march madness: sweet 16 (part 2)

By Leorio, By Way of Neriya

March Madness steams along. Death Note pulls out a come from behind victory while Ouran gets upset. Tsukasa is no match for Bonta-kun, and Clannad sails smoothest to victory.

(I think Leorio has a lot of potential. Andohbytheway, 1,337th post.)


Previous Voting Results

Wow, one major upset in that Azumanga knocks out #1 seed Ouran. As one of my readers correctly pointed out, Ouran has become the Dallas Mavericks. Now can Azumanga‘s magical run continue as it faces off against an actual comedic challenger in the Elite 8 in Fumoffu? Now that’s a Dr. Jack-style post I’m penciling in to write.

In other contests, Death Note and Clannad advance knocking out Higurashi and Honey and Clover. One big advantage both Death Note and Clannad had over their rivals was ridiculously better animation quality, and now it’s a head-to-head match of two great production studios in the Elite 8. (And Death Note live action is better than Higurashi’s, though this shouldn’t count as part of the evidence in the proceedings.)

One of the funnier subplots in running March Madness are all the people (and other bloggers) whining, “Wait, my show is better than your show!” and making it sound like an authoritative judgment. I get a kick from that, especially when they just incredulously scream, “But Shana is better than Bebop!” without offering any sort non-subjective argument backing it up. That’s one big reason I’m doing March Madness this way: one person, one voice, one vote. It is subjective, but it’s not who has the loudest voice or the brightest blog, but it’s about which candidate appeals to more people. You can make an argument that Honey and Clover has more substance than Clannad, but does the substance make it more enjoyable? Not if 2 out of 3 people say, “Nope.” It’s not “cute makes right,” but “you may be wrong.”

I agree with them. Watching and enjoying anime is not about dissecting plot points or figuring out how deep a show is. It’s about visceral enjoyment. It boils down to, “Did I like what I just watched, and how eager am I to watch another episode?” A slow can be lacking in one area but still highly enjoyable. So what if this character isn’t properly developed? Hosaka isn’t exactly brimming with development, but does it detract from his awesomeness? So what if a series has a shallow premise? Azumanga demolished deeper series on the strength of Chiyo-chan’s and Osaka’s memorableness.

I want to remind everyone that this is not English literature class. You get no points on Derailed for analyzing anime like To Kill A Mockingbird. The goal here has been and will always be finding anime that’s enjoyable. Whether it’s enjoyable to see people broken, to see people’s thigh meat, to see emo facial distortions, to see magical fables, to see spiral energy, that’s all acceptable. That is what Derailed and Derailed Nation is about. And if you feel any differently, save it for your English literature or philosophy class.

(And, of course, the voting and meta-rankings are all about the wisdom of the masses. You by yourself are not as great of a judge as the community as a whole. Simple as that. I think Hanaukyo Meido is a great anime, but I’m sure more people disagree with me than agree. That’s what the masses are for. It’s a good way for you to get a bearing for yourself. It’s not that the masses have worse taste than you, it might be you have worse taste than the masses. But… who cares? I like Hanaukyo, and it makes me… me… I guess.)

Sweet 16 (Part 2)

These four matches will end around 11PM PST on March 14th. The Elite 8 matches will then begin shortly thereafter. As always, rules are available here.

#2 Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann vs. #18 Cowboy Bebop

#1 Ouran got upset by a BBT (Before BitTorrent) series, will the same happen to #2 seed Gurren Lagann? I think this is a great match-up… two great casts, two great stories. One major difference is that Gurren Lagann carries through and focuses on a singular story whereas Bebop‘s story isn’t fundamental to its core. However, I enjoyed both greatly. Though Bebop isn’t aging well because it’s a constant reminder of what Sunrise was. I mean… how do you go from Spike vs. Vicious to Lulu vs. Suzaku? What mistakes were made?

(And in terms of melonpan, Gurren Lagann has the advantage with Time-Slip Nia and Yoko. Does feel weird that Yoko would make Faye look like a choir girl in terms of modesty.)

#7 Black Lagoon vs. #10 The Second Raid

Another great action vs. action match-up. There’s a lot to like from both, and if I had more time, I would have blown this out to a full Dr. Jack-post. Black Lagoon had Lolilaika, broken twincest, epic Engrish, and Lolilaika’s “This is starting to make me feel weird” line when she was editing pr0n. The Second Raid had more nakkid Chidori, epic twincest, squirrel pr0n, and Gates singing Ave Maria while dead bodies pile up around him.

(Melonpan arrow goes to The Second Raid.)

#3 Haruhi Suzumiya vs. #19 Kanon

Both entertaining series with a lot of horses. Haruhi Suzumiya had probably one of the greatest harem lead couples in Kyou and Haruhi, fantastic second and third options in Mikuru and Yuki, and even a broken option in Itsuki. Even the secondary characters like LOL FANG-TAN and Taniguchi were great. Episode 12 was one of the greatest ever. Not a weak link.

Kanon has one of the greatest harem characters not to be chosen (twice!) in Nayuki, a top tier MILF in her mom, and not bad options in Mai and Wife Material Sayuri. Episode 12 was one of the greatest ever. The weak link? Ayu. She would be good as a third or fourth option, but not as an end girl.

(For people who think Ayu is fine as an end girl, you’re probably the same people who think that Deion Branch is a viable #1 wide receiver sans Brady.)

#6 School Rumble vs. #12 Minami-ke

I don’t even know how to scorecard this one. Trying to compare Hige to Hosaka or Eri to Kana is impossible. But the broken arrow points squarely to Minami-ke.

41 Responses to “march madness: sweet 16 (part 2)”

  1. Hear hear to just voting for the series based on sheer enjoyment factor (It’s much easier than having to dissect series ‘seriously’ anyways) – regardless of whether it wins or not, they’ll still win in you hearts!!! (can’t think of a less cornier way to ease the fact that manwhores lost to bonklers OTL)

  2. Why must you make me choose between Gurren Lagann and Cowboy Bebop already…first reaction is gurren, but that’s probably because I’ve seen it more recently. Time for 12 episode Bebop marathon!

  3. ….couples in Kyou and Haruhi, fantastic….

    just cant get that thigh meat off your mind eh? cant say i blame you though.

    i’m really unhappy about the azumanga / fumoffu match up. they’re two of my absolute favourite series. i’m not really sure i could make a choice. maybe i’ll opt out of that one.

  4. Sorry Shiori, Nayuki, Mai and Sayuri…in all other cases I’d give you the sympathy vote if you were the obvious underdog…but I’m afraid that’s just not possible in this instance.

  5. Yeah, all it took was Bohemian Rhapsody, episode 14, which I picked at random. Cowboy Bebop wins. Better, in a different way. Subtle, less epic, more entertaining.

  6. ahem, too bad Gurren Lagann is going to win anyway. Just hope everyone who votes has at least seen Cowboy….

  7. “…too bad Gurren Lagann is going to win anyway.”

    I’ve heard that before. Only “Kamina” was in place of “Gurren Lagann”.

    However at first glance this will be near two-thirds majority wins in all cases. (Save for Haruhi, who seems to be commanding for a landslide). No close races this time.

  8. Because I like both too much I refuse to pick between cowboy bebop and gurren lagann – now if only I had this problem with presidential candidates…

  9. >>harem lead couples in Kyonko and Itsukiko, fantastic second and third options in Mikku and Yuuki, and even a GAR option in Haruki.
    You spelled Kyon wrong. Also, fixed (ALL THE RAGE).

    I have a hard time choosing between Bebop and Lagann (Kanon and Haruhi, too, but in the end it has to be Haruhi). While I haven’t completed Bebop, I actually didn’t initially like Gurren Lagann in the first place. Kinda hard to place two distinctly different anime together.

  10. As much as I enjoyed the Black Lagoon manga, this is the ANIME we’re talking about here… and it wasn’t nearly as epic as Second Raid’s final episode.
    Plus listening to Revy speak Engrish was pure agony.

  11. ….couples in Kyou and Haruhi, fantastic….

    It’s a wonder how far the mind can wander off from a single typo…… and glancing the mention of Episode 12 makes it even worse……… or is it better?

  12. Im still in despair for Higurashi… ZETSUBOU DAAA!!!
    Anyways, Haruhi vs Kanon… wow, though one! But my vote is for Kanon. Fear the JAM-MU! (But Im still waiting for the OVA with Wife Material Sayuri and Mai in their trip to… wait… that was only… OH SNAP!)

  13. And Sanae has finally made the perfect bread to serve Akiko’s jam on.

  14. Ahh, what an upsetting previous round, only one of my choices got through. Well, there were close matches votes-wise so no reason to fret. It is getting even harder to choose between shows, but I’ll go with the strategy I’ve been using all the time: think for ten seconds, max, and then choose. No deep analysis, no dissecting plot points, just choose.

    So. Sorry, Cowboy Bebop. Spike is awesome but he’s met his match in Kamina. Sorry, Black Lagoon. You’re a really good action show but my guts say choose Second Raid. Sorry, Kanon. There’s only few shows I’d choose over you and you’re now against my number one. Sorry, School Rumble. Hige’s almost beyond comparison but Minami-ke pushes past at the finish line by the width of a melonpan.

  15. While I’m a little bitter by the fact that Light-O beat out Rika, I’m comforted by the fact that most of my choices go forward. And now… Gurren Lagann, Haruhi, Minami-ke and Black Lagoon. Pretty sure one of these won’t make it through, but such is life.

  16. If I didnt marathon Gurren Lagann during the time when i should be studying for midterms I would have definately picked Bebop just because Bebop was so much fun to watch. Until i was blown away by the epic manliness of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
    You can’t even compare.
    Bebop had bounty hunters travel around galaxies.
    Freaking Gurren Lagaan threw galaxies at each other as weapons.

  17. I haven’t seen Gurren Lagann, so I can’t comment there, and it doesn’t seem like Haruhi needs the help, as it’s currently at a 4-1 vote ratio. So let’s consider the second and fourth polls. Spoiler tags on, FWIW.

    First, FMP: TSR vs. Black Lagoon. These are both well-done action series, and both of them have excellent action setpieces. The distinction between them can be made in terms of what surrounds their action setpieces, and what final goal they build towards. In TSR, the story is essentially a romantic character drama between Sosuke and Chidori; the non-action high point is when Sosuke hires a prostitute that looks like Chidori. That is kind of horrible, sure. But Black Lagoon is set in a hellish underworld of piracy, murder, and organized crime, and the non-action high point is the more-disturbing-than-I-thought-possible crossdressing twincest child porn. Black Lagoon is undeniably harder core. And consider the resolution: Sosuke eventually learns an Important Lesson, and taps into the power of Passion, Friendship, and Justice to empower his mecha to overcome seemingly impossible odds. That isn’t really an interesting plotline, or one that hasn’t been used roughly a million times before. In Black Lagoon, there is no resolution. The hell just goes on and on forever. Okay, that’s not the best ending, that’s not really *even* an ending, but that saves more time for ass-kicking, so I won’t complain.

    Now, for a change of mood, consider Minami-ke vs. School Rumble. Both are excellent comedies, but on slightly different topics. We are asked to choose between a plain depiction of the everyday life of the three Minami sisters and a guru-guru mawaru love comedy. If you like a little romance in your comedy, School Rumble might seem like the natural choice, but Minami-ke has romance elements too. Hosaka’s deep, pure love can move even the coldest-hearted among us, I think. Of course, School Rumble has slice-of-life sisters, too, so I don’t know what to think. Well, consider this. School Rumble is usually pretty down-to-earth, but it occasionally dips into wackiness to try and scrounge up some humor there. (See, for example, Tsukamoto Yakumo’s mind-reading, or Harima Kenji’s Dr. Doolittle act.) Minami-ke stays pretty much strictly within the bounds of the real, and it deserves some credit there. Making comedy without wacky supernatural bullshit is harder, but ultimately more rewarding, so in the end I have to give this one to Minami-ke.

  18. Let’s see….
    Second Raid gets my vote for twincest (melonpan-style), and nekkid Chidori (mostly nekkid Chidori.)

    As has been stated, Haruhi just has an all-around cast. Kyon could end up with any of them (discounting Itsuki), I’d still be happy. Of all of KyoAni’s series, I feel Haruhi had the best end-girl: Ayu has….. issues. I’m warming up to Nagisa but a) she’s no Kyou, and b) she’s no Haruhi. If Konata and Kagamin had actually gotten together–and Tsukasa had joined them–then Lucky Star would stand a chance. But really….. Haruhi beats them out, with her melonpan, delicious thighs, costume raping, and actually being an awesome end girl. Most of all, she looks great in a ponytail.

    Also: Kyou x Haruhi…. yummmy

    Oh, and Minami-Ke. Because Haruka-neesama is amazing.

    Hmm…. Haruka x Kyou x Haruhi….. yummmmmmmy

  19. It’s not “cute makes right,” but “you may be wrong.”

    I feel that was aimed straight at me…

    If cute did make right, Azumanga would be the top seed and not Ouran, and Strawberry Marshmallow, Mahoraba – Heartful Days, and Lucky Star would all still be in the running (if they hadn’t had to face each other that is). I’m going to swallow my pride, acknowledge the wisdom of the community, and say that I might be wrong: for most people, cuteness is not the top criterion for selecting favorite anime.

    And while I’m at it, I might as well admit that (many) people prefer melonpan over DFC, J.C.Staff is not the best anime studio in Japan, and Eric Johnson is not the greatest musician ever.

  20. Pakxenon: Actually, aside from Kyon-ko, Yuuki, and Haruki/Haruhiko (darn you Animetsuki lardheads, look at what you’ve done, the madness has spread back to Japan), folks seem to have decided on Mitsuru and Itsuko. Still, barely two weeks… Madness I say…

  21. Even by round two it was clear that Haruhi and Gurren Lagann would carry the way to the semi-finals. I voted here so I could see how one-sided the results came out. Well, good to see that the Minami-ke crowd is doing so well. It has no chance in the next round.

    The left side of the bracket is far less clear, and I’m looking forward to it.

  22. Geez, Haruhi is puching Kanon right where it hurts atm. I suppose even God is frowning at the lack of new Haruhi episodes..

  23. I didn’t know there was anyone who read “Derailed” that hasn’t seen TTGL.

  24. Choosing between Bebop and TTGL was, surprisingly, not as hard as expected. Both are masterpieces, but in the end, the Simon vs. Lord Genome fight made me want to cheer out loud and jump out of my chair a lot more than Spike vs. Vicious.

  25. Since Haruhi is rocking the polls, here’s a 1:1 scale Haruhi figure. Only $3700.

  26. Since Haruhi is rocking the polls, here’s a 1:1 scale Haruhi figure. Only $3700.

    Hello tax return.

  27. Heads up if you haven’t noticed already, but there is a MAJOR fan project for Haruhi Suzumiya going on right now. Check it out at AnimeSuki.

  28. The Kaminan Wars
    (or why Gurren Lagann is anime’s Napoleon)

    After looking at the charts for March Madness ’08, I came to the realization that Gurren Lagann will be crowned champion.

    First, a little back history:

    Gainax took the anime world by storm. The Gainax Revolution violently sweeps aside the old regime. With a new government in place and a fully reorganized legion of GAR, Gainax began the warpath march.

    The other powerhouses at the time form the First Coalition, and throw Code Geass to to derail Lagann’s advance. Geass suffered several defeats, including Pizza Hut with extra cheese and OH GEASS NO! Gundam 00 entered the fight to initial success, but all the meisters came down with a crippling form of EMO and dropped out. The First Coalition is forced accept Gurren Lagann the best anime of 2007.

    It was later discovered that the Minami sisters were playing double-agent and breaking down everybody against Gainax while the Higurashi haremettes were slaughtering everybody within eyesight.

    Now that the history lesson is over, several major obstacles stand between Gainax and victory.

    Now, in the month of March, the Second Coalition is formed. Recovering from it’s defeats, they call upon Pantheon class anime in order to try and derail the war machine of Gainax. Cowboy Bebop will be it’s first challenge since the end of the First Coalition. At this time, Kamina is enjoying his Egyptian hot springs and movie shoot (and getting derailed by Tomoyo and Kyou thighs (I know I am)) and leaving pre-Nia Simon in charge, all the while Spike is tearing Gainax’s ally Shana apart.

    This will be the first serious fight that Gainax will face. While Lucky Star X Fumoffu will be LOLtastic and Haruhi X Anybody will be interesting (SPOILER: HARUHI WINS!), it pales in comparison to what the Bebop X Lagann fight. Kamina will return (leaving Kyou/Tomoyo behind), smack Simon up, deliver his BELIEVE IN YOU THAT BELIEVES IN YOURSELF speech, return Yoko’s “favor” 10x times, and crown himself Emperor of Gainax (which he swiped from wimpy Shinji). While this will be a hard fought battle that shakes the very pillars of anime, Lagann will triumph over Bebop. Kamina will procede to slaughter everybody in their bracket, and the Second Coalition will implode on itself and is forced to sign a ceasefire (as well as giving the Final 4 seat) with Gainax.

    The next great challenge will be Kamina’s march on the SOS Brigade. This will be another fierce battle, with Czar Haruhi blindly and charismatically leading her troops to the defense. Commissar Yuki will deploy the Mikuru Beam cannon, Itsuki will be Itsuki, Comrade Kyon’s sarcastic commentary will cause a micro ice age (one of the worst on record), and the battle will dwindle into a war of attrition as both sides suffer catastrophic losses. While Simon will convince Emperor Kamina to retreat, the SOS Brigade is crippled beyond the repair of delicious Mikuru melonpan, and is forced to withdraw from the war.

    At this point, Light-o Wellington will maneuver himself to challenge Emperor Kamina for the March Waterloo Championships. It will be a tossup between Light-o’s megalomania and Kamina’s GIGA-DRILL-BRRRRREAKER, and the battle will shake the very foundations of anime.

    Now that my predictive thesis is complete, I shall fully derail myself into the magical land of Tomoyo/Kyou thighs and Haruka melonpan.

    tl:dr: Gurren-Lagann wins March Madness ’08.

  29. Your story is almost convincing, however how will the final four play out? Will it be left side to left side, or left side to right side (or criss-cross)? If it is left to right side, the Forces of Gainax could well be facing Full Metal Panic twice in a row (Bonta-kun verses Gurren Lagann after Kamina defeats the Arbarest…oh that would be fun). That is if they aren’t facing the Legion of Chiyo under General Osaka. For the other brackets Light-o may or may not have everything just as planned correctly against Kyou and Tomoyo’s thighs, or get his book switched for “Dozo! Have a starfish” (plus those killer lolis are waiting for him now). Haruhi verses Haruka will be painful because it is the god emperess verses the amazing banchou….so hard to choose.

  30. Sorry Bebop but SHIIMOOONN!!! just has you beat. Two great series but TTGL has to be my favorite epic anime serries of all time. Just love that anime.

    2nd Raid is a classic that can’t be beat evenn by Crazy hoe and Chainsaw girl.

    Haruhi is GOD….that all that needs to be said about that one.

    School Rumble is good but Minami actually broke me. Every little anime MALE I see from now will lead me to one question: “I wonder how good he will look in a dress/little skirt/bathing suit?”

  31. It’s really hard to put how great Gurren Lagann is in context. I saw Bebop ages ago, and it was a great series, but… I wonder if my memory of it has turned nostalgic given how long ago it was. It’s like when you go to a ****** high school, but when you think back when you’re in university, you wish you were back there. I think the fact that Gurren is new works against it a bit.

    The thing is, Gurren appeals to everyone – it’s pure adrenaline with no thinking particularly involved. For Bebop, you had to like the style, and you had to think about it sometimes whether you liked it or not. With Gurren (and Haruhi, too), most people like it, and the only reason it’s not universal is because there are people who automatically hate everything popular, despite the fact that there’s no reason to be.

    If my stupid computer would let me vote, Haruhi and Gurren would be getting another vote. I don’t want this to turn into one of those “oh, the underdog is losing, I need to shore up their vote total” things, and the underdog ends up knocking out the champion cuz nobody voted.

  32. Looking at the strict vote counts, it looks like more people were comfortable voting in the SHnY/Kanon poll. I guess it was a clearer contest for the readership of DbD. Also, as Ithekro noticed, it’s interesting that there aren’t really any close contests here. Are we still at a level of quality where there’s a exponential drop off in number of increasingly higher quality anime? That is, are we looking at a mass of high quality shows jostling for a lower ranking and a few excellent quality shows jockeying for first? I wonder how that could be graphed. It seems like a scatter plot of raw ANN/AniDB scores wouldn’t do it justice, not according the the tastes of the present readers.

  33. *Look at comic* Ah, the Ultimate Breadwork. *shudder*

  34. TTGL is always immediately entertaining, and that tends to gloss over the few flat episodes at the start. Bebop is usually equally entertaining, just on a time-delay fuse. One less ep (but TTGL’s “and one” is that godawful “making of/recap” throwaway in the middle) but about the same ratio of “Wow, gotta watch that again RIGHT NOW!” eps to “Ok, moving along…”

    Eventually punched the tab for Bebop. I’ll say this though–any time it takes a good while to make up your mind on what anime to vote for, you know you won’t be disappointed at the end, regardless of the winner.

  35. I do believe Oharuhi-sama is gunning for Minami-ke’s landslide-victory record.
    All Hail Oharuhi-sama!! Giver of delicious loli-face melonpan, costume rape etc etc…

    FGS just let TTGL win already. Nothing can dethrone it.

  36. It is going to be incredibly hard to choose between The Second Raid and Black Lagoon, and Azumanga and Fumoffu. Ridiculously hard. That’s like asking if Lacrosse or Hockey is the best Canadian Sport. Had to pick the Second Raid though. I love Black Lagoon, but unlike Azumanga and Full Metal Panic (even though Gonzo almost killed it), it didn’t get me into anime.

    All of my favorite anime ever at least made the sweet 16. This is friggin ridiculous.

  37. No love for Lovely Zombie Nayuki, Taiyaki Addict Ayu, JAM-MU Milf Akiko… its make me baw baw… :(

    Anyways… I notice a lack of Seto no Hanayome in this madness… I mean… SnH is pure madness.

  38. Masa~san~!

  39. Kanon may have some love for it, but Clannad seems to be its superior. That and it is going against Haruhi. Haruhi of all things.

    Oddly people have suggested that Fuko is a poor mans Ayu, but in some respects I find Fuko superior. Fuko seems to be used properly in Clannad and is not really an end girl (I guess). Jam-mu is fun by Sanae is ridiculously cuter than Akko (almost Mikuru cute). Nayuki…well we have Kyou and Ryou to fill in so twice the fun. From what I understand Clannad has the potential to be as sad as AIr and Kanon. It just depends on what Kyoto does with the After Story section (hopefully they won’t rush the ending like they did for Kanon). And Kanon doesn’t have Kotomi’s airiness-hotness mix, nor Akio’s part (he’s character type would have been a fun husband for Akiko and the jam-mu….)

    Episode 21 (Clannad) derailed me for a minute with Kotomi and Ryou rocking back and forth….melonpan closeups….mmmmmm.

  40. I predict a final-round matchup between Haruhi and Clannad.

    Won’t that be fun?

  41. I’ll cry if it wins again. And you all know what I mean by it.

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