Saki: Zenkoku-hen Episode 4: East Wind
It’s the start of the vanguard match! Firstly, in terms of announcers I’m really missing the presence of Kouko and Sukoya here. It’s just not the same without them! I’m not sure what’s happened to Kainou-pro’s Engrish (it looks like she’s up to something though) but this new announcer is far too… orthodox, dare I say it. Kouko would have gone wild over Yuuki’s renchan! And speaking of Yuuki, her explosive east round is as strong as ever – looks like Himematsu’s Suehara Kyouko was right in identifying her as a threat (for now). Yuuki’s hands are incredibly fast, and she knows how to alternate between calling riichi and going damaten in order to confuse her opponents – it worked pretty well on Ueshige Suzu at least. And even when Jindai Komaki attempted to disrupt the flow through calling tiles, Yuuki still managed to complete her hand, albeit at half value; a dealer baiman would have been nice. I must admit, her daburii did remind me of Oohoshi Awai a little (minus the evil smirk and tile spinning), although in the end Yuuki isn’t a national-class monster, nor is she able to end a match in East 1. Unfortunately real life doesn’t work like that! I did appreciate how she loudly announced her intentions to the table though.
Of all the vanguards here, Jindai Komaki scares me the most, and she does so by reputation alone. What’s really unsettling is the fact that she hasn’t done anything yet – I was actually expecting some awesome wins from her this episode, and instead she even played into a mangan despite having “woken up”, whatever that means. All the players there felt the pressure of a national-class monster, so it’s gotta be significant in some way – it just hasn’t quite revealed itself yet. It nearly did, though – before Jindai dealt into Suzu’s hand, it looked like she had a closed chinitsu of souzu, and all the tiles we could see were triplets. That adds on toitoi or chiitoitsu at worst, and suuankou at best – it’s a beast of a hand, and it’s a pity she lost it. Also, if you’ll allow me to digress, her boobs are massive! I bet the media loves her just like they do Nodoka! I sometimes mix Jindai up with the other Eisui girl on her team who’s probably related to her… the size of her chest isn’t helping me tell them apart.
Suzu seems like a normal player (I’m sure Himematsu will shine when it’s Hiroe time) so the only other vanguard with an ability is Miyamori’s Kosegawa Shiromi. Her “Mayoiga” is sort of eerie in its own way… I’ve always found something unsettling about folk tales in which people are led astray or spirited away. But it’s a useful power to have – the more she hesitates, the more expensive her hand gets. It’s not too hax, and definitely doesn’t predetermine her wins (see Himeko and Ryuuka), although I was hoping for something bigger than 3000/6000. It probably won’t be featured for much longer though, especially now that Jindai’s letting herself loose. I’ve said it before, but it really does seem ominous, and Eisui were talking amongst themselves as if they expected her to lose a lot of points. She’s their ace, isn’t she? Why on earth would they be doing that?