It’s that time of year again when anime fans from all over Japan get together to decide on the next moe (pronounced mo-eh) queen of the year. If this is your first time hearing of saimoe, it is basically a popularity contest between all of the female characters in every anime that has aired in the past year.
The tournament works by first having people nominate the characters they would like to see in the tournament. The rules for nominating a character are that she has to be female, and she has to have come from an anime that has aired on Japanese television or released on DVD in the year since the previous saimoe tournament. All of the nominees then go through a preliminary round to decide on which ones are actually worth putting in the tournament. This involves first splitting them into 16 groups and having people vote for their favourite characters and entering the top 12 into the tournament. Characters that place between 13th and 36th are placed into 6 groups and voting begins again. The top 16 characters in the second set of groups also get to enter the main tournament.
While voting for the first set of 16 groups in the preliminaries is still under way, it’s still interesting to see the results for the groups that have finished voting.
Looking at the rankings in the first 14 groups, it seems that the girls from Puella Magi Madoka Magica are dominating the others. Of the four main girls that have appeared so far, all of them have placed 1st in their respective groups. I would be surprised if the title character doesn’t rank 1st in group 16 once voting ends. Other series that seem to have a strong following are Ore no Imouto and Hanasaku Iroha, both with two characters placing first.
Former heavyweights like the K-ON girls and the girls from Index/Railgun seem to have fallen to the side, but still have a strong showing. I guess it might be time for new girls to take the spotlight. If Madoka does rank first in her group, it might foreshadow a sweep of the top spots in the tournament by puella magi. While minor characters like the girl with the teddy bear didn’t make it past the preliminaries, when you consider that another minor character, Charlotte, has made it into the tournament, it’s not that hard to believe.