Aside: I guess I’m doing this at the rate of 4 games a year now. It’s quite a bit of writing for a silly side project.
Despite all the controversy and logistical problems, the tournament managed to wrap up its first day of activities before 2:00 a.m. The games ended about three hours behind schedule, mostly due to the protest of The NHK but also due to the need to replace the court floor in between games. The transmutations used during the Fullmetal Alchemist game caused the wooden floor to be more mangled than a forest after a tornado. The winning teams returned to the luxury suites in the hotel specifically constructed in the middle of the Nevada desert for this event. The losing teams were allowed to remain in their respective suites or return home through the interdimensional summoning portal in the basement of the hotel, but all the teams (besides The NHK) decided to stay for the remainder of the tournament.
After an uneventful night, the games resumed the following morning.
Haruhi Suzumiya Series (1) vs. Clannad Series (8)
Haruhi Suzumiya Series “SOS Brigade”
- Haruhi Suzumiya (PG)
- Yuki Nagato (SG)
- Kyon (C)
- Itsuki Koizumi (F)
- Tsuruya (F)
- Mikuru Asahina (Cheerleader)
Clannad Series “Hikarizaka Bakers”
- Tomoya Okazaki (PG)
- Tomoyo Sakagami (SG)
- Akio Furukawa (C)
- Misae Sagara (F)
- Kyou Fujibashi (F)
- Nagisa Furukawa (Coach/Cheerleader)
The “SOS Brigade,” the highest ranked team despite not having the flashy supernatural abilities of other teams, was simply glad to get past the first round. “I really don’t know much about basketball,” coach Nagisa Furukawa said during pregame warmups. “I’m just hoping to cheer on Tomoya and the others and… hope they do their best!” she said with a fierce look of determination.
Meanwhile the Haruhi team was huddled on the other sidelines trying to figure out how to outwit their opponents. While not able to match their size and speed man for man, Haruhi hoped to use trickery and deception to their advantage by creating complicated plays she expected Kyon to memorize. Kyon, already exhausted from doing research most of the previous night when his team had to play the first game in the morning, let most of Haruhi’s words wash over him.
The game was close at first. Haruhi’s “trick plays” looked more like things she had seen on online videos of the Harlem Globetrotters rather than legitimate basketball plays. While some of them worked like taking shots from half court and some behind the back passing, the SOS Brigade was not practiced enough to do the more complicated maneuvers like the figure 8, and ended up turning the ball over more than a dozen times in the first half alone.
With the score tied at 20 at halftime, Kyon asked Nagato whether she could help them win the game like she had with the baseball tournament the previous year. Nagato just said coldly, “It is better for Haruhi to lose this game and not be aware of the limitations of my abilities. Even if I were able to help you win this game, we would have a 99.53% chance to lose in the next round. A loss in the next round is far more likely to cause Haruhi to damage the world than a loss in this round.”
“Then are you going to do anything to make sure we lose this game?” Kyon asked.
Yuki said nothing.
The second half went progressively worse for the SOS Brigade. Tomoya, being an experienced basketball player, told his team to play aggressive and in the faces of the Brigade members to prevent them from doing their tricks. The tired and frustrated SOS Brigade crumbled as they kept turning the ball over and missed wide open shots. Tomoya and Tomoyo carried the Bakers with their speed and the game got out of hand rather quickly. Tomoyo led the Bakers with 28 points in what became a relatively lopsided upset.
Haruhi was surprisingly upbeat in the post game interview. She said, “The tournament was getting boring so we basically threw the game. We could have won if we really wanted to.” Koizumi and Kyon exchanged knowing looks behind her.
Final score: SOS Brigade 31 – Hikarizaka Bakers 45
Durarara (4) vs. Spirited Away (5)
Durarara!! “The Dollars”
- Celty Sturluson (PG)
- Izaya Orihara (SG/Coach)
- Simon Brezhenev (C)
- Shizuo Heiwajima (F)
- Kyohei Kadota (F)
Spirited Away “Bathhouse Ghosts”
This match between the 4 and 5 seeds of the tournament was the most highly anticipated game of the second round. Both teams had handily defeated their opponents in the first round by a combined score of 232-40. There were players and spectators alike that believed that both teams were underrated, especially with Haruhi’s shenanigans throwing the seeding of the whole tournament off. None of the other teams wanted to practice or relax during this game. They were in the stands with the rest of the spectators, glued to the spectacle between two powerhouse teams.
Unfortunately, the actual match didn’t even come close to living up to the hype. Coach Izaya Orihara of The Dollars had spent the previous evening analyzing the film from the Bathhouse Ghosts game against “FG 37.3 Elite Basketball Squad (name subject to change)” from Steins;Gate and devised the perfect gameplan to neutralize their playmakers. Like in the previous game, Boh fouled out early, primarily due to having to guard Dollars center Simon Brezhenev who, despite behind significantly smaller than Boh, was able to catch passes in front of the giant baby and drive to the net. The Dollars exploited the fact that outside of Haku, the Bathhouse Ghosts lacked severely in speed, something The Dollars excelled at particularly guards Izaya Orihara and Celty Sturluson. Stretching the floor wore out the Bathhouse Ghosts to the point where Haku in dragon form was the only player able to get back on defense.
The second half was not even close, with the Bathhouse Ghosts barely managing 5 points for the entire half. Haku fouled out with more than 5 minutes left in the game, and coach Zeniba decided to throw in the towel rather than play more 5v3. Kamaji was the unsung hero for the Bathhouse Ghosts blocking 11 shots. Izaya declared confidently in the post game interview, “I love human beings. I can’t wait to see what they come up with in the next round.” He let out a hearty laugh.
Final Score: The Dollars 96 – Bathhouse Ghosts 35 (forfeit)
Madoka Series (2) vs. Cowboy BeBop (7)
Madoka Series “Magica Quintet”
Cowboy Bebop “BB Swing”
The atmosphere in the arena after the thorough dismantling of the Bathhouse Ghosts was rather grim. Spectators didn’t stick around for the following game, and most of the players who had been in the stands returned to the hotel for practice and relaxation. The arena was nearly empty save for the players, officials, and a few people who had been drinking through the previous two games and couldn’t bother to move from their seats.
Unlike the previous game, the matchup between the Magica Quintet and BB Swing was surprisingly entertaining. While Magica Quintet was a coordinated, powerful squad of magical girls, their coach Kyubey had not adequately prepared them to handle the size of team BB Swing. At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied 15-15 with the humans from the Cowboy BeBop squad surprisingly holding their own. This is when one of the most shocking revelations of the tournament occurred. Domino Walker, BB Swing’s bumbling forward who always seemed to be tripping on psychedelic mushrooms, removed his mask and appeared to magically grow another foot taller, revealing himself to be Abul Hakim. The master of disguise had decided to finally reveal his trump card, and the Magica Quintet was shaken for the first time the entire tournament. Hakim’s 6’ 2” 233 pound frame was ideal for bullying out the undersized girls, and by halftime BB Swing had a slight edge with a 31-28 lead.
Unfortunately for BB Swing, Kyubey made halftime adjustments that showcased why Magica Quintet had been seeded #2 overall in the tournament. Madoka and Sayaka used magic to fly above the Viscious and Hakim allowing them to get easy passing lanes in 3 dimensions rather than just in the plane of the court. Mami, although playing center, was able to dexterously outmaneuver Jet Black with her superior speed. Finally, if the going got rough, Homura would just freeze time and steal the ball back. She didn’t want to do it too much as it did take a lot of energy, but once Magica Quintet started using their powers, they were able to pull ahead enough to secure the easy win. BB Swing protested (especially with the time manipulation powers), but the officials determined that it was within the rules of the tournament and allowed the result to stand.
Final Score: Magica Quintet 67 – BB Swing 56
Monogatari Series (3) vs. Fullmetal Alchemist (6)
Monogatari Series “Araragi’s Harem”
- Suruga Kanbaru (PG)
- Rouka Numachi (SG)
- Hitagi Senjougahara (C)
- Tsubasa Hanekawa (F) (“black” form)
- Shinobu Oshino (F) (“kiss shot” form)
- Koyomi Araragi (Coach)
Fullmetal Alchemist “Sacred Stars”
- Alphonse Elric (C)
- Edward Elric (SG)
- Roy Mustang (F)
- Alex Louis Armstrong (F)
- Greed (PG)
- Barry the Chopper (Coach)
The Fullmetal Alchemist team had spent the previous evening working on their team chemistry. While they easily rolled over the Cool Cats from Whisper of the Heart, the “State Alchemists + Greed” team name was a point of contention for all members of the group since it seemed rushed, boring, and passive aggressive. In a surprising showing of self awareness, they renamed the team the “Sacred Stars” after a story from the Elrics travels. Forward Roy Mustang asked Barry the Chopper what his gameplan would be for Araragi’s Harem, but Barry simply shrugged his shoulders and said he didn’t know anything about basketball and wasn’t sure why he was made coach in the first place.
Araragi’s Harem from the Monogatari franchise was well rested from the fact that they didn’t have to play a game in the previous round, but coach Araragi was worried that their lack of preparation could leave them vulnerable for an upset. Watching Haruhi’s team fall earlier in the day made him even more worried since he felt that the Fullmetal Alchemist squad was stronger than their seeding suggested. Forward Tsubasa Hanekawa reassured him saying, “Dont’ worry. I’ve been researching their tendencies, and I have a plan to win in case things get out of hand.”
The game started as normal, with both sides holding off using any special abilities. Guards Suruga Kanbaru and Rouka Numachi were able to consistently outplay the Sacred Stars players with their superior ball handling and experience, but the size of the Sacred Stars defense, especially center Alphonse Elric and forward Alex Louis Armstrong kept the game low scoring, with the halftime score being a mere 18-12 in favor of Araragi’s Harem. After halftime, the Elric brothers started to turn up the use of their alchemy powers, transmuting the wood in the floor to create extra defenders and maneuver around the Monogatari players. With the score tied at 25 heading into the fourth quarter, Coach Araragi called a time-out and told Hanekawa, “I think it’s time you used whatever special strategy you came up with.” Hanekawa nodded and transformed into her “black Hanekawa” form, the harming cat. When Sacred Stars inbounded the ball, Hanekawa immediately grabbed forward Roy Mustang and energy drained him, causing him to collapse to the floor. For a moment it seemed that all hell was about to break loose, but Alphonse and Araragi held their teams back from engaging in a full fledged brawl. The officials sorted the situation out, and decided to give Hanekawa a double technical, disqualifying her from the game with further disciplinary action to possibly come later.
The ploy worked in favor of Araragi’s Harem however, as without Roy Mustang, the Sacred Stars seemed to have no leader. Edward Elric tried to fill the shoes as “captain” but he was no match for the skilled guards of the Monogatari series, and eventually got frustrated, missing simple passes and open looks. The crowd was firmly against Araragi’s Harem at that point for their underhanded antics, but it didn’t seem to bother the players as they managed to hang on for the win.
After the game it was announced that Hanekawa would be suspended for the next round and that as coach, Araragi would be the only one eligible to substitute for his team.
Final Score: Araragi’s Harem 37 – Sacred Stars 30