So I didn't go this year.
Plane ticket to Atlanta cost a lot plus I was feeling out of motivation for fighting games in general and all.
But man oh man was it amazing to streammonster.
First off, any "anime" fighting game player worth his salt knows who Kusoru is.
If you've got the five gods of fighting games in Japan, you also have the five kusoge (shitty games) gods as their dark mirror.
Kusoru is one, the common joke is he is the weakest member.
His SBO resume is full of shitty game achievements:
SBO08 Hokuto no Ken qualifier
SBO09 Tatsunoko vs Capcom champion
SBO10 Sengoku Basara X Top 8
Kusoru got his start in Guilty Gear, a decidedly not kuso (according to Japan anyway) game where he refused to play seriously.
Or rather, he had extremely strong game sense to the point where he would just abuse it to make you play at his trollish nonsensical rhythm.
Things like constant inefficient RCs off the weirdest moves, wake up supers, using bad supers in general, that kind of thing.
His name came from the combination of kuso (shit) and Soru (sol), which he admitted himself was his level in the game.
"I am not good at Guilty Gear in Japan."
That's more or less Kusoru and Guilty Gear.
While he didn't find much tournament success, he built up a name for himself as being a masterful troll who could sometimes rob top players of wins by being a complete clownface.
Kusoru and Marvel vs Capcom 3.
This might sound harsh, but one of the things about the kusoge gods is that they refuse to play what the Japanese consider legitimate fighting games.
Or rather, they refuse to play them seriously.
Instead, they devote all their effort to playing really shitty broken games at the highest levels for fun.
Games like Hokuto no Ken, where you can combo into Instant Kills or literally bounce your opponents across the stage to absurd heights by hitting them enough times.
Games like Fate Unlimited Codes, where full screen instant overheads and completely ambiguous camera cross-ups are the norm.
This is why Tokido, while playing tons of fighters, even what some Americans dub "anime" fighters such as Blaz Blue, is viewed as a legitimate fighting game god and not a kusoge god.
Even when he played Vanilla Marvel 3, he played it his way, and the same way he plays almost all his games, finding the most efficient and cheapest shit he knew, and abusing the hell out of it.
He basically played MVC3 from an American's point of view at an American level.
Let's get this straight right away, Marvel vs Capcom 3 and its upgrade Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 are not viewed as good fighters in Japan.
They fall squarely into the kusoge camp.
The same was true for MVC2, which was pretty much dead empty when I visited Japan (everyone was on CVS2).
However, there are quite a few differences between the backgrounds for the games, and they lead to very different outcomes in Japan's scene.
MVC2 was solely developed by Capcom.
A pretty lazy Capcom JP, but Capcom nonetheless, with literally no balance attempts made, nothing thought over, a gigantic mishmash stew of ideas and characters thrown together.
Japan was not willing to forge this mess into anything, but the USA scene was perfectly willing to beat on this game until it became something worth showing to others.
Let's face it, no one was interested in 3rd Strike back then, KOF and GG were fringe, and 3D fighters were another universe to 2D players.
The only other game that had interest was CVS2, which required a different skillset and mindset.
MVC2's tech and gameplay is something wholly American and unique, and while the community was not as insular as say Smash, the game had pretty high walls to scale on entry.
The tech evolved so far that it actually looped back upon itself, unfortunately its insular nature was also its bane.
Everyone loved watching Marvel, but it was actually losing entrants.
However it probably could have ran on fumes in America for a long long time...until Capcom woke up and made Street Fighter 4.
MVC3 is quite a different beast.
First, it was developed by Capcom and Eighting.
Eighting developed previous games for Capcom before, including the decidedly kusoge Fate Unlimited Codes and Tatsunoko vs Capcom, which was kusoge to the Japanese cause it was broken as shit, and was kusoge to the Americans because it wasn't named Marvel vs Capcom.
However, there is no way Capcom could make Marvel vs Capcom 3 the same way as they made Marvel vs Capcom 2.
Marvel vs Capcom 2 wasn't thought out at all, was made 10+ years ago by throwing tons of character ideas into a blender, beating it with a hammer by Americans for a lot more years while getting rid of all the impurities (all the useless characters) and forged into a sword.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 was a very calculated move, more or less Capcom brought in a developer known for making broken games, and asked them to try to make a plastic replica copy of that 10 year old sword.
Whether they did an ok job or failed miserably is still up for debate.
The use of Eighting made Marvel vs Capcom 3 feel way closer to Japanese "anime" combo based fighters than ever before.
Even with the lower execution, imported systems from MvC2, and English-focused release, the game always felt like a Japanese localization of MVC2.
Japan more or less agreed.
Because of all the silly systems, the game was still relegated to kusoge, but not kusoge of the untouchable kind such as MVC2 or Smash.
Instead, it attained the status of regular old kusoge, and with that title, came the kusoge gods.
Kusoge players don't play to win.
There I said it, the great anti-Sirlin line.
Or rather they do, but there is almost nothing at stake for them besides their own love of the game.
If you beat them, you have proven yourself a more devoted fan of shitty games than they have, and they will actually be happy for you and with you.
I sincerely believe Kusoru loves Marvel vs Capcom 3 precisely because it is at its heart, a fun but bad game.
I also sincerely believe he loves Sengoku Basara X, the game he flashed on stream after defeating Flip Champ, for the exact same reasons, although that game hurts me to think about it.
He plays for something completely different than most of the people he beat at Final Round.
Of course there's pride but it's a different sort of pride than the traditional "popping off" pride of Marvel, like that of a B-movie fanatic or a campy comic collector, he plays purely out of a love of terrible games.
This mentality is 100% in opposition to most of the American Marvel scene and unfortunately leads to the obvious conclusion:
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a terrible game.
Not only that, it is a terrible "anime" game, because we are somehow losing not to a legitimate player like Tokido fighting on our terms with our tech, but an illegitimate player like Kusoru fighting on his own terms with his own tech.
Speaking of tech, I found it pretty convenient that everyone forgot Kusoru was the first person to discover the DHC glitch back in Vanilla.
But Kusoru's tech at FR (and all the hilarious wrong things people did against it) is a wall of text for another day.
Until then, I guess take a lesson from Kusoru.
Play for the love of the game.
Or get log trapped.