Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Under the Microscope

Earlier in the week, our tougeki results were up with our picture and stuff on the tougeki site. I noticed that Isa left a comment that said something along the lines of "now recruiting teammates - Isa". This sorta worried me that perhaps Isa didnt quite like this team. I mailed MK and asked him what he thought about this and he said he had no idea and that Isa said nothing to him. So... I just decided not to worry about it too much until I could ask Isa myself.

Friday night, I headed to Mikado. None of my other friends showed up but I had a good time playing casuals. Comp was pretty good, and I got some good practice in.

According to Ryan (letbloodrun), Game Versus in Nishinippori is open like practically all night and people play there. The only thing is, he says its mostly all 3S players and maybe a little SFIV. Last weekend I drank WAY too much and had black stools again, so I figured I should take it easy this weekend and avoid drinking. Instead of going to bed early, I wanted to play games all night. So I figured I would check out Game Versus. Not only because of the all night thing, but tomorrow's qual actually just happened to be at Game Versus too! So, since I was planning to go watch, I figured it would make sense if I was in the area anyway.

So, about 15 minutes before Mikado closed, I went to Nishinippori to try to find Game Versus. I walked around for a long time but I couldnt find it. I found some small shabby game center but that wasnt it. Since they dont let anyone in passed like 12:3o or 1 am if you arnt inside already, I figured it was already too late since it was passed 1. So, I walked for a long time trying to find a manga kissa. I ended up walking all the way from Nishiniporri station to Oji station, which is like 3 stops away. I eventually did find a manga kissa though and I didnt mind just walking around listening to my mp3 player since the weather was nice, so it was ok.

I slept for 8 hours and woke up the next day. I looked for Game Versus again and this time I found it. It turns out I passed it last night, but its really hard to notice. The sign is small and since its on the 3rd floor only, theres no windows or anything in front that would make it obvious that theres an arcade there. I went inside and there were some people playing SFIV but thats about it. I would have played a game for the hell of it but the guys werent getting up after they lost and I didnt care that much. No GG players yet and they didnt even set up for the tournment yet (this was at around 11 am). So, I figured I might as well just go back to Mikado and kill some time playing there.

I went back there and there werent that many players but enough to at least get some games in. A few of the guys who ive seen before at quals were there practicing before the tournament. I did well against them and got some good wins in.

Sometime a little before 3 (which was when the tournament was scheduled to start), I left and headed back to Game Versus.

Now, the place was pretty packed with people. TONS of big name players came to this one. A total of 19 teams entered this one. They had set up 3 GG cabs for the tournament, and they were all sorta spread out. A few people congratulated me for our team winning last week, including ASA, who I chatted with for a while.

I was watching this one match of Footsies Ky (whos name is Hayashi I guess, according to signup sheet) and I noticed that this short girl with glasses was standing there scribbling stuff down on a small notepad. She kept like quickly looking at me and looking away all strange like. She did this over and over, to the point where it was starting t get a little weird. I sorta went to stand all the way behind her so that I was out of her field of vision, and she STILL turned her head all the way to look at me real fast and go back to scribbling stuff. Then she sorta like tried to stick the notepad out so it was in my field of vision. Like she was trying to show it to me without actually wanting to make it obvious but it still was. So, it was getting awkward so I finally talked to her and asked her what she was drawing. She showed me and it was a crappy little doodle of Faust's head. Appearently she knows that I am a Faust player. Then she blurted out a whole bunch of random shit REALLY fast but from what I gathered from it basically translated to "OMGitsbeensolongIreallywantedtoseeyouagain!!!!" I was just thinking in my head... wtf. So I tried to be nice and talk to her, and I asked her if she was entering today, and she said she doesnt really play the game, she just likes the characters so she came to watch. Then I realized that shes the really weird chick that was going on about how she loves Faust to me like a whole year ago during quals when I went to Game Newton. Im pretty sure I have only seen this girl once and talked to her for a grand total of like 2 minutes. I tried to be nice and humor her, but she was just so socially awkward and even when I tried to be nice and have a conversation, she went back to her creepy manerisms of drawing and trying to show me without saying anything. Like she was overly shy to the point where it was some kinda social disorder. I might not have minded as much if I was single and she was attractive (which I am not, and she isn't) but it was pretty awkward to say the least.

So after Hayashi won his match, I went to play him. It was a close fight but I lost. I got off the cab and she starts clapping. Im like "...but I lost" and she was basically just like "that was still amazing!!" Then she went back to drawing more little pictures. This time she started drawing May. I used the fact that it was crowded to my advantage to slip away, but every time I did, she would follow me, stand next to me without saying anything, and go back to drawing and like peaking at me and trying to get my attention again indirectly. IT WAS CREEPY! And the worst part was, she wasnt trying to talk to ANYONE ELSE.... ONLY ME!!!! WTF!

Eventually I was watching TEN (IN) fight En (SL) in casuals. TEN beat En and then I tried my luck against TEN and I beat him. The I lost to HEVEN (VE) I also played against Miturugi's Zappa (who came to watch since he already won the B1 block) but I lost that one too but at least won a round.

Before the tournament started, I got a nice seat in an area where I could see 2 of the 3 cabs. They divided the brackets into A B and C blocks. The finals would be a 3 team round robin. I was able to see A and B block matches from my seat. Also, I noticed my teammate from last week, MK, was there. I waved hello to him and he either didnt notice me earlier or was acting like he didnt cuz he seemed surprised. He said hi and we made a little small talk for like a minute and then he went to go sit with friends and watch.

For most of the tournament BLEED was on the mic doing commentary for matches.

I didnt get a picture of the actual brackets but I did take a photo of all 3 signup sheets which you can find here, here, and here. (the names are in Japanese, I dont have time to translate each one but I will go into detail about most of the matches that I saw. Zoom in to larger size to more easily read it).

So heres how the tournament went...

A bracket first match

Limekey (AN), EN (SL), Kishitaka (SO)
vs
Satou (JO), TEN (IN), Maruken (BA)

Satou beats Limekey
EN beats Satou by a pixel with 3 seconds left on the clock in the 3rd round
TEN beats En again (just like the casuals match I saw earlier)
Kishitaka beats TEN and Maruken for the win


A bracket

Kuni (BA), Hayashi (KY), Ruka (AB) (names on signup sheet are different but its them)
vs
Udei (TE), Hase (SL), Fuchiya (MI) (it might be Tsuchiya, the writing is hard to read)

Fuchiya beats Kuni and Hayashi
Ruka beats Fuchiya, Udei, AND Hase (wow good shit Ruka)


B bracket

Inoue (OR), FAB (PO), Machaboo (TE)
vs
Karun (JA), Gori (ED), Shyouga (SL) (im not sure about slayer players name, hard to read)

Anyway, Inoue OCVed the whole team in the order of Karun, SL, ED lol
He almost lost to Slayer but got a big comeback on him


B bracket

Same team we fought in last weeks finals (Hamasyou (JA), Ryuuma (OR), Yuuta (TE))
vs
DI, ED, Yellow IN from the tournament I went to last time with Kunihiro and Akinori

Anyway, Ryuuma OCVed them


A bracket

En team
vs
NOB (SO), ASA (PO), Natsume (DI)

NOB beat En and Limekey (wow, surprised!)
Kishitaka beats NOB in mirror match
Kishitaka also beats ASA
Natsume beats Kishitaka ftw


B bracket

FAB team
vs
Ririko (BR), Ain (KY), a Chipp player

FAB beats CH and Ririko
Ain beats FAB after a comeback in round 2 and dominated round 3
Machaboo beats Ain


A bracket

Ka2 (JA), Ko1 (MI), Haken (PO)
vs
Kuni's team

KA2 OCVed them in the order of Kuni, Ruka, Hayashi


A bracket final

KA2 team
vs
ASA team

Ko1 OCVed them in order of ASA, NOB, Natsume. The 2nd round of Ko1 vs Natsume was so intense and close that I could smell the guy next to me fart cuz the hype was too much to handle


B bracket final
FAB team
vs
Hamashyo team

Machaboo OCVed them in order of Hamashyo, Yuuta, Ryuuma


C block final (which was now on the cab near me so I could see)

Nemo (FA), Endo (CH), random Johnny (this is the same Endo who is famous for using May)
vs
Consome (PO), HEVEN (VE), AGF (AN)

Consome beats JO
Consome beats Endo. Consome starts round 1 with a buster without even moving and grabs Chipp out of something. He almost perfected Chipp but then Chipp almost came back to a pixel and lost. Then Round 2, he perfected Consome, but he lost round 3.
Then... Nemo beat the whole team in the order of Consome, HEVEN, AGF.


Grand final

FAB team
vs
Ka2 team

Inoue bats Haken
Ka2 beats Inoue
FAB beats KA2
Ko1 beats FAB and Machaboo


next...
Nemo team
vs
FAB team

Machaboo beats JO
Endo beats Machaboo and FAB
Inoue beats Endo and Nemo

Ka2 team
vs
Nemo team

Haken OCVed them in order of JO, Endo, Nemo.

So the winner of the qualifier was KA2/Haken/Ko1. They are the first of the 6 other teams I may have to fight in the block finals in 2 weeks. A strong team indeed.

After the tournament, I was leaving on the elevetor with a few players, and that creepy girl like follows me and packs herself into the full elevator just to follow me out but doesnt say anything to me. Then, I was out in front talking to Mitsurugi and a few guys about where people will play next and he said they will probably go to Mikado. Then the creepy girl just bursts past us all suddenly and yells sorry and jets out of there lol!

I went to get some quick food at 7-11 and then I went back inside and played a few games of casuals. I beat Mike's Jam on my first try which felt good. (BTW his team was in C block so I didnt mention it but his team was Mike (JA), BLEED (JO), Satoshi (PO)... another solid team).

After that, I lost to Endo's May which doesnt surprise me. After that I left to head to Mikado.

Mostly everyone showed up here so the comp was nuts and the place was packed. I got a lot of good practice games in and was holding my own pretty well against some really good players. I played a long set with ASA to try and practice the PO matchup for if I fight Haken. I was winning most of the time which is good cuz ASA has a good PO. I also beat HEVEN on my 2nd try which is good cuz I usually lose to him.

Then at some point, I fought Karun and he beat me. This was at the end of the cabs so I could see around on the other side when I stood up. He was laughing really hard and talking with KA2. Then I couldnt really make out everything he said cuz its really loud in there but I heard him say 'yowai! hontou ni yowai!" which basically means "He's weak... really weak!" Ill admit that I usually dont beat Karun when I play him but that shit really sorta got to me. I wanted to go over there and say something but I figured it would be best to just leave it alone cuz there was really nothing good that would come out of that anyway. It seemed to me like Ka2 was asking about my skill level or something cuz he knows he may have to fight me in the finals. I havnt played Ka2 in like at least over a year if at all... I honestly cant remember if and when I fought him cuz hes hardly around. So anyway, I lost to Karun 2 more times (in between Karun beating other top players but not laughing and calling them weak even though some of them got beat down too) until finally someone beat him but I cant remember who. So anyway, a little bit after that, KA2 got on another cab and beat someone. I jumped on the cab next, and not only did I beat Ka2, but I didnt lose a single round. Not that I am talking shit about KA2, but all I am saying is that Karun shouldnt underestimate me. Having the attitude that your opponent is weak is a weakness in itself. Maybe KA2 was sandbagging, maybe he took Karun's words to heart and I caught him off guard... but the bottom line is, Karun can think what he wants and talk whatever shit he wants, but in the end, if people want to underestimate me, its going to hurt them more than it helps them. I know I'm not the best, but Karun really pissed me off at that moment.

Anyway, I went the rest of the time playing a few more and then stayed till closing.

I was gonna go to sleep or hit up Game Versus again for all night games, but I asked around and no GG players even knew about it being opened late nor had any interest in going so it would be a waste of time. Emmet and Andy were at Current and asked me to come. I wasnt gonna drink cuz im trying to avoid it but I figured I would stop by for one beer and drink it really slow.

When I got to Current, I saw SPG Chris and sat at his table. I asked where Emmet and Andy were and he said they just left to go to Roppongi cuz Emmet thought I wasnt gonna stay out all night. Blargh! So... I stayed at Current for like 2 hours, had one beer, talked with a few other regulars, and this one girl named Noriko was there and she brought her mom and her mom bought me a beer hah... I didnt really want it but I drank half of it to be polite and then gave the rest to Shuuji before I left.

(I really wanted to drink but the less I drink now, the faster my ulcer heals, and the faster I can go back to REALLY drinking)

So after I left Current at around 3, I went to the manga kissa and slept for 8 hours.

The next day I went to the qual which was at the new Club Sega Akihabara. When I went inside, no one was really there yet... except for the CREEPY GIRL!!! BLAARRGHH!!! WTF! So, before she noticed me, I got the fuck out and went to the old club sega which is right down the street. A few people were playing there. Haken was there and as soon as he saw me he said hi and was like "You really feel like playing dont you?" and I was like "Yea, I always feel like playing". He saw that I was wearing a SFIV shirt and asked about it and I told him how I just play that game mostly on weekdays at home online cuz I cant play GG since theres no arcades near where I live. I sat down and fought some May and Haken was watching me play. After I won the match he said bye left with a friend. I wanted to play him but he looked like he was on his way out when I got there. I dont think I ever talked to Haken before until now but he seemed friendly enough.

I played some bridget and won, and then he beat me like 5 in a row. I got close but couldnt beat him again. Then this one Potemkin player was there. He is actually the same Potemkin player that I beat in the tournament we won last weekend. He is really solid and uses the black color. Today he would be on Karun's team (though I didnt know this yet). I played him in a bunch of games and I ended up playing really well and winning the majority of them. It was good practice. I beat a few other random guys there too... nothing really noteworthy.

At some point, Akinori showed up! I hadnt spoken to him since I won the qual last weekend cuz he never replied. He said he lost his phone. He wasnt upset at all. He came today by himself to enter with a random team. I like his dedication. He thought the tournament was at the old Club Sega so I told him I would show him the new one.

At about 3, I headed to the the new Club Sega for the tournament with Akinori. It was packed now. Creepy girl followed me around again but I didnt say anything to her this time. At one point, I was watching a match and she like bumped into me all obvious... like REALLY obvious! I looked at her and she IMMEDIETLY said she was sorry really loud "SUMIMASEN!" like super fast! I was just like... thats ok, and walked away lol. I think she got the hint cuz she got a little less agressive as the day went on, probably mainly cuz she was sitting on the floor and watching once the tournament started.

Akinori was able to form a team with the Yellow Anji who he was supposed to team up with last time but he got lost and didnt go so they were stuck with a 2 man team, but I dont think either of them know that lol. Also, a Slayer player who always wears those gangsta-like hats with the stuff brim and a shiny round sticker on it was on their team too.

Also, before the tournament started, I said hi to the good PO player I was fighting earlier and told him good games. He said he had fun and said I really got stronger! He seems like a nice guy.

Today's tournament was even bigger than yesterdays! Pretty much all the beastly players were there again, and this time there were 26 teams! Wow!

I didnt take pictures of the bracket this time cuz it was just too crowded and hard to get a good shot. But, I did write down a lot of match results again.

This time Mitsurugi was on the mic doing commentary.

So... heres some matches I saw

Ruka (AB), Ojima (FA), Shu (ED)
vs
Mugen (BR), Sagimo(?)(DI), some ED player

Mugen beat Ruka and Ojima
Shu beat Mugen
DI beat Shu


I think I saw Nemo's team lose to Takuya's team which had a RO player and a MA. I think the MA beat Nemo.


Akinori's team
vs
HEVEN team

AGF beats Yellow AN
Akinori beats AGF
HEVEN beats Akinori but Akinori put up a really good fight (but got perfected in round 3 >_<)
then HEVEN beat thug Slayer

I talked to him a bit afterwords but I didnt really see Akinori after that, I think he left soon after.

Maruken's team won their first match with a Maruken OCV but I dont know who they fought

I chatted with Mugen a bit. I hadnt seen him in a long time so I said hi and made small talk and asked about his team. Hes a cool guy and really friendly so that was cool. I wished him luck.

Abegen showed up by himself and got a random team. They got OCVed by Karun.

Johnny-o's team was this one ABA player that I know, and Batako (ZA)
They won their first match.

Ririko's team was with this one Baiken who I dont know but I beat him 2-0 at old club sega earlier this morning, and also a green TE.
vs
FAB team

Ririko beat Machaboo and it was hype and everyone got loud
Then she went on to beat Inoue and it got hyper and louder!
Then she PERFECTED FAB round 1.... but FAB came back and won the next 2...
She came so close to OCVing them which us funny cuz recently FAB was coaching her at Mikado. I guess the student cant beat the sensei, but she can beat his teammates lol.
Next, FAB finished off the BA and TE for the win.
Awsome effort by Ririko though. I was rooting for her.


Mugen team
vs
Niga team (some TE, and a purple Jam who looks familiar and MIGHT be Yume)

JA beats ED
Mugen beats JA
Niga beats Mugen
DI beats Niga and TE


HEVEN OCVed Takuya's team next


TEN OCVed Deno's team


Then I took a break from watching cuz I wanted to play. There was only one cab for casuals.

I got on and fought 012 (SO) and lost. Then.. I tried again and I beat him! Next, I fought Taku's SL and... won! Then Osaka B got on the cab and I beat him in a Faust mirror! Finally, Nemo got on and I took his Testament to the last round but lost in a close fight. It felt good to get those wins in and was playing well.

Right after I beat those guys, they were up in the tournament and their team was actually 012/Taku/Osaka B! Too bad it was casuals and not tournament cuz I would have OCVed them LOL! But yea... i know its not the same.

Anyway...

012 team
vs
FAB team

Machaboo beat Osaka B
Taku beat Machaboo
FAB beat Taku and 012


next, Johnny-o's team beat Kuni's team (Johnny-o has been playing GOOD lately)


Maruken team
vs
Mugen team

Maruken beat Mugen
DI beat Maruken and Satou
TEN beat DI and ED


Also, HEVEN team beat good Yellow I-no team


Inoue team
vs
Johnny-o team

Inoue OCV in order of Johnny-o, ABA, Batako


HEVEN team
vs
Maruken team

HEVEN OCV in order of Satou, TEN, Maruken


FAB team
vs
Karun team (Karun, Nice Potemkin guy, SL)

Nice PO beat FAB in a mirror match (wow! ASA did it too 2 weeks ago, Maybe FAB is bad at PO mirror matches)
Machaboo beat Nice PO, Karun, and then SL for the win


TOURNAMENT FINAL
FAB team
vs
HEVEN team

Inoue beat Consome
AGF beat Inoue and FAB
Machaboo beat AGF and HEVEN

FAB / Inoue / Machaboo is the winner of the 3rd B2 block prelim and will be another rough team I may have to face in the finals.


At some point during the tournament, Isa showed up out of no where and came up to me all cheerful and said hi. I was surprised to see him so suddenly so I forgot to ask him about our team and what his message meant, but I just talked about the results of yesterday's tournament. He sped off after a little small talk. I didnt think much of it.

Later on during the tournament, I looked over and saw him talking to Karun and they seemed very friendly with eachother. Knowing now that Isa is friends with Karun, and that Karun said he thinks im basically a shit player, it made me wonder what Isa really thought about my abilities.

After the tournament was over, I went up to Isa and basically just asked him right out what his comment on the winning team page meant (it basically translated to "now recruiting teammates - Isa"). I asked him if he meant it as a joke or if he thought I was a weak teammate. He said he sorta meant it as a joke since we formed our team on the fly, but he also said that he wasnt really execting our team to win either at the time. He said a whole bunch of stuff too (unless I say otherwise, almost all conversation on my blog take place in only Japanese) that I didnt quite catch, but basically afterwords I said to him "so basically to clarify, if we win the block final you are happy to keep this team but if we lose you want to find other teammates?" and he said that was pretty much the gist of it. Im sure he sees me as inferior to most top players and people he has teamed with in the past... and I cant blame him considering his team last year was Nemo and Machaboo... but I dont think he thinks im total shit like Karun does or else he wouldnt have asked me in the first place. So, knowing that... I felt like I really needed to show him im not total shit.

After the tournament, a bunch of top players stuck around to play casuals. I really wanted to get a lot of wins in to show Isa im not dead weight but the fact that I wanted to win so bad made me nervous and now I was playing worse than I was before. I fought FAB and lost, and then I fought the nice PO player who I was beating consistantly all morning 3 times in a row and lost. I think Karun was laughing again too. I felt pretty shitty at this point. Isa, was playing on the cab next to me accross on the other side and fighting Nemo a lot and actually lost a bunch but then he started gaining momentum and was beating some people and losing one or 2 here and there. I saw him beat Mitsurugi and some other good people but he wasnt unbeatable either. I went to another cab and fought some Millia player and won. Then I fought Satou's JO and lost but won in a rematch. After that, Satou and the Millia got up and left and no one else seemed interested in playing me, so I went back over to the other cabs. I wanted to play Isa to show him im not weak but I never got a chance cuz other people kept getting on the cab. At some point the nice PO player came up to me. I told him sorry for playing badly just then, and he said not to worry and that im still strong. I fought Kishitaka 3 times and lost 2 and then won the last 1. I usually do better vs Kishitaka so I was kinda bummed about that. Isa saw me win the last one. He didnt say anything though.

Just I won that last match, everyone was ready to head out. I had to catch the train too to get going home or else I would be stuck. As I was getting up, I noticed Tatsumi was sitting on the other side of the other cab by herself. It seemed like she wanted to play more but didnt leave with everyone else. I wonder if they like ditched her or something or whatever but she looked sorta lonely or something. I wanted to talk to her and say whatsup cuz I sorta know her and maybe get some games in but I really had no time so I left with the other guys and we got on the elevator. Isa gave me an "otsukare" on the way down and I said the same to him. Then they were all standing out in front so I just said bye to them and left cuz I had no time. I JUST caught the last train home by 1 minute.

So in conclusion, by the end of the night on Sunday, I was feeling really shitty. Karun's comment was getting to me and making me question my skill and making me wonder how many Japanese players actually think im total shit and how many think im good, etc. I know some of do think im a solid player and I guess theres some that think I suck bad.

In retrospect, I came to the conclusion that it doesnt fucking matter what Karun or any of those other guys think. Maybe im not the greatest player out there, but I know that I am not total shit and I know I am capable of beating just about anyone because I HAVE beaten just about everyone at least once or a few times in casuals before. All I have to do is apply what I know and do it in a tournament. Will I do it in the block finals? Will I prove to Isa im not shit? I have no idea, and thinking that way is just going to make me play shitty like I did after the tournament, as opposed to good, like I did in the morning when I was just playing and having a good time. Im just gonna play and enjoy the game, and whatever everyone else wants to think, thats up to them. If we lose and Isa finds another team, no reason to be "salty". I had my chance and failed to deliver. If we win, then that would be awsome.

In any case, Ill be back next weekend in Tokyo for more reporting on the next quals.

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