Umenokouji Aoi Pointers by Jirawat Uttayaya (firstname.lastname@example.org) email@example.com "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.