Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sano Game Panic (SBO qualifier)

Tuesday was a national holiday in Japan called Showa day, which means no work and an SBO qualifier! The tournament was in Sano in Tochigi prefecture at Sano Panic Games. I was to team up with Ibu (an ABA player) and Shiratori (an I-no player) whom I met at the Fantasy Park tournament. Shiratori offered to pick me and my girlfriend (who was going to come along) up from Sano station and drive us to the arcade. We ended up missing our train by like 5 minutes because my dumbass thought it left 10 minutes later than it did, but its ok because the tournament didnt start till 4 and we had time. After a long train ride of playing Bomberman on the DS with my girlfriend, Ryoko (who ownz me at Bomberman btw), we eventually arrived at Sano station. Ibu (actually spelled EVE but they pronounce it Ibu cuz they are Japanese so...) and Shiratori were at the station waiting for us. We got in his car which was filled with various Nightmare Before Christmas stuff. He used his GPS navigator to try to find the arcade and ended up driving the wrong way for about a half hour. After realizing we were going the wrong way, we turned around and headed back. In the car we talked about various things. Ibu is a 19 year old college student who lives in Tochigi and is studying medicine. Shiratori is 24 and also lives in Tochigi. He said he was a bit tired today because he had to work late last night (though I didnt inquire as to what his job was). Eventually we arrived at the arcade.

When we got there I was surprised to see how huge this place was. They had 2 AC cabs set up very nicely with a flatscreen for viewing on the side. There were a lot of people there already. It took a long time to get a game in before the tournament started. I think I played 4 games. The first was against Kiro's Faust and I lost. Next I played against this one blue Potemkin 2 times. The first time I lost. The 2nd time I lost as well but it was literally by a pixel in the last round. However I felt like I was starting to get warmed up at this point so I wasnt worrying too much. Eventually the blue Potemkin got a big win streak but Kiro had lost to a Slayer and moved to the other cab and beat the Potemkin. After that I played Kiro and beat him in a mirror match. This was the last game of casuals and they put it into event mode and got the brackets ready after that. Before the tournament a few various players talked to me. At one point, Shiratori came back from playing UFO catcher and had won a Nightmare Before Christmas lamp. I was talking to this one Venom player who Shiratori was telling me was one of the best players in Tochigi. Turns out that the guy likes heavy metal and we were talking about all kinds of bands that we both like. Our team name was Symphony X because my team mates couldnt think of anything and I was wearing my Symphony X shirt. Eventually the tournament started. First match we got lucky and got a bye. For our 2nd match, we played against a team of Johnny, I-no, Robo-Ky. Ibu went first with his ABA and beat Johnny, but then he lost to I-no. I went next and beat both I-no and then defeated Robo-Ky. Shiratori was happy and told me that he was relieved because he said he would probably have lost to Robo-Ky. I noticed during the waiting time that Shiratori was nodding off in a chair. The poor guy didnt get much sleep last night so I was a bit worried if he would be able to play well. Turns out I had no need to worry at all. Our next match was against a team of Chipp, ABA, Eddie. This time Ibu went first and lost to Chipp. Shiratori went next and ended up beating Chipp, ABA, and finally Eddie for the OCV. There were some intense nail biter victories. Our next match was against a team that was actually from Gunma. The team was Millia, Anji, Venom. Shiratori told me that the Millia and Anji were good but probably wouldnt be too much of a threat (though all 3 of us hated fighting Millia) but that the Venom was pretty strong and is one of the best players in Gunma. This match was a semi finals match. The other remaining teams were heavy metal Venom's team, which also had a beastly Slayer on it, and I cant remember the other guy, and the final team was Kazuki's team which was the same as Sunday (Oguma, Kiro). Our match began and Shiratori went first against Millia. He beat her and then Anji wasn next but he was unable to defeat Anji, though it was close. Up next was Ibu and he beat Anji in a close victory. After that he fought Venom but unfortunately couldnt beat him. Finally was me vs Venom. I dont think I made any extremely stupid decisions or anything like that, but I just kept getting hit by his mixups (mainly a triple overhead ending in the force break which caught me off guard, and getting pinned in the corner and patiently blocking for a while but eventually getting thrown) which resulted in me losing to him as well. I was bummed as hell because we came so close this time and I really wanted to qualify with this team. I apalogized to my team but they said to not worry about it since that guy was strong. After that, I sat with Ryoko and we watched the rest of the tournament. In the other Semi finals match, Oguma went first with his Jam against heavy metal Venom and won. Up next was their teams Slayer. I dont know his name, but this guy pulled a Hase and ended up OCVing their entire team in the order of Oguma, Kazuki, Kiro. The finals was the Gunma Venom team vs heavy metal Venom team. If you have been following recent trends, youll probably not be surprised to hear that Slayer once again OCVed this entire team. The Slayer beasting as of late has been rediculous. So far there have been 3 quals in this series and all 3 winning teams have had a Slayer that has done most of the beasting.

After the tournament was over we stayed and played casuals for about a half hour. Just as on Sunday the cabs were on free play event mode so people would play a match and then get off and let 2 new people play. I played a few matches and only lost one match to an Axl player. My last match was against Ibu's ABA since we never played before and he wanted to play me. I won both rounds by a pixel. After that, the 4 of us left and took a trip over a Ramen shop that Shiratori had been to a few times. Sano is actually sorta famous for having some of the best Ramen around. The Ramen was seriously really good too and we all had a good meal. I asked the guys if they would be entering the tournaments this coming weekend but both of them said they probably would have to work or would be busy, but they said that they would like to team up with me again in the future when they have a chance to enter. I told them that I almost never have a consistant team, so they should mail me anytime they want to team up. Whether or not they will in is only something time will tell, but I have a feeling that they actually will probably team up with me again at some point since they are totally both nice guys and honestly seem to think that I am a good player. Ibu actually said that in June he will plan to enter a qual in Fukushima prefecture which is north of Tochigi and next to Niigata. He asked if I would like to join his team for that tournament. If I havnt qualified by then I would certainly like to team with him again. I asked the guys if they entered quals last year and Shiratori said he entered a few quals in his area but lost to Kazuki twice and Nemo's Faust once. This is Ibu's first time trying out for SBO. Shiratori said he has been playing Guilty Gear for 8 years and Ibu for 3 years. After we finished our ramen, we had one of the ramen shop ladies take a picture of the 4 of us outside the ramen shop. After that they dropped us off at Sano station and walked us all the way to the ticket gate. Lots of polite bowing and yoroshiku onegaishimasu and all that good stuff and they said they had a good time today and thanked me for teaming with them. Totally nice guys. After that me and Ryoko took our long train ride home and played more Bomberman goodness.

This coming weekend is Golden week weekend. This means I have 4 days off in a row (Sat-Tue) and there are 4 days with SBO quals. I havnt decided which ones I will enter exactly yet since I have some options but I do plan to enter all 4 days. I have no idea who my team will be but ill figure something out. In any case it should be a fun weekend.

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