The Best 16 is set, Round 3 is in the books, and the story continues to be Saki domination. In addition, Clannad crashed out, Hayate stumbled, while Toradora and K-On jumped out on front of their forerunners. That’s what basically this round was, in a nutshell.
Now for the specifics. As usual though, I’ll be covering numbers not covered by Anon’s Saimoe site.
- No real upsets this round. In fact, everything went according to how I drew it up in my preview for this past round, but in a personal standpoint, that is not very good, since unfortunately I lost my Top 1 and Top 3.
- There have been hints of strength from Toradora since the Preliminaries, and this round is the confirmation of their strength: two convincing wins on their side. Beating Hayate characters are not easy, yet Taiga and Minorin defeated them with ease. Whether there were tactics involved remains to be seen, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.
- Sanzenin Nagi followed up her stellar performance so far by defeating Saki, to stop the series from achieving Saimoe perfection. Aside from that though, everything else is all Saki, as their characters have amassed an average winning margin of 271 votes. Talk about domination.
- The Hinagiku-Yui match certainly lived up to expectations. It was the closest match of the round, decided by 18 votes while attracting the most number of voters for this year’s tournament so far. The next closest match was Isumi over Kannagi’s Nagi (60 votes) and Chiaki over Minna (83 votes). However, these two were also the two matches with the lowest voter turnout.
- The aforemention Saki vs Nagi match was also the second biggest matchup of the round, garnering a total of 1679 votes. This was followed by Azusa’s victory over Nagisa, which had 1608 all in all.
- The biggest blowouts as mentioned belonged to the Saki characters. Specifically, the romp was lead by a 494-vote rout by Tacos. Following suit was Nodocchi’s 361-point thrashing, and Mihoko’s margin of victory by 342 votes.
- New blood is indeed the theme: No 2008 quarterfinalists in this year’s Best 16.
Moving on to the Best 16, the Block Finals. Here are my quick thoughts and predictions on the matchups:
Block A: Minami Chiaki (Minami-ke) vs. Kataoka Yuuki (Saki)
Given the past performances of Tacos so far, it would be absurd if i don’t predict her to win this. i’m expecting this to be not a rout in Utau-esque proportions, but it will still be a rout nonetheless.
Block B: Ikeda Kana (Saki) vs. Saginomiya Isumi (Hayate no Gotoku)
I’m not counting on this one to be as close as it should be on paper, as who Kana has defeated are on a different level as compared to Isumi’s accomplishments. Kana should win this one easily. (Voting for Isumi though)
Block C: Louise (Zero no Tsukaima) vs. Touyoko Momoko (Saki)
I think the buck stops here for Louise. She’ll try to make it close, but at this point, it’s hard to see Momo losing here after her impressive victories for the past three rounds.
Block D: Hinamori Amu (Shugo Chara) vs. Amae Koromo (Saki)
Sadly, as much as I love her, Amu is one of the remaining characters that belong in the lower tier in terms of Saimoe strength. Koromo, on the other hand has proven that she is not to be trifled win, and her victories over Izumi, Sakuya and Hanyuu is just icing in the cake. Koromo to cruise in this one.
Block E: Hirasawa Yui (K-On) vs. Kushieda Minori (Toradora)
After four straight days of Saki matchups, the voters are treated to two consecutive Toradora-K-On encounters. For this one, Yui has been impressive throughout the tournament, and if even Hinagiku can’t stop her, then I don’t think Minorin can do the same. Also, the fact that Hinagiku has indirectly beaten Minorin in the prelims pretty much seals the deal for Yui.
Group F: Aisaka Taiga (Toradora) vs. Nakano Azusa (K-On!)
The first of the two intruiging matches of this round. I think Taiga will win. Azusa has been superb and consistent, but Taiga has done much in this tourney: rout opponents in the first round, survive a split vote with Ami, and win a convincing victory over Maria. I think Taiga has the edge, but Azusa is quite strong. I’m reckoning this match will be decided by less than 50 votes, with Taiga emerging victorious.
Group G: Eruruu (Utawarerumono) vs. Fukuji Mihoko (Saki)
Mihoko has survived the virtual block final against Misaka Mikoto. This is just a formality. Moving along.
Group H: Sanzen’in Nagi (Hayate no Gotoku) vs. Haramura Nodoka (Saki)
The other intriguing matchup. Just like in 2007, Nagi is once again the last bastion of Hayate’s hopes for Saimoe glory, but standing on her way is Nodoka – one of the favorites to win it all this year, and one who has been in cruise control since Round 1. A lot of variables will control this matchup, but I believe Nodoka will finally prove her doubters wrong (much to my chagrin, since I’m supporting Nagi).
So we are looking at the scary possibility of 6 Saki characters in the Top 8, further reinforcing the argument Saki’s claim as the “most dominant performance of a series in a single Saimoe Tournament ever.”
So will we get to that point? Very much likely, but I’m quite sure most of the voters would want variety…
Here’s the Finals poster for Block A.I decided to experiment on a new layout for the posters. No power levels this time, since it’s pretty much more of the same. Inspired by 2ch’s YGO cards, I tried my hand on Magic: the Gathering cards. Yes I play MTG, and my templating does not really reflect how an actual MtG card should look like, but yeah. Personally, I like how it turned out though. =)