ISML 2009 Amethyst Period - Featured Matches and Maps


It reflects with the light of the sun, luring one's eyes into the beauty of its luminance. It encircles the Earth as its keepsake, watching the resting bodies of the unaware. It wanders through the vast empty space, staring at the beautiful scenery that is the Earth from time to time. It watches every little movement that the Earth makes and uses its luminance to fend off the dangers of circumstance from those who are asleep. Yet, despite being the guardian of the Earth, it lacks a guardian of its own. It yearns for someone to keep it company � someone who will stare at its luminance and watch in awe as it slowly moves through the night sky. The crescent wanders around the Amethyst sky aimlessly, as if it is lost in the darkness of the night. To become Amethyst is to be willing to venture toward the unknown darkness and stand guard with the luminance of the moon.

Amethyst - Round 1

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Alger, Algeria

#9 Aisaka Taiga (16-2) vs. #12 Furukawa Nagisa (15-3)

1573     ←     1416

Aisaka Taiga begins the Amethyst period as the only candidate not on the 2008 ISML roster who is significantly above the .500 mark. So far, the new short-circuited animal like personality has impressed many regular followers, consistently winning matches left and right so often that she has an actual chance to make the top 16 cutoff point at the end of August. So far, however, both of Taiga's losses came in the fourth match set of each period. Tonight marks the first time Taiga faces an opponent representing CLANNAD, whose representatives occupy four of those sixteen spots, and she is facing Furukawa Nagisa, the main heroine of that series who has quite a differently decorated outlook on life. Nagisa is still looking for her first (9-0) campaign of the year, and with her schedule filled with talent, it could be very difficult as the period progresses. However, Nagisa has already defeated Hiiragi Kagami, who just happens to be Taiga's opponent in her Amethyst 4. With the moon lying in full wait, the time to start off strong and eliminate a potential candidate from the running is now. Could dumplings give food poisoning to the Palmtop Tiger, or will this be the most scrumptious meal yet?

Mumbai, India

#8 Izumi Konata (16-2) vs. Asahina Mikuru (13-5)

1278     →     1299

Izumi Konata has always been the number one fan of the Suzumiya Haruhi series, and she's had her dreams come true in the past year after actually meeting the SOS Brigade in person. One year later, she's apparently become comfortable in her position, as she is (16-2) entering Amethyst, which includes a loss to Nagato Yuki during Topaz. In fact, with all intensive bragging rights withstanding, she is actually ranked ahead of her best friend Hiiragi Kagami, whom has long been considered a dangerous opponent in the years ISML has been active. If she is going to keep it that way, Konata will have to now defeat (forced to be) SOS Brigade member Asahina Mikuru, who has so far greatly improved her performance from last year to the surprise of many. After a surprising (8-1) run in Topaz, Mikuru catapulted herself from .500 borderline to a potential finish in the top 16, and with some of her most difficult matches ahead of her, she will have to pull off quite an upset tonight, and she actually has the numbers to do so. Can Konata hold Mikuru off, or is the Haruhi-loving otaku actually behind the times?

Katowice, Poland

Konjiki no Yami (9-9) vs. C.C. (11-7)

1341     ←     1277

Konjiki no Yami's experience in the International Saimoe League has so far been split evenly between good and bad. So far, her period records have been (4-5) and (5-4) respectively, and because the minimum cut off line to make the roster next year is a winning record, she is hoping to do more than break even throughout the rest of the year. The Amethyst opening match-set could not be a more opportune time to start an upswing. Tonight, Yami faces C.C., a candidate who has proven herself in ISML with an 8th place finish coupled with a strong run in Korea Best Moe before an unexpected upset. However, while many candidates have carried their successes from 2008 into 2009, C.C. has not, and despite being the 11th seed last year, she finds herself needing a strong run only to avoid being in the .500 borderline, let alone making the final double-elimination field. With the moon beginning to reflect the light of the sun, a battle of momentum collides tonight. Can Yami pull the upset over C.C., or can C.C. start thinking about improving from her (8-1) Amethyst performance from last year?

Toronto, Canada

Kamio Mizusu (9-9) vs. Chii (7-11)

1401     ←     1249

The International Saimoe League has been known to be an all-time competition, but the candidates representing more recent anime have had a slight advantage. In fact, fifteen out of the current top 16 candidates have had some sort of series on air since the start of 2007. On the other hand, most candidates who occupy the bottom of the roster have aired further than that, or began before 2007, and have since left the radar of many general anime viewers. Suffice to say, both Kamio Misuzu of AIR and Chii of Chobits fall into that category, and with nearly thirty percent of the regular season complete, both candidates may be clinging on to the hope of just making it to next year's roster. Currently, Misuzu is in a better position to return next year, as she is right on the .500 line, while Chii will have to step up her data bits and average a (5-4) for the rest of the periods in order to make that mark. With Amethyst on the line, it will be interesting to see if either can not only attain her goal of five but to even make a statement run and try to go the distance. This match could be very close, but just which one will come out on top?

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Amethyst - Round 2

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New York, United States

#7 Aisaka Taiga (17-2) vs. Asahina Mikuru (14-5)

1179     →     1417

Two potential candidates were eliminated last Monday as Furukawa Nagisa and Izumi Konata, two of the candidates currently in the top 16, fell in close matches to Aisaka Taiga and Asahina Mikuru respectively. Tonight, in the metropolis of the United States, Taiga and Mikuru square off in a battle that can mean much more than just another strong candidate defeated this early. Taiga's win last week allowed to penetrate the top eight, and a strong run at Amethyst can only solidify her spot as a high-seed. Mikuru is right behind the top sixteen in 17th place and a win tonight can lift her above that cutoff point to the double-elimination rounds. If there are any favorites in this match, it would probably be Taiga, but Mikuru's recent defeat of Konata has thrown every past anticipation and prediction into the air. The luminance is waiting for someone, but will Taiga begin to complete her first perfect run or will Mikuru score her second top 16 upset in two days?

Katowice, Poland

Holo (12-7) vs. Shinku (10-9)

1313     →     1365

Last year, Shinku went (17-1-0-45) throughout the regular season that included a blowout loss to Holo. In fact, she had to earn her way back into the ISML roster the hard way — through a grueling preliminary session in which she had to face multiple candidates at a time. She is back now and is doing much better than before, holding steady right along the .500 cutoff line. However, she has a slight trend — when she wins one match, she usually loses the next, and vice versa, so if that trend follows, Shinku is the underdog against Holo, who is backing her 2008 Korea Best Moe Championship with an above average (12-7) record. Vote differentials, however, tell a different story from their win-loss records, as Shinku is one of only two candidates in the top 32 with a negative differential as opposed to Holo's average VD of 189. Therefore, if Shinku wants to solidify herself a spot at next year's competition, she will have to pull a small upset here or there. Can Shinku do it against Holo tonight, or will she fall back into the .500 line?

Mumbai, India

Kawashima Ami (11-8) vs. C.C. (11-8)

1325     →     1523

Last Monday, C.C. fell victim to a technical upset against Konjiki no Yami. As a result, despite the very small mathematical chance she has at winning Amethyst, she has been reduced to the role of spoiler. However, she has been freefalling through the standings like a rock as of late, and she needs to avoid falling into the cutoff line as much as possible. She has a good chance of preventing that against Kawashima Ami, who despite also being (11-8) is still realistically eligible for Amethyst. Ami nearly pulled off a Setsuna-level upset last year, making a huge run for Topaz before being shot down by Furukawa Nagisa in Topaz 5. She is overall in the same position as C.C., trying to avoid the .500 cutoff line as much as possible, but she is also thinking about making another unbelievable run at a necklace. For each to stay above the danger zone, each will have to make it out of this match alive. Can Ami keep her Amethyst hopes alive or will C.C. stop the bleeding and start going on a winning streak?

Lima, Peru

#8 Takamachi Nanoha (17-2) vs. Sunohara Mei (9-10)

1471     ←     1246

Takamachi Nanoha is in the top 16 and has a shot at making the double-elimination tournament with the tiara at stake. Sunohara Mei is outside the top 32, and is barely clining on to the .500 threshold. Yet, despite the fact these two are extremely far apart in the standings, this has the making of an Ayu-over-Yuki upset. Mei is the only candidate in the bottom 32 who has a vote differential of over 1000, and she has had quite a schedule so far, having faced most of the candidates with winning records thus far, including four of the top sixteen. On the other side, Nanoha has not been as productive as the rest of the top 16, as she has only attained 23,000 votes as opposed to the 25K, 26K, and even 27K that some of the other candidates are putting up. Nanoha has shown that she can win when she need to, but with Mei driving the darkhorse at the moment, she will have to be careful, or else we may see a historic upset. Is history awaiting in the Andes?

Thanks to minhtam1638 for the match descriptions.

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Amethyst - Round 3

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Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

#4 Shana (19-1) vs. C.C. (12-8)

1925     ←     1489

Twice now Shana has been a major necklace contender and twice she has seen her hopes dashed in the final match. In Amethyst, Shana once again seems to be mounting a major push for a necklace. The next match will be pivotal to her hopes. C.C. has been lackluster this year, but her top 16 finish last year shows that she has the potential to pull an upset. While C.C. looks to be out of contention for the current necklace, she can play a spoiler role, and leave Shana frustrated for a third consecutive period. This will be a high vote match as Shana hopes to regain her confidence and continue her quest to finally break her necklace drought, which dates back to Aquamarine of ISML 2008.

Katowice, Poland

Tōsaka Rin (14-6) vs. #14 Ichinose Kotomi (16-4)

1992     ←     1279

Ichinose Kotomi, a 2008 ISML Top 8 finisher, attempts to lay claim to the Amethyst. In her way is Tōsaka Rin, a contestant trying to break the Top 16 frontier and get a shot at the Tiara. Both contestants have their own mission and neither can afford to lose to the other. With only 2 wins separating these two competitors' performances, who will succeed in this critical Battle of the Moe Grail War?

São Paulo, Brazil

#15 Hiiragi Tsukasa (15-5) vs. Sanzen'in Nagi (13-7)

1624     ←     1316

Sanzen'in Nagi hates to lose. As last year's Bubble girl (17th) she felt the postseason slip from her at the last moment. The one thing Nagi hates more than losing is depending on others. She depended on an unmaterialized loss by Hiiragi Tsukasa whom she defeated 245-244 last year. Tsukasa, unaware of how the tiebreak system works, would rather get in on points like she did last year. Even though she defeated easier opponents than Nagi, her extra win assured her the final slot of the post season contenders. Will Nagi be able to exact her revenge or will she be thwarted by her rival Tsukasa?

Los Angeles, United States

Kamio Misuzu (10-10) vs. Tsukimiya Ayu (8-12)

1359     →     1398

Ayu and Misuzu share a common lineage — both were born of the famous Key/Kyoto collaboration. In ISML, however, the two appear to be on divergent paths. Ayu represents the Kanon faction which appears to have faded since ISML '08, while Misuzu enters for the first time representing AIR. Ayu has struggled with the high expectations of her 23rd place finish last year, but has performed remarkably well for a first-time competitor, especially considering that she hails from a four-year-old show. In some ways this is one of the most balanced matches of the tournament. Both are from similar shows and are a mere three places away in the rankings. A key question in this matchup will be if AIR's greater popularity than Kanon will offset its age. This match will likely be a good predictor for the future. A decisive Misuzu win could provide evidence of further fading among Kanon characters, but a loss would show that perhaps CLANNAD's popularity is rubbing off.

Thanks to waterfall, AyuAyu, and Juice for providing match descriptions.

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Amethyst - Round 4

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São Paulo, Brazil

#11 Aisaka Taiga (18-3) vs. #9 Hiiragi Kagami (18-3)

1000     →     1686

Last year, Amethyst was filled with some of the most amazing matches, which included just about two or three #1 vs. #2 showdowns, one of which went into overtime, along with some amazing upsets and historic collapses. Those who were involved in any of these, however, took each other out of the running for the Luminance of the Moon, leaving a path wide open for Hiiragi Kagami to take the Amethyst necklace in the open. This year, her path is littered with some dangerous opponents, which includes a second run-in against a relative Aquamarine bearer, but at least the 2008 Saimoe Japan champion won't have to deal with Shana, whom she barely scraped by with only seven more votes a year ago. No, today, she gets to deal with someone who is very similar. Aisaka Taiga shares many characteristics with Shana, almost as if she could qualify for a loose double, and she is looking to hopefully regain her momentum after a loss to Asahina Mikuru last Wednesday. Certainly, she will not let Kagami walk over her today, meaning that last year's Amethyst winner will have to earn her way to a successful defense of the Luminance of the Moon. With the chaos that occurred last Friday in Amethyst 3, we have relearned that predictions aren't easy, and this match can be as predictable as the next match. But can Kagami pull off a victory against such a difficult opponent, or will we have a new Amethyst-bearer this year?

Milano, Italy

#10 Takamachi Nanoha (18-3) vs. #14 Asahina Mikuru (16-5)

1059     →     1562

After the first couple of opponents she has had in the first week of Amethyst, no one could have expected Asahina Mikuru to still be standing undefeated. One week removed from her victories over top 16 ranked candidates Izumi Konata and Aisaka Taiga, she has launched herself into the top 16 on her own merit, and is off to prove that she belongs there. The SOS Brigade member has been in the shadow of Suzumiya Haruhi and Nagato Yuki for all of last year, and now her name deserves to be mentioned along the same breath with their names... at least for now. Despite her recent success, she is (16-5), the record that stands as the cutoff point for the top 16, and with Ichinose Kotomi, Suigintou, and Hiiragi Tsukasa also standing at (16-5), Mikuru must avoid a loss if she wants to stay in the top 16, as it will be rather difficult to advance past three candidates who already know the importance of getting there and staying there. Unfortunately, Mikuru will meet her third top 16 opponent in four matches. Takamachi Nanoha is still holding strong despite being now four years removed from her 2005 Saimoe Japan championship, and after losing to Furukawa Nagisa yesterday, she is already determined not to drop two matches in a row, especially now that she is only two wins ahead of the cutoff point for the top 16. With two candidates facing a must win situation, there is no telling what can happen in this match. Can Mikuru stay undefeated and make a run towards the Luminance of the Moon or will Nanoha knock her out of the top 16?

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Ibuki Fūko (14-7) vs. Furude Rika (15-6)

1087     →     1448

You may not know this, but Ibuki Fūko and Furude Rika actually have a huge rivalry. It may not seem that big of a deal, given that both are just outside the top 16 and waiting for a higher-ranked candidate to fall unexpectedly, but this rivalry is much deeper than the .680 records that they have. In their first meeting, Fūko defeated Rika � by three (3) votes � in a Sapphire 6 match that ultimately turned to almost be part of a collection of missed opportunities that could have kept Rika out of the top 16 double-elimination phase. Then, Fūko took a Saimoe Japan top 8 finish from Rika's sister, Furude Hanyū, forcing Hanyū to wait for other tournaments to complete to see if she would make the official ISML roster. Now, Fūko and Rika meet again, this time in Amethyst 4, where one loss could be part of a missed opportunity for either of these candidates, and with a Higurashi Rei OVA currently airing, Rika is determined to not blow this opportunity to get some payback. However, Fūko may already have the Furude sisters figured out, and if this is true, a loss could be inevitable. While both may be out of the Amethyst running, this rivalry can and most likely will lead to a top 16 implication at the end of the season. Can Rika pull off a payback victory, or will Fūko prove to be unstoppable against anybody named Furude?

Bogotá, Colombia

Ryūgū Rena (14-7) vs. Maria (11-10)

1371     →     1486

On paper, Ryūgū Rena looks to be tha statistical favorite over Maria in this match. However, given the recent fallout of Amethyst 3 upsets, including major twists and turns that came absolutely from nowhere, it will not come to the surprise of many if Maria makes up for a loss tonight � literally. Maria was unable to overcome her first round jinx in Saimoe Japan, in which she lost to none other than Rena by only 18 votes, rendering her unable to make what could have otherwise been at least a legitimate if not a promising run to a championship. Here, Maria may have a harder time trying to get past Rena, as she has historically not done well in this contest either. She is only managing to make it slightly past the .500 mark last year, and she is currently in danger of falling into the .500 threshold if she loses the next couple of matches. However, her numbers are statistically close to Rena's right now, and if the fallout of Amethyst 3 is to leave some residue, this match could provide what could come to be an expected upset. With no clear favorite and a win to avoid the abyss, this match can go either way. Will Maria pull off an upset over Rena or will Rena leave Maria in a deeper hole to elimination from next year's league?

Thanks to minhtam1638 providing today's match descriptions.

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Amethyst - Round 5

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Karachi, Pakistan

Hiiragi Tsukasa (17-5) vs. Shinku (13-9)

1280     →     1387

Before Amethyst began, Shinku was right on the .500 borderline and in danger of falling below it. A week and a half later, she has become quite a contender; so much that she enters Amethyst 5 without a loss. Despite this, she is the lowest ranked candidate in the Amethyst standings among the (4-0) contenders due to facing a weak schedule so far. Tonight, she has an opportunity to move up in the standings quicker than the rest, as she faces Hiiragi Tsukasa in the only (4-0) vs. (4-0) match of this match set. However, keep in mind that Tsukasa has a good chance to outdistance herself from the rest of the undefeated candidates, and as she looks to try to move ahead of her sister, previous Amethyst winner Hiiragi Kagami, Tsukasa will stop at nothing not only take the lead in this already storied rivalry, but to also stand at least by her sister as an Amethyst winner. Someone's road to Amethyst ends tonight. Which one will be left standing on Thursday morning?

Alger, Algeria

#9 Saber (19-3) vs. #2 Suzuimiya Haruhi (22-0)

1280     →     1556

After finishing 20th in ISML 2008 with a (43-20) record, Saber has been on quite a tear this year, setting out to prove that she can not only win in this league but also win consistently, and she has, with two (8-1) runs to close out Aquamarine and Topaz on route to trying to solidify a spot in the top 8. However, she has a problem. Currently, the Top 8 in the overall standings had been ranked as Tier 1 candidates before the season started, and all eight of them are performing as well as she has if not better. So far, Saber has lost to both Tier 1 candidates, and she's now facing an undefeated Suzumiya Haruhi after coming off on the short end of an upset against Suiseiseki. To make matters worse, that same Suiseiseki nearly pulled an unbelievable upset against Haruhi in Amethyst 3, so whatever degree of complacency that Haruhi had coming into Amethyst has completely disappeared, making Haruhi the huge favorite against Saber in this match. This is a good opportunity for Saber to try to pull off an upset, because if she cannot even come close to matching Haruhi, she could have trouble in the post season when it counts. Can Saber finally give Haruhi her first loss, or will the reign of the supreme never end?

Lima, Peru

Illyasviel von Einzbern (13-9) vs. Sanzen'in Nagi (14-8)

1321     ←     1070

As the season progresses and relative candidate strength becomes apparent, there are usually two areas in the standings we focus on: who makes the top 16 and who finishes ahead of the .500 mark. Both Illyasviel von Einzbern and Sanzen'in Nagi are between those areas of focus, and had this not been an Amethyst 5 match, we could have missed an opportunity to feature what could possibly turn out to be a close match. As this is the first match between these two candidates, neither are sure of how the other will perform in their match today, but keep in mind that Nagi has had some experience in the arenas against Fate/stay night candidates including Saber and Tōsaka Rin. Illyasviel, on the other hand, has had no experience against Hayate no Gotoku candidates prior to 2009, and losing to Katsura Hinagiku earlier in the season by a large margin didn't exactly help. While the feeling may be new for this particular matchup, the main idea remains the same. The winner could move up in the standings, while the loser takes a step backward. Can Illyasviel defeat Nagi despite a lack of experience, or will Nagi use this opportunity to start a winning streak?

Mumbai, India

Konjiki no Yami (12-10) vs. Tsukimiya Ayu (9-13)

1054     →     1298

Konjiki no Yami started Amethyst with a (9-9) record overall, but has since moved up out of the .500 bubble ever so slightly by winning three matches in a row to start off the period. Tsukimiya Ayu, on the other hand, hasn't made up any ground on the standings, breaking even in Amethyst following an overall (7-11) record. Tonight, the .500 watch shifts to Mumbai, where Ayu will be doing everything she can to not disappear from sight, as every loss from this point on will put her further out of reach from the .500 line, and possibly out of the automatic entrant roster for 2010. However, a win for Ayu means a loss for Yami, and a loss for Yami will put her right back into the .500 bubble, therefore back into the danger zone. While Yami may have the hot hand and be the slight favorite in this match, Ayu has pulled off upsets before, and it could happen again tonight. Will Ayu dig herself deeper into a hole or can she attempt to make a comeback to even ground at Yami's expense?

Thanks to minhtam1638 providing today's match descriptions.

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Amethyst - Round 6

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Mumbai, India

#16 Tosaka Rin (17-6) vs. #2 Fujibayashi Kyō (23-0)

1797     ←     1466

It has been utter and complete chaos since Nagato Yuki took the Topaz necklace. Massive upsets, close calls, and overall standing shake ups have defined the Amethyst period so far, and as some would say, anything could happen in a black moon. Despite that the moon hasn't waned completely yet, we could still be up for utter chaos today. Tōsaka Rin has been able to dodge some of that chaos, or perhaps being part of it herself, as she has gone through five opponents including former top 16 candidate Ichinose Kotomi to finally crack the top 16 herself. However, unless she decides to spice up the action, she will have no chance to take down a still undefeated Fujibayashi Kyō, who has been missing the Amethyst chaos in its entirety, so much that she's behind in the Amethyst standings despite not obtaining a loss this season. And to emphasize how hard it is to try to topple someone who has been on a huge winning streak, Saber failed to upend Suzumiya Haruhi last Wednesday despite Haruhi exposing a weakness a match before. With that in mind, it will be difficult to pull an upset here. Can Rin pull off an upset and stay in the top 16, or will Kyō make room for her best friend Kotomi?

Jakarta, Indonesia

#3 Sakagami Tomoyo (22-1) vs. #10 Furukawa Nagisa (19-4)

1340     →     1427

Usually, when it comes to matches, the usual stance is two series facing off against one another. For example, CLANNAD has a whole group voting for them, and that enables them to defeat weaker groups. However, in an inter-series match, the group that usually votes for a particular series is now faced against each other, so in a handful of cases, the statistical favorite doesn't end up being the winner. With that in mind and an undefeated run to the Amethyst necklace at stake, the 2009 Aquamarine winner Sakagami Tomoyo hopes that would not be the case against the female lead of CLANNAD, Furukawa Nagisa. Both candidates are in the top 10 and both are putting up impressive numbers against their opponents, so it is no surprise that both are formidable candidates. But while it is no secret that Tomoyo defeated Nagisa last year, that was before the airing of After Story, a series that focused entirely on Nagisa for the most part. How much of an affect that would have in this match has yet to be determined, but so far, Nagisa's performance has improved between this year and the last. Which of these candidates will come out of Jakarta as the victor?

Santiago, Chile

#15 Suigintou (18-7) vs. Furude Rika (17-6)

1966     ←     1039

It's past the halfway point in Amethyst, and the race for Amethyst has been a dead sprint. Seven undefeated candidates have a chance to take the lead in the Amethyst standings, each now facing the reality that the necklace is in reach. At the top is a three way tie for first between Suigintou, Hiiragi Kagami, and Asahina Mikuru. For now, however, Suigintou holds the vote-differential tiebreaker, coming off with an average margin of 842 per match that includes an impressive +400 win over defending Tiara-bearer Fate Testarossa, but it is far from clear that this is Suigintou's contest to lose. If she wants to make that statement win now, Suigintou will have to face a difficult candidate in Furude Rika, who is only one-loss behind both in Amethyst and overall, and is looking to return to the top 16. In fact, a win tonight will enable Rika to pass Suigintou in the standings, therefore gaining an edge over her throughout the rest of the season. This match can prove costly for either one of these candidates, and each has something great to lose if either loses this match. Can Suigintou provide a statement to each of the remaining candidates or will Rika knock her from the top of Amethyst to out of the running?

Moscow, Russia

#7 Katsura Hinagiku (21-2) vs. Suiseiseki (15-8)

1384     →     1697

Has anybody noticed something strange as of late? It was around this time in Amethyst last year that the contenders emerged to be contenders, and the pretenders, as was the case of the fall of Negima?! following their unexpected Topaz victory. This time, it seems that there aren't really any "pretenders" around, but after a huge shakeup in Amethyst 3 scrambled the standings a little bit, it has been clear that there's one group that may have been hiding their strength a little bit. Such is truly the case for Suiseiseki, as the three Rozen Maidens have put up an impressive showing so far in Amethyst, and all three of them could have been undefeated if Suiseiseki only put a little more in what could have been a massive upset against Suzumiya Haruhi. With that kind of performance from only the last week, Katsura Hinagiku, who still has an undefeated record intact, will have to be careful in her match today, as her tiebreakers are suffering due to a weak schedule. Both of the Korea Best Moe champions here have met before, more than once, so both may know the other's style, making this match a good one to watch tonight. Statistically, Hinagiku is the favorite, but the dolls have thrown statistics out of the window, so there is no telling who will win here tonight. Can Suiseiseki pull off a colossal upset or will Hinagiku finally get a small boost in her Amethyst hopes?

Thanks to minhtam1638 providing today's match descriptions.

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Amethyst - Round 7

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São Paulo, Brazil

#5 Sakagami Tomoyo (22-2) vs. #13 Asahina Mikuru (19-5)

1706     ←     1414

It is official. No one is in safe haven anymore. Just about everyone who is, or more accurately, was undefeated in Amethyst has now become a target. After all, one by one, upset after upset, fall out after fall out, Amethyst has turned the tide of the predictable upside down, and almost every contender that was supposed to be standing at this point has now been crestfallen. For the first time in a long time, if ever, 8 candidates remain undefeated going into the seventh match set of a necklace period, and four of them do not occupy a top 8 overall ranking. However, it seems that candidates are still being targeted, and the question remains as to whom is kept free from the chaos. Despite Suzumiya Haruhi receiving a scare from Suiseiseki, all three SOS Brigade members are still undefeated in Amethyst, and if Asahina Mikuru can survive a match against Sakagami Tomoyo today, she may emerge as the candidate to look out for. However, Tomoyo came off of her own upset at the hands of Furukawa Nagisa, and she is looking to stop the bleeding. And with candidates falling out of the Amethyst race as quickly as they have, Mikuru needs to be careful if she is to stay in the Amethyst race and not suffer yet a second loss to Tomoyo. Can the time-traveler pull another miracle win or will the all-talented school president play the spoiler?

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Illyasviel von Einzbern (15-9) vs. Shinku (15-9)

1301     →     1543

Their records are the same, but how they have gotten here to this point in Amethyst has been quite different. Illyasviel von Einzbern has been having a successful Amethyst campaign so far, but she's out of contention thanks to a loss to Suigintou. Now Illyasviel will have to face Suigintou's own archrival, Shinku, who has been riding the hot streak as of late, emerging from mere .500 candidate to a serious Amethyst contender. So far, the true source of the new demographic has not been pinpointed yet to a particular group, but representatives of both Fate/stay night and Rozen Maiden have played a part in giving wake up calls to both of the overall undefeated candidates going into Amethyst 6. This match could decide if Rozen Maiden is the new dominant force of ISML coming our way or if there's a degree of parity existent in the rising factions. Can Illyasviel dash Shinku's Amethyst hopes or will Suigintou have to worry about a certain sister coming from behind?

Mexico City, Mexico

#8 Katsura Hinagiku (21-3) vs. #12 Saber (20-4)

1323     →     1508

Katsura Hinagiku and Saber have quite a lot in common. Both are top 16 candidates coming in to today's match. Both have a love of swordsmanship, although in different disciplines. Both have a certain someone to watch over and make sure he or she doesn't get in trouble. Both are out of the running for the Amethyst necklace. Both of them were knocked out of the running for the Amethyst Necklace by Suiseiseki. Both of them are even in votes attained, with about 34,000 votes apiece. And both are facing each other down in Mexico City in yet another showdown between top 16 competitors. Both have different advantages coming into today's match, with Saber's own momentum countered with Hinagiku's "currently airing" advantage, and both are looking forward to this match. Now all that remains is a winner. This should be exciting to watch.

Milano, Italy

Ibuki Fūko (16-8) vs. #10 Furukawa Nagisa (20-4)

1308     ←     1102

You have seen the match between Furukawa Nagisa and Sakagami Tomoyo, and we've learned that statistics don't usually apply in same series matches, as voters who support a series would be split in making the decision. Nagisa emerged the victor over then favorite Tomoyo, but tonight, she's going to have to do it again, this time as the favorite over underclassman Ibuki Fūko, who apparently is #1 in Japan, or so to speak. Nagisa should come out as the favorite in this match, as she has been the main character of CLANNAD and has had a notable presence in its After Story, but Fūko came away with the final scene in the successful series' run, and her lasting image could be enough to pull yet another upset in this league. And with Amethyst 2009 becoming known as the great fallout of the favorites, we could be experiencing a surprise today. Starfish vs. Dumplings: Which are better?

Thanks to minhtam1638 providing today's match descriptions.

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Amethyst - Round 8

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Mexico City, Mexico

#6 Fate Testarossa (23-2) vs. Shinku (16-9)

1800     ←     1542

All of a sudden, that (17-45) record felt like it never happened. Shinku is now one win away from matching her number of wins from her entire 2008 ISML campaign, and to win the next two matches and take part in her first necklace coronation ritual would complete an entire turn around that no one would dare expect to happen. Tonight, defeating last year's tiara winner Fate Testarossa would be the icing on the cake. Fate became the first candidate to be ranked on the top tier to lose before the sixth match set of the period, and that loss came at the hands of longtime rival Suigintou, who, like Shinku, is a Rozen Maiden. To lose to a representative of a rival series twice, after establishing a powerful presence last year, should be considered unacceptable, and you can be certain that Fate will not be willing to let Shinku pass her by and run toward a chance to win Amethyst. Though a year late, who would have thought that someone who did go (17-45) would have a legitimate chance to topple the eventual champion, who by the way went (60-3) in the regular season? Can Shinku complete the full 180, or will Fate prove that she still has some strength left in her?

Lima, Peru

Konjiki no Yami (13-12) vs. Maria (14-11)

1237     →     1480

Remove the Touhou girls from the equation and you will find (and probably agree) that the most controversial entry to this tournament is that of Konjiki no Yami. Given the Korea Best Moe rules at the time of her match, she was knocked out of the quarter finals not because she lost, but because two contestants in a separate match in the round of 16 were involved in a controversial draw that kept her out of the top 16. ISML gave her the chance to prove that she deserved that top 8 finish last year, and so far, the mission looks to be going well. Yami is above .500 for the moment, but with the cutoff line for next year's roster at .500, she will do well to win this match today. Unfortunately for her, Maria is also only a handful of steps above .500, and she has been in this position throughout all of 2008, so she knows exactly what it takes to at least prove she�s in the better half of an already prestigious and tested roster. The outcome of this match is like a flip of a coin. Which of these candidates will fall into a dangerous situation with a loss?

Istanbul, Turkey

Patchouli Knowledge (1-24) vs. Sawatari Makoto (3-22)

964     →     1402

Usually, at this point in the regular season, we usually only focus on two areas in the overall standings: the race for the top 16 and the race to make .500. Sometimes, we focus on candidates in between those areas, but this method usually means that those who do poorly in this league are left to be forgotten. However, since most of the top candidates are facing lower tiered candidates in what should be relatively give away wins, we decided to give you a change of pace, by featuring what should be a close match with nothing but pride at stake. Tonight, Sawatari Makoto, the Kanon girl that was left out of ISML last year, will be facing off against Patchouli Knowledge, one of the promising candidates out of Touhou Muso Kakyou that hasn't lived up to the hype from early February, and with both candidates going through loss after loss, both should be taking their wins where they get it. Can Makoto avoid her first (0-9) campaign or will Patchouli get away from yet another one?

Thanks to minhtam1638 providing today's match descriptions.

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Amethyst - Round 9

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Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

#5 Sakagami Tomoyo (24-2) vs. #7 Hiiragi Kagami (23-3)

1899     ←     1322

Wow. What a period. Massive fallouts, unmitigated upsets, unexpected collapses have led us to where we are right now. No one would have expected Amethyst 9 to hold so many storylines at once. The race for Amethyst is open, and the door is so wide open that the Luminance of the Moon can actually fall into the hands of someone who didn't go through the period with a perfect record. However, with the way the standings are set up at this point, Sakagami Tomoyo is the only (7-1) candidate who is mathematically eligible to still win the Amethyst necklace. All she really needs is all six of the undefeated candidates to go broke in today's match. While that is not likely to happen, she still has a roughly 50-50 shot to throw the race for Amethyst into unmitigated chaos with a win against defending Amethyst-bearer Hiiragi Kagami. Kagami has survived quite a handful of close calls coming into this match, defeating three top 16 candidates to put quite a stranglehold on this race, and all she would likely need to do is to get past one pesky rival. Oh, by the way, in three meetings between these two candidates, Tomoyo has never been able to get past Kagami, coming close a couple of times only to fall short. To pull off a massive win here with the Amethyst necklace at stake for Kagami will not only force Amethyst to go to another direction, but it can also launch this particular matchup into an explosive rivalry no one will forget for long. The fate of all those still eligible to attain the Luminance of the Moon falls into Kagami's hands. Will Tomoyo take that away, or will we have our first candidate to win the same necklace twice?

Buenos Aires, Argentina

#14 Suigintou (21-5) vs. #12 Furukawa Nagisa (21-5)

2011     ←     1409

If Kagami does happen to lose tonight, Amethyst is truly up for grabs, as we currently have a three-way tie for second. Suigintou is caught in between two very strong members of the SOS Brigade, and both have quite an advantage over her despite Suigintou leading both of them in the tiebreakers. First off, Suzumiya Haruhi is undefeated, and is facing someone who is (6-2) in Amethyst, just as Furukawa Nagisa is in this particular match, but Nagato Yuki is facing a (7-1) Fate Testarossa, the same Fate that Suigintou defeated two weeks earlier. The situation for her lies in thus: in addition to the Kagami loss, she will have to have more of her opponents she faced this season win more matches than both of Haruhi's opponents and Yuki's opponents, and it would certainly help if Fate pulls off a repeat performance against Yuki in Moscow. Oh, but first, Suigintou will have to defeat Nagisa, whom has had such a half-glass full campaign that she could be in danger of falling out of the top 16 in the next three weeks or so. Will Suigintou's road end here, or can she get past Nagisa and hope for the best to happen?

Moscow, Russia

#6 Fate Testarossa (24-2) vs. #4 Nagato Yuki (24-2)

1802     ←     1497

If this match up looks familiar to you, that's because it is. This was the final match of the International Saimoe League 2008, and the winner of this match would eventually be crowned the Heavenly Tiara. Of course, with Fate Testarossa coming out of the winner's bracket, she would have the advantage over Nagato Yuki whom would have to defeat Fate twice, and the challenge was too great to bear. This time, the stakes are virtually lower, but Yuki finds herself in a must win situation. Although she will have to hope that Kagami loses in Kinshasa to better her chances of winning Amethyst, she must defeat Fate in order to even stay eligible for the Luminance of the Moon. Unfortunately, Fate will not be holding back, as she has virtually nothing to lose in this match, given the fact that Yuki handed Fate her hardest loss in the 2008 regular season. This particular series is tied up at (1-1), and the opportunity to break it is right around the corner. Will Yuki retain her Amethyst hopes or will Fate disband her from glory yet again?

Seoul, Korea

#11 Katsura Hinagiku (22-4) vs. #1 Suzumiya Haruhi (26-0)

1494     →     1599

Katsura Hinagiku has a slight issue on her hands. On the one hand, she's facing a monster of an opponent in Suzumiya Haruhi, who has yet to lose this regular season. On the other hand, her record is slipping as an ice cube rolling down Mt. Everest. She is (6-2) in Amethyst after successful (8-1) periods thus far, and both of the opponents she has lost to have also lost to Haruhi. And with the numbers that Haruhi has put up so far and no indication of her letting go any time soon, Hinagiku is set to go (6-3), which is about the average necklace record of fellow classmate Sanzen'in Nagi, whom secretly envies Hinagiku's successes in ISML so far. For Hinagiku to fall down to Nagi's level might not mean much given her position in the overall standings, but a loss to Haruhi today will mean that Hinagiku would lose three of the last four matches, an indication that if she doesn't turn around now, Sapphire will not be enjoyable for her. And with Haruhi running for an unprecedented third necklace in this contest not to mention having a historic undefeated season at stake every single match, this looks certain to be a blowout. Will Haruhi find her seventh undefeated necklace period to be a blissful one or can Hinagiku turn statistics around for yet another unforgettable Amethyst moment?

Lagos, Nigeria

#2 Shana (25-1) vs. #3 Fujibayashi Kyō (25-1)

1928     ←     1358

If there is one word that can describe Amethyst 2009, it's "chaotic." After all, we have seen some unbelievable upsets and close calls along with the emergence of some unlikely candidates climbing into the top 16 in the overall standings. With the exception of Hiiragi Kagami, who seems to have Amethyst under her own control, quite a handful of candidates who came into Amethyst in the top 8 or 9 in the overall standings have run into their own blunders and close shaves in this period, so much that by the end of it, a #2 vs. #3 match between two candidates with one-loss apiece has been moved to a complete afterthought, and it doesn't help that Fujibayashi Kyō lost a match in which she was heavily favored to win last Friday. Tonight, Kyō will try to redeem her unexpected loss against Shana, an opponent Kyō has never won against. Shana has had such a quiet Amethyst period unlike other candidates in particular, and despite being still eligible for Amethyst has a very slim chance of winning it. Certainly, she would not want to become yet another victim of Amethyst's unmerciful nature, but it looks like Kyō is ready to finally defeat Shana after two unsuccessful attempts in ISML 2008, despite being the underdog in this match. You do not want to miss this match, and with the timing right at the near end of an already chaotic period, anything can happen in this match. Will Kyō finally defeat Shana or will she strike out of the plate?

Thanks to minhtam1638 providing today's match descriptions.

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