Going into this basho, my greatest hope was that it would suck less than recent bashos. Ever since Asashoryu was retired, it has been a struggle to engage with the bashos. Whatever Asashoryu did out of the ring, he was fascinating to watch in the ring in a way that no other rikishi has been since. Of course, the scandals that have rocked Sumo’s recent history also haven’t helped. In the face of stagnant sumo in the ring, and the reek of corruption out of the ring, it has been difficult to maintain a sense of optimism. Its often difficult to trust the honesty of the bouts that seem to contribute to the storylines we hope to see develop and cynicism is a far more likely end to a night of sumo viewing than elation. In recent bashos, I have often ended up with a sour taste in my mouth, and it isn’t just because I am relegated to the cheap whiskeys by my current budget.
I am delighted to say that this tournament definitely sucked less. I’ll even go one further: this tournament was great. It was the first tournament in a long time that I really enjoyed watching.
Was there yaocho? I really have no idea, but more importantly, I don’t even care. My ideas concerning yaocho mirror my ideas concerning henka: so long as it doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of the sport, I don’t mind it. It detracts from my enjoyment when it is artlessly done: in the case of henka, this means no forward moving element and in the case of yaocho, this means doing it for money. In the case of both, if it becomes too prevalent, I am frustrated.
But, this basho? It was good. Looking back at sumo since Asashoryu was retired, I am finally ready to view the shit show of the last two years optimistically. My knowledge of sumo has had to expand because the major storylines have all been rotten.
As I developed Moneyshot, I wanted to make following a rikishi who isn’t getting a lot of media coverage more interesting. I figured that wherever there was intense media coverage, there would also be funky sumo. The major storylines were rotten. So, I wanted Moneyshot to allow us to make our own storylines, and I think it has. At any rate, I hope those of you who played along had a good time. This basho was one of my favorites because I was able to root for both the sidestories and the yusho race.
A quick technical note about Moneyshot: this was our first go at it, and it wasn’t perfect. At the beginning of the basho, I settled on DoW as the determining factor. So, this basho DoW will determine the winner. Beginning with next basho, I am going to discard DoW (sorry Nigel)! Next basho, we are going to go by the Ganbatta Factor. I won’t explain that here: think of it as something to look forward to when May rolls around.
Well, enough chatter, let’s find out who won this time around!
Homasho’s Total DoS was 27, and his DoW was 17.5. I was pretty distraught at the beginning of the basho by what was a less than promising start for Homasho, but he pulled it together and won many of his more difficult bouts. He had a great record finishing at 11-4. Taken with his recent records, I think he is showing himself to be a Jo’i contender. He will be back in Jo’i next basho. This basho he was mostly fighting in the mid-ranks. He didn’t face the Yokozuna or the Ozeki. The highest rank he faced off against this basho was Gagamaru at Komusubi (now, there are Komusubi and then there are Komusubi… Gagamaru is of the variety that plummets back down the ranks). I am hoping for a kachikoshi from Homasho next basho in Jo’i.
Let’s hear from all of you who played Moneyshot. How did your rikishi do? Did the get the kachikoshi? What was the DoS, DoW? Any bouts of interest? What should we look for in the next basho from this rikishi? Remember, the highest DoW wins the game this basho.
I have to say: reading the commentary from those of you who follow our blog was one of my favorite parts of this basho. Looking forward to your future comments!