Welcome to the Second Installment of my take on Saimoe Power Rankings.
After Round One, much has changed in the landscape of the tournament as we saw plenty of interesting twists. There were routine matches, but there were thrilling ones as well. There were upsets, there were comeback wins, and there were milestones achieved. Factions thrived, but many were wiped out completely. But insofar as the ranks are concerned – there can only be twenty in the list. twenty which I thought performed the best in Round One. So yeah, without further ado, let’s begin. Numbers in parenthesis indicates their rank after Prelim One.
20 (new) – Kanamemo
Kanamemo – They qualified two for Round Two, which is nice to see considering I quite liked Kanamemo. They just edged Hanamaru for last place in this rankings, but then again, there’s not much difference as either would be wiped out at the round’s end, sadly.
19 (new) Omamori Himari
Win/Loss Record: 2-3
Newcomer in the rankings, but Shizuku and Himari’s victories are both quite inspiring. Shizuku engineered one of the the most impressive rushes in my recent memory (insofar as turning the match around is concerned), while Himari was involved in that great match against Newbie-tan. But like most of the series in this list, their good fortune comes at an end this Round. Well, at least Omamori Himari managed to churn out two wins, and that’s saying something, in my opinion.
18 (18) ToLoveRu
Win/Loss Record: 1-4
TLR’s bad luck in the Main Draw continues, but at least Mikan made it through, in yet another clash with Mikan. Otherwise, nothing to say except the misfortunes of the franchise in Saimoe. They get another crack next year, but all I say is that they’re good enough to beat most of the field, especially Mikan. I won’t really be surprised if she pulls off a stunner against Fate. Maybe. Maybe not.
17 (new) Clannad
Win/Loss Record: 2-0
One of the winningest franchise in Saimoe history is on its final hurrah as only Kyou and Ryou are left representing. But like they always used to do, they found a way to win when they needed to. The random draw rewarded them quite well in the first round, but unless something completely absurd happens, Second Round is how far Clannad will go this year, but that’s not too bad, considering there really not much expected of them.
16 (new) Seiken no Blacksmith
Win/Loss Record: 2-1
Another newcomer to the list, Lisa and Cecily pretty much styled on their matches aided by a generous draw, but credit the show for taking advantage of the situation. They probably have their backs against the wall in Round Two, (Lisa surely, not certain about Cecily’s chances). But anyway that is enough to propel them in the Power Rankings, considering that some series which fielded a lot more characters struggled mightily.
15 (10) Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu
Win/Loss Record: 1-5
Wow, the show’s mojo sure has disappeared over the years. What once was the one of the best in 2006 floundered terribly in Round One, losing 7 of 8 comers, including Haruhi herself. And Yuki in my belief underperformed in her match, so it does not really look good for her, as she faces Tenshi next. But then again, who knows what Yuki fans can conjure coming into that match, but the realist in me sees SHnY getting wiped out once Round Two is done, which was kind of disappointing, since I thought they were gonna be back with a vengeance after crashing out in 2006, but Nanoha apparently the show is not, in terms of Saimoe staying power.
14 (12) Mayoi Neko Overrun!
Win/Loss Record: 1-7
MNO got screwed badly by the pairings. Lots of unfulfilled potential as Chise and Nozomi drew terrible matchups. But they did show some fight, as most of the characters did not get badly slaughtered under normal circumstances. But Fumino did show what the show could have done under the right draw, as she won impressively in her match. So in the end, MNO gets the nod over Haruhi insofar as rankings are concerned, in my opinion.
13 (19) Sora no Otoshimono
Win/Loss Record: 2-2
I thought the series overachieved in this year’s Saimoe. Nymph soundly beating Hanyuu, and Ikaros trumping Bakemonogatari’s Tsubasa caught many by surprise, including me. And even though Mikako and Sohara lost, they had a fighting chance to win, especially the latter in that thriller against Hajime. So yeah, I have mightily underestimated this show, and bumping them up at least a few slots in the ranks is the least I can do. Too bad Nymph and Ikaros are mighty underdogs in their upcoming matches (vs. Nadeko and Yui, and vs. Nagi, respectively), but yeah, Saimoe brackets go that way. Still, good job nonetheless.
12 (14) Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
Win/Loss Record: 4-1
So BakaTest managed to place four out of their five representatives into the second round, much of that having to do with favorable matchups. But then, gotta chalk it up to them for delivering what was expected, and Hazuki was one of only four second prelim characters to advance to Round Two. However, I’m not too optimistic of their chances moving forward, and this maybe a good chance to prove me wrong – but given who they are facing next (a lethal combination of Nagi, Saten, Yui-nyan and Tacos) they really are in trouble.
11 (11) Seitokai no Ichizon
Win/Loss Record: 2-4
Mafuyu might have cemented her name in the annals of Saimoe lore with her shocker of a win over the ill-fortuned Hinagiku, but reality will soon set for SeiZon after the euphoric win. Saki is the master of strategy and raw strength might not be enough for Mafuyu to beat her in that match, while Kurimu looked really shaky against the overachieving Misaki in her Round One match. The rest of the crew lost in ugly fashion, including Minatsu who got rolled over by Ritsu. Let’s see if the magical run of what I once dubbed as the tournament’s dark horse continue despite tall odds in the near future. But then again, nobody thought Mafuyu will beat Hinagiku, and Kurimu is still favored in her next matchup, so nobody really can successfully augur how 2ch will decide the fate of SeiZon. I can only speculate though, that only Kurimu will be left standing for the series once Round Two is settled. So considering all circumstances, what they’ve done is still not enough to power them into the top ten of the ranks.
10 (13) Hidamari Sketch
Win/Loss Record: 5-4
Now this one is hard to assess. Five of their nine prospects made it through the initial cut, but they faced nary a hard opposition. Yuno cruised, so did Miyako. Hiro was granted a good draw. Gotta chalk it up to Nazuna for overcoming Nyan Koi’s Kaede, and Natsume for riding the wave with Miyako. Well, the game really begins for this franchise this Round Two. WhiIe like Yuno’s chances block finals as well Hiro, much thanks to the Random God smiling upon them, the other four have just terrible matchups – the two important one being Miyako against Biribiri. However should she be able to pull it off, (against the Railgun combo again, even), I’d say that would be one of the most amazing upset of all time, maybe. That will have to wait however, for now, I would like to congratulate Hidamari for progressing well in the opening round, and when does that long sought after top eight appearance finally bear fruit? I support the prospect, but Yuno has to ensure they have a chance in the first place with a win.
9 (1) Hayate no Gotoku!
Win/Loss Record: 3-8
The best performing series in the Preliminary Round takes a downward spiral after Round One. There were four characters who paced their preliminary group, but lost their opening round match. Three of them were from HnG, as Ayumu, Izumi and Hinagiku all floundered. The latter has to be the most painful for the faction as she is one of those expected to carry HnG deep. But it failed to materialize and so the series is left with three characters after qualifiying eleven. Nagi, Maria and Isumi have to carry the burden as the quest to break Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha’s record for all-time wins beckons, and ultimately, and more importantly, the chance to win it all. The only good thing going for Hayate right now? The committee (of one) sees all three advancing to the Block Finals, led by the ever consistent Nagi.
8 (9) Working!!
Win/Loss Record: 3-5
The show took a hit as one of my preseason favorites (with the lack of data and just reliance on wild speculation) got knocked out early. However, Working responded accordingly as Poplar routed one of Saimoe’s successful characters (Eruruu), while Yamada was home cookin’ in her match that coincided the famous Mafuyu-Hinagiku coup. Then you’ve got Yachiyo breezing through. The other representatives took awful beatings in the hands of stronger foes, but two of the core three are still here, as well as Yachiyo. It’s worth nothing though that only one of them faces a favorable matchup in Round Two – Yamada. Yachiyo is an underdog against Yuno, while Poplar is pretty much 45% against the mighty Azusa. Still the latter matchup would be one of the spiciest matches Round Two has to offer and I say Poplar has a great chance of making it. Ah, there’s too much to say about that matchup that I’m going to leave it to game day. All I can for now is that it’s gonna be a slobberknocker.
7 (8) Bakemonogatari
Win/Loss Record: 4-4
Tricky. Nadeko styled, so did Mayoi, while Hitagi performed an inspiring rally against the 2007 legend herself Rika. But then there were disappointing defeats by Tsubasa and the rest. So where does Bakemonogatari stand in the Saimoe echelon? Round Two will provide a steadfast resolution as a mini-rivalry with K-On beckons. Nadeko takes on last year’s finalist Yui while Hitagi looks to be favored against Ritsu. Then Mayoi has to face the White Devil. Win all of these, and they can be considered as sure frontrunners to win it all. Surely that is easier said than done. But the adventurous side of me actually see at least two of them winning their respective superbouts. And yeah, Hitagi all the way in Block F. There I called it. Time to see if wizardry is something i can try on in the Saimoe stage.
6 (7) Angel Beats!
Win/Loss Record: 3-7
While they may have lost one key character (Yuri), it was expected given that Shana is one of the strongest characters in the field. AB made up for it big time by knocking out two key characters from two respective power players. Tenshi convincingly defeated Index, while Yui-nyan managed to do enough to overcome Mahiru. True, that has something to do with the luck of the draw, but then again, you have to take advantage of the opportunities given to you, and took advantage, AB did. Iwasawa is just gravy to raise the win count for the series. So what comes next after that successful Round One? Tenshi is favored against Yuki (after the latter’s relatively lackluster performance) and so is Yui-nyan against Evangeline and Hazuki. So two of AB’s Big Three are poised to take two of the 24 slots up for grabs and all is looking good for AB so far.
5 (6) Saki
Win/Loss Record: 9-9
The biggest franchise ever (in terms of numbers in relation to tournament success) is back with a vengeance after a somewhat sloppy showing in the Preliminary Round. The moe-jong meisters are representing 1/8 of the field in Round Two captained by Nodoka, Momo and Tacos. What I like about Saki’s performance during the past Round? Key wins against key opposition. The closest match of the First Round had Hisa pulling off a hell wait and delivering against a nigh unfavorable matchup against the Railgun combo. Then Stealth Momo managed to work around a lethal split vote with Touka against arguably the leading faction of the tournament so far. Tacos scored a routine win against one of Hayate’s core characters (Ayumu), while Nodoka, Saki, Mihoko, Hajime, Ikeda and Koromo delivered the win expected from them. So yeah, while they may have plenty of casualties, they did not lose the ones with the better chance of winning. It remains to be seen where their superiority in numbers will eventually hurt them, but the outlook looks good for at least the Second Round for them.
4 (2) Shakugan no Shana
Win/Loss Record: 2-1
The faction of one braved an upstart Angel Beats! challenge and continued to look good despite being 4 years in to Saimoe. Wilhelmina tagging along is a nice bonus and Shana continues to get the draw into her favor as the odds-on favorite to make it to Round Three against Nazuna and Fujibayashi Ryou. Shana’s flame still burns as hot as it ever was, and she’s poised to compete to an unprecedented fourth straight Block Finals apppearance. And yeah, their dip in the ranks has nothing to do with what Shana failed to do, it’s just the other three did more impressive stuff in Round One.
3 (4) Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
Win/Loss Record: 3-1
They’ve done it again, the army of two, with two routs against the number one and two of the struggling FSN franchise. Well, wins are still wins, and boy did Nanoha and Fate look impressive like their old selves. Round Two, the tandem face two tricky matchups that will tell a lot on how strong the series really are as Nanoha gets to match up with MAyoi and Ikeda, while Fate has to contend with Mikan, who is definitely not a pushover. And yeah not forgetting about Alisa’s R1 win as well, but her next matchup is gonna be tough. Last note: the three wins by MSLN this round were enough for them to claim the title of the winningest series that have participated in Saimoe, eclipsing Rozen Maiden’s 50 wins with 52 wins of their own, and counting.
2 (5) To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
Win/Loss Record: 5-6
Unlike in the Prelims, the numbers do not lie anymore. Railgun is for real and is stronger than ever, paced by Mikoto and Saten. Mikoto, Saten and Kuroko all put up a beating on the opposition so much, that it somewhat offsets the painful losses of Uiharu and Index. Not to mention Komoe solidified the Haruhi series’ disappearance by beating the shows’ namesake. Konori also advanced, so a solid showing so far for Railgun. And more good news, Mikoto and Saten, while engaged in “interesting” matchups (against Miyako, and Mugi, respectively), have a great combo going for them to boost their chances of advancing to Block Finals. It is Kuroko who is in a hard position out of the core Railgun charas, but after the beating she showed, it’s not hard to believe that she still has a legitimate chance against the combo-powered Amae Koromo. That is worth a look a few days from now, but all in all, Railgun has a tight grip on the number two slot of the power ranking hierarchy and may soon be heading to number one depending on how the matchups will unfold.
1 (3) K-On!
Win/Loss Record: 6-4
It’s a close call between K-On! and Railgun, but went with the former in the end. The juggernaut is back, stronger than before. The core five all posted convincing wins – even against respectable opposition. Ritsu handled Minatsu, Mugi sent Rena packing, and Azusa delivered one of the biggest beatdowns in Saimoe history. Only the unlucky Ui got the wrong end of the stick, but maybe it was for the better for the faction in general since she might end up a liability to Azusa in Round Two. So in theory, K-On is doing better compared to their 2009 version wherein Mugi and Mio crashed out. But tough matches beckon in the horizon (Saten vs Mugi, Yui vs. Nadeko, Hitagi vs Ritsu, and the potential Azusa/Mio split) , and how they handle those matchups will determine perhaps how this tournament will ultimately shape up. I feel like one of their matchups will end up as the Mikuru-Kagami of this year’s tournament, and that will be something to look out for. That being said, I have no hesitation to put them at number one right now with all these strong showings by the key characters, back to their original position in the preseason rankings.
Rankings are done, but a few more tidbits before I wrap it up completely:
Best Match: No doubt Hisa vs. Uiharu. I think this ultimately decided the outcome of Block C, especially should Maria pull off the expected win against Hisa. Matches decided by one point are certainly something to behold, a pure emphasis on the fact that a vote can swing the deal.
Most Disappointing Match: Probably Mugi vs. Rena. I thought the match would be closer considering Rena’s lineage, but in the end it just ended in a power styling by Mugi to show that K-On once again is a force to be reckoned with.
Biggest Upset: Mafuyu over Hinagiku. There is no doubt on this one.
Best Performer: Saten, simply by virtue of posting the biggest rout, second biggest win% and highest vote total this round.
Biggest Surprise – Series: Sora no Otoshimono, for reasons stated already aforementioned.
Biggest Disappointment – Series: Haruhi – man, the series struggled mightily. Hayate too I guess, after that sterling Prelim showing. So yeah, a tie between this two.
Three of my top seven are up today, so a pretty big day today. Regrettably, Yuno and Noda have to fight. I rank Noda higher right now, but Yuno is the prediction, and she is so much favored to win this one, based on the numbers. She is Hidamari’s best hope for a top eight appearance, and I’ll be supporting her all the way in Block A after she beats Noda. Probably gonna go 1-2-3 are Yuno, Noda then Yachiyo.
Next match is a huge one. Three top factions, only one will make it through. That one I reckon will be Nanoha, but it will be close, as Mayoi will give her a run for her money. So 1-2-3 will be Nanoha-Mayoi-Kana, probably. Can’t count out Kana, but I think the tacticians will place their vote to Mayoi in an attempt to eliminate Nanoha. That will fall short though, i believe. Supporting the white devil all the way in this block so she better make it. I have confidence that she will push through, amidst all the challenges. Never underestimate the heart of a champion, after all.
And that’s it, dead tired for today, hope to see Nanoha and Noda/Yuno make it through.