Interview with Kusumondo

Interview Date: June 2012
Hometown: Osaka, JAPAN
Years Playing SF2: Since World Warrior 1991
Main Character: Honda
Other Characters:
Favorite Fighting Game: SSF2X
Other Fighting Games:
Weapon of Choice:

Kusumondo (second from the left) with yaya, Komoda and Damdai at X-Mania Europe 2.

STR: Many of us here watched the X-MANIA EUROPE 2 stream and it looked like a wonderful tournament. How was your experience there?

Kusumondo: The play-by-play was good, and the tournament was well managed. The atmosphere was great and was a very fun tournament.

STR: Honda seems like a difficult character to master. How did you decide on playing him?

Kusumondo: There were a lot of “waiting” Hondas for the first SF2, but one day, I was a Honda user that was an offensive “attacking” Honda that kept on winning. Ever since then, I was obsessed with an “attacking” Honda.

STR: Are there other characters you enjoy playing?

Kusumondo: No.

STR: Who do you feel is the toughest character for Honda to fight?

Kusumondo: DJ is that hardest character. Then Ryu, Guile, and Chun Li.

STR: How did you develop your strategy and play style?

Kusumondo: There were not very many Honda users at the time. One top of that, there were not very many people who kept on winning with an offensive playstyle. My playstyle was just something I developed on my own. During the times of Turbo (Hyper Fighter) to Super, there was a time where “turtling traps” were not allowed as a local rule. On the other hand, since “hit and throw” couldn’t be used, so I found many other “attack” variations. After ST, I met many Honda users and I started modifying many other people’s strategies in my own way. Although I use an offensive playstyle, there were times when I had to wait it out in order to win. That was a painful lesson to learn, but I still am not very good with waiting. I think it’s because I’m weak mentally.

Kusumondo matches from X-Mania Europe 2.

STR: What makes a great player in your opinion?

Kusumondo: A good player is always looking at the entire screen. Also, he has the heart not to give up even if he’s about to lose. A good player also hates to lose. I feel that with this game, one can climb to the top even if a player doesn’t have much dexterity.

STR: Even after seventeen years, SSF2X remains so heavily played in Japan with both veteran players and new players. What do you think keeps bringing new players to ST instead of some newer games like SFIV?

Kusumondo: First, I think this game is very simple. Because it’s an old game, there are no complicated systems like recent games. No difficult combos are needed. You can fight well if you can do three-hit combos. The commands are for the most part, simple. Also, the fact that there is no “dash” if a huge part. I think the back dashes increase the range of strategy, but on the other hand, it doesn’t allow beginners and intermediate players to sit and learn the tactics. I think the front dash takes away from mid-range attack tactics. The lack of fast movements like dashes lead to more weight on tactics. I also think that leads to interest to spectatrs and players alike. It’s simple, but yet the strategy of each character is well-developed and the game it very deep. But, if you find that interesting, since the core is very simple, anyone can start playing. That is a huge part. It seems like recent games are impacted greatly by knowledge, such as frame charts like something out of a dictionary. But many SSF2X players don’t even know the meaning of frames. LOL

STR: When did you start playing SSF2X?

Kusumondo: I have been playing since the original SF2 over 20 years ago.

STR: What other fighting games or other video games do you enjoy?

Kusumondo: I like watching any other games, but I only play a few. Other than fighting games, I play quiz games and a little bit of RPG at home. Right now, I’m busy with work, but I have no time to play other games in depth.

STR: What do you love about SSF2X?

Kusumondo: As I mentioned above, the fact that the game is simple, but very deep.

STR: Have you tried HDR and what was your opinion?

Kusumondo: I played it. The balance between the characters are well-thought-out. For Honda, he no longer has any “dizzying” elements, so he is no longer a “come-back” character, and I felt he was at a disadvantage. Personally, I like the holding Oni-musou, so I think that being taken away will be painful. The holding Oni-musou is imperative against Balrog, so I’d like the holding Oni-musou, even if it can only hold for 3 seconds or hits are ruduced when holding. (Of course, there’s nothing I can do) However, if Remix (with Classic, if possible) can be sold at arcades in Japan, maybe we’ll have more SF2 players like when Hyper came out. If battle point systems or portable system can be added like SSF4, as a fan, that would be great. I think most current SF2 players are all above 30, so for-pay contents will be OK, too.

Kusumondo Kumite!

STR: Are there any players you are closest to (hang out/talk with the most)?

Kusumondo: Depending on the time of year, the person I am closest to and the one I trust the most is Komoda-san. (Komoda Blanka)

STR: Who is the toughest opponent you’ve ever faced?

Kusumondo: I haven’t had the pleasure of playing against him, but Mayakon. He can use virtually all characters, and he is good and powerful at each of them.

STR: There will be many good players at TOURNAMENT OF LEGENDS but you are one of the strongest and one of the favorites to win. How do you expect to do?

Kusumondo: If I am able to play my best, I think I will be able to do well.

STR: Is there a US player you would like to face?

Kusumondo: Alex (Valle) and Justin (Wong), that ones I lost to at the EVO a few years ago. The lag input sucked last time, but I heard there will be no lag this time, so I’m looking forward to it. Also, Damdai. I lost to him at X Mania Europe. I’d like to have a vengeance match.

Kurahashi and Kusumondo at X-Mania Europe

STR: Since you will be in Las Vegas for EVO, what is your favorite non-Japanse food?

Kusumondo: Meat. And I like pizza and pasta as well.

STR: Do you have any funny or interesting Street Fighter stories you can share?

Kusumondo: As I played this game over the years, I acquired many skills such as tactics against opponents or to feel the flow of the match. I found it interesting that I could understand the tactics and flow of other matches, such as fighting matches on TV. It seems like higher level tactics are something that is common no matter what field you’re in.

STR: Do you have something interesting/fun that others may not know about you?

Kusumondo: In Japan, I liked going to an arcade far away unannounced and to surprise the players there after I jumped in.?But now, people got used to it and not many people are surprised anymore. I’m shy, so I’m not good at saying funny stuff in front of people, but I like it when everyone is happy or excited. At tournaments, I try to use my voice or the traditional arm-extended sumo clap to get the crowd going.

STR: What is your favorite moment in all the years you’ve played Street Fighter?

Kusumondo: Of course, I like winning at tournaments, but lately, people that I’ve never met before are very warm and kind to me. I love talking while gaming, and talking over meals and having heated discussions. Before I know it, I’m friends with them. I like times like that. It’s not a moment per se, but I can only experience these precious times through SF2.

STR: Kusumondo, thank you so much for your time. As a fellow Honda player who has looked up to you, I am honored to have this opportunity to interview you. Good luck at TOURNAMENT OF LEGENDS!