Hanasaku Iroha continued the streak of impressive debuts by newcomers as their tandem of Oshimizu Nako and Tsurugi Minko garnered first and third place respectively in Group Seven of Anime Saimoe Tournament 2011 First Preliminary Round. Settling for second is last year’s Block Finalist Tachibana Kanade (Angel Beats!). Yuuko (A-Channel) and Hirasawa Ui (K-On!) round up the top five finishers.
Sixth to twelfth place finishers heading directly to the Main Draw are Itsuwa (To Aru Majutsu no Index), Charlotte Yeager (Strike Witches), Nori (Hidamari Sketch), Nagase Jun (Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai), Seraphim (Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?), Airi (Queen’s Blade), and Angelene, also from Index.
1st – 312 votes – Oshimizu Nako @ Hanasaku Iroha
2nd – 293 votes – Tachibana Kanade (Tenshi) @ Angel Beats!
3rd – 273 votes – Tsurugi Minko @ Hanasaku Iroha
4th – 255 votes – Yuuko @ A Channel
5th – 252 votes – Hirasawa Ui @ K-ON!!
6th – 191 votes – Itsuwa @ To Aru Majutsu no Index II
7th – 169 votes – Charlotte E. Yeager @ Strike Witches 2
8th – 151 votes – Nori @ Hidamari Sketch x ☆☆☆ Tokubetsu-hen
9th – 143 votes – Nagase Jun @ Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai series
10th – 127 votes – Seraphim (Sera) @ Kore wa Zombie Desuka?
11th – 117 votes – Airi @ Queen’s Blade OVA: Utsukushiki Toushitachi
12th – 115 votes – Angelene @ To Aru Majutsu no Index II
Unbelievable, but it’s real. Angel Beats has fallen to the point that their ace cannot even beat a non-ace from a series that is not even expected to contend for the title. This is an excellent exhibit to how totally contrasting ISML and AST are, and once again, how quickly KEY/Maeda characters fade into obscurity when it comes to Saimoe support. HanaIro perhaps, has taken Angel Beats’ place this year, same with where it fits in the Saimoe hierarchy. After all, both are produced by P.A. Works. (lol similarities).
Anyway, I did badly in predicting this round (1-6) now while I called 9 of the 12 (70-14 overall) who will advance to the main draw. Didn’t really consider Airi nor Angelene while Jun doing decent means Toyosaki mojo is indeed there. The rest were within the range of expectations.
After a ho-hum prelim group, let’s proceed to another blockbuster matchup: Yui vs. Mami vs. Erio.
Group Eight Projected Qualifiers:
Erio (Denpa Onna)
Kiriya Kuze (Fortune Arterial)
Just missing the cut:
Sousou +Kan’u (Koihime)
Kounagi Yui (Merry)
Tricky round. Who will make it is pretty straightforward as this is nothing like Group Five, but the more important question is who will make it on top. Mami and Yui are the favored ones representing the new and the old respectively. That’s most likely your one and two right there, while Erio will also try to make things interesting. We’re already aware of Madoka’s strength, and it won’t be surprsing if Mami ends up topping this one as well, and head jokes shall ensue. But Yui is no slouch either, in pursuit of redemption after a disappointing campaign last year. Toyosaki has a great deal of mojo herself and that could be enough. As for Erio, I’m beginning to believe that Denpa Onna has enough mojo to be relevant enough and Saimoe and I might be inclined to promote them to mid tier/dark horse tier once this round is done.
As for the middle of the pack, we’ll finally get to see if one of KamiNomi’s aces (despite lack of screentime) can compete with the best. I expect Haqua to finish fifth though against a surging Steins;Gate faction which had great performances from Suzuha and more notably, Makise Kurisu in the previous groups. Then there’s Komoe, who seems to have a knack for winning a round or two every year. Oreimo will also be represented again with Manami sure to qualifiy, same with Yoshinoya for Hidamari Sketch. The rest will be filled in expectedly by newcomers: Asuna and Chitose from Softenni, Zakuro, and Kiriya Kuze (Fortune Arterial).
Lastly, my personal pick to win it: Tomoe Mami. Let’s see what Lun has.
FALLEN ANGEL: I was optimistic of Kanade’s chances, changing my initial prediction of a Nako win, but based on today’s result it’s probably safe to assume that Angel Beats is done and dusted. Seiyuu mojo certainly helped Nakocchi out here, though with Minchi finishing third, the Hanairo series are doing way better than I’d expected.
K-ON SLUMP?: A promising start from Mugi is now overshadowed by below par performances by Ritsu, Azusa and now Ui. Certainly a decline from last year, though not as drastic as the one demonstrated by Angel Beats. Can Yui prove us otherwise in the next matchup?
ON THE NEXT ROUND: We have quite the fiery match-up here as K-ON!!’s ace for this year, Yui, takes on Mami who will be hoping to secure top spot yet again for the Madoka series. It would be interesting to see how this turns out- if Yui can finish ahead of Mami, then K-ON!! is still pretty much in it, if Mami wins, then it’s gonna be tough to beat the Puella Magis this year. However, Erio, the MC of Denpa Onna, may crash the party on the basis of Ryuushi’s decent performance two days ago, while Mayuri and Haqua are outside bets for top spot. Yui has seiyuu mojo, the same one that propelled Nako to top spot today, but I’m gonna go for a Mami win, bearing Kyouko’s victory against Aria in mind, which is somewhat similar to today’s match-up.
Prediction for Top 3: Mami, Yui, Erio