On Monday, April 4, the winner of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball championship was decided, and it was a victory by the number 1 seed Kentucky Wildcats over the number 2 seed Kansas Jayhawks. It was a wonderful game to watch, filled with as much as excitement as one could have, considering the eventual champion’s sizeable lead throughout the game.
But, for the sake of this series of posts, the real winner here is Tachibana Kanade from Angel Beats. The show itself is a monster powerhouse in International Saimoe, with a very rabid fanbase ready to vote for any and all of its female entrants in the tourney. It makes sense, then, that Tenshi won it all, despite some ferocious competition from her finals opponent, Victorique du Blois from Gosick. Some remarkable come-from-behind victories over Charlotte Dunois (Infinite Stratos), Eucliwood Hellscythe (Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?), and even one of my Cinderella picks, Shinomiya Shiori (The World God Only Knows) had Victorique come from nowhere to challenge the titan Tachibana, but in the end, it was the overwhelming favourite who won the entire thing.
While it was quite a weird way of predicting the outcomes of various basketball games, there is no lack of meaning behind hypothetical competition between anime girls. Fandom is fandom, and whether you’re a fan of basketball or a fan of anime, the passion that drives enjoyment of a particular form of entertainment can be organized into the application of a series of binary oppositions among different items that share a single common thread. Look no further than the book The Final Four of Everything, which extends March Madness to every single comparable attribute ever, not just cute cartoon girls like I have.
Bracketology aside, I’m actually quite intrigued that Tachibana won as I originally predicted. Comparing two starkly contrasting fields of interest and having reasonably similar results based on parallel attribution was a bit of a shock. I knew that I would not win the SCCSAV NCAA bracket challenge, but I was more than surprised that I tied for the most predictions in the first than the rest of the group. Even though the later rounds were largely off-base, there seems to be a reasonable correlation overall. I think that it strongly had to do the strength of seeding in both tournaments, meaning that my method of assigning the girls to their places on the brackets was logically sound, at least, in regards to having fair and well-rounded divisions from Aquamarine to Topaz.
On a personal level, though, Tachibana may not actually be my favourite character out of the sixty-four (that distinction goes to Elsie and Shiori), I am still quite fond of her as a character nonetheless. She is definitely my favourite character in Angel Beats as a whole, and it’s not just because of the fact that she is voiced by Kana Hanazawa. Tenshi has this interesting mix of prowress and lack of common sense that don’t go well together at all. She can rip any individual to shreds with hand sonic, but when not provoked, gives off an appearance that she could hurt herself at any moment. Just one look at her flower-shaped hand sonic is probably enough for one to be utterly confused by tenshi, but still managed to be drawn in nonetheless.
Her character within the frame of the story (as jumbled of a mish-mashed thing that Angel Beats was, for that matter) is sympathetic in concept, even though it wasn’t executed too well at all. Those who watched the ending are either drawn in and swept up by the sheer drama of it, or didn’t buy into the Maedaism at all. I fall somewhere in between. I can appreciate what her circumstances mean to her relationship to Otonashi, though I feel it could have been done better without having to actually change her character at all.
That said, as a whole, despite my grievances for Angel Beats as a show, I certainly did love Kanade, as she gave me something to look forward during each episode (other than the music of Girls Dead Monster). As such, I am quite happy that she won, and I look forward to doing this type of activity again during next year’s NCAA tournament.