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Interview with sako Extremely Motivated

Original: FamitsuAppVS, publicized on Mar 28, 2018

"I hope to win a major tournament this year."

(Original: FamitsuAppVS)

The two big domestic events, Evo Japan in January and Tokaigi in February, finished, and Capcom Pro Tour for SFV: AE has finally begun. We asked sako, who's traveling around the world for this year's Capcom Cup again, to look back at the beginning of this season and about his enthusiasm for Capcom Pro Tour.

NOTE: This interview was conducted in the beginning of March.

Interviewer: How are you feeling after finishing the two big domestic events, Evo Japan and Tokaigi?

sako: The first thing I'd like to say is that I was far from being prepared at Evo Japan because it was right after the switch from Akuma to Menat. So, I fought in the matches while confirming "how my Menat behaves, what kinds of mistakes I make and what kinds of unexpected situations happen in intense real matches." Although I dropped some combos, it was mostly as I expected. The biggest thing I obtained at Evo Japan was the experiences of real matches with Menat.

Interviewer: You played Capcom Cup 2017 Champion MenaRD at Evo Japan. What was your impressions of him after the match?

sako: He didn't know a lot about Menat, but he steamrolled and got in, and messed things up lol. I feel I lost him on the momentum.

Interviewer: And how was Tokaigi 2018?

sako: The first match was against Dogura. Menat has difficulty playing Urien, who Dogura mains, so I wondered if I should pick Akuma, which was my ex-main. But I thought it'd be half-baked if I played another character when I didn't fully polish up my main, so I used only Menat.
I think He practiced with GO1's Menat, but my playstyle was very different from GO1's and he was puzzled.
GO1's playstyle is safe and solid, but mine forces the opponent to take actions by Soul Sphere and Soul Spark. This new movement strengthens Meant's neutral pretty much.

Interviewer: You won Daigo at Tokaigi 2018.

sako: That was just because he didn't know how to fight Menat at all. Actually, I gave him an advice after Tokaigi and he got way better in the match-up in a week.
I used to think Menat had much advantage over Guile, but it's almost even if Guile has legit anti-Menat strategies.
I think the match-ups against Guile and Cammy are even, against Birdie should be in favor of her, and now that she can do well even against Balrog, who she used to have difficulty fighting in the previous version. The hard match-up for Menat is only against Rashid, but there's no way any character beats all the top tiers. So I think Menat is quite strong.

Interviewer: It's good your main beats most of the top tiers. By the way, what did you obtain at Tokaigi?

sako: That was the loss to Kazunoko's Cammy. I got Kazunoko's advice after the tournament, and, watching my matches, made adjustments to my neutral, like which buttons I should use. After that, My menat became good enough to hardly lose even Grand Master Cammy players.

Interviewer: I see you keep working hard even after Tokaigi.

sako: Reflecting on the matches at Tokaigi, I've been just practicing in Training Mode. Lately, when I come up with something, I take a note on my cell at once and will practice as soon as I get home. I'm into Menat so bad lol.

Interviewer: This year's Capcom Pro Tour has finally begun. How did you spend the off-season after Capcom Cup 2017?

sako: I heavily traveled overseas in the latter half of last year and had been tired a lot, so I tried to get enough rest during the off-season. For instance, resting my body of course, eating out and going shopping with my family, I spent more time with them. And, I had some days off from SFV. Maybe because I was able to get refreshed due to that, I've come up with various ideas.

Interviewer: Didn't you try to have days off from any games?

sako: I thought of that, but I couldn't lol.

Interviewer: I see lol. This year's Capcom Pro Tour has finally begun. Please tell me your enthusiasm for this year.

sako: Now I'm extremely motived, and will go out a lot of tournaments from the beginning. In march, I'll have four consecutive tournaments: Final Round(US), RAGE(JP), ThaigerUppercut(Thai) and NCR(US). So I'll take care of myself not to get sick while doing my best to get enough CPT points early in the season.
Also, as I wasn't able to win any tournament last year, I hope to win a major tournament pretty soon. I'm aiming to make it to at least Top 8 at Capcom Cup 2018.

In this Interview, his high motivation for Menat made the biggest impression on me. He seems to be always thinking about Menat even while in transit or playing another game, and the level could be the highest after SFV came out. He said he wanted to win a tournament, and I'm looking forward to his success in this season.

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