Round Two’s just on the horizon, but for now here’s the obligatory Round One recap and some other musings.
Three things here stand out immediately:
- Group One with the most survivors coming in to Round Two.
- Group Fourteen in contrast is down to two characters in their pool, and their winner, as well chronicled, is already out.
- There are a lot of Prelim Two qualifiers clinching Round Two berths. More than usual anyway. For reference, last year we only had seven.
And since the Top R1 Performers are also in this chart, might as well segue to some power rankings shenanigans:
- Matsumi Yuu. Yuu better believe it. The Scarf Ace is in top form, and a top test awaits. Worth noting that the last two characters to the vote% stat after Round One went on to win the championship.
- Onjouji Toki. Mashiroiro went on to post a passable performance – Miu challenged Meat, but Toki just made Airi look rather silly, further highlighting that Toki’s just on a different level.
- Akaza Akari. Three and four are interchangeable, but I’ll put Akari ahead for now since easily beating the veteran Izumi (who is traditionally a tough out) is much more impressive than beating Dalian who lacks faction support. And I have much higher expectation for Akarin to do well than…
- Chitanda Eru. She keeps us curious on what she’s capable of doing next. a 60%+ winning vote percentage and 380+ votes is quite good.
- Sanzenin Nagi. Hayate-Saki rivalry looks like an afterthought now, but Nagi showed us some fire remaining by beating yet another Saki, and rather easily too.
- Matsumi Kuro. Rosemary-Nadja. Kagami-Tsukasa. Yuu-Kuro could join them as one of the strongest sisters tandem in Saimoe history.
- Haramura Nodoka. Like Nagi, Nodoka is one of the most consistent performers in Saimoe history, ever. And after the prelims and the first round, she’s definitely looking the part.
- Kise Yayoi. The path is still long before she can rival Nagisa as the greatest Cure ever (in Saimoe), but so far, so good.
- Nyaruko. Nadeko packed a lot of venom back in 2010. Not much now, but still Nyaruko destroyed her. The impending match against Kuro is a sure candidate as match o the round.
- Atarashi Ako. Rounding out the top ten is one of the newer kids in the block. She might have not pasted scary voting numbers as compared to her peers. Interestingly she meets Ika Musume next, and those two are 9th and 7th in vote% rank respectively.
The stats and series breakdown in table form can be found here. Some quick notes:
- Saki with 15 out of 43. They went 9 of 18 in 2010 and 11 of 23 in 2011. They’re still very, very good, which is like saying the sky is blue. (Sup Rin)
- Idolmaster with a respectable conversion rate, considering their prelims performance. Can they take it to the next level? R2 will be very telling.
- Hayate with easily their worst showing ever, it’s up to Nagi again to take the cudgels and carry Hayate, with career wins leadership on the line, as well as Hayate’s quarterfinals appearance streak.
- Working is looking really solid. There were no flashy wins, but whatever works, man.
- Yuruyuri could’ve done much better with a more friendly draw, but don’t easily count out the legendary kindness of Akari.
With the preliminaries out of the way, here’s a quick recap of The Round That Was, and a bit of The Round to Be:
We were treated with a good one right from the start – Saki-Maho looked to be fitting at least as a R2 match, but instead we got it in advance.
Match of the Block is a tossup between Miki-Minato and Saki-Maho. I think the latter would have locked it up if the upset happened, so instead we have to go with the one that actually happened. Miki over Mokkan it is.
A look ahead – Block A looks clean-cut – Saki, Kobato, Tacos and Koromo are the overwhelming favorites to go through. Surprise and impress me, Block A.
The midcard matches were expectedly more competitive – Run-Ricchan and Yozora-Chihaya were thrillers until the very end but I have to hand it to Kanade over Isumi as the match of the block. Again, another upset here, even more so stunning because Isumi hasn’t lost a round one match before.
Like Block A, this one looks straightforward as well – Iori, Toki, Mei and Akari are all expected to proceed to the block semis. Akari’s match against Azusa might offer a little intrigue – first match between prelim winners after all, and with Saki in the same match day, mayhem might happen.
Okay Block C was actually eventful, headlined by Saki’s haymaker against the Yuruyuri faction – Toshinou Kyouko KO’d by Shizu. Another impactful match was Yune’s thrilling win over Erica, to set up a showdown against Peace.
Sherlock over Asuha and Maon pulling the rug under Maria are also notable mentions, but not as big as Shizu’s win…
…which makes her the prohibitive favorite to advance in R3 as well, unless Kuuko has some tricks under her sleeve. Hisa might be prone to an upset given her Saimoe history and suspect performance against Saki, so there might be a red flag here. Lotte-Sherlock has some shades of 2011 all over it as well as a revenge match for Lotte, and finally the aforementioned Yayoi-Yune match will be anything but cheesy.
If a coalition of a Saki resistance actually exists, it struck back against Kyouko’s ouster by taking out one of Saki’s aces. Kurisu over Mihoko is easily the most momentous match of this block, although my personal favorite is obviously Makoto’s birthday win. I’ll savor that moment though because her cinderella story ends versus Louise. A Kugimiya classic was an inevitability after the draw for this block was released and we will be witnesses whether we like it or not.
So who’s set to join Nagi and Louise in the Round of 32? Signs point to Chihaya, on one end, but Hinata stands in the way of an all-Imai Asami affair.
Block E had two significant upsets that is sure to alter the course of one side of the bracket. Erio and Hina’s losses paved the way for an unlikely block finalist – we don’t know who it will be yet, but Yayoi, Sanya and Kurumi are names that you won’t instantly associate with “Top 16” if you looked at the preliminary round result.
On the other hand, championship contender Yuu announced her presence with one of the biggest thrashings of all-time in Saimoe, vote percentage-wise. And it is only fitting that the 2009 champ Taiga and finalist Yui both stand on her way to Round Three. Quite a storyline we got here, huh?
On the footnote for now is the Char-Hibiki match, which might be a tossup too. It can’t be helped.
Block F is fantastic. Even though the closest matchup is more than 10 votes (both Ryuuka-Mugi, which is probably the best R1 match for this pool, and Elly-Ryuushi), the thing is this block is building up to something big. And it starts at Round Two.
Nyaruko-Kuro-Ryuuka will be a slobberknocker – three prelim winners right thre. Kirame-Kanna-Haruka offers intrigue. Chitanda-Ririchiyo is another prelims winner matchup. And uh, Yui-Sera-Elly is the filler. Three of four great matchups is more than par for the course though.
The fact that tied finishes in the elimination stages of Saimoe is such a rarity automaticallyy makes Rea-Tsukihi the match of Block G. Nothing in this block is remotely close, save Hina-Miyuki, but Rea-Tsukihi was really fascinating. Of course they’ll both be underdogs against the impressive Yamada in R2, but the fact that it will be a four-way is something special.
There are two matches to watch for R2 though – Ako vs double Kanemoto Hisako – Ika Musume the obvious challenger, and Hitagi-Aria. Nodoka-Momo isn’t really that complicated – in 2010 we saw Nodoka mow down fellow Sakis in successive fashion, so we know what’s coming here.
Rika over Uta by two might be the closest match in the whole round (bar the Rea-Tsukihi tie), but LC over Kana might be the more impactful result in this Block, since it completely removed Saki’s presence. Yeah, really. Zero Sakis in Block H, so the dream/nightmare scenario of an all-Saki quarterfinals is out of the picture. So who will capitalize the most? R2 matchups will get us closer to the answer. Poplar-Airi could be good. Shana-Black Lotus WILL be good. Mio-Rika and Meat-LC-Marika are both interesting encounters as well. This block has the goods too.
To wrap up the post, a few more R1 tidbits:
Highest Number of Votes Received: Matsumi Yuu (639 votes)
Highest Vote Percentage: Matsumi Yuu (70.14%)
Lowest Number of Votes Received for a Winning Character: Takanashi Nazuna (164 votes)
Highest Number of Votes Received for a Losing Character: Touwa Erio (406 votes)
Lowest Number of Votes Received: Eguchi Sera (26 votes)
Lowest Vote Percentage for a Winning Character: Sherlock Shellingford (36.94%)
Highest Vote Percentage for a Losing Character: Miyanaga Teru (44.98%)
Lowest Vote Percentage: Eguchi Sera (3.72%)
Highest Number of Votes Cast in a Match: Sanya Litvyak vs. Katsura Hinagiku vs Todoroki Yachiyo (999 votes)
Lowest Number of Votes Cast in a Match: Nanasaki Ai vs. Tooyama Saku vs. Yamanaka Sawako (384 votes)