Welcome to the start (in earnest) of the Anime Bracket! Tip-off is just moments away. These matchups here are taking place in the EVA Region and the MAIN Region.
#1 Rei Ayanami (Evangelion) vs. #16 Ryuk (Death Note)
Rei: 2009 E8, 2010 E8, 2011 Champ, 2012 Runner-up, 2013 Runner-up, 2014 Runner-up, 2015 F4, 2016 F4
Ryuk: 2010 R64, 2011 R64, 2013 R64, 2015 R64, 2016 R64
Come on, is this even a battle? Sure, Ryuk’s apple antics are cool and stuff, but he’s going up against freaking Rei Ayanami, the inventor of moe. I have umpteen reasons to choose Rei, and not a one to choose Ryuk. I’ll save the reasons for Rei for later, when she needs them.
#8 Meiling Li (Cardcaptor Sakura) vs. #9 Kuroneko (Oreimo)
Meiling: 2009 R64, 2010 E8, 2011 R32, 2012 R64, 2013 R32, 2014 R32, 2015 R32, 2016 R64
Kuroneko: 2014 R32, 2015 R32, 2016 R64
A tough one to call, for sure. Both Cardcaptor Sakura and Oreimo have been series I’ve gotten into in the last year. This is about as close as it gets, which is why it’s a #8 vs. #9 battle. Kuroneko is as cute as a button, while Meiling is a fiesty one. Wow, I’m splitting hairs with this one, and I don’t know who to go with. Do I take Kuroneko for all her super-cute antics in Oreimo? Or do I choose Meiling for bringing up the quality of Cardcaptor Sakura? This one goes to overtime.
#5 Ryoko Asakura (Haruhi Suzumiya) vs. #12 Ryoko Naruse (Shangri-La)
Asakura: 2009 R32, 2010 S16, 2011 S16, 2012 R64, 2013 S16, 2014 F4, 2015 S16, 2016 R64
Naruse: First year in tournament
It’s the battle of Ryokos! Making her first appearance in the Anime Bracket is Shangri-La villain Ryoko Naruse. She was such a fantastic villain that I just had to include her in the field. Ryoko Asakura is also a villain, although a more sympathetic one. Naruse is just pure evil. And while Asakura makes up for her evil ways by helping Yuki Nagato in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, I’m going with the villain who helped make Shangri-La as good as it was.
#4 Loly Aivirrne (Bleach) vs. #13 Rem (Re:Zero)
Loly: 2010 S16, 2011 R32, 2012 S16, 2013 F4, 2014 E8, 2015 R32, 2016 R32
Rem: First year in tournament
Loly is living large off past glories. Unfortunately for her, Bleach is long gone, and she wasn’t even a very big part of it. Rem is a fan favorite who caused everyone to fall in love with her in episode 18 of Re:Zero. Who can forget her beautiful love confession to Natsuki Subaru, who promptly rejected her on the spot? Rem deserves better, and for that, I’m giving her the win.
#1 Asuka Langley Soryu (Evangelion) vs. #16 Hatchin (Michiko & Hatchin)
Asuka: 2009 Champ, 2010 Champ, 2011 F4, 2012 R32, 2013 S16, 2014 S16, 2015 S16, 2016 R32
Hatchin: 2016 Play-in
Come on, seriously? A legendary anime icon against… Hatchin? Hatchin’s lucky I allow her into this tournament. No explanation needed for Asuka here.
#8 Kagome Higurashi (InuYasha) vs. #9 Madoka Kaname (Madoka Magica)
Kagome: 2009 S16, 2010 R32, 2011 R32, 2012 S16, 2013 R64, 2014 R64, 2015 R32, 2016 R32
Madoka: 2013 R32, 2014 R32, 2015 R32, 2016 R64
Kagome is a character I’ve liked for a long time; she was part of my “gateway to anime” in InuYasha. Madoka is part of the fantastic Madoka Magica series which I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. Ultimately, I choose Kagome because I just feel she’s a more well-rounded character than Madoka.
#5 Kuniko Hojo (Shangri-La) vs. #12 Duck (Princess Tutu)
Kuniko: First year in tournament
Duck: First year in tournament
Both of these characters are making their maiden voyage. Only one will get past the harbor, however. And while Duck was a very interesting character, Kuniko was the type of character who could put an entire series on her back and carry it. Kuniko was really that important to Shangri-La, with its other various interesting characters, and for that, I’m giving her a first-round win. Look out! She could go far.
#4 Ryuko Matoi (Kill la Kill) vs. #13 Jonathan Joestar (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure)
Ryuko: 2015 Runner-Up, 2016 Runner-Up
Jonathan: First year in tournament
Ryuko came in hot in 2015, having a great start to Kill la Kill, which enabled her to ride all the way to the tournament final. In 2016, her completed body of work allowed her to return to that final, only losing to her sister this time around. As for Jonathan, he might not ever get another shot at this. Other characters from Jojo may take his place in the future. For now, however, Ryuko wins easily.
Stay tuned for more matches from the 2017 Anime Bracket!