To qualify, a character must be female and appeared in an anime series that first aired between 07/01/2008 and 06/30/2009.
The character can be non-human, but must look like a female and be capable of making decisions.
Fan-made production was not allowed except for the Touhou OVA.
Characters from 18+ anime are not allowed.
The eligibility was based on the release of the anime series and episodes, not the character having screen time, thus many characters that did not make an appearance in the allotted time were ruled eligible provided that their series had continued to air between 07/01/2008 and 06/30/2009.
Preliminary 1st round: 3000+ characters were split into 96 groups.
Voters were allowed to pick up to 3 characters per group
Top 12 of each group (1152 total) advances to the 2nd round.
Preliminaries 2nd round: All characters were shuffled and split into 96 groups.
Voters were allowed to pick up to 1 characters per group from this point on
Top 3 of each group (288 total) advances to the Preliminary 3rd round.
4th and 5th place contestants were assigned to Repechage round
Preliminary 3rd round: All characters were shuffled and split into 72 groups
The winner of the group (72 total) advanced to Round of 96.
The rest were assigned to the Repechage round
Repechage round: 408 characters were shuffled and split into 24 groups.
Each group had 9 characters from round 3 and 8 characters from round 2.
The winner of each group (24 total) advanced to Round of 96.