The battle for ultimate moe beckons once again.
Saimoe is back in business, and that means it’s time for this blog to wake up from its slumber. As you can see, I tinkered around and redesigned the site. Hope you like this one better, I’m trying to make it as simple yet functional as possible. That being said I’m still in the process of working things out, so bear with it for the meantime.
Enough of that, let’s get to actual Saimoe talk.
This year’s Saimoe management decided not to shake things up tournament structure-wise. Just like last year, we will have 288 participants for the main draw (at the minimum). As for the prelims, the top twelve finishers will advance directly to the main event, while 13th to 42nd placers will get a second chance (minor change – last year, only 13th -36th place finishers get a second crack).There will be sixteen groups for Prelim Round One, while for Prelim Round Two will have six groups and the top 16 will make the cut.
July 8 will be the time when the preliminary draw is released, and Prelim One, Group One is scheduled to start on July 12.
There are more than 3000 characters eligible for this year’s tournament, but those who are familiar with the tourament know that it will be a bloodbath and only a select few will survive. Without further ado, time to do an overview at some of this year’s eligible series.
Saki has to be the favorite to win it all this year. Third time’s a charm, maybe, but no doubt about it, other than Hayate, Saki has been the most consistent series of all the eligible series. They’ve been on a roll since they debuted back in 2009, but after a one-year hiatus, Saki’s back in the fold.
The show’s cast is larger than ever, going into the preliminary round it appears that they have more than 90 characters eligible. I would be surprised if they don’t get at least 30 in the main draw considering that the Saki faction has the most momentum heading into the tournament (probably only rivaled by Yuru Yuri at this point).
Based on recent Japanese polls, I think the ones that will really shine in this tournament for this series are Senriyama’s Toki and Ryuuka, Achiga’s Kuro and of course Nodoka (who has been in a a Saimoe tear (only beaten by eventual champions Taiga in 2009 and Azusa in 2010, both in the semifinals).
It’s going to be a block party for Saki in the early stages, but what remains to be seen is whether or not they can actually finish the job. Very likely.
It would have been a much tougher call to predict from which series the eventual Saimoe champion will emerge had Idolm@ster aired this spring instead of summer last year. Still, im@s has a lot of things going for it that likely makes them another favorite to do well in this year’s tourney.
Not only is the franchise one of the most popular ones that was ever adapted into anime, such adaptation was well-received by the community. It was easily one of the most talked about series in 2ch during its run (just like Saki the previous spring season).
As aforementioned, however, it’s been awhile since im@s aired regularly, and that would likely work against them. On the plus side, episode 26 aired recently.
There’s also the fact that im@s was “adapted” by Sunrise years ago as Xenoglossia and the series performed horribly. I am under the impression that such is just an adaptation by name and not a full-fledged one like the one that aired last year.
I could be wrong here, but im@s is poised to make a good run and expect Miki to represent them in the late stages of the tournament, at the very least.
Last year’s surprise hit Yuru Yuri will make its debut in Saimoe this year, and it couldn’t come at a better time with the second season airing during the pendency of the tournament. For the jokes made about Akarin’s lack of presence in the anime, this time she’s gonna make her presence felt in the tournament, and she won’t be fooling around.
I would consider it a disappointment if she does not make at least the block finals, unless she gets a blockbuster match early in the tournament – something on the caliber of Mikoto-Homura last year or Fate-Suigintou in 2008.
Along with Saki, Nyaruko ended up as one of the most popular shows of the spring season after finally getting an actual TV anime adaptation. Little is it known that Nyaruko already debuted in Saimoe two years ago and had a dismal showing (she didn’t even make the second prelims), most probably because the format of her show was just an ONA and that those type of shows just don’t do well in a tournament like this. In any case, I really like her chances of getting to the Block Finals, and maybe even beyond that.
I might be overestimating her, but I think she’s in prime position to match Erica Hartmann’s feat of making it to the late stages of the tournament despite a terrible performance in her tournament debut.
The Monogatari series has been a sales juggernaut even back then with Bakemonogatari in 2010. That didn’t translate in a good performance however as its top two “aces” got their campaigns cut short even before getting to the Final Eight. Nadeko fell to Hayate’s Nagi after toppling K-On’s Yui, while Hitagi got dropped by a surging Mafuyu from Seitokai no Ichizon.
But this year they get a second crack with the Nisemonogatari, which is easily one of the best selling TV anime of the year so far. Of course the focus shifted to the Araragi sisters and Shinobu, so they should be the series’ best bets to go further than their predecessors. Still, I rank them behind the aforementioned four series, but it’s really hard for me to count them out. Last year I underestimated SHAFT’s Madoka during the preseason, and we know how that ended up. Nisemonogatari could be poised to follow the same pattern.
Haganai is a hard show to gauge, but for the meantime I’m leaning on Sena to be a major player in the main draw. Let’s see if she can meat expectations – expectations that could’ve been higher had it aired in the right season for Saimoe purposes. (This spring, most ideally).
Ro-Kyu-Bu! had a good following but it suffers from the same disadvantage that barred many series of its kind from contending for the Saimoe crown. RKB is another spring/summer series from last year, and that’s the worst place to be. Tomoka and the team will still be able to snag a couple of wins, but expecting more than that might be a long shot.
Working – Yamada got it done in 2010 by stopping Tenshi last year, and losing only to the eventual champ. This year though, I think she, along with Poplar, are gonna get their work cut out for them. Guess we’ll just wait and see, but I definitely believe they are capable of scoring another upset yet again.
Ika Musume – Ha ha time to invade Saimoe part II. Ika fell to the eventual champion Mami last year in the arguably most competitive match that year. Ika to me is an interesting case – she’s definitely capable of stringing wins. However, it really feels like it has been awhile since her show aired and that might be a handicap that she won’t be able to overcome once she meets this year’s aces in the Block Finals or beyond.
Accel World – Again, this is another series that was popular in 2ch last season, and the light novels had a good following as well. I see Black Lotus doing decently, maybe win a round or two, but she’s gonna be in a world of pain once she draws Toki or Akarin and the like.
Acchi Kocchi – Here, There and Nowhere (in Saimoe)
A Channel’s Yuuko will be best remembered for upsetting the previously consistent Shana in the Round of Saimoe 2011, and let’s just keep it at that. That’s A+ effort right there, but I’m skeptical that the series will replicate that effort in their second year.
AKB0048 – They might be no Idolmaster but there’s still potential out there. But for now, I’m leaning towards no.
Amagami – Performed as expected last year, expect the same result this year – average.
Ano Natsu –>yfw Kanna wins Da Saim Oe
Another – Quite sure another series will be better than them in this tournament.
Aquarion EVOL – >yfw Zessica wins Da Saim Oe
Astarotte no Omocha – Lotte’s immortalized herself in Saimoe lore by pulling off one of the great upsets in Block Finals history last year when she toyed with a seemingly unstoppable Mikoto en route to the quarterfinals.I don’t see something like that happening this year again, although I think Lotte’s still got at least one round win in her.
BakaTest – They face a stern test ahead of them. And I don’t think they’ll pass.
Ben-To – Too bad they’re not fighting for discounted lunchboxes here.
C3 – All boxed out.
Black Rock Shooter – Bang.
Fate/Zero and Carnival Phantasm – Let’s just bunch in the Type-Moon characters together. When F/z returned in 2010 (courtesy of unlimted blade works), Saber and Rin got the worst matchups you could ask for (Nanoha and Fate respectively) and they both got crushed.
There would be no Nanoha or Fate to hamper their fate this time, but expect the same results once they face Saki’s aces or other powerhouses.
Chihayafuru – Chihaya’s the best, and she’s bound to win a (karuta) tournament or so, but definitely not this one.
Dantalian no Shoka -Yes, Dalian is nice, but I would be [i]Shoka’d[/i] if she gets by the first round.
Denpa Onna – Erio’s gonna get a second crack after Char sent her back to her futon. Andshe’ll notch at least a win this time. Expecting more than that is probably crazy at this point.
Guilty Crown – I’m guilty of bashing this show, but there’s no way Inori’s getting the Saimoe crown.
HanaIro – rumbled through the prelims last year but then just lost steam thereafter. Bad news is, they’re not gonna be rushing through the main draw in style this year.
Hayate – Well this should be interesting. Hayate in the past four years of eligiiblity always had a representative in the quarterfinals and they are the only series to accomplish that feat, if memory serves me right. The window of opportunity is closing, however.
That being said, I counted out HnG last time they were eligible, and Nagi responded with her second finals berth (and the only one to do so, ever). I’m gonna count them out again, and for a change, I will be right.
Oh, and this is Hina’s year, amirite? #yeahright
Hidamari Sketch – Yuno’s already joined elite company after notching her 10th career win last year. Hidamari’s staying power is amazing. This year, however, anything beyond second round is sketchy at best.
Hidan no Aria – Scarlet Rain might do better than Scarlet Ammo in 2012.
Highschool DxD – More like Doomed x Despair
Higurashi – rip in peace Higurashi I cry everytiem
HoshiKaka – Got nothing witty to say about them. Doesn’t change the fact that they’re gonna be swept though.
Hyouka – I’m curious how far Chitanda will go, but it’s no mystery it won’t be far.
IkokuMeiro – It’s going to feel like a foreign labyrinth once again for Yune.
Inu x Boku SS – Should be tricky, this series’ performed very well sales-wise during the winter. Hard to gauge if Ririchiyo can get it going, but I will be very amused if she ends up against Yamada in the main draw.
Infinite Stratos – They got did decent last year, although many (including me) expected a lot more. There will be lesser expectations this time in their encore performance.
Jewelpet series – Maybe Sakura Akari can give Nodoka a hard time again, maybe not. Not.
KamiNomi – God Only Knows if they’re gonna do a repeat performance of last year They did beyond my expectations, for what its worth, as Haqua knocked out the defending champ. Haqua’s not eligible this year though because she wasn’t in the OVA that enabled some of KamiNomi’s cast to make this year’s roster.
Kamisama Dolls – Rozen Maiden, this series is not.
Kamisama Memochou -Is this Yui Ogura’s year? Note it down, but it’s gonna be Toki, not Rin who’s gonna carry the flag. Would be NEET to have her go against Dalian or Milky Holmes though.
Kill Me Baby – Roadkill.
Kiss x sis – kiss ’em goodbye. Again.
K-On – There was heavy backlash against K-On last year to the point that they didn’t even last a single round after Azusa dominated the previous year. There probably won’t be something like that this year, but regardless, they won’t get far. Nor do they need to. They already got the hardware.
KoreZon – Second season might boost their peformance for the better this year, but will it matter enough? I don’t think so.
Horizon – Could be this year’s infinite stratos, although unlike the former, Horizon’s got something to its advantage – it’s currently airing so it’s more fresh to the minds of the voters.
Last Exile – This could be the last time we might see them in Saimoe action.
Negima – No magic can save them now.
MajiKoi – Expect a Hyakka Ryouran Samuraiesque performance from them.
Maken-Ki – more like MakeRu amirite?
Manyuu Hikenchou – Nodotits has them beat, even in that department.
Mashiroiro Symphony – I sense an early requiem.
Mawaru Penguindrum – Bad apple.
Mayo Chiki – Chick ’em.
Medaka Box – All boxed out, part II.
Mirai Nikki – Their Saimoe future is bleak.
Natsuiro Kiseki – It would take a miracle for these four to get past the second or third round, but I’ll say it here: this show rocks.
Nazo no Kanojo X – It’s no mystery to me how Urabe will fare in this tourney: i.e. not really well.
Mouretsu Pirates – Marika’s a pretty cool gal, but I don’t think she’ll survive this tournament in one piece.
Nekogami Yaoyorozu – Not Kuroneko. Next.
Nichijou – More suffering for Yuuko.
Ochinko – Sister disaster.
PapaKiki – Listen to me, they’re fodder! (I kid.)
Persona 4 – Rise and fall.
Precure – Gonna be smilin’ when a Cure makes it to Round Two.
Pretty Rhythm – I’m pretty sure they’re gonna have a hard time winning.
Queen’s Blade – Still not the blade.
Rinne no Lagrange – I do declare – Maru’s perfect, but she’s no Kaname Madoka.
Sacred Seven – Nothing is sacred.
Sankarea – Nope, Rea won’t be matching Saten’s Saimoe performance.
SZS – Sayonara.
Seitokai Yakuindomo – Mafuyu’s gonna make a big run this year, I’m su-Oh wait, wrong show. Next.
Sengoku Collection – Gonna be collecting a lot of second prelim votes, for sure.
Symphogear – Not gonna make noise this year, sorry.
Shana – Let’s see if Shana will be able to bounce back from last year’s disappointing campaign. The way I see it though, the window of opportunity for her has already closed.
Shining Hearts – It’s kinda heartless, but there’s no way they’re gonna win.
Steins;Gate – Kurisu suffered a tough loss in round three last year, and unfortunately, The gates to Saimoe glory is gonna be a tougher hurdle this time.
Strike Witches – We have witnessed one of the most unlikely and amazing runs in Saimoe history with Erica ending up in the Semifinals against unlikely odds. This is not a strike against them, but I do think that it won’t happen again. Still, moments like that are among many reasons why I appreciate Saimoe, because with this tournament, you just can never tell.
Tamayura – Oh shoot.
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes – They will likely fare worse than they did last year, and I’m not expecting much. Yeah, no, shit Sherlock.
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia – Forget it. No ghost of a chance.
Tiger and Bunny – Sorry Dragon Kid, Kuro and Ryuuka are the dragon lords of Saimoe.
To Heart 2 – Oh boy here we go YET again.
ToraDora – Eligible because of an unaired episode in BD box set. And because that we’re pretty much looking at 2009 Taiga’s first “loss” here. Who shall deal that blow, I wonder.
Upotte – Bang. Part II. (Or III?)
Zero no Tsukaima – Never count out Louise, arguably Saimoe’s biggest troll.
I think I covered a lot of ground already.
Taking a glimpse of the entries, I presume that the prevailing theme for this year’s tournament would be “the old becomes new again.” Come to think of it, three of my projected Saimoe “Big Four” are series that have in one way or another been here before. Saki’s fresh once more with the infusion of new blood. Interest for Idolm@ster is revitalized with this new series. Nyaruko finally got a TV series as well after languishing in the ONA graveyard. And even YuruYuri which will debut this year, has a second season to keep them rolling. And of course a lot of series will be attempting to go for the crown, anew.
Read on next time as I preview Prelim One, Group One.