Report by kuroppi:
I’m finally over most of my jetlag so I found a little time to write up a summary of my small ST experience. I unfortunately, didn’t have a lot of time to play ST. I only played twice: once at Versus (Tuesday team battle) and at Gian Recital. I had a little writeup here about the Versus Gamespot team battle. This was a fun event to participate in. Everyone is trying to win but it’s a more casual atmoshphere. I met Tonegawa there, who invited me to join his team for Gian Recital. And Nikaiten was a super nice guy. He was happy to post up the ToL flyer I printed up and even laminated it on the spot! I also met Keishin and Nakamura Cammy there.
On to Gian Recital:
I arrived at Mikado a little after 11AM. The pre-tournament started at 1PM and the tournament started at 2PM but I wanted to get there a little early and practice since I had not played ST since Versus, eleven days earlier.
There were some players already there but not too many. As soon as got up to the second floor, I saw a line of ST machines. Versus had six head-to-head ST machines but this was Gian Recital and Mikado went all out with twenty-one head-to-head ST machines! ST heaven! ?
I started seeing a couple of familiar faces from Versus, such as VIPER, Hiroyan, Keishin and a few others. I saw someone playing O. Honda and I recognized that it was Shogatsu. I had chatted with him on Twitter on a couple of occassions in recent months so it was really nice to meet him. XSPR (David Boudreau) showed up not too long after and he introduced me to a bunch of Japanese players, that I hadn’t met yet. The whos who of the Japanese ST world was there: Kurahashi, Komoda, KKY, MAO, Mattsun, Shogatsu, Sasori. Gian, and so on. Even TZW and T.Akiba were there. The room was now filled up big time. I estimated that there were about a hundred players there. The unfortunate thing was that the arcade, while bigger than Versus, was pretty cramped with that many people in there. it was also a pretty warm day and it was definitely hot in there.
Tonegawa, showed up shortly and I met the rest of our teammates: Taro (Blanka), Chouzin (Ken), and Kusa (Chun-Li).
Our first match was against “Shuttle Keikaku” (Yondaime – Sagat / The Superstar – Boxer / Gotou – Ryu / Oreryu – Ryu / ZTT – Zangief)
I went up first against Yondaime. I don’t remember being zoned out like that before by a N. Sagat. It almost felt like I was playing against O. Sagat. In fact, a couple of other N. Sagats players I faced in casuals felt similar. Anyway, the rounds were fairly close but his zoning was too strong and I couldn’t get in to do enough damage. Yondaime went on to take out the rest of our team until Kusa defeated him. But Kusa fell to the next player, who was Ryu. I didn’t catch who it which Ryu player it was but I believe it was Gotou.
We had to wait a while for the next block/bracket. The way they did the second bracket was a bit interesting. Basically, they seeded everyone and provided byes for those who did well in the first bracket. The top 4 in the first bracket received two byes in the new bracket. And since we lost our first match, I knew we would get a tough draw and what a murderous team we drew! (To be honest, before the match, I didn’t look at the program guide to see who our opponents were, but I did see Kurahashi on the other side so I knew we were in trouble!)
Italia5 (AFO – Blanka / Abebin – E.Honda / Keshin – Chun-Li / Sasori – Ryu / Kurahashi – Ryu)
Sasori started off for Italia5 and he took out Taro, Chouzin and Kusa fairly quickly from our team. Because Sasori was using Ryu, they didn’t want me going after he took out our first member. But when it got down to me and Tonegawa, I volunteered to go even though it was Ryu because I didn’t think I should be the anchor for our team.
So, at the time, I didn’t know I was playing against Sasori. That probably would have worked against me, knowing it was him. But with Kurahashi on the other side, this Ryu mowing through our team, I knew we couldn’t win this match but all I could think of was, I have to beat this Ryu because I don’t want to go 0-2 in this tournament and I also didn’t want to let my teammates down, as they were so nice to let me be a part of their team.
MuffinMan said he watched the recorded stream of the tournament the next day but it looks like they removed the archive so I’ was never able to watch back any of my matches, so I can’t really remember a lot of the details.
If I remember correctly, I pulled out a close first round victory by pixels on a trade. The second round didn’t go very well and Sasori won that one fairly convincingly. The third round went back and fourth, like the first round and I was eventually able to back him into the corner and knock him down. Time was starting to run out (I think about 20 seconds or so) and he had a super but very little heath remaining and I had a slight life lead. In the back of my mind, the thought crossed that he might wake up with a reversal super but I know good Ryu players won’t do that unless out of desperation, but Sasori did hit me with some beautiful wake up shoryukens during the match. So I started with a jab to fake a HHS (for chip damage) and took a slight step back and did a jump neutral fierce (steering backwards) right as he got up. I know if he does a wake up SRK (any version), if I’m far back enough I can trade or even hit clean but if I mistime it or I am not far engouh away, he’ll hit me clean. Fortunately, I had spaced it and timed it correctly and I did indeed trade and I pulled off the close victory.
My teammates, were cheering me along the way and Tonegawa was especially pumped.
I had to face Keishin next (again, I didn’t know who it was at the time) but just like my match with Sagat, I once again had trouble getting in on him. and my streak ended at one. He doesn’t seem to get talked about a lot and I think he is a very underestimated player. I watched him a bit during casuals and he is such a great player.
Tonegawa, who was on fire at Versus the week before, seemed to be having a bit of an off day and Keishin took him out fairly easily and we were eliminated.
It was disappointing going out 0-2 but I knew it would be tough. Our team was young (except for me -lol) and we had a very tough draw. But I had a great time experiencing my first Japanese tournament since SBO 2003. And it was great meeting a lot of new players.
I stayed for a while afterwards, talking to a couple of players and playing more casuals and I ran into Azteka (Blanka) who I met in 2003. I was shocked that he remembered me since it’s been so long. I had to leave before the top 8 started but I don’t think any results have been reported yet:
GIAN RECITAL 2012
May 5, 2012
I’d like to give a giant thanks to XSPR for coming out and introducing me to a number of players and helping out spread the word for ToL. My other giant thanks is to Tonegawa, who was so helpful to me both at Versus and at Gian Recital. I’m sure he is a pretty unknown player here but he has a stong Cammy and is the nicest guy you’ll meet. And it’s great to see a new-school player like him (he’s in his early 20s) have so much passion for ST. My teammate Kusu, who was a super nice guy and I got to talk to a little bit, as well as the rest of my teammates. Nikaiten (another super cool guy) and Mattsun for allowing me to post up ToL flyers at Versus and Mikado.