We’re just counting down the days on the way to the finish line. Eight left, seven matches remaining. Before the incoming walls of texts, here’s how the characters stack up against their respective quarterfinal opponents.
Lotte vs. Erica. Two characters lucky to be here, and again, lucky to be paired against each other, because realistically, the most realistic shot Lotte has in winning one more match is against Erica, and vice-versa. In any case, Lotte is the consensus favorite to win here, because of her bigger resume.
Nothing against Erica, but I don’t think she would have beaten either Mikoto or Kurisu in the earlier rounds and Lotte managed to do that. In fact, the latter even made winning against dangerous early opponents (at that point) like Himeji and Tooru look rather easy. And let’s not forget Erica managed to only squeak by here by 3 votes and 2 votes in Rounds Two and Three, and her Round Four victory against Tenshi, which stands at 50-something vote difference, is actually the smallest out of the other quarterfinalists.
This is where I usually shy away from statistics, but this might be a closer match than we are expecting. The very close gap between these two in the average votes garnered might be indicative of something, but I can’t really tell. In any case, the outcome should be the same, although of course, I’m rooting for a more competitive fight from this one.
Kyouko vs. Kuroneko. The most crucial match in the quarterfinals, since it’s virtually a semifinal match. Who wins here gets the easier path to the crown as compared to the lower part of the bracket and it’s really close. Truth be told, if Kuroneko was paired against Mami or Madoka, I really won’t be thinking much here and just snap call a Puella Magi win, but against the weakest of the four remaining mages, Kuroneko has a really good chance of snapping that Madoka 16-match winning streak.
Kuroneko has a lot of good things going for her. The draw favored her, where she “only” will have to contend with one Puella Magi en route to the Finals. She will be receiving a good amount of anti-Madoka votes, and she’s the strongest non-Madoka character remaining. And she will get stronger as the round comes to a close. This is a potent combination. And it’s not like we did not expect Kuroneko to be here. Well, I tabbed her as one of the best bets to win it all this year during the preseason pick ’em and here she is. Her last two wins have been impressive and convincing, I’ll give her that.
As aforementioned, Kuroneko will be going against the “weakest” Puella Magi, but the problem is, statistically, she’s stronger than Kuroneko! So that weakest tab is a misconception, because there really is no weak Puella Magi. End aside, despite all that, she’s posted a 60% win percentage in the three previous rounds, doing an impression of “anything you can do, I can do better” against Kuroneko. And these are against “quality” opponents.
To compare their hitlist:
Kyouko: Ritsu, Shirley, Kokoro, Index
Kuroneko: Sherlock, Kuroko, Asuha, Houki
Kuroneko seems to have the better wins, but the caveat here is that Kyouko absolutely destroyed all her foes. Again Kuroneko didn’t do a shabby job either, as her wins have been in the 100-vote difference range.
Despite looking at all the possible angles, I have to say that Kuroneko has the slightest of edge here despite being the statistical underdog, only because there is not an absolute disparity on their previous performances. I have a feeling this is where the anti-votes will come to haunt Madoka’s monopolizing of the Main Draw. This is the best chance to strike against the vaunted faction since Round One against Homura. I’m expecting that the anti-votes will reach critical mass here to aid Kuroneko. It will be successful, but barely. In the most miniscule of gaps, that might be the ultimate difference.
Madoka vs. Sayaka. A potentially interesting mirror-match, I have to say, which obviously reminds me greatly of the Mihoko-Tacos encounter in the same round as this one, and with the same results. And potentially, because Madoka can easily turn this into a rout.
Sayaka has the definite edge in amount of votes, and in fact she has been piling them up recently. I see this phenomenon only because she had to work hard for matches while Madoka has been posting 60%’s in ALL her rounds against relatively easier opponents. And yeah, the other one that she did not reach the 60% plateau? You go back to the prelims, which is a fair reflection (albeit not catch-all) indicator of strength or daresay, potential. She still had the highest among all characters – an outstanding 58% which is very high for a prelim vote %.
In any case, I understand why some will go with Sayaka here, but come on now, this is Madoka’s match to lose. And again, this is a match where Madoka will look “weak” in comparison to the others, because being an intra-series fight, the other interested parties might not care. Madoka’s full potential won’t really be unveiled here for those expecting it. And with another mirror-match looming unless Ika pulls a miracle, we might not get to see a Thousand-powered Madoka until the finals.
Ika Musume vs. Mami. And here is Ika’s match, and she is in great jeopardy. How she fares here actually partly hinges on how successful Kuroneko will be in her match against Kyouko. Should she succeed, then Ika won’t get the slightest of boosts she needs to even have a better shot of winning this.
In another light, this is an all-or-nothing match for Ika, should see turn the tide and win, she will have a legit shot of winning it all. But against Mami? It’s really really hard to pull off. Mami has been an ace among aces and she has blasted her foes to the tune of 62.41% vote perecentage and 453 votes per pop.
Of course Mami hasn’t dealt with “quality” opponents since the prelims, (again, this is a good time to look back) where she “struggled” quite a bit against the erstwhile Erio. So if there’s any hope of optimism, this is it, for Ika fans. If she is potentially as strong as Erio (who know in retrospect must have been taken out by strategic voting), then she at least has a fighting chance.
So yeah, Ika will try to pull off a feat that only Taiga has done in the modern era of Saimoe – not win her prelim group, but win the ultimate prize. It’s close to impossible at this stage, but we’ve seen stranger things before. But I think this is a different circumstance and history won’t repeat itself. Naturally, because of the four qualifiers, we are most reminded of 2009, and most are bound to think that there is a possibility of choking.
I don’t see it happening here. I think Madoka has captivated 2ch voting population that only a few have done. Rozen Maiden comes to mind immediately for me, instead of Saki. The latter got a lot of characters due to sheer numbers, but MadoMagi featured five aces. In fact, RM can only boast three real aces. I think it’s a fair comparison. Of course, it will be all moot if a Puella Magi does not win it all but it’s reasonable to presume that they will. For what it’s worth, I’m calling the titular character Madoka to take the crown down. And 2ch might be leaning towards that direction. Sakura, then Nanoha, then Madoka. In the tenth anniversary of Saimoe, it might be only fitting to end that way.
TL;DR with random win%’s
Lotte over Erica – 51.5%
Kuroneko over Kyouko – 52.25%
Madoka over Sayaka – 54.25%
Mami over Ika Musume – 53.75%
Best Chance of Winning Saimoe Power Rankings:
8999.) Ika Musume
And finally, QF1 Poster, I love simple designs, so I’m happy with how this one turned out. The same way I’m happy how last year’s QF poster came to be.