Introduction and Warning:
Note: The following post contains portions of the author’s opinion. Most of the data relies on insight from the author after browsing several forums, blogs, videos, Twitter and more. A lot of time and effort by using a variety of sources was employed to minimize potential bias in the results.
Hello! I’m happy to present the ‘final results’ for which characters are being requested in Japan. I mentioned this in the Tentative Results post, but please understand how these votes were calculated. Essentially, I read over 1,000 posts, tweets, etc and counted how often a character’s name was mentioned, and in what context. This time, I decided to add “points” based on how that user felt about the character. If a user felt that a character was a “shoo-in” then I awarded more points. On the reverse, if a character was seen as “less-likely” then they got less “points”. The reason I did this is because this method is highly ineffective for actually counting how much a character is requested. This is because with this method, I’m bound to pick up on the loudest fanbases. The loudest fanbase is not necessarily the biggest. Instead of acting like I can actually measure the biggest fanbase, I decided to fully embrace measuring the loud fanbases.
I have discussed this issue with polling in the past, and it’s something that I constantly witness in my own polling. Just recently, I started the Ultimate Smash Ballot Poll. As of writing, the poll has over 1,200 votes! The poll was shared by Jordan Sweeto (You can watch his newest single here), who asked for people to vote for Krystal on his Twitter. This caused the number of votes to greatly increase, and Krystal is now ranked “1” in that poll with over 400 votes (I believe K. Rool is currently 2nd with 87 votes for those of you who are wondering). Was Krystal that demanded on the actual ballot? Was K. Rool? It’s impossible to tell without the actual ballot data. I don’t think we’ll ever know the true results of the ballot, and we need to remember that all of our polling efforts are measuring “loud” support and not “actual” support.
As I’ve mentioned before this is the final results of my research, with over 1,000 “votes”, I did want to include more “votes” but I need to move onto my next project. In order to alleviate my concerns of not fulfilling my original scope, I decided to include additional information (mostly summaries) of how the Japanese community has reacted to certain events. A lot of these are unsurprising. When I read over comments, I got a strange sense of deja-vu, as it’s literally the same exact conversations that occurred in the West–just in Japanese.
I’ve written more about the shortcomings of online polling in a previous post titled, “The Dangers of Online Polling”. If you are interested in hearing my full thoughts on the matter, please look over that post.
With all that out of the way, let’s look at some of the results:
Note: the percents were calculated by using the sum of the top 19. Why 19? Honestly, I intended to do the top 20 but I messed up and forgot to include the next row. By the time I realized it, I was already over 40 minutes into editing the image. Sorry Pichu fans.
Before I show you the full results (which includes Pichu) a quick shout out: gameonion helped improve the image! You can follow him on Twitter. He also has a YouTube channel where he regularly posts videos.
|Rank:||Character name:||Total “Votes”||Percent of Top 50|
|1||King K. Rool||115||7.57%|
|10||Banjo and Kazooie||51||3.36%|
|24||Shadow the Hedgehog||21||1.38%|
|29||Mega Man Zero||18||1.18%|
|31||Sora (Kingdom Hearts)||17||1.12%|
|49||Nick/ Captain Rainbow||10||0.66%|
There’s actually 200 other characters that I attempted to track. However, this list of 50 quickly formed to be the most talked about characters on the websites I read.
As you can probably tell, there is a big difference between the top 20 characters, and the rest. There is some definite “rallying around that character” being observed in the data. In a lot of the 2ch and blog posts that I’ve collected for this data, it seemed that after a character was mentioned the likelihood of that character being mentioned again drastically increased.
One of the interesting things to note was how incorporating Twitter has affected my results. In the tentative results, I only included information from 2ch posts/ blogs, but after incorporating Twitter I observed the following. Veterans were generally far more likely to be requested on Twitter than certain ‘expected’ newcomers. The gap between fan-favorite newcomers like K. Rool and Waddle Dee closed when I started to count Twitter “votes”. In particular, Snake and Roy benefited from counting the Twitter votes. With Twitter, I also saw a lot of “one votes” or votes for characters that weren’t as popular. On blogs/2ch, it seemed like some users were hesitant to mention oddball choices, as when they were posted they were often after a warning saying they knew they were unlikely, or ‘In a small voice:’. Again, I believe this is an effect of “rallying support” for certain characters, and may not be indicative of how people actually voted.
I thought it’d be interesting to compare the rankings to my previous data set with this new “rankings”. Only the top 20 on the new poll are included.
|New Rank:||Character Name:||Ranking Change from February:|
|1||King K. Rool||Up 6|
|4||Waddle Dee||Up 10|
|8||Ice Climbers||Down 4|
|10||Banjo and Kazooie||Up 23|
|16||Arle Nadja||Up 5|
One of the possibilities is that as I incorporated more data in this the rankings naturally changed. I don’t believe they are representative of the actual ballot, but perhaps they got a little “closer.” The other explanation is that time has had an impact on how “wanted” certain characters are. With Mewtwo’s release and the announcement of the Smash Ballot, perhaps the Japanese Smash community felt that another Pokemon representative wasn’t needed? Or since the vote was a fill in, perhaps people instead split their votes behind their favorite Pokemon instead of just asking for a veteran? There isn’t really a clear answer at this point in time.
Magolor and Cloud both were not included in the rankings I posted back in February. Again, the fact that users could vote for anyone may have increased support for these characters. An important thing to note about Magolor and Waddle Dee is that I’ve seen a lot of posts claiming that the Kirby Series is underrepped. This explains why we have 3 Kirby reps in the top 50. The Kirby franchise is very popular in Japan, so I’m not too surprised by this feeling.
The Ice Climbers and Snake falling in the rankings might have to do with external issues. Sakurai stressing that he tried his best to get the Ice Climbers working in his collection of Famitsu Columns, as well as the continued Konami controversy, might be the reasons these two veterans seen some negative change. As mentioned before, the open-ended nature of the ballot might have had some impact on their rankings, too. Paper Mario received no boost, nor decline in popularity. His ranking stayed exactly the same.
The Inklings shot up in requests, most likely due to the continued success of Splatoon. It should be noted, however, that some have seen their Mii costumes as indication that the Inklings aren’t coming.
Geno, Banjo, and Kazooie and Bayonetta also saw more “requests.” I think that Geno and Banjo and Kazooie supporters in particular feel that this is their chance to finally get their character of choice in Smash. It’s important to note that the comments by Phil Spencer about allowing Nintendo to use Banjo and Kazooie were translated into Japanese and have been talked about.
Wolf’s ranking stayed exactly the same. A lot of fans are still expecting him to come in, and some have noted about the potential cross-promotion with Star Fox: Zero. He is still by far the most wanted veteran to come back.
It seems that Dixie’s support declined, and K. Rool’s increased. Some of the Dixie Kong requests originate from feeling of lack of representation for the Donkey Kong series in Japan, so some fans may have decided to back K. Rool as he had overwhelming support. The reaction following King K. Rool costume revelation was pretty much the same as it was in the West. A lot of posters were shocked, some felt insulted. Many felt that the costume severely hurts K. Rool’s chances, while others believe it’s Sakurai “trolling” the fanbase.
REACTIONS TO WESTERN POLLS:
The “Viable Contenders List” was talked about extensively. I’m not 100% sure, but it seems that The Land of Concord might be the original source of the image. I’m unsure how they counted “popularity” but that’s beside the point of this post.
The “Viable Contenders List” was posted on smashbros-matome, and I encountered the image quite a bit while searching for Twitter mentions of the ballot. It seems that this list of characters is what Japanese users believe is popular in the West.
In regards to Shovel Knight and Shantae being popular in the West: A lot hasn’t changed since I posted the “What is a Shovel Knight” reaction translation. The amiibo and Smash DLC rumors did make its way to Japanese sites. After hearing the rumors, the reactions were a mix of, “Who is he?” and “Hurry up and localize the game!”. There isn’t anything really interesting to report besides that.
Sadly, I haven’t seen a lot of polling efforts by the Japanese community. I’m not sure why, but the Western community is much more interesting in online polling.
As mentioned in the introduction and in the discussion of the results, “bandwagoning” is a real thing. Support groups have been made in order to spread propaganda towards their character of choice. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. In some cases, these support groups have elevated characters which would have little to no chance without popularity. However, we should be careful not to mistake popularity within the hardcore Smash fandom as general popularity. One of the best “proof” of this is the fact that Ryu is ranked #35 in this data set. In the Perception of Smash DLC in Japan, Ryu was ranked #23. The “no fighter game character” misquote was translated into Japanese. Either way, he wasn’t that heavily requested — not even the top 20. I also noticed the bandwagoning effect when I measured poll data pre and post share among support groups. Therefore, with Ryu’s inclusion Sakurai and his team might be looking at more factors than just what the hardcore want.
Lastly, the way people vote is very different when they have one vote then when it’s open ended. This is the one of the reasons that we at Source Gaming have decided to help BluePikmin11 with his Individual Character Polls. We are hoping that the data will reveal some valuable insight in what characters are popular, in the general sense. Already we can see that the frontrunners differ greatly if you give people more of a choice. I witnessed this in my 2 vets/2 newcomers or 4 newcomers poll, and we are seeing this on a grander scale with BluePikmin11’s polls. In order to see the ongoing results, please vote and then check the links on the poll’s post page.
If you are able to, I’m running a patreon for the site. I’m running the site completely out of my own pocket and the day-to-day operations of Source Gaming is extremely demanding. It’s not easy compiling all of this research for the community, but we do because we are extremely passionate about Smash Brothers and gaming in general. If you are able to help out with social media efforts, please contact me on Twitter.
Thanks to everyone that has helped out with Source Gaming’s polling efforts. We are handling a lot of data, but we are excited to share the results with the community. Please leave a comment below!
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PushDustIn is excited to start working on his next project. You can follow him on Twitter, where he might start dropping hints on what it is.