「勝利のために！」 (Shouri no Tame Ni!)
In the third round, it’s Chantez versus Victoria. Fight-o!
Anticipating Victors: In-Universe Favorites vs Plot Favorites
Most of the entertainment I derive from martial arts anime like this in trying to anticipate who’s going to win. (I’m well into the fourth level of consuming art, so I have to get my kicks somewhere.) So far, there haven’t been any surprises. The trick, I find, is in analyzing who is the in-universe favorite versus who’s the plot favorite. To do that, you have to get into the author’s head.
The in-universe favorites are easy. The announcer usually tells us who they are. Harry, Micaiah, Victoria, and Einhart are all the in-universe favorites. Note that the announcer telling us who’s favored isn’t necessary—with Einhart versus Corona, they’re both rookies, so they appear to be considered largely equal. We know Einhart is the favorite because Nove said she’d go farther in the tournament than the other three girls.
But the in-universe favorites don’t always win. Here’s where we have to get into the author’s head, to anticipate the upsets, because unlike in real life, there’s always a reason for them. Once the fight starts and you start reading the flow of the battle, it’s usually easy to anticipate who will win. But that all bows to something higher: the plot. In trying to anticipate who will win, I find it most useful to ask two questions: “What will make for a more interesting story?” and “Who will grow more by winning/losing?”
“What will make for a more interesting story?” answers for why Miura won, and to a degree, why Harry did too. Harry was introduced before Els, so she was clearly deemed a more important character—that one’s easy. But the Miura upset was a lot more interesting—or it had the potential to be. The details were fumbled—than Micaiah winning, which would have been business as usual. By the same token, Victoria moving on makes for a more interesting story because we don’t know much about her yet, and because she seems destined to face off against Vivio, Einhart, or both. Without at least one of those matches, introducing her at this point feels pointless. The same is broadly true of Harry as well, by the way.
“Who will grow more by winning/losing?” is tied up in all of them, but I think it will be most instructive in the upcoming Corona versus Einhart battle. If Einhart wins, it’s business as usual—and we’ve already seen Einhart win a lot. But if Corona wins, both she and Einhart will grow. Einhart will learn a hard lesson through defeat (and probably get all mopey about not being able to protect what’s dear to her yet), while Corona will prove that she hasn’t fallen behind her friends, and show the growth she’s already had off-screen. Granted, a lot of this benefit can be derived from a close Einhart victory, but it would be far less interesting than the come-from-behind Corona win. That’s why I’m hoping that Einhart goes dooown!
There’s also a sometimes short cut: Notice who the point of view character is. When you key in on who the point of view character is (Els, Miura, Chantez, Corona), you can restrict the second question (“Who will grow more by winning/losing?”) to them. Which eventuality leads to more character growth for them. Els isn’t as clear-cut since she’s a tertiary character at best—and doesn’t seem likely to change no matter what happens—but this clearly pointed at a Chantez loss, and points to a Corona win. As for Miura … well, this isn’t a science, y’all. And as a story character, her fighting style kind of sucks. That’s one of many things that makes trying to anticipate the victor so much fun!
Chantez versus Victoria
I liked how much this fight revealed character. For Chantez, we knew she was tricky, but she’s more of a clever strategist than I thought. If this whole magical tournament participant thing doesn’t work out, she has a bright future commanding armies, or perhaps in finance. As soon as Victora struck back against the clones, I suspected a shell game (trope!), thanks largely to an example from Order of the Stick that stuck with me, and also makes up that trope’s page quote (link, for those who have read OotS before). In short: Why give Victoria a 50% chance of hitting her when you can give her a 0% chance? Some kind of magical limitations we don’t know about would be one reason, but against someone so straightforward, it’s easy money. If Chantez had the strength to properly exploit the advantages her strategies were giving her, she would have won easily. Though I knew she was doomed 100% when she spawned too many clones. Haven’t you heard about the Conservation of Ninjutsu (trope!)? Kids these days, all batoru, not enough reading. Yeesh…
As for Victoria, she’s a tank. Everything Chantez threw at her, and she almost got her to three-quarters health by the end of the match. I have a feeling Victoria is going to end up fighting Vivio, and not have a good time with her. Vivio’s counter-focused fighting style seems like it might be a good one for defeating, or at least royally pissing off, Victoria.
Looking Ahead – Corona versus Einhart
I’ve already said it: I think Corona is going to win. Or perhaps I should say I hope so, because that would make a much more interesting story than Einhart proceeding as planned. Whoever wins will fight Sieg, right? While Einhart facing her would be cool, it’d be nothing next to Corona shutting her out of the tournament right here. (Tag and mark your spoilers, please.)
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Chantez is faster, smarter, trickier, & way more fun, but Victoria doesn’t care. Victoria just beats people #nanohavivid 10
- Uh, Chantez. I’m not sure how Sisterly underboob is. Not that I’m … okay, actually, this is kind of Farangis all over again. Underboob in combat? Really? I’d be too worried about popping out to fight properly.
- The only bad strategy Chantez had: Trying to get girls interested in becoming a Sister by fighting in a martial arts tournament, much less doing it while showing underboob. Though since the Saint Church appears to do more ass-kicking than good works or celibacy, maybe that’s the perfect way? Nishishi!
- Use the Force, Victoria.
- Lots of excellent rookie contestants. Ouch. Chantez was right—that’s a classic talking down to from Victoria.
- My favorite things about this episode: Deredere Chantez, and Asumi Kana in stereo. More Asumi Kana pleeeease!
- Reminder for those who watch anime raw: We usually don’t blog an episode until it’s been subbed in English, since that’s what most of our viewers wait for too. Just a reminder, in case you’re wondering why this post seems so late.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: A lifestyle designed for productivity, Practical freedom, Old to them, and Stop sending me job ideas.