Good morning, fight fans, and welcome to the final match of the first round of Blogger Blitz: Shipping Wars! We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying not one, not two, but three exciting matches between pairs of video game characters sponsored by an excellent crew of bloggers. Whether the relationships between these characters are romantic, parental, bonds of friendship or even the powerful love between a pet and their owner, each one has been showcased in a magnificent way in a series of wacky events that reflect the broad away of what video games are capable of. Today we’ll see that happen one last time before the Blitz takes a short break to prepare for the semifinal round of the competition.
This week our competitors are both Blitz veterans, though in the past they approached the competition from different angles. First we have Alex Sigsworth of the blog of the same name, who posted this excellent submission for his characters Mortimer Goth and Bella Bachelor. As a previous competitor, Alex has practical experience in the Blitz and he knows what it takes to meet the requirements of an event while putting his character on display. Then there’s Pix1001 of the gaming blog Shoot the Rookie, who shared this fantastic article about Itsuki Aoi and Yashiro Tsurugi. As a previous judge, Pix has shared her perspective on a number of posts and considered what qualities belong in a championship submission. Once the posts were live, our judges got to work. Jace from Zen Mind Zen Life, Andrew from Serial Book Seller, and Heather from Just Geeking By all banded together to share their thoughts on the articles and to make a final decision about who would win the match. I want to give an extra shoutout to our judges this week for submitting their judgment faster than usual to accommodate my own schedule, as I was traveling for work this week and had to write on a much tighter timeline than is normal for the competition.
The competitors have posted their submissions and the judges have shared their comments – now the time has come for me as the host to do my part. Which of our two amazing bloggers won the Wacky Wedding event? Put on your fanciest duds and get ready to catch the bouquet, because we’re diving into the final match of Blogger Blitz round one!
Each week our judges look at the competition posts through the lens of three specific categories: post structure, event compliance, and the portrayal of the characters in the relationship. We start with structure as the most immediately obvious aspect of each post, and this week our two competitors took different approaches to the structure of their post. Pix went with the classic narrative style, posting a short story about a wedding at which Yashiro would be performing. Itsuki was forced the save the wedding in a series of events that tie back quite well to the lore of Tokyo Mirage Sessions, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the judges. “I really appreciated the links to the wider world of the fandom,” Heather said. “I’m not familiar with it, but I felt like it actually existed in a video game.” However, there’s a danger that comes with submitting your post in a popular format: when something has been done many times in the Blitz, it’s easier to see foibles and it takes a higher level of presentation to truly impress. In this case, Pix had some perhaps unintentional tense changes between first and third person that multiple judges noted pulled them out of the post a bit.
“At the start there’s a mix-up of first and third person tenses which was confusing,” said Heather, and Jace added that “the first couple paragraphs were a little awkward.” Andrew wanted to point out that the changes in tense didn’t throw him off that much and he was easily able to settle back into the rhythm of the post, but it was a little jarring.
Alex decided to take a very different approach and submitted his post in a never-before-seen Blogger Blitz format. You’d think we’d be out of those by now, but these competitors are infinitely more clever than I am! Alex submitted his argument as a newspaper article, telling the story of the wacky wedding and Mortimer’s brave attempts to save it in a journalistic style. This is certainly a fresh take on the competition and it was a blast to read. And Alex didn’t just shape the submission like a newspaper article – he spoke in the tone of one too. “The style and prose definitely fit the format well,” said Andrew, and Jace complimented how well-written the article was. Heather did point out that Alex seemed to struggle with the newspaper approach as his tale went on: “what started as an article soon became a long-winded short story.” So many elements came into play towards the end that the line between journalistic reporting and a storyteller’s narrative became somewhat blurred. Our competitors were opposite in this way – Pix took some time to find her feet while Alex started strong and waned a bit over time. Overall though, Alex’s clever format choice and his strong delivery of the style gave him an edge in the structure category.
The next category focuses on event compliance, and this category asks the question of which blogger did the best job of meeting all of the requirements of the event. Wacky Wedding had a few key components: a freak storm which threatened to wreck an otherwise lovely wedding day, which the primary character would have to solve alone due to their Ship being busy with wedding preparations. Both of our competitors seem to meet the conditions on the surface, so this category boils down to the judges’ determination of which submission did this best. As it turns out, the judges had some disagreement in this particular category.
Jace really enjoyed how Alex built upon the storm with additional problems to solve. “Not only was said storm a problem but the guests also suffered food poisoning, could it possibly get worse? Well, then come the ghosts.” Andrew agreed with this assessment, saying “I think he did a really good job overall responding to the prompts, and made one hell of a disaster.” For her part, Heather didn’t think that the additional complications to the wedding added to the event but instead subtracted from it. “I think the food poisoning on top of the storm was overkill,” Heather said; “trying too hard and too many plotholes for me.” She felt that establishing the storm and taking care of it was more than enough horror for one wedding to have to deal with and preferred the way in which Pix handled the prompt. “I really appreciated that Pix’s character got straight to the task at hand, realized that at a wedding it was much better to fix the problem ASAP without anyone else noticing because weddings are stressful.”
Jace agreed that Pix did well at portraying the event, particularly pointing out that she made the storm a complicated obstacle for Itsuki to have to deal with. “Itsuki went through several possible ideas for a solution, and the idolsphere bit was pretty clever.” As you can see, our judges were pretty well split down the middle here, with positive comments on both sides and a bit of disagreement as far as which competitor did a better job of complying with the event. This category could be said to be too close to call, meaning that Pix isn’t quite able to gain an edge over Alex despite the concerns about the overcomplicated narrative on Alex’s part. There’s still one category left to address, though, and that’s the category of the relationships between the shipped characters in each post.
If you’re familiar with the Sims franchise, Mortimer Goth and Bella Bachelor have a storied history that is conveyed in bits and pieces over the course of many games. Alex chose a period of their lives in which the two were adolescents and friends rather than a married couple; the wedding in his article is one which Bella invited Mortimer to as a child. In Pix’s article we see a friendship between Itsuki and Yashiro, a relatively ordinary young man with an extraordinary secret who somehow befriended a famous idle. Their unlikely companionship is shown to be a genuine connection over the course of the article – despite their differences in status, Yashiro has an undeniable respect for Itsuki and values his companionship.
As it turned out, our judges didn’t have much to say about the way in which the characters were portrayed this round. With all of the complexities related to the competing structures and the nuances around event compliance, the relationships seemed to get lost somewhat. Andrew took some time to address each relationship individually in his comments, and they define a clear edge to one side. “Perhaps the news bulletin format led to that,” he said, but “I didn’t get a huge feel for the characters.” Conversely, Andrew felt that he got a much better impression of what the characters were like in Pix’s submission. That’ll give this particular category to Pix.
Our competitors are pretty well tied at this point, eh? Alex has a clear advantage in the structure category with his unique journalistic approach while Pix did a better job of showcasing the relationship between her two characters. There was a lot of back and forth on who ultimately took the event compliance category: would Alex’s extravagant disaster give him the edge, or did Pix’s strict adherence to only the complications outlined in the event prompt win her the day? The decision came down to the final comments and to some subtle nuances reflected in the closeness of the score: 3.33 versus 3.67. So which competitor had the slight advantage that ultimately earned them the win?
Looks like Yashiro will be getting another gig in a couple of weeks! While the match was quite close, Pix just barely managed to capture a victory against Alex and Mortimer Goth. While Alex’s format was ultimately preferred to Pix, it wasn’t such a drastic victory as to give him a serious edge in the competition. The choice to add to the prompt by including complications on top of the storm lost some key points with Heather while the lack of emphasis on the relationship between Mortimer and Bella ultimately cost Andrew’s vote. Alex did come away with Jace’s vote, as Jace felt that the article was well-written and presented a compelling and complex problem which Mortimer solved in an interesting way. Still, that wasn’t enough to win the competition. Pix focused harder on the storm itself and took some time to highlight Itsuki’s relationship with Yashiro, and those two very small differences gave her the .33 edge she needed in order to take the match.
I want to thank both Alex and Pix for their hard work during the first round and I encourage everyone reading to check out both of their blogs. Be sure to also follow our judges if you aren’t already! Next week there will be no Blogger Blitz matches – instead, our competitors will be spending their time writing their submissions for the semifinals. I’ll be posting the semifinal event descriptions on Monday, August 26th, so be sure to drop by that morning to see what you have to look forward to during the semifinals. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and thank you all so much for reading the Blogger Blitz!