How does a character from a rather obscure show make it to the AGP ’09 finals? I’m talking about you, Kirino Chiba of Bamboo Blade.
Bamboo Blade was a great, fun sports show about kendo, and even had awesome sentai homages. However, compared to the juggernauts of 2008, it was destined to die a quick death, until a few souls ran motivated campaigns that swayed legions into their favor.
My bracket had Nagisa beating Kirino at Round 2. It was a realistic choice–I didn’t like Clannad as much as Bamboo Blade, but I figured Nagisa to be a strong combatant in the contest, with timing (her show was still airing by then) and viewer recall in her favor. However, I voted Kirino anyway, and she won, pleasant surprise.
Who’d imagine that my harmless amusement would quickly turn sour when on the next round, Kirino faced against Kara no Kyoukai’s Shiki, whom I favored. TYPE-MOON hate festered and a strong anti-vote appeared, which helped Kirino a lot. She won narrowly by a margin of one vote. I gritted my teeth and counted on Tsugumi to crush her next round.
And then Tsugumi lost. The match thread was only 4 pages, with only average campaigning from both sides. Maybe Kirino’s earlier victories had gained her some loyal supporters, people who’ve been swayed to watch Bamboo Blade, and liked what they saw. Suddenly Tsugumi’s advantage had dwindled and she received a sound whooping. Fuck.
For the semifinals, I went behind Minorin not just because she was the character I had set at the top of my bracket, but because I geniunely loved her. I had the tools. I had the words. I had the pics. But I still lost. Kirino still won, that sunny hussy. I was enraged beyond words, and my carefree Bamboo Blade love turned into hate.
I decided to cool my head off by not voting until the last few hours (which in AGP-speak is called sniping), and ran a short Taiga campaign. In the end, Kirino’s capacity to pull off upsets had angered a lot of people, and along with Toradora’s innate popular advantage, the bokken beat the shinai.
However, in hindsight, Kirino’s run this year was a great indicator of what’s good with the AGP. Kirino didn’t win because she and her show were truly awesome (and thus needed little campaigning, instead relying on pure popularity/meme value), she won because of hard-fought campaigns. It’s what sets the AGP apart from any other character polls out there–since a sizable portion of our voters aren’t even updated with current fansubbed anime, campaigns do a lot in garnering support, which is more than half of the fun in the AGP. After all, who’d imagine these ingenious works from dm? Or Excalibur and a flying goddamned shark getting far?
All in all, I had a lot of fun. We hate you and the shows you like. See you next year, AGP!