Welcome to Anime March Madness! We put a spin on episodic coverage by dropping a bunch of shows into a bracket and pitting them against each other, week after week, until a champion is crowned. The catch? If a series loses two matches, it’s dropped for the remainder of the tournament – no exceptions.

Week 1 of each new season will be dedicated to watching and ranking all the first episodes I can get my hands on. From there the top 16 shows will be seeded into the bracket, and the matchups for the following week will be set. To win a match, all a series needs to do is be more entertaining than the other guy. The less fortunate anime will be moved to the losers bracket, where one more defeat could end their tournament run, but that crucial third episode might also set them on a hot streak all the way back to the finals!

So what makes one anime more or less entertaining than any other, especially if they occupy different genres? Ultimately, the winner of each matchup will be the show that leaves me hungrier for the next episode. These tournaments will pit comedies against mecha series, and sports shows against shoujo fantasies. Each week I’ll post brief thoughts about my picks for the winners (and those posts will get longer and more analytical as we get deeper into the season), but there’s no pretense of objectivity here.

The plan is to use this tournament format exclusively for currently airing series starting in Winter Spring 2015, so we can crown a true AOTS every three months. This first tournament, however, will feature a hand-picked group of shows from 2013 and 2014, including four from the current fall season. If I’m going to get a feel for how this whole tournament thing works, I might as well put off the harems, dating sim adaptations, and “Sega consoles as high school girls” gimmicks for another few months.

I’ll be updating the site several times per week, along with its associated Twitter, MAL and Challonge accounts, so check back often. And if you like what we’re doing here, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you, even if you’re just pissed that your favorite show was eliminated in the third round. Tell me I have shit taste, I can totally take it.


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