If the river coughs up a Kuroneko/Kirino/Mikoto…
Round One sure went by quickly, in retrospect. Here’s where the remaining (read: relevant) series stand after a round of play.
Let’s go through them as illustrated by these Texas Hold ’em hands:
Dog Days, KoreZom, Merry, MM, Nichijou, TLR, Onii-chan no Koto, To Love Ru, AnoHana, et. al: all interchangeable. That’s a combined four-of-a-kind right there, if only. As it is, their Round One performance has been passable I guess.
Dog Days’ Millhi had a shot at glory to put Dog Days in a higher tier, but she ultimately fell to Nymph.
Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka has been a disappointment, although it was outright foolish of me to even consider them in my preseason power rankings. At least Haruna was able to salvage KoreZom’s campaign by at least cashing on in the opportunity to win a match given to her.
MM has two representatives, but that’s by virtue of a kind draw, same with Nichijou. But I think that will be as far as they can go…
I’m more or less underestimating these series, but I think they’re rightfully evaluated in the middle of the pack.
KamiNomi: I’m not sure if they rate higher than the impressive SoraOto crew for the opening round, but I have to give points for Haqua’s ouster of the defending champion, and LC’s demolition of lesser foes for two straight rounds has me thinking she *might* have a chance to win her block. Yeah, I know Madoka is the end boss there, but gotta consider everything. And yeah, KamiNomi also has Ayumi and Kanon as survivors as well, and they too have a fighting chance in their upcoming matches.
SoraOto: Most of my wrong predictions last round came at the expense of underestimating Sora no Otoshimono. Nymph-Millhi has been close, as mentioned, but the rest reeled of sold wins, especially Ikaros, who delivered the biggest margin of victory for the round to the tune of 289 vote difference between her and Shiina. (The match coinciding with Kuroneko-Sherlock is a caveat, but still, a rout is a rout). They will be greatly tested in Round Two, however.
Angel Beats: After a laughable prelims, AB’s biggest stars delivered impressive victories. Kanade garnering the second most votes by a winner in the previous round still has me wondering, and still has me doubting even just a little bit, but 500 votes is a lot considering the state of the tournament. If she can repeat that superb performance next round, I’ll start believing that she’s capable of taking that Block. It won’t be easy. As for Yui, overcoming the Raildex combo was almost as impressive as Kanade’s shining moment, and her matchup against Morishima Haruka has me greatly intrigued.
Strike Witches: A fair share of my first round misses was caused by my underestimation of Strike Witches. They got seven of eleven through to Round Two, just behind Raildex. Of course, quality > quantity will matter, at the end of the tournament, but you can never go wrong by placing in a lot to maximize your chances. Though I didn’t put Yoshika in there (Sanya-Eila is obviously the best way to illustrate a “pair”), I like her chances the most. Needless to say, the Sanya-LC encounter will be the defining moment as to where these Witches really stand, in my mind.
A-Channel: Again, not pictured is the girl responsible the most stunning development of the opening round, but Run-Tooru is the pair of choice. A-Chan really has put it together. True, they are aided by a kind random draw god, but you just cash in on your chances. Tooru struggled against Ricotta, and she will need to do a lot better than that. Same with Run, who has to deal with Menma, and Yuuko, who has an intriguing tussle against Nano. I can’t help but fancy A-Channel’s chances in all three matchups. Big moments right there for these three, just to state the obvious.
Denpa Onna: They definitely took a big hit when Erio crashed out against Char, but Ryuuko and Maekawa are still solid bets. Ryuuko delivered one of the biggest beatdowns last round, while Maekawa pulled the rug on Oreimo’s Manami. Their fans’ resolve will be tested and we’ll see if they still have it as they have a tough set of matches ahead.
BakaTest: I counted them out entirely during my first round preview, but they have proven me wrong, at least, for a round. Himeji pulled off a shocker against Mayuri, edging the latter by just two votes, but Minami did one better by ousting a former finalist rather impressively. Round Two is entirely different – way tougher matches, but they stand here for what they have done in Round One – and that’s to say “good enough.”
Amagami: Simply solid wins, and just a few votes shy was Ai in the upset department. Amagami vs. Angel Beats is the showdown in Round Two as Tsukasa will be pitted against Kanade and Merry, while Haruka gets Yui. Let’s see if how I ranked ’em here be how it actually ends up.
Hidamari Sketch: The bracket gods giveth, and Hidamari took care of business. Well, Nori even managed to overcome Avril who comes from the upstart GOSICK. Yuno, Miyako and Hiro have done it before, and during this round, they did it again with veteran-like precision. The difficulty meter gets cranked on high in Round Two though, let’s see if Hidamari will get outdrawn.
Yeah, I know, it doesn’t work that way, but I think the strength of these two factions are equivalent to that of facing a two-pair hand.
Astarotte no Omocha: They’ve got three in, but so far so good for Asuha and Astarotte. Once again, interesting matches await them- Ikaros and Tooru/Himeji respectively. It’s really hard to call if these two studs can pull it off, but right now I’m leaning towards yes. As for their Round One performances, beatdown happened and even more beatdown ensued.
Hidan no Aria: Aria took care of MH’s Henriette quite easily, while Shirayuki exposed Nako with a dominant performance. Yep, that’s the same Nako who won a prelim group, although this coup might have been pulled off with a little help from somewhere else. That is left to speculation, however. For now, we can count on Hidan no Aria as a very dangerous series to face right now.
These two series, I really have no idea. Steins;Gate’s Kurisu will really have to do a lot because that thriller against Nanasaki was not impressive at all. I think she’ll get it together next round though, because if she doesn’t, no way will she be having a chance against Block A’s titans that lurk on the other side of the bracket. Mayuri losing heartbreaker has already been documented many times, although Suzuha offers a glimmer of hope.
Milky Holmes reeled off a lot of wins, but lost their most important match with Sherlock falling to Kuroneko. Kokoro might be there to salvage the campaign and avenge Sherlock as she takes on Ayase in Round Two. The other Milky Holmes girls are locked in tough matches, and I won’t be surprised if they all falter despite the impressive Round One run. It’s time to go all in on Kokoro for them, I suppose.
Ah yes, the three queens with Shana and Erio’s unexpected demise. Victorique looks set to go to Round Three with the draw rewarding her impressive performance in the prelims, while Ohana just dismantled the competition in the First Round. Then there’s Ika Musume who passed her initial challenge against Mio (though this loses a bit of value since K-ON crashed out badly).
Curiously the three are considered armies of one now, with Ohana losing her teammates expectedly or not (Grandma doesn’t really count, really). But without a faction to back them up, they get outcombo’d by the remaining four factions in the list…
Infinite Stratos has impressed me, with Char leading the way. It’s either that, or I just hyped Erio too much. Cecilia put on quite a show, while Houki rode the high vote wave all the way. Then there’s Rin and Laura both stamped their dominance in a straightforward matches, and even Honne is in getting in the act. I can also see them getting through all their matches, at least the main five, for this round, although it won’t be without a hitch. Char’s been there before (against Erio, again), but the other four will really be tested. They really got a good “hand” going in, and it can even be argued that overall they are stronger than…
Raildex. Of course no way does a straight will ever beat a flush (obv. except when it is a straight flush), but truth be told, Infi and Raildex can be considered interchangeable here. I’ll go with Raildex as a bit better right now, only because of Mikoto’s tone-setting win over Homura. The rest not named Mikoto/Last Order are facing a long round ahead of them, including a matchup against a Puella Magi and the two K’s. Speaking of which…
Here they are. Kirino and Kuroneko did what championship contenders are set to do, and that is win the ones that matter. Key victories against an upset bid by Minko and Sherlock will go a long way, but it’s definitely how you want to start off a championship campaign, even if you have to resort to fake votes and other tactics to achieve it (note: every championship winner since the Rozen Maiden days employed fakery to get to the point where they are now). Manami and Saori’s exit won’t really matter in the long run (Saimoe-wise of course) for those supporting OreImo all the way to the title as only the two K’s have the realistic chance to go all the way. I’m not really sure where Ayase stands overall, but I do know that it’s better than a three. Well, put in her there anyway just to emphasize the point that OreImo is one of the strongest hands out there – a “full house.”
Despite Homura’s exit (and Charlotte to a much more miniscule extent), this is still the hand (read: series) to beat if one will ever hope to attain the Saimoe Holy Grail. It’s no royal flush/straight flush, but this is as close as you can get. These remaining four girls look untouchable right now, with a whopping vote average and vote percentage to back up this claim. They got the matchups that they wanted in the opening round (obviously except Homura), and they delivered. In fact it can be argued that Homura’s loss even put them in a better position in a twisted kind of way, since their fans will even be more on their guard, to the point that an upset is not even an option anymore. There’s till lot a more voting to come, but it still feels like a Puella Magi, still has the best chance to win it all, despite Homura’s untimely exit.
I’ll close it out with a few factoids and lolmoreopinions:
Best Match(es): I thought Nymph-Millhi delivered. Wire to wire from start to finish, for a match that I expected to be really close, it delivered (albeit I picked the wrong winner). Char-Erio is also worth considering. It’s not a razor-thin margin, but with all the fake votes lying around, I remember it was really hard to tell who got it in the bag. There are a lot of good ones, really, and these are often overlooked, like Uiharu surviving an Akari shocker to redeem herself from the 1-vote crushing defeat at the hands of Hisa the year before.
The one that really got me going FUCKYEAH was Kurisu-Nanasaki. To see how I reacted, refer to this post by my Saimoe blogging colleague. Really a feel good win (note: I like both of these girls A LOT), but I think Kurisu really needed that win. So yeah, a sigh of relief that she pulled through in the end.
Biggest Disappointment: K-On is the auto pick, then Shana, so I have to pick one other than those two. Maybe HanaIro, but the bracket really screwed them (sans Ohana, ofc), not that much was expected from them in the beginning. So not really, that series. I guess I’ll go with KoreZom as Eu even managed to lose a match that she’s favored to win. Mea culpa for expecting so much, but yeah.
Biggest Surprise(s): There’s a lot. Strike Witches. Amagami. Infinite Stratos. Sora no Otoshimono. BakaTest. I’ve been slighting a lot of series, but most of them have delivered. Hence, my average prediction record.
Lun did a splendid job of crunching numbers in his post, so for your stat fix, there’s obviously that.
And with that, I think I’m done. (For now).