Saki: Zenkoku-hen Episode 3: Start

“Ron. 32,000.”

Impression

Pic699Hisa… you’re evil. Even though Maho ended up being the overall loser multiple times, Saki still looked pretty butthurt post-game. It looks like Maho’s strong start last week clearly foreshadowed the events to come – her sudden resemblance to Yuuki was no coincidence. While it’s probably not much use in a proper tournament (as she’s only able to use it for a single hand per game) it’s still frightening to learn about her ability to copy somebody else’s playing style and skills. And it definitely instilled quite a lot of fear into Saki – it even gave me the chills to see Maho pull it off so smoothly, as if she knew she’d win off the dead wall (I swear she didn’t even look at the tile before slamming it). While rinshan kaihou isn’t a unique yaku at all, its probability of success isn’t great either – I myself can count the number of times I’ve scored one with my fingers. Saki takes pride in it as her signature yaku, and it must have felt awful to see someone else pull it off like that.

I love how Nodoka hasn’t recognized Maho’s ability at all (sonna occult arimasen), and is just chalking it down as an attempt to emulate either her or Yuuki on a regular basis – it looks like she’s as stubborn as ever over superstition and the existence of abilities, despite having experienced this sort of mahjong climate for so long now. Anyway, I’m sort of glad we glossed over the rest of the training camp – as nice as it is to see some friendly mahjong, I’m far more interested in the nationals! It’s what we’re all here for after all.

Pic723That one chinroutou was enough to make me invest myself in Himematsu – or more specifically, in Atago Hiroe. She’s quickly becoming one of my favourite supporting characters – is everyone at the nationals supposed to be this awesome? That comeback is the sort of crazy mahjong you’d expect at this level… and to think, two other 9-sous were already sitting in the pond, making it a hell wait! I can’t even tell whether Hiroe fully intended for that kan to lower her opponent’s guard, especially as she had no way of knowing she’d draw a 1-wan from the dead wall. Wait, this is Saki we’re talking about, of course she knew somehow. Either way, Himematsu are much more of a threat to Kiyosumi than I’d initially thought, and to top that off they’ve already got Eisui to deal with. At least it’ll be Hisa going up against Hiroe – and Hisa’s pretty devious herself. That renchan must have been a beast of a victory… Yuuki probably helped shave off a lot of points, but still! She knocked someone below zero without needing Nodoka or Saki!

It’s a real shame we never got to watch that, but at least we’ve reached the good stuff now. Next week is where the real challenge starts, with the vanguard match of the quarterfinals. Yuuki’s cape is all well and good, but she’ll need more than that to stop the first national-class monster we’ll see in Side-B – Eisui’s vanguard Jindai Komaki.

Vantage

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5 Responses

  1. magicflier says:

    ” I can’t even tell whether Hiroe fully intended for that kan to lower her opponent’s guard, especially as she had no way of knowing she’d draw a 1-wan from the dead wall. Wait, this is Saki we’re talking about, of course she knew somehow.”

    I lol’ed at this comment more than I should have. xDDD Pretty good episode! Hope that Yuuki will show some of those reporters who’s the better school here. Let’s see how their vanguard match will go.

    • Vantage says:

      The part with the reporters was slightly strange – they’re supposedly ignoring all the non-Nodoka Kiyosumi players, and yet it was Yuuki, Mako and Hisa who were responsible for prematurely ending their first match by sinking someone else below zero.

  2. magicflier says:

    I was told it’s because the reporters think that it was simply an ‘easy’ win of some sort. Not all reporters are ignoring Kiyosumi, but most are. They are only focusing on Nadoka since she still has the ‘Champion of the National Middle School Individuals’ title hence popularity. It doesn’t really have much to do with the actual games really, but what they succeeded in the past. Like how in Achiga despite being able to make it to the semifinals as an unknown school, Senriyama and Shiraitodai still received more attention than them; specifically Teru as she was the chamption of the national high school individuals. So I’m assuming they’re relying on the information of schools that was successful in previous years rather than unknown schools that hasn’t succeeded in anything at all yet. Remember one of those reporters saying “The whole Nagano prefecture has probably dropped in level, anyway”? They’re assuming it’s purely because of luck that Kiyosumi made it this far so “Oh, we should actually pay attention to those schools that actually are worth being reported”.
    This is kind of hilarious because the actual players for each school know that Nadoka isn’t the most dangerous player here. They understand it’s the whole team that can’t be underestimated. XD

    • Vantage says:

      I see, that makes sense. Past achievements probably do matter a great deal – they certainly hype up schools like Rinkai and Senriyama for their high participation rate in the nationals. Even though they think Kiyosumi got this far because of luck, I was hoping they’d grasp the magnitude of having beaten Koromo in the prefecturals (who was, of course, last year’s national MVP).

      Nodoka definitely isn’t the most dangerous player xD And even if she was, it’s all about collective strength – even Arakawa Kei couldn’t sustain her entire team by herself. To an extent that was also the case with Teru in the semifinals (despite her fearsome renchan).

    • magicflier says:

      I’m sure that there are a number of reporters that has ‘grasped the magnitude’ of defeating Koromo, like this woman here: http://myanimelist.net/character/48767/Junko_Nishida

      …though that’s only because she witnessed the game, and watched Kiyosumi actually play. I don’t think the other reporters even know this unless they’ve seen the game themselves. We can also assume that those reporters that spoke badly of Kiyosumi also think that Koromo’s school has also dropped in level which is hilarious to imagine. The other schools understand how dangerous Koromo was, and how dangerous Kiyosumi was for defeating Koromo’s school. I guess you could always say that reporters are usually blind most of the time to these things. It’s likely that the note that one of the reports were talking about in this episode (that told him to ‘watch Kiyosumi’s moves’) was from Junko Nishida as she was busy reporting in some other tournament branch. >>

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