The International Saibishie League (properly known as the Exhibition Tournament) is now up and ready to begin. This is a male tournament that follows an elimination style format starting with 96 characters nominated from several forums, followed by 32, 16, 8, 4, and finally the finals. This offests Korean’s own male tournament by not having a preliminary round, but most notably for the high number of voter participation, something that KBM seriously needs. Even males have their great moments in the history of anime, and here, they will prove to other competitors and to the world who the best guy is.
While a number of male members returned to get another shot at the Exhibition Title, including the inaugural champion and so far only male character to have won the KBM and ISML male title, Lelouch Lamperouge. The format is seemed to be set such that the top 2 of six selected characters of each group will move on to the next round and become one step closer to the title. While Lelouch is certainly trying to go for the title again, title backlash seems to have happened a lot in many cases to give other members a chance to win the title, so Lelouch may be in a bit of a pickle. As for characters that I am looking forward to seeing, there are just so many male characters that I am fans of provided in the tournament and I cannot single out to a handful. However, the one person whom I am looking forward to seeing how he does in terms of battle is none other than the protagonist of the highly-acclaimed anime, Sword Art Online, Kirigaya Kirito. This is mostly due to what happened some exhibition matches ago where Kirito, teamed up with his wife, Yuuki Asuna, trampled the team of Saber and Kiritsugu Emiya by more than double their score. A key component to this result could be collaboration and the ability to work together. Clearly, as a couple, Asuna and Kirito override that of Saber and Kiritsugu, who have conflicting morals and ideas. This, in and of itself, is what I believe led to the demise of two great characters individually, but just cannot work as a team. There is high anticipation that Asuna would become the new dominatrix of the Nova division of ISML, but that is still up in the air for lack of individual proof and voter influx. But, getting more than double of the two mention is not something to look past. Maybe there is something that these two have that sets them off from everyone else or puts them at a high tier. Kirito may have trouble getting through Top 16’s Hibari Kyoya and possible dark horse, Kanda Sorata.
Personally, I want to see either Houtarou Oreki or Maeda Atsuhiro in the Top 16, but seeing Sebastian Michaelis, a former Top 16 compensation in a group the two of them will be in, I can only hope for one of them to move on to the next round. It would be great if both of them were in, but I doubt this to be true. I also want to see Naoe Riki in it as well, but seeing Kakashi Hatake, another Top 16 member, and possibly another character from another show to look out for, Kuroko Tetsuya, Riki’s chances look a bit slim. In any case, good luck to all of them, and may the most gar/bishie/(insert adjective here) guy win.