March is just days away, and you all know what that means: AniMarch Madness is about to begin! Yes, our single-elimination tournament pitting anime against anime in a playoff-style bracket where voters determine the top one starts this week. It’s based on its namesake, the NCAA basketball tournament, and roughly coincides with it. We often run from late February into early April, but this year will begin and end in March.
It’s an exciting time for you to participate in what we do on Beneath the Tangles as you vote and shout for joy (or groan in pain) as anime rise and fall until only one remains!
Besides the timetable and new entrants, the only other changes this year are the inclusion of more anime than ever (our play-in matches are four-way votes!) and a new social media platform where you can vote: Mastodon.
We begin March 1st. In the meantime, follow our social media platforms to ready yourselves to vote, dig into the FAQ below if you have any questions, and let us know who you predict will win! Will Violet Evergarden repeat? Will this be the year that Demon Slayer finally breaks through? Will Attack on Titan win its (probably) final season of airing? Is there a dark horse you’re selecting? Post in the comments and let us know!
Frequently Asked Questions
How did Anime March Madness begin?
The brainchild of MDMRN, the tournament started in 2016 here on the site. It has since expanded across our social media platforms as well.
How many anime participate?
We’ve had differing numbers over the years, but in 2022, we included 64 anime for the first time. This year, we’ll be including 85!
Which anime are participating?
Here’s this year’s bracket of 64:
Which anime have won the tournament?
2016: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
2017: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
2018: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
2019: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
2020: My Hero Academia
2021: Attack on Titan
2022: Violet Evergarden
Who selects the entrants?
Selections are based on a number of factors. Most important are previous year’s results—those anime that finished well make it into the tournament the next year. Those that don’t finish well aren’t guaranteed a spot, providing an opportunity to keep the tournament fresh as different series are included. Other factors that determine the entrants include their applicability to each region (more on regions later); staff recommendations, input, and discussion; and the play-in matches. Final decisions are determined by the results of the play-in matches (if used—there are none this year) and by Twwk.
What are play-in matches?
We realized that 64 anime are not a whole lot, especially when many of them are “new series” from the previous year, leaving only a few dozen slots for decades of anime. So beginning in 2019, we started including play-in matches, a series of votes to determine some of the anime that would get a chance to participate in the actual tournament.
Why do some anime that are wildly different from one another match up?
After round one, that’s something that’s bound to happen, but it also often happens even in the first week. Think of it as if you’re watching a sporting event: Sometimes players or teams that have varying styles match up against one another in the playoffs. It’s part of the fun. Even so, we do try to keep series in relatively topical brackets through our region system.
What are regions? How many are there?
In the NCAA basketball tournament, there are four regions arranged geographically. For our regions, we do it topically. This year, the regions are as follows: Emerging Anime, Classics, Action/Sci-Fi/Horror, and Romance/Comedy/Sports. As with the NCAA tournament, you still get strange match-ups sometimes, but this is more organized than a free-for-all. It also gives more critically-enjoyed series a better chance at advancing, putting many of the popular series all in one bracket.
Why do some of my favorites have to match up against very popular series early on, though?
Despite our region slotting, difficult matchups happen from the very beginning. Some of that is according to our seeding system. Anime are seeded based on previous performances, from one through sixteen in each region. If your favorite loses early on, I am sorry—I know it hurts. We encourage you to support your favorites by reblogging, retweeting, and sharing. Upsets happen frequently.
How do I vote?
So I can vote on multiple platforms?
You can. We encourage you to support your favorite series by going to each platform and voting there. This isn’t a presidential election—multiple votes per individual are fine by us.
Am I voting for my favorite or the best?
This is up to you. We’re looking for the nebulous “top” anime. I hope that takes a little shine off of everyone voting for their favorite / the most popular, while also denying the gatekeeping of so-and-so is the truly best anime (even if no one has seen it).
What happens if there’s a tie?
Ties are rare but do happen. In rounds one through three, Twwk has the tie-breaking vote. For the final three rounds, a re-vote within a shortened time frame will occur.
Where do I send my suggestions?
We encourage you to email any suggestions you have that could help us improve the tournament. Changes occur each year as we refine it, and also as we handle increasing interest.