Akemi Homura of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica gave the rest of the field a glimpse of what’s to come as she dominated a star-studded Group Three of the Anime Saimoe Tournament 2011 First Preliminary Round. Ika Musume finished second place while To Aru Kagaku no Railgun’s Misaka Mikoto settled for third place. Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai’s Aragaki Ayase nabs the fourth slot, while Misaka Number 10032 is the fifth-place finisher.
Also advancing to to the main event are Gertrud Barkhorn (Strike Witches), Amane Suzuha (Steins;Gate), Makashima Saori (OreImo), Manabe Nodoka (K-On!), Mitsuba Mutsumi (Seitokai Yakuindomo), Yagyuu Juubei (Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls) and Akagi Sena (OreImo), all finishing sixth to twelfth place respectively.
1st – 433 votes – Akemi Homura @ Puella Magi Madoka ☆ Magica
2nd – 376 votes – Ika Musume @ Shinryaku! Ika Musume
3rd – 349 votes – Misaka Mikoto @ To Aru Kagaku no Railgun OVA / To Aru Majutsu no Index II
4th – 299 votes – Aragaki Ayase @ Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai
5th – 293 votes – Misaka sister (#10032) @ To Aru Majutsu no Index II
6th – 269 votes – Gertrud Barkhorn @ Strike Witches 2
7th – 223 votes – Amane Suzuha @ Steins;Gate
8th – 189 votes – Saori Bajeena (Makishima Saori) @ Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai
9th – 174 votes – Manabe Nodoka @ K-ON!!
10th – 139 votes – Mitsuba Mutsumi @ Seitokai Yakuindomo
11th – 131 votes – Yagyuu Juubee Mitsuyoshi @ Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls
12th – 122 votes – Akagi Sena @ Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai
Zero of three for correctly-predicted group topnotchers as Mikoto succumbs to the rookies. 2011 continues to buck the last year’s trend of veterans upstaging the rookies as the third rookie series this year wins its third consecutive group. Homura is for real, as expected, as well as Ika-Musume who gave the former a good fight. Perhaps there is a cause for concern for the Raildex faction, as their ace Mikoto couldn’t get the job done against these two upstarts. Maybe Mikoto is saving her best in the Main Draw, but yeah, this year is getting more and more like 2009: rookies’ uprising.
OreImo had a decent debut as they managed to get three supporting characters into the main event. Ayase hung around trading places with Biribiri in the early stages before settling as expected for fourth place. As called yesterday, Misaka Imouto No. 10032 finished fifth. In fact I called all the 13 characters I named to finish top 13. The unfortunate one not to make the initial cut was Milky Holmes’ Zenigata. Not that there was much expectation anyway…
Saimoe Stock Market Watch before we proceed to the next group:
Buy: Homura, Ika-Musume, Ayase. As called in the season preview, these girls are the real deal, especially the former two. That puts them in the sniping range but it’s part of the game. Homura looked really really good, but that could be her undoing. Nonetheless, the safe bet is to count on these girls for the meantime.
Hold: Raildex characters. They are looking rather unimpressive as one of the remaining bastions for the veterans. I might be expecting too much, but I guess it is warranted considering the circumstances.
Sell: None for that round. Maybe Strike Witches I figure this inspiring performances won’t last long.
Group Four is underwhelming in terms of Saimoe star power, especially when compared to the previous one. Odds are high will be a mid-tier battle. Also, it is a clusterfuck to predict: no one really stands out in terms of strength. I can see Last Order, Nanasaki Ai, Matsumae Ohana, Kotobuki Tsumugi and Mine Riko battling for the top spot, but it’s really hard to call who will end up prevailing. I’m gonna go with Ai to prevail, I won’t be surprised if any of the remaining four to clinch first place in this one. I am expecting the following to join those five:
– Akai Ringo (Ookami)
– Agnese (Raildex)
– Run (A Channel) (most of 2ch has her winning this, but too late to change my pick, lol)
– Sendou Erika (Fortune Arterial)
– Shiina (Angel Beats)
– Nazuna (Hidamari)
– Yoshihide (Sengoku Otome)
Block voting may also allow Campanella’s Minnete, Carina and Ritos to sneak in, but I think they’ll for short. Same with Chifuyu for Infinite Stratos. Despite the dearth of superstars in this group, however, it still remains an interesting one for me considering majority of the ones i see battling for the slots are pretty much the main characters of their show (Yoshihide, Run, etc).
Ultimately, I see this group as a breather after that Group Three slobberknocker, and in the same time a warm-up for another bloodbath – Group Five which Lun and I shall preview tomorrow.
IMAGINE BREAKER: The Raildex faction has always fallen short to other major factions, particularly K-ON!! and Saki, in the last two editions of the competition. With the former having won 2010 and Saki ineligible to compete, you’d think that BiriBiri would stand a great chance of winning it this year. However, today’s result proves otherwise, and when the ace slumps early on, this doesn’t really reflect well on the whole series. Will Saten come to the rescue again?
INVADERS R US: Ika Musume proved that she will be able to hold her ground and fight it out with the big guns, even without the support of a major faction. A definite dark horse (or squid) for the tournament, and we hope to see her seize more votes and invade the slots for subsequent rounds.
ON THE NEXT ROUND: This is a tough one. I’d go for Ai of Amagami SS based on Miya’s good performance two days ago, though 2ch apparently fancies Run of A-Channel to win it. Other significant characters involved would be Ohana from HanaIro, Mugi from K-ON!!, Last Order and Agnese (lol KugiRie support) of Raildex and Riko from Hidan No Aria (Let’s see if 2ch cares about this show). We’ll also see a notable Infinite Stratos side character taking part (Chifuyu-nee), which could show us a glimpse of the series’ strength. Oh, a fun fact: Ami from Toradora is in the running too thanks to a lulzy cameo in Ookami-san, but don’t expect too much out of that.