Is anyone else just absolutely thrilled that Sako is playing E.Ryu? I think Ibuki has pretty much been explored more or less completely, insofar as the tools and technology which ultimately determine where a character falls on the tier list relative to the rest of the cast. On the other hand, I think it’s fairly safe to say that E.Ryu’s best-kept secrets remain as-of-yet undiscovered–and I *really *don’t think E.Ryu’s current placement on the tier list is anywhere near an accurate assessment of the character’s true potential. Whether he ultimately remains a low-tier character remains to be seen, obviously, but I think it’s fairly safe to say that we don’t have nearly enough information to classify him with any kind of certainty as the character is understood now.
Guys like Naruo have done a commendable job of basically inventing all of E.Ryu’s current technology and deserve all the credit in the world for what they’ve done for the character thus far, but if anyone out there has the capability of truly pushing E.Ryu to his absolute limits (in terms of what the mechanics of E.Ryu’s design will allow), it’s Sako. Maybe I’m setting myself up for the biggest disappointment in the history of anyone who’s ever played AE 2012 (other than maybe Juri mains who thought she was secret top-tier), but I feel like if Sako actually sticks with E.Ryu for the long haul, that it could very well be the most significant moment that completely revolutionizes the way we view a character since Poongko picked up Seth. Of course, now we all know that Vanilla Seth was an absolute monster, but very few people knew it at the time until Poongko stepped up and started putting Seth through the paces and showing at least a glimpse of the latent greatness the character possessed.
Maybe I’m completely wrong and E.Ryu won’t ever have that dramatic leap, but I remain cautiously optimistic. Even if he doesn’t, what’s the worst that could happen? We get to watch a bunch of awesome footage of Sako using a really cool character the way only Sako can. And that doesn’t sound half-bad, either.