All three would beat Shimada. Against Russian skaters, she would still receive a 'Japanese bonus' but not the mushrooms we're seeing over the past 12 months for particular skaters because the Russian girls are on such a higher level for jump technique and choreography that it would be scandalous if her components and jumps received higher marks.
In the Junior World's final the technical panel fell asleep for Shimada.
Her sole quad the 4T was on the q, but probably could have been called as an UR if judges were looking to pull down her score.
He rides from end to end with her arms sticking out to the side with a lot of two footed skating.
Against, Akatieva, Gorbacheva, Zhilina, there is no way judges could overlook her jump issues, and relative lack of skating skills compared to the three best in Russia.
Zhilina had 4 quads and a 3A in the final right? The jumps are more controlled, there's an easy power, and while her components should not be as high as Akatieva and Gorbacheva, they would definitely be higher than Shimada.
I agree about Akatieva without a doubt being unbeatable in comparison and Gorbacheva following behind, but I am not sure about Zhilina. Akatieva and Zhilina would go for 3A advantage, but Zhilina is still a lot more unstable with her 3A which would cost her dearly like it did at Junior RUS Nats (and yes Akateva has been unstable this season but I would bet on Akateva landing a 3A rather than Zhilina).
Gorbacheva only needed one 4S to beat Zhilina after her mistake despite having a 12 point lead in tech in the FS. I think Zhilina would have to play it safe with a 2A instead since with a 3A fall or pop in the short the international judges can easily keep her down if they follow the same method as the Judges at JR RUS NATS.
One quad (even on q) could beat Zhilina sadly no matter if she jumps 3 or more quads in the free. That is the message the Judges at Russian Junior Nationals sent by letting Gorbacheva win with only one quad and a clean skate. So if Mao is cleaner with only a single 4T jump (and mostly adding a 3A) Zhilina would lose. That's message the sent.
I mean the scoring for Zhilina domestically with all her ultra-c (3A, 4T, 4S, 4T) at Russian Nationals put her about 6 points below a clean Mao internationally at worlds with only a 3A and a 4T. I think Zhilina would need a more stable 3A in the short to guarantee a win at worlds, because it wasn't enough against a single quad (with no triple axel) at Russian Nats.
Gorbacheva has issues at times with falling on regular triples in comp while I don't see the same issue for Akatieva. If Gorbacheva is stable on her triples I would have her and Akatieva as locks for 1st and 2nd at worlds since both would do at least two quads in the free.
If Zhilina skates clean with two quads or even one I would guarentee a 3rd podium spot---especially since she has cleaner technique and much higher jumps.