Sakura Kyouko gave Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica its second Preliminary Group win as she pulled away late from Hidan no Aria’s Kanzaki H. Aria and Tantei Opera Milky Holmes’ Sherlock Shellingford. Yosuga no Sora’s Kasugano Sora finished fourth, while Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko’s Mifune Ryuuko rounded out the top five.

Also qualifiying to the Main Draw were Tainaka Ritsu (K-On!), Kotegawa Yui (To-Love-Ru), Yuuno Arashiko (MM!), Himeji Mizuki (Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu), Naganohara Mio (Nichijou), Kagura (Gintama) and Nakamura Yuri (Angel Beats!).


1st – 372 votes – Sakura Kyouko @ Puella Magi Madoka ☆ Magica
2nd – 363 votes – Kanzaki H Aria @ Hidan no Aria
3rd – 337 votes – Sherlock Shellingford (Sheryl) @ Tantei Opera Milky Holmes
4th – 302 votes – Kasugano Sora @ Yosuga no Sora
5th – 276 votes – Mifune Ryuuko @ Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
6th – 260 votes – Tainaka Ritsu @ K-ON!!
7th – 258 votes – Kotegawa Yui @ Motto To Love-Ru
8th – 250 votes – Yuuno Arashiko @ MM!
9th – 247 votes – Himeji Mizuki @ Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu: Matsuri
10th – 214 votes – Naganohara Mio @ Nichijou
11th – 206 votes – Kagura @ Gintama’
12th – 203 votes – Nakamura Yuri (Yurippe) @ Angel Beats!

Lun and I were totally caught clueless in this one. Nonetheless, an enlightening group to pick apart, for what it’s worth. Madoka winning again means i’m now 0-5 (so is Lun) in predicting who will win the prelim groups, but I genuinely did not expect Kyouko to be this strong. For an already scary faction, I keep underestimating it. I guess Madoka will really be promoted to Championship Tier at the rate they are going.

Aria proved to be stronger than Sherlock so that’s the measuring stick on where Milky Holmes stands as a faction. Rightfully, I had these two series as dark horses for this year, (the other two are very much in doubt: Merry and KoreZon).

Sora finished fourth, which was within my estimation. Denpa Onna seems stronger than I gave them credit for as I originally thought Ryuuko wil fall short of clinching a berth in the Main Draw. Ritsu at sixth was also expected, same with Yui, Yuuno, Himeji and Yuri making it. Other than Ryuuko, the others that made it that I didn’t really expect were Mio and Kagura. Again, I made the mistake of overestimating Amagami as Kaoru flopped, while Feyris just didn’t have it in this strong group. Overall, still 10-2 in predictions again making me 51-9 (again 0-5 in correct calls). But that losing steak ends today.

Another deadly group we have here, featuring none other than the defending champ herself, Nakano Azusa, and arguably her strongest challenger, Kousaka Kirino. There’s also last year’s quarterfinalist Saten Ruiko. That’s your virtual top three placers right there. I sense a Kirino win here, with Azusa second and Saten third. The only question perhaps is how much of a breathing room Kirino will be able to create.

Competiting for fourth place and beyond will be:

Kurisu – One of Steins;Gate’s main weapons, she’s a lock to make it in consideration of how Suzuha fared.
Amakusa Shino – Virtual lock considering that Aria and Mitsuba made it before her.
Leonmitchelli – One of Dog Days main charas, she’ll receive enough support to be considered a lock.
Astraea – Experienced SoraOto will make push her through. Locked in.
Sanae – Ika Musume series mojo. Count her in.
Tooyama Saku – Milky Holmes. Yukarin. She’s in.
Tsuruko – Anaru did well. Tsuruko will fare worse but I think she’s still in.

As for the final two, I’m leaning towards Tokunyan (as Yoshihide did okay) and Amagami’s Sae (even though Kaoru hurped and Ai underperformed a bit).

Others that will make a run at the bottom half are:

Kanzaki – she never really made a splash in Index’ Saimoe lore but there’s still series mojo
Kotone – made a bit of a splash in the nominations, so it seems like she has at least a decent chance.
Kusunoki – Kaminomi might not have much series mojo but Kusunoki can sneak through.
Saeko – HoTD. Stronger than Rei who almost made it, she has an outside shot of a direct pass to the main draw.
Akerin – weaker than Tokunyan, and she’ll probably fall short.

That’s it for me. Time to end that losing streak. This one ought to be a high scoring match that could break Homura’s current vote total record for the tournament.


MADOKA POWER: I was expecting Kyouko to finish in second place, but she went one better and secured the top spot for the group. That’s some terrifying raw power there from the Madoka faction, considering that Kyouko is fourth in terms of popularity amongst the Puella Magis. Madoka is fast becoming the top faction in this year’s tournament.

As for Sherlock, frustra and I have certainly overestimated her strength, and I guess the tsundere factor is still a very important trait in Saimoe after all, proven by Aria who finished ahead of the MH ace. Perhaps it was the tsun factor which pushed Kokoro to top spot too?

THE OTHERS: The imouto factor did well to propel Sora to the respectable fourth place finish, while Ryuuko finishing in 5th may be an indication that Erio’s gonna pack some serious power when it’s her turn to shine. Himeji finishing in 9th behind Kotegawa was just as I predicted in my preview, that the Baka Test series is somewhat weaker than the TLR series.

The main highlight will be the Aya-nyan battle between one of this year’s hot favorite, Kirino of Oreimo and the defending champion, Azusa of K-ON!!. Popular series, top characters. Kirino will probably have an advantage here as past winners ain’t likely to do better in subsequent tournaments, and the fact that she possesses both the tsundere and imouto factor that 2ch loves so much. Also joining the fray is Steins;Gate top ace Makise Kurisu, Leonmitchelli from Dog Days and Saten from Raildex, who would be eager to prove a point after Mikoto’s choke two days ago. I would also be interested to see how Sanae  and Tsuruko performs as we’ll get to see if there’s significant faction power for Ika Musume and Ano Hana.

My prediction for Top 3: Kirino, Azusa, Saten


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