And here we are on the cusp.
Nakano Azusa vs. Sanzen’in Nagi. K-On! vs. Hayate. For all the marbles. For a lasting place in the Saimoe pantheon
No need to chronicle how these girls got here. They styled all over their opponents, with the exception of that Azusa’s “handicap” match against Biribiri.
So, long story short, who’s gonna win?
Actually, while my snap prediction is Azusa, it’s much trickier than that. We have to look at both perspectives.
How Nagi will win?
Well, gotta say Hayata fans are so hungry for a Saimoe win after years of coming close (unprecedented 4 straight top 8 appearances for the series). and if those years of frustration finally channel themselves into votes like they used to during the 2007 heydays, then Nagi might get it.
2ch might also feel devious and go for the RIE-peat. Yeah, just when you thought it won’t happen in a 2ch-run contests, it already happened before, albeit in a different circumstance – I thought Rozen won’t repeat in Manga Saimoe when Hinagiku squared off against Suigintou last year (2007 was the previous Manga Saimoe, wherein Kanaria won). So 2ch is capable of this, and while it’s a loose connection, it still is something to consider.
Sympathy votes perhaps? this falls into the four years of Saimoe futility by Hayata, but more on the side of swing voters. Possible.
Truth be told, Nagi is the underdog here. And underdogs have their chances. I’m frankly surprised she made it this far despite the abundance of power players in this year’s tournament. To her credit, she took advantage of a decent bracket – the toughest match by far has to be Nadeko, but then again, we can only speculate what could have happened had Nagi faced Yui instead. Would have been a whole different story.
We go to Azusa, the consensus favorite to win this match.
How will she win? If things go as normal. But of course it rarely does in Saimoe.
For K-On!, this is the second consecutive year that the series has a representative in the Finals. The last series to do so? The legendary Rozen Maiden and Nanoha factions at their peak. What do those two have in common – a finals appearance and a Saimoe championship in their trophy case. The past tells us that the future looks good for Azusa.
Foreign votes will probably swing in Azusa’s favor as it did in that crucial Azu-Mikoto match. And like it did in the Rika-Nagi match, ah the painful memories of that.
At the end of the day, I’m predicting Azusa to prevail. This reminds me so much of Yui-Hinagiku match, the last time there was a high-profile match between these two factions. We know how great that match turned out to be. The expected margin of victory should be less than 100 votes weighing all factors that I can think of together, and that’s how a final should be. This should also break the vote record for the year, as championship fights usually do.
So here we go.
YES WE NYAN, or RIE-PEAT?
we’ll find out in 24 hours.