Road to Saitama Super Arena

Magazine/Site: Continue
Date: 05/27/2023

Revenge Against an Enemy From 5 Years Ago: Soda Popinski

The show’s first event held at Saitama Super Arena was finally announced for the 20th anniversary. I heard this from the staff, but it seems that ticket pre-sales are going pretty well.

(Arino) I actually have no idea. I’ve been told that this is all top secret, so they go out of their way not to tell me anything.

Aren’t you curious about the ticket sales?

(Arino) I am curious. But there’s nothing I can do if it’s top secret! (Laughs) I guess that information is executive-level only. They laugh and say there’s no one above me, but they won’t tell me about ticket sales.

The games that you’ll be playing are also being announced, and the first one is Punch Out.

(Arino) Punch Out is a real go-to favorite for these live events! It really gets the audience warmed up.

People have been saying you were going  to do it again even during our backstage interview after the Makuhari Messe event, after all. As soon as you got off the stage, Ishida suggested fighting Popinski again for the 20th anniversary.

(Arino) I even asked to take him on one more time as the event was ending. I thought I could do it, but then Piston Honda put a stop to that! (Laughs) If it had just been the fight against Popinski, I would have had the health to take him on. But it was the Piston Honda fight too. Surprisingly, I had just enough health left for that fight.

You’re just going to be made to suffer your way through to Popinski every time.

(Arino) Though I guess I owe Honda an apology, because he got the crowd riled up without Popinski’s help. Everyone was shouting “Left! Right!” And then I turned the voltage up by shouting “Next is Popinski! I’m gonna win!” But Popinski isn’t even the last boss.

That’s true, there are still more fights after him.

(Arino) Everyone else already knew that, but I was really surprised to learn that was the case. I was like “What? He’s not the last boss?”

So you’re coming up on a 5 year revenge against a character who isn’t even the final boss! (Laughs)

(Arino) Because I can only do that fight at events, so it’s not going to go well. But I really want to beat Popinski! I want to get to the 2nd or 3rd round, to get the crowd excited. Though I’m not sure how many rounds it will ultimately take me to beat him.

Arino Kacho Supports Hyakumantenbara Salome Through the Screen

We’re all excited for the 20th anniversary of the show, but some amazing plans have come to fruition. You collaborated with VTuber Hyakumantenbara Salome on the official Game Center CX YouTube channel. I got to see the videos just before this interview, and they’re very funny.

(Arino) They are funny, aren’t they. Salome treats me so politely.

Salome really is amazing. Even when her partner being a professional comedian, she was able to go with the flow of things so well.

(Arino) I wasn’t even sure how it was going to go, I thought I’d have the writers whispering in my ear at some point! (Laughs) But she was very polite, and she didn’t let anything get by her. After I met with the staff and heard how things were going to go, I came on set and Salome explained the flow of things to me herself in a way that was more concise than the director’s own explanation. And just when I thought she was very good at explaining all of this, her conversational abilities during the actual filming proved to be even better.

The reason this collaboration happened was because you said on the Magical Taruruto-kun episode (346, which aired on October 13th, 2022) that Salome’s videos are often played in your household. Does your daughter or the rest of your family watch them?

(Arino) Yes. When I get home, my daughter and wife are always ending their sentences in “desu wa”, the same way Salome does. And when I asked them what was going on, they told me that Salome’s videos are very popular around here! They’re always ending all their sentences in “desu wa”, and it gets annoying! (Laughs) That’s why they were very into it when I told them the show would be collaborating with Salome.

VTubers are very popular with your daughter’s generation. Did this collaboration cause your daughter to see you through new eyes? (Laughs)

(Arino) I had to show them that I was up on all the popular stuff too, after all. So I was glad this collaboration happened since it helped up my own popularity too.

As a part of this collaboration, three videos each went up on both the official GCCX YouTube channel as well as Salome’s own channel, but the first one to go up on the GCCX channel was Ninja Gaiden. Things started off with a surprisingly hardcore game, but what I learned from that video is the surprising fact that you’re better at that game than Salome is! (Laughs)

Arino and Salome take on Ninja Gaiden

(Arino) I guess the secret’s out! (Laughs) Continue even confirmed in. But retro games are harder for Salome to play, after all. If you’re not used to doing things like jumping left while clinging onto a wall on the right, and then immediately jumping back to the right wall and climbing up, they just make no sense.

It probably has to do with the generation gap, since Salome ended up getting killed by a dog when she tried playing. But it was funny how she just started shouting “Help meee!” (Laughs)

(Arino) And there was nothing I could do to help her! (Laughs) It’s not like I could go inside the screen or something.

Seeing you supporting someone through a monitor was a pretty surreal scene.

(Arino) It was funny. You could say I was like a GPS, because all I could say was “Go to the right” So I wasn’t really able to support her at all. Even if I said, “cling to the wall”, she wouldn’t know how to actually do that. And I wasn’t holding the controller myself, so I couldn’t show her.

It sounds like it was a fairly difficult thing to do.

(Arino) It was difficult. I feel like I learned to appreciate all over again how talented the ADs are.

The Reason That You Pick Up Eggplants in Ice Climber

The 2nd video featured both of you playing Ice Climber. Whether or not it was from Salome not being used to these types of games, her having no idea what was happening was great.

(Arino) It was probably her first time ever seeing that game. She kept saying things like “The ground is moving here, so it’s hard to stand.”

It was getting a bit hopeless there, standing on the edges of the platforms! (Laughs)

(Arino) And then I never really thought anything about it, but she livened things up when she asked, “Why are climbing up a mountain and picking up eggplants?” I’d never given any thought to it. I just picked up the eggplants because they were there, but when she asked why we were doing that, I was just like “…I actually have no idea.”

Picking up eggplants in Ice Climber

It doesn’t seem out of place for us, but if someone asks, “Why are we picking up eggplants?” you realize that there is no actual reason. And then she referred to the cabbage as lettuce! (Laughs) We know it in the game as cabbage, but she called it lettuce! (Laughs)

(Arino) There’s that too. But if I glance at it very quickly, I can see it being either one. That probably has to do with the generation gap as well. It’s probably just that we used to each cabbage a lot, so we called it cabbage.

For sure. Lettuce may be more popular amongst young people these days.

(Arino) I became aware of all the things I didn’t know beforehand. I normally just do all that stuff without thinking about it, but people now are full of all sorts of questions: “Why is Takahashi Meijin not wearing a shirt? Why does riding on a skateboard actually put him at a disadvantage?”

And I won’t spoil anything, but the last joke during Ice Climber was awesome. Just as I’d expect from the Kacho, you made me laugh out loud! (Laughs) For better or worse, you absolutely showed Salome your own unique brand of play.

(Arino) It was reluctantly awesome. But I would like to play Ice Climber again and show people some vegetables that aren’t eggplants! And when I’m asked “Why?”, I want to reply with “Why do you think?” (Laughs) I want to get them flustered.

Everyone’s Feelings Gather Around Saitama Super Arena

The third game you collaborated on was Ghosts ‘n Goblins…and I’m really looking forward to people being able to see it…. but that said, there’s a Game Center CX 20th anniversary exhibition event. It recently ran in Tokyo from March 4th, 2023, through April 2nd. This issue will come out around the time that the Sendai one ends and the Fukuoka one begins. There were some valuable materials from the past 20 years on display, as well. How was it?

Will Arino’s experience help Salome through Ghosts ‘n Goblins…?

(Arino) We only do these once every 5 years, so the exhibition is really evolving. There’s a gimmick where this message is written out as soon as the door opens, and such. It makes the first time we did it feel like a middle school festival.

Arino at GCCX Exhibition

I remember that Sakai’s eraser collection was on display at the first event! (Laughs) Having 20 years’ worth of history built up is much more elegant, compared to that.

(Arino) Now that we have the crown that is the backing of HMV books, it’s changed so much! (Laughs) When we were doing it as the Museum, didn’t we ask local candy shops to set up there or something too?

They were selling things there, yes! (Laughs) But that was interesting in its own way. Looking back on the show’s history in this way, it’s a given that you must be made fun of for the time that you slept past your stop on the bullet train before the event to promote the show’s first game on the Nintendo DS! (Laughs) And there was even video of it at the exhibition.

(Arino) That’s a story from the show that will be told forever! (Laughs)

The angry look on Kibe’s face will be passed down for generations.

(Arino) Every time the footage of him looking angry comes up, he says “No! That’s just because the sun got in my eyes!” That’s a recurring story, but I did make up for sleeping past my stop….so I feel like I need to do it again! (Laughs)

I’d really like to see the look on Kibe’s face if you do it again! (Laughs)

(Arino) I’m sure it will be an expression so bright that it will say “You’ve gone a little bit too far.”

We’ve gotten through all the topics I wanted to discuss, so for the last one, I’d like to talk once again about the Saitama Super Arena event.

(Arino) I wonder if Salome could make an appearance there too. I want there to be like a 5-meter-tall version of her that appears on screen like a last boss.

(Kan, Producer) That’s not going to happen (Laughs) We’d like for you to do it all on your own, Arino.

(Arino) I see, so it’s all on me! (Laughs)

Whether it ends in laughter or tears, October 29th is coming. Naturally, Continue will be covering it, so we have high expectations. It’s been such a long time since you’ve had a live challenge event on this large of a scale.

(Arino) And I was getting so proud of our year end and seasonal events. I want to bring out all that energy that’s been stored up for so long, and I want to hear people shouting “Kacho, get tense!” and “Go!” But I also want to be able to say, “I did it!” a bunch too! (Laughs)

Some people might say some pretty brutal things, given that they’ve been holding on to these feelings for so long! (Laughs) But none the less, we’re very much looking forward to the event at Saitama Super Arena!