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Keenan “Kizzie Kay” Kizzie is a lot of your favorite top player’s favorite top player — and it’s easy to understand why. From his charismatic commentary during his matches, clean and smooth movement regardless of the game, and an overall happy demeanor through wins and losses, he’s a popular player that brings positive vibrations whenever they boot up a game.

Kizzie Kay is one of the most popular fighting game players and personalities, but the roots of his success are predominantly in anime fighters and that’s what his fans and community know him for. With the release of Street Fighter 6, people are starting to see a new side of Kizzie Kay. For those that are used to watching him play air dashers on stream, this new level of commitment and grind from the anime player and his excitement for the game’s direction was a different enthusiasm.

“I’m a product of the environment right now with Street Fighter 6 but I want people to feel comfortable enough to watch an anime player perform well in this game,” Kizzie said. “I want to show results to that audience to inspire them and to a certain degree I think I can do that for them in that regard. A lot of people that started in Guilty Gear Strive are in my community – not too many OGs.”

Why make the switch to a Capcom Fighter?

To understand the significance of having a primarily anime fighting game player switch over and play a Capcom traditional fighter full-time, the switch is night and day. Instead of speed and aggression with highly creative and expressive mobility, it is replaced with tense grounded spacing battles fought with normals and walk speed. The most jarring change can be the differences in system mechanics – most traditional Capcom fighters use one or two different meter bars to create amplified special moves or ultimate attacks wherein an anime fighter may not distinctly define bars for resources.

In addition to those stark differences, the audiences that favor anime fighters are usually ones that love offense and expression in their air mobility without an overreliance on a character archetype delivering that experience. But Kizzie Kay wants his audience and those that follow him to understand that this game is not just a flavor of the month – there’s real depth and reasoning for playing it.

“There are so many ways to learn in the game whether it’s training mode or what your character is capable of. That’s enough for someone in anime games to mess around with,” Kizzie said. “No one can really disagree that this game is ‘freestyle the game’ – it’s almost four versions of Street Fighter in one. How can that be boring?”

Kizzie Kay’s most significant reason for making the switch is his overall excitement of having a complete product on launch. A fighting game that fits casual and competitive players alike with plenty of choices to have fun. He noted that even the characters, be it their moves or their frame data or just the overall archetype and aesthetic, felt fleshed out instead of just being an idea out of a box. 

The game was fun to watch even when watching the same characters fight because he just enjoyed seeing people make new things up. Even the perceived weaker characters felt and looked good. He told me that it brought back the feeling he loved about fighting games and that it could only get better. He simply appreciated that the game felt like it prioritized his likes.

The stresses of playing Street Fighter 6 and why it’s a good thing

His recent placement at CEO aside (he finished in 9th place), the challenges and learning the game keep him hungry to grow more. It probably helped that his character choice, Deejay, was the first charge character he ever picked up competitively. After receiving advice from a fighting game legend Justin Wong to play a cheap character, he was recommended to pick up Deejay for the mobility he offered and the high damage rewards. His trust in Wong’s judgment led to his early success, but more importantly his need to continue to improve.

“I’ve been playing nonstop, and I still don’t feel fully comfortable with my character and that is such a great feeling,” Kizzie said. “I’m still learning from the matches that I’m playing, and it feels good to have progression – it sums up what keeps me interested. If you take that feeling away, it no longer feels exciting.”

In addition to learning an entirely new archetype in a charge character, he also notes just how stressful a game Street Fighter 6 is. Like many competitive players that mimic his thoughts, the amount of learning and obstacles that can beat you in the game lie numerous and without proper training and work, it can easily overwhelm the most enthusiastic of players.

“This game is a bit stressful to compete in and reminds me of Guilty Gear XRD Rev 2 a lot. This game is hard to compete in because your game plan needs to be set but then you must be aware of what your opponent is going to do and it’s hard in that regard,” Kizzie said. “When you must keep an eye on both of your resources and the changing of the dynamics depending on that can change the way they play – it’s very hard. There aren’t too many options in other fighting games and a lot of superior options usually beat out the rest, but there’s so many things to look out for in this game and so many things you can do.”

Although Kizzie Kay is an anime fighting game player at heart, Street Fighter 6 is the main game for him. He cites the difficult learning curve and the expansive library of new teachings in every match that keeps him motivated and hopefully his trials and enthusiasm can bridge over more anime players to try a traditional Capcom fighting game. The fighting game community is entering yet another potential renaissance and the overlap could not come at a better time.