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Hagejin would love to play against Snake Eyez to see how good he is - Talks Topanga League, Zangief as a character, Street Fighter 5 and more

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • September 30, 2015 at 4:02 a.m. PDT • Comments: 31

Note: This interview was conducted in Japanese and subsequently translated by the interviewer.

Since we've just gotten a batch of new people qualified for the 5th Topanga A League, we reached out to get some interviews.

Our second interview is with Zangief master Hagejin, who touches upon his reasons for picking Zangief, how he'll try to overcome bad matchups in the A League, answers what he'd expect from a battle between himself and RB|Snake Eyez and more.

Here's a snippet to get you started.
MajinTenshinhan: How long have you been playing fighting games, and what fighting games have you taken seriously?

Hagejin: I've been playing fighting games since Street Fighter 2 came out (1991, was it?), so it's been about 24 years now. But I didn't start playing seriously until Street Fighter 4 came out, which was when I started participating in tournaments.

Actually, I used to not participate much in tournaments at all, and just playing in my local arcade and enjoying the feeling of not losing to the people in my area.
Hit the jump for the rest of the interview.
MajinTenshinhan: It's not uncommon to hear people call you the world's strongest Zangief, or comparing you with the American player Snake Eyez, but why did you pick Zangief s your character to begin with?

Hagejin: I used to play Zangief in Street Fighter Alpha 3, so I just followed up on that and kept using him in Street Fighter 4.

MajinTenshinhan: You're going to be the first grappler-character user to participate in the Topanga A League. Zangief is known to have some difficult matchups, how do you think that you'll be able to perform in this difficult league?

Hagejin: Beating characters that are difficult for Zangief, such as Sagat and Seth, will be very important in this year's A League, I think.

These characters are a difficult matchup no matter how much you plan ahead or counter-strategize, so I'll just have to play at my very best level, there's no other choice.

MajinTenshinhan: Next year, a lot of players will be playing Street Fighter 5. Are you interested in playing it, and if so what character do you think you'll be using?

Hagejin: I am interested in Street Fighter 5. Right now, there's no character that's really grabbed me, so I want to try out a bunch of different characters and see if I can find someone that fits me.

If Zangief makes it in, I think I'd want to use Zangief, though!

MajinTenshinhan: You don't really attend events outside of Japan. Do you ever feel like you want to go to more world events and compete?

Hagejin: If I have the opportunity to attend overseas events, I would definitely like to play against overseas opponents, feel their strength, and see how well I match up against them. I'd like to try it.

MajinTenshinhan: When it comes to Zangief, two names that are often brought up as the strongest are Hagejin and Snake Eyez. Do you feel like you want to play against Snake Eyez and put your two Zangiefs to the test against eachother?

Hagejin: Playing against a strong Zangief veteran, it feels like you'd be exchanging a lot of information, and giving eachother advice, which sounds really fun.

I'm also very interested in seeing how good someone with the reputation as "world's strongest Zangief" is, so if I were to get an opportunity I'd very much want to play him!

Huge thanks to Hagejin for agreeing to do this interview with us, and we wish him the best of luck in the upcoming 5th Topanga A League.

Image credit: 5th Topanga B League Opening.

Continue below for the Japanese version. 下に日本語版があるので、ご覧ください。

魔人T: 格闘ゲームを初めてどれくらいですか?そしていままでどの格闘ゲームに真剣に取り組んだ事がありますか?

はげじん: 格闘ゲームはストリートファイター2が出た頃(1991年?)からやっているので24年間ですね。

魔人T: はげじんさんはアメリカのスネークアイズとならんで世界最強のザンギ使いと言われる事も珍しくありませんが、なぜザンギエフをメインキャラクターとして選んだのですか?

はげじん: ZERO3でザンギをつかっていたのでその流れでザンギを使いました。

魔人T: はげじんさんはトパンガAリーグへ、初の投げキャラ使いとして参加しますね。ザンギエフは難しい組み合わせがいくつかある事で知られていますが、どうやってこの難しいリーグでうまくやっていこうと考えていますか?

はげじん: サガット、セスなどザンギエフにとって厳しいキャラに勝つことが今回のAリーグでかなり重要になってくると思っています。

魔人T: 来年たくさんのプレイヤーがストリートファイター5をプレイする事が期待されていますが、はげじんさんはストリートファイター5をプレイする事に興味がありますか?もしそうであれば、どのキャラクターを使用すると思いますか?

はげじん: ストリートファイター5には興味あります。今のところ気になるキャラがいないので色々なキャラを使ってみて自分に合いそうなキャラを探っていきたいと思います。

魔人T: はげじんさんはあまり海外の大会に参加していないようですが、もっと海外のイベントで戦いたいと感じていますか?

はげじん: 参加できるのであれば海外のイベントなどに参加してみて海外の選手と対戦して強さを感じてみたいのと自分の実力でどこまでいけるか試してみたいです。

魔人T: ザンギエフというと、はげじんさんとスネークアイズの名前が最強のプレイヤーとしてあがりますが、そのスネークアイズと対戦して、お互いのザンギをテストしてみたいと思いますか?

はげじん: ザンギエフの強豪プレイヤーとの対戦は色々アドバイスなど交換しながらできそうなので楽しそうだし、世界最強と言われてるザンギエフがどのくらい強いのか興味あるので機会があれば対戦してみたいです!

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