|Match Date||Friday, September 15th, 2006|
|Kairi - 54.70%|
110 for - 39 against
|Kairi - 62.48%|
There were about 9 million good reasons for either character potentially winning this match, and I don't have nearly enough free time to cover them all. So here's a couple of bullet lists of pros that favored both characters:
- Kingdom Hearts 2
- Sora and Riku's past performances lining up well with RE's, and a KH2 boost would be enough to put Kairi over the top.
- KH fans care about Kairi a little more than RE fans care about Claire. The seeding for the two characters helps prove this weirdo theory people had.
- Jill went down pretty much every year until she was out of the bracket entirely, while the KH crew went up. Claire was in one bracket, 2002, and her Xst rating in that bracket is completely irrelevant.
- Said 2002 performance proving some potential strength.
- Resident Evil 4; there had to be some carry-over to past games, right?
- KAIRI DOES NOTHING in either game until the tail end of both.
- Resident Evil had a higher Xst rating in the series contest than Kingdom Hearts, and the series contest happened post-KH2.
- RE2 fans claim that Claire is the most popular character in the game.
Basically, seeding aside, this was a good tossup match. A lot of people picked Kairi based on seeding and KH2, yet she is completely untested and likely only got the seeding because of how fodder-y the female half was. On Claire's side, we've at least seen her in action before with some strength, even if Tidus has since bombed to hell and back since his glory days of 2002-2003. Matches where we have no stats to go on and both characters have good chances of winning are always the best.
Kairi began the match with an expected bracket vote surge, and she kept up her momentum en route to a lead of over 500 after just over 90 minutes. But she never took full control of the match, and just like during Castlevania/Kingdom Hearts in the series contest, a night vote beast would put KH back on its heels.
1:40 into the match, Kairi had a 535 vote lead. 5 minutes later, Claire shot that thing down to 463 and just kept on rolling from there. RE's historically good night vote took over, and after a stall effort from Kairi in which she pushed her lead back over 500, Claire took control of the night. It was a painstaking process for her for quite awhile thanks to a ton of Kairi stalling, but the dead of night allowed Claire to push the lead under 200.
Unfortunately, the morning vote hit Claire like a storm surge and Kairi was back over 500 in no time. But then all of the kids went to school, and Claire once again found herself chipping away bit by bit. Her breakthrough finally came around lunchtime. 10:40 into the match, Kairi was up by 300 votes. It took Claire one hour to gain the lead for the first time, and she used the rest of the in-school vote very well; by the time the kids got out of school, Claire had a 500 vote lead of her own.
Here's where the fun really began. Now for starters, Smurf more or less bragged about vote-stuffing for Claire and got himself axed during the match. Whether or not he actually did will always be 'officially' unknown, but it's very rare for someone to get an axe for simply joking about cheating during a match that wasn't all that close.
And regardless, it didn't even matter in the end. All Kingdom Hearts fans and contest veterans knew what was coming, which was KH yet again laying waste to some poor sap during the day vote. KH came back against Soul Calibur twice during the day. Riku gave Frog a mild scare during the day. Sora turned an even match with Alucard into a joke during the day. Ansem, despite being in trouble against CATS for hours, laid waste to him once the day vote came along. And these are just famous example of KH winning matches this way; it's cut off a ton of percentage during the day vote in almost all of its losses as well.
Claire Redfield would end up the next sap in line for a KH day vote beating. At 2:25 EST, Claire was up by 500 votes on Kairi. It didn't even take an hour and a half for Kairi to erase all of that, and Kairi went absolutely berserk on Claire once she caught up to her. Claire's 500 vote lead turned into getting her face kicked in by almost 4500 votes by match's end. This rivals the great vote swings ever seen in contests, and turned a pretty good match into a one-sided joke. Claire was 9 and a half hours away from what would have been a pretty nice upset, but not a lot of people are going to remember that; instead, the KH day vote archive was being set in stone.
Regardless of who you were pulling for here, put some perspective on what Kairi did here. In all three KH games, the only action she takes that I like her for is the KH1 ending sequence. It's an amazing sequence and I love her for it, but you'll never hear me saying anything about how deep she is. She does hardly anything in any of the games, despite the story virtually revolving around Sora and Riku's shared love for her. And yet because of the series she stars in, she kicked the holy hell out of what RE fans consider an elite. Um... ouch?
KH2F confirmed. I don't think there's a chance in hell Kairi wins this if this match is held in 2005, but we'll never really know. What I can say for sure is that a handful of RE characters could certainly use a leading role or two in upcoming RE games, assuming they're as good as 4.
Match Trends Edit
Ed Bellis' Analysis Edit
It’s funny how it’s often the most inconsequential matches that prove the most exciting. This first-round tossup was more exciting than almost all of the other female bracket matches put together (which isn’t saying that much, but still). I’m pretty sure there were a bunch of lead changes (again, IIRC), with Claire leading for the morning and Kairi coming back with the afterschool vote, though it was a very neck-and-neck battle. It’s rare nowadays that a big-name match gets as much excitement as smaller ones do (this year being the exception – thanks, L-Block); four matches in and people were already eliminated from the Guru, including master predictor yoblazer.