Ever since the spring, 64 characters have been battling in the International Saimoe League. After 45 matches in 5 periods, two competitors — ARIA’s Mizunashi Akari and Touhou’s Remilia Scarlet — will face off in a tiebreaker match this Friday. However, since a normal round involves 32 matches, this Friday’s round will include 31 exhibition matches that won’t have any official bearing on the ISML standings.
I suppose this is a bit of an odd post for me, since I’m not particularly active in the fan community. But there’s something I need to satisfy within myself in this upcoming round of voting.
It is a tournament about moe, after all. But I’m not here to discuss the Mio vs. Azusa or Yui vs. Ui K-ON! cute-offs that promise to determine which light music club member is most appealing to the fans. I’m not here to explain the nuances of voting for Ushio over Kyon’s Sister, or which vote makes you more of a pedophile. These matches are “moe” in the sense that they feature cute girls, but I’m interested in a different kind of moe today.
n. burning passion
There aren’t many characters who I feel strongly enough about to campaign for in something like the ISML, but Amamiya Yuuko is definitely one of them. If you haven’t watched ef – a tale of memories or ef – a tale of melodies, you should do so right now; both series are stunning; their writing, art, and direction combine to form a tour-de-force of emotion.
Many of the characters in ef could (and, in my opinion, should) have competed in the ISML proper, but none survived the preliminary rounds. While all of them are cute and attractive enough to compete in an arena such as Saimoe, I feel that Yuuko’s story sets her a step above the average contender. As she overcomes her tortured past, Yuuko grows from an outwardly confident but inwardly frightened and empty girl into a strong and elegant young woman, on a journey that spans one of the best series I’ve ever seen. Most importantly, Yuuko’s hardships ignite within me the burning fires of love — not erotic, or even romantic love, but familial love, a love that makes me cheer for her happiness and cry for her pain.
When Yuuko failed to qualify in the final preliminary round of the ISML, I was crestfallen. I felt like I’d let her down; I felt she deserved better from her fans, and she’d been forgotten. This Friday, we have a chance to redeem ourselves for this failure. This Friday, we can lift Yuuko to her proper status as a victor. This Friday, vote for Yuuko in Arena 2. Vote for her beauty. Vote for her strength. But most of all, vote to prove that Yuuko will be remembered.