Hinagiku of Hayate no Gotoku - who led all girls in total votes for round 1 with 870.
((EDIT - Image blown up, sorry.))
Round 1 ended yesterday and Round 2 started this morning. So it's time to take account to what actually happened in Round 1 and analyze what may happen in round 2.
Round 1 Analysis - First off, make sure to click the link here to see the latest results from SaiMoe, including the action from round 1. The image is courtesy of AnimeSaimoe.org - awesome website and great work over there!
Okay, lets start off with the characters who saw first round exits, and there is two major ones. The one most obviously to get knocked out in surprise is Mio Akiyama of K-On! who got knocked out by Saimoe veteran Kana Minami of Minami-ke. First off, hats off to Kana for being able to knock out one of the most favored-to-win candidates to win it all this year. Though, you do have to wonder if Kana got her votes because of her actual Moe of if some other force was in play in the background looking to knock Mio out early before she got to the later rounds.(A match between her and Nagi of Kannagi would've been pretty epic.) Quite surprisingly, K-On! girls dropped to 3 after seeing Tsumugi lose to stealth Momoko of Saki, and Ui Hirasawa lose to Amu Hinamori. Sawako-sensei also lost but her loss was expected.
The other girl to get knocked out early is none other then defending champion Kagami Hiiragi, who received a first round bounce from Mikuru Asahina this year. This marks yet another year of Saimoe where the Defending champion has failed to defend her title the following year.
It was surprising to me to see Haruka Nogizaka take a first round exit as well despite being a very early Saimoe 2009 favorite. Her sister though did make the next round. Aside from that, the matches for the most part were pretty ho-hum. No major surprises, other then a almost knock-out by Izumi of Hayate no Gotoku over Koromo of Saki. Koromo got a VERY late 3 additional votes and managed to squeeze past Izumi - which would have been a major upset considering Koromo is probably going to be a favorite to get the title as well (though not so much as fellow Saki castmate, Nodoka).
How I fared in quessing round 1 this year:
Block A - 5 out of 12
Block B - 10 out of 12
Block C - 5 out of 12
Block D - 9 out of 12
Block E - 10 out of 12
Block F - 9 out of 12
Block G - 11 out of 12
Block H - 8 out of 12
Total - 67 out of 96 (.684 correct prediction)
After having a fairly rocky start in Block A and C, I came back pretty strong in the remaining blocks. Actually, I did better this year then I did last year. My combined Round 1 lifetime total is 129 out of 192, for a average of .672. Not bad, but not so good either. Hopefully next year I can up my total correct to above 75.
Now, for that important round 2 analysis:
Block A's matches are pretty ho-hum non-exciting, with no major contenders in the block (not that there was any to begin with) but they should also prove to be some of the more closer matches since some of the characters are close overall in moeness. It'll be pretty much fan-block voting for the most part.
Block B should prove to be slightly interesting, if only to see Yuno and Fuuko go at it, which we'll see what will happen to Kana after knocking out Mio last round. Isumi did knock out her older sister last round as well, so a little bit of revenge for Kana and the Minami-ke folks.
Block C has a interesting 3-match starting off with Hisa, Louise, and Mio going at it. There is plenty of split votes going on with both the Haruhi faction and the Saki faction - though the Saki faction handled their last split vote pretty well. (Block H-01)
Block D should be intersting if only to see the Hayate no Gotoku folks go at Koromo again - this time with Sakuya. Koromo managed to Haitei Raoyue her way out of round 1, but can she do it again versus yet another Hayate character? Should be interesting to watch.
Block E might prove to have some surprises. We'll see top-vote getter Hinagiku push for top-vote getter for this round again against a To-Love-Ru split vote, while Yui of K-On! go at it against 2007 champion Rika Furude. Will Rika get knocked out in round 2 yet again? The match between Miyuki Takara, Teru Miyanaga, and Minori Kushieda should also prove to be entertaining. While it should be assumed that Minori should run away with the match, her round 1 total is only 7 votes over Teru (who has practically no screentime in her series, btw.) I also wouldn't expect the Lucky Star people to lay down as well and expect Miyuki to bottom-feed votes from both girls.
Block F should prove interesting as we'll see Taiga Aisaka go against fellow castmate Ami Kawashima - and they'll have to be careful with Mikuru in the match, who only got 736 votes to knock out last year's Saimoe champion. It'll be interesting to see if fans will abandon Mikuru, or if we'll even see the Toradora faction manage to push one of their two main stars in this matchup through to the third round. Should be some nice drama in that match.
Block G has a major match between Mikoto "Biribiri" Misaka versus Mihoko "CAPTAIN!" Fukuji and it should be a pretty good match going in. Not to be overlooked, but Ritsu and Ushio going at it on the other side of that part of the block should be interesting as well. This block should prove interesting next round where we might see a 2006 rematch between Yuki "Battleship" Nagato and Haruhi "God" Suzumiya. Yuki won that match, 1112 to 991.
Finally, Block H is the holder of this round's major matchup between Rena Ryuuguu and Nagi Senzenin - which is a rematch of their matchup back in the Semifinals of 2007 where Nagi defeated Rena, 1301-1209. Poor Yumiko has no chance in that matchup. We'll also see the first major test for AnimeSuki's favorite-to-win, Nodoka Haramura as she'll go against Yoshika Miyafuji of Strike Witches and Zange of Kannagi. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the block final become Saki versus Nodoka, though whoever wins between Nagi and Rena will have a say in that.
If you need some important match dates - the most important match date to circle is 9/13/09 (9/12/09 for us in America). That day has the match between Yui Hirasawa and Rika Furude, as well as the fatal three-way match between Mikuru, Taiga, and Ami. A close second should be 9/17 in a epic rematch between Rena and Nagi.