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Tekken Mura Interview with Deku

The next part of Shana's ongoing series of interviews with famous Tekken players for the Tekken Mura website has recently been published. In this part, Shana interviews famed Japanese Mishima player Deku aka Ryo - who you might remember from being Japan's first ever Tekken God by beating Nobi in a deathmatch. Translation of the interview with Deku done by me and the next interview Shana conducted and will be publishing for the Tekken Mura website will be with Korea's own JDCR.

▌Shana's interview with Deku
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―― Thanks for taking the time for today, to start things off can you tell us about how you started playing Tekken?

Deku: I was in Elementary School when I first started going to game centres (arcades). I was roughly still in Year 1 or 2 of Elementary School when Tekken 1 first came out in arcades but my parents would sometimes take me to arcades around that time. It was difficult to convince them to go however so I couldn't always go and play it. I started to really play Tekken seriously near the end of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection's era when Tougeki (SBO) would run tournaments and I'd play with a Julia player named Yuki.


―― That's interesting, many Korean players started playing Tekken with Tekken Tag Tournament 1.

Deku: I did play TTT1 but I was still in Year 3 or 4 of Elementary School when I would play it. I really wasn't taking the game seriously, I was just enjoying the game casually. I really went serious with Tekken with Tekken 5 DR when I was 18 years old.


―― I see, on that topic weren't you once a Steve player?

Deku: Yeah I was. I started using Steve Fox in Tekken 5. But strictly speaking I was a Mishima player in the earlier parts of the T5 era but I later went and picked up Steve Fox to beat a fellow senior high school classmate who would pick Steve and mash with him. Steve Fox was in Tekken 4 but I felt like he was a totally new character in Tekken 5. Ever since I started playing with Steve in Tekken 5, I found him fun and interesting to play so I made him my main in Tekken 6. When Tekken 6 Bloodline Rebellion came out, the update made Mishima characters weaker and made Steve Fox stronger. This made a lot of Mishima players drop Mishimas and a lot more people picking up Steve Fox. Because of that, I went ahead to changing my main character to the Mishimas or specifically, Devil Jin. Talking about Tekken Tag Tournament 2, I feel like I can pick a lot of characters to pair up with Devil Jin. I don't have a main team combination in this game I feel, I can just pick anyone. As long as they're fun to play.


―― Did you ever have a mentor to help teach you the game?

Deku: My Mishima mentor was Hamaha I think. My first mentor that taught me the game was Yuki though. During Tekken 6, I entered Tougeki (SBO) with Yuki with my Kazuya as I felt that I wasn't fully confident with my Steve at the time and Kazuya was really strong in that game. The day before Tougeki (SBO), I went ahead and deathmatched Hamaha and at the time we were both Dragon Lord ranks in the game. Out of the 70 games we played between each other, I was leading ahead of him by around 5 ~ 10 games. It was the first time I was able to pull a huge crowd around me filled with people eagerly watching our games. After those games, I got to personally talk with Hamaha and meet him often in person. One of the advice he gave me was that I should enter Tougeki with Yuukun♪, who was at the time a really popular Anna player with many people looking to pair up him. Hamaha said that me and Yuki paired up with him will make us the strongest team in the Tekken tournament. After that, he didn't say it directly to me but I was told that Hamaha wanted me to be the next generation Hamaha. So he ended up being my mentor along with Nobu. Nobu was really good with Heihachi and I learned to play Heihachi through him. So it ends up with me practicing the game every day with those 2 being my Mishima mentors and Yuki who would teach me the basic's of the game.


―― That's quite the history with Mishimas, do you feel that Mishima characters are really good in this game? What do you think of them?

Deku: I think that the Mishimas are the best characters if you can master them. Their level of pressure is unmatched if you can get at such a high level with them.


―― So it's related to their movement.

Deku: Yes, depending on if you can master the wavedash motion and movement with them. For example, If Nobi was in your face trying to pressure you he has to be mindful about when he can dash in and attack or block. Where as with Mishimas, you always have to be mindful of the wavedash motion as well as the Electric Wind God Fist that you will always suspect coming. Whether or not the Mishima player will do the Electric and If he can do it to kill the opponent for whiffing is important. I find that to be the Mishima's biggest strengths but of course, it does come down to whether or not the player can make the electric come out and If he has the patience. If you have the patience and the execution for Mishimas, then they are the best characters in the game.


―― So it depends on the player's skill I see, I can only really whiff punish with jabs. (laughs) That really is incredible if you can succeed with Mishimas.

Deku: Yeah it really is and If you play with Mishimas you may have lost more games in total then won trying to perfect it. But If you can master Mishima pressure then you can easily make the opponent hesitate.


―― How do you feel about the way you play compared to when you first started playing seriously? Do you feel like anything has changed since then about the game or the people that play it?

Deku: As of these days, I find online Tekken to be convenient and more prevalent leaving less people going to arcades. Being able to play the game at home is really good. I'm not sure if this goes for the people in Tokyo but I imagine online is really better for people in smaller and more local regions since they can just play online all the time without money restrictions. Along with that people can learn to get better at the game through matches online making them less inclined to go to the arcade. Unless there was an event of sorts like the Tekken Bancho Kumite in arcades in those local regions that made the players want to come out and play. I like to think of those Namco Sugamo Kumite events where the winner of a local Ranking Battle event receives a free trip to go to another arcade in a different region and play against players in that region play as good incentive to get people to attend the arcades. I think it's a good idea and would like to think it would work for arcades in other regions if they can get their local Ranking Battle winners roadtrips to Tokyo.

I've myself heard from players that it's too much of a bother to come out to arcades frequently and that they don't have much money to travel so we need more of those Kumite events where there is a free road trip incentive to get more players out and playing. Especially the numerous really skilled Tekken players in Japan that nobody ever hears about since they never get themselves out there.


―― So it's hard for those strong players in different regions to come out. From what I experience from that is that it spoils people and builds a lack of self-reliance. If the only way to get players to come out was to offer them roadtrips to Tokyo.

Deku: Just to slightly change the topic, I find it is extremely difficult for older Tekken players to play and win in Tekken Tag Tournament 2. You could have several strategies or set-ups you might be fishing for in this game all to find that the opponent will just keep launching you with one strong launcher. Players just focusing on getting that one strong launch rather then working on all the other aspects of the game tend to succeed more overall. Not to mention just using 2 Tekken characters who may already be complicated to learn and use, it may be too hard for players to stay on top of the rest of the competition or kept interested in playing and coming back to arcades.


―― I've heard from Korean players myself that there are a lot of Japanese players that constantly aim for counters. It was said that there was a difference in fundamentals since Koreans prefer to work on their movement.

Deku: My style of play is similar to Korea. Well my style and Hamaha's style too I think. Shana you've already seen me play Tekken and I've played Knee online before which was a lot of fun. Through that experience and watching Help Me's Tekken videos, I feel that it is certainly the case - the difference in general Japanese and Korean style of play.


―― You think there's a difference between Japan and Korea style of play? I find that the Koreans are generally stronger.

Deku: Speaking of this game at high levels, I think Korea overall has more 'top' level players then us. Reasons I think that is that in Japan we don't have any arcades that are still open way past midnight. All the nocturnal people who prefer to play late at night can't play as much as they use too. In the older days when I would go to Nagoya to play Tekken, there was a lot of arcades that would run really late into the night. You had several people to play Tekken with, even at 5' o' clock in the morning, people would be playing Tekken. Although I haven't been able to talk to any Korean players myself, the general busy 'day-to-day' circumstance of an average Japanese player is really different now, they may not have the time to play the game and deathmatch people all the time. You may get this impression when you watch my matches against Nobi. In Korea I find that the players over there will just deathmatch anybody at any time frequently, they'll just say 'bring it on' and constantly deathmatch each other for a long time while players in Japan will be hesitant to deathmatch other people. And when those Japanese players finally do end up deathmatching other people they're like 'I'll hopefully beat this guy fast before it gets too late....' Me and Nobi feel that way sometimes and so do other high level Japanese players too I think. I feel like we aren't as enthusiastic to constantly play this game all the time and deathmatch people. Honestly.


―― So you don't find it all too interesting to play against Nobi, it's not so interesting when you guys play without the cards. In Tokyo; you, Nobi and Furumizu were the only players to reach the Tekken God rank. I find it interesting when other players get to a really high rank but in Japan we don't get a lot of players to get at Tekken God rank.

Deku: It's also interesting when Nobi or Take gets their sub characters at a really high rank too. It's kind of ideal when a player can beat someone else's main team with their sub characters isn't it? We used to have data cards that locked players into using their main only for the most part but now we can deathmatch people with a variety of characters. The lower level players may find it hard to promote off players who may use a variety of characters. Well if you really cared about ranking up in the first place.


―― As it stands now though, it seems like it's really difficult to get any new Tekken Gods.

Deku: It would be very difficult. The Kansai region and Kyushu region only ever had 1 person be at that rank. We won't be seeing a lot of Tekken Gods until we get a lot more Tekken Emperors around. It's not really that interesting when a player gets to Tekken Emperor rank when Nobi already has gotten to it with the same characters but as his subs. Especially when Nobi succeeds with his sub characters by just using other characters in a really basic form with good fundamentals. That's the way I feel after I've beaten other people with my sub characters.


―― Deku out of all the Korean players you've seen, who do you think are 'top 3,' best players out of all the Korean players?

Deku: 1st place is Help Me. 2nd place, out of all the players I've seen in terms of overall Tekken skill level would be Knee I think. 3rd place would be Jundding although I was easily able to beat him at Matador Cup 5 with a simple style of play so I kinda doubt him. If I was to say the top players out of Korean players I personally love to watch then it'll just be Help Me and Saint on top at the same level. (laughs) But generally Korea has a lot of strong players.


―― From now on do you have any goals that you would like to achieve in Tekken?

Deku: Although I can't go to a lot of places as of now, I would go to more special events in arcades and tournaments If needed be. Although I'm not sure that's really much of a goal. Because Tekken is a really good tool for bringing people together who you may end up meeting new friends through which might be something that lasts a lifetime and really special.


―― Compared to when you were learning to get good in this game back in the older days, what was your motivation to play Tekken? Was it just simply being able to beat other people?

Deku: Yeah it was. Although the game is a lot more harder since then, I would sometimes hear people compliment me on how I play Tekken and give me props on certain skills I can do. Being able to impress other people like that and possibly teach them something new in the game through me doing a lot of impressive stuff is good.


―― Any final words for all the Tekken players out there?

Deku: I'm not sure if any of you have your own individual goals in Tekken but, I hope it's something along the lines of 'learning to get really good at this game', 'aiming to win a tournament' and 'creating new and creative combos'. It's a tough road but I think it is really good if you can persevere in those areas. Tekken is a really deep game but that doesn't mean everybody can't get to Tekken Lord ranks in arcades. And If you do end up at such a rank like some of the other players in Japan and succeed, it'll be a remarkable experience. You also can't forget that even if you can't succeed in this game that it will still be a worthwhile experience since I believe that Tekken is a great tool in bringing people together. I would like to see everyone start playing Tekken and enjoying it. Even If it's just watching and referencing my own match videos. And of course you can't forget to just have fun with the game. Tekken is like the Mario Party games in my house. (laughs)


―― Thank you for today!

・ Tekken Mura Twitter


・ Help Me Twitter


・ Shana Twitter



Source ▶

Header image of Deku taken from Hataly's Flickr page.

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Reader Comments (3)

Deku has a point. The cost of living in Japan is so expensive and the Japanese are dealing with so much inflation it's effecting the playing time of many Tekken Japanese players. The increase in sales tax in April forced Namco to shut down many of their arcades. I thought in T6 Korea and Japan were neck and neck in terms of solid players.

I heard taxes in South Korea are so much lower, the only problem South Korea has to deal with is mandatory military service. And S.Korea lost plenty of good T6 players because they are in the military right now.

Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterskpg

Good interview. I agree that arcades being open later is better. If I look at my watch and I see that I only have an hour and a half to play in the arcade, I might not want to go. I might stay home and play online instead. Arcades also tend to be almost completely empty closer to the closing time.

Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 4:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterForest

Excuses. Japan has never been as good as Korea ever.

Monday, June 9, 2014 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterZTS

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