Congratulations to Kaname Madoka, your 2013 champion!
1st 277 votes Kaname Madoka @ Puella Magi Madoka Magica
2nd 191 votes Miki Sayaka @ Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Well, it was probably an expected outcome in the end – Madoka grabbing the crown was pretty much inevitable following Mami’s exit at the hands of Sayaka. She did it in some style too – becoming the first repechage contestant to win the tournament, and sealing the Madoka faction’s place in the Saimoe record books by becoming the second representative from her series to win the tournament.
For the third year in a row, we have witnessed an intra-series final which was brought about by a single series dominating proceedings during the entire tournament. Madoka has now done it not only once, but twice – which has definitely led to resentment, frustration and a loss of interest in the tournament. With the Saki sequel commencing next year and the Madoka faction still sticking around, could we possibly see the final nail in the already-nailed coffin for Saimoe?
The first major turning point was Ako’s defeat to Miho in the second round of the tournament. Up till this point, everything was looking great for the Saki faction – a couple of solid wins, continuing from where they left off last year, and the Madoka faction had suffered a serious blow just a few days back with Madoka’s and Homura’s exit. Ako winning would have pretty much boost the Saki’s faction prospects – a guaranteed spot for them in the Block B finals, and a possible Round 3 combo-voting boost for Matsumi Yuu as she takes on Mami. Instead, it all fell apart – Ako lost out to Miho, and the Girls Und Panzer lead subsequently became a pawn for the Madoka faction to exploit. It was a major blow – Block A and B could have easily been the Saki’s faction for the taking.
Still, as a result of that turning point, the tournament was turning out to be an interesting affair. Saki were no longer as dominant as they were last year, and the Madoka faction was only left with three representatives, with Mami and Kyouko having to face tricky opponents. Meanwhile, the newcomers who were expected to challenge for the crown – the likes of Henneko’s Tsukiko and Azuki Azusa and Chu2Koi’s Shinka and Rikka – were doing great.
Then came the second major turning point of the tournament. The introduction of the new rule which granted the Saimoe moderators power to rule out votes that they deem suspicious by their own accord. The first victim of the new ruling was none other than Nodoka – crashing out to Ro-Kyu-Bu’s Maho in one of the shock results of this year. The tournament never looked the same after that – the Saki faction completely collapsed, vote totals plummeted, and the mighty newcomers didn’t look as mighty as they were in the previous rounds. Many began to lose interest in the tournament when it was apparent that there was to be no way past the Madoka faction.
So, was the new ruling to be blamed for the dull nature of the tournament? Did it give the mods the power to shape the tournament according to their will? For me, the new ruling could have been introduced at a better timing – it should have been put into place at the start of the tournament to be fair to every contestant. The process should have also been made more transparent – mods should have taken the initiative to explain the precise reason as to why a certain block of votes were ruled out.
While criticized at the start of the tournament, the repechage round did add some intrigue to proceedings as it became an essential part of tactical voting. However, it’s obvious that it benefits only the stronger contestants, with an excellent example being that of our dear champion – the repechage route turned out to be an easier way for her to reach the Final 16.
So here comes the question: Is the repechage round really necessary? For me, it’s always going to be difficult to answer this question – if there’s a character that you like who have suffered an early exit, of course you’d like to have the repechage round. Then there’s the opposite – if there’s a character that you like who has emerged as a Block Final champion, only to lose out to a repechage contestant – you’d wish that the repechage round didn’t exist. At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of perspective.
Most surprising series: No one really stands out – Haganai was the frontrunner for this award in the earlier stages of the tournament before they faded away, then it was Ro-Kyu-Bu with Mokkan and Maho reaching the Block Finals.
Most surprising contestant: Definitely Watashi. I guess no one expected her to make it as far as the semis, given that she comes from a series that doesn’t receive a huge backing.
Most disappointing contestant: I would say Chu2Koi’s Rikka. Yes, she did perform well prior to her exit, but I think everyone was expecting more from her as one of the most promising newcomers for this year’s tournament.
Most disappointing series: Saki could easily take this award due to their Block B and D debacle and catastrophic downfall, but for me, it has to be Girls Und Panzer. The show took Japan by storm when it was airing, but they weren’t able to transfer their popularity into the Saimoe arena.
Most interesting match: There’s a few that I can think of. Block B and C had a fair share of them, and I’ll nominate Ako-Miho for this one, because there was so much riding on just that single match.
Most shocking result: Has to be Nodoka-Maho for me. Mami-Sayaka too, but there was always the possibility of the Champion’s Curse taking effect in that match.
How about yours? How did your favorites perform?
Plans for next year
This will probably be my last year covering Saimoe… at least on a daily basis. I don’t know what frustra has in mind (he’s still missing by the way), but for me, I probably won’t have enough time to make a post every day owing to my real life commitments. As you guys can see, the coverage for this year is already sloppier as compared to previous years (apologies for that), with the dull nature of the tournament not helping out at all.
As long as the current management is still in charge, I doubt they’ll be any radical changes to Saimoe that will make it an attractive proposition once again. Yes, the Rozen dolls are returning next year, but I doubt they’ll be able to mount a challenge for the crown.
In any case, thank you for reading once again, and see you again next year (no guarantees). Till then, I’m always reachable via Twitter.
Enjoy your victory, Madoka fans!