Well, there is possibly another factor. Perhaps a lot of people in Japan feel that Shana deserves this as a sort of "Lifetime Achievement" award, especially with her anime about to run down.
Shana was the prototype of an entire subclass of tsundere, and as such is an incredibly influential character in the world of moe, and in anime as a whole. I think she deserves a Tiara before she rides off into the sunset.
So if you can bring yourself to vote for her in the finals, I would be very thankful for that.
My thinking was that if strategic voting wasn't a factor, then Shana should have lost to Kanade given her winning margin over Azusa last week. Kanade beat both of them pretty soundly in the regular season. So if there's a Shana III bounce, it seems to have happened this week much more than last week.
Although if your feelings match the rest of the fanbase's, that's entirely possible. I haven't been watching S3, so I wouldn't know. The first season was one of those shows I stalled out on without actually disliking the show. I watched about 8 episodes and thought it was above average.
Most of my exposure to Shana was actually through ISML (strange how that works). I started voting in 2009, so I never knew ISML before Shana's reign of one-loss-per-season began. She was the only one of the Rie Big 4 whose show I hadn't completed. Not that I disliked Shana herself though. In my book, Taiga > Shana > Nagi > Louise.
IMO, no other character comes close to Shana in terms of the amount of excitement and drama she's added to ISML playoffs over the years. I remember voting for Hinagiku when she upset Shana in the 2009 finals and Mikoto when she did the same in the 2010 postseason. Since I've helped humiliate Shana twice, I can't shake the feeling she deserves a win at last now, since unless there are some massive fireworks at the end of S3, this might be her last, best chance at a tiara. So if there is an S3 bounce, good for her
I think Shana is getting a legit Shana III bounce in ISML. So I can't say I agree with you or 0utf0xZer0's take on why she won. I think she really is bringing in new supporters. Have you been following Shana III? The latest episode has her in some VERY moe scenes, imo.
Well I just watched the first episode of Chihayafuru, and it lived up to all the praise it's been getting lately. This one looks like a keeper for now.
The parts of this show that I liked are the parts that would fit perfectly in a shounen sports series. Having dreams, love of the game, etc. I'm a sucker for cheesy stuff like that when it's done well. I would sell my soul for a really good sport-focused track and field anime (or even a manga), so I was sad when Chihaya mentioned the track team. What could have been. If only all sports/game anime were this well written.
Interestingly, if I had to find something to complain about, it would be the characters. Objectively, they're very well fleshed-out given that there are three of them and it's only been one episode, but I don't know how much I'd enjoy watching a more drama-focused series about them. Outside of their passion for Karuta and Chihaya's relationship with her sister, I'm not convinced they're compelling enough to carry a school life or romance plot. By comparison, I thought Ohana was compelling enough to carry any genre of show after the first episode of Hanasaku Iroha.
So right now I'm hoping they stick more with the Karuta parts and less with the childhood bullying parts or a Chihaya/Taichi ship tease. Obviously, I'm 3 episodes behind, so I won't have to wait long to see if this is actually a problem. As strange as it sounds, as long as this show remains about Karuta, I'll keep watching it.
Re:Habs, congrats on beating the Bruins . I didn't come to Boston early enough in my life to be indoctrinated in the Boston sports fandom like everyone else here is, but it's hard to live around here and not hear about how the Bruins are doing.
Yeah, I definitely know how real life can conflict with anime watching sometimes. Thursday nights in particular can be rough for me, as there's 4 or 5 Thursday anime shows I try to squeeze in along with RL issues.
Chihayafuru and Guilty Crown are two of my A-list titles of the season (meaning, two of my favorites). Chihayafuru is a largely well-executed drama series with a lead character a lot like Hanasaku Iroha's Ohana. The art style is distinctively Josei/Shojo, and pretty to look at.
Guilty Crown seems to be a polarizing show. I myself love it a lot, but a lot of people have given it harsh reviews. I think the best way to sum it up in a nutshell is imagine an anime directed by Michael Bay, but filtered by good Japanese editors. It's absolutely stunning visually, but it also has a lot of "Rule of Cool" in it that means you'll have to suspend disbelief a bit in order to fully enjoy it. If you want even more action-oriented shows, Guilty Crown definitely fills the order there.
I agree with you that Fall 2011 has been a great season, and I'm enjoying Fate/Zero (another A-list title for me) and Mirai Nikki as well.
Aside from my anime fandom, I follow pro hockey a lot. My favorite team is the Montreal Canadiens (probably a rival for you, given your location, lol ). Aside from that, just usual RL stuff.