(Disclaimer: Episode 6 of the DBASP featuring Gamerbee has been delayed due to technical difficulties. So we decided to put out Episode 7 first.)
This interview was conducted at Jeff’s house, so a big thanks to Jeff for letting us use his place.
For this interview, Akira was kind enough to translate for us. You can listen to the entire thing with Mago’s Japanese and Akira’s translated English in the podcast, or as always you can just read the transcript of the interview below.
Thank you very much Akira and Syntax for helping with the translation. Akira, you did a fantastic job. Thanks to Bosslogic for another splendid banner and Heavy and Naruga for helping us with the intro. And finally, thank you Mago-san for taking the time to sit down with us.
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Don’t be a Scrub Podcast Episode 7 Intro: Heavy Weapons and Naruga
Spidercarnage: Hi everyone, this is Episode 7 of the Don’t be a Scrub Podcast. We are once again in the night time-Box Hill area. My name is Spidercarnage aka Verbosemute on Xbox Live. As always, my interviewing partner is Mutton aka Muttonhead01 on PSN. Today we have two guests to actually help us along with the intro. We have Mr Heavy Weapons and Mr Naruga aka the Mole.
So what did you guys think of Shadowloo Showdown? This past weekend? Naruga, what was your favourite moment.
Naruga: The finals, probably. Gamerbee vs Tokido. When he dashed at the bottom of that [air] fireball. Epic, yeah.
Muttonhead: Were you rooting for Tokido or Gamerbee?
N: A bit of both.
M: Heavy, what was your favourite moment.
Heavy Weapons: That was one of them. There was a fair few. For me, actually probably the best one was getting to mirrormatch Mago in Super. I moneymatched him after the singles were finished. That was probably the best point for me. But in terms of a spectator’s point of view? Yeah, probably [the finals.]
Actually for me, that was really clutch what Gamerbee did. Dashing under and then [hit] confirming into Super. A few of Tokido’s Demons with the Jaguar kicks or Jaguar tooths, whatever they’re called?
That was some killer moments. I even did an orgasm on the mic. I don’t know even anyone heard it. AAohhAAh!
M: So Heavy, are you the saltiest commentator ever? I heard you salting everybody from Sydney to Melbourne to Mole to…
H: What do you mean I was salting everyone! I was being nice and stuff!
M: You’d be like: “Naruga really knows the Honda matchup.”
N: And I shouted: “No I don’t!”
H: You do!
N: I don’t! I really don’t.
H: I was under the impression that Mole knew the matchup. Sorry, Mole.
N: It’s alright.
H: I wasn’t trying to salt ya, anyway.
S: I have to say one of my favourite moments was Mago and Heavyweapons vs. Toxy and Tokido. The pool match.
N: The pool match! Yeah, that was good.
S: On Saturday night.
H: The pool match?
S: The pool match! Billiards. Pool.
H: Oh! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That was pretty epic.
N: Tokido hustled all of you. (laughs.)
H: What do you mean, he didn’t hustle me. If he played me now, I’d have fuckin’ slapped him silly. Naw, he hustled Toxy. He really hustled Toxy.
N: [Saying;] “I’ve only played two times.”
H: “I’ve only played two times.” And I could tell, this guy hasn’t played two times. Number one, if you play one time, why would you play a second and not a third? It seems pretty shifty.
And Toxy’s like… Toxy felt bad. But I know Toxy is…from what he tells me he used to be okay at pool. But not that good. But for me when i heard Tokido say that, I was like…something seems fishy. But, Toxy should…it’ll be a good match. But they went down to the black, I think. So I mean, he didn’t really get hustled. He just fimbled, I guess.
S: Yeah, haha. A very rare moment [of fimbling] for Toxy.
H: Probably another moment was…when Mago started to try and show off and jump on the weights. And I asked him; I pointed to the weights and go, “Moneymatch?” And he’s like, “Oh! No, no!” And Tokido just beasted on it. Mago was like struggling, but Tokido was just like…
S: Just does four, five reps.
H: Tokido seems like a general like, he’s really like a all-round talented sort of guy. That’s what he seems like. But anyway.
M: So what about you Naruga? What was your favourite moment of the guests.
N: Probably when they got drunk.
S: On Saturday night.
N: Yeah! That was good.
H: Mago hugging everyone.
N: Hugging everyone. I got a bit drunk, as well.
H: Just for the record, that’s the first time Naruga has ever gotten drunk. And before Mago got here, I said, “You and Mago are going to be buttercups.” And he goes, “No way. No no no.” Due to the fact that Mago’s a disgusting Vanilla Sagat player, and he invented disgustingness, I knew Mole was going to be buttered up with him. So that was funny.
Another really good moment was getting to moneymatch Tokido in Vanilla. That was actually probably another big highlight. So, moneymatching Mago in Super and him in Vanilla.
S: Did you actually beat him in Vanilla?
H: What, Tokido?
N: One game.
H: Pretty much what happened was… Every match? Because it was first to two, best of three. Every match went down to the third round. Or fifth round rather. So we went 1-1 and then the last one he beat me. He’s just…[a] beast, man. He really knows the Sagat matchup. It’s pretty much like playing Toxy on steroids. It helped that I’ve had that matchup experience. But Gamerbee was just…I was not ready for that.
I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. He was like Diu! Diu! (Heavy making flying sounds and gesturing.) He’s all over the joint, y’know? Didn’t help that I hadn’t slept for like 41 hours or something?
I forgot how to block, y’know?
Which way was it again…was it back or forward? Up, down?
My Sagat’s just going…he’s looking around. Trying to find answers. Just yeah. It was a great weekend, a really good weekend. So yeah.
M: So who do you wanna see for next year, Naruga?
N: I would to like to see Sako…
M: Sako your favourite player?
N: Yes, because he uses all my characters.
H: You mean you use all of his.
N: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Laughs.)
M: He even looks a little bit like you. You know, really well-dressed. Slim asian guy.
S: Except for twenty years older.
H: And about 20 kilos heavier.
S: And a bit taller I believe as well.
H: Mole’s a bit salty that he’s married, you know. Because now Mole has to get married. To be like Sako.
S: To follow the Sako way. So who would you like to see, Heavy?
M: He already saw his [idol]. Mago, so…
H: Nah, nah no. There’s more I’d love to see.
I’d really love to see those guys come back. In particular, Tokido. It really helps that he can speak very, very fluent English for a Japanese person. I was very…
Even just not talking about the game, talking about other shit was pretty cool.
So I’d really like to see Tokido, all of them come back to be honest. But if I had to say I’d like to see someone else come, it would be Bonchan. For a number of reasons. The obvious one is he plays Sagat, and he’s using Super Sagat. And apparently Tokido was saying that he’s very outspoken and makes a lot of jokes like myself. And he actually said…I think Naruga, you were there yeah?
H: He’s like Bonchan’s just like you Heavy. Same thing, you know? Yeah, we both talk shit.
But another guy I’d really love to see come down is Uryo. I’d love to see that. And I know Naruga would to love to see that too.
H: For me I’d like to see him because I really like to watch Viper. Fuckin’ cool. Lately I’ve been…I wouldn’t say trying to learn her…I’d say fimbling around and just mucking around, you know.
And he’s got…he can use Sakura. So I can learn that matchup finally.
There was one person I would like to see. Oh, Momochi.
Momochi would be very good to see come down especially that Ken’s getting better. I really want to see what he can do. I just have the feeling that if we told him, “Can you play this character?” He’d be like, “Sure.” And just beast everyone with him. Because I’ve heard a fair few things of him being really, really talented and natural at SF. Compared to some of the other guys who have to really work hard at the game?
I know that Toxy and Ero_Oyaji would be real buttered if Momochi came down.
So yeah, that’s probably who I would like to see. Bonchan, Uryo and…Momochi. That would be really cool.
S: What did you think of Melbourne’s performance overall in the tournament?
H: Mole? What do you reckon?
N: I think we did pretty good.
Um, I have to think about it first. Let Heavy go first.
H: I think we did okay. But I just feel in the last few tournaments, Melbourne has underachieved. Not to discredit Sydney they…
S: They really brought it this time.
H: Yeah, they’re doing well.
S: Why do you think that is though? Because they have a smaller community or?
H: I think because…going back to what I said in that Don’t be Scrub interview what was it? Episode 2?
I think it comes down to…they were more technical with the game before we were. Apart from Naruga and Toxy really. And then Sol kind of came in a little bit later.
But Sol was technical but he sort of lacked other things. But he sort of brought them to the table [recently]. And I feel that Melbourne is just beginning to do those things.
Some of the Sydney players I was playing, they were like, “Oh. He delay uppercuts.” So that must say something about when I play them. Not what they think of me in general, just my playstyle, what they think. So obviously before, my delay uppercut wasn’t good. I’ve just understood what it is.
I think what Melbourne…going to the whole thing about arcades? I feel like Sydney they’ve gotten…I don’t know. I don’t know what to put it. I don’t want to make excuses. But I just that once the arcade comes I think Melbourne will get much stronger. We’re just elevating as a community, so I think it’s a matter of time before we get one back on the board.
S: So Naruga, what do you think of Sydney’s performance?
N: I would have to agree with Heavy. I think for a very long time, Melbourne was really casual. Like we would get together and then play casual games, like a lot. But we really didn’t discuss the technical side of stuff?
H: And it wasn’t sort of people willing to learn. There were some really good Vanilla players…they were really solid at the basics you know? But like Naruga said…they didn’t want to [learn the technical side of things]. I was one of them, at the start I didn’t really want to learn. But then, as I started to get a bit more technical, I wanted to learn, you know?
I think we lack the technicality as Naruga and I’ve definitely agreed on. So. But I think we did better. I think we better this time.
S: Well as always, thank you Heavy. Thank you Naruga.
H & N: No problem.
S: I guess the Mago interview will be fully transcribed and up on Mutton’s blog as always.
Yeah, enjoy the interview. Thank you very much.
Don’t be a Scrub Podcast Episode 7: Mago 2D God
Muttonhead: Hi everybody, this is Mutton. I’m by myself today because Igor can’t make it. He’s working like a… normal person should. We’re at Jeff’s house today, and Akira’s kind enough to be our translator today.
Today we have arguably the best player in the world, Mago 2D God himself. So let’s get right into it.
1- Mago-san how did you get into fighting games?
Mago (as translated by Akira): Mago has a brother, an elder brother. And this elder brother asked him to play Street Fighter together at home on console. And that’s where his fighting game history began.
Mago-san, what was your first tournament?
He entered a little tournament in a local arcade in Tokyo and the game was called Rival schools.
2- Mago-san how did you get the name Mago?
His nickname back in junior high school was Ago. Ago means chin in Japanese.
Chin, as in the part of your face?
Yes. He was entering this tournament in CvS2 and he got third. He entered as “Ago” as his player name. But for some mistake it became “Mago”. And in Japanese katakana “Ah” is similar to “Mah”. So if you write it very quickly sometimes they can’t really tell. And he thought “Ago” gives a bit of scary image or an intimidating image as opposed to “Mago” which sounds slightly cuter or more sort of approachable, so he decided to use that ever since.
So what about…when did people start calling you 2D God.
He won in SBO back in 2004 for CvS2 and then next year he also won Capcom Fighting Jam. Two different fighting games he won in SBO. And the next game he started to play was KOF 11. And he was quite strong, arguably the best. And he was actually quite strong so that people around him knowing that he is so good at a lot of games, started calling him 2D God. And it was kind of not so serious at the beginning. And when SBO in 2006 [came around], and he had his self-introduction part in the SBO pamphlet and he wrote himself as 2D God just as a joke. But people actually took it very sort of seriously. Because he was so strong that it sounded credible. And people started calling him [that] and it became as it is now.
3- What is your favourite fighting game?
His favourite is KOF 11. That’s his best [game] and [the game] he likes the most. But after the SBO, everyone stopped playing very quickly so he had no opponents and he hasn’t played since.
So it’s a bit of a shame.
And he also really likes CvS2.
Oh. Same as Tokido. So what about your favourite non-fighting game?
Basically he doesn’t play games other than fighting games. But if [he] were to pick one, [it would be] Final Fantasy.
And Final Fantasy is his favourite.
So what is your favourite character from Final Fantasy Ten.
Rikku. The little girl.
4- So what are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
His strength is; he can continue to play the game and he can enjoy the game. Therefore he can play more and he can improve, continuously.
So his passion?
His passion. Yes. And his style, as a playstyle, his strength is that he sticks to the basics. And say for example in Street Fighter 4, he knows the matchups and all these strategies really well. That’s why it also becomes his weaknesses.
Which is that sometimes if the opponent has an absolute random style…
Oh, he can beat him.
Yes…he cannot predict, it’s just so random that if it’s just a once chance thing, he might lose.
I see. That’s a great answer.
5- Mago-san, what are your character’s hardest matchups. For Fei Long.
Chun Li or Honda.
For Honda, Fei Long cannot attack. Fei Long’s main way to attack is to use rekka or chicken wing. And for chicken wing, if Honda predicts it, he can pretty much kill with straight jump up heavy punch. And can deal a lot of damage into combo. Fei Long even if he predicts straight jump up heavy punch, there’s not much…
He can’t punish it.
Yeah. And also for rekka, it’s a little bit difficult but if Honda can predict it well and execute well, he can do crouch light punch…
Hands. And also can even link into super if he’s got meter. So it’s pretty risky depending on how to use it.
And for Chun Li, Chun Li actually moves faster, so Fei Long cannot actually catch Chun Li. If Chun Li shoots Kikoken from a safe distance, Fei Long has to back off. So in general, it’s a very difficult matchup for Fei Long.
6- What is your favourite arcade of all time?
His favourite arcade is where he used to work. It’s called Gamer’s Vision. But it no longer exists. And his second favourite is called Shinjuku Moa. But that also closed down. So none of those still exist any longer.
So you must be pretty sad about that.
He is very sad.
7- What do you do for a living?
Basically he played Street Fighter 4, and as for job, he’s helping his friend’s job at the moment. And only just like this, he travels overseas. He gets invited to overseas. That’s pretty much…
All he does now. Okay.
8- You went from a heavy zoning character, which is Sagat, to a more footsie-based character, Fei Long. How did you find the transition, and which style do you prefer more?
He didn’t have any problems in the transition because he is a very good CvS player and CvS2 is basically about footsies. Not about like, zoning. So he had no problems.
Just that he hadn’t played a footsie character for a while so he needed a little bit of time to get back into it. But [it] was not a problem.
And for which style he prefers more, he prefers Sagat’s style.
9- Why do you always choose white colour outfits for your characters?
He likes white as a colour, and he thinks it’s clean and it’s pure. And also he believes that it carries a “smart” image.
10- Do you think your personality in real life will kind of affect the way you play Street Fighter? (Question contributed by Mooseking.)
He thinks it does show in the gamestyle, the [player’s] real personality.
For example, he likes stability, so that’s why he sticks with basics. And he builds strategies around it. So his weakness like I said, it’s like if the opponent does random moves, he can’t really read the mind. So that is also in real life too. And if he gets used to it, it’s not a problem. So maybe he’s not really comfortable with someone who he can’t really read what he’s gonna say or do.
11- You’re arguably the best player in the world. So why is it only recently you started to go overseas for tournaments?
He believes that he is quite possibly the best player in Street Fighter 4 and also he is very confident that he is arguably the best in Super Street Fighter 4 too. As for the opportunity thing about coming out overseas; he didn’t really have the opportunities? That’s pretty much it.
And if he were to go overseas, he needs to pay for the accommodations and travel expenses and all these things. And also he needs to actually play really well. He’s got a reputation [to uphold]. He has to prepare a lot.
And he did prepare for Evolution for last year and this year; but he had other commitments and he couldn’t really go.
And I think it’s also that his recent performance in Godsgarden, Godsgarden 2, all these things that the overseas people, overseas players who watched it and graded him really highly and wanted to invite him overseas so he is given more opportunities, so to speak.
But he did intend to go to last year and this year’s Evolution, just that he had other things [on] and he couldn’t really go.
Speaking of Godsgarden2, the Godsgarden online tournament that you just won. How did you prepare individually for each player?
For the playing condition, he prepared everything to be near perfect. And in Godsgarden 2, he already knew his opponent and his character beforehand. So what he did was he tried to play with his friends who use the same character again and again and prepare. And build a character strategy and his style so that he is prepared.
And also for his personal condition, he slept well, ate well, and he did a bit of stretch just before the tournament.
Oh a stretch. Heheh.
So he was prepared to play.
As you are all aware, Godsgarden is first to ten [games]. So character strategy is more important than knowing the opponent. So he concentrated on what this character can do, and what your character can do to beat that.
Speaking of first to tens, what’s the longest set that you’ve ever played against anyone?
Both in Vanilla and Super Street Fighter 4, he’s played 20 hours straight. Other than taking breaks for toilet and going to buy a can of drink.
And usually after that 20 hours he is so tired that he just collapses pretty much and falls asleep. And that’s one versus many.
One versus one, normally the opponent can’t really play for as long as he wants to so basically, 30-50 matches for the opponent. And then the opponent goes; I’ve had enough, I’m tired. And then he changes to the next opponent. And then this 20 hour session he continue [in] that [way] one after another.
And for one versus one the same person, the longest he said is that in Super Street Fighter 4 against Daigo, 150 matches in one day.
And up to now, the only person who is happy to play more than a hundred matches consecutively one on one with Mago, he knows, is Daigo. Only Daigo.
Very interesting. So…
12- Who were your mentors or teachers when coming up in the fighting game scene?
This person called Morikawa. He learned a lot from Morikawa back in CvS2. He’s not quite sure that he’s absorbed everything that Morikawa taught him, but had he not been there, he wouldn’t be where he is right now.
13- A lot of new fighting games are coming out. Like Street Fighter versus Tekken. Marvel versus Capcom 3. Mortal Kombat. Tekken Tag. Which of these games are you most excited to play?
He’s looking forward to playing all the new titles coming out. At the moment because Marvel vs. Capcom is coming out the earliest out of all the other titles, so he’s looking forward to playing that one at the moment.
Any particular characters that you’re looking to play in Marvel?
He has no prior information…he does not know what characters are in the game so he can’t really decide yet.
He likes Cable in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Magneto.
14- What did you think of your performance in Shadowloo Showdown?
As a tournament, Shadowloo Showdown, Mago thinks that it was a really good tournament and it was well-organised. And he could actually sense this rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne and it was sort of tense, it was good. And the venue was clean, and well-organised, and the schedule went as planned, and everything was smooth. And he really liked it.
He said that even if he won the tournament, for the result he’s happy. But as for his playstyle and the quality of his playstyle, he’s never fully happy. He will always continue to improve.
It’s interesting that you could notice the rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney. Is there regional rivalries in Japan?
He believes that [Japan] has that kind of rivalry. Back in Street Fighter 4 Vanilla, there was this match between Kanagawa prefecture and Saitama prefecture or Nagoya versus Kanagawa. There were these matches and amongst all these the most popular is Kanto East Tokyo Area, vs Kansai Osaka, West side. So East versus West. Tokyo versus Osaka.
There is a rivalry that if you do the team battle versus say, Kansai versus Kanto. Kanto player level is higher than Kansai so…Kansai’s level is high, but comparing it to Kanto, Tokyo area, they have more players so inevitably [the general standard] becomes higher level.
15- What do you like to do for fun outside of fighting games?
Watching anime and reading manga.
So what’s your favourite anime and manga?
Anime- Cowboy Bebop.
Favourite character from Cowboy Bebop?
The main character called Spike, and his rival is Vicious. That is his favourite character.
What about favourite manga?
He likes a manga called Ping-Pong.
Ping-Pong? Ohh…table-tennis manga. Great.
Favourite character from Slam Dunk?
The coach. (Mago does the Sakuragi bobbling Ansai’s double chin motion.)
The message to Australian players- You guys are clearly aware that there are a lot of guys who are better than you guys at the moment worldwide. So, try harder and at the moment Japan is at the top. But in the future, he says that he doesn’t really know. He’s not sure if Japan can continue to stay on the top or any other country in the world.
He says that we should try harder so that we can one day be able to compete at that level. To become the top.
Anybody you want to thank or give shoutouts to?
Big thanks to Ali, Muhammad Ali!
Thanks very much. Thank you Mago-san.
Akira: No worries.