Fuudo offers his insight on mentality and the new fighters.
First making himself known to the world with his dominant win at Evo 2011 in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition with his explosive Fei Long play, Keita “Fuudo” Ai from Japan has become a household name in the fighting game community for the better part of almost a decade.
A former longtime Virtua Fighter 5 world champion, Fuudo has long been not only one of Japan’s best fighting game players alongside the likes of Daigo Umehara, Tokido, Momochi, Sako, and Haitani but one of the world’s best as well with multiple top eight placings and first place tournament victories.
That being said, while Fuudo has been currently one of the most consistent players in Street Fighter V since 2016 with his patient, but explosive R. Mika (currently ranked seventh on the Capcom Pro Tour 2019 Global Leader Board), he always seems to come up just a bit short when it comes to securing some first place Capcom Pro Tour wins that he is very capable of achieving.
I sat down with him the day before Evo 2019 to discuss this supposed “curse” he has when it comes to tournament placings as well as his thoughts on his CPT 2019 performance so far. the new DLC characters, picking up Birdie as a secondary, and his mindset going into Evo 2019. This interview was done through Shino, one of Cygames Beast’s translators.
Marcos Blanco: You’ve been one of the most consistent players since season one of Street Fighter V. However, getting first place always seems to be just out of your grasp. What do you attribute that to? Do you feel “cursed” sometimes for coming so close?
Fuudo: Yes (laughs). That’s why I went to the waterfall if you saw on my Twitter. I went three times. It’s a cultural tradition but not a common practice.
MB: You’ve been using Birdie as a secondary character to compliment your R. Mika play. Which matchups and players do you feel Birdie is strong against as opposed to R. Mika? What’s your decision-making process when it comes to switching between these two characters?
Fuudo: Before I go into matches, I already know which character to use. Especially in top eight, the characters you see are mainly Ibuki, Akuma, and Rashid. I feel Birdie has the strongest chance against those characters.
MB: Do you consider Birdie your main over R. Mika now?
Fuudo: Conceptually, I try not to have him as my main character. I just feel more confident with Birdie against those top three characters.
MB: What’s your mentality and game plan going into Evo 2019? Which players do you consider your biggest obstacles to overcome to advance in the tournament?
Fuudo: To win Evo 2019, I have been practicing Birdie. I don’t want second or third place. I’ve had enough of that. I’m focused on winning Evo this year. As far as specific players, I can name Fujimura. Historically and statistically speaking, I have been losing against him and I definitely want to beat him.
MB: So the trailer for the three new characters Lucia, E. Honda, and Poison were leaked and then confirmed. What are your impressions of these characters based on the trailers so far?
Fuudo: The first impression I had of Lucia was, “Who is this (laughs)?” Honda, I have been waiting a long time for. In my view, it’s not so much about how your character stacks up against another character, but it’s more about how strong your character is overall. I hope Honda goes back to how he used to be in Street Fighter IV. Poison seems like a new character now. I’m looking forward to it.
MB: Does that mean you’re thinking of picking Honda up for serious tournament play?
Fuudo: Yeah I’d like to try him out. He’s really simple and straightforward. I like that about him. As you know I’ve been using Birdie so I don’t care how he looks (laughs).
MB: So it seems like you will qualify for Capcom Cup 2019 since you have enough points. As a player, what are some areas you need to improve on to win Capcom Cup 2019 finals?
Fuudo: I’ll just keep practicing what I’ve been doing. I want to focus on just winning. That is the burning desire that keeps me going.