Welcome, one and all, to the Crunchyroll of the Dice 2017 analysis. This year, I reduced the entrants from sixteen series to eight, largely due to time constraints. Look at like when a second season of an anime is half the length of the first. Anyway, it was an interesting tournament for me this year, filled with a mix of well-known shows, some stuff that I wanted to check out anyway, and a bunch of things that I had never heard of. So … as I did last year, I’m going to start with a basic run down of each match-up:
The first CotD opened with a match-up between two series that I had an interest in, with Love Live! School Idol Project defeating Sword Art Online 7 – 5. This year, we opened with the same scenario and the same score. RWBY actually took the points for best scene and best storyline, as well as forcing a draw for best soundtrack, but I felt that the shorter running time and what felt like inconsistent animation scuppered it, leading to Tohru and co taking points for the best animation, best character, and best opening episode categories. While I’m not adverse to watching more RWBY, I would really have to be at a loss for other stuff on my list. This did set up MKDM as an early favourite that seemed to live up to the hype though.
This was an interesting battle for me for multiple reasons. First of all, it continued the tradition of short episode shows not doing so well in the tournament. Second, while I was aware of Nyanko Days having a reputation as being a cute show, I knew nothing about Beautiful Bones going in. That set up an intriguing match-up for me. When the dust settled, I was also faced with a first in the tournament. Draws in the animation and opening episode categories combined with the other four categories being split (character and storyline for Beautiful Bones, scene and soundtrack for Nyanko Days), which meant that the overall result was a draw. This mean going into a sudden death round. Beautiful Bones won the first category, best VA, and so carried out its first monster slaying by defeating the cat girls. Due to the short episode length, and the quality of the show, I did continue with Nyanko Days anyway, and gave it a respectable 3.5 out 5 in my eventual review.
The second bracket opened with two shows that I was aware of, but hadn’t really looked into. From what little I’d read, Flip Flappers was one of my early picks as potential winners though, and it didn’t disappoint here. Taking the points in the opening episode, scene and animation categories, as well as a draw in the storyline category was enough to see it through against a series that had potential but seemed plagued by an ability to botch things (at least as far as the opening episode went).
Two very different series squared off here. White Album I knew of by name but had no idea what the storyline was. Interviews With Monster Girls was something that I’d seen a fair bit of praise for, but I was expecting it to go the way of Monster Musume for me (i.e. potential ruined by fan service). Imagine my surprise then when the show was actually very entertaining. Despite drawing in the opening episode category, it easily won the best character, scene, and animation categories, thusly booking a place in the semi-finals against Flip Flappers.
The first big upset of the tournament came when Beautiful Bones carried out another monster slaying, this time defeating a dragon in another sudden death round. The second episode of both shows was surprisingly evenly match, and draws were handed out in the best story progression, character progression, character and animation categories, leaving Beautiful Bones to win the best scene and Miss Koboyashi’s Dragon Maid to win the best soundtrack. The first sudden death category was once again best VA, and though it was very close this time, Shizuka Ito’s Sakurako once again took the points and the win.
An interesting fact, but CotD runner-up Flying Witch won its second match 8 – 4 too, foreshadowing this result. Flip Flappers provided enough entertainment to win the best animation category and force draws in the soundtrack and story progression categories, but failed to build on the highs of the last episode overall. The result was that a strong showing from Interviews With Monster Girls forced my early prediction for the final to become the third-place play-off instead.
THIRD PLACE PLAY OFF
This not only mirrored the 2016 third place play-off in terms of score, but also provided just as much entertainment as I’d hoped it would. Even with the disparity in scores, the two were actually pretty evenly matched throughout, but the dragon managed to edge the magical girls in the end, thanks in a big way to Tohru, who was instrumental in winning the best character progression, best character and best scene categories. Both are shows that I want to continue though, so well done there!
And so, two shows that I didn’t have high hopes for took to the field for the final. Beautiful Bones finally managed to win without going to a sudden death round, though Interviews With Monster Girls did continue to be consistently good. A combination of uplifting scenes, a very good lead character, and some nice scenery was enough to help Beautiful Bones to victory though.
So … what that means is that the final four placed as follows:
- Beautiful Bones
- Interviews With Monster Girls
- Miss Koboyashi’s Dragon Maid
- Flip Flappers
In 2016, the tally of total points saw a slight difference between the final standings and the overall points table, and 2017 was no different. In fact, gong by total points, the results look like this:
- Beautiful Bones – 23 Points
- Miss Koboyashi’s Dragon Maid AND Interviews With Monster Girls – 20 Points
- Flip Flappers – 16 Points
Despite coming joint second on points, I would actually say that Miss Koboyashi’s Dragon Maid was a little more consistent than Interviews With Monster Girls. What I would say though is that, had the second episode not been weaker, episode three of Flip Flappers was strong enough that it would have stood a fair chance in the final. In the same way, had it gone to a sudden death round in the final, Beautiful Bones would have lost due to Kaede Hondo’s consistent performances as Hikari. Does that mean that Beautiful Bones was weaker than the result would have you believe? To a degree, yes, though it was certainly entertaining, and has absolutely intrigued me enough to continue with it.
But what of the first round losers? Well, as already stated, I did continue with Nyanko Days, and rated highly. RWBY falls into the ‘may continue at a later date’ classification, but very much depends on what else I have going on. Plastic Memories feels too much like it would disappoint me to make me want to continue with it. White Album left me mixed because it was interesting as a premise, but I really didn’t care enough about the leads to want to throw myself into watching it again. Maybe I would if there was nothing else on, but I doubt it.
And that’s about it! So, how did you all find this year’s tournament and the shorter format? Did you have any favourite matches? I personally found it much easier to manage this year, and would pick the third place play-off as my favourite, certainly from the standpoint of watching the episodes.