In the Nick of Time

Steins;Gate’s Makise Kurisu hacked through the gates of Round Two with a scintillating comeback victory over Amagami’s Nanasaki Ai as Block A of Anime Saimoe Tournament 2011 Round One concluded Friday. Zakuro finished third.  Kurisu’s win sets her up for a matchup against another Amagami SS character, Tachibana Miya, and Itsuwa, from To Aru Majutsu no Index.

The other two matches saw Sora no Otoshimono garner its second win in the opening round, as Chaos also rallied against Tiger and Bunny’s Karina Lyle. Hoshizora he Kakaru Hashi’s Toudo Kasane settled for third place. Astarotte no Omocha’s Astarotte Ygvar stamped her dominance in the final Block A match, winning by more than 200 votes against Hakuouki’s Yukimura Chizuru and K-On’s Suzuki Jun.

***

A04
1 264 Chaos @ Sora no Otoshimono series
2 250 Karina Lyle (Blue Rose) @ Tiger & Bunny
3 90 Toudou Kasane @ Hoshizora he Kakaru Hashi
A08
1 313 Makise Kurisu @ Steins;Gate
2 299 Nanasaki Ai @ Amagami SS
3 81 Zakuro @ Otome Youkai Zakuro
A12
1 359 Astarotte Ygvar (Lotte) @ Astarotte no Omocha!
2 156 Yukimura Chizuru @ Hakuouki Hekketsuroku
3 115 Suzuki Jun @ K-ON!!

***

Let’s get started with the one I got wrong first – Chaos over Karina. Well, my gamble didn’t work for now, although, I almost had it there as Chaos also had to come from behind to snatch the W. Sora no Otoshimono is totally proving me wrong as I slighted them in my Round One preview. And the fact that Chaos has faction support proved to be Karina’s undoing.

As for Lotte, she really showed her stuff, and that Prelim One Group win is no fluke. Although with easy opponents I’m sure those numbers are inflated. She gets her real test next round against a surging Himeji, and Tooru as well.

Finally, the impactful win of Kurisu. Quite a comeback right there, resuscitating Steins;Gate hopes of making its mark in Saimoe lore. The win assures that Itsuwa does not get a virtual pass via Amagami split, and that Astarotte won’t be cruising to the Block Finals anytime soon.

Either I am not giving Amagami enough credit that it deserves, but yeah, I totally didn’t expect Kurisu to have her hands full in that previously concluded match. I’m thinking Ai was aided by Railgun tacticians, so the aforementioned split happens.

Predictions: 2-1 (7-5)
Picks: 1-2 (4-8)

B01
Group 9    26th    64    8.51%    Shijima Sui @ Hanasaku Iroha
Group 15    23th    78    10.85%    Houjou Hibiki (Cure Melody) @ Suite Pretty Cure♪
Group 9    5th    202    26.86%    Charlotte (Okashi no Majo) @ Puella Magi Madoka ☆ Magica

>I don’t know what’s more jarring: the possibility of Madoka’s Charlotte doing better than IS’ Char, or Ohana’s grandma getting more votes than Pretty Cure’s Hibiki. Your call. Anyway, predicting Charlotte- following the simple logic that 1st prelim > 2nd prelim charas. Next.

Consider two scenarios:

MadoMagi can channel all their disappointment to Homura’s loss here. Charlotte has enough memetic power to overcome those who will try to push Hibiki, but MadoMagi will prove that this cake is no lie.

Alternatively, they might lay low and just let Charlotte lose so not to harbor more ill will from the other factions, and in that case Hibiki wins (Precure proved it can win before, see last year, and of course Misumi Nagisa top 8’ing years back).

I’ll gamble again and disregard the numbers. Hibiki wins, as the second scenario happens. I don’t know how Grandma will do, but she did show flashes of awesomeness in her comeback trail. Should be interesting to see how she does.

B05
Group 5    4th    302    35.70%    Kasugano Sora @ Yosuga no Sora
Group 11    3rd    212    32.92%    Ayatsuji Tsukasa @ Amagami SS
Group 6    10th    164    20.68%    Tokugawa Ieyasu @ Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox

>Sora’s got this: more votes in a more difficult group (Group Five) over Tsukasa. How hard Tsukasa will make it for Sora is the more compelling question here.

After two inspiring Amagami performances (despite one falling short) I’m forced to take a second look at Tsukasa. She might  make a run here and give Sora trouble. Nonetheless, I’m sticking with Sora not only because of the numbers, but because she’s in the mold of a character that usually does well, and with that, I expect her to win. Lastly, Tokunyan might also challenge for second place after what Hideyoshi did, but I’m not really expecting it.

B09
Group 6    6th    213    26.86%    Amakusa Shino @ Seitokai Yakuindomo
Group 13    4th    280    35.67%    Huang Lingyin @ Infinite Stratos
Group 8    19th    84    10.28%    Sasa Kanako @ Hourou Musuko

>IS’ series mojo should carry Rin to victory but like Sora-Tsukasa, still an interesting match to kick off Block B.

Uh. That sure was lazy writing, so my apologies on that one. Anyway, here’s one of those matches that can go any way. Rin is the favorite because she has presumably the strongest faction. No discredit to Shino though, she has the stuff too, as Seitokai Yakuindomo also showed that it can win (i.e. Suzu).

I’m expecting Rin over Shino though.

TL;DR: Entertaining opener. Obviously not on par with Block A, but this is sufficient.

Predictions: Hibiki, Sora, Rin
Picks: Hibiki, Tokunyan, Shino

P.S. – Lun is overwhelmed with so much joy that he’s suffered from writer’s block. (His) Post later.

Wow, that was a heart-in-mouth affair. Kurisu, seemingly heading for a defeat, was able to muster up a final rush good enough to beat Ai in the end. Didn’t expect Kurisu to struggle today – frustra has pinpointed the possibility of strategic voting by the Raildex faction, a fact that I had considered and dismissed based the fact that Raildex were not pro-active in eliminating possible threats the previous year. Maybe they were taking measures for this match-up, but then again, it could have been the work of the other contenders too, like Victorique, Tooru and/or Lotte who featured today. Also, we can’t simply overlook the possibility that the Amagami girls could be stronger than they seem to be. Perhaps Ayatsuji’s performance in her match-up today could provide us with some answers.

In any case, there’s certainly no easy way for Kurisu in her quest to reach the block finals – a stronger Amagami girl and a Raildex character awaits her in the next round.

Meanwhile, Lotte made quick work of her competition today, registering the highest winning vote percentage of the main round thus far. Chaos squeaked through to the next round, thanks to a final rush too. That’s 2 in 2 for SnO within 3 days – a good showing from the angeloids.

Onwards we go to next block. Block B is such a wonderful mess – I’m supposed to do a general write-up on it, but I don’t really know where to start! Well, for now, I’ll jump straight to today’s match-ups. Firstly, the lulzy Charlotte-Sui-Hibiki match. The former two have some series mojo, while Hibiki would seem to be the one who’s not unusual among the three. That said, she didn’t do particularly well in the prelims, so this could be anyone’s game.

Moving on to a slightly more interesting match, we have Sora taking on Amagami’s Ayatsuji, with Tokunyan unfortunately acting as a spectator. Sora did well in a tightly-contested prelim group, while Ayatsuji didn’t really have much to do as she was in an easy one. 2ch loves their imoutos, but Ai’s and Miya’s performance over the past two days have been encouraging enough for me to pick the class rep ahead of the wincest expert, though you may argue that Miya’s performance proves that imoutos have an advantage instead.

As for the third match-up, it will probably be a contest between Rin and Shino. While IS hasn’t impressed in the prelims, I think that Rin has enough raw power to overwhelm the Seitokai Yakuindumo representative.

Picks: Sui, Tokunyan, Rin
Prediction: Sui, Ayatsuji, Rin

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