Hi, I am back with another article on the Japanese KI scene as announced a few weeks ago. This time I would like to introduce you to the winner of the KI World Cup qualifier in Japan last year and top Riptor player: Tonosama.
This interview was conducted in Japanese, and I can assure you that Tonosama hasn’t said a negative word about KI. So, if anything comes across as negative then my translation is at fault, and I take full responsibility in that case. And as I might have said in previous articles, I am not a professional writer and I am certainly not a (very good) interviewer, but I hope you will enjoy this new insight in our KI community around the globe, and Japan in particular!
Before we start, if you search well enough on the internet then I am sure that you will be able to find a photo of Tonosama winning at “Tougeki” tournament a few years back. But for this article we both agreed that “Cheerleader Riptor” fits this article better! Anyway, in between all the Season 3 news that has all of you crying, laughing, cheering, raging and fainting in one day, allow me to introduce one of the better known Japanese players on the KI scene. Enjoy!
Before we start to talk about the upcoming Season 3 and your experience so far playing Season 2, can I ask you to introduce yourself to our audience. From my coverage at the KI WC qualifier, we already know that you are a great Pokken player as well KI player.
“My name is Tonosama. My birthplace is a secret (laugh). I have literally played too many fighting games in my career. Games like Arcana Heart, Daemaon Bride, SCV, UMVC3, Capcom Fighting Evolution, just to name a few. Originally I was a Virtual On player before I even got into fighting games.”
“The first fighting game I started playing was Arcana Heart. This title I played both in the arcades as well as at all Tougeki tournaments. In Arcana Heart, there was this “buruma” wearing (like a volleyball player’s uniform) female ninja with dog ears who caught my attention. Ever since picking up this game I have been playing fighting games.”
Thank you for the introduction. Lately, KI, SFV and other games have been trying to address the steep learning curve of fighting games in general. One feature that hopefully makes certain aspects of KI easier to get into for certain players is the recently added “Combo Assist Mode”. What are your thoughts on CAM, and complexity of fighting games in general?
“I had no issues after picking up KI. The tutorial mode was easy to understand and I learned all of KI’s concepts (combo breaker, shadow counter, etc.) within a day. For new payers the problem comes down to the fact that just hearing fighting game terminology can be really confusing. This seemingly complex aspect can make them not try out a fighting game, even though that person could be perfectly capable of understanding and learning while playing. Anyway, CAM is indeed a good function, but since I am already used to the game I am not using it myself.”
Some of the other changes that came with the Shadow Jago update, sort of prepared us for new features in the soon to be released Season 3. Therefore, let’s go into that and talk about what was shown to us during the KI World Cup.
Please give us your impressions on the Riptor changes and what surprised you the most, whether positive or negative?
“Honestly, I still haven’t watched the replay of the World Cup but I did watch closely all the balance changes. Putting all other characters aside and just focusing on Riptor, it has to be the new Flame Mortar attack that overwhelmed me. This new move totally surprised me and I was so excited when I first saw it that I couldn’t move myself being so shocked as I was (smiles). After thinking about it for a while, I realized that she indeed was lacking such type of long range attack.”
“The Tail Flip nerf is of course what stands out to me. However, in light of the changes made to other characters, I think Riptor has become stronger in Season 3. So overall I am happy with the result.”
Will your playstyle change in any way with the new changes that were shown on the stream?
“The new system or gameplay mechanics I haven’t been able to try out myself, so obviously I won’t be able to fully tell how that will impact my play. There are quite a lot of changes to the gameplay mechanics itself with combo breakers tweaks, flipouts, staggers, etc. In my opinion, Combo breakers have become a bit riskier as you will now be almost even with your opponent and can expect less return on a successful combo breaker attempt. But as for the specific changes made to Riptor, I don’t see any big change in how I will play her in season 3.
To follow up on your last comment about “how you play”, what exactly is your playstyle with Riptor, knowing that she is a rushdown character?
“Well, I don’t think turtling or zoning with Riptor are her strengths, so I definitely stick with applying pressure through a rushdown style of attack and making minor adjustments to match my opponents’ habits where needed.”
Have any of the other changes tempted you to try another character in Season 3? Anyone became more appealing to you after seeing their changes?
“When we first saw Glacius, everyone in Japan was like “NOOOO!! REALLY?!”. “Why these outrageous changes?!”. Homing puddle punch! Multi hail! He has become too strong just looking at his changes (ignoring the rest).”
So you are tempted to play Glacius now?
“Yes, I am… (hahaha).”
How about characters that you feel have become weaker in season 3?
“Again, I would have to play the game first to really tell, but Hisako, TJ, Kan-Ra and Spinal have become weaker, I think. They have been hit the hardest.”
What was the change that you yourself wanted to see in season 3? And did your wish come true?
“A Riptor buff and a Kan Ra nerf. Seeing those changes was sufficient (laugh).”
“Anyway, overall I am happy with the changes to the game and I am definitely looking forward to Season 3. I cannot wait to touch the game. Ogty (a well known KI player and tournament organizer in the Japanese KI community), he is organizing an online tournament after Season 3’s launch. My first goal is to try and win that tournament.”
Well, you actually have fans on the forum who are cheering for you and your Riptor. At least, I know that I am cheering for you.
“I guess that if they knew my (strange) tendencies for picking and playing certain characters, I would lose them instantly (smile).”
Staying on the subject of Season 3, what are your thoughts on the imminent PC version? And will it affect popularity at all in Japan?
“Since I already play the Xbox One version, a PC release is not something I personally have interest in. But seeing how the biggest hurdle is the price of a console plus peripherals, a PC version would save quite a bit of money for potential new players. In this sense Japan is no different than the rest of the world. I did read several tweets from people saying that they would try out KI as soon as it arrives on PC.”
“Still, the question as to how to make the game more popular here is a difficult one. The trend of anime style of fighting games is continuing, and clearly KI has its own perspective and interpretation of the world around us (which I like by the way). It’s not like there will be a huge sudden demand, but as for me personally I would be happy with creatures like Spinal or Glacius, robot-types, and of course animal/dinosaur types. Showing off your game’s contents through videos and other media usually gets people talking about it, but I am not convinced that young people are really that interested in fighting games in general. The learning curve (of fighting games) is definitely a wall that makes it difficult to get into fighting games. One game that actually is very popular among teenagers in Japan is “Pokken”.
But besides the characters, do you actually like the music in KI, its stages,…?
“I love KI’s music, and especially TJ, Riptor, Aria and Maya’s stage music. However, when I pick a stage I always go for the ones with a stage ultra, no question. I probably like them in the following order: Aria, Aganos, Hisako, TJ, and then Kan Ra. I don’t really need a stage Ultra on Riptor’s stage…”
Anything that you would like to see get improved or changed? Or perhaps added to the game?
“One thing that I hope will improve is that some stages won’t be as dark as they are right now. For example, when I pick Hisako’s stage, due to the darkness and lightning it can be difficult to see on broadcast."
“Online practice mode is something I would like too, while things like Team battle, well that probably not so much (smile). Oh yeah, and perhaps I would like a 3D model viewer for those low angle shots of Riptor in her cheerleader outfit…”.
(Bojima:“why isn’t there a smile after this last comment…?” ).
Okay, continuing on. Who or what type of characters would you like to see in Season3?
“For season 3, PC or Xbox, I would probably like to see some kind of non-human, supernatural being. And preferably female (smiles again). I do not have any preference for guest or original characters. But if we are talking guests then definitely my preference would be a Mass Effect character like Garrus or Grunt.”
We have reached the end of the interview. I assume you will you be playing Riptor in Season 3 again?
“I already decided that I am playing Riptor and ARBITER(!)”
“At this time I am not sure yet if I can make it to EVO2016, but I am hoping to attend. And if somehow I manage to go, then I will enter the Pokken and KI tournaments. Just these two games.”
Well, that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did chatting with Tonosama about KI. I have been in contact with a few more players on the Japan scene and I will do my best to try and convince them to join me for an interview. So leave your comments below and be sure to check his Kombo Klash Japan footage below.
I’m out, thank you for reading. Thank you Tonosama!
“thank you Tonosama for choosing me!”
(Konoha from Arcana Heart)
@GoogleMyName Would you mind adding this interview to your homepage like you did last time? Thanks!
Tonosama at Kombo Klash Japan