Life got in the way of writing a full Crystal Ball post for Haru, but I outlined my thinking about how the banzuke was likely to shake out after Hatsu. Unlike the debacle last time, my predictions were mostly on target. Here’s what my Guess The Banzuke entry got wrong compared to the official banzuke:
They placed K2w Wakamotoharu (9-6) at K1e, ahead of K1w Kotonowaka (8-7). I am not sure how this squares with their recent approaching of not reordering Sekiwake based on record unless the difference is extreme, but perhaps it has do to with the fact that they didn’t have to drop Kotonowaka, and things may have played out differently if the two were K1e and K1w instead of K1w and K2w.
M8e Onosho (10-5) is at M4e, ahead of K2e Meisei (5-10). Usually, the falling san’yaku member gets favorable treatment in such situations, but apparently the difference in their rank-record combinations was enough to overcome this bias on this occasion.
They really seemed to want to give the 7-8 guys their full drop, placing M6e Hokutofuji (7-8) at M7e, behind M4w Sadanoumi (6-9) and dropping M7w Ura (7-8) to M8w, behind S2e Takayasu (1-5-9) and M14e Ichiyamamoto (10-5). But of course M12e Kagayaki (7-8) got to stay in place (not that they had great choices there), as did M13w Kotoeko.
The promoted Juryo rikishi got unusually kind treatment. J6w Daishoho (12-3) went to M13e, half a rank higher than he computed, and ahead of M8w Oho (4-11), who landed all the way at M15w, also getting passed by J5e Kinbozan (11-4), J1w Bushozan (9-6), and J2e Hokuseiho (9-6)! Oho is definitely the leading candidate for worst banzuke luck. It almost seems as though everyone got treated as though they had been in Makuuchi, whereas usually the Juryo rikishi receive a ranking penalty, presumably due to their weaker strength of schedule.
With that out of the way, it’s on to the basho!