Behind The Stick: An Interview With Squish

I had a chance to sit down and talk to squish, a premier Under Night In-Birth player, who play Akatsuki. Some of the topics we discussed include: His history with fighting games, What got him into UNI, How confidant he is about upcoming tournaments, what he is doing outside the game, and his plans for the future.

Q: Really glad to get the chance to talk to you man. This is going to be one of my first Under Night interview and I’m excited. How are you doing?

Squish: I’m doing well! This is actually my second time ever doing any sort of interview for Under Night. It’s very exciting!

Q: I’ll try and make it as good as the first! So for those that might not know who you are do you mind giving a sort of a brief synopsis of you are in relation to the fighting game scene as well as your history with fighting games?

Squish: I think a lot of people know me as, “that guy that wants to drink Yuzuriha’s bathwater” or that guy that won EVO last year ahahaha. My history with fighting games isn’t too impressive. I only really got into MvC3 prior to UNI; but I was a netplay warrior. That game was a lot of fun though!

Q: Two very different ways to think of you haha. That’s interesting because most people I’ve talked to have a fairly storied history of fighting games some even dating back over 15 years. It’s nice to see someone rather fresh to scene and see that even people who are relatively new can still have a major impact. Before we continue on more about you though I want to talk about Under Night as whole. I picked it up many months ago with some friends and we had a pretty good time but with the recent announcement of it being in the EVO lineup the game has seen a major increase in the player base. Obviously, more eyes on the game is great but do you think that it will be able to maintain a lot of these players into the future (a few months after EVO for example) or do you think these numbers will drop significantly in the next 6 or so months? Why or why not?

Squish: I personally feel that the game would continue to grow via word-of-mouth regardless of if the game had made it into EVO or not. If you look at the numbers, the game is constantly breaking it’s own records for how many entrants it’s had at events even prior to the announcement. It’s all thanks to the community who love and support the game. UNI at EVO last year I believe was the biggest side-tournament at 210 entrants, behind Wind Jammers at 256 (which also had free entry). Even looking at Climax of Night which had it’s first run last year. I honestly predicted that the game would’ve gotten maybe… 70-100 entrants at most. The fact that it had hit over 143 and this was just a French Bread centric event. To me I think is very impressive. Huge shout outs to Shinobi (@ sitkosEP) for hosting the event, he did a fantastic job. Do I genuinely feel like the numbers will drop significantly after EVO? I expect there to be a bit of a drop; but definitely not a significant one. CEOtaku will be coming up shortly after EVO, and that’s one of the events that the community pushes to have everyone show up. It’s definitely the one event you should go to if you are looking to travel specifically for UNI. CEOtaku is great for anime in general. Last year we had international competition featuring both JP and EU. In my opinion It was easily the most stacked tournament we have had so far. Very exciting and diverse top 8 with only one repeating character (Wagner).

Q: Perhaps a question I should have asked you earlier. So what was it about UNI that really drew you to the game? Was it the look of the game? The characters? The game play? What was it that sparked your interest in it?

Squish: About one whole week? After UNIEL came out in 2014 a friend had talked me into playing it with him. I wasn’t particularly into any FGs at the time and I liked the anime aesthetic. The sprites are so well done and animated, the music is fantastic as well. I was a NEET around that time, so I dedicated a lot of time to playing and wanting to get better because I liked the game a lot.

Q: So let’s get back to the tournament season coming up for UNIST. You won EVO last year and have placed very highly at other tournaments. How confident are you going into these next few months that you’ll continue to do this well? Are there any players you think you need to look out for that might give you trouble?

Squish: I feel very confident in myself as a player that I’ll do well at all of the tournaments I’ll be travelling to leading up to EVO. I think ever since UNIST launched, I’ve been a finalist at every event I’ve been to? I know I can keep that up. There’s a few players in NA that give me issues and I personally think they’re some of the strongest players we currently have for the game here: Tari, Redblade, Trill, JJ, Lolimaiko, Infinity. As for EVO itself this year… (nervous laughter). It is realistically possible; but it will be very hard to get as far as I would like with Akatsuki. I’ll try my hardest to make it happen. I did it before, so I can do it again. Right?

Q: To be the best you gotta believe you’re the best. Speaking of Akatsuki what was it that drew you to that character? Was it his play style? The way his moves looked? or something else entirely? Were there any other characters you were considering?

Squish: Oh! I was going through the cast in training mode to see how they felt (UNIEL had no combo trials or tutorials) and when I had gotten to Akatsuki I really liked his theme. That’s…. really more or less the only reason I picked him. Before him I recall I was considering Nanase and Akatsuki just felt more natural to me in terms of how he played. 

Q: A totally valid reason. Most people I talk to say they just picked the character they thought was the coolest or fit their play style the best. For newer players who are new to UNI or maybe new to fighting games in general what sort of advice would you give them in terms of how to improve as players, how to approach matches, and how to get into the right mindset to improve? Or anything else you can think of.

Squish: The in-game tutorials are a great place to start. The community also got together and wrote character-specific primers so new players have a better time understanding what they’re getting into if they’re curious as to what every characters strengths, weaknesses, and basic bnbs are.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pMuiRdTNt76n18CUg_DgYEhJcYdJP0eSpcIuTRtZ4UM/edit?usp=sharing …

For players that are already playing and are looking to become stronger I recommend these: I Want to Get Strong at UNI. Series Vol 1-9 by

@Clearlamp_o: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s454/sh/dafbb147-65d2-4bee-be82-c28e5168d09b/8660de8ec3e3d01a7b275f8ffd3ae11b …

This covers a lot of high-level aspects of the game such as how to maintain vorpal and chosing certain options based on where the GRD clock is at, etc. Also goes in-depth on how to fight Hilda, as she is a bit of a confusing character to understand fighting. GRD Primer (by @ InfinityFG):

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_jenmFOFmaOKrO37OHT98gNmiQJYco5K0jq7frsmT3s/pub …

This one is dedicated to the importance of GRD and Vorpal. The entire game revolves around these system mechanics so I cannot stress enough how important it is to learn effectively utilizing and playing around them. ENG Under Night In-Birth Throw Tech Explanation by ほうる houru (@ foulu_skyo) and translated by @ jasepi_iidx:

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s454/client/snv?noteGuid=0c837562-e526-4d90-8769-eab81cea2ad0&noteKey=910d8a9a667272adf94e5543c57139b0&sn=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.evernote.com%2Fshard%2Fs454%2Fsh%2F0c837562-e526-4d90-8769-eab81cea2ad0%2F910d8a9a667272adf94e5543c57139b0&title=ENG%2BUnder%2BNight%2BIn-Birth%2BThrow%2BTech%2BExplanation …

This one covers various throw-tech options you as a player will have, how they work, and what they lose to. Every option has a weakness, so it’s important to choose the one that yields the best risk-reward against certain characters and/or players.

Q:Wow, I’m sure a lot of people will appreciate a concise source of some great guides. So thank you for that! So part of the reason I’ve been doing this series is to get to know players on a more intimate level both inside the game and out. Can you tell us a bit about squish outside the game? What sort of things are you into? Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do in your free time outside of the game?

Squish: That’s certainly a question I wasn’t expecting to be asked. I’m normally very shy and timid.. which might be a surprise, I suppose? I feel like the initial impression I give off to most people is probably the opposite. Especially with how silly I can act while playing in tournament. Part of me feels like I get more satisfaction out of entertaining others than actually winning. There’s not a whole lot for me to talk about in regards to hobbies and other stuff I am into; but I would like to look into properly learning how to draw and speak/read JP sometime. They’re both something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Occasionally you’ll see me draw something very poorly in MSpaint for someones birthday or a spur-of-the-moment type deal. The fact that they look so awful is what makes those drawings so charming, I think. If I ever become better, I hope I can still consistently make those type of poor looking drawings hahahaha. Here’s one of my more recent drawings for reference (it also happens to be one of my personal favorites) I’d like to pick up more FGs or even just hobbies in general; but with the EVO announcement I feel some sort of obligation to try to keep promoting UNI in any way I can, whether it be travelling, streaming, and helping others. If there was ever a time for it, it’s definitely now.

Q: I really need to get back into learning Japanese myself so I feel you on that struggle. Were there any other fighting games you were considering picking up in the future?

Squish: Sometimes it’s so difficult to find the time to commit into learning another language. Figuring out where to start can be very hard too. I’m having issues on both of those fronts. I’d really love to someday just to be able to speak with the JP UNI crowd, as well as being able to consume media that isn’t translated of course. Having @Clearlamp_o visit the US at CEOtaku last year really made me wish I could speak the language. Currently I’ve been trying to play more BBTAG whenever I have the time. That game is so much fun! I’m also REALLY looking forward to Granblue Fantasy Versus. I want to go all in on that game when it releases! I used to play the mobage a lot, so I was already a fan of the IP. It’s so cool seeing that it’s getting it’s own fighting game and Action RPG. I look forward to them both.

Q: It would really benefit me for interview purposes too as a lot of the top players, such as clearlamp, are Japanese. One day we will get there haha. I also used to play Granblue and the new game looks like a ton of fun. It’s something I’m really looking forward to in the future. But looking forward what are some plans that you have for the future? Are you playing on competing as much as possible? Streaming? Playing other games? What does the future hold for you?

Squish: I think for now my plan is to try to travel and compete as much as I can to support UNI for this year, and then after that I am not so sure. I do stream and try to aim for at least twice a week as of right now; but I don’t have a set schedule or time. I usually try to aim for starting around 6-8PM PST at least. Truth be told I initially wanted to take it easy this year in terms of competing and travelling; but I want to support the game and the community while it’s building so much momentum. I think a lot of people enjoy watching me play and be a goofball, so I want to keep putting on a good show as well.

Q: Well hopefully I can catch you at more tournaments this year or at the very least catch some of your streams. I wish you the best of luck in all the things you set out to do! Before I let you go is there anyone you would like to shout out and where can people find you on social media?

Squish: I’m only active on Twitter as far as social media goes and you can follow me at @squish2364. My Twitch stream is at https://www.twitch.tv/squish2364  One special shout out I’d like to give is to my best friend Minku. She’s always been there for me whenever I needed any sort of support. Thank you so much! I’d also like to give a shout out to everyone I have mentioned in this interview and link their Twitter handles so people may follow them if they’d like. They’re all strong players and/or have greatly supported the community in one way other another: Redblade: @Redblade454 Tari: @tarisbox Trill: @Motakshi JJ: @J3_FGC Lolimaiko: @Lolimaiko Infinity: @InfinityFG Jasepi: @jasepi_iidx Shinobi: @sitkosEP Houru: @foulu_skyo Clearlamp: @ClearLamp_o

You can find Squish on twitter @squish2364

And as always you can find me on twitter @itsfrail

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