Yume: The Forgotten Best | FGC Legends

Yume: The Forgotten Best | FGC Legends
Date Published: 2 June, 2021

The Persona 4 Arena series is one which has traditionally taken a backseat to other Arc System Works mainstay titles, predominately the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue franchises respectively. Although the series had a respectable competitive run from 2012 to 2016, it was never truly recognized by the wider circles in the FGC, and was even perceived by some as an inferior version of a fighting game title than what Arc System Works traditionally was known for developing.

However, despite being overshadowed in an era that had giants such as Ultra Street Fighter IV, Mortal Kombat 9, The King of Fighters XIII, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 drawing the majority of headlines in the fighting game community, on the evening of July 12th, 2013, a somewhat mysterious figure only known by the alias—Yume, delivered one of the most impressive performances on the EVO grand stage the FGC had witnessed to that point.

Yume’s post tournament speech after winning Godsgarden #9 in 2013.

Who is Yume?

Yume, shortened for Yumenori, is a player who is clouded by a fair amount of mystery as there are not many details known of his origin, or his public persona, something quite uncharacteristic for a player of his skill level. However, throughout the years, there have been a few pieces of information that painted a clearer picture of who Yume actually is.

Originally known as a top Bridget player during the Guilty Gear XX days, Yume was renowned for his skill in multiple different games, some of which include Capcom vs. SNK 2, Melty Blood Act Cadenza, and later BlazBlue Calamity Trigger. Yume was especially famous for being an extremely effective player at using high skill characters which require precise execution, and dexterity. 

Yume was seen participating in multiple games in various years at then one of the most prestigious annual Japanese fighting game tournament series Tougeki—Super Battle Opera or what was simply better known as SBO. Throughout the year leading up to the grand tournament, he saw himself taking 1st place at qualifier events which included top finishes at games such as Aquapazza, BlazBlue, and later Persona 4 Arena.

In the arcade scene, Yume was known as a player who did not like to have many of his archives recorded for unknown reasons. Some speculate it was due to being able to scout his gameplay tendencies and perhaps being studied for at larger tournaments, however, this theory was never truly confirmed.

During his time of competing in Persona 4 Arena, Yume established himself as the No. 1 player in Japan, as he achieved the highest rank as well as the top PSR in the arcade version of the game, and was known to rack up win streaks that climbed to over 80 games in a row, with very few players pushing him to defeat.

However, while Yume was known in smaller arcade circles in Japan, with Persona 4 Arena being a newly established property and not a legacy title, the West did not know much about him and his accomplishments, and what became even more so evident, were vastly unprepared to face him in tournament settings.

Yume (left) signaling to LordKnight (right) to continue the match after LordKnight sat on the character select screen for 18 seconds after suffering a dominant first game loss to Yume.

Delaying The Inevitable

EVO 2013 saw participation from some of the most celebrated fighting game players in the world, some which included Daigo Umehara, Infiltration, Xian, Tokido, MadKOF, Kazunoko, and many others. Though, none of those celebrated players arguably had a more impressive showing than Yume’s championship performance during the Persona 4 Arena stretch of the tournament.

In a tournament that featured over 400 players, some which included top level talent such as Tokido, Kazunoko, Brkdave, BananaKen, Die-Chan, LordKnight, and others, Yume would go on to separate himself from the pack, by dominating his competition, going 10-0 overall, all the while never dropping a single game during pools, semi-finals, or the top 8 finals.

However, the winning record itself, albeit extremely impressive, was only further emphasized by Yume’s spectacular high level performance in which he completely demolished other top level competition. The most memorable moments came during the top 8 final.

The first was Yume’s winner’s semi-final match vs. Stunedge, a highly touted Yukiko player from Japan. The match began as per usual in most of Yume’s matches, as he found himself dominating the first round. However, after dropping the second round to Stunedge, Yume returned to absolute vintage form, by not only achieving a perfect, but baiting out Stunedge to mistakenly burst, and taking away any chance for him to win the match. 

The second memorable moment came by way of the winner’s finals match against arguably the best Persona 4 Arena player in the US at the time—LordKnight. However, it was quickly noticed in the eyes of everyone, that there are levels to being the best, and Yume’s absolute masterpiece versus LordKnight further proved that realization. 

In the opening round, Yume had already established his experience, by quickly breaking a throw attempt from LordKnight after an intentionally ambiguous dropped combo for a reset, soon after that sequence, Yume proceeded to bully LordKnight with constant pressure, eventually baiting his attempted use of a guard cancel to win the first round.

However, by far the most memorable moment which came shortly after, was Yume’s adaptation to overheating his character—Aigis, which in theory put himself in a disadvantageous position, but not in reality, as he continued to dominate LordKnight despite that being the case, eventually pushing him to the brink, and yet again, taking away his last chance to survive by baiting his burst in mid-air.

After defeating LordKnight in winner’s finals, Yume would then go on to overwhelm him once again in grand finals, after LordKnight’s climb from losers bracket, however, the task soon revealed itself to be too tall once again, as Yume went on to win 3 games straight to be crowned the first ever Persona 4 Arena champion at Evolution.

Yume receiving his 1st place medal and trophy at EVO 2013 following his Persona 4 Arena championship win.

Quit While One’s Ahead

Upon his successful trip to the United States with a trophy in hand, and a medal around his neck, Yume returned to Japan with even more proof that he is in fact the best in the world. The final appearance of consequence with Yume competing in Persona 4 Arena came in late 2013, as he took first place at Godsgarden #9, defeating other top Japanese players in the process.

However, Yume’s run would end there, as the release of Persona 4 Arena‘s sequel—Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, was set to come to Japanese arcades in late November of 2013, it was made known that Yume would not be competing in the game in the same capacity, as he was hired by Arc System Works as a battle planner for the game, therefore, being directly involved in the production of game, through it’s console release.

As unfortunate as it was, fans would never witness Yume compete against other high level competitors in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. The sequel was home again to top level competitors, some of which included Japanese legacy Guilty Gear player—Koichi, outstanding rising talents in Tahichi and Aguro, as well as high level Persona 4 Arena players in Shikki and Souji.

Considering his other responsibilities, and his known preference for not having his replay footage archived, Yume’s few competitive appearances in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax came by way of casual matches seen in arcades of him using both his previous main character in Aigis, as well as new coming Ultimax character—Marie, however, those appearances came many years after the game’s competitive peak had past.

Although he had a short time in the spotlight, it was certainly a memorable time. Yume can be seen as the final boss in a video game which does not appear a second time after defeating the player. He came, he saw, and he most definitely conquered. While his time at the top was short-lived, his run was arguably one of the most impressive ones the FGC had ever witnessed, as he forever cemented himself as the king who was never dethroned.

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