Good morning, fight fans, and welcome to the final match of the semifinal round of Blogger Blitz: Shipping Wars! This battle will decide the second competitor in the championship match, so the stakes are high indeed. For those who may be reading this as their first ever Blogger Blitz post, let’s talk a little about how this went down.
Two bloggers were given a writing prompt, an event in which their chosen video game pairings compete in order to determine which relationship is the best. Each competitor wrote an article and posted it on their blog: KT Martin’s argument for Geralt of Rivia is here and Pix1001’s argument for Itsuki Aoi is here. When both articles went up, our judicial panel – Jace of Zen Mind Zen Life, Andrew of Serial Book Seller, and Heather of Just Geeking By – each wrote out their thoughts on the submissions and voted for who they believe won the round. Now, my role in the competition is to compile those votes into an announcement of the winner.
Now I could just be like “hey guess what, so-and-so won,”
and that would probably be a much more sustainable model for the competition from a hosting standpoint, but that’s no way to build anticipation for a competitive blogging event! Instead, this article will share in detail the comments from the judges to build up a little suspense before finally revealing the winner. So are you ready to anticipate? Then let’s jump in and see this match in action!
Every match in Shipping Wars is judged on three key elements: the structure of the post, the relationship between the characters, and compliance to the event prompt. We’ll start with a discussion of post structure. KT and Pix both went with a style somewhat similar to their first round submission but with something new and different thrown into the mix. KT’s approach continues to be focused on conveying information, avoiding prose in favor of a detailed plan by Geralt and Ciri for addressing the babysitting job. Meanwhile, Pix continued to use a narrative approach but this time conveyed that narrative through an interview, allowing us to hear the story through the voice of the characters.
KT’s approach received a bit of a mixed reaction from the judges, with both the advantages and flaws of this structure made apparent in the post. Most of the judges were in agreement that the weakest aspect of the structure was that it did not allow Geralt and Ciri to actually experience the event. Rather than showing us what was happening in the moment or telling us about it afterwards, the post approached the event as something that would happen in the future and outlined a plan to address that event. “We only see what might happen if the kid throws a tantrum,” said Jace. “It doesn’t really go into the event all that much.” Heather agreed with this sentiment but added that the structure did allow KT to effectively use examples from the game to convey her points. ” It was really well thought out and planned,” Heather stated, “such as Ciri’s previous time with children and explaining why the location was suitable for Witcher apprentices but not so much for other children.” KT outlining Geralt’s weekend as a game plan didn’t allow us to see the story in action but the plan itself was quite good, and the structure allowed for her to speak to us directly and cite examples from the game to increase the persuasiveness of her argument. As a final note, Andrew felt that KT’s use of screenshots once again added to the post in a positive way, much like her first round submission.
Pix’s approach was also a mix. Like KT, Pix didn’t show us the events as they happened. Jace elaborates: ” we don’t get to see the direct events and perhaps the secondhand retelling loses a little bit of humor.” Wouldn’t it be funnier to see Atlus hitting Itsuki with a spatula rather than just hearing about it later? Still, the interview format does have advantages, allowing us to hear the stories in the voice of each character and Pix utilized the format well. “Pix’s addition of sound effects and beats of silence were nice touches,” Jace said, noting how she did a good job of recreating an interview transcript in her article. Heather stated she wasn’t a big fan of the structure Pix chose but acknowledged that it had some strengths when it comes to the relationship between the characters, which we’ll touch on in more detail later. With both KT and Pix receiving a mixed reaction on their post structure, it’s hard to say which one might be in the lead at this point.
Event compliance is a straightforward category but an important one nonetheless. Proving which character is the most likely to be able to overcome the event is a key piece of any Blogger Blitz submission. For Childcare Chore, the goal was to tell the story of a weekend spent caring for a particularly troublesome toddler. This is a simple prompt to say but a tough one to do – if you’ve ever dealt with a kid when they’re at their worst, you know how demoralizing it can be to spend a whole weekend at the task.
We know from the structure section already that KT didn’t actually show us what it would be like for Geralt to interact with the toddler. So how could she have complied with the event? As it turns out, Geralt may have just made a plan for his weekend but that plan was thorough and comprehensive. “It wasn’t so much a story or a retelling of what happened when they actually were babysitting but what they *might * do,” Andrew said. “That said, it was done well. They thought of every possibility I would want to hear in this situation, and made it fairly interesting and funny.” KT accounted for a variety of possibilities and even planned a bunch of fun activities, which Jace greatly appreciated. “You can tell there was much thought put into all the possible activities/events: stuff like a snowball fight or hide and seek to entertain the kid, the spell to calm the kid down, and immediate medical attention in case of an emergency.” The only area of the event where she faltered was failing to identify how Geralt and Ciri would keep the parent updated, though Jace acknowledges that this might be difficult in a high fantasy setting. Heather felt that although KT’s planning was thorough, “there wasn’t any mention of the tantrums, the many issues and so on.”
Now for Pix and her pairing of Itsuki and Yashiro. For this pair we see in a more direct way their experiences with the child, and Heather felt that this added a lot to it. “There was a lot more happening regarding the prompt and a handful baby,” she said. Jace agreed and even mentioned some specific moments that he really enjoyed: “I found the image of Atlus smacking Itsuki with a spatula and Yashiro wearing that chef outfit (which was cool to actually see an image of as well) to be pretty amusing.” None of the judges had any critiques for Pix in this category, so in that regard it seems that she managed to take a bit of a lead in the event compliance category. Can she hold that lead when the topic of relationships becomes the focus of the judging?
Itsuki and Yashiro are two high school boys who are perhaps not the obvious choice for a babysitting gig, but it becomes apparent that they are qualified for the job. Heather mentioned during the structure section that she didn’t care for the format Pix chose, but there was one feature about it she praised: “it did convey the characters’ personalities and contrasting opinions of babysitting well. The excitement/optimism of one character verses the deadpan ‘dear god please shoot me now’ of their partner.” The contrast in each character’s babysitting approach was a key piece of Pix’s submission and it landed excellently. “Despite Yashiro being a seemingly reserved character, they did seem to bond and work together nicely to take care of that little troublemaker,” Jace said. Andrew summed up the judicial opinion of Pix’s performance in the relationship category quite nicely: “It sounded like a fun weekend home with the babysitting dudes.”
So what about the relationship between Geralt and Ciri, who are themselves a father/daughter pair of sorts? “There was a lot of information and emphasis on the characters and their relationship,” Heather said, “which was great.” As in her first article, KT carefully chose locations and elements from The Witcher which capture special moments in the history between Geralt and Ciri. We’re reminded that Geralt took care of Ciri as a child, a point which emphasizes both his ability to accomplish the task but also the relationship he has with his daughter. That said, not all of the judges agreed about the clarity of focus on the relationship. “The relationship between Ciri and Geralt seems kind of neutral, I would say, because more than telling us how they’ll work together as a team it tells us what each of them can bring to the table,” Jace said.
Once again both KT and Pix have some strong comments in their favor, but only one of the two has points marked off, too. When scores were tallied the two competitors came out quite close, with one having a 3.17 and the other a 3.5 average. One judge even gave the two tied scores numerically, feeling that the matchup between KT and Pix was neck-and-neck. But when it came time to cast votes, the tally was unanimous:
KT formulated an excellent plan for Geralt and Ciri in an article which met the event conditions and showcased the relationship between the characters. She delivered a great Blogger Blitz submission, but Pix did the same and did so at a level that the judges considered to be higher. For Andrew, he felt that the tiebreaker here was Pix’s growth from the first round to the second. “I like this one a lot more than the original from Pix,” he said. “I think it was a lot more clear what was actually going on, and I got a way better idea of characterization here.” Jace felt Pix had an edge in the portrayal of character relationships while Heather gave her the vote for complying more closely with the terms of the event. In the end, both bloggers did well, but Pix brought the little something extra needed to win the day!
This brings an end to the semifinal round of Blogger Blitz: Shipping Wars. On Monday, September 16th, the event for the championship will be announced and our competitors will have one week to write their match posts for September 23rd. On September 27th (hopefully) or September 28th (more likely with the way work has been going lately), the championship results will be posted and the Blogger Blitz will come to an end. We’re in the home stretch now, fight fans, so be sure to keep a look out for the details about the final match when they come out on Monday. Thanks for reading!