The Anime Saimoe Tournament (アニメ最萌トーナメント anime saimoe tōnamento?, Saimoe for short) is an online popularity contest. Held annually on the Japanese Internet discussion board 2channel since 2002, fans vote for the most moe anime character of the year. In recent years, the tournament has garnered growing attention from international fans, and inspired a number of similar contests.
Rules and principles
Saimoe is a single elimination tournament to designate the most moe female character among a few thousand contestants from anime newly aired or released during the previous year. Precise rules have varied slightly over time. The 2009 edition, that ran from 20 June, proceeded as follows:
- Initial nominations: 2channel users were prompted to submit candidates for entry. The eligible characters were all female characters that had appeared in an anime series, OVA or anime movie broadcast, released between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009.
- Preliminary round I: the 3000-odd initial nominees were divided in 18 groups. It was possible to cast a vote for up to 10 characters in each group. The top 12 characters of each group in vote count could advance to the tournament directly. Characters ranked 13 to 40 qualified for the second preliminary round.
- Preliminary round II: the 504 (28 characters x 18 groups) characters qualified tor this round were again divided in 7 groups, in which voters could pick up to 12 characters. The top 24 characters of each group qualified for the tournament proper.
- Main tournament: the 384 qualified characters (216 top-tier characters from preliminary round I and 168 more from preliminary round II); grouped in 8 blocks of 48, went through a 8-round knock-off tournament with groups of three in the first round, and one-on-one face-offs in second round onward. The bracket of first round to round 5 (round of 16, dubbed as block final) are determined after pineapple round II finished. The winner of 8 blocks will be pairing for quarterfinal all the way to final.
In case of draw: anyone who gets a draw in a qualified position will advance to next stage. In the main tournament, some first round in A block maybe group of four to support "extra" qualified character.
While the voting process may be the most visible feature of Saimoe, participants are strongly encouraged to contribute more than their votes. They should try and express their moe feelings towards their favorite characters, by exchanging comments and "supporting material" of all kinds.
The final 3 rounds of the tournament features the Final Eight of the tournament.
Reception outside Japan
In recent years foreign votes had increased dramatically since 2005. However in a series of mass disruptions over all the voting in 2006 and again in 2007, 2ch moderators decided to start banning foreign voters and proxy voters, along with many IP addresses that were sending in mass amounts of fake votes. As such in 2008 votes had dropped by an average of 500 votes per round. Currently, in 2009, votes are down even more by about another 300-400 votes. Foreign reactions have been mixed. While some praise the 2ch moderators for finally doing something about all the "mess" that was being caused, other complained about taking away one of the fundamental parts that made the tournament interesting. Many foreign IPs have since been permanently blocked. Anyone using Comcast, America Online, Time Warner, Adelphia, and other major cable internet service providers, can no longer vote in the tournament. Most DSL providers have also been blocked.
- Official website for the 2010 edition (Japanese)
- News article announcing start of Anime Saimoe 2010 (Japanese)
- Online Megazine announcing start of Anime Saimoe 2009 (Japanese)
- Article about a store in Akiba celebrating Kagami Hiiragi's Anime Saimoe 2008 championship (Japanese)
- Unofficial English Siteko:사이모에 토너먼트th:อะนิเมะไซโมเอะทัวร์นาเมนต์