The changes to the fighting-game community this year have been an adjustment for the entire scene, with players now forced to duke it out primarily online, from the smallest local tournaments to the largest circuits. The Capcom Pro Tour was no exception, as Capcom decided to create an online arena to satiate hungry world warriors looking for a challenge in Street Fighter V. However,unlike previous annual events, regions would have only two – and in some cases, one – qualifying spot for the Capcom Cup finals. This, in conjunction with a big balance patch earlier this year, meant that it was time to adapt or die.
Tsunehiro 'Gachikun' Kanamori fell short of the top 16 when he took on the first Asia East tournament. Having already won a Capcom Cup himself, not even getting a chance to aim for the crown would be tough to take. Gachikun had to power himself up and prepare promptly for his second run.
Over 400 hopeful players joined Asia East 2, making it one of the biggest CPT events of the circuit. From local powerhouses who were looking for a chance to prove themselves on a grand stage, to the safest picks onlookers had to win it all, everyone was looking to take nothing less than first place. None of the pools would offer free wins and every path hosted dozens of potential landmines.
Gachikun himself had to face both Hiromiki 'Itabashi Zangief' Kumada and Kubo 'stormKUBO' Arashi and their big-body characters early in pools to advance towards Top 16 Winners Side. Though tough competitors in their own right, the pair fell to his deft Rashid.
Next up, Keita 'Fuudo' Ai, who reached the most unfortunate spot of a close second place in the last Asia East tournament. In hot pursuit of a better placement, Fuudo stood in Gachikun’s way with his excellent Poison. However, the professional Rashid player came prepared. By nullifying many of the toxic character’s ex-based options and swaying the momentum of the match, he walked away from the exchange the victor.
In Winners Semi-Finals, he faced off against Yusuke Momochi and his surprising Seth pick. Whiffing any attack would mean death and Gachikun was forced to lay on the pressure to keep up pace. With a crouching heavy punch into critical art combo, Momochi was defeated and pushed into the Loser’s Bracket in a clean 3-0 sweep.
Hajime 'Tokido' Taniguchi was his next adversary. Instead of using his standard Akuma pick, Tokido shocked everyone by selecting the rampaging Urien for combat. But after having lost to someone piloting Urien in the previous tournament, Gachikun was more than ready.
Avoiding dangerous V-Trigger Aegis Reflector set-ups and employing his own whirlwind of attacks, Gachikun forced Tokido to switch back to Akuma and brought it to the final game, final round. With both characters low on health, a crouching light kick in the clutch put the famed Murder Face into losers. Sitting comfortably in the wInners' side of the Grand Finals, he awaited the final challenge.
After being sent to losers, Momochi began a fiery run towards the top. After downloading and deleting multiple top-level fighters, he earned the right to rematch Gachikun. Still attached to using Seth, Momochi altered his approach this run and focused on keeping a hefty life lead early in the round.
This fierce domination allowed a bracket reset. Recognising how dire the situation had become, Gachikun adopted a similar strategy in reverse and played a more grounded style. Constantly putting his opponent in the corner and disallowing Seth’s more ridiculous moves such as the Axe Kick, he completely stopped Momochi building up a head of steam. With a Critical Art finisher, Gachikun solidified his spot for the Capcom Cup next year.
While there’s still quite some time until the finals commence, Gachikun refuses to stop finding ways to stay strong in Street Fighter V. The professional player plans to continue entering tournaments, participating in the Street Fighter League Japan series currently underway and streaming his progress of improvement before going for another attempt at the cup.