With International Saimoe League’s candidate nominations phase now open, a new year has officially begun for the world’s premier saimoe competition. You have until the end of Saturday (GMT) to prepare your ballots… But in the meanwhile, I suggest seven ways to have fun with a saimoe tournament.
1. Allow yourself a moment of self-reflection.
Picking your twelve candidates is a great opportunity to take a deep breath and remember all the great characters and moments from last year as well as your entire personal anime history. This is the time of the year when I inevitably recall Kajiwara Sora – a lesser-known anime character I rarely get to rave about, but one that has always held a soft spot in my heart.
2. Get anime recommendations.
Saimoe tournaments have always been about like-minded individuals exchanging recommendations for worthwhile anime titles. It’s impossible for anyone to watch every title out there, so it’s never a bad idea to see what others found worth getting fired up about.
3. Take part in crazy political machinations.
Not everyone on the Internet has the opportunity to take part in the general elections of their country, but moe tournaments are a great place to get a first taste of the cloak-and-dagger tactics involved in vote-gathering. Long before the tactical voting of the main tournament begins, some more devoted fans have already started a character nomination trade system at the ISML Forums to help their sweethearts advance.
4. Contribute your skills.
ISML began with a few guys at Animesuki who didn’t really know each other thinking “Hey, let’s do something big!” and a few other thread lurkers responding “If you’re really doing that, we’ll help you out.” Everyone pitched in their skills at whatever they felt confident about and a few weeks later there was a tournament ready (I was there, true story.)
Four years later, ISML has grown and evolved, but its basic principle – by fans, for fans – remains unchanged. Anyone is welcome to contribute, as there are never too many number-crunchers, writers, translators, graphic designers, movie editors, forum moderators, programers and other staff. There’s no need to limit yourself to filling somebody’s shoes, either. ISML space maps and ISML Seitokai are two original projects that started from a bright idea – the next one might be yours!
5. Bite into the statistics.
Otaku are often called database animals, and ISML has its own share of algorithm enthusiasts. The people at the forums compete in creating perfect result predictions in a race for geek glory and attractive prizes.
6. Socialize with other fans.
Grab a cup of tea (or other preferred beverage) and have a nice chat with fellow fans of your favorite characters and series at the ISML Forums. Aside from all the indispensable “moe is serious business” topics, there are plenty of general forum hijinks to keep you busy during your relaxation time.
7. Support your favorites.
Last but not least, vote for the characters that won you over. Wait for the results and either rejoice or eat cardboard… all in good fun.
I hope to meet you all over at ISML 2012. Let’s have another great year!