|Wha-WHAT DO YOU MEAN IM NOT IN SAIMOE THIS YEAR?!|
Saimoe 2010 has kicked off two days ago - and so this post is all about the top girls to look out for to cheer on as they begin the long three month process to determine the best anime girl of the year (because seriously, who votes for the most moe of them all in this now?) This year looks to be extremely brutal because none of the anime series in contention this year really stood out from the pack - and Saimoe has expanded to a even more brutal format by making Round 3 (the Group Finals) a three-way (it used to be a 1v1 match before) to get even more girls in.
Check the jump to see which girls have the best shot to win it all this year - considering there IS no defending champion this year in the tournament. Just a word of warning - Saimoe predicting is NEVER a exact science. =P
Yuno (Hidamari Sketch) - A perennial favorite every year (and is seen on the top banner of this blog) who always threatens to go all the way every year. I'd expect to see her in the group finals.
Nadeko Sengoku (Bakemonogatari) - A fresh new entry from the new series, Bakemonogatari. She's been buoyed of late because of the success of her Seiyuu, Kana Hanazawa, as well as her OP song which has spawned a dance that has gone viral in Japan.
Yui Hirasawa (K-On!!) - Yui is back, and this ditzy dojiiko has shown to have more character depth then most people realize as this season of K-On goes on. Expect Yui to be boosted with each airing of K-On (a anime series which trends as #keion on twitter when it airs in Japan.)
Tsubasa Hanekawa (Bakemonogatari) -Another girl from Bakemonogatari. Her arc is the most recent one, though it was only aired online. Still, she is one of the main girls of the series and can be quite the fan favorite.
Nagi Senzenin (Hayate no Gotoku) - The runner-up from the 2007 saimoe is back to try to win it all again. As with any girl voiced by the Queen of Tsunderes - Rie Kugimiya - expect her to do well this year as well.
Notables - Yachiyo Todoroki (Working!), Kazumi Yoshida (Shakugan no Shana), Hanyuu (When They Cry), Riko Suminoe (KissxSis)
Yuri Nakamura (Angel Beats!) - One of the two main girls in Angel Beats, a new one-time series. She was compared to be much like Haruhi Suzumiya early on, but showed more character depth two episodes in.
Shana (Shakugan no Shana) - Shana is back again this year and is always a threat - which she needs to prove again this year because her first match is with Yuri Nakamura.
Nanoha Takamachi (Magical Lyrical Girl Nanoha) - The 2005 Saimoe champion is out and about again in her quest to reach the top again and be the only girl in Saimoe history to win it twice.
Notables - Nazuna (Hidamari Sketch), Ryou Fujibayashi (Clannad), Mikuru Asahina (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), Mayoi Hachikuji (Bakemonogatari), Rin Tousaka (Fate/Stay Night), Kana Ikeda (Saki), Alicia Melchiott (Valkyria Chronicles), Isumi Saginomiya (Hayate no Gotoku), Shinobu Oshino (Bakemonogatari), Nodoka Miyazaki (Negima), Tamaki Kousaka (To Heart 2)
Kazari Uiharu (A Certain Scientific Railgun) - A new girl from the spinoff series to A Certain Magical Index, Uiharu is one of the stronger girls of the series, and perhaps of this tournament.
Mihoko Fukuji (Saki) - Mihoko is always one of the more recognizable characters of Saki, and CAPTAIN had a pretty good performance during MegaTokyo's AGP 2010.
Notables - Yuuki Kataoka (Saki), Ayumu Nishizawa (Hayate no Gotoku), Horo (Spice & Wolf), Maria (Hayate no Gotoku), Hisa Takei (Saki), Sheryl Nome (Macross Frontier), Mii Konori (A Certain Scientific Railgun), Satoko Houjou (When They Cry), Mion Sonozaki (When They Cry), Yamada (B Gata H Kei)
Kuroko Shirai (A Certain Scientific Railgun) - Kuroko is back again this year, this time as the love-hate sidekick to Mikoto Misaka in the spinoff series to A Certain Magical Index. The Teleporter should have a much stronger outing this time around, and would be surprised if she were to lose in a blowout like she did when she went against Azusa Nakano (K-On!)
Anri Sonohara (Durarara!) - One of the two notable girls from Durarara!, a new anime series coming into this year. She's had quite a number of doujins made of her already.
Celty Sturluson (Durarara!) - The mysterious headless motobike rider is actually one of the most cute characters in the show, considering she doesn't even have a head to express feelings as accurate as she would if her head was attached.
Hiro (Hidamari Sketch) - Hiro is another character who can get far, but like last year could face elimination early since she faces Celty.
Notables - Asuna Kagurazaka (Negima!), Sawako Yamanaka (K-On!!), Koromo Amae (Saki), Kyou Fujibayashi (Clannad), Aruruu (Utawarerumono)
Yuki Nagato (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) - Apparently whoever runs Saimoe must love putting Yuki and Haruhi in the same group, as both are in the same group for the third time - and perhaps we may see Yuki go up against Haruhi for the third time.
Kanade Tachibana (Angel Beats!) - A "Yuki Nagato" like character who turns out to not be so soulless. Probably the only real threat to prevent another Yuki-Haruhi clash.
Mahoro Ando (Mahoromatic) - How did Mahoro qualify for this year? Two OVA's? Gotcha. She's a mystery as to how well she will do - as her last appearance in Saimoe is way back to the inaugural Saimoe tournament back in 2002.
Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) - In her previous two battles against Yuki, she lost those battles (though the second one ended up being a split vote allowing Eruruu of Utawarerumono to advance).
Notables - Utau Hoshino (Shugo Chara), Suou Pavlichenko (Darker Than Black), Index (A Certain Scientific Railgun), Jun Suzuki (K-On!!), Asami Iwasawa (Angel Beats!), Seika Houjouin (Princess Lover!), Ranka Lee (Macross Frontier), Sakura Matou (Fate/Stay Night), Shizuku Sangou (Kampfer), Shiki Ryougi (Kara no Kyoukai), Komoe Tsukuyomi (A Certain Scientific Railgun)
Yui (Angel Beats!) - This crazy baby might get far, possibly as far as the group finals - and if she picks up steam along the way, it could propel her much further then most people may think.
Hinagiku Katsura (Hayate no Gotoku) - Hinagiku is pretty much AnimeSuki's patron goddess to win Saimoe every year, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see her advance far yet again this year.
Saki Miyanaga (Saki) - Saki is on a collision course with Hinagiku above in the second round, after being eliminated last year by Hina's fellow castmate, Nagi Sanzenin. I wouldn't bet against her, she could Rinshan Kaiho her way to the top.
Rika Furude (When They Cry) - The 2007 Saimoe Champion has not had a good run as of late in the past two Saimoes, where she has been eliminated in the 2nd round (Haruka Minami - Minami-ke, Yui Hirasawa - K-On!). She may not even get that far this year because...
Hitagi Senjougahara (Bakemonogatari) - ...she faces Hitagi. If anyone had been following the 2010 MegaTokyo Anime Grand Prix - Hitagi is quite literally a unstoppable force, and it took a equally as strong character (Mikoto Misaka, A Certain Scientific Railgun) to beat her... in the finals, in a comeback. Very easily the early sexy favorite to possibly win this year.
Ritsu Tainaka (K-On!!) - If she can somehow manage to get past Hitagi, Ritsu would be a fairly strong contender to win the group with a strong showing in this season's K-On!
Notables - Mahiru Inami (Working!), Kaede Sakura (Kampfer), Rima Mashiro (Shugo Chara!), Mina Tepes (Dance in the Vampire Bund), Cal Devens (Phantom)
Mikoto Misaka (A Certain Scientfic Railgun) - Mikoto comes into Saimoe fresh off her thrilling comeback victory over Hitagi Senjougahara in the MegaTokyo Anime Grand Prix to win it all - but will it translate to a Saimoe crown like it did for Taiga last year?
Miyako (Hidamari Sketch) - Like her fellow castmate Yuno, Miyako is a threat every year to get very deep into Saimoe. With yet another successful season for HidaSketch, we may see her get far again.
Ui Hirasawa (K-On!!) - Ui may go very far this year, possibly as far as her sister Yui. She's had a very strong showing in this season's K-On, and that may help her go far.
Momoko Touyoko (Saki) - Stealth Momo is a girl to never forget about, lest she may actually sneak by and get you. She is capable of beating Ui in their first round match but could be eliminated from a Saki split-vote.
Azusa Nakano (K-On!!) - Azusa had a very sucessful year last year in Saimoe - losing in the group finals to eventual champion, Taiga Aisaka. The second round could be trouble though if she has to face fellow castmate (and friend) Ui Hirasawa in a possible split-vote loss.
Mio Akiyama (K-On!!) - Expect Mio to have a VERY strong year this year, after her embarrassing loss in the first round last year to Kana Minami of Minami-ke. It's very possible that she could not just reach the group finals, but win it and be a strong contender for the crown.
Notables - Shion Sonozaki (When They Cry), Ein (Phantom), Chika (Hidamari Sketch), Suruga Kanbaru (Bakemonogatari), Momoko Touyoko (Saki), Poplar Taneshima (Working!), Kobato Hanato (Kobato), Ako Suminoe (KissxSis), Shiina (Angel Beats!)
Saber (Fate/Stay Night) - Saber is one of the more beloved girls in Japan, and her facing Fate Testarossa in the first round is naturally a great test for her.
Fate Testarossa (Magical Lyrical Girl Nanoha) - After facing Saber, whoever wins would probably reach the group finals.
Ruiko Saten (A Certain Scientific Railgun) - Ruiko is one of those characters who can come out of nowhere and get far. She'll have to face tough competition every round though, as her first round opponent includes Sae of HidaSketch who is perennially strong, and possible 2nd round opponents in Tsumugi or Rena.
Tsumugi Kotobuki (K-On!!) - Tsumugi is having a successful season so far in K-On, after being one of the more forgettable girls in K-On's first season.
Rena Ryuuguu (When They Cry) - Rena is a perennial favorite to win every year, but this year she has a rough road ahead of her as she'll have to face tough opponents every round this year.
Amu Hinamori (Shugo Chara!) - My personal favorite pick to win it all, her two losses are quality losses to eventual 2008 champion, Kagami Hiiragi of Lucky Star, and Koromo Amae of Saki. She's reached the 2nd round at least in her past two tournaments, and there's no reason to think she won't reach the group finals again this year and possibly win the group.
Nori (Hidamari Sketch) - Nori is one of the two fresh faces from Hidamari Sketch, and should have a strong following. She could be a threat if Amu were to somehow falter in round one or two.
Notables - Isara Gunther (Valkyria Chronicles), Sae (Hidamari Sketch), Miki Hanabishi (Hayate no Gotoku), Natsuru Senou (Kampfer)
This year's round one is exceptionally cruel this year, as we'll see quality matches almost every day of round one. There are a lot of names being thrown around, and it's possible that even one of the notables listed can win it all. This is probably one of the deepest Saimoe tournaments to date, and it'll be especially grueling to whoever can manage to come out on top. It's very possible we could see some surprises in this year's tournament.