Umenokouji Aoi Pointers
by Jirawat Uttayaya (jirawat@phys.ufl.edu)
mike@speednet.com.au
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight
 in the dog."


Aoi is probably the most underused of characters; and justifibly since she
is probably the most underpowered of characters.  This guide will not
change that.  The best this guide can do is provide weapons to make Aoi
competitive.


Pronounciation of Aoi

Unless you're Noam Chomsky, it is ultimately futile to describe an
auditory phenomenon with text.  I suggest you get a tape of conversational
Japanese and fast forward to the "Colours" section.  The Japanese word
for blue is: aoi.  Incidentally, Aoi's name does not mean "blue"; the kanji
for Aoi means "hollyhock".  As for her last name, pronounce it however you
please.  This is the United States dammit, who's gonna know the difference.


The Real Dope about Aikido

Aikido, founded by Morihei Ueshiba-sensei, literally translates to "Way (do)
of Harmony (ai) with the Universe (ki)".  I won't go into the philosophical
aspects of aikido nor the life of Morihei Ueshiba--better men than I have
already done so--but feel free to visit your local library for further
information.  I will however be using real aikido terminology in this guide.

Aikido Glossary

Agatsu:  Victory over the ego.  A favourite expression of Morihei
Ueshiba-sensei was "masakatsu agatsu", true victory is self victory.  It's
something nice to say when you've just sucked down a 0-3 defeat against Jerky.


Ai Hanmi:  Closed Stance

Gyaku Hanmi:  Open Stance


Atemi:  Literally means "strike the body".  Unlike hit-based martial arts,
such as Muay Thai or boxing, where the strike's sole purpose is the inflict
a serious amount of discomfort, atemi techniques in aikido act as a
distraction--disrupting the opponent's ki--so a throw can be done.  In VF
gameplay terms, this is analogous to the hit-throw tactics of which Aoi is
superb.

Irimi:  Entering into the opponent's attack.  Diametric to Akira's
linear style, aikido stresses circular movements.  An aikidoka will
sidestep an opponent's attack rendering it harmless while at the same
time closing the distance for his own attack.  Basically using the
E button in VF terms.

Fudo shin:  The "Immovable Mind".  Keep your cool.  Use your head, don't
lose it.

Henka waza:  Changing from one technique to another.  I'll use it for
G-canceling.

Kaeshi waza:  Reversal

Kansetsu waza:  Joint lock technique.

Katame waza or Osae waza:  Pinning technique.

Keiko:  Training.  Lots of quarters.

Kuzushi:  Causing your opponent to lose his center thus making him
vulnerable for attack.

Suki:  Vulnerability.

Uchi deshi:  An aikido student who lives at the dojo.  Not hard to
draw parallels to arcade life.


I. Moves

Punch Systems - Zuki

Command       Lev  Rev  Dam  Ex-Co-Ri   Gu  Hit  Cou   Misc
P             H    HiP  10    9-2-13
  P,P         H    HiP  10    8-2-15
  P,P,P       H    HiP  12   12-2-29
  P,P,K       H    HiK  30   14-2-27
  P,P,P,K     M    Kne  35   18-2-31
  P,P,P,d+K   L    LSp  20   19-4-32                   Cancel(18,5,17)
    (Enemy Guards)       0    1-1-46
  P,P,f+P     M    Elb  20   19-3-29                   Cancel(18,8,17)
  P,P,F+P,P   M    Elb  20   23-1-29                   Cancel(20,1,19)
  P,K         H    HiK  29   14-2-31


High Strikes - Jodan-uchi

Command       Lev  Rev  Dam  Ex-Co-Ri   Gu  Hit  Cou   Misc
P+E           H    HiP  10    9-2-13
P+K           H    HiP   8   12-2-19                   Dr(1)
  P+K, P      H    HiP   9   11-2-21                   Dr(1)
  P+K, P,P    H    HiP   9   15-2-25
K             H    HiK  12   12-3-32                   Cancel(10,4,5)
  K,K         H    HiK  24   19-3-23
  (Enemy Guards)         0    0-1-42
F+K           H    HiK  20   12-3-30                   Cancel(10,4,5)
K+E           H    HiK  20   12-3-32
f,f+P+K       H    Elb  20   14-1-22
f+P+K         H*   Elb  20   15-3-25
  F+P+K,P     H    Elb  20   23-1-29                   Cancel(20,1,19)
b,b+P         H    HiP  14   16-2-16                   Turn-Around
b,b+P+K       H    HiP  14   17-2-28                   Dr(2), Cancel(15,5,14)


Mid Strikes - Chudan-uchi

Command       Lev  Rev  Dam  Ex-Co-Ri   Gu  Hit  Cou   Misc
f+P           M    Elb  19   11-2-24
  f+P,P       M    HiP  14   21-1-25                   Cancel(19,5,18)
D_,d/f+P      M    Elb 10-21 12-2-30
d, d+P        M    ---  18   13-2-22
d/f+K         M    MiK  21   14-2-27
d/f+K+E       M    MiK  21   14-2-25
d/f+P+K       M    HiP  15   16-1-24
f,f+P         M    Elb  27   17-2-32                   Cancel(16,5,15)
d/f+P         M    HiP  23   18-3-25                   Cancel(14,5,13)
f+K           M    Kne  20   18-2-23
  f+K,K       H    HiK  20   13-2-31


Low Strikes - Gedan-uchi

Command       Lev  Rev  Dam  Ex-Co-Ri   Gu  Hit  Cou   Misc

d+P
  (Standing)  L    LoP  11   16-1-14
  (Crouching) L    LoP   9   10-1-16
d+K           L    LoK  12   14-1-28
d/b+K         L    LoK  20   15-2-29
d+K+G         L    LSp  20   19-4-30                   Cancel(18,5,17)
  (Enemy Guards)         0    1-1-46



Big Jump Attacks

d,U,f+P                 30   21-6-43
d,U+K                   30    5-4-56
d,U,K
  (Ascend)              30   11-2-25
  (Descend)             30   10-6-11
d,U,b+K                 40   12-4-44


Small Jump Attack

d,u+P                   30   34-3-24
d,u,P                   30   26-2-23
d,u+K                   18   20-1-20
d,u,K
  (Ascend)              20   10-2-13
  (Descend)             20   10-2-19


Throws

P+G                     40   20-99-1
  (Taka)                40   20-97-1
P+G  Side Throw         40   13-93-1
P+G  Back Throw       30+20  20-120-1
D_,f+P+G                50    1-94-1
d/f+P+G                 50   10-135-1
d/b+P+G                 45   12-94-1
d/b+P+G  Wall Throw     50   42-58-1
b+P+G                   50   20-83-1
d+P+K+G  Low Throw  30+15+15 20-165-1

   (Aoi's multi-throw explained later)


Reverse - Gyaku-uchi

f+P+K
 (High Turn-Around Punch) 30  1-179-1
 (High Turn-Around Kick)  30 10-133-18
b+P
 (High Punch)             0  10-15-1
 (High Kick)              0   9-49-1
d/b+P
 (Knee)                 0  12-39-1
 (Mid Kick)               0  20-24-1
b+P+K
 (High Punch
  Closed Stance)          25  37-44-1
  Open Stance)            25  4-151-1
 (High Kick
  Closed Stance)          20  1-174-1
  Open Stance)            20 20-115-1
 (High Spin Kick)          0  15-51-1
d/b+P+K
 (Elbow)                  30  20-49-1
 (Knee-Closed Stance)     30   1-88-1
      -Open Stance)       30  21-64-1
 (Mid Kick-Right Leg)     30  20-106-1
          -Left Leg)      30  20-24-1
u/b+P+K  Flipkick Rev.    25  16-152-1
d+P+K
  (From Standing
   Low Punch)             25  20-69-1
   Low Kick)              25  20-131-1
   Low Sweep)              0  18-41-1
  (From Crouching
   Low Punch)             20  20-100-1
   Low Kick)              20  20-50-1

Down Attacks
d/f+P                     10  19-1-41
u+P                       30  30-2-37
  (Enemy Back Exposed)    30  39-3-36
  (Enemy Hit)                  0-1-75
d,U+P                     40  28-5-38
  (Enemy Back Exposed)    40  37-5-46
  (Enemy Hit)                  0-1-65


Move Commentary

d/f+P+K
   One of Aoi's major weapons.  Aoi can be thrown by her opponent if he guards
against the move; at long range however the timing is tough.  When my
d/f+P+K gets blocked, I usually follow up with a quick attack in the hopes
my oppoent messes up his throw attempt.  Fortunately when this move hits,
it forces the opponent to crouch.  From this position Aoi has
a distinct advantage.

   Since the Phoenix Palm is throw counterable, Aoi must use it with
discretion.  Two especially advantageous times to hit with this move is:
after E dodging an opponent's attack and after guard canceling.  The
Phoenix Palm is most effective when combined with a P,P,P,d+K G-cancel
because most opponents will instinctively crouch guard the sweep, allowing
Aoi to hit with the Phoenix Palm.

   What Aoi does next depends on her opponent's reaction.  Most people,
surprised at being hit, will just hold guard.  The best continuation for
Aoi is her d+P+K+G low throw. (Remember the Phoenix Palm forces the opponent
to crouch).  If you are particularly wicked or he is particularly dumb,
hit your opponent with the Phoenix Palm a few more times before low
throwing.

   You'll be surprised how long it takes before people realize to low
throw escape after the Phoenix Palm.  Once they start escaping the
throw -some opponents never do; they just curse a lot- wait for
low throw escape to miss and counter it.  Some opponents will dodge.
The dodge usually causes both the low throw and another Phoenix Palm to
miss.  A crouch dash into the Aiki Throw (D_, f+P+G) punishes with much
damage the dodge attempt.  Something more mundane like a d+K+G sweep or a
f+P+K,P will also work.  A crouch dash into the Aiki Throw can be used
to catch up to those annoying back dasher too.

   The more aggressive of the bunch will try to counterattack.  Let's
catagorize the counterattacks as less than 13 frames and greater than
13 frames.  Using the E dodge is a decent general reaction to those
fast counterattacks.  After the dodge you can of course do the side
throw.  But I've found nothing is more psychologically damaging
than getting hit by the same move twice in a row.  Thus I suggest using
the Pheonix Palm again after dodging and repeating the whole process
again.  A specific remedy against high punches and elbows is F+P+K,P
which will counter the opponent's attack.  The ever useful crouch dash
can duck under any high attack retaliation.  A d/b+K will also stop
high attacks.  A further option would be an Aoi high punch counter into
a high throw.

   Any counter attempt by the opponent that is greater than 13 frames is
begging for a float counter-a f+K or a f,f+P+K will do nicely.  Or you
can go for multiple Phoenix Palms then put him out of his misery with a
low throw.

d,d+P

   Another great weapon in Aoi's arsenal.  It's quick to come out and
uncounterable to boot; unfortunately the reach is rather limited.
The Double-Handed Stop excels at shutting down button mashers employing
the "Twink Punchs Rush".  "They are scrubs-" wrote Jack London, "the dirty
driftage of the fight game, without honor, without efficency."

  Since the reach is short, here are situations Aoi can use this move without
missing.

      1) After connecting a normal hit with a d/f+P or d/f+P+K
      3) After guard canceling P,P,P,d+K or P,P,f+P
      4) After opponent guards f+K or f,f+P+K or d,d+P
      5) After f+P

When the Double-Handed Stop hits an unguarding standing opponent, the best
followups are f+P+K or f,f+P+K or d+K+G.  Using the various punch systems
is another legitimate followup.  On a counter hit input a high throw or your
favorite mid attack.  I suggest a Phoenix Palm to gain the advantage.

The Double-Handed Stop, like Aoi's elbow and sidekick, staggers a crouching
opponent.  Since most opponents don't struggle out of the stagger, you
can press the attack with a F+P+K,P.  Or you can just throw -crouch dash
into a Aiki Throw (D_, f+P+G) being my personal choice- against those
who do struggle.

d/f+K
   A standard sidekick.  Has a relatively long range for an Aoi mid attack.
When the sidekick counters an opponent's punch or elbow, Aoi can follow
up with a throw.  If the sidekick hits a standing guard opponent, the
opponent can not counter attack.  If the sidekick hits a crouching guard
opponent, the opponent staggers.


f+P
f+P,P

  Aoi's elbow (f+P) hitting a crouch guarding opponent causes him to stagger
but no damage is inflicted.  The opponent who tries to move or just holds
guard afterwards opens himself up to an Aoi throw.  Most opponent's
counter attacks can also be easily interrupted by Aoi's fast punch.

* Sample move cancel calculation
f+P,P   Cancel(19,5,18)
Aoi can cancel the move during the window of the 1st frame to 18th
frame (19 - 1).  The move stops its animation at the 19th frame (18 + 1)
The rigour time is 16 frames (19 - 5 + 2).


f+P+K
F+P+K,P

While yoko-uchi (a sideward strike) is officially listed as a high attack,
it will stagger a crouch guarding opponent.  The second part of this move
will connect if the f+P+K staggers.  Yoko-uchi has a decent range compared
to Aoi's other fast execution moves.  Floats on a counter hits, except
when countering punches; but the second hit is guaranteed in this case though.
On a normal hit, the follow-up to yoko-uchi can be blocked.

The negative aspect of yoko-uchi (the tremendous recovery time) creates
a suki for Aoi.  While f+P+K can not be counterattacked if it hits a
stand guard opponent, Aoi can be counter thrown.  Even after guard canceling,
the second move still has a long rigour time of 21 frames, resulting in an
easy throw opportunity for the opponent.



f,f+P+K

  Another Aoi move that floats the opponent when it hits.  The fast execution
time is tempered by its short range.  Given these parameters, this move
becomes a natural choice to follow up after guard canceling another move.
As an added bonus, your opponent can not counter you if he blocks this
attack.  However this move hits high so be judicious in its use.



D_, f+P+G

   My favourite throw.  An incredibly devastating atemi is Aoi's low punch
counter into the Aiki Throw (d+P, f+P+G).  After this the ground throw
(d/f+P+G) is guaranteed on all characters save Taka.  Top this sequence
off with a ground punch (d/f+P). This transforms the meek low punch into a 100
(15+50+35+10) point damage monstrosity.  The Aiki Throw also goes well
with a crouch dash.  A crouch dash into an Aiki Throw is a great way to
punish a missed throw attempt.


b,b+P, d+P

  The d+P part hits low twice for 28 point total damage.  Counterable if
guarded.  This is a very useful move since Aoi turning her back (b,b+P)
often lures unsuspecting victims in.

d/f+P+G (Ground Throw)
  There are four types of ground throws initiated with this one command.
Which throw animation appears depends on whether the Opponent is a) facing
up or down and b) heads or feet towards Aoi.  All ground throws do 25
points of damage, save the face down/feet towards option which does 35.
It's easy to connect Aoi's ground attack (d/f+P) after the face up/feet
towards ground throw, making it a 35 point total attack; it's not much
harder to connect the ground attack after the face down/feet towards
option too.  Practically the only chance you'll have to use the heads towards
ground throw is when fighting Shun.  In Revision C and above, a missed ground
throw has a 80 (!) frame recovery.

 There are seven known attacks after which the ground throw is guaranteed.

           Face Down/Feet Towards
              1.) 3 hit multi-throw (d, u+P+G variation)
              2.) Wall throw (d/b+P+G)

           Face Up/Feet Towards
              3.) Aiki Throw (D_, f+P+G)
              4.) Closed Stance High Punch Reverse (b+P+K)
              5.) Right Handed Elbow Reverse (d/b+P+K)
              6.) Right Footed Mid Kick Reverse (d/b+P+K)
              7.) Open Stance High Kick (Damage > 30) Reverse (b+P+K)

  While in the following situations an above average opponent can escape
the ground throw attempt, I consider them good gambles.

              1.) After connenting P,P,P,K in an air combo
              2.) f+P+K,P   The first f+P+K must counter and the second
                  P must miss the floating oppoennt.
              3.) Flipkick Reverse.
              4.) Back Throw
              5.) Low Throw

Aoi's Multi-throw

                     ____f,d+P+G  or  b,d+P+G
                     |
                     |
b,d/b,d,d/f,f+P+G    |
      or         ----|
f,d/f,d,d/b,b+P+G    |                            ____u,d+P+G
                     |                            |
                     |                            |
                     ----f,u+P+G  or  b,u+P+G ----|
                                                  |
                                                  |
                                                  ----d,u+P+G ----d/f+P+G



The timing of the multi-throw is not difficult at all.  Input the commands
at a smooth, regular pace--no need to rush it--and, most importantly, make
sure it's accurate.  If you are still having problems, try returning the
joystick to neutral between each throw.

Unfortunately escaping the multi-throw is easier that executing it.  For both
the second and third portion, your opponent only has to choose between
u+P+G or d+P+G.


Float Combos

Aoi does not have many float combos.  And the ones she does have are pretty
weak.

Aoi has four general moves to initiate a float combo:

1.  d/f+P
2.  f+K
3.  f,f+P+K
4.  f+P+K

After connecting with any of the above four moves, you can follow up the float
with:

1. P,P,P,K    On major counter, all characters
2. f+K,K      On major counter, all characters, open stance
3. f+P+K,P    On major counter, all characters, closed stance
4. P+K,P,P    On major counter, all characters
5. b,b+P,d+P  On major counter, light characters
6. f+K, d,U+P(pounce)  On major counter, middle characters
7. D_+P, f+K

Furthermore, Aoi has some specific float combos

1. d/f+K (MC), P,P,P,d+K  Light characters, on downward slope
2. P,P,P,K (MC), f+P, d/f+P+G(Ground Throw)  Middle characters,  iffy combo
3. f,f+P+K (minour counter), d,d+P, d,U+P Middle Characters, Difficult
4. f,f+P+K, f+K  Open Stance, Light CHaracters
5. f,f+P+K  d/b+K  Good for upward slopes
6. f+K, d+P, D/F_+P  Open Stance, Light Characters
7. f+K,K,  d+K+G

Another good float move is Aoi's hopping punch attack (d, u+P)

d, u+P, f,f+P+K  Closed Stance, All characters
d, u+P, f+P+K    Closed Stance, All characters
d, u+P, d/f+K    Closed Stance, All characters
d, u+P, f+E, d+K+G  All Characters, Upward Slope

Aoi's d, u+P is particularly good for reacting against low sweeps and
low rising attacks.  With a little practice you can hop over and counter
these slow executing low attacks.

General Strategy

Aoi has the fastest dodge in VF3, I believe, because Aikido naturally
stresses circular movement and also to compensate for Aoi being the lightest.
I suggest dodging a lot; you'll most likely sidestep the opponent's
counterattack.  Split the dodge/guard ratio to 50/50 or even 60/40.  Most
fast counterattacks are linear which are easy to dodge, and circular
attacks, ie. sweeps, usually leave the attacker horrendously vulnerable.


Okizeme

I'm not the best rising tactician.  Okizeme requires courage, patience,
and perseverance--qualities I have little of, especially after a big meal.
However lack of knowledge never stopped me from injecting my opinions.

At its very basic level, okizeme consists of a high throw after blocking
a high rising kick and a low throw after a low rising kick.   Sometimes
players, in particular tyros, will just stand guard after rising up.
Obviously dash in and throw or execute a low attack.

I used to play around with dodging rising kicks but I've found the risks
are not worth it.  At first I thought rising kicks were stance dependent
but now I'm not so sure.  A tip I've read is that, save for Akira, Pai,
Lau, and Kage, rising kicks travel in a semi-circle.  By using d+E on
the 1P side and E on the 2P side, you'll dodge the rising kick.

One Aoi specific trick is to use f+K,K to leap over your prone opponent.
If he does a rising kick, it will totally miss and you can counter
with almost whatever you desire.  If he rolls to the side or delay the
rising kick, just tag him with a simple mid-kick.




Parting Thoughts

"I am a brother to dragons, a companion to owls.
 My skin is black upon me, my eyes are burned with hate."

                                   Book of Job  30:29-30

VF is a bit like fucking, which is only really enjoyed by amateurs.
Old whores rarely do any grinning.