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'Personally, I think [Cody] is the strongest character in the game' - Sasaki talks his USF4 character choice, SF5 prospects, traveling abroad and more

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • February 3, 2016 at 5 a.m. PST • Comments: 53

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

We're very committed here at EventHubs to bringing you as many interviews with top players as possible. As such, we've reached out to one of Japan's top Street Fighter 4 players that our readers might not be all too familiar with.

This time around, we've interviewed Sasaki, Japan's top Cody player, who has been a mainstay in the Topanga B League for as long as four years.

In our interview, Sasaki talks about Cody's strength as a character, fighting game history, training regime and more.
MajinTenshinhan: Why did you start using Cody in the Street Fighter 4 series?

Sasaki: I used to play Ken. When Street Fighter 4 became Super Street Fighter 4, Ken's EX Shoryuken became weaker, and I thought "Man, that's boring" and decided to switch characters.

I've always gravitated towards characters that I think look cool, so I instantly chose Cody. I had no idea about how he played or how good or bad he was.
Hit the jump to check out the rest of the interview.
MajinTenshinhan: How long have you been playing fighting games?

Sasaki: I think the first time I played a fighting game was Street Fighter 2 on the SNES. At that time I was ... Probably around 8 years old.

Then, after growing up, I started playing fighting games seriously maybe 10 years ago.

I was a college student then, but I thought that Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike and Guilty Gear XX#Reload (the second version) were so much fun, I got completely absorbed in them.

MajinTenshinhan: Street Fighter 5 is going to be released soon. Are you interested in this game? If so, what character do you plan on using?

Sasaki: Honestly, I can't say that I'm more interested than I was during Super Street Fighter 4 or Ultra Street Fighter 4. That's not to say that Street Fighter 5 is bad, I think I'm just not as passionate about fighting games as a whole anymore.

Of course, this is just how I currently feel, and it could definitely change in the future. As for characters, Laura I guess? If she were a guy, I'd instantly pick her, haha.

MajinTenshinhan: I'm not nearly as skilled as you, but I'm also a Cody main. Personally, I think Cody is a pretty weak character, but how good do you think Cody is in Ultra Street Fighter 4 compared to the other characters? Also, do you have any advice for other Cody players?

Sasaki: Objectively speaking, I seriously think that Cody might be top 10. Speaking personally, I think he's the strongest character in the game. When trying out other characters, I don't feel I could get better with any of them than I am right now with Cody.

I get made fun of a lot for this, but hey, laugh away, I say. I can't really explain it, but that's what I believe, and I think it's important to keep playing with what you believe in.

I sincerely believe that I'm playing the strongest character in the game, and I guess I ignore the people around me. I'm repeating myself now, but I truly believe he's really good.

As for advice... Explosiveness and anti-airs. Stomach Blow and Crack Kick. Discerning when you've got a regular hit or a counter hit, and even reading that in advance.

I think that if you seriously work on all these things and polish them up, you'll become a lot better with Cody.

MajinTenshinhan: You've been in the Topanga B League for 3 years running, haven't you? Going up against opponents of that level every year is amazing. How much do you practice Ultra Street Fighter 4? And in what way do you do so?

Sasaki: Actually, it's 4 years running, haha.

I don't really have any concept for practice, per se. To me, fighting games are just a hobby and for enjoyment, so I just try to have as much fun as possible. I mostly play online at home. When I really hole myself up in training mode, it's to counter characters I think are difficult to fight against.

I remember putting a lot of time into training mode with Stomach Blow, and how to follow up on it. On hit, on counter hit, on block, on whiff, I practiced a lot to the quickest and optimal options afterwards.

Also, I trained like mad to get used to anti-airing divekick moves with Heavy Ruffian Kick. I felt "it's impossible", and "I can't" so many times, but I kept doing it and eventually I reached the point where I generally was anti-airing divekicks with Heavy Ruffian Kick.

MajinTenshinhan: In Japan, I think there are very few Street Fighter 4 fans that don't know who you are, but since you haven't participated in many tournaments overseas, you're fairly unknown worldwide, which I think is a real shame.

Are you planning on going to more tournaments abroad in the future?

Sasaki: If we're talking purely about fighting games, then right now I'm not interested at all in going overseas. I have more than enough fun just playing in Japan.

I do love tournaments, though, so if I had the chance, I'd probably go. My values might change after going once. But if I were to go, it'd have to be for something more than just the game. Even if that "something" is just sightseeing.
Huge thanks to Sasaki for agreeing to do this interview with us, and we wish him the best of luck in the upcoming Street Fighter 5. Also thanks for Reiketsu for putting me in touch with Sasaki and making this interview possible to begin with.

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: スト4シリーズでささきさんは何故コーディーを使い始めたんですか?

ささき: 元々はケンを使っていました。スト4からスパ4になった際に、ケンのEX昇竜が減らなくなってしまい、つまらないなーと思い、キャラ替えを決断。昔から見た目がカッコいいキャラが好きなので、すぐにコーディーに決まりました。性能とかは全く知らなかったです。

魔人T: いつから格闘ゲームをやり始めましたか?

ささき: 初めて格闘ゲームをプレイしたのはスーパーファミコンのスト2だと思います。当時自分は…多分8才くらいです。

魔人T: もうすぐ「ストリートファイター5」が発売します。ささきさんはこのゲームに興味ありますか?もしそうであれば、どのキャラを使用すると思いますか?

ささき: 正直に言うと、スパ4やウル4の時より興味をもってないです。それは決してスト5が悪いわけではなく、格闘ゲーム自体にもうそこまでの情熱を持っていません。もちろん現時点での話ですので今後変わる可能性はあると思います。

魔人T: 私は決してささきさんほどの実力を持っているわけではありませんが、同じコーディー使いです。コーディは個人的にかなり弱いキャラだと思うんですが、ささきさんはウル4のコーディーは他のキャラと比べてどれほどの強さだと思いますか?そして、他のコーディー使いに何かアドバイスがありますか?

ささき: 客観的に見てもコーディーは10強あると真剣に思っています。個人的な意見なら最強キャラです。他のキャラを使って今以上に強くなれる気がしません。

魔人T: ささきさんは三年連続トパンガBリーグに出場されましたね。毎年そんなに強い相手に戦いを挑むのが凄いですね。ウル4をどれほど練習していますか?そしてどの様に練習していますか?

ささき: 四年連続です笑

魔人T: 日本ではスト4のファンだったらささきさんの名前を知らない人が少ないと思うんですが、海外の大会にでたことがほぼないせいで世界的にはあまり注目されていません。

ささき: 格闘ゲームに限って言うなら現時点で海外には興味がないです。日本で十分すぎるほど楽しめます。

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