|Match Date||Monday, July 22nd, 2002|
|Jill - 50.77%|
When the bracket was first released, our board embraced Kirby from the beginning. It's nearly impossible not to love the little guy, and it didn't take long for there to be a huge outcry about how low Kirby's seeding was in this contest.
Take a quick look at some of the characters who were seeded higher than Kirby in this contest, but lost before Kirby's match came up. Kirby would beat, ranging to destroy Iori Yagami, Q*Bert, Dirk the Daring, Bub, Kazuya Mishima, Kane, Akira Yuki, PaRappa the Rapper, Abe, Spyro the Dragon, Kasumi, and even Gordon Freeman. And those are only the higer-seeded character who lost. Kirby was horribly underseeded in this contest, and if you go by the Extrapolated Standings and Expected Seeding of every character or game to have appeared in all four contests, only Starcraft has ever been more underseeded than Kirby was in his match against Jill Valentine on this day.
That said, the board support for Kirby was astounding. Kirby having higher odds of winning the contest than Valentine is no accident, and neither is the match's prediction percentage. Most of the board was pulling for Kirby to take this thing, despite the seeding discrepancy among the characters. After all, we had already seen a 3 seed lose a match this contest.
But once the match started, Jill Valentine grabbed a small lead and hung on tight all the way until the end of the poll. This match was similar to Alucard and Tails in that despite the match looking close, the character who wound up winning was in control from start to finish despite the board's best efforts to turn the match around while it was going on. Remember, a few thousand votes was close for its time, so for the entire match, Kirby was thought to have a chance at coming back.
Unfortunately for Kirby, the match's final results make it look closer than it really was. Kirby was never really in the match for whatever reason, and even though many people cite the seeding as the reason for Kirby's loss, I feel that the prediction percentage and odds prove otherwise. Starcraft proved that popularity will be there regardless of seeding, and even though I feel bracket voting happens a lot more than some stats show, it wasn't necessarily present in this match. Bracketmakers were split directly in the center. I simply think that both Jill Valentine and the Resident Evil series were a lot more popular and respected back in 2002 than they are now. Sure Jill has taken a decline since 2002, but at the time, I wasn't surprised to see Jill take the match.
There would have to be another match or two before Jill's strength could be validated in the eyes of many, but regardless, a win is a win is a win. This match set up Jill vs Bomberman in the second round, which was completely up in the air at the time.