Monday, July 26, 2010

Secret Weapon

I headed to Tokyo by myself on Friday after work. I headed to Mikado for casuals. Akinori and Kunihiro were both there playing as well as a bunch of other players. I had a full team for Sunday (Kunihiro and Akinori) but Kunihiro couldnt enter on Saturday so Akinori and I were still in need of one more person. I asked around throughout the week but no one else could do it. While playing casuals at Mikado, I asked a few people there. I dont know why I even bothered, but I asked Ain, the fat, arrogant, rude Ky player. All I did was say excuse me and asked him if he already decided on a team for tomorrow. Instead of just giving me a simple yes or no, the guy just shoos me away and tells me to basically fuck off. I really fucking hate that guy. He might quite possibly be my least favorite Guilty Gear player in Japan. I still have no idea why a nice girl like Ririko constantly teams up with that POS. Anyway, I asked Woody (Udei) too, and he said he was down to team with me on Sunday but had already decided on a team for Saturday. Thats a shame cuz I already had a team for Sunday.

Then, something occurred to me that I cant believe I had never thought of before. Theres this one blue Robo-Ky player whos always there at Mikado and hes really good. Hes the same RO player that beat me a bunch of times in a row a few weeks ago and it caused me to get pissed of and go slam a beer. Well, I have NEVER seen this guy enter tournaments before and hes always tearing it up in casuals. I have made small talk with him before so he sorta knows me, so I figured I would ask him if he could team with me for tomorrow. He was actually very down to team with me! He told me that his tournament name is Gaku. I told Akinori and he was fine with it so we now had a team for tomorrow. I dont know why I never asked this guy before. I just overlooked him for whatever reason. I guess its cuz I never saw him enter a tournament before. I wonder why no one else asked him either.

I played at Mikado till closing. Towards the end, I was fighting Satou's Slayer, which IMO is even better than his JO but I guess he doesnt wanna tier whore for tournaments. I lost a few and then during our last match he just stopped playing and left in the middle of it without saying anything. I looked at the time and it was 7 minutes past when the arcade closed so I guess I cant blame him but he could have at least said something.

I headed back to Shinjuku and tried to get some last minute games in at Sportsland but no one was playing GG. I watched someone play KOFXIII for the first time for a bit and the game actually looks pretty good, but I doubt I will bother picking it up or anything. After that, I went to sleep at the manga kissa.

I woke up Saturday and it was still really early in the morning. I had some business to take care of though. Ryoko and I decided we will travel to Kyushu (Fukuoka and Nagasaki) for almost a week during sometime in mid August (after quals are already over). I usually go to the US every summer but this year, airfare is way too expensive so I am just gonna be chilling in Japan. I have lots of vacation days so I figured I might as well use them and travel with Ryoko to somewhere I have never been. We decided we would go by bus to save money. I had to go buy the tickets at a highway bus station place in Shinuku so I killed a bit of the morning taking care of that. I also got some food.

After that, I headed over to Akihabara. Today at Hey, was the SSFIV arcade version loketest. I was hoping that maybe some of the new characters would be playable but unfortunately it was still just those 2 black circles on the select screen. I asked one of the Capcom staff when they would be playable and all he said was it was a secret. So, I didnt really feel like standing around and watching a game I already have at home, so I figured I would just go to Mikado, where today's Tougeki qual would be taking place.

There wernt many people there when I arrived but there were enough to play some casuals. Over time, more people gradually started coming, and eventually it was packed as hell. They had 12 GG cabs set up! I got to play a lot of great casuals. 24 teams signed up, making this one of the biggest turnouts for a GG qual this year. Even most of the players who already qualified came to watch and play. I got lots of great casuals in.

Stalker girl came to this one and started sorta following me around again. Someone was asking me about those GGX trading card game cards she had so I asked her where you can buy them and she said they are out of print and you cant buy them anymore. She offered to give me another one but I told her it was alright.

I was wearing my Symphony X shirt today so I signed our team up as Symphony X. After the brackets were made, we saw that we were one of the lucky teams to get a bye first round. After the zero taisen finished, our opponents were determined and we were called for our first match.

ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / Heavenly (PO)
vs
Kuni (BA) / Hayashi (footies KY) / SHO (MA)

Out of the 3 players on this team, 2 of them use my 2 most hated characters! Lucky me! I decided I would just go first in hopes that they would put Ky first since thy put him first for their first match. I was wrong, and my opponent was Kuni's BA. I tried my best but Kuni got the best of me. We decided to let Akinori go next with his PO. It was a pretty clutch match, but Akiniro squeezed out a win! Up next was Ky, and he defeated Akinori. It was now time to see how Gaku's RO holds up in tournaments. The man did not disappoint! He played solid as hell and took out both Hayashi AND SHO! We defeated Kuni's team and made it past our first match!

ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / Heavenly (PO)
vs
Hat Slayer (cant make out name... starts with ち)/ yellow Anji (I think his name is 天かす) / long hair Testament (しヨ or something like that, doesnt make sense. Its hard to read the name on the picture i took)

I decided to go first again since I usually beat this Anji player in casuals, was confident I could beat the Slayer player too, and know the TE matchup pretty well. The first match was me vs Hat Slayer. I call this guy hat Slayer because he is ALWAYS wearing one of those sorta gansta lookin caps that has the stiff brim and the big gold sticker on it. Excuse my ignorance, I have no idea what they are called. Anyway, I pretty much schooled this guy and perfected him the 2nd round, taking the win. Up next was long hair Testament. I forgot his name but hes around a lot. He uses the white with pink scythe color. I lost the first round, won the 2nd round. 3rd round was really close with lots of dancing around and dodging shit from far away, waiting for a chance to get in. I eventually got inpatient and tried to get in on him with a force break pogo from the air but I should have been more careful cuz I got hit by a tree on the ground which eventually ended up causing me to lose. I could have beaten him (I did it earlier in casuals), but I just wasnt being patient enough. My bad. Anyway, Akinori hates TE so we had Gaku go next. Gaku once again proved hes the man and took out TE and then finished of yellow Anji! We now advanced to the semi finals!

I played some casuals until they called our next match. I was in the middle of fighting Isa and then they called our next match so I had to get up in the middle of the game.

Our next match was...
ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / Heavenly (PO)
vs
Ky / Dizzy / Eddie (cant really make out the names, the picture I took is blurry)

I didnt know who these guys were but I figured they must be good if they made it to the semi finals. Since I feel confident with all 3 of those matchups, once again, I said I would go first. First match was me vs Ky. I lost the first round, but pretty much figured out what I did wrong and was confident I would win the next 2, and I did. My next opponent was Dizzy. I just used really good spacing and zoning and poked the crap out of him getting tons of counter hits and eventually Dizzying him. I won both rounds very convincingly. Finally, the last opponent was Eddie. This guy caught me off guard and was really good. He had a very unforgiving and aggressive Eddie. I ended up losing. Akinori went next but was unable to defeat Eddie either. Finally, Gaku pulled through for the win! We were now in the finals! Our next match was immediately called and our oponents were...

ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / Heavenly (PO)
vs
Maruken (BA) / Satou (JO) / TEN (IN)

I was confident that I could take out Satou and TEN since I played them in casuals earlier and beat TEN the one game I fought him and Satou I think I went 1-1 with. I knew Maruken was going to be tough, but I was banking on them not putting Maruken first. We decided I would go first again and luckily my first opponent was not Maruken, it was Satou. Pretty much everyone was watching at this point on the big projector. Osaka B was standing right next to me cheering me on throughout the match and trying to give me little bits of advice. I could hear several other people were actually rooting for our team as well (probably because we were the underdogs in this case). To be honest, I cant even remember at this point who won rounds 1 and 2 but it was tied up and went to round 3. It was a pretty fierce battle but in the end, I pulled through and won! Up next, was Maruken... I wasnt happy about that but I had to just man up and do my best. Unfortunately, I didnt do that great against him. I didnt win any rounds. I the very end, I had zero life left and hit him with a pogo, and I guess I just got nervous or something cuz I hit the wrong button and did a going my way instead of the ground flower which caused me to pretty much hand him the last pixel of health I had left as it whiffed. Maybe I COULD have come back from that had I finished the combo but its pretty unlikely heh... Anyway, since Akinori took out Kuni, we put him next in hopes he could do it again with Maruken. Unfortunately he couldnt. It was now up to Gaku. Gaku fought hard, but Maruken was just too much for all of us, and that was the end of the road. Satou / Maruken / TEN was the next team to make it to the block finals.

After it was over, a few people gave me props and said our team was really strong today. Akinori then asked what we were planning on doing for tomorrow? I was a bit confused cuz we already had a team, but Akinori said that he actually had some sorta business to take care of tomorrow so he asked Gaku if he would like to take his spot for tomorrow. Gaku agreed, so now tomorrow's team was going to be me, Gaku, and Kunihiro. I dont know if Akinori really needed to give up his spot since he said he COULD have entered and that it would have just been slightly inconvenient to his plans, but I think maybe he just saw how well Gaku played and decided to be nice and let him have a shot again. Akinori really is a good guy. After that, Akiniri left, but then the Mikado staff told us they were gonna take our picture and needed us to fill out some information incase the other team couldnt participate or something, so I called back Akinori and he returned to get the picture taken. You can see the results page here. Notice how my name is now appearently "Elben Shadow", lol. Also, they took our pictures put for some reason they didnt upload it on the tougeki site. Oh well. One thing I found funny though is that for the other 2 pictures AND this one that didnt make it on there, I was wearing the exact same Symphony X shirt in ALL of them. I actually had a conversation about this before with Andy. It seems like perhaps this is my lucky shirt or something. I dont even wear it THAT often but every time I wear it, I at least make it to the finals. Maybe I should try wearing it again next weekend, too. I dont really believe in that sorta thing but I guess it cant hurt. Also, you can see the brackets here and here (but its a bit hard to read).

I played casuals after that. SHO, the May player on Kuni's team, was talking to me a bit. He said how his sister is the female May player who I teamed up with randomly that one time in Kanagawa a while back and that she said to say hi and wants to play again sometime. We chatted about various other crap too like character matchups and whatnot. I ended up playing casuals until about 8:30 and then I headed out.

I had plans to meet up with Sam and some people in Shibuya for dinner. They were planning to go to a place called Gonpachi.  This was the restaurant where they filmed the famous fight scene in Kill Bill. I waited by the Hachiko exit until Sam and his crew arrived. There were a bunch of rats running around behind me in like this shrub area. Sam showed up with about 10 people (all live in his apartment) and he told me that Pachi was going to be joining us as well. We walked for a bit and eventually found the place.

Pachi was already inside when we arrived. It turns out that it wasnt the same Gonpachi as the one from Kill Bill. There are other locations in Ginza and Roppongi and it turns out the Roppongi one is the one used in the film. Regardless, it was still quite a nice place, but unfortunately it was a little pricey. We sat in our own room with a nice view from the 14th floor. I got some sushi and a salad. Everyone was drinking but I resisted the urge (but I really wanted a fucking beer). I mostly talked to Sam and Pachi about various stuff. We didnt really talk about GG at all and I completely forgot to mention the suggestion for online GGAC but I will do it the next time I see him. Pachi is always down to go drinking so I know ill see him again, no worries.

It wasnt even raining out but way off in the distance we could see lighting flickering quite brilliantly and it was a pretty awsome view. After we all ate, suddenly another HUGE group of people rolled in that Sam's crew knew. They tore the wall down and moved another table to join us. We already finished eating though. Sam, Pachi, and I didnt really feel like sticking around, and since I already ate and couldnt drink, there wasnt much point in sitting around, so we just paid our share early and left.

We then headed to Shinjuku Sportsland Shibuya, which will be shutting down soon for good. I pretty much never play there but its still sad to see another arcade dye. No one was playing GG but we played some vanilla SFIV. I mostly just beat up on this scrubby Ken a bunch of times. Eventually a good Sagat came and beat me. Pachi uses Abel and fought Sam a few times and some other dude who showed up that he seemed to know. I didnt get to play Pachi cuz he was sitting next to me and the cabs didnt link up that way or something. Eventually Sam left and then so did Pachi cuz it was alreay really late and the trains would stop soon. I played a few more vs some really good Ryu and then eventually decided to call it a night. I stayed at the manga kissa in Shibuya.

Sunday morning, I woke up early again. Since I was in Shibuya I took advantage of it and got some Sbarro pizza. I then headed to Alpha Station in Okubo. When I got there, I dont know if it was technically even open yet but the doors were open and the machines were on. There was no one there playing ANYTHING though. I left and killed time in a store and then came back and Satoshi was there working (I didnt even realize he worked there). Some random guy was playing AH3 and I decided to just play arcade mode in GG hoping someone would show up. Eventually, Ojima came. We played a long serious of Faust mirror matches. I won the first match and then in the middle of the second match my screen just started going crazy and I couldnt see anything so I had to go get Satoshit to fix it. He fixed it pretty quick and then I continued to play Ojima. At first I was dominating. Then, it started to even out. Then he broke away and got 8 wins in a row. Then I got 4 more, he beat me once, then I won like 3 more and then it started to even out again and some other people eventually showed up so we started playing various casuals with other people too. They had 4 cabs setup specially for today (they usually only have 2).

Anyway, in the end, I think there were like 10 teams total, much smaller than yesterday, but all the teams were really good. Our first match was...

JT (MI) / Satoshi (PO) / Endo (CH)
vs
ElvenShadow (FA) / Gaku (RO) / 92 (AN)

Kunihiro went first with his Anji. His opponent was JT. He tried his best but he lost. Among those characters, Millia is the toughest matchup for me, so Gaku went next. Unfortunately this time, Gaku couldnt pull out a win. It was now up to me to reverse OCV. I fought really really hard and was very determined. I lost the first round, but I came back and won the 2nd round. The 3rd round was looking grim and he had me in the corner. I got out and zoned him for a while catching him with lots of counter hit air hard slashes and stuff. He had about 5 percent life left and there was a point where he went to throw me and SWEAR I hit throw but I didnt even get the throw tech and I ended up dying. I felt pretty bummed cuz I REALLY felt like I coulda had that one. Oh well, tough shit.

So after the match, I was now faced with the dilemma of who to team with next weekend. I had a lot of options. Gaku seems to be a great person to team with so I asked him if he could team again next week and he said hes down for both days. The problem was there was Kunihiro and Akinori and I didnt really know how to handle it cuz they are both pretty good players and sorta friends of mine at this point so it was a touch decision. We figured we would just wait things out and think about it. We watched the rest of the tournament. The final match was

Mugen (BR) / Zero (OR) / The same Dizzy Mugen has been teaming with from before
vs
Kuni (BA) / SHO (MA) / Hayashi (KY)

SHO lost to Dizzy. Hayashi beat Dizzy. Zero beat Hayashi. Kuni beat Zero. Mugen beat Kuni.

So Mugen's team will join the block finals next weekend as well.

After it was over, I was hungry so I decided I would get some food. Kunihiro had already vanished without saying anything. I asked Gaku if he was hungry but he said no. But he said he would go to Mikado so I told him I would meet him there later. On my way out, I got in an elevator with a bunch of players. Kuni complimented me on my Nintendo backpack lol. When we got off the elevator, Melon asked me who I was teaming with next weekend. I told him I was going to team with Gaku again and were still thinking about our third. He eagerly asked me to let him join our team for Saturday and said he wanted to enter with this Slayer. Last weekend when I teamed with Melon, he didnt really talk to me much and I got a strange vibe from him. Hes a solid player though, so I figured why not. I told him I would talk it over with Gaku at Mikado and let him know (since he was also going there).

After getting some Sukiya, I headed to Mikado. I talked it over with Gaku and he said he was fine with it, so I told Melon we would go ahead and team again on Saturday. Melon said he was unsure about his plans for Sunday. He seemed like he might have something to do or something. So for now, I dont know who our 3rd will be on Sunday but I have all week to think about it.

I mailed Kunihiro thanking him for joining my team today since he left without saying goodbye. Then later he showed up to Mikado. He said he had to go do something work related. He also said he cant enter next week. I dont know if he saying that because he suspected that I wanted to team with other people and that he wanted to make it easier on me, or if he legitimately had no time, but either way I guess it made things less complicated.

I played casuals for the rest of the day. I played Gaku 3 times and each time it went down to the 5th round but I didnt beat him. Hes really solid. I played a bunch of other people too. I went even with Tsu's Eddie which was good. Also, the last match I played for the day was a win against Inoue's Millia on my 3rd try.

Before I left, I asked Melon for his phone email address since we were teaming up. I dont know what the deal is but he told me to ask Woody (Udei) for it. I dont know why he couldnt just give it to me himself but whatever. Melon has a strange manner about him. He never seems to want to talk hardly at all but he like says hi and bye when he sees me and stuff. In any case, on the way home on the train I mailed Woody and he gave me Melon's email heh.

So this weekend was pretty fun. It sorta restored my hunger to win after it was beginning to fade after the 3 losses I took last weekend. Next weekend is the very last weekend of quals and the last block finals. All I can do is just show up and play my game. Here's hoping something cool happens.

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