Me bringing up Athena was simply to compare her to Shokuhou and how each character's eligibility status was handled. Athena appeared in one of Hayate's flashbacks and even had spoken dialogue. She plays a role in the plot later on in the manga. Is that really any different from Shokuhou showing up in Railgun S
(with her only significant scene being to taunt Mikoto and creep her out) who also has a role in the plot later on?
that the eligibility guidelines were made so that background characters like "unnamed swimming club member" would be excluded. Thus, by those standards, both Shokuhou and Athena should have been eligible if their roles within their source material was sufficient; neither are incidental characters, nor are they living props
Of course, the most likely explanation is the difference in time periods. Athena's appearance was in the second season of Hayate no Gotoku
which aired during 2009, so she would have first become eligible for the 2010 season. That was four years ago, and since ISML has undoubtedly had a change in some of the Staff members since then, it was probably a discretionary decision made by the Staff at that time. The Staff's overall stance may have been relaxed since then. And if that is the case, then there's nothing for me to complain about, again because it was made by the Staff at that particular time, and at their own discretion.
My original post
that started this discussion was not originally intended to rehash this debate. It was simply me raging and should have simply been ignored. That it ended up doing so anyway is just how this discussion evolved.
As an aside, I finished watching Railgun S
in mid-November of 2013. And so while I can't remember if I explicitly raised objections during Nominations, I'm pretty sure I did during the Preliminaries, just not as vocally.
As for Iwasawa (and SAO
's Silica), one could reason that they do contribute to the plot.
Iwasawa's death introduced the audience to the plot point concerning disappearing from the afterlife once finding fulfillment.
Silica's involvement with Kirito was intended to further his character development. In the previous episode, he feels guilty over Sachi's death. Him interacting with Silica was meant to bring him out of his depression over that incident.