So today I woke up at 6 to get ready to go the airport to pick up Tokido with Ali, Igor and the guys.
My girlfriend who was still half-asleep mumbled “Never seen you wake up so early for anything else before…” as I tried to sneak out.
I get there around 730 am and meet up with Igor, Ali, Sol, and Toxy.
I was a little disappointed to see that we didn’t have a big ass “Welcome Tokido” sign ready like the Socal guys did for Sako. And the guys were worrying a little about Tokido taking a while to come out. I wasn’t sweating it though. This is Melbourne Airport. You always take an hour to get through customs. At least I always do. (Because I always get nabbed for “random inspections”)
Mr. Murderface is actually one of the first few people from his flight out through the doors. He looks a little tired, but it’s definitely him. He gives a big cheery wave, and the first thing through my head is how small he is. He actually is pretty normal sized for an Asian guy; it’s just that maybe after watching him being larger than life on so many streams I was expecting him to be a dude of a much bigger stature. But you know what, his big personality more than makes up for it!
We introduce ourselves, and he is really friendly, addressing us all in English. Initially I felt really nervous, but as we headed towards the car park I surprised myself by settling into stride beside him and asking him how his flight was. He tells me he got on the plane at 10 am, so it’s been a damn near 24 hour flight!
I tell him I’m impressed with his energy and he kind of grins and nods his head happily. He does this a lot!
I get into Igor’s car to head over to Ali’s house for a while before we check Tokido into his hotel. We actually take quite a while to get to his place, and when we get there Tokido’s already making himself comfortable. The TEC guys have set up the living room with tables in the middle with a triple monitor and console setup with couches all around, and three baskets of cookies and chips at the side.
Toxy is talking animatedly to Tokido; apparently Tokido remembered his name Toxy on the car ride to Ali’s!
Tokido doesn’t feel like playing casuals just yet, so I ask Sol to body me while I play half-distracted by the stuff Tokido is saying to Ali and Toxy on the couch.
He talks about a ton of interesting things; he says after entering as “Iceman” and “Murderface” he wants to enter as “Crown”. He tells us his full real name. He talks about SCR, and how he planned his Shun Goku Satsu beforehand. He says he was taking off his jacket right beforehand meaning to do it, and wanted to take his jacket off completely the whole event but it was too cold!
He said he did Rock Paper Scissors with Daigo before their match because he wanted to play alternate characters: Fei Long.
He said Daigo told him to watch out for two players in Australia: Toxy and Humanbomb. Major butter for Toxy. He talked about his work, and him and Igor even went over his chemical engineering papers. He talked about the business model of arcades in Japan being broken, and he talked about wanting to take advantage of the current big boom in gaming and really play for one or two years before he decides to do something else.
He talked about Momochi wanting to play Ken over Akuma because he liked relying on a strong ground game rather than mixups. He talked about KSK’s arcade closing down, and the new console centred lan centre that will be opening up. He talked about Yun and Yang and Shin Akuma and Evil Ryu.
It was just really cool talking to Tokido live in the flesh. When I saw Daigo, it was a totally different experience because obviously Daigo doesn’t speak English. So to just have an unfettered conversation with the best Akuma in the world was an amazing opportunity. We tried to teach him Melbourne idioms such as “fimble” and he laughed, using his own missed uppercut against Daigo at SCR as an example.
Then it got serious. Tokido started playing.
This is a guy fresh off a long plane flight, still wearing the same clothes from the flight. He sits down and surgically rips apart Toxy, Sol, Just-S, Ali, Carnage and Heavyweapons, merely six of Melbourne’s best. Like Heavy likes to say, he was like a surgeon out there.
He LIVES for the knockdown. Every combo led to an untechable knockdown or sweep. He would then come at you in a myriad of ways. Throw, dash twice, whiff dive kick over your head, low short low jab low strong short tatsu sweep. Throw, whiff standing roundhouse, crossup tatsu sweep. Throw in the corner, dash twice, fake crossup forward that hits way down your ass cheeks and literally mindfucks your eyes into blocking it as a crossup. Counterhits galore. Crouching jab, standing short. Standing jab, crouching strong. Every single counterhit low strong was linked to far standing roundhouse combos.
It was Akuma Vortex 101. Poor Heavy’s Sagat; once he hit the floor it was over. He’d be attacked from all directions and eating massive combos every which way. I saw jump back jumping strong instant overheads from Akuma that I’ve never seen before. It was really different to what Daigo did to Australia at APAC. Daigo destroyed us with an incredible ground game. Tokido was destroying us with an incredible vortex game.
I saw option selects I’ve never seen before. He did dive kick option select teleport on Toxy and followed Toxy’s teleport with his own teleport and cancelled into his Ultra II the Roflcopter for massive damage. He did this many times. I saw every single method of punishing teleport known to man. Walk up follow and sweep, option select tatsu, option select Raging Demon, option select teleport. You cannot escape Tokido’s Akuma. I even saw him do option jump back off a safe jump against Bison!
Ryu players know that against Bison you have to choose your option select; LP DP to beats EX devil’s reverse and tatsu to beat teleport and psycho crusher. Tokido does jump back option select almost as a universal option select against Bison. He inputs jump back during the safe jump and if the Bison does EX psycho crusher or anything like that, he gets punished with maximum damage.
You can never DP because his dive kick either beats it, or he attacks you in a way to make your uppercut whiff. He was doing nasty unblockable setups in the corner and then Toxy asked him to teach him his tricks!
Tokido immediately went into training mode and personally taught Toxy his corner down your ass cheeks faux-crossup, how to make it a crossup, unblockable setups, how to vary the setups and so much more. I was glued to my seat watching the best Akuma in the world teaching the best Akuma in Australia his pet tricks.
Toxy told him “Teach me how to beat Ryu. I need to beat Humanbomb!” And Tokido laughed and immediately said “Okay!”
The setups that this man has…damn. As a Ryu player I really felt helpless watching Tokido teach Toxy how to rape Ryu. Toxy would go “Can he DP this?” Tokido would say “No he’ll whiff if you delay/change this.” “It’ll crossup with forward or it’ll hit from the front with short or you can delay it and change it again.” “He can’t block this because it’s an unblockable setup, and if he focuses it you can sweep.” “If he DPs he’ll whiff, so you option select low forward to catch his backdash and recover enough to punish whiff DP with maximum damage.”
I’m sitting there just thinking; how the hell am I supposed to block any of this?
I finally saw the true unleashed power of Akuma that day. Holy shit.
Tokido was very open and honest. He would signify a negatory answer by doing an Ultraman arm cross in front of him.
I think the TEC guys were right; he is the ideal guy to get to come over.
Tokido even leaned over and personally taught me an Ryu option select. When receiving an ambiguous jump-in or crossup tatsu, do option select DP.
Do F, D, DF dp motion, hit B and then punch.
If you get hit from the front you’ll block, and if he crosses up you will autocorrect DP.
I’ve read about it on SRK before, but to have it shown to me by Tokido himself was a real treat.
Carnage and Heavy showed up, and Tokido played some more casuals with them. He told Carnage “You are so aggressive” which was probably meant to be advice for Carnage not to be overaggressive. But Carnage took it as a humongous butter! Hella funny.
Tokido was extremely animated when he was playing which was very different from Daigo who was really stoic in his play at Sydney. He would exhale huge sighs of relief and slump over when he would clutch a round out. He would say FFffff…when he missed combos and squeal “Ah!” and “Ooh!” upon receiving mixups. He would grin and snicker evilly when he did a nasty mixup. And when he was really stressed in the moment he would lapse into quick bursts of intense Japanese!
He was really funny to watch. He was up for anything and would do all kinds of humorous poses for the camera. I suppose a lot of that is because he can speak English and can interact and talk to us while we play unlike Daigo who must find it very difficult being unable to speak to anyone. He was able to understand the jokes, references and trash talk from Heavy and Carnage during matches, and it was clear he was enjoying himself.
He would take breaks to use Dave’s computer to Google and Twitter stuff. He would sit on the couch and talk about anything you wanted to ask him, all day. The funny thing is that I was braver at the start of the day, but after watching his amazing play in person I became a little tongue-tied and shy!
I even got to play him myself. I was remembering my previous embarrassment of my match against Daigo as I sat down and I shocked myself by taking an 80% life lead on Tokido first round. I got him down to a pixel’s worth of life and I tried to chip him out with an EX DP. He teleported out and was standing in the opposite corner. Ridiculously enough, with him having a sliver of life left and with me having 80% left, I suddenly felt a huge wave of pressure and an strong imminent feeling of choking. I was so sure that he would mount a huge comeback all the way to take the round and I would choke it up as I usually do. No-one was more shocked than me when I chipped him out to actually take a round off him!
But of course he double perfected me the next two rounds after that. He adapted so fast; my success in the first round was due to me being very aggressive in using fireballs during footsies and throwing uncharacteristic EX fireballs at him for knockdowns and positioning. The next two round he adapted just like that and focussed through all my fireballs for massive combos and knockdowns. Then he would do the vortex to me. After seeing what had happened to Heavy and the rest I was determined not to whiff an uppercut and try to block everything. But he just comes at you in so many different ways and once you get hit, it’s a crouch jab stand fierce short tatsu into anything combo every single time. You just take massive damage everytime you guess wrong and then you’re on the ground again and you have to guess again. Guess wrong twice in a row and you’re stunned. And if you’re stunned, GG. He also counterhit me quite a bit despite me trying my damnedest to not press buttons. I’ve never seen someone get so many perfects on players of the calibre in the room like Toxy and Sol and Heavy and Carnage. And he counts his stun! He knows exactly when the dizzy will happen.
But overall I think we did better against Tokido than we did against Daigo. I think Daigo’s coming sort of levelled up the whole community and we also have had a lot more time to play the game and get better at it. I think Carnage would always come close to beating him in the matches I watched, using his unpredictable Adon. He would delayed uppercut, look at Tokido and say “Why didn’t you uppercut Tokido???” He would rush Tokido down in the way only Carnage can, and when he would do the Air Jaguar for the win, Tokido would avoid it with a cmk and cancel into Raging Demon for a clutch, clutch win.
Soon it was time to check in Tokido into his hotel room, and we brought him to Crown Casino for a late lunch. He had a big juicy Aussie steak sandwich, and fielded all sort of questions ranging from Wildcat’s Hakan to soccer to safe jumping Cammy. Heavy gave him a big thanks for coming down to Melbourne and doing such a huge thing for our community.
We went down to Galactic Circus and there were only two working setups left! Can you believe on those two solitary setups with nobody around on a Wednesday afternoon, Melbourne’s finest went at it against Tokido’s godlike Vanilla Akuma, and Toxy won the first game against Tokido in Melbourne! Not in Super, but in Vanilla! To be fair Tokido was using alts like Sagat and Ryu, but he soon switched to Akuma and Toxy beat him three times in the mirror match before Tokido beat him. I could not believe the hype before my eyes.
It was a great day to be unemployed.
We later went to Bluehouse to meet up with Akira, Naruga, Jeff, Exis and the rest, and Tokido bodied everyone before once again losing another Akuma mirrormatch to Toxy! He called it quits then and we headed for dinner. I was thinking he must be really tired playing all day after the plane flight and finally starting to feel it because he would have a few execution errors here and there whereas at the start of the day he would be hitting everything. One thing that he didn’t miss however was the far standing roundhouse loops on Sagat. He seemed to take an almost perverse pleasure in doing the loop over and over again on all the Sagats at Bluehouse, I guess he must really miss doing that to Sagat! He didn’t miss those; it would always be a solid twenty second smacking of Sagat.
And just as we were heading to Nando’s and I was thinking of him playing all day being tired, he actually walked up after noticing my demeanour and asked ME if I was tired! Damn.
So after dinner at Nando’s I finally left the group who were bringing Tokido back to the hotel for some well-deserved rest.
What a day. Damn. Tokido is godlike!
edit: Updated with a better picture.