Saki: Zenkoku-hen Episode 10: Friends
I knew I shouldn’t have worried about last week’s incredibly fast pacing! We went from covering an entire hanchan to covering a couple of hands, and even then we’re still going to be in East 1 for some time if Toyone continues her renchan. Toyone was very much the star of today’s episode, and Saki’s ominous comment over someone “still hiding something” quickly turned out to be true – at any rate, it looks like Toyone’s completely abandoned her tendency to chase after poor Kyouko’s riichis, costing her (and by extension, Himematsu) an overall loss of 21600 in the first hanchan. It’s a pretty painful loss, and it would have been worse had she not won several hands while she was ahead – this is exactly the kind of thing Kyouko’s been trying to avoid. She seems like someone who uses data and evidence to the fullest, and maintains a careful play style – adapting and adjusting herself depending on the opponent she’s up against. So someone she’s got hardly any info about is a terrible match for her, as is the fact that Toyone has a lot of versatility. Kyouko goes and formulates her theory about Toyone’s riichi chasing, coming up with a concrete solution after taking several big hits – and then Toyone goes and changes her play style, rendering all of Kyouko’s efforts pointless.
Toyone’s current ability, “Tomobiki” seems rather troublesome too. She’s gone from patiently keeping her hand closed to calling tiles and going for speed, which is completely different to what we’ve seen so far – it sorta resembles Seiko’s (Shiraitodai’s “Fisher”) or Ako’s aggressive style of play. But unlike Ako, it’s an occult power, and so it’s naturally bound with several restrictions or conditions – it seems like one of them requires Toyone to make four calls, which means that if she completes a meld by herself, she has to break it up (wow, that sounds inconvenient). Fully opening your hand also leaves you with a hadaka tanki, which is like putting up a giant neon sign saying that you’re in tenpai, listing the exact contents of your hand and therefore what your wait is likely to be. Needing to call four times probably has something to do with her four team-mates at Miyamori, with Toyone herself making up the pair (which would explain why she doesn’t seem to have any problems completing it). Although Miyamori’s backstory did leave me feeling warm and fuzzy, I can’t help but feel like it’s a huge death flag for them – which is unfortunate as I’m slowly warming to them. How does Toyone manage to alternate between being really cute and really creepy all the time?
We’re into the final hanchan, and Himematsu have been dethroned by Miyamori – I have a feeling that it’s time for the others to get in gear. And I’m mainly talking about Eisui here, who really haven’t been living up to their status as a seeded school, perhaps not entirely by fault of their own (though Senriyama and Shiraitodai managed to wreck havoc just fine). Despite having languished around at the bottom for some time now, it finally looks like Iwato Kasumi will be stepping up her game with an occult power, which may or may not involve calling down a goddess of her own.
And of course, I’m still waiting to see Saki casually dethrone the dethroners – with her socks still on!