Stats and Analysis Edit
|Match Date||Tuesday, August 31st, 2004|
|Ryu Hayabusa - 59.99%|
63 for - 2 against
|Ryu Hayabusa - 48.56%|
One of the biggest tossup matches in Round One of 2004’s contest (and heck, one of the only tossup matches in the entire friggin’ thing) actually managed to live up to the hype. Jill and Ryu fought back and forth all damn day, and just as Ryu pulled ahead, with Jill pulling ahead first and Ryu eventually gaining the lead. Back and forth, back and forth, and… what’s this? A glitch in the poll? Turns out on half of the servers, the previous day’s match was still being displayed. Whoops!
"What happen" indeed. The match was reran the next day, with the hype factor being even louder. According to Ulti, taking both matches into account, there were a total of eight comebacks throughout the match. That’s absurd, and easily worthy of being one of the best matches in contest history.
Match Trends Edit
When the bracket was first released, there were the usual number of debates matches in the first round. But Ryu Hayabusa and Jill Valentine was the match in round one. Not only was this match difficult to call right from the start, but it was widely believed that the winner of the match had a free pass into the Sweet 16 simply because of Jill Valentine placing so far ahead of Sora in the 2003 Xsts.
Unlike most debated matches, both sides of this match had a very convincing argument going into it. Ryu Hayabusa, despite being a newcomer to the contest, had a strong case as to why he should win the match. Ryu may not have been in the contest before, but he had a good history in the gaming world with his NES Ninja Gaiden series and his appearances in the Dead or Alive games. When you add in Ryu's recent Ninja Gaiden title on the Xbox and the fact that Xbox fans are very loyal when it comes to voting for their system, Ryu Hayabusa had a decent advantage over Jill Valentine in the match. Ryu also had history on his side, as the only 3 seed to ever lose in the first round of a contest was Gordon Freeman in 2002. But the problem with Ryu Hayabusa is that he was completely untested in a contest environment. It could easily be argued that Ryu Hayabusa could be as strong as the theories all suggested, but the fact of the matter is that no one knew what to expect from him. Ninja Gaiden's Xbox title only sold around half a million copies, which is around the same number of sales from Viewtiful Joe's title for the Gamecube. We all know how well that turned out.
On the other side of this was a character whose strength has been seen in the contest twice in the past. Jill Valentine put out a solid performance in 2002, and despite falling off a bit in 2003, she was still a character to be recognized in the contest setting. The large debate in this match came from two sources. First of all, Jill Valentine is an established contest character whose strength has been verified from having done well in the contest for two years. Secondly, take a look at the 2003 Xsts. Jill Valentine is just under Master Chief in strength. How could a secondary Xbox character have the strength necessary to take down Jill Valentine if Master Chief himself could only have just enough conceivable strength to take her down? For Ryu Hayabusa to win this match, he would have to hope for Jill Valentine to take a drop in popularity between 2003 and 2004, and even though this was possible due to her drop between 2002 and 2003, relying on a drop in popularity to win a match is not a good thing to rely on in a contest poll.
Another interesting number to look at would be Jill Valentine's vote totals across the 2002 and 2003 contests. She had been in five matches, and in three of them, she managed to score within a 1700 vote range around the 38000 vote mark. Given the vote totals from the Spring Contest, how close the match was expected to be, and how neither character involved in the match had the mainstream GameFAQs support to shoot the vote totals through the roof in a close match, Jill Valentine was primed to score at around that same 38000 total in this match. The question was, would 38000 votes be enough to take down Ryu Hayabusa? One could easily argue that Ryu was a cultish type of character going into the match, so a low-scoring match between the two was not out of the question.
When the numbers were all crunched, the final result was that we had a match that was seemingly up in the air from the start. Both characters had an amazing argument for themselves going into it, and the only thing left to do was to actually have the match. For the first time in the entire contest, we actually had a match in which neither character could conceivably be favored over the other due to multiple outside factors.
As the match drew closer and closer, everyone knew all of these numbers by heart. We finally had a match in this contest in which both characters had a solid case to make for themselves, and both sides of the board argued the points quite well. We had waited for this match all contest, and the solid intensity of the anticipation was only magnified by the fact that everyone felt that the match was worth three points. The weight of the upcoming duel between these two characters soon grew to a deafening pace, and eventually the entire board was on the edge of their seats in anticipation of a match that hadn't even started yet.
At long last, CJayC slapped the poll up, and it was game on for these two characters. Ryu Hayabusa jumped out to a small early lead with the backing of the massive board support that he had, but Jill Valentine was not about to back down. She struck back with a passion after withstanding the initial onslaught, and soon managed to come back in the poll. Not only did she come back, but she began taking it to Ryu Hayabusa with a fury. Jill Valentine began drawing off of the support given to her by the mainstream success of the Resident Evil series as a whole, and she soon began building a lead on the favored Ryu Hayabusa.
....but something was drastically wrong. The characters were doing their part, but for some reason, the vote totals were far lower than expected. Before long, everyone had figured out what was wrong. Thanks to a server error, the poll was glitched. The Ryu/Jill poll was only displayed on the home page roughly half of the time, thanks to half of the servers never updating. On said servers, the Sora/HK-47 match was still being displayed. But regardless of this, the people who were eagerly anticipating the match knew exactly where to vote. The issue came with the lost casual votes. If someone were to go to the home page and still see the Sora/HK-47 match, then they would have no reason to think twice about what was going on. It is impossible to know where all of these casual votes would have gone, though history has proven that casual votes usually compliment the voting pattern of the hardcore votes. But even still, a match that had so much promise soon turned into a match that many people viewed under protest. Many people wanted the poll to restarted after knowledge of the glitch was released, and despite the fact that a lot of people disagreed with this sentiment, many people agreed with the fact that the poll should be restarted. The stereotype among these arguments was that the Ryu Hayabusa supporters wanted a restart because their character was losing, and the Jill supporters wanted to leave the poll along because Jill was in the middle of pulling away in the poll. The reality was that a great deal of those who favored a restart, myself included, simply wanted a fair match.
However, it seemed as if the cries for a restart were not being heard. The poll was left running even with the glitch, and there was no word whatsoever from CJayC. Considering that we were in the middle of a heated battle with no other choice, we all went with what we had and continued to pay attention to the poll that we had instead of the poll that we would likely never see.
Everyone had accepted the glitch's place in the poll, and because of this, everyone got back to enjoying the match at hand. Jill had begun to slightly pull away, but when the morning vote hit, Ryu Hayabusa began to make a comeback of his own. Jill tried her best to avoid the surge, but before she knew what had hit her, Ryu Hayabusa had used the momentum of his surge to tie the match up.
But once again, Jill Valentine refused to roll over in the match. After Ryu made his push to even out the match, Jill Valentine quickly recovered and started to pull away with the late morning vote. It was somewhat of a slow advance, but it was an advance that allowed Jill to take a lead of a few hundred votes on Ryu.
Not to be outdone, Ryu Hayabusa used the afternoon vote to stem the tide and begin a small comeback of his own. It was agonizingly slow, but this was more the glitch's fault than it was Ryu Hayabusa's. Ryu's push into Jill's lead was slow at first, but Ryu eventually built up some steam en route to using the traditional Microsoft afternoon vote to his advantage. Before Jill even knew what hit her, Ryu was hot on her tail. Around the time that the evening arrived, Ryu Hayabusa had managed to pull even with Jill yet again. After yet another struggle from the two characters during their phase of being tied, Ryu completed his comeback once and for all. He started pulling away from Jill once and for all during the evening vote, and as the hours wore on, Ryu built his lead to over 400 votes. After a very hard-fought match between the two characters, it seemed as if Ryu had proven to be the more popular character on this day. Jill was periodically stalling Ryu's attempts to increase his lead, but Ryu was doing more than enough to prove that he was in control of the match. All he had to do was hold on for another 5 and a half hou--
IN A.D. 2101 GLITCH WAS BEGINNING
RYU H: WHAT HAPPEN ?
JILL: SOMEBODY SET UP US THE GLITCH.
BOARD 8: WE GET TOPIC.
RYU H: WHAT !
BOARD 8: MAIN TOPIC TURN ON.
RYU H: IT'S YOU !!
CJAYC: HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMAN !!
CJAYC: ALL YOUR POLL ARE BELONG TO US.
CJAYC: YOU ARE ON THE WAY TO RESTART.
RYU H: WHAT YOU SAY !!
CJAYC: YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO FINISH MAKE YOUR TIME.
CJAYC: HA HA HA HA ....
RYU H: TAKE OFF EVERY 'VOTE' !!
RYU H: YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DOING.
RYU H: MOVE 'VOTE'.
RYU H: FOR GREAT JUSTICE.
The long explanation: It took until there were just over 5 hours left in the poll for CJayC to realize that there was a problem with the poll, but he eventually noticed that something was wrong. Instead of looking at the voting trend and deciding that Ryu Hayabusa had the match won, he did the right thing and restarted the poll. Most people wanted the poll to be restarted, but it was unfortunate that it took so long for CJayC to realize what was happening. But even still, the right thing was being done in this case. The problem is that because so much of the poll had already been completed, restarting the poll on the next day would likely only cause problems. But more on that in a minute.
The quick explanation: http://www.gamefaqscontests.com/gallery/albums/sc2k4/sum04b30oops.png
Genius. Pure genius.
With CATS' decision to force Ryu Hayabusa and Jill Valentine to restart their poll, the tension of the match only grew even higher. The two had already fought each other like brahma bulls on sugar highs once as it was, and now they were to do it all over again. A lot of questions were raised about how the restart would go, and whether or not it was even necessary in the first place. Ryu Hayabusa was very much in control of the match when the restart was announced, and when you add in the fact that almost 19 hours of the poll had already taken place, restarting the poll because of a glitch seemed illogical. For one, the vote totals of a second poll would be rather low, as a good deal of the people who voted in the first poll would have little reason to vote in a restarted poll unless they were closely following the contest.
Another good point that was brought up was how the restart would affect the voting patterns. Would the Jill Valentine supporters come out in force, knowing that they were essentially being given a second chance? Would the Ryu Hayabusa suporters counter this support, knowing full well that they would need to? And what would be the purpose of announcing a restart so late in the glitched poll in the first place? It was somewhat obvious that Ryu was in control, and should Jill be able to use a restarted poll to her advantage and win, it could have meant chaos. It was fair to restart the poll, but not after 75% of the poll was complete in the first place. There was no evidence that the voting pattern would not have been the same had there not been a glitch, and restarting the poll after no much time had elapsed was an odd decision.
Regardless of the risks involved, CATS' decision is the word of Jesus himself. Going against His prophecies means certain death at the hands of gotspork and the CATS Army, and in an effort to avoid a Board 8 civil war, the decision was accepted by most of the masses. There is no ****ing with gotspork or CATS around these parts. Period. Death is the only consequence of any rebellious intent.
After the debates on whether or not the poll restart being an acceptable decision were over, the attention soon turned to the match at hand. Not only did the debate from the night before rage on, but now there were concrete numbers to work with. And despite the fact that Ryu Hayabusa was in control after 75% of the first poll was done and over with, it took a comeback for him to do it. It was unlikely that Jill Valentine would simply roll over and let him have the match after being given a second chance, so Ryu Hayabusa would once again be in the fight of his life. After much deliberation, discussion, and analysis of the numbers already at hand, there was only one thing left to do: take the two characters and let them go at it one more time.
With the agonizing wait finally over, we were finally able to see Ryu Hayabusa and Jill Valentine ripping into each other once more. Ryu Hayabusa opened up the restarted poll by jumping out to the early lead, but like the first poll, Jill Valentine did not take it lying down. She withstood the initial push from Ryu Hayabusa, and began making a comeback that was eerily similar to the first poll. And much like the first poll, Jill Valentine managed to come back and fight with Ryu for positioning before finally pulling away with a lead.
But once again, Ryu Hayabusa's ninja skills took over. Despite Jill's best efforts to pull away in the match, Ryu Hayabusa constantly made small efforts here and there to cut into Jill's slim lead and make a comeback of his own. When the morning vote kicked in, he finally managed to get just enough support necessary to cancel out Jill's lead and make just enough of a push to tie the match up again. But yet again, Jill Valentine refused to die. After watching Ryu build a minimal lead of his own, Jill Valentine finally made the move that she had been trying to make since the beginning of this marathon match. She used the late morning vote to not only pull away from Ryu Hayabusa, but she also began to bury him. What was once a very close match had quickly hit everyone by surprise as Jill Valentine began pulling away in a manner that made the match look completely out of reach for Ryu Hayabusa. It was less about who would win the match at this point, and more about how large a margin Jill Valentine would have at the end. Ryu Hayabusa may have made a comeback in the first poll, but Jill Valentine turned a close match into a 970 vote lead for herself in a matter of a few short hours. All that was left to do at this point was to finish out the rest of the poll and avoid the massive whining that was to come from the Ryu Hayabusa supporters that would claim that they had already won the match the day prior. To think that the Ryu supporters had not already started making this claim by this point in the match was absurd. There was a lot of "Ryu already won this match, and what is going on right now is complete BS" sentiment all across the board, and unlike most contest whining, this was actually warranted.
But as if possessed by some unseen force, Ryu Hayabusa soon began one of the most memorable comebacks in contest history. When the afternoon voting block began, Ryu Hayabusa began his imminent march to history by stopping Jill Valentine from increasing her lead to anything above 970. After a small bit of struggling, Ryu Hayabusa began slowly cutting into Jill Valentine's lead. It was a meaningless advance at first, but he soon began building up more and more speed until he managed to cut the lead down to 900 votes. No one really bothered to notice what was going on, and people instead chose to take part in the various "Ryu may be losing, but he already won this match once" arguments going on all over the place. Ryu Hayabusa responded to this by slow, methodically cutting another 100 votes off of Jill Valentine's lead. It was down to 800 by this point, but despite a couple of OMFG RYU IS MAKING TEH COMEBACK!!1 topics, people didn't pay much mind to what was going on. For some reason, most of the Ryu supporters still felt that Ryu had little to no chance of winning this match despite his comeback efforts.
And in response to his own fans choosing to ignore him for the benefit of arguing a seemingly meaningless cause, Ryu Hayabusa's resolve only grew stronger. As if to give his fans a reason to stop complaining, his comeback speed soon grew even faster. One way or another, someone was bound to take notice of what was going on sooner or later.
Despite what was going on on the board, Ryu Hayabusa began to build up some real steam in his comeback effort. Before Jill Valentine even knew what had happened, Ryu Hayabusa drastically turned the momentum of the match in his favor. What was once a 970 vote lead for Jill Valentine soon became 900, then 800, then 700, then 600. By the time Ryu Hayabusa managed to cut the lead down to 500 votes, word of the events within the poll finally caught the attention of the Hayabusa fans who were so fiercely arguing their case as to how they were being screwed by the poll restart.
The entire site was seemingly keyed in on the events of the match, and Ryu Hayabusa did not let the sudden attention to the poll divert him from his mission. As if he felt the glow from the eyes of those rooting for him, he turned up the heat on Valentine even more. With the aid of what was now the traditional Microsoft day vote, Hayabusa began tearing into Valentine's lead even faster than he was prior to people taking notice of his efforts, and by the time the evening rolled around, he and Valentine were dead even. Not only did Jill Valentine do little to nothing to stop Hayabusa from coming back, but the traditional "fight as hard as you can while even in the poll" support was minimal at best after Hayabusa tied up the poll. It wasn't until Hayabusa began building a lead of his own did Jill Valentine finally breath some life back into the poll. Hayabusa was still building on his lead, but once the poll drew into the evening hours, Jill started slowing down his advance, and eventually drew it to a complete stop.
By the time the restarted poll reached the point of the first poll's end, Ryu Hayabusa had a lead of roughly 450 votes. The voting pattern of the second poll followed the same exact pattrn of the first one, but with two notable exceptions. The voting gaps that the two characters came back from were larger than they were in the first poll, but despite this, the vote totals were actually much lower than they were in the first poll.
This was to be expected, of course. But even with the lower vote totals, Ryu Hayabusa, despite getting a huge fight from Jill Valentine once again, proved that his performance in the first poll was no fluke. On two consecutive days, he managed to consecutive comebacks, and after the second poll, he once again found himself in complete control of things. Jill Valentine had stopped him from building his lead, but this was doing little more than assuring a 50-50 split from the incoming votes. Jill was proving to be no threat, and if this continued, then Ryu Hayabusa would need to do little more than keep the split going in order to win the match with relative ease.
For the next few hours, this is exactly what was happening. Jill Valentine and Ryu Hayabusa split the vote virtually evenly once the late evening voting block kicked in, and Jill Valentine even managed to take a slight advantage as the evening wore on. But her advantage was minimal at best as she took four hours to cut Hayabusa's lead down from 450 to 300 votes. It was becoming evidently clear that despite the fact that Jill Valentine had given Ryu Hayabusa the fight of his life for two days, Jill Valentine was on her way to a very drawn-out, heartbreaking defeat.
But if there was one constant in this match, it was the absolute unexpected. No one could have known what was to happen next, not even the most loyal of Jill Valentine fans.
As the final hour of the match began, Jill Valentine did little more than continue at the pace that she had been maintaining for the last four hours. She was cutting into Hayabusa's lead, but it was nothing to be concerned about. After a few minutes however, Jill Valentine built up a slight amount of speed. It was nothing to cause any concern, but it allowed Valentine to cut the lead down to 250 with around 30 minutes left in the match.
But right when everyone began to relax after watching one of the most exciting matches to date reach a resolution, Jill Valentine put on a push that would make Starcraft itself jealous. As if 2:30 AM EST was her cue to start raising hell on the poll, Jill Valentine began flat-out exploding once 2:30 came and past. It was a stagnant push at first, but it soon became faster and faster until those watching the poll began to have flashbacks of Starcraft's miracles in the spring. What was a 250 vote lead soon became 240, and Jill then cut it to 230 at an even faster pace. When Jill realized that her pace was not quite fast enough, she put on even more pressure in an effort to come back in the poll.
However, despite Jill Valentine's best efforts to make one of the single most shocking comebacks in contest history, she was still working against the clock. With ten minutes left in the poll, even after her virtual orgasm set the poll itself on fire, Jill Valentine still found herself down by 100 votes with 10 minutes left to go. Never one to give up a fight, Jill Valentine began to make a push that was even more fierce than before. Jill Valentine took every cry of "She'll never make it in time!" and used it as extra motivation for herself. That 100 vote lead soon became 90, then 80, then 70, then 60.
Jill Valentine made every effort that she possibly could to cap off the miracle comeback. Despite the fact that she was working against low vote totals, the clock, the fact that few votes were coming in, and the fact that most of the board support was going against her, she brushed it all aside and cared about nothing more than coming back in the poll. What was a 250 vote lead with 30 minutes to go became a 100 vote lead with 10 minutes to go, and from there a 50 vote lead with 5 minutes to go. But for all the effort that Jill gave to finally get to the mathematical pace necessary to come back in the match, Ryu Hayabusa did just enough to hold her off for those final five minutes. When the lead was 50 votes with 5 minutes to go, Ryu Hayabusa started fighting her off just enough to keep her under the pace necessary to come back, and as the minutes wore on, Jill's pace was slowing down at a constant rate. It took Jill Valentine almost two minutes to cut the lead from 50 to 40, and it took her another two minutes to cut the lead from 40 to 30.
It may have taken a rather long time for Hayabusa to take notice of Jill's efforts, but he managed to do just enough at just the right time. In the end, Hayabusa's slight counterattack within those final five minutes was just enough to save him from disaster. Valentine may have been able to cap off her comeback had there been another two or three minutes for her to work with, but even though CATS was nice enough to give us two polls for the price of one, CATS also decided to stop the poll at exactly 3 AM. When he did so, Ryu Hayabusa found himself up by 27 votes, and barely clinging to the last shred of life he had remaining. He had won the poll, but Jill Valentine had taken him to the absolute brink in the match. If there was ever an example of being saved by the sell, Ryu Hayabusa was it.
After the dust settled from the poll, there was really nothing left to do but appreciate what had just taken place. The poll had taken place twice, and when you combined everything together, there were a combined eight comebacks. EIGHT COMEBACKS!! And there would have been nine had Jill Valentine started her final push all of five minutes sooner. She may have lost, but seeing what she did in those final 30 minutes was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen in one of these contests. Hell, the entire match was amazing. To have a match see such a large amount of hype and exceed them all with such relative ease is a rare sight. No matter who you were rooting for, this match should go down as one of the greatest of all time. It was simply that amazing to watch. Not only that, but we got to watch it all twice. This match was legendary without Jill's final push, but when you add in what she did, this match was truly the personification of tension.
The aftermath of a match like this was obvious. The board went crazy. But lost in all of this for quite some time was the prediction percentage. As a 14 seed, Jill Valentine was actually favored. in the match. To my knowledge, this has never happened before. What this symbolizes to me is that Hayabusa did not win this match as much as Valentine herself lost it. If the seedings were reversed, there is little doubt that Valentine would have won. But the seedings weren't reversed, and Ryu Hayabusa was able to ride the Microsoft day vote all the way to victory in a match that wound up breaking the record previously held by Sonic/Samus 2002 as being the closest match of all time. Even better for Ryu was that because he had enough power to take down Jill Valentine, he had more than enough power to take down Sora. We all know what would wind up happening there, but at the time of ths match's conclusion, this was the common belief.
As for why the two characters were able to do what they did, this was covered in length before the match even begun. Both characters had a solid fanbase to draw from, even though the Resident Evil fanbase is much larger than the Ninja Gaiden line. In fact, it's difficult to figure out exactly how Ryu was able to pull this out when Resident Evil sales are compared to Ninja Gaiden sales. The only thing I can really come up with is the fact that Resident Evil isn't respected on GameFAQs as much as it is to a mainstream audience. Regardless, Ryu Hayabusa won the match. Twice. Whether this was due to board support, Xbox support, fighting game support, or any combination of the three, the fact of the matter was that Ryu Hayabusa managed to win.
An odd theory would be that Ryu Hayabusa winning this match despite having so many things stacked against him would be due to a large drop for Jill Valentine. But this would mean that Sora would theoretically be strong enough to take down Ryu, and considering that Ryu/Jill was practically a guaranteed three points, considering such a possibility was insane.
.....or was it? ~_^