The Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament at KVO x TSB 2017 in Osaka, Japan ended with a longed victory for champion Michel Yu Okada. This was the first time a tournament has been won by a Mexican player on Japanese soil. A historic feat, and one that would be quickly followed up by Echo Fox's Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez. MkLeo claimed the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament a few hours later, making it a win for Mexico on both ends.
Ranked at #4 in Japan, this is Yu’s first tournament win ever since he moved to the country to study at the University of Tokyo. Previously, he resided in Mexico –his other homeland, being half Mexican and half Japanese– where he is ranked at #3. This puts him right below Eddy Mexico (who he’s never encountered in a tournament set) and Javi, whom he has come close to beating before. Currently, he is sponsored by La Gema, a creative collective from Mexico that organizes the biggest Melee events in the country and contributes to the region’s growth.
After his victory at the oft-called "EVO of Japan", we got the chance to talk to him for a Smashboards exclusive interview where he reflects on his win and what's next for Mexico and Japan's champion.
Looking back at the event, Yu acknowledged all of the talent in attendance at Osaka. “The tournament was pretty stacked as far as playing level is concerned. Gucci, aMSa, Nanashi, Kounotori, KF and Sanne were there, and I consider them heavy hitters,” he said, going over the players present, then pointing out his run through the bracket. "Out of all of them I got to face Kounotori and KF, and I'm pretty confident that I would've been able to beat all of them with certainty, except aMSa. Against him I don't know what would've happened. All of my sets went 2-0, until Grand Finals where I SD'd twice, but that's how it goes."
"What I mean with all of this is that I had it pretty simple, since the only one that could've been uncertain [aMSa] faced Sanne twice and got eliminated." He’s well aware of all of the elements that played into his victory, but he points out that he still had to do some work. "The set against KF was pretty close, that's the one that got me worried the most, but it was a 2-0. After that and seeing that aMSa had been eliminated I was sure I would win. If I face spacies, I don't lose."
Even if confident and happy with his win, Yu is not done yet, now looking at what follows after this. "My next objective is winning Crazy Hand this weekend, because it'll be stacked and Rudolph will be there, who's ranked #1.” He looks forward to the event, seeing it as the opportunity to finally prove what he has been looking to show ever since arriving in Japan. “The top #1 and #2 will be there, so if I win that tournament I don't need to beat #3. It would be a strong indicator that I'm the best in Japan."
It’s because of this objective that he looks at his victory fondly, but not the end goal of what he’s trying to achieve. "I am glad I won the tournament, but it doesn't give me the same satisfaction without beating aMSa and Rudolph. I've beaten them before, but I want to win the set and the tournament. If not, it's not enough."
With our time with Yu coming to a close, he took the time to thank all of the people cheering for him and those supporting him to make this happen. "I want to give big shout outs to La Gema for all the support and for believing in me, I'm really grateful for it. I've finally won a tournament in Japan! I'll keep trying my best to show Mexico's level. Thank you all!"
LG Yu will be following up his victory at KVO x TSB 2017 by attending Crazy Hand, May 6-7th in Osaka, which will also grant support for the winner to go to EVO in Las Vegas. Japan’s best will be there, and Yu will be looking to achieve his objective: take the two championships back to back and show he’s the best in Japan.
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