Interview: Anarkira in Japan

player Fellow friend and Norwegian VFer Anarkira was on an exciting trip to Japan. I couldn’t resist questioning him about his time there, and how he experienced the “Japanese way” of playing Virtua Fighter 5.

Read more about it in the interview, exclusively on Goh Notes!

Insights into VF Japan

The day is June 20, 2008, 8 pm. On MSN. The interviewer is Leonard McCoy, the interviewee Anarkira.

Anarkira, let’s begin with a little introduction about yourself. What are the characters you chose in VF5? And why?

This is hard to answer but my main is still Goh – or, well, Goh I should say! I played Akira in VF4: Evolution and in the very beginning of VF5. Thus, Akira comes second, then Kage, Jeff, Wolf and a tiny bit with Lau – in that order. Goh as a character has just grown more interesting as, in the event of playing, I learnt more about the other characters. The more I learn the more possibilities and options I see with Goh.

Let’s talk about your trip to Japan. Where exactly in Japan did your trip go to?

Tokyo. But we stayed in Ikebukoro and traveled around.

What were the reasons behind the trip?

The primary reason behind the trip was to see Japan, of course. This was not a pure Virtua Fighter Trip. Had it been, then I would have played a lot more. We sort of had plans each day: to go to different places, to see different things and such but, in the end, we always found time to make a halt for Virtua Fighter. Also during the evening/night we always ended up in the arcades. The one nearest our hotel closed at 01:00.

We played VF in several arcades around Ikebukoro, Shibuya, Akiba. From smaller ones with only 2-3 Versus set-ups to the Sega Club with a whole floor filled with Virtua Fighter arcade machines.

VF5 in the arcade halls of Tokyo

Playing Virtua Fighter 5 in the arcade halls of Tokyo. What a joy …

You’re always speaking of "we?" With whom did you travel if I may ask?

My main travel companion was Darkfrog. Another Norwegian VFer who started playing for real when VF5 launched on the 360. He plays Wolf and Eileen.

What cultural highlights of Tokyo did you happen to visit: the geysers in Kamakura, Tokyo Tower?

*laughs* Hard to say, none of the landmarks maybe … Being sort of a geek, I liked Akihabara a lot. Akihabara is full of Otaku, game, anime, manga, and electronics shops as far as the eye can see – store by store, from very small to very big.

How much does playing VF5 cost in Japan and what do you have to do to play VF5 in the arcades?

A credit in japan was 100 yen [about $1], we did find a smaller arcade though that charged only 50 yen :D. Cards cost 500 yen and will be assigned to one character only. This is not a must-buy, but its very nice to keep track of your stats and items. You simply gotta have one :D!

Only one card?

Only one card? Sure …

All the customization of your character are done through another machine called VF Terminal. Here you can change your name, and motto; equip items, and so on. After we gave it several tries – our Japanese was not too good – we finally figured out how to do most of the stuff.

Did you happen to meet, or even play against, any VF celebrities?

I saw Chibita twice at the Ikebukoro Sega Place but he wasn’t there to play, only to talk to some other players. I also saw Fuudo. I didn’t get to play him as he was playing with some friends. But it was fun watching his matches. Apart from that, no one I can recognize the face of … Since I cant read most of the names, its hard. *laughs*

How was it to breathe VF arcade hall climate?

It was a very nice atmosphere at the arcades, and I remember the first time I put in my 100 yen to challenge a guy sitting at the other side of the VS cabinet. Its a whole different thing than Xbox Live that I’ve gotten horrendously used to. It moves smoother and much faster, you have to do perfect inputs. Also, whenever you are tired of playing you could watch VF.TV. They have a separate screen for this, showing events, commercials and matches from different arcades.

Will playing VF5 online again be a step back then?

Yes. I’m afraid to switch on the Xbox and get used to the lag and all the differences [to off-line play] again. You can’t play sloppy in Japan, and I noticed that mostly when playing Akira: shorter buffering time and you have to be spot on at what you input.

Have you gained any new in-sights regarding your gameplay from playing VF5 in the Japanese arcades?

Yeah, in some ways maybe. I have to practice this perfect input, become more solid – execute all the ETEGs and throw escapes every time. You can get so much punishment for being lazy. You have to polish your game and be at your best for the whole time.

Up-close shot of Access Card

A VF5 Access Card up-close. How beautiful …

Did you happen to watch any new technique, unknown to you before, that you’d like to dive into?

I saw a lot of solid play and, in there, some solid setups but none that were totally unknown. I did see a Kage though with some new combos, not the most damaging but very entertaining. TFT combos – I tried to remember them but it went by much too fast …

Could you try out or see any snippets of Virtua Fighter 5: Revolution, the newest installment of the franchise that is currently in the state of location-testing?

Unfortunately, there was no VF:R location testing while I was there. Nor did I see any new info or trailers. On a side-note: I did play and see BlazBlue though.

That’d be it, Ani. Thanks a lot for your time and effort you put into answering all these questions. And for the pictures, of course.

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