The Corenament begins! Or, technically, it begins in a couple of days, but this here preview and a little bit of final bracket-setting should whet your appetite. Championship Week was something else, wasn’t it? Surprises, upsets, disappointments! And now it’s time to get down to brass tacks.
We’re following the 68-team model here; following this quick look-in at how the field came together (and quickly do the First Four — these matches open today only), we’ll get into each of the four regions hosting our competition and your chance to win not-big in the Homicidols Corenament Bracket Challenge.
In the interests of space, I won’t put out another list of those who made it in via either winning a regular season conference title (via the Hunger Games simulator) or a conference tournament, OR getting enough fan support to warrant making it into the Big Dance, but suffice it to say that we’re as loaded with favorites as we are going to be surprised at the raw number of favorites who failed to get in. Just like the real deal! Loogit that bracket! There are also guppies. Minnows. Idols you haven’t even heard of! Also just like the real deal! By the time we get to the Sweet 16, though, all should be clear, and that’s when the real agony begins.
Last Four In
Because so many of the regular season champions were of the lower levels of fandom, quite a few big names found themselves on the outside looking in. A few did manage to sneak in, though, thanks to the First Four and my desire to promote interesting matches while accounting for what looked like some shady auto-voting on Day 2. So welcome to the party, Su-metal, First Summer Uika, GANG PARADE and Party Rockets GT. Your reward is to immediately begin to eliminate each other!
Last Four Out
This was actually interesting, because there were a lot of ties and near-ties in the middle of the qualifying field, so I had to make some choices. Sorry, Full Power Girls R, Spark Road Show, @JAM and Kimi to Utatane; better luck next year.
The Homicidols Corenament Bracket Challenge
Why should basketball fans have all of the fun? We can get competitive in Corenamentville, too! Yes, friends, you’ll find each region broken out below … plus a link to make your own predictions per region. Do you like to play it safe, or do you like surprises? Do you want to see your oshi run to the Final Four? Your predictions are your own, and the play with the highest aggregate score all the way through to the championship gets … well, bragging rights, I guess. I don’t have anything to give you. But how neat!
You can only submit through the regional finals here, but your scores will carry over, have no fear.
Our #1 overall seed Guso Drop leads a region that seems custom-built to help them get to the Final Four; if the Corenament were to have chalk, it’d be here. The top four seeds all seem fairly safe to the Sweet 16, but watch out for the looming Destructor that is the winner of the Su-metal/First Summer Uika matchup in the First Four.
Sleeper: Not Secured, Loose Ends, who could rock the field with a friendly path to the Elite Eight.
Marquee matchup: No offense to anybody involved, but I’d personally love to see Pour Lui facing First Summer Uika so the long-simmering business between them could be settled ONCE AND FOR ALL or at least for the purposes of this exercise.
Favorite: Guso Drop would be the presumptive favorite, with fans having proven that they can mobilize, but … this Region is loaded with landmines, including defending champion Kamen Joshi, Pour Lui charging from behind and the cult favorite, the Anonymous Translator. I almost have to think that my guy will pull the upset.
Region leader Babymetal has a sneaky difficult bracket to navigate, with fan favorites in prime position to take down the biggest name in heavy idol; if they take care of business, they have Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da in the Sweet 16 and Aina the End lurking in the Elite Eight. PASSPO and Pikarin could also prove to be major contenders.
Sleeper: Watch out for Sari. If she gets through fellow iconic idol Komachi, she could send the bracket into straight chaos (fittingly!) if she catches Aina and Pikarin on bad days; if Necroma has proven anything lately, it’s that there is a legion of believers in their dark gospel out there.
Marquee matchup: With a few breaks, the final could come down to Zenkimi and Pikarin, pitting the Queens of Yami-Kawaii against the demonic princess of A-pop. God help us all.
Favorite: It’s gotta be #THEENDER. Aina’s as beloved as anybody in our side of idol, and I can see the alt fans lining up to support her right through the regional final.
If there’s a #1 seed that feels truly vulnerable, it’s actually PassCode, even though this is technically the easiest region to clear. Yeah, there are fewer heavy hitters, but spreading out the contenders near the top got Osaka’s digital loudols looking at dates with bad boys like BiSH, Billie Idle and big conference winner Kakizaki Risaki, not to mention stalwart You’ll Melt More!. I’m expecting the unexpected here.
Sleeper: You know who’s inexplicably a 10 seed here? The Idol Formerly Known as Ladybaby. There’s a certain segment of the fandom that loves Rei and Rie, and they’re currently getting a big bump out of that sick set they did with THE Natsu no Mamono. Their path isn’t easy, but it might actually be easier than PassCode’s.
Marquee matchup: There’s a second-round calamity brewing if BiSH gets through FRUITPOCHETTE and GANG PARADE can handle Party Rockets GT; a fight for WACK (and/or post-WACK) supremacy will be nasty.
Favorite: I’ve played it out a few times, and I still think this is PassCode’s. They’ve proven the ability to handle matchups against anybody, and other contenders should be chewing each other up the whole way.
I remember a message I got once not long after this site got started. It was from a person lambasting me for using Babymetal as a platform to promote all of these other idols. “I live in Japan. I got to idol lives all the time. I’ve never even heard of most of these,” was the approximate message. And they picked NECRONOMIDOL as an object of particular scorn, some American-managed underground outfit with a weird gimmick and music that didn’t connect with people.
A little over a year later, Necroma was the #3 seed overall, and fast becoming A Thing. They don’t need the Corenament to prove it, but winning might make for a nice stamp on their love letter to the dark powers. They have a favorable regional bracket …
Sleeper: ayumikurikamaki is a #6 seed, and that feels right for where they are in fans’ minds these days, but just wait until we get into some of the more creative matchup types. Their infectious, adorable Themness could prove to be tough to beat.
Marquee matchup: I’m smelling Moametal lining up against Chitti in the round of 32. Hold on to your butts.
Favorite: One-on-one, out of the entire rest of the bracket, who beats Necroma? Nobody. They’ll be punching their tickets to Akiba.