Can you believe it has been three years since EVO Japan has been in a hiatus?
EVO Japan is the Japanese edition of the EVO series that made its official debut on January 26-28, 2018. The lineup for EVO Japan is usually different from the EVO we’ve watched here in the states since more Japanese-made fighting games get more love, so don’t expect certain games like Mortal Kombat for example to make it on the main lineup.
The first year of EVO Japan, we saw Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2, Blazblue Central Fiction, The King of Fighters XIV, and ARMS. The second year of EVO Japan saw six of the seven games make their return from last year. Lastly, EVO Japan 2020, the only EVO that happened that year before the pandemic began, four of the five games returned in the lineup, with Samurai Shodown (2019) and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate added to the roster. Let’s not forget that the prize for Smash Ultimate was a limited edition Nintendo Switch Pro Controller with a Gold Smash emblem marked for 1st place instead of prize money.
After being absent for three years due to the pandemic, EVO Japan is back once again with EVO Japan 2023! This year’s lineup includes seven games: Six games returning from EVO 2022 and one game that hasn’t been part of the EVO main lineup since 2007.Much like my previous Thoughts on the EVO Lineup blogs (including the most recent one I put out with EVO 2023), I’m going to discuss each one. Here’s the catch: since registrations for EVO Japan 2023 are over, I’ll be listing them in order of number of entrants.
With that in mind, let’s get started!
# of Entrants: 1797
Normally I don’t mention Street Fighter games at EVO since it’s always been a mainstay as I’ve mentioned multiple times, but I’m breaking the rule for this one because this is the final time that SF5 as a whole makes an appearance at EVO this year. Since SF5 went out with a bang as their curtain call at Capcom Cup 2022 Finals, the same can be said about the same game in EVO Japan 2023.
# of Entrants: 1400
This one is another no-brainer as well, since it’s also confirmed for EVO 2023 and plus there’s not enough 3D fighting games. Not much to go off on, but I will be watching the tournament with full interest since I am a 3D fighting game player myself. After all, the South Korea vs. Pakistan rivalry in Tekken 7 has been heating up and I’m here for it!
And no, I’m not choosing sides. I just want to see some Good Ass Tekken, that’s all.
# of Entrants: 1385
Again, another no-brainer and also one of the games that will be appearing at EVO 2023 as well. I believe this is the first time that Guilty Gear Strive will be played at EVO Japan this year, and considering the number of entrants with its popularity, it is one of the strongest anime fighters in the lineup. Not to mention, this game, along with SF5 and Tekken 7, are the only games in the lineup that have over 1000 entrants.
On top of that, Guilty Gear Strive is about to enter Season 3 as well, so this also helps.
# of Entrants: 800
Also confirmed for EVO 2023, this is also the first time that KOF15 is part of the EVO Japan roster this year. Registrations were neck and neck between this game and VF5US, which I will get to in a moment. Now that Season 2 is underway, let’s see which characters are going to be considered a problem.
# of Entrants: 796
The last time Virtua Fighter ended up as part of the main lineup was EVO 2007 with Virtua Fighter 5 Vanilla for the PlayStation 3. After 15 years, VF returns to EVO, this time making its EVO Japan debut with Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown, aka Virtua Fighter eSports.
Not gonna lie, I was really happy that VF5US would make the lineup this year at EVO Japan and for good reasons since this year marks the 30th Anniversary of the franchise, along with the fact that there’s 796 entrants in the tournament. This is my most-anticipated tournament of the event and I’m excited for everyone to witness the power of high-level Virtua Fighter gameplay.
This right here is #VFStrongStyle to the fullest!
# of Entrants: 531
Another game that returned to EVO 2023 this year, Melty Blood Type Lumina is one of the three Anime fighters in the lineup. I already made my response on how I felt about the game during my Thoughts on the EVO 2023 Lineup blog last month, so not much needed to be said here.
# of Entrants: 495
Granblue Fantasy Versus didn’t make the cut at EVO 2023 this year, but it still has a place in EVO Japan. With a new game coming out sometime this year, I’m pretty sure the community will go all out in this tournament. It's great to see the GBFV community show their continued support for their game!
I know there’s a lot happening on WrestleMania weekend, but my focus will be on EVO Japan 2023 this weekend. I had to take time off for this event, so pretty much I will be enjoying some great fighting game action over my birthday weekend. Hopefully there will be some surprises along the way, as well as some good ass matches.
And even if you’re not into any of the games, there’s also going to be side tournaments involving over 60 games, whether they are fighting games, competitive puzzle games, and more! Just… LOOK AT THIS LIST! MY GAWD!
It’s good to have EVO Japan back after a three-year hiatus and I’m really excited to see what’s gonna happen.
Until then… Train Up, Fighters!