Saki : The Conclusion of the Fifth Place Team Match

So after nearly two years, we finally get the conclusion of the fifth stage match. And as you all know, I made two posts regarding how the fights would be like. 1 2  

Let’s see how much did I get right? ^^

<ANIME WATCHERS AND THOSE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED STAY AWAY FROM THIS POST>

This is the result.

My first post contains a match analysis, so we will use that first. I put my relevant hypothesis in a quote box for easy discussion.

I. Vanguard

 

As we all know, Toki pushed herself against her battle with Teru causing her to collapse at the end of the match and go to the hospital. And while this literally feels like years to us, Toki just rested for a day.  So, while normally Toki should be overpowering her opponents like in the latest chapter, I wouldn’t be surprised if her normal future sight can’t be used for the whole match.

This uncertainty is further compounded by the fact that Suzu’s power trigger depending on the power level of her opponent. Hanada and Naruka probably will not trigger it. Thus, Suzu’s bomb power is contingent on Toki, who, fortunately, is happily using them in the latest chapter. As long as the next chapter does not show Toki having stamina issues; Suzu’s bomb power will trigger in the subsequent rounds.

As for Hanada’s power,  in the past, I thought that it was a bit useless except in special circumstance *cough* Teru *cough*. Past the latest chapter, it seems to be more defensive oriented in general than merely not going zero points. Apparently, even pro players were not able to get her to lose 20,000 points in a match.

Taking all of this into consideration, I think Toki even with limited future sight should be able to take the lead. I’m unsure who would go second between Suzu and Hanada but if Suzu’s power triggers, I’ll give the edge to Suzu.  The last place would, of course, go to Uzusan unless Toki keeps using Naruka as a patsy.

I also made some hypothesis here regarding Hanada’s power which I’m omitting for brevity. The match, of course,  didn’t go near the zero mark so there isn’t much data consider. We did find out that Hanada-sempai has pretty good intuition though.

As for my match breakdown. Toki got the lead as I expected. Contrary to expectations though,Toki got a power boost!  Besides, seeing the turn before, Toki can now see the changes in the future which her actions wrought. Which is a pretty big deal!

And of course, said boosted future sight triggered Suzu’s bomb. And from the brief confrontation, Suzu’s bomb appears to have some rough parity even with Toki’s boosted future sight.  It is not to be though, Toki and Hanada’s cooperation play is alive and well even at this stage. The two of them combined managed to almost shut-down Suzu’s bomb explosion.

If I have to rank them power level wise, I stand by my earlier prediction:

Level-up Future Sight!Toki > Bomb! Suzu > Hanada > Naruka

Despite the point-loss gotten by Suzu, I was impressed with her on this match.

Suzu wasn’t really shown to be a powerful player in Side-B. After all, her bomb doesn’t trigger well and when it does it usually got suppressed by a stronger player. Meanwhile, Toki was established to be one of the stronger players in Side-A. Furthermore, this is new and improved Toki. The fact that Suzu’s bomb has parity and even has an advantage offense-wise is a pretty big deal. It is possible that without a cooperative partner even Toki’s leveled up future sight might not be able to shut down Suzu’s bomb.

Which says scary things about people who dealt with them. *cough* Satoha *cough*

Good thing, she’s Teru’s problem now!

….Or perhaps, I misphrased, it should be it’s a good thing we have Satoha to help deal with Teru now!

 

 

II. Sergeant

 

Izumi is the sole Senriyama first year, but it is clear to see that she still needs more experience to be able to go head to head with her older peers.   We were given several windows into her thoughts here and there; every insight and thought process was shown to be faulty in- and out- of the mahjong table.  Not that it’s a bad thing, Izumi’s existence, let us see the “average” (for a given version of average)  skilled first year in the interhigh – someone that might be skilled but still naive in their own way perhaps due to their lack of experience.

In contrast, the other players, especially  Himematsu’s Yuuko and Shindouji’s Yoshiko provided solid past performances. Yoshiko was able to alter her playstyle to deal with Sumire’s arrows and Yuuko’s continuous positive points in spite of Mako and Hao’s dominance is silently amazing in its own way. Perhaps, in a sort of foil to Izumi, I believe it bespoke of experience in the interhigh.

As for Uzusan, while apparently Chikako has improved a lot and is a third year. I really don’t think, she’ll contribute much to this match due to her beginner status.

So, my ranking for this match would probably be something like this?

Yuuko=Yoshiko >Izumi> Chikako

Oh, this! The Sergeant! My favorite 5th Place match!

*whistles innocently*

Saki-Teru Meeting!

Teru Flashback!

What do you say? About the match?

Well, just looking at the points it seemed like everything went right with my prediction.  I would like to note that Usuzan got lucky in the last hand. Chikako lost a lot of points prior to South 4 and got them back in one hand.

Before that valuable hand in South 4, this is the score:

Usuzan (Chikako) : 68,900  (-14900) 

Senriyama: 121,400  (+600)

Himematsu:100,700 (+6,100) 

Shindouji: 109,000  (8,200) 

So if you’re looking at the scorecard, every player in Usuzan except Maya should have lost more than 10,000 points…

… Man. Usuzan… seriously. At the same time, can’t really blame Chikako for this. She’s a beginner after all. And while Chikako provided a degree of difficulty for Mako since she is her specific kryptonite. Ordinary players especially players that have reached this deep in the tournament will handily trounce her.

 

 

III. Lieutenant 

 

As we go down the lieutenant match, I expect that it would be down to Sera vs. Hiroe.

While Yuan seems to be a tricky fellow, she doesn’t really have the mahjong capabilities to back it up. On the same vein, while I acknowledge that our resident conspiracy theorist must be a good player. After all, Shindouji has an ascending power level in their player roster.  She was still dominated by Sera last match.

So yeah….

Besides that, previous chapters have shown some build-up regarding Sera vs. Hiroe. After all, their both hailed as aces of their region (former ace in Sera’s case, but still….) and both are hotblooded so I expect there is some decent rivalry involved.

It is the perfect set-up. I highly believe that this match would be critical in determining the winner.

As for whom I think we’ll win between the two?

I favor Hiroe at the moment.  Hiroe’s playstyle seems to have an advantage with “traps” for a lack of a better word. While Sera is good at scoring valuable hands, Hiroe I’ve observed can do the same with the added bonus of being good at reading the table and her opponents which combines in a decent table control and danger sense.

Its also been pointed out in the manga that Sera isn’t in the best condition right now due to losing the semifinal. While Hiroe’s “encouragement” seems to have gotten her started who knows what will happen in the match itself?

So Hiroe’s encouragement worked. Sera isn’t depressed when coming to the match and is fighting in her best condition. I like the camaraderie, and rivalry it showed. Hiroe instead of rejoicing that Sera isn’t the best condition obliquely tried to cheer her up the night before. It is consistent with what Hisa observed as well.

I  really like how they are developing Hiroe’s captaincy as well. While Hiroe isn’t Himematsu’s strategist (that’s Kyouko), she’s more than likely, its heart.

That said with Sera in her top condition, this match as predicted became Hiroe vs. Sera.

And the conclusion…Right out of the mouth of the players, itself.

Both Sera and Hiroe are relatively even. But, if you pit Hiroe vs. Sera against each other, Hiroe is more likely to win by a small amount. But, in individual tournaments with the totalized score, the advantage is flipped and it goes to Sera.

To put it more bluntly, if you make a tournament and count the “number of wins”, Hiroe is probably better. If you count the “amount of points won”, Sera is probably better.

This is a playstyle issue.

Hiroe’s “trap master” playstyle, while capable of getting valuable hands excels at reading the table or as I term it “match control”.  Hiroe makes hands specifically aimed at decreasing her current opponents’ chances of winning and while some of the said hands are big hands, some of them are not.

On the other hand, Sera is basically all about big valuable hands. While she can do what she can to hinder her opponents, Sera doesn’t make it a priority. We see this when Sera fought Ako, which basically turned into a “firepower” contest.

 

IV. Vice-Captain

Once again, I think this will be a showdown between Usuzan’s Maya and Shindouji’s Mairu. Of course, I expect  Funaq and Kinue could probably do something as well, especially Funaq, (since Maya’s ability isn’t exactly hard to spot) but considering how the Side-A Vice-Captain’s match went the person that could stop Mairu’s domination is probably going to be Maya.

On that note, Maya should take pointers from her fellow Vice-Captain (Mairu) and just use her left hand for every round so that her opponents would have no idea if her ability will activate. Unless there is a consequence for using that, it’s a pretty good tactic. Even if it turns out that Maya’s left-hand ability is “unstoppable” (Please note I don’t personally believe this), telegraphing a power activation is not a good idea.  After all, it could be the difference between getting a ron or a tsumo which can be crucial depending on the situation.

In any case, this battle seems to be mostly occult free with the exception of the one hand where Maya’s power activates, making it hard to predict.   While Mairu is undeniably occult since she has a power shared by Himeko, she plays more like a non-occult player than anything else.  Beyond a mindset that demands Mairu to go all out once she made a reservation, said power doesn’t confer any advantage or disadvantage to her.

As for who will win in a showdown between Mairu and Maya…. Sigh…. I really have no idea. On one hand, Mairu practically dominated on the one match we are shown. On the other hand, Maya while not that dominant on her previous round still did pretty good.

As Funaq would say, insufficient data for this match.

This is the match wherein my speculations went awry so let’s have a closer look at what happened.

To have an easier bird’s eye view of the match, I made a simple table.

Despite the scorecard would imply, Mairu isn’t as overwhelming here as in the Side-A semifinal. That said, Mairu still puts a good showing, worthy of an ace player. While her offensive play has been noted already, Mairu is no slouch in defense either. Notice that Mairu is the only player that hasn’t eaten a ron. And even with three players going for quick hands to stop her reservation, she still managed to complete three of them. Though, to her opponents’ credit, two of said reservation is in the bonus round and can be skipped.

As for the other players, Kinue did well and she seemed to be developing some affinity with “round things” due to her experience as a soccer player. Meanwhile, Funaq ate a ron five times. Thankfully, for Funaq’s reputation as Senriyama’s strategist, most of them are fast cheap hands which by nature is hard to predict.

Finally, Maya. Considering, I’ve billed this as a clash between Mairu vs Maya, it seemed like our aspiring mahjong idol underperformed. But, a closer look shows that  Maya did okay. Not as great as Mairu but good enough. The only blemish is the 11,600 ron she got hit by.

The multiple ron that occurred in this match is permissible. The direct hits that are happening in this match are done by fast and cheap hand which by their nature are hard to save yourself against.

11,600 points though.

That seemed to be pushing it.

Well, that is what I would say until I took a closer look.

 

This hand is actually cheap. Without the 3 dora (the red 5 of circles and the two north winds), by my calculations:

1 han = yakuhai

20 fu = basepoints

4 fu = non simples triplet

6 fu = rounded up

This hand is only worth 1 han/ 30 fu or 1,500 points.  But, with the 3 dora, it became 11,600.  Moreover, this hand is a two-sided wait for the six of characters or the nine of characters.  And of those two I think Maya threw the nine of characters which is a terminal tile (supposedly safer to discard).

Oh well, tough luck to Maya. This things just happen.

….Unless, you have a power that can deal with it that is. ^^

 

V. Captain

Speaking of insufficient data, the captain match as always takes the cake for anything goes.

Himeko ’s power would depend on how much reservation Mairu managed to get. Sawaya, normally an overpowering player and would probably be my favorite to turn this match around already used most of her Kamuy in the semifinal. While apparently, some came back, Sawaya is most likely weaker than before.

As for Ryuuka, I don’t even know if she will have a power. Does her Toki fairy, replenish per match or does it have a long cooldown, making it something like once a tournament? What about Ryuuka’s anime-only heat vision? Is that even canon or not?

Kyouko is almost a relief in her stability.  Her threat level would probably depend on what strategy she could make up on the fly. I expect that Kyouko also knows about Shindouji’s double aces, so she could probably guard on those reserved rounds. I don’t know how Kyouko can prepare against Sawaya or even Ryouka (especially since Ryouka just discovered her power last match) but then again, she found Saki’s “tell”, so this is once again a big question mark.

Well, as expected, the captain’s match was anyone’s game but Usuzan. Sawaya might have been able to turn it around if she has her kamui but she spent them in the semifinals.

And Ryuuka doesn’t have Toki-fairy (making it a limited ability like Sawaya’s Kamui with a longer cooldown period) but she has her “heat vision” which now has an official name called “zone”. Kyouko is the same as always, making up tactics on the fly.

I had a quick laugh when Kyouko wished Saki was there so she can know when abilities activate.

The last hand, in particular, is quite interesting.

It is basically a toss-up gamble.

Ryuuka discarded the fourth pei and allowed the abortive draw because she believed in Funaq’s research. That Himeko’s final key is only worth a sanbaiman thus putting Senriyama in the first place (unless Uzusan or Ryuuka get hit by said incoming sanbaiman).

Himeko, on the other hand, tried to surpass her ability and get a yakuman even until the very end. It is probably the right call and the best ending for Shindouji under those circumstances. That said, apparently without Ryuuka calling the last pon, Himeko would have a yakuman at the last hand. This shows there is a way to surpass the limitations. Conversely, considering that the ability can be surpassed, it might possible to block it as well. Oh well, we will never know, unless the ability somehow still works in the individuals.

As for Kyouko, I hope you won’t be too hard on yourself. Wind tiles are usually the first to be discarded and Kyouko goes first. I don’t see how she could have foreseen the aborted draw happening.

 

Final Notes: 

As I’ve said in this post, I’ve expected a Senriyama win the most. Senriyama has ace-caliber players in three positions and feels the stronger one of the teams in the Fifth Place Match.

Shindouji, as second place though, that I didn’t expect.  As you can see with my match-up analysis, I was counting on Usuzan to do some suppression with their last two players which kinda fell through.  And meta-wise, while I’ve felt that Ritz is trying to make Side-A look threatening and establish Kiyosumi as the underdog, sort of a darkness before the dawn trope. I also expected Ritz to establish an atmosphere of rough parity between the two sides.

A ranking like this just before the finals seemed like saying Side A > Side B.

1st: Senriyama

2nd: Shindouji

3rd: Himematsu

4th Usuzan

…. which if you know my opinion is incredibly untrue…

That said, it is an incredibly close game and it could have been won by any of the three teams.

In any case, let’s just thank the mahjong gods in heaven ….

FINALLY, AFTER SO MANY YEARS WE ARE GOING TO START THE FINALS! 

 

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10 Responses to Saki : The Conclusion of the Fifth Place Team Match

  1. eth3reall0tus says:

    There's quite a lot to digest from this match. I guess the first thing I have to say is congratulations to Senriyama for the victory, I was personally rooting for a Shindouji win so unfortunate but close nonetheless. I'll try to break down my thoughts on these teams concisely, though it'll probably end up quite long.

    Usuzan was put in a rough spot, the new players with limited time learning the game having no significant luck or inherent skills or talents was obviously not going to translate well into Nationals. While Maya herself is reasonably skilled and has a bit of power it doesn't quite appear game changing in a team tournament, just enough where she can individually do well which I suppose was Usuzan's overall goal, to give Maya exposure. Sawaya has the potential to change the entire course of the game all on her own, but the limitation of having to constantly go back home to search for Kamuy to bring with her as well as the clouds that going away and need time to recharge occasionally leave her without her powers like in this match. When you add that to the fact she seems very over-reliant on her powers and doesn't appear to have the best skills to back it up Usuzan getting 8th makes sense here.

    • eth3reall0tus says:

      Moving on to Himematsu, the biggest issue I personally have with them is how it feels like they seem to think of themselves as being above other teams and consistently appear to either overestimate themselves or underestimate their opponents. Heading into quarters, we saw Suzu actively looking down on Yuuki for being a first-year Vanguard from a previously unknown school and, despite being warned by Kyouko that Yuuki could potentially be one of the most dangerous monsters of inter-high, proceeds to not be cautious and got wrecked. The steady play of Yuuko and tricky pseudo-defensive play of Hiroe do wonders for Himematsu in all of their matches, probably the 2 players who, regardles of whether or not they get accurate data on their opponents, will always reliably get the points needed. Kinue has actually impressed me the most on Himematsu, in regards to how much she's improved since we first saw her in quarters at least. There's not really any denying that Hiroe is the overall most impressive player on that team currently. We saw back in quarters and a bit in semis how reliant Kinue is in regards to Kyouko's information and strategy. An interesting facet of her character is how down on herself she is for having previously run away from mahjong for not being as skilled as her mother and sister are and wanting to live up to her family name and school's reputation in mahjong. Throughout the tournament she's found her own style of play and gained confidence in being a national contender, and as we've seen numerous times before, confidence in one's own skills translates to strong mahjong players and she surpassed my expectations of her for that final match. Then we move on to Kyouko, despite her best efforts she just can't seem to catch a break against all these monsters. She had insufficient data against Kiyosumi, Miyamori, Usuzan, Esui, and Rinkai, in other words all of the opposing teams had powers or strategies that she either couldn't analyze, or had been kept hidden to catch others unawares. Now it's not like it's entirely her fault, she doesn't have Akado Harue levels of insight, and it feels like all the information gathering and strategy planning is entirely up to her, which is a rather heavy burden when you also play as the 5th player on your team and everyone is counting on you to finish in 1st or at least do well enough to move on to the next match. That being said, to be so caught off guard by Saki's Rinshan Kaihou despite that being the thing she showed most prominently in all her matches as well as to stubbornly try to declare riichi time and time again against Toyone doesn't inspire confidence. She showed some growth in semis by being more cautious towards Sawaya who had hidden powers like Toyone, as well as reading Saki like a book, yet again despite being more prepared against Saki and knowing that Nelly was going to do something at the end, she failed to stop either one of them which put her in the 5th place match. The 5th place match itself showed Sawaya failing to really accomplish what she wanted while Kyouko was more worried about Ryuuka than Himeko who managed to show that she is fairly talented and can get the job done as compared to the travesty that was side-A semifinals. Himematsu went in with scouting as well as they could hope to have, and consistently failed to execute their strategy against the other teams.

      • eth3reall0tus says:

        As I mentioned before I was personally rooting for Shindouji. While I think the players on the team are weaker than Himematsu's players, the team seemed to have a better strategy outlined and didn't assume they were better than other teams or that other teams weren't a threat. Notably, both Hanadai and Himeko played rather recklessly in semis, Hanada trying to stop Teru at all cost (didn't work for the most part) and Himeko trying as hard as she could to make up the large point gap (which let Awai ron her several times making her look kinda bad), but in this 5th place match both of them were more free to play a non-reckless normal game and showed why they were national contenders. Himeko's one misstep in the captain's match was more unlucky than anything, being caught by a mangan on the 3rd turn is rough, but she still put out a solid performance and very nearly won. Yoshiko and Mairu once again showed why they shouldn't be underestimated, while the conspiracist showed she isn't that bad, but also not really on Hiroe and Sera's level. Hanada showed high levels of intuition, willingness to cooperate with Toki again to shut down Suzu, and similar to Kinue, some newfound confidence that she really is good enough. While Hanada's positivity might prevent her from outwardly showing it, overhearing that she wasn't chosen based on her mahjong skill but her ability to not bust might still hurt her emotionally. We saw it before the 5th place match when she talked to her coaches and junior about replacing her on the team that he feels she isn't what her team needs, like she's not quite good enough. They convinced her that she is good enough, they didn't make a mistake in their strategy, and that she should have confidence in her own play, in the same way that Kinue also grew with confidence in order to put up a subara! performance.

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          Don't worry about long analysis. I'm guilty of that myself. In fact, that's the reason this website is founded in the first place.

          To be honest, I don't even think Usuzan is the actual 8th powerlevel-wise. 10th place is more likely. I'm relatively confident that Eisui will trounce them and heck Miyamori might even hold an advantage if they fight against each other. That said, Usuzan is probably better than the teams that fought in the quarterfinals against Senriyama and Achiga.

          Regarding Himematsu, well no plan survives an encounter with the enemy lol. But, yeah as much as I like Kyouko, she is too stubborn for her own good, not really helped that she has a bit of a persecution complex regarding strong players. It shows in her thoughts and even in her playstyle at times. To be honest, besides Hiroe and Yuuko, Himematsu players have some sort of complex going on… lol

          And I couldn't have put Kinue's growth more wonderfully myself.

          As for Shindouji, while I did not bet on them going second mostly for meta reason, I do agree they are a pretty well-put team. Hanada herself will function very well as the team heart in the coming year. Mahjong wise, Hanada will need to do several level-up to fill Maiiru's shoes though…. I'm kinda worried about it to be honest….

          Himeko's key power apparently work through emotional connection and with Mairu leaving the next greatest emotional connection Himeko has on the team is Hanada apparently. This would make Hanada a threat and that is what I'm worried about. One of Hanada's greatest asset in the matches we see is the fact that she's so cooperative and non-threatening that her opponents such as Toki are willing to team up with her to deal with a greater threat. If Hanada becomes a part of the double aces and her wins nearly guarantee a win with double han later on by Himeko – Hanada's cooperative overture would be harder to make. Instead, she will be the one targetted unless the opponent is someone absolutely ridiculous.

  2. Meduchi says:

    Your predictions were pretty on point indeed. I was off too in mine about the vicecaptains, but I don't think anyone could have guessed Usuzan would do THAT bad, not that it didn't make sense in universe, but come on Ritz, at least make Maya do better than Kinue. Or Sawaya not do worse than… Yuan.
    But everything is forgiven now that the finals are here and the hype is back thanks to Tacos!

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      I think everyone expected Usuzan to be fourth place.

      To be fair to Maya though, it looked like she was just unlucky. If Maya didn't get hit by the unlucky ron by Kinue, their scoring position would have been reversed.

      And about Sawaya, most of the damage she got is done by tsumo. But, yeah, Sawaya isn't monster level without her kamui which kinda sucks since it has long cooldown time so its like once per tournament?

  3. eth3reall0tus says:

    Now that her girlfriend isn't dying, Ryuuka is in much better form, and she maintains a level of wariness towards her fellow taishou based on her knowledge of their past performances in addition to Funaq's data gathering. When she realized Sawaya wasn't completely blowing people away in 2 rounds like she had in semis Ryuuka played more aggressive., Funaq's data of when Himeko would strike let Ryuuka focus on the gaps when the 2 most dangerous players weren't expected to storm ahead. Finally against Kyouko it was mentioned that Kyouko tends to have a hard time stopping Ryuuka during "Limitless Heaven" as her ability is apparently called, while Kyouko's quick hands don't penetrate Ryuuka's defense much. Sera is the third ace of Senriyama and has some of the higher scoring hands most of the time, while she didn't quite match up to Hiroe this time around they were still neck and neck the whole time and had a respectable performance befitting an ace. Funaq had a hard time this match, getting constantly hit by quick unpredictable hands hurts, on top of which she went up against Mairu, one of the stronger players in the entire match let alone just the vice-captains, Maya, a talented first year with a special sure win for one turn power, and her cousin Kinue, who in my opinion had been around Funaq's level before her confidence boosted improvement. She was still able to show some of her skill, though it was more about her data gathering for her teammates. Last I need to talk about Izumi, and while she did remarkably better than her semifinal appearance it seems like her lack of experience was still working against her. It's entirely possible that down the line (say ten years for the next team tournament) she could become a really strong ability-less player, but for now she'll need more time and experience under her belt.

    • eth3reall0tus says:

      One final thing I'd like to touch on which may or may not be relevant is the team situations. Usuzan aside, all the teams in the match for 5th place were upset about not making the finals. While Usuzan is a pretty close team, they have no juniors as far as we can tell, no coaches, and no motivation past Maya for wanting to do well in the tournament. The team will most likely disappear after Chika and Sawaya graduate though we may see some of them individually in other tournaments assuming the story goes that long. For Himematsu, their main coach is in the hospital, and sub-coach does her best while leaving a lot of strategy and information gathering to Kyouko. They have the motivation to want to be number one in interhigh, or at least do the best they possibly can, but even though they are a well known school that is consistently a top performer at nationals, the only hint that Himematsu have more members came through flashbacks, so while the team itself might be close, the club appears more distant. Both Shindouji and Senriyama have coaches that work actively with their teams to plan strategies, and seem to be close enough to their club members where having a good position for their juniors feels more important. Shindouji feels largely open, accepting, and friendly with the one exception being Hanada who feels more out of place and not as comfortable and relaxed at first. Receiving Mairu's acknowledgment that she did well, a senior that she respects, and being close friends with Himeko and the freshmen we saw whilst also having a good relationship with her coaches, Shindouji feels like a close team and club where everyone really believes in one another's abilities to do well. Senriyama seem to have everything, several ace level players, a really close-knit team, excellent information gathering and strategy planning abilities, a coach that's a former professional there in order to help them, club mates they are on good terms with who support them and make them want to do their best, and the absolute faith the team has in Funaq's data. When I look at all that together it really seems like Senriyama was just unlucky to get bumped out of the finals and earned their 5th place spot.

    • eth3reall0tus says:

      One final thing I'd like to touch on which may or may not be relevant is the team situations. Usuzan aside, all the teams in the match for 5th place were upset about not making the finals.

      While Usuzan is a pretty close team, they have no juniors as far as we can tell, no coaches, and no motivation past Maya for wanting to do well in the tournament. The team will most likely disappear after Chika and Sawaya graduate though we may see some of them individually in other tournaments assuming the story goes that long.

      For Himematsu, their main coach is in the hospital, and sub-coach does her best while leaving a lot of strategy and information gathering to Kyouko. They have the motivation to want to be number one in interhigh, or at least do the best they possibly can, but even though they are a well known school that is consistently a top performer at nationals, the only hint that Himematsu have more members came through flashbacks, so while the team itself might be close, the club appears more distant. Both Shindouji and Senriyama have coaches that work actively with their teams to plan strategies, and seem to be close enough to their club members where having a good position for their juniors feels more important. Shindouji feels largely open, accepting, and friendly with the one exception being Hanada who feels more out of place and not as comfortable and relaxed at first. Receiving Mairu's acknowledgment that she did well, a senior that she respects, and being close friends with Himeko and the freshmen we saw whilst also having a good relationship with her coaches, Shindouji feels like a close team and club where everyone really believes in one another's abilities to do well. Senriyama seem to have everything, several ace level players, a really close-knit team, excellent information gathering and strategy planning abilities, a coach that's a former professional there in order to help them, club mates they are on good terms with who support them and make them want to do their best, and the absolute faith the team has in Funaq's data. When I look at all that together it really seems like Senriyama was just unlucky to get bumped out of the finals and earned their 5th place spot.

      • nightsentinel09 says:

        If there is one thing that the fifth stage match did right does it is justice to the Side-A captains. The semifinals Side-A frankly made them look like idiots. This match managed to regain their credibility at the very least.

        As for the schools…

        Usuzan’s fate is the fate of small teams even those who managed to make a star-studded roster for the year. Sooner or later said roster will graduate and they need to attract other talents.

        About the school atmosphere…. This is a bit of a chicken and egg problem. Personally, I think its a bit too early to judge the school atmosphere. Right now. the point of view of the regular players might be coloring how we see the club atmosphere.

        For example. Shindouji’s main point of view is Hanada who is established as the caring senpai, Mairu and Himeko who’s whole ability is an expression of their bond. So their school club would feel fluffier and warmer as a result. In contrast, Himematsu’s main point of view is Kyouko, Kinue and Suzu. Note that all of this players have something to prove and a bit of complex themselves. So their club feels a bit colder and more aggressive.

        I still remember Kyouko’s early interaction with her vice-coach which is a tiny touch hostile and I wonder if the vice-coach did something to the head coach, now, I try to think its colored by Kyouko’s personality.

        Senriyama is actually the most explored team since we have the point of view of all five of their regular member. We also have the Toki-spin off giving more information as well. That said, they do feel having it all when compared to the other teams….

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