Kizzie Kay: The anime community is more brother-based... but what I like about the Capcom side is its rivalry and fire

American fighting game player discusses the culture of the growing anime scene, CEOtaku and more in this exclusive interview

Posted by Ginni 'extopdoll' Lou, guest writer • September 27, 2017 at 7:51 p.m. PDT

Even on Monday morning after CEOtaku had finished, the anime community had setups going in the hotel lobby before leaving for their flights back home. CEOtaku 2017 saw competitors from across the country and all over the world, with 11 countries and over 40 states making their way to Florida to compete in the United States’ premier anime fighting game tournament.

As part of the event staff this year, I picked up on the anime community's passion for the games they practice from the get-go. Before our team had even finished preparing for registration, competitors showed up at the ballroom doors of the Wyndham to take advantage of the 24-hour venue (a recent staple for fighting game tournaments), arcade sticks tucked under their arms.

Once the doors officially opened, they swarmed in and immediately set to playing, sometimes staying up until the wee hours of the morning to get in sets. Staff members had to round up players who stayed in the ballroom just until it closed for good at midnight on Sunday following the Guilty Gear Grand Finals—a definite sign of true dedication.

The fan base for anime games in particular appears to be smaller than mainstream fighting game titles such as Street Fighter or the Marvel vs. Capcom series. As a fan of these traditional fighters who lacks a genuine interest in the anime genre, I wanted to experience an event solely dedicated to these titles for myself.

I sat down with Guilty Gear player Fable|Kizzie Kay, (a big name in the anime community, but also a competitor of other FGC titles) who graciously tuned me in on his experience:

extopdoll: Do you feel a difference in anime-only events as opposed to mainstream fighting game tournaments?

Kizzie Kay: Since I’m an overall fighting game player, I’m actually very interactive with both [communities]. The anime community is a little more brother-based at times in terms of small communities. What I like about the Capcom side is that there’s a lot of rivalry and fire.

Everybody wants to be one of the heroes. The anime community is all like family at the end of the day. It’s a really different environment. It’s interesting.

It’s more like competitive during the day and we hang out after work is done. I’m cool with any event that hosts the games that I play. As long as they run it thoroughly, I have no problems. I’d come every year if I could.

extopdoll: How do you feel that CEOtaku differs from mainstream fighting game events?

Kizzie Kay: I feel like they did a really great job scheduling most of the games that are at this event. I really feel that having different games every two hours is a great, great way to schedule things out. It gives people 45 minutes to prepare. Whatever you guys did this year, you should definitely do next year.

The crowd at CEOtaku 2017 absorbs the hype

extopdoll: Do you think that CEOtaku gives certain games a platform to be recognized?

Kizzie Kay: Yes. Games like Gundam, Skullgirls, Under Night: In Birth, even the older games like Melty Blood, get the spotlight for that moment. It’s very fortunate that this event even hosts them and gives them mainstream time. I’m very grateful for what Jebailey does.

extopdoll: Should there be more anime-only events?

Kizzie Kay: Yes. If I could do it, I would do it four times a year, throughout every part of the season: winter, fall, spring, and summer.

"Everybody wants to be one of the heroes. The anime community is all like family at the end of the day."

extopdoll: What would you say to encourage those wanting to come to anime-only events like CEOtaku?

Kizzie Kay: I would encourage them to start right now. Start saving a dollar every day. When the next CEOtaku gets announced, you need to do whatever you can to get out here and experience this. It’s a very amazing event. Jebailey is so open to talk to.

The TOs do an excellent job, and the front desk gets the job done very smoothly. The worst thing I could say about the event is that there’s no problems. That’s very rare and scary. It’s great people, and you find a variety of people here.

Photos courtesy of Tyrone "KyloBenSSB" Knibbs and CEO Gaming.
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