|Round 3 has come to an end, and now as we near the block finals to decide the top 8 I thought today would be a good time to look back at the tournament’s great successes. It’s been an exciting year for Saimoe, despite a repeat of last year’s faction-domination (albeit with a much different show). Many have tried, and now we’re down to the final 16. Will Saki be another Madoka Magica success story? Will one of the newbies steal first place? Or will one of the veterans finally win after many years of trying?|
Contenders // Saki Miyanaga, Koromo Amae, Toki Onjouji, Hisa Takei, Yuu Matsumi, Kirame Hanada, Kuro Matsumi, Nodoka Haramura, and Ako Atarashi
History // Every year Saki has been present they have done well enough to earn top 8 positions, but never has a Saki girl won the tournament, or even taken second place for that matter. Saki’s strongest contenders have historically been Nodoka, Koromo, and Mihoko, however with Achiga-hen’s recent airing an entire new group of girls have entered the field, five of which are now in the running to make the final 8.
Overview // Considering Saki’s outstanding performance this year resulting in over 43 contenders entering the main tournament, it’s no wonder they hold more than half of the final 16 positions. Their overwhelming presence in this year’s Saimoe was obvious from the very beginning, with the girls practically taking over the top preliminary positions. Saki has been strong in the past, but never THIS strong. Through the course of this year’s tournament there have been few major loses for the faction. A three-way Saki match resulted in the loss of Arata (who is a basically a less powerful Toki anyway) as well as Mihoko, who was taken out by Kurisu Makise from Steins;Gate. If the faction’s strategy was to win with pure numbers, they’ve done well! Many sacrifices have been made, and now the supporters will have to fight between themselves to advance their favorites. This could in turn help the other non-Saki girls progress.
Chances // A quick look at the brackets will tell you all you have to know about Saki’s chances. At this point they are guaranteed at least three spots in the final 8 (Saki vs. Koromo, Kirame vs. Kuro, and Nodoka vs. Ako). The other three girls don’t have it so easy. Toki is in for a very heated match against the invisible wonder Akarin~ which I would say is in the latter’s favor, especially with the heated tension between Saki and anti-Saki voters. Hisa, one of the less popular Saki girls, is up against Yayoi which I predict will fall in Yayoi’s favor. Yuu has a fated match with Strike Witch Sanya, who has been more or less a goat up until now to take out more powerful enemies.
Prediction // Koromo will defeat Saki, Kuro will defeat Kirame, and Nodoka will defeat Ako in the Saki/Saki matches. Toki will be defeated by Akarin and Hisa by Yayoi, but Yuu will defeat Sanya. That would equate to four of the nine girls making the top 8.
The New Blood
Contenders // Akari Akaza, Yayoi Kise, Hinata Hakamada, and Sena Kashiwazaki
History // All new to the tournament~
Overview // All four of these newbies were promising Saimoe contenders from an early stage, standing out as the forerunners for their related shows. Akarin easily stole first place in her preliminary round against vets like Mayoi and Hajime. Her competition up until now have been fairly weak, the strongest of which likely being Mei who barely stood a chance. Yayoi and Sena both took a respectable second in their prelim rankings, and compared to Akarin (who must have used her lack of presence to grab an easy seed) has much more difficult positions in the brackets. Yayoi managed to take out powerful players like Ui and former final 8 Astarotte, while Sena had the likes of Mio and Elucia to deal with. However they both managed very well for new blood and will now face their toughest matches yet. Hinata’s fifth placing in prelims was a relatively good ranking, however it’s believed that she’s mostly been a puppet by Kugimiya supporters to deal with Chihaya/Kurisu. Still, she’s done well.
Chances // Here’s where things get tricky. Akarin and Yayoi are both up against Saki girls, which puts them in a tough position. With enough anti-Saki support they can likely manage. Hinata will probably stand little chance against Louise unless tactical voting comes into play. Likewise, Sena is facing off against Shana who has seen her fair share of difficult matches. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top, the newbie or the vet.
Prediction // Akarin and Yayoi will defeat their Saki opponents. Hinata will lose to Louise, and Sena will defeat Shana. That would equate to three newbies making the final 8.
Contenders // Louise de Valliere, Sanya V. Litvyak, and Shana
History // Shana is the definition of a veteran, 2012 being her sixth time competing for the coveted first place. (And also likely her last time.) Many a time has she come close, but her chances cut short. Her semi-final position in 2006 was her strongest, while last year’s disappointing R1 loss was her weakest. However, she’s clearly back for vengeance! Louise has a similarly long running with Saimoe, 2012 being her fourth year. Like Shana, she’s made it to the final 8 on more than one occasion, but never has she won. Then there is Sanya who has progressed to R2 twice before (in 2009 and 2011), but never has she made it this far.
Overview // These three vets have done exceptionally well so far. Louise has tackled the likes of Nagi and Makoto, while Shana has defeated many powerful newcomers trying to steal her glory, such as Airi, Izumi, and Snow Black. Both have the support of Kugimiya fans as well, which is always a bonus is Saimoe for some reason. As mentioned before, a lot of the support behind Sanya has come from tactical voting to take out greats like Hinagiku. Her performance shouldn’t be disregarded however, because there’s always the possibility of pulling another Erica Hartmann and going much further than expected.
Chances // Louise is up against a relatively less popular opponent, which gives her very high chances of continuing. For Shana and Sanya much more powerful enemies await in the form of Yuu and Meat. In this case Shana’s chances are much higher than those of Sanya.
Prediction // Louise will defeat Hinata. Sanya and Shana will both lose to Yuu and Sena.
DUN DUN DUN. That is all.
- Roxalthea (8th), Karakuri (9th), Kyokai (10th), Jrow (11th), Gecko (12th), Tofu (13th), and Rakkyo (14th) have all been eliminated. Sayonara friends! Hope to see you again next time~