Amamaniac

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Everything posted by Amamaniac

  1. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Please take a look at Atamifuji's hair in this tournament. He already has enough hair for a fan in the back, but what I was questioning in particular is why a fan is not being done for him in the front when it looks perfectly doable at this stage... #Godango's view is that it boils down to the tokoyama's judgement call.
  2. Amamaniac

    YDC Meeting Natsu 2022

    I nominate the 2016 Spring Tournament in which Hakuho used a cheap tsukiotoshi against Harumafuji to avoid a loss that would have resulted in a playoff against Kisenosato.
  3. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    I have a question for the sumo pundits on this forum: Rising star Atamifuji is a relative newcomer to the sekitori ranks. Despite this being his second tournament in the Juryo ranks, he is still wearing his mage flat (i.e., no oicho). I had always assumed that the oicho mage was a privilege reserved for sekitori. Of course, most of us have seen sekitori with their hair still loose, and this is usually attributed to their hair not being long enough to gather in a mage topknot. But when I look at Atamifuji's current mage, it is clear to me that his hair is longer (and thicker) than several veteran sekitori, whose mage look smaller and shorter in comparison. What is the precise criteria for a wrestler's hair to be eligible for oicho mage grooming? I doubt age is the determining factor. But as explained above, hair length does not appear to be the ultimate factor either. The only other thing I can think of is the number of tournaments a wrestler has competed in. But that doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. After Atamifuji's impressive double-digit record this tournament, he looks set to be a sekitori mainstay, if not a Top Division star. I will be even more puzzled if he doesn't show up with a oicho-mage next tournament!
  4. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    The tournament was definitely not the epitome of excitement vis-a-vis official oozumo tournaments. I won't deny that. Frankly, the post-Hakuho era crisis is still lurking. Terunofuji is doing his best to ensure that there is at least one dominant figure on the banzuke (the current set of Ozeki is disappointing, perhaps one of the most inconsistent set of Ozeki in history?). But the beauty of the oozumo tournament system is that there is always an interesting narrative. Perhaps sometimes one has to look harder for it. For me, my interest in this tournament was fuelled by the expectation that we might see a major playoff between multiple wresters finishing with a 11-4 record. Pathetic yes, but that is as much a part of the history of the sport as are zensho yusho 15-0 championships. The point of interest for me became seeing how many of the 20-odd wrestlers who had four or fewer losses as at Day 8 would end up with or drop down to four or more losses by Day 15. The fact that only Terunofuji managed to end with only 3 losses, holding out for seven days after getting his 3rd loss on Day 8, in a way beat the odds. About 15 other wrestlers did not manage the same feat. But almost every wrestler on the banzuke represents a unique story. Ultimately, there end up being plenty of "stories" to digest. On the positive side, in the Top Division, there were the Midorifuji story, the Sadanoumi story, the Wakamotoharu story, the Takanosho story, the Daieisho story, and the Kiribayama story (not to mention Terunofuji's). An honourable mention has to go to Tochinoshin for getting his back-to-back kachikoshi after a slump of 7 makekoshi. On the negative side, you don't have to look farther than the Ozeki... But I'd also throw in the new roster of ringside judges as a negative development. While it was nice (?) to see some new faces like moto-Kisenosato and moto-Kotooshu, the shake up ended up worsening the judging situation IMHO. I realise now that I am trying to argue that for me this was just as "interesting" a basho as any other. The only real excitement came from an unexpected source: Takanosho. As soon as he lost the highlight bout of Senshuraku to Sadanoumi, any excitement that may have existed evaporated into thin air. I guess I am easy to please. Give me any official tournament and I am happy.
  5. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Looked to me as though the US President's Cup was presented to Terunofuji (on the eve of President Biden's official visit). I feared that this trophy would die with the pandemic, but it is nice to see it presented again after a two-year hiatus. One more sign that we are starting to restore things to the way they were pre-2020.
  6. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Far be it for me to second guess how the minds of the shimpan work. They seem at times to pick and choose what rules to apply to a given bout under monoii review. IMHO, the dead body rule seems to apply mostly to bouts in which both wrestlers fall out of the ring more or less simultaneously. However, in this particular bout (Ura v. Takakeisho) Ura's fall was inside the ring and Takakeisho stepped out, rather than fell, into the corner. A possible factor in the decision was the fact that although Ura was falling at the time Takakeisho stepped out, he managed to bring his foot back down on the ring and remain pseudo-upright buying himself time: time for Takakeisho to be ruled definitively out. Physical feats like that are one of the remarkable aspects of sumo. Athletic prowess or desperation, call them what you will.
  7. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Well, I am usually one of the first to criticise tategyoji Shikimori Inosuke, but today I have to give credit where credit is due. In close bouts, he (and previous tategyoji) will err in favour of the higher-ranked elite wrestler on the ring, but amazingly, he gave Ura the win in what was a close finish involving several meters of separation between the fighters. The monoii only confirmed that he was right in the first place. To coin a phrase, he's still got it, or at least he seemed to still have it on this rare occasion... The tossing of his stray slipper off the ring in the final bout was also a slick move. Can't say I've ever seen that done before, although I'm sure he was not the first high-ranking gyoji to do it.
  8. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    It'll take a little longer than that (perhaps not much). Both Mitakeumi and Shodai are teed up (Kadobanland visas in hand), but Takakeisho is still waiting for his turn at the tee.
  9. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    You see it too? I think being off the media radar will definitely help his chances. As you are no doubt aware, Kiribayama has yet to face frontrunner Takanosho this tournament. Their eventual matchup could will make or break both men's yusho bids.
  10. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    I'm not familiar with the big-stakes gambling world (gambling on sumo, say it isn't so), but it would be interesting to see what odds the bookies in Vegas are giving a Takanosho championship win. As a dear friend has already mentioned in this thread, sumo wins and losses are not merely a coin toss. It would be most interesting to know what algorithm the bookies use. They are clearly more invested in the prediction game than the great minds in this Forum.
  11. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    I was anticipating both results (weird wishful thinking on my part, tbh). Takanosho is riding a wave of good sumo this tournament. He's got a very decent chance of winning the yusho. The big question is whether he will be able to hold on mentally, and not let the prospect of imminent glory screw with his concentration. As for the Terunofuji v. Abi match, my first reaction was: there is a Yokozuna showing a pusher-thruster who has more pushing power. Yokozuna have to be proficient at both yotsuzumo and oshizumo. Terunofuji just showed that his oshizumo is pretty lethal when he wants it to be!
  12. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    I get what you mean, and I sympathise. Ozeki should be put to the test – the full test – every tournament in order to prove their worth and live up to their status by doing superior sumo. But..., on the other hand, there are plenty of fans – and perhaps kyokai members alike, who want to make sure that hira-maku championship contenders prove that they were put to a higher test in their bid to essentially "steal" the championship from the elite wrestlers on the banzuke. In short, championships with rank-and-file contenders trump intra-Ozeki bouts. What's more annoying: skipping intra-Ozeki matches or a hira-maku yusho winner that never faces an Ozeki?
  13. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Watching the broadcast today, I couldn't help notice that the natives seem to be getting a little restless. For several of the final bouts of the day, loud whistling could be heard from at least one fan. Given how loud the whistles were, one might conclude that the perpetrator was unmasked. That really stood out since the pandemic has all but quashed the traditional "amoku"-like calls from fans (not to mention the throwing of zabuton), allowing only silent support towels and/or clapping. Gotta love a rebel!
  14. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Currently, the five frontrunners have a 6-2 record. The odds are good that most if not all of them will drop at least one if not two losses. We look poised to see a 11-4 yusho. The last time we saw an 11-4 yusho was in September of 2017, but at least on that occasion a Yokozuna (i.e., Harumafuji) edged out the competition...
  15. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    We're five days into the tournament (a third of the way through) and the two top men in the championship race are M15w Ichiyamamoto and M11e Aoiyama! What the ...? Guess who is fighting whom tomorrow? By design, the two-leader showdown will eliminate one of the front runners, but one of the two will still be leading after day 6!
  16. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Great hedging there! Kazakhstani man Kinbozan looks like he's got a bright future, but today Hokuseiho managed to out muscle him, with inferior sumo, I might add.
  17. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Midorifuji showed why some call him "Mr. Katasukashi" today against Kagayaki. The small Isegahama grappler outmanoeuvred his opponent and set up a great under shoulder swing down. Whenever technique overcomes size disadvantage, sumo fans derive inspiration that they can overcome obstacles in their lives, or at least that is how I felt after seeing that.
  18. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Injuries definitely seem to be the main issue, and with them comes the inability to train and prepare properly for official tournaments. From what I can gather, Terunofuji is either unable or unmotivated to put in the necessary work, the way Hakuho did despite his injuries, which arguably may have been less serious. On his Ozeki and tsuna runs, Terunofuji seemed really "motivated to win". But now that he has secured the coveted rope, he appears to have lost that motivation... Sigh.
  19. Amamaniac

    Natsu 2022 Discussion Thread - here be spoilers

    Speaking of Pokemon, I had expected to see Pokemon kensho prize banners again this tournament. I guess that ship has sailed...
  20. Amamaniac

    Are Abi's days numbered?

    Since Abi's latest transgression is not technically an ongoing honbasho topic, I thought it deserves its own thread. According to Akinomaki, the Rijikai will hold a special meeting after the tournament, on August 6 to deal with the whole Abi issue. Here are some of the issues: 1) Abi has several strikes against him already: the SNS scandal and the stupidly telling the press that he fell asleep in the special seminar held to guide wrestlers in their social media activities. 2) Abi blatantly transgressed the special Corona Guidelines just introduced by the NSK as an PR effort to show that they were taking the pandemic very seriously. And if Abi lied about how many times and with whom he went out, he won't be viewed sympathetically. 3) Abi's last-minute withdrawal on day 7 (not entirely Abi's fault) made a lot of people (many of whom are on the Rijikai) upset. 4) I suspect Shikoroyama Oyakata's dramatic response (i.e., pulling Abi out of the competition, refusing to let him back in the ring despite a negative PCR result, harshly chastising Abi, and apologising to all) was a desperate effort to save Abi's career. While this is quite different than the Takanofuji violence incidents, Abi has now shown himself to be a repeat offender. And given the serious nature of the global pandemic, the NSK as a public organisation may have no option but to make an example out of the otherwise charismatic and popular Top Division wrestler. I am seriously worried that this could mark the end of Abi's career!
  21. Amamaniac

    Haru 2022 Discussion Thread (SPOILERS!)

    Admittedly, this observation comes a little late (almost a month after the Osaka Tourney wrapped), but I am still playing catch-up. My question is, has there ever been another tournament were a wrestler has led or been a co-leader for all 15 days (i.e., Takayasu) and then lost in the end? Something tells me this may have been a first.
  22. Amamaniac

    Haru 2022 Discussion Thread (SPOILERS!)

    I love when tournaments dangle the possibility of a tomoesen three-way playoff on the final day. Deep down, we all know that it won't happen, but if by some absolute miracle it does, it would put to rest the question of who really deserved this championship!
  23. Amamaniac

    Haru 2022 Discussion Thread (SPOILERS!)

    IMHO, Mitakeumi shelved his yusho hopes on day 12. He had had a wealth of good fortune last tournament, and recorded his third Top Division championship. He is definitely aware that fellow half-Filipino Takayasu is fighting well this tournament and has a legitimate shot at his first Top Division championship (i.e., probably his "last" shot). I am convinced that Mitakeumi did not bring his A-game sumo to the ring that day, subconsciously wanting to keep Takayasu's dream alive. And then today, against Takayasu's main rival, Wakatakakage, Mitakeumi was firing on all pistons to make sure that Wakatakakage would drop one win back, thereby boosting Takayasu's chances. Against Takakeisho, however, Takayasu had to rely on himself. The strategy worked like a charm: find a way to stay in the bout for 10+ seconds, and then get a belt grip and let his yotsuzumo speak for itself. Whatever really happened, Takayasu owes Mitakeumi at least two beers. And if he ends up winning this thing, he will probably need to name his next child after Mitakeumi!
  24. Amamaniac

    Haru 2022 Discussion Thread (SPOILERS!)

    That's exactly what NHK is forecasting! You are either clairvoyant, watched the NHK broadcast, have an inside contact, or ... just one smart pundit.
  25. Amamaniac

    Haru 2022 Discussion Thread (SPOILERS!)

    Down in Makushita today, 24 year-old Kinbozan secured the division title with a perfect 7-0 record. This guy has some serious heat, winning from down in the middle of the Ms rankings (Ms34w) and this is only his third official tournament!!! The interesting thing about him is that he is from Kazakhstan. Will he make it to the Top Division before Tochinoshin and Aoiyama hang up their mawashi? How would it look if the only non-Japanese wrestlers in the Top Division were Mongolian? (rhetorical question) I'll be routing for this guy. #represent.