Anyway, Episode 2 is another set-up episode.
To be honest, I kinda expected this. Being a manga reader, I know that Saki won’t be getting to the good stuff (i.e. the mahjong battles) until the third episode (And this is the most optimistic prediction). But, once its there though, it will be non-stop mahjong so I’m pretty forgiving. ^^
Anyway, enough on my ramblings. Time to review the episode itself.
The episode begins with an anime original of Eisui. They are frolicking on some sort of temple designed onsen. (This show. lol) They were conversing pretty leisurely. There were some lines that grabbed my attention here and there.
This question in particular.
To recap. Jindai was sleeping and the first thing that one of her teammate asked was, “Did you see anything?” That in my book was pretty unusual. It immediately aroused my suspicion. Does Jindai “see” the future or something supernatural while she sleep?
SPOILER:Its specially interesting because in the manga chapter that we were shown Jindai’s point of view we could clearly see her imagining the beach along with everyone. Something that has yet to happen at that point. I wonder if she has some sort of “precognition” power, she’s supposed to have a bunch of Gods right? And foretelling the future is a standard Miko power. ^^
Anyway, her answer to this was a bit tame. She remembered what happened the year before. When Hatsumi (the almost naked loli) volunteered herself to join the team.
On that note, I would like to make several observation about Eisui.
If the branch houses and the customized bathhouse didn’t clue you guys in. Have a look at this Japanese style mansion!
They’re also pretty easy going and chill as Jindai’s reaction to her last year lost shows. There is no vowing of revenge nor any sense of bitterness due to her defeat. Just the fun memories of facing many strong opponents.
Another thing to note, is the BGM that plays during this scene. The combination of wind instrument and bells gives rise to an image of an archaic Japan. For me, it feels slow, peaceful and a tad mythical which is quite fitting for the Eisui team.
But, enough about Eisui, as the show subtly tells us. Time has passed and its the third day. Meaning its Kiyosumi’s first match in the Interhigh.
Back to our errant protagonists. Hisa is contemplating the closet filled with uniforms. I feel that our dear buchou is being more random than usual. Could she be nervous? Even Mako doesn’t understand Hisa’s ramblings.
Time to wake up the first years.
Aren’t they adorable? ^^
No separate rooms, for the first years huh? I suppose this illustrate the lack of funds of Kiyosumi in general compared to other Mahjong clubs. Even Achiga has a double room for their members and their room was more grander looking. Kiyosumi in contrast looked like a cheap dorm room.
I suppose this illustrate in some ways that Kiyosumi despite their impressive roster is still the underdog in this tournament. Considering apart from that they don’t have anything else like a coach or even funding.
The small scene of the first years waking up was pretty fun, though.
Saki, a morning person, you are not. Wake up sleepy head!
Yuuki, on the other hand, wakes up pretty easily. I could already feel her energy.
Nodoka wakes up pretty easily as well.
On a minor note, I’ve noticed that Nodoka’s nodokas aren’t as offensive to my sensibilities as it did on Season 1. I might come to like them now.
The improvement? the shirt doesn’t make a perfect silhouette which is against gravity. *sweatdrop*
Anyway, next scene is Saki-Nodoka conversation. The scene is mostly from Nodoka’s point of view. But, I really liked how worried she was for Saki in here. She visibly clenched her plushy doll, Etopen, a telltale sign.
As for Saki, the scene really shows that she internalize a lot of things. Saki isn’t really very expressive. She doesn’t raise her voice nor emote apart from some cues here and there. In fact, the way she causally mentioned the rift between her and Teru make it seem as she was talking about the weather. But, the way she answered Nodoka’s question to me spoke of “resignation” and perhaps “determination”.
Resignation in a way that she has accepted that Teru is not going to talk to her. And determination…
( Extraneous note: I really love Saki’s eyes. They’re a nice intense blood red. Pretty intimidating even without the flame, actually. )
Saki will do anything to meet Teru through mahjong. Even if she has to plow through the competition all the way to the top.
Anyway, I think this is the perfect to ramble about the bracket. Please look at this translation made by Marina2.
The tournament was divided by 4 blocks. Each of this block takes 1 day to finish. Block A would be on the first day. Block B second day. Block C which is where Kiyosumi is would on the third day.
The seeded teams are given a free pass on the first round of the tournament. That’s why Eisui is lazing around on the third day. Beside this, the first round is single type elimination meaning only one team will go up to join the quarterfinals round.
From the quarterfinals round, the seeded team would join the tournament bracket. From here as well, two teams will pass from each match and join the semi-final (the 1st and the 2nd).
If you guys noticed, Saki’s comment stems from Shiraitodai (Teru’s school) being on the other side of the bracket. Meaning the only way for Kiyosumi and Shiraitodai to fight is in the finals. This is also true with Achiga.
And now we get the meat of the episode.
Remember the title card: “Support”
First, Ryuumonbuuchi shows up to offer this.
If you guys noticed there is a short skit regarding names in this. Koromo used Nonoka and Saki. I’m sure you guys remembered the incident with etopen and why Koromo used Nonoka. Saki though is an entirely new development. Especially when prior to the training camp and even at the early phase of it Koromo uses Rinshan user.
Saki also has something going on with Koromo. She kept lapsing on what honorific to use. Saki instinctively used -chan instead of the -san that Koromo insist. On Koromo’s end, it must be because -chan is diminutive and she doesn’t like being called or talked as a child. (Koromo isn’t a Kodomo, anyone? ^^) That and Saki is technically a year younger than Koromo.
Saki though, probably used it as a sign of intimacy. She is actually fond of using -chan on her close friends. Kyou-chan, Yuuki-chan, Nodo-chan and now Koromo-chan. I admit that I’m curious about what caused this change. I’m going to wait for a flashback on this one. ^^
Anyway, there is also a little punishment game regarding Touka making Nodoka a maid. lol. What took my attention on this one, is Hajime’s objection. It could be that she’s being sensible as usual. But, if you guys remembered S1, Hajime takes pride on being Touka’s maid and wearing chains because it signified them getting closer to one another. Is this jealousy we’re seeing?
Speaking of without honorific, there seems to be some closeness developed with Hisa and Yumi. Take note at the honorific that Yumi used.
I wonder how Momo is taking this. lol.
They also brought message of support from the entire prefecture.
… Wow. I don’t think I have ever seen a sport this popular. I don’t think even soccer does this. Just reminds me how insanely popular Mahjong is. And of course, how far Kiyosumi has come.
They might not have fans in the national venue itself as shown when Hisa was drawing lots, but a lot of people in their prefecture has become a believer. But, then again, the Nagano Prefecture Finals is THAT good.
But, it isn’t just their prefecture, their school is of course doing things to support them too. And apparently, the vice-president is a lolicon. lol.
But, the more important thing is how… umm… how should I put this? How tsundere Hisa is about the support she was being given.
As the montage shows, Hisa was used to tough times. She started the club with just herself. And then next year, she got Mako which gave her a ray of hope. But, now… ^^
In some ways, its a pretty nice characterization for our buchou.Just like the hell waits she is fond of, Hisa is used to tough times, expected it, thrived in it. But, this support she was getting is something that she isn’t used to.
Anyway, we get flashback of training camp and sergeant round 2.
Beginner’s luck strikes again!
Hehehe! Its worth noting another nugget of information buried around the conversation. Mako revealed that “All green” is her favorite yakuman. I would take it as just an interesting trivia if I didn’t remember who is Mako’s opponent for the finals.
Remember Yuu from Achiga likes warm tiles. Thus, tiles with red on it is more than likely to be drawn by Yuu. But, the opposite corollary is also true. If Yuu gets the tiles with red in it, it means her opponents have a higher chance of getting tiles which has no red.
Now look at the “all green” yakuman. ^^
Anyway, on this training camp we also get the appearance of Professional Mahjong Cards. They were distributed in Achiga DVD extra. And I have made a post about it here.
But, now we get to the interesting part.
The appearance of Cold Touka!.
Btw, this has been referenced before.
See above conversation with the bystander. During the vice-captain match, they were quite confident about Touka. And they even mentioned the match against Rinkai!
Its really too bad though. But, if I’m getting it right the activation of Cold Touka is the presence of powerful players. Err… vice-captain S1 is lacking on that. Its well known that Nodoka doesn’t emit supernatural mahjong energy. She’s a bit of anti-magic in a sense. Momo…. is defined by her lack of presence. And I can’t remember Kazekoshi’s name outside universe, that’s how forgettable she is….
There is very little chance for Cold! Touka to awaken in that game. <sweatdrop>
But, Saki, Koromo, Fujita?
Well, if Touka doesn’t awaken in her cold form in that match she’ll never awaken.
And more interesting conversation.
The boy that married into Ryuumonbuchi.
With that single line we get some insight on the Ryuumonbuchi family. For one its Touka’s mother that has the name Ryuumonbuchi and it is prestigious enough that her husband left his family’s register and took his wife’s name.
Second, there is a high chance that Koromo doesn’t think well of her uncle. I can imagine that maybe because according to S1, it was her uncle who isolated her in another mansion and called her a monster saying it was her fault that her parents died.
Third, Koromo’s uncle/Touka’s father may not be such a bad guy.Considering his disdain and low opinion for monster players. He might just be looking out for Touka. Considering that Touka’s trigger for cold mode is strong player then separating Koromo and Touka might be good in his eyes. That and Koromo is a breathing living example of monster player doesn’t hurt.
Anyway, Cold Touka’s playstyle is interesting. Well, not really.
At first it seems logical at first glance. Getting rid of the honor tiles. But, if I’m not wrong, she’s in tenpai earlier in the hand with two waits and she didn’t declare riichi. Though, considering who she is up against, announcing that she is near to winning probably isn’t a good idea.
More than Touka’s playstyle, its her opponents that has interesting hands. In the sense that they are not.
Saki usually have some sort of kan by now. But, her hand says that she doesn’t. They are also not in tenpai.
Hmmm… I wished we saw more of this match. But, I suppose this is a set-up to introduce Megan. The opponent that “beat” Cold Touka even if its cowardly. Its still beating.
The aftermath is also interesting. Here we get a shot of what Saki’s reaction to getting her kan nullified for basically three matches.
Saki rolled in the floor in happiness.
I wonder if I should take this as evidence that Saki doesn’t mind if you someone stopped her kans. That and her level of seriousness during the training camp.
Anyway next episode! The Star of the Training Camp Arrives!
Have a Teru figure?