YEAR OF THE TAIGA

Congratulations to Taiga - 2009 Anime Saimoe!
Congratulations to Taiga - 2009 Anime Saimoe!

First of all, I’d like to thank the people in my Credits section of this blog, and more for a successful Saimoe season, and so you don’t have to bother clicking that link, I’ll outline them here-

chaosprophet – translation work for Anime Saimoe AND Manga Saimoe, every freakin’ day (thank God for Linux), and for also making it possible for me to cover Manga Saimoe. and yeah, he also took care of the tournament brackets for MS.

overfunk – the mean guy whose (mean) girl won it all. *clap clap* seriously though, the third guy in the MS trio, if he didn’t made me aware of it, I couldn’t have covered MS. as for AS, he provided great entertainment, and i’m quite sure you did too, unless you were on the other side of the (trolling) spectrum

Micchi – ah, the Saimoe material collector, one of my inspirations to ACTUALLY try to make a Saimoe site. mine’s still at its bare bones, i’ll try to improve the coverage soon as I can and the site as well.

Seishi, kevo, uis, Kholdstare and Teiran – the Lunatic Antics crew. nice bunch of people we have here. good times talking about Saimoe EVERY day in #anime@lucidchat.net. Their blog posts have been an amazing team effort, so they were a nice read, everytime. Also thanks to Teiran for the Saki sigs and others. He may not post much in AS, but hope to see more of your sigs the next year. Seishi, congrats for your number one girl winning. That remains to happen to me, but yeah, every year is Hina’s year, rite?

SilentOb/Zaon47 – for the interim scores, interesting Saimoe insights and the nice blog. hopefully we can improve on next year’s coverage, man. *brofists*

Anon poster guy/stat guy and animesaimoe.org – although his/their efforts remain/s anonymous, high5 to him/them. another one of my inspirations for the Saimoe coverage, I tried to fill in the holes of what he couldn’t cover, and I think it worked off wonderfully. Hope to see you next year too, man.

Liddo-kun and my fellow Hinafags – every year will be our year! I’m proud to say that without our votes, Hina wouldn’t have made it to finals. *wink wink*

AS community and the rest of the #anime crew – for discussions Saimoe and non-Saimoe related and inspirations for something, somewhat, somehow. and yeah, prelim translations from early on.

ando – the one who introduced Animesuki to Saimoe and to me. his previous stellar job of covering Saimoe provided an example on how it should be done.

2ch.net – for hosting both Anime Saimoe and Manga Saimoe. And thanks to that, I have something I can occupy myself with, so yeah. and…

the readers of this blog – hope you have a nice time following my (not-so-biased) coverage. as I’ve said, I’ll continue to try to improve, and right now I’m preparing for the 2010 coverage.

As for the actual Year of the Taiga post, I’ll follow it up as soon as I can. For now, you can read the insights of my other fellow bloggers for the Anime Saimoe Tournament as a whole.

***

Okay, so I have been a few days removed from Saimoe, but somewhat it felt like time flew so quickly and just like that ’twas over. Time to wrap-up this year’s Saimoe tournament, and time to look forward to 2010, which looks to be epic. More on that, later.

For now, here’s a rundown of the top stories for this year’s moe season:

TAIGA SIDE VIEW 2
"Don't mind me, heading to the Hall of Fame"

Year of the Taiga – Looking back, I’m still amazed on how Taiga managed to pull off what I call an improbable victory if the early signs were to be considered. Nobody actually predicted her to win it all in the beginning, doomed with the split-vote and all, but then slowly but surely, she managed a wonderful run to take it all. She took a shot at history and clinched it. “Don’t mind me, on my way to Saimoe Hall of Fame.” More or less, something like that.

Although I’m not that much of a Taiga fan, it can’t be denied that her win is one for the (Saimoe) ages. I don’t think it’s a feat that cannot  be duplicated again, winning on the first and only try, both Japan’s Anime Saimoe and Korea’s Best Moe. Again, these were two completely different “metagames” so it’s very difficult to win both. I say that she was in the right places at the right time – sneaking through the bracket in Saimoe when all the attention was at the series wars between Saki, Hayate and K-On, and by the time she was winning, it was too late for her to be stopped. But that’s the bit of luck needed to win Saimoe, and Rika’s 2007 run is a testament to that.

I don’t think I have to delve to the specifics of Taiga’s amazing win, but here’s again a rundown of her victories. Lynette Bishop, Kawashima Ami and Asahina Mikuru, Maria, Nakano Azusa, Saginomiya Isumi, Haramura Nodoka and finally Yui. And what makes the victory even more amazing is that none of them managed to get near the Palmtop Tiger. All of the latter’s wins were at least more than 54 votes and that closest margin was courtesy of Yui herself. Although nothing can be more dominant that Kagami’s win in 2008, Taiga’s championship run is certainly up there. As for her Best Moe win, I’d say she was destined to win both – winning by three votes is just epic.

saki group
There's still reason to be happy, Saki fans.

Saki’s historic run and collapse – Don’t get me wrong, I loved Saki and the series’ characters, but one would really feel disappointed that they could not get the job done. But nevertheless, despite the so-called choke, Saki ran the tables to record one of the best single-year performances in Saimoe, ever. They had 23 characters in the main draw, 11 in round 2, 8 in round 3, 6 in round 4, 4 in the quarterfinals – the numbers are staggering. But what they lacked was a superstar on the level of Taiga or Yui, and that cost them the victory.

As consolation, they have another shot at it next year, unlike Taiga and crew, but everyone knows that this year was the best opportune time to do win it all, at least until the inevitable Season Two rolls along.

Isumi finds her way into the Top 8 – Isumi sneaking into the Top 8 was another strange occurrence in this year’s tournament. Hayate had the Big Three, but strangely enough, she who can’t do the maid spin was Hayate’s third representative in the Top 8 in as many years.

Two top 8 berths for Louise in three tries.
Two top 8 berths for Louise in three tries.

Louise returns to the Top 8 – As if Top 8’ing Saimoe is hard enough, doing it twice, more so.  Only Nanoha, Shinku, Kaleido Star’s Sora and Tsukasa managed the achievement in the tournament’s 8-year history. And Louise does so in style once again. Zero junking Suigintou in 2007 will be one for the annals of Saimoe history, and although Louise’ feat this year is not as shocking, it still is amazing to make it to quarterfinals twice in her three-year Saimoe career.

Kagami’s first round exit – Again, nobody saw this coming. There was only one other time when a defending champion suffered a first round defeat in Saimoe, and that was during the infancy years of Saimoe in 2004, when Harada Riku lost her opening match after winning the year before.

New blood is the theme – 2006’s Saimoe catchphrase was inbou/conspiracy, with reference to the grouping of Haruhi’s Big Three being caught in the same bracket. 2007 more or less was zetsubou/despair, as the voters repeatedly suffered despair one after the other as upsets where everywhere. 2008 more or less was KyoAni domination, and the lack of huge upsets were somewhat missed. In those past three years, however, one common theme shared by these three Saimoes was  the fact that the winners for those years were not rookies. Suiseiseki, Rika and Kagami garnered wins only on those second try. But this year saw the influx of new shows dominating the brackets early, with perhaps the exception of Hayate. However the latter faded in the late stages, while Saki, K-On and Toradora picked up wins one after the other. So for the first time in a while, a rookie won Saimoe, truly marking the theme of new blood for this year.

Mercury rising – Suigintou defeated Hinagiku in the finals of the 3rd Manga Saimoe, further establishing that such tournament is the Dolls’ playground (Kanaria won in the last

time), while at the same time extending Hayate’s Japanese moe tournament title drought. As consolation for the Power of Flower though, she becomes the first character to reach at least the Best 4 of Anime Saimoe, Manga Saimoe, Korean Best Moe and International Saimoe League. For the record, the first one to three in the “Big Three” (AS, KBM and ISML) was Kagami, followed by Shana and Hinagiku.

Saimoe MasteRIE – Well, the two Rie’s have won moe tournaments this year, and Kugimiya Rie can even make it three of three herself if she wins ISML with Shana on top contention. Just a bit of trivia.

Three titles this year between Kugimiya Rie and Tanaka Rie
Three titles this year between Kugimiya Rie and Tanaka Rie

Best Series Performance – Saki. Choke or no choke, have to give credit to where it is due. It bears mentioning again that the wind suddenly turned south for them.

Best Upset – Kana over Mio. This definitely set the tone for the tournament. And that I like. Louise over Stealth Momo comes second.

Biggest Blowout – By the numbers it is Hinagiku over Aoba, et. al, but for me, it has to be Tacos over Utau. It is a Top 32 match and Yuuki cruised for a 40% vote differential. Ouch.

Closest Match – Not counting the two ties (Eruruu-Haruhi and Ritsu-Ushio), the most significant close win has to be Koromo over Izumi in a two-vote nailbiter that essentially decided the fate of Block D. D for Destiny, I guess.

Most Disappointing Performance – To Aru Majutsu no Index and Strike Witches. The former showed promise in the prelims, while the latter had strength in numbers. But both were screwed by the pairings, but for JC Staff and GONZO, we know that Toradora and Saki picked up the slack for them.

Biggest Win – Championship match by default, but not counting that, it’s Mikuru over Kagami. The highly-touted “Mikuru Gambit” busted the Block F, and at this point, Taiga was then primed to win it all.

Nanoha confirmed for 2010.
Nanoha confirmed for 2010.

Back to the Future – 2010 promises to be epic for Saimoe enthusiasts. Taiga will not be defending her crown because of Saimoe eligibility issues, unless a spinoff happens.  However, Nanoha, Fate and Shana will all return to the moe scene after one year of absence. Biribiri and Hitagi will headline the past two seasons’ most popular shows, while Saki, K-On and Hayate will try again. And yeah, non-Haruhi-chan versions of Yuki, et. al, that has been hyped about for ages are also set to “finally return.” Of course, there will be more shows until July 2010, but looking at the field so far, this has to be the most competitive Saimoe ever. I can’t wait for that.

For the meantime, here’s the compilation of Saimoe 2009 material for completionists. Micchi has the rest covered ^^,

  • my posters and other works for this year’s Saimoe -> Hotfile
  • my charts and overview material -> Zomgupload
  • Anon’s posters and brackets (smaller version, without source material, will post the original RS link later)  -> Zomgupload
  • 2ch’s complete Saimoe YGO collection -> Mediafire
  • 2ch Top 8 MAD -> Mediafire

That’s it for 2009 Saimoe talk. But not for this blog. 2010 cometh, and it begins now.

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6 thoughts on “YEAR OF THE TAIGA

  1. Seishi October 18, 2009 / 2:05 am

    HAZUKASHII SERIFU KINSHI!!

    But…thanks. It’s been nice working with you this year. Now I have to find other stuff to blog about…

  2. chaosprophet October 18, 2009 / 3:04 am

    Thanks a lot for mentioning me~ It was great working with you for results every day! I’m not happy with your harisen attacks but I believe everyone else around was probably happy you did!! lol

  3. Micchi October 23, 2009 / 5:06 pm

    Good read. It’ll be nice when we read this a few years down the road and wonder how Taiga managed to win.

    I’ll be looking forward to your pre-2010 posts 🙂

  4. kevo October 28, 2009 / 5:33 am

    The last girl to be absent for her title defense was Rosemary Applefield in 2005. Episodes of Toradora SOS! aired during the qualifying season, but I’m not sure if it “counts”, as they are DVD shorts. I can totally see J.C. Staff announcing an OVA this winter or spring, however.

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