I decided to say nothing since I was mad at some of the others. In the end Kuni said he still trusted Fabien and I and gave Wael and us VIP passes for the tournament. We were lucky because the tournament hadnt started yet because some of the machines werent working well. When we arrived GGXX wasnt finished yet so there wasnt any casual play before the actual tournament.

SBO was huge! I wasnt expecting anything this big, there were so many spectators and most of the matches were broadcasted on the projectors and they even had a place to buy snacks! Ino was right when he said SBO was a show, thats exactly what it was. For the first few rounds they had 4 double cabinets set up on a small scene. Kuni said we would play the first match, so we were getting ready. As Keisuke said, we played 178s team and he decided to go first. We decided to put Fabien first because he doesnt take pressure too well, and hes a bit of a joker: on a good day he can even hang with the Japanese, but on a bad day hes very bad. He picked Ken and lost pretty fast, I think he over-attacked and got tricked by Dudleys wake-up options. I was up next and I played Yun. I really liked the stick we played on at SBO so I was able to do most of my setups, so my game wasnt too bad. I tried to take advantage of Dudleys weakness to long-range low pokes -low forward- and it seemed to work pretty well. I knew hed be blocking my Genei Jin combos so I went for command throws all the time, and I was very careful on wake-up because I knew how deadly overhead into super was. I won the third round pretty easily. My next opponent was a Ken player (I dont know his nickname) who seemed pretty good. I expected him to go for the fake throw setups the other top players would do so I played a bit too conservative and lost. He wasnt nearly as good as Spellmaster J though. Wael was anchor and used Urien against that Ken player. He won the first round easily before doing very well in the second round and getting his opponent to no life. The Ken player did a fierce DP on wake-up and Wael blocked the first hit but got hit by the two others. He later confirmed he didnt try to red-parry but missed that because of the stick. After that, the Ken player did an EX fireball which Wael countered with an EX Aegis into Shoulder Tackle. Unfortunately the Tackle arrived before the fireball and stopped RIGHT in front of the opponent, who just DPed and won. So close. In the third round Wael didnt play well and lost, so we were eliminated. Ironically, the third player on their team was the Yun player we played on the first day, and Im confident that we couldve won that one. Oh well, its not like wed have gotten very far anyway.

Team USA was next and they played Mottos team (Elena/12/Chun). The Elena player beat Valle, then paulee beat him with Chun. Motto was next, and he seemed very nervous because he missed the last parry on Houyokusen twice. The match was close but paulee landed a couple of Houyokusen to win the match. He then lost to the Chun player whom pyrolee beat pretty easily. Congrats Team USA.

We saw a lot of good games after that, but because of the setup we also missed a lot. We didnt get to see Tokido play, but Match played really well in the first round and beat the entire opposing team. I wish Id seen the second round match where their team lost. Boss Yang was also very impressive in the first round. At one point K.O did a secret cross-up on Chun-Li that Im keeping to myself. :slight_smile:

In another good match-up, Nitto beat a Yun player, then lost to Raoh. Raoh lost to Yukino in a very intense Chun vs Chun game. Yukino against Daigo was a great match, and there was really not much he could do to break her defense. The way he played was a bit weird because he was just standing there and poking her. He almost never dashed. But when she got her super he couldnt really poke anymore, so he lost. Thus the favorites lost first round

Team USA vs. Ikones Fight Club was also a good match-up, pyrolee was so close to beating them! After that game there was a long pause because they were having the semis/finals in the afternoon. We went to grab something to eat and slept a bit, then they started the final phase for all the games. ST was great, Daigo made a great comeback and his team won in the end. GGXX was Millia and Bridget madness, while VF4 seemed dominated by Goh and Lei-Fei. In the first 3s semi-finals Spellmaster J defeated the other team easily despite having to restart the final match once because of sound problems on the machine. In the second semi-final Izu beat everyone and K.O missed a lot of stuff. This was a bit surprising because Izu wasnt playing too well in the previous round. It looked like some of the players were nervous. The finals were great, with Izu rushing down everyone with Makoto, almost everything he did connected. But its great to see a tournament won by a character that isnt Yun/Chun/Ken. Thus ended SBO. We waited a bit for Kuni-san and the American players, but they were probably already at the CvS2 tournament so we just went to the hotel and got some sleep.

Monday was our last day in Japan so Fabien and I spent the whole day at MORE. In the elevator we met BAS and talked a bit with him, he seemed really cool and his English is really good. I had previously heard from Jimmy-v-ryu (Swiss A3 player) that he was a nice guy so this confirms what he said. It was packed with good players. KSK, Match, YSB, Hayao, Xiao, Ino, happy, TK, K.O They were all there. Mester was also there but he didnt seem to play. He looked a bit funny. I dont think he understand English at all, because when I asked him if it was ok to take a picture of him he couldnt understand. I still took the pic though. :slight_smile:

We played and improved a lot that day, by the end of the trip we were completely used to the sticks. Sometimes it looked like the Japanese were surprised by the fact that we were aware of some tricks (e.g. kara DPs). We did surprisingly well that day, perhaps we were getting used to their style, I dont really know. I admire the way they play, their best players dont take many risks but they are still very offensive, Im now convinced this is the way to win in 3s (except with Chun). At the end of the day I was getting win-streaks and Mester decided to play me. This was great because he was the one who inspired me to play Yun in the first place. I was really surprised because I won more than I lost against him (I used Yun/Ken and he used Yun/Yang). But he didnt seem to be as strong as K.O or Nitto, to be entirely honest. I was still playing him when we left. I asked KSK if we could take a picture with all of them and he said sure. After that we went to the subway station together and KSK told me he was very interested in coming to a tournament in Europe someday. We exchanged emails and said goodbye. If you ever meet KSK, dont be afraid to talk to him because hes a really nice guy and understands English very well.

We went back to the hotel and slept. On Tuesday morning Kuni woke us up and informed us there was an Arcadia photographer downstairs. When we got downstairs he was taking pictures of the American players. We took a few pictures outside with the American group before heading back to our room. We packed our stuff very quickly and went to the airport by train. We got lost on our way but still got there in time. We caught the plane and left, goodbye Japan, hello Moscow hehe. I slept for days when I got back to Paris, and now when I think about it, it seems like a dream. Japan was a great experience for me and its definitely worth visiting just for the level of competition.

I must say big thanks to Kuni-san because you helped us so much during this trip and made it possible for us to enter the tournament in the first place. We owe you one, hope you can make it to a Euro tourney one of this days. A spot for next years SBO would be great too, I promise there wont be any problems this time! :slight_smile:

Much thanks to Team Japan for running the show. Thanks to all the Japanese players weve met for treating us with respect and being very nice all the time. See you all soon hopefully.

Sup to the American playas who were there, hope to meet you all again soon, it was great and exciting to interact with players from overseas, especially paulee and pyrolee who are very cool guys and good 3s players.

Thank YOU for reading.


P.S.: I hate the 240-minute between posts rule. It took me like 15 minutes just to post that shit. :frowning:

very good post, thanks for writing it up.

Derek Daniels

nice post, but what is the kara palms thing? the genei combo w/ multiple kara’s?

Thanks a LOT for that post, excellent reading. Made me remember a lot about my Japan trip. So THAT’s who was kicking my ass in Game Newton with Hugo. i remember playing him three times, losing absurdly and just leaving the arcade. I was like LOL this guy’s obviously way above my level. Drunk Paul Lee is too good.


Nice read billy :slight_smile: interesting stuff.

You shoulda taken a chance with Yukino though :evil: heheh!

post of pic of yukinO~!

Yo billykane thanks for taking the time to write this, i really enjoyed reading this >=). Its encouraging to know the Japanese like to chill and act a fool sometimes, It would have been bomb getting full with Onanisim and Match i bet. Glad you had a good time.

Heh heh. Sleep > Western players. It must be the Japanese players’ secret weapon! Nice post BK. You win the longest post award so far. Enjoy Zelda.

Too bad you didn’t get a pic of Yukino sleeping on the puzzle game for all those Yukino fan boys out there :lame: :lol: I bet someone’s already made a Yukino fan site by now already :stuck_out_tongue:

So what exactly was KO’s method for doing the kara palms anyways? Are you gonna release a video of this l33t cross up you saw?:smiley:

Thank you for the the descriptive journal of SBO and Japan. We really appreciated it. It makes me feel as though I was there with you.

Lled78: I don’t want to take credit for the cross-up trick so no, I won’t make a video. It’s pretty easy to figure out and I’m sure it’ll be on the SBO DVD anyway. :slight_smile:

I think pyrolee recently covered the kara-palm stuff in the Yun section of the 3s forum. The way K.O showed us was pretty much how I was doing it before*, so it seems it’s almost all timing and execution, no real trick. =/

*strong [buffer qcb], kara-cancel into short, kara-cancel into jab (+release negative edge strong)

DAVID: np. Yes, that’s exactly how they perform the double tap motion. Unfortunately I can’t post the SBO footage I got because they’re making a DVD. One of us taped most of the matches of our team (only Fabien’s match is missing) but the quality isn’t very good. I’ll see if I can get him to encode them if they don’t make it on the DVD.

Hey Billy how about slipin some of those sbo matches my way :wink:

hehe i can identify with the russian chicks hot statement since im from ukraine :slight_smile:

Excellent post(s) BillyKane I really enjoyed reading what you had to say. Plus it’s good to hear the 3S end of things. :smiley: Thank you for taking the time to write this out.

After reading this I’m convinced that Japan is the 3S Holy Land. :lol:

BTW See anything worth noting concerning Q while over there? If so please do share! :slight_smile:

Oh God I’d pay top dollar for a picture of Yukino sleeping on a puzzle game cabinet.

Give me a couple more days and I should have the Yukino fan-site up and running. :stuck_out_tongue: j/k


Great stuff BillyKane, again thanks for posting all that up.

Take care and enjoy Wind Waker! :slight_smile:

Yeah, i remember that. Man did i have a good time that night. Take care BillyKane and Peace Out!!