Our regional finals concluded last week, and for the most part, the matches were never in doubt. Three-time defending champ, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, defeated last year’s runner-up, My Hero Academia, with some 57% of the vote. It was much closer than FMAB’s previous matches, in which the series garnered 70% or more of the vote, but that’s still a big win against possibly the second-strongest competitor in the tournament. Your Lie in April defeated Toradora and Violet Evergarden took down Fairy Tail by very similar margins, ensuring that we’ll be reminded of tearful goodbyes in the semifinals.
There was once nail-biter, however—one of the most interesting matches in tourney history! One Punch Man had blasted through earlier rounds and seemed a shoo-in to advance. The Instagram returns, which total about 40% of the vote and come in first, gave Saitama and company an almost 70% edge over the crew of Cowboy Bebop. But something very interesting happened on the way to the semifinals. Cowboy Bebop brought in almost the exact opposite results on our other platforms, which cater to older viewers, and by Wednesday our staff realized that the unexpected had happened—Cowboy Bebop was going to win. It honestly felt like the 2016 presidential election, but with two beloved candidates.
And now we’re on to the final four with two number one seeds (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Your Lie in April), a number two (Violet Evergarden), and a Cinderella in five seed, Cowboy Bebop. Let the voting begin!