|Match Date||Tuesday, July 22nd, 2003|
|Kirby - 80.03%|
Like with so many other new characters in 2003, Ramza was vastly overestimated and hyped for no real reason. It was a common theme all through the contest, and maybe it's because the large board traffic caused it all to be more noticeable. At any rate, this match was debated fairly loudly even before the contest started. And as more and more people began to notice that Square characters were kicking ass in this thing, the Ramza > Kirby upset buzz grew louder as match day drew near. Final Fantasy Tactics was a widely respected game right from FF7's time period, so why couldn't Ramza be popular?
Probably because no one outside the FFT circle knows who in the hell Ramza even is, and the people who know that Ramza is the main character of FFT but haven't played the game had no reason to vote for him other than to hope for the upset. He has no name appeal at all, and he isn't like other FF characters of the time period who can draw votes without requiring much help. On the other hand, Kirby had a disappointing 2002 to make up for and just the situation to do it in. Yet Alucard/Kirby/Ramza hype marched on.
Alucard/Kirby was a match worth discussing, but as everyone found out seconds after the match began, Ramza had no upset potential whatsoever in this match and this fourpack was a two horse race from the beginning. But with this said, even though Ramza couldn't actually pull off the upset of Kirby he still had a fairly decent showing. Even as a 14 seed and with only 20% of brackets on his side, Ramza began the match with over 40% of the votes and did not go under later on like most cultish characters tend to do in these things. It was a fairly odd performance from both sides, but above everything it perhaps showed that Kirby was overrated in 2002 after all. Giving up 42.34% to a cult character (I love FFT and all, but let's be honest here) isn't ever a good sign, especially when you're a 14 seed with 80% of brackets behind you and were up against a "Here, blow out this guy en route to having an actual match" type of opponent.
Granted Ramza may have overperformed due to all of the upset hype, but 42.34% seems a bit high for such a case. There was upset hype all over Ness, and he was tripled with ease. This could have meant several things for Kirby, the most obvious of which being that he was in real trouble in the next round if he didn't step up his game fairly quickly. It was also one of many warning signs that 2003 was Square's year, but that's something to delve into much later.