Monday, September 21, 2009
NOTE - Sorry for the image sizes
Round three of Saimoe has already started. Before getting to round three, a good number of expected results happened, so I won't bother with going to a analysis of round 2. Rather, what *is* surprising is Block G, of which two of it's matches went into ties. And unlike "The Damn Coin" that the MegaTokyo AGP uses to determine who wins ties - both characters who are tied advance to the next round regardless. And there wasn't just one tie this year, it happened twice. In the same block. It'll be interesting how much Eruru will affect the very anticipated and fabled 2006 rematch between Haruhi and Yuki - as well as how much Ushio will affect the votes against Ritsu and Mihoko.
There are also supposed fears that this tournament will turn into a Saki-fest with the possibility of six Saki characters making the top 8.
I'm here to tell you there is no way in hell that's going to happen.
Chiaki Minami - who won her round three matchup against Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke is no slouch when it comes to votes. Isumi Saginomiya might be the surprise dark horse to win it all to come out of Block B and knock out Yuuki/Fuuko. Momoko will have her hands full against 3 top SaiMoe veterans in Kyou, Mion, and Louise. Koromo will have to face Amu (my personal favorite to win this year's SaiMoe) while CAPTAIN Mihoko will have to fend off not only Ritsu and Ushio this round, but also quite possibly Yuki Nagato (who should be expected to repeat her win over Haruhi, with Eruru being a vote-eating bottom-feeder). That's also not to mention the two strongest Saki characters (Saki herself and Nodoka Haramura) are in the same block and are expected to face each other "Nanoha vs Fate" style.
If there is a series out there to watch out for besides Saki, it's going to be Hayate no Gotoku. They have a good chance of possibly taking four of the eight blocks with some of their top characters and possibly send some of the key Saki characters home packing. Isumi has already won her round three match and is primed to reach the top 8. Ayumu and Hinagiku, while facing stiff competition from Yui and Minori - could potentially win the block, especially Hinagiku who traditionally is strong in SaiMoe every year. Hinagiku is always a perennial threat every year to win it all, and if she makes it to top 8, there is a good shot she might win it all. Maria is also having a tremendous run this year, going much further this year then her usual first round exits though she faces stiff competition from Azuza, Nagisa, and Taiga. Lastly, one of the very last matches of round four features Nagi Senzenen going at it against Saki Miyanaga. It would go a long way to completely deflating the Saki group if she were to win the block by beating both Saki and Nodoka (respectively probably the top 2 Saki characters in the tournament still).
In any case, here are some of the notable matchups (images courtesy of AnimeSaimoe.org). By the way, it just so happens to be the last four days:
These two matchups are all about straight up firepower. Hinagiku is round 1's top vote getter, while Yui is round 2's top vote getter (and currently the overall top vote getter) so it'll be without question the vote totals should be over the top. However, who will bring in the most firepower is going to be the question. Azuza vs Nagisa is no match to forget about as well - both of them could be upset favorites in the block.
This is a straight up 2v2 matchup between two series favorites as Hayate no Gotoku girls Ayumu and Maria face off against the one-two combination of Toradora's Taiga and Minori. The vote totals will reflect the series then it will the characters in these two matchups, and expect a lot of ASCII art flying around featuring the two pairs together.
Despite expecting Nodocchi to Saki-roll Miyako out of the tournament, this day is still interesting because of the intrigue the Yuki v Haruhi v Eruru matchup is going to bring. Can Eruruu play off Yuki and Haruhi and sneak a win? Can Haruhi overcome her tragic round three loss from 2006 to Yuki? Or will Yuki get this key win and once again come into the top 8, and instill fear into her competitors as Yuki "Battleship" Nagato as she once did in 2006 before she lost to eventual 2006 champion Suiseisuki? The results can provide some very interesting answers.
The last day features double Saki, with Saki herself facing Nagi (and despite not showing the vote totals to beat Nagi, she should be the one favored to win in the match heading in) as well as the triple threat match between Mihoko, Ushio, and Ritsu. I would expect the Saki characters to Saki-roll their way to their respective block finals, but these will not be easy matches.
Lastly, a quick note - Yuuki, Taiga, Louise, and Nagi are still in it for KugiRie. This is actually not a surprise to this point, considering that the latter three is this year's KugiRie Tsundere triad. It'll be interesting if this is the year KugiRie can finally get over the hump and finally get one of her girls to be this year's champion after coming oh-so-close back in 2007 with Nagi. Yukarin is already out of this year's tournament - and has not had a character place top 8 since Rika Furude's championship back in 2007. Nana Mizuki is down to her last character (Utau Hoshina), and has not had a top 8 character since Fate's 2006 run where she lost in the finals in a shocker to Suiseisuki. KugiRie has the most girls still in the tournament with four, with Yui Horie at 3. Minori Chihara is at 2 along with Rie Tanaka. The rest are all down to their final characters - as expected at around this time.
There is still a lot of intrigue in the tournament in play - and we'll see how the Japanese play it out.