Saki Zenkoku 9 – Captain Match

Before we begin, I want you to know that I’m going to hold back on commenting on the mahjong of this match due to the spoilery nature of it. To those who wish for more of it. Go here. Be careful of spoilers though.

I’ll -probably just comment on the BGM. Though I will put spoiler text on new observations due to the anime presentation of event so there is that.

Anyway, we now go to the climax of the quarterfinals.

Introducing the contestants.


Toyone of Miyamori.

When I first heard her, I’ve always thought that voice doesn’t fit. It should be deeper. Now, I understand that high pitched voice was supposed to make her creepier. Its kinda like looking at mini-Alucard, then hearing a high pitched girly voice. The dissonance moves her into uncanny-ville.

 

 

Kasumi of Eisui!

She was mostly seen being motherly and taking care of Jindai during previous matches. Now, she will go center stage. It is interesting to note here what Kasumi said here. “This time, I’ll also… I’ll be counting on you when I do.” 

Its quite an odd phrase, especially coming from a person playing at the captain position. Because there is no one who will play after them,  the last player cannot count on anyone.  Also the sentence structure is weird. Its as if we are hearing a one sided conversation. ^^

Saki-chan!

As mentioned this is her first match in the Nationals. She looks ready and determined to go. And lol, that Saki-Nodoka moment. Nodoka’s crush is really apparent.

And now, Kyouko of team Himematsu! We have seen her in several flashback giving tips and strategy to her teammates.

And some interesting tidbits. While Hiroe never enters the match considering she will lose (With the way she acted in her match, I can definitely believe that), Kyouko is the opposite and always consider the possibility that she will no matter how much of a loser her opponent is.

And Kinue, definitely have a sister complex.

Extraneous note: Kyouko is short. I never really noticed it. But, with Kinue towering over her, I have a feeling that Saki is taller than her.

 

Did I mention I like the BGM for this sequences? Well, now I will. The intermittent drum roll really managed preserve the tension even if its just mostly introducing the participants.

It also really drives home, that yes, its finally the taisho match.

On an unrelated note, is it just me or Saki has a tendency to arrive late to her matches? That is interesting for me because the one time we saw Teru in her match, she arrived first, well before the other players.

1st Hanchan  East Round 1

The anime made it obvious that Saki wants to kan. But, was hindered due to Kyouko’s pon. That changed the drawing order resulting in Kasumi keeping the 3 of bamboo.


Considering, Kyouko’s starting hand. The fact that pon was to develop it. I believe that the Kyouko (a self-confessed normal) did not mean to stop Saki’s kan. The fact that she changed the drawing order and stopped Saki’s probable rinshan was an accident. This is also supported by her behavior in the next rounds. Kyouko is aiming for fast hands. A safe and solid tactic considering she’s ahead.

… I have no idea if Saki thinks it was an accident though. (Considering her “optimistic” opinion of her opponent’s capabilities.) ^^

The fact that Kasumi kept the three of bamboo is probably intentional. This is supported by her thoughts. It was implied that she knew that Saki needs it. Probably because of Saki’s dismayed reaction or some supernatural sense (She is a miko).

And the fact that her starting hand suggest that it would be better if she did not keep it. Yeah there are the possible sets of 1-2-3 or 2-3-4 there. But, there is already an open pon of the three of bamboo. If I were her, I would focus on building sets for the circles. The fact that she declined on doing so speaks volume…

Yeah she knew.

Kyouko is on the roll!

The BGM here is the well known “Attouteki na Chikara wo Mokuzen Toshite” or “Overwhelming Power Comes” in English. Quite interesting.

Spoiler:Not on Kyouko’s pov, but on Saki’s pov. Remember that Saki was trying to imagine this match as if she has 1,000 points and get +/- zero from there. But, due to the prevention of her kan on the first round, she is probably contemplating if it was a good idea. And then you have this BGM play in this sequence. Subtle producers subtle^^.

Saki putting a stop to Kyouko’s streak. She wiped Kyouko’s gains in that one daiminkan. The BGM for this one hand is also nice, its Akama ka Kami ka or Devil or God? The producers of the anime have an odd sense of humor .^^

Spoiler:As you can see, Saki rinshans for just enough point to hit her sweet spot. Plus minus zero. I guess that answers that BGM’s question. ^^ 

From here on out, the BGM changes again, Bet, this is Toyone’s leitmotif. It suits her. Nothing much to say here except if you look at Kyouko’s hands, you will notice that they have no yaku hand so she really have to riichi if she wants to continue her fast winning. More than that, her hand has pretty good waits. So this makes things a bit excusable. Though she really should have stopped when she was directly hit for the third time.

I suppose this also shows one of Kyouko’s traits,she relies on “past history” much more than “field information”. After all, Toyone haven’t been doing something like that in the past. Why should she now?

That and she’s a tiny bit stubborn.

Anyway that ends the first hanchan of the captain match.

Saki Zenkoku Episode 8.5 – The Devil’s Gate Opens (Vice captain Second Hanchan)

Its time for the second hanchan of the Vice-Captain Match. And things are getting intense!

If you guys noticed the seating is different this time. For one thing, Nodoka is the dealer when Hatsumi is in the North. 

uh- oh. What then will our valiant heroine do?

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Hatsumi (Rock) vs. Sae (Paper) vs. Nodoka (Scissor)

This is a companion to my episode review for the Vice-Captain Match. Just to balance it out.

I have a feeling that people are seriously overestimating Hatsumi. There is this thought that without Sae there, she would seriously lopside the score. And while, I have fun with the hypothetical potential scores and hyping her up in my recent post (yakuman user are fun) ^^

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Saki Episode 8 – Fortress


The episode starts with Hatsumi on the north seat.

Which as explained in the show with Sae and Granny is very very bad news. When she is seated there, Hatsumi gets the north and east tiles very easily. And once, she called a set of those tiles, the south and west is drawn as well.

That means she can trivially aim for Daisuushii (Big Four Winds) and Shousuushi (Little Four Winds).  Yikes.

Continue reading

Saki Episode 7 – Attention


 The match continues….

Quite a pity that we can’t see Hisa’s full hand, but assuming she doesn’t have a terminal tile there (1 or 9). She will get a tanyao, menzen tsumo, riichi and a dora so it will be a 4 han minimum.

Unfortunately, it is not to be. Eisui and Miyamori conspired again. Eisui called so that her hand formation will be faster and to lower the value of her hand. Whch in turn makes it easier for Miyamori to read Eisui and deal on her cheapened hand.

Continue reading

Episode 6 – Withering


Our prologue scene is about our favorite opposite commentator duo. They are commenting on the other match going on this day.

Remember, this is the schedule for the interhigh.

Day 1 – Side A Block A Elimination Match [Shindouji is here]

Day 2 – Side A Block B Elimination Match [Achiga is here] 

Day 3 – Side B Block C Elimination Match [ This is the day wherein Hisa brought a school down to zero, not needing Nodoka and Saki to play.  This is also the day where we saw Hiroe trap someone in playing toward her yakuman. Miyamori is also having a match on this day as well.] 

Day 4 – Side B Block D Elimination Match 

Day 5 – Side A Quarterfinals [ Shindouji vs Shiraitodai   happened of screen. At the same time with Senriyama vs. Achiga.]

Day 6 – Side B Quarterfinals [ We are here. Kiyosumi vs. Eisui vs. Himematsu vs. Miyamori. And now thanks to our helpful commentator, we know that Rinkai vs. Uzusan vs. Yamasu is happening at the same time. ]

Its interesting to note that Rinkai is leading for the first two players. So we can probably surmise that they have strong players at the front.

…. Or their opponent is weak. Who knows? *whistles*

 

 

Is this some sort of private lunch area for the pros? Hmmm….

Anyway, while Kokaji and Kouko is having lunch, Fujita and the coach from Kazekoshi appeared. They’re interaction reveals a few clues.

First, Fujita and Kokaji know each other well. Not surprising since the two of them is featured in mahjong cards in-universe. And if those work the same way as basketball cards, they must be prominent players. Thus, its easy to assume that they must have played quite a lot of times.

…. I just wished that Akasaka (Himematsu’s sub-coach) delayed her arrival and allowed Fujita to finish what she was about to say.

…. Who am I kidding, its probably about the future tournaments that they keep namedropping.

Anyway, the next thing that is notable is the fact that Fujita and Kazekoshi’s coach seemed to want to avoid Ikuno Akasaka.

That is the second time that Ikuno seemed to have left a negative impression on someone. First is of course from Kyouko (her team’s strategist). I wonder what is up with that. lol

 

 

Its official all pros are weird.

Kainou-pro is the cousin of Eisui’s third player, Haru Takimi.

… Wait.

I know that Eisui’s current team is made up of Jindai’s branch family. If Takimi and Kainou-pro is related. Does this mean she’s part of Jindai’s branch family?

I suppose the chance is 50/50. This bears investigating.

 

 

In Miyamori’s resting room, Aislinn is taking her loss hard.

Her teammates comfort her, saying that they’ll make up for it.

This is one of the reason I like Saki, every team is likable. There’s no team that is truly “EVIL” TM.

 

 

I’m beginning to think teams from Osaka are big eaters.

I was curious and researched it a bit.

The food thing is apparently a big specialty for people in Osaka. Its called “KONAMON”. Kona means flour and mono means thing. Konamon means any food made with flour.

Example include: Takoyaki (octopus dumpling), Okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake) and Ikayaki (Flour coated grilled squid).

Now, look at Himematsu’s lunch menu. ^^

 

 


We also have s small scene with Kei’s crew and most importantly some backstory shedding light on Fujiwara Rise. Someone that will undoubtedly become important in the Individuals.

Fujiwara seemed to have a nice rivalry going with Jindai.

… I swear Jindai seemed to have a nice harem going on. First, with all her team. Now, with Fujiwara Rise. lol

 

 

… And awww…. Jindai is still asleep. ^^

Thus, Team Eisui chose to forego lunch and just eat after the match when Jindai is presumably awake.

 

 

And on our team, Hisa is pumped and raring to go. She even made a checklist. Even if its a tad weird.

  • Banana and Milk – I suppose this is a callback to Hisa’s advice on Nodoka on prefecture tournament. I really wonder what weird commercials is she watching.
  • Toilet? -This on the checklist is probably useful for Saki. 
  • Eyewash?
  • Cold Compress?

… Ok.

Anyway, beside the assorted weirdness, seeing Hisa visibly excited is quite weird. She usually likes to play it cool even if she’s inwardly burning inside.

It almost seemed like she’s overcompensating about something.


 I really liked the journey of Hisa toward the stage where the match is held. Her movements seemed to be too fast and stilty, not fluid. And when she entered the door, the camera angle makes it seems that the walls are moving.

Then, this shot showing how little Hisa is compared to the stage- the nationals.

The animators really did a good job of showing how overwhelmed Hisa is.

This looks like a metaphor for the ground  trying to swallow you up. ^^

Hisa literally freezes.

She hasn’t even noticed time passing her by. Until her opponents arrived.

This has been a plot thread since we stepped in the Nationals, but Hisa hasn’t been acting Hisa-like.

She’s also busy worrying about everyone that she might have forgotten taking her of the one that need it the most- herself. Beside that, as we see in her imagination sequence she seemed to have allowed the expectations and support to weigh her down.

Hisa is so pressured that she has been making easy mistakes like exposing a tile to her opponent.

 

 

Hiroe is really a schemer.

Remember the 6 of circles complete either this set of wait. 

4-5 or 7-8

Thus, if 6 of circles is unneeded by the opponents in theory they also won’t need the 3 of circles or 9 of circles.

By making a big deal of not wanting the six of circles, Hiroe lured people on discarding the  3 of circles, its suji pair. It probably worked better since Hiroe know that Hisa is nervous. And people have a habit of clamming up/being defensive or sticking to safe and tried things when they are at that state.

And Hisa is getting really intimidated.

In some ways, I think that Hisa is trying too much for her team. She feels that she must bank points. And every single time she failed to so instead losing points drive her mentality further.

Plus, there is the fact that this is her last chance. 

This are the last few games she can play in High school. Its no wonder Hisa is feeling pressurized.

Sometimes, its really when you can’t afford to make any mistakes that you make all the mistakes that you can possibly make because your too nervous for anything else.

 

 

Thankfully, Hisa gots her groove back!

Pop quiz which tile should you discard?

  • The six of characters?
  • The seven of characters?
  • The red five of characters?

If you picked the six of characters. Congratulation on being a paragon of logic like Nodoka. The six of characters gives a possible iiepeiko and keeps the red dora.

If you picked the seven of characters. You do get a possible yakuhai. Though since we know that one of the east wind is already discarded… this is not as optimal as the six of characters But, you do keep the red five as well.

If you picked the red five?

Congratulations on being Saki!   I meant genre savvy. If Hiroe dropped the East Wind, Hisa will be getting the yakuhai yaku as well as an extra dora.  But, anyway Hiroe didn’t do that. Good thing your other wait is the next one you draw. ^^

 

 

We get a flashback of Eisui. This time about Haru.

Her power seems to be related to sensing. She can feel if her opponent will have an expensive hand.

And some more exposition. The rest of the Eisui team beside Jindai are third years which meant that they are Haru’s senpai. Jindai on the other hand is their princess. Thus, perhaps, Haru feels a bit out of place.

Well, not surprising that there is some stratification on Eisui. I think the branch houses clued as well enough.

Anyway, while playing mahjong Haru feels that this barrier breaks and they’re just friends. Not senpai and kohai.

A 4 sided wait if I’m looking at it right. (Three of bamboo, six of bamboo, eight of bamboo and nine of bamboo)

Its a pity that Eisui and Kurumi conspired against each other to stop it. Haru making an obvious and cheap hand so that Kurumi can ron.

 

And Hisa’s chick magnetism strike again! Making stoic Haru smile to the surprise of her teammates.

 

 

I think its adorable how supportive Kana is of Kiyosumi. How worried she is. And still retain her decidely negative opinion of  Hisa. No doubt born of their love rivalry.

Just kidding. ^^

Hiroe is a gluton for praise, huh?

And ooh! foreshadowing. The captain match is full of monsters! (What else is new?)  lol

Though, Kyouko herself seems to indicate that she is normal.

Anyway, next time is the continuation of the match!

Episode 5 – Gods and Demons

We begin the episode with a flashback from Himematsu.

The interaction between Himematsu’s coach and Kyouko is interesting to say the least. You can clearly tell that there are some sort of tension with them. Kyouko is particularly rude about it. Emphasizing the term substitute. 

Meaning not the original, a placeholder.

Not the real one.

Either Kyouko has a heavy attachment  to the original coach which we found out has been hospitalized. Or Akasaka is one of the reason that their coach is hospitalized. Or most likely both. ^^

Though, not all is doom and gloom on our team from Osaka.

Just as this scene reveals tension in place between their chief strategist and coach. It also reveals that Kyouko despite the one who punishes Suzu is also the one who believes on her the most; Recommending Suzu in place of herself on the previous tournament.Believing in the power of her explosive streaks.

Unfortunately, Suzu failed to explode at all. ^^

There is actually a good explanation on that.

You see, as stated Suzu’s power has a high chance of triggering the more powerful the opponent is. And in the vanguard match, Jindai woke up early and Yuuki’s power is only active for half of the match.

So yeah…. ^^

Yuuki’s hand.

Its a three sided wait ( the one of circles, three of circles and four of circles). Without the riichi bet, Yuuki should get a menzen tsumon and 1 dora for 2 han and 30 fu aka 500/1000 points.

Pretty cheap. So I don’t blame Yuuki for calling that even if it backfired.

No one could have predicted Jindai would awa— I meant sleep for the final hand.  ^^

Pretty badass shot there — Jindai.

 

 

And we also get some Eisui post game discussion.

Apparently, Jindai has never played a public game wherein a god didn’t come down and possess her. Meaning, she’s almost always asleep. Consequently this means that she never have to consciously to call a god.

But, as Kasumi speculates and as we saw, Jindai might have been scared of Yuuki’s riichi that she reached out and this time was voluntarily possessed.

That is a big thing. Considering that each god seemed to have different playstyles. Jindai being able to consciously control some of the possession, even if only the timing of it, is going to be a very scary player indeed.

 

 


… I wish I could take this scene seriously. lol

Though, this does explain what the heck are the Shiraitodai members were doing.

If I remember right. Teru and Sumire have a press conference just the night before. And apparently the media wasn’t done with Shiraitodai. Thus, while Side-B quarterfinals is happening they’re doing individual interviews. 

Well, not surprising since the media is hyping them and they are the favorite to win. 

 

 

Anyway, the sergeant match begins.

And all eyes is focused on Kiwi— I meant Aislinn from Miyamori. She has an astounding tenpai rate. As Kyouko put it, she has an astounding rate of closed tenpai before the thirteenth turn came up.

And when Miyamori’s pov was given, we know that it isn’t coincidence. As Shiro put it, “Aislinn materializes her own dreams, her ideal tiles onto the table.”

 We even have a demonstration.

And its a doozy.

As a result of Aislinn’s power, she gets to see all what  her end hand will be like and since she sees the discards, she will also know how to get there.

This is kinda like Ryuuka’s Toki fairy in Achiga-hen. Only, more broken. Since in addition from that, Aislinn can also see the final hands and discards of her opponents. AND unlike Ryuuka she can do it all the time! 

I also bet that Aislinn might affect/influence the flow as well to give her desired hand. Since the description is projecting her ideal tiles on the table. lol

Broken power is broken.

On the hand itself, I don’t see anything eye raising on her discards. And the final result itself, its going to be a mangan. 4,000/2000 points.

Her opponents are in a similar state. I don’t see anything wrong with their discards as well.

With this we could see that her teammates confidence in Aislinn is well placed. It really looks  no one will be able to beat her.

Fortunately, Mako isn’t really one to follow any plan.

As Hisa put it, Mako threw away an all simple flat pure double chi hand which is already one tile away from tenpai to go for a double sided wait which btw is also lower in points.

Its unthinkable. Illogical. And far from ideal. 

Which is why its the right choice.

Next hand, Aislinn should get  a tsumo ipeiko with one dora. That is if everything went to plan. 

Which as shown in this episode isn’t happening. lol

If you guys followed the players discards and their final hand as shown by Aislinn. They played really well. All of their discards are logical and efficient. They showed a great basic skill actually.

But, most importantly, Aislinn’s power showed that they wound’t have won if they keep on doing that. ^^

Aislinn projects her ideal tiles on the table. Thus, as long as the players plays are like that. They are within Aislinn’s projection.  Thus, the key to breaking Aislinn’s power is breaking away from that ideal.  

Mako does this wonderfully.

In here Mako discarded the five of circles. The dora one as well.

… I really don’t have to tell you guys that this is illogical right? ^^

Anyway, I think the reason why Mako discarded that is she needs someone to change the drawing order. Discarding the five dora especially the red one when the ura dora indicator is 4 of circles meant there is a high chance that someone is collecting that tile and will call on it.

And she was right. Himematsu’s is doing so.

But, more importantly for Mako the drawing order is changed. Aislinn’s winning tile isn’t going to come to her anymore. The hand that she imagined is no longer possible. That is why Aislinn’s power break.


And nice.

Also some nice power interaction here. As we could see from Aislinn’s imagination board, most of the hands she imagines or projects on the table is conventional.  

Mako’s power works best the more familiar she is with it. Due to Aislinn’s power everyone is nudged to conventional hands. Making it easier for Mako to read the table.

All in all. Its not surprising that Mako takes this match hard. ^^

Episode 4 – East Wind

I must be the only person happy that Saki gets a break this week, lol. If only because I need to catch up on my blogging. ^^

We begin this episode with a small sneak peak on Himematsu’s strategy session. They were discussing their strategy for the vanguard match and to our surprise their strategist were wary of Yuuki!

That’s a surprise. To both the team and the watchers of the anime. Sometimes, it is quite easy to dismiss Yuuki as the comic relief but this match reminds us that she’s an awesome player on her own right.

The individuals day 1 of the first season gives us enough proof that at East round Yuuki is unmatched by other players in Nagano on point gain. Though, this of course is probably barring Saki who wasn’t trying on this tournament and Koromo who isn’t in the tournament. And I suppose, I should add Cold! Touka on the list as well.

Still, I feel even with those three out of the way. What Yuuki did was a tremendous accomplishment and I’m glad she’s getting acknowledged for it. Just look at the score difference.

1. Kataoka Yuuki – 436 points 

2. Mihoko Fukuji – 298 points 

Quite a big gap isn’t it? A full 138 points from the Individual Champion of Nagano.

Though, the anime also helpfully reminds us that Yuuki even with the boost on East rounds isn’t invincible. She won 14 out of 20 matches.Meaning she lost 6 matches.

Still, I must reiterate, the fact that she got a whooping 400 points even with those losses, highlights  her ridiculous point gathering abilities.

And now is the time to display those abilities!

Dealer Riichi on the third turn!

Yikes!

Yuuki is scary when she’s on a roll. lol

The response of her opponents to this is very interesting.

Jindai discarded the eight of characters. If you guys noticed Yuuki also has that same tile on her discard pool. Thus, the conclusion that Suzu has drawn was Jindai is in the process of bailing. Which truthfully is the proper course of action when faced with a dealer’s richii.

Still a bit of letdown for the much hyped National Class Monster. Until, you look closely at Suzu’s hand.

Quite curious. Especially in regards to Jindai’s discard and purpose.

Take note. Suzu has the two 8  of characters. She also have the 6,7 and 9.

Suzu could easily call a pon and chi on Jindai’s 8 of characters. 

Lol. I think Suzu missed the call there. No wonder Shiro sighed. ^^

Also explains Shiro’s lines,  when her turn came. “I’m tired. How about this?” [Translation: Sigh. The other player missed the call. Now I have to do something] And proceeded to discard the five of bamboo to help Jindai change the drawing order.

Suzu finally got a clue when she got the two of circles. that was supposed to belong to Yuuki without the change in order.  And Yuuki’s winning hand…

A mangan (4,000 all ) for a total of 12,000 points total. But, as Suzu has surmised without the call, Yuuki should rightfully have a baiman (8,000 all).

Its also worth noting the reaction before Yuuki even drew her tile.

Jindai closed her eyes as if admitting defeat for this hand.And Shiro slouched more on her chair.

Yeah. The anime is subtly telling us that this two have some supernatural sense. ^^

 

 

Suzu on the other hand is feeling a bit overwhelmed. Already imagining, her forehead getting branded by the “shame” kanji. After all, its her job to keep the gap between the top place and them to 30,000 points and it looked like it is going to be more than difficult ^^. 

Himematsu’s strategy for the vanguard is interesting to say the least. Considering that the vanguard’s job is to bank points for the team, expecting an automatic point deficit is very counterproductive.

But, as revealed in Episode 5 it is not without some thought. Suzu has an ability. She has some sort of “explosion streak”  wherein it is not rare for her to have 60,000 points and above. <whistles>

And this has a higher chance of triggering the stronger the opponent is. 

And guess what the vanguard match is? Where most teams put their aces guaranteeing strong players which would of course increases the probability of Suzu triggering.

Of course, Himematsu and Kyouko, who I’m assuming is the strategist of the team do know that there is also a chance wherein it won’t trigger hence the ballpark of points that they’re prepared to lose. ^^

Anyway, while Suzu is inwardly panicking.  Yuuki is reflecting on her improvement from the training camp. Normally, all it took to distract and disrupt her is for someone to call tiles. Now, even calling won’t disrupt her.

… Okay, won’t disrupt her completely. She still wins and that’s what counts. ^^

Koromo’s advice is a lol.

Just end the match on East round. 

Good advice. Even if  lacking in perspective. Not everyone is  a National Class Monster, you cute kodomo! ^^

 

East Hand 1 Bonus Round 1 

Good starting hand.

And normally, I won’t fault Suzu for trying to get a fast win to stop Yuuki’s dealer streak. But, really. She should have not relied on data that much especially when Yuuki is being very obvious and telegraphing to anyone that can read a little of body language that she is in tenpai.

See here:

Yuuki really need to work on hiding her facial expressions.  ^^

Though she might have not noticed since “Yuuki always calls riichi whenever she can according to records“. Fortunately, Yuuki got cured of that. ^^

Back on Kiyosumi’s restroom….

Nodoka is surprisingly tsundere about Yuuki. But, then again, Nodoka seemed to be quite the stern type toward her friends. (See: Maho, Achiga girls, etc).

East 1 Bonus Round 3

We get a bit of info about Shiro next turn.

“Whenever she hesitates, her hand becomes expensive.” 

Pretty simplified. But, quite an apt description of her power if a tad incomplete

Unfortunately, before we can explore Shiro’s ability. Jindai decided to wake up.


 The sequence here is quite funny.

Jindai said that she was sorry that she fell asleep, she will try her best from now on. lol

Her opponents understandably have %?! reaction to that. As noted earlier, Jindai is being too quiet. Her opponents probably interpreted that they’re going to see Jindai moving soon.

But, spectators with highly tuned senses like Kainou-pro and heck Saki here feels that something is off. It feels that a power is fading away than growing stronger. 

And speaking of things to work on, Saki needs to work on communicating what she feels to her friends.Not only in the personal sense but what she observes in the game. Even if it sounds like illogical meaningless babbles, it would be really helpful.

…. Remembers upcoming game.

… Ok. Maybe not…. ^^

Back in the game, everyone is apprehensive.

I did take note of Yuuki’s comment here. On the normal manga run, I was also trolled into thinking that Jindai was about to unleash her powers. And after I got the explanation on why, I thought that this was the competitors also reading too much on Jindai’s statement and getting the wrong conclusion.

Yuuki’s sensing statements sounds odd though.

… Until you guys realized that out of the monsters, she’s comparing Jindai to Saki, and not Koromo. Saki who’s presence is out of whack with what she could do at the table.  Yeah, I can believe that Saki gets more dangerous if her presence seems to disaapear <winks> ^^

Anyway back to the game:

Yuuki’s hand.

A probable mangan waiting for four of bamboo, seven of bamboo and eight of bamboo.

 


Shiro on the other hand is waiting for the three of bamboo, six of bamboo and the nine of bamboo. 

At this point, your probably wondering. Wow that’s a lot of bamboo.

Guess who is hoarding them?

Damn that sucks.

Yuuki’s only wait that isn’t on her opponent’s hand is the eight of bamboo. And there is only copy that is unaccounted for.

Shiro is marginally better with the nine of bamboo, I believe there are two copies unaccounted for.

This will be a bad situation to be stuck into for those two. If Jindai was playing with her God mode that is. ^^

(Though truthfully its still bad, since Jindai is unlikely to discard anything that is a set which her bamboos are; unless she’s a really bad player when not possessed.)

Luckily for Suzu, luck seemed to be on her side. She got the only non-bamboo wait. A two of circles, a five of circles and eight of circles. I suppose this is a way of reminding us that if one player is stopped it doesn’t mean it will benefit the strongest.

 

 

And speaking of confidence. Eisui has it in spades. Hopefully they can back it up. Saying that they’ll be okay even with 90,000 point difference.

And Miyamori isn’t lacking on it either. lol

 

 

And now, we move on to East Hand 2. Dealer streaks really makes a match long, doesn’t it?

Now this is interesting. Shiro’s ability is connected to the legend of “Mayoiga”. Which is a nice treat since it isn’t on the manga. In fact, I was so interested, I researched it a bit. ^^

Here is a copy of the legend.

(Not made or translated by me – All credits go to this blog which seemed to be a collection of japanese folk tales) ^^

Anyway here it is “Legend of the House of the Lost” 

Mr. Miura of Oguni is the richest man in the village. 

小国(をぐに)の三浦某といふは村一番の金持なり。

Two or three generations earlier, the household was poor and the master’s wife rather stupid.
今より二、三代前の主人、未だ家は貧しくして、妻は少しく魯鈍(ろどん)なりき。


One day the wife went gathering butterbur along the small stream that flowed in front of the gate.
この妻ある日門の前を流るる小さき川に沿ひて蕗(ふき)を採りに入りしに、


Because there were not many good plants there, she gradually went back deeper into the valley.
よき物少なければしだいに谷奥深く登りたり。


All of a sudden she looked up, and there was a house with a fine black gate.
さてふと見れば立派なる黒き門の家あり。


She entered the gate hesitantly.
いぶかしけれど門の中に入りて見るに、


She saw a large garden with red and white flowers blooming and many hens running about.
大なる庭にて紅白の花一面に咲き鶏多く遊べり。


In the back of the garden there was a shed with many cows and a stable with many horses. There were no people anywhere.
牛小屋ありて牛多くをり、馬舎ありて馬多くをれども、いつかうに人はをらず。

Finally she entered the house through the main entrance.
つひに玄関より上りたるに、


In the adjoining room she found many red and black serving trays and bowls.
その次の間には朱と黒との膳椀をあまた取り出したり。


A charcoal brazier and a tea kettle, with the water boiling briskly, could be seen in the inner room. Nevertheless, there was not a trace of anyone.
奥の座敷には火鉢ありて鉄瓶(てつびん)の湯のたぎれるを見たり。されどつひに人影はなければ、


Suddenly she became frightened. Thinking that this might be the home of a mountain man she ran off and returned home. もしや山男の家ではないかと急に恐ろしくなり、掛けだして家に帰りたり。


She told people about what she had seen, but no one would believe it.
この事を人に語れども実(まこと)と思ふ者もなかりしが、

Again, another day while she was washing things at the bank of the stream in front of the gate, a red bowl came floating down from up-stream.
またある日わが家のカドに出でて物を洗ひてありしに、川上より赤き椀一つ流れて来たり。


Because it was so beautiful she lifted it out of the water.
あまり美しければ拾ひ上げたれど、


Since she thought she would be scolded if she used this unclean bowl as tableware she put into the grain box and used it to measure rice.
これを食器に用ゐたらば汚しと人に叱られんかと思ひ、ケセネギツの中に置きてケセネを量る器となしたり。


As soon as she began to measure grain with this bowl, the grain never decrease in volume.
しかるにこの器にて量り始めてより、いつまで経ちてもケセネ尽きず。


The family thought this phenomenon strange, and when they asked her the reason, she told them for the first time how she picked the bowl out of the stream.
家の者もこれを怪しみて女に問ひたるとき、始めて川より拾い上げし由をば語りぬ。


From then on the household had good fortune and it became the Miura household of today.
この家はこれより幸福に向かひ、つひに今の三浦家となれり。

In Tono a strange house in the mountain is called a mayoi-ga (a house hound when one loses his way).  遠野にては山中の不思議なる家をマヨヒガといふ。

Anyone who finds a mayoi-ga is to take anything he likes from among the household objects and domestic animals. 
マヨヒガに行き当たりたる者は、必ずその家の内の什器家畜何にてもあれ持ち出でて来るべきものなり。


The house is shown to the person only in order to give him fortune.
その人に授けんがためにかかる家をば見するなり。

It is believe that because the woman was not greedy and did not steal anything from the house, the bowl came floating to her of its own accord.
女が無欲にて何物をも盗み来ざりしがゆゑに、この椀みづから流れ来たりしなるべしといへり。

Tale #63, from “Tono Monogatari (The Legends of Tono)”.

Nice huh? Anyway, tune in for next episode review. Where we are going to watch the Mako smackdown!

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Episode 3.3 – First Impressions

And now flashback time is over. Time to get on with the mahjong.

Btw, wow on the guy announcer. He sounds  GAR. ^^

We begin by Hiroe calling a kan and failing to get a rinshan kaihou. lol. (Subtle reminder that despite Saki making it look easy, Rinshan is a really really rare yaku.)

Anyway, we were given some background information on the match. Namely the scores:

Karouta High School : 168,800

Himematsu High School : 111,300

Hida Business School : 47,900

Kuratsuki High School : 71, 000

When I first saw this,  I was taken aback. I expected Himematsu who was being touted as the top school to be leading. And yet, they were down by 57,500 points.

This coupled with the announcer’s helpful exposition. That Karouta High School gained those points at the vanguard match already hints that the vanguard of Himematsu is less stellar.

The dealer (Hida High school) has called a riichi. Thus, the situation demands some caution.

Pretty nice hand.

She just needs to discard the nine of bamboo and she’ll get an expensive hand. To those who want to know, her yaku is menzen tsumo, honitsu and yakuhai for a total of 5 han. She’s ridiculously lucky with the dora as well. Beside the obvious red five of bamboo on her hand. A brief glimpse of the table shows that the the eight of bamboo (which she has three) and red dragon (she has two). Thus, at the minimum her hand should net her a a sanbaiman (6,000/12,000 points).

She’s also waiting on a white dragon or a red dragon. Which are pretty good waits in my experience. People usually drop honor tiles after all. ^^

All in all. The reward for going for her hand and dropping the nine of bamboo is high.

As for the risks. If you look at the dealer’s discard pictured above. The nine of bamboo is in her discard pool meaning its safe.

The only problem is Himematsu. But, you could see in Hiroe’s discard pile, the eight of bamboo. Usually this is an indicator that the nine of bamboo is safe as the sequence 7-8-9 is out. Though, there is still toitoi (2 han)  and open chanta (1 han).

Really. Even as I look around this. I see that discarding the nine of bamboo is the right choice. Ichigo played well.

No one expects a freaking yakuman.

Chinroutou (A hand composed entirely of terminal tiles) 

I swear Hiroe is really brilliant here.

That rinshan bluff. (Unless, you’re  name is Saki) You simply do not call a rinshan on a yakuman hand. Kan will open doras but due to the fact you have the highest possible hand, it can only benefit your opponents.

Thus, her rinshan declaration at the start was really a bluff/bait. Remember, to her opponent eyes Hiroe’s open pon shows that there are only three yakus she could reasonably aim for toitoi, chanta and chinrouto. 

With her Rinshan, Hiroe managed to mentally eliminate chinrouto (the yaku that she was aiming for) in the equation. You just have to listen to Ichigo’s monologue to see how effective it is. Ichigo did not even consider chinrouto. After all, not only is it a rare hand, Hiroe called a kan and no one does that when they have a yakuman. Even further, Ichigo thought that Hiroe might not be in tenpai. Remember calling kan recklessly can wreck a hand as shown ala Maho in the trainng camp. ^^

 

We get some characterization for Hiroe at the end of it.

For one, Hiroe… let’s just say that she isn’t lacking in confidence. ^^

I do like her teammates response to her antics. They just nod and says welcome back. lol. Sounds like they’re pretty used to their captain eccentricities.

And I guess, my guess that Suzu dropped the ball on the vanguard match was right. As you can see by the writing on her forehead. ^^

We also get some update on Kiyosumi.

“Nagano is amazing” 

“The dealer is on a renchan streak with crazy wins.”

It seemed like they’re doing really well. ^^

Eisui is also watching Kiyosumi’s matches.

… I am now insanely curious of what shenanigans the first three player of Kiyosumi  namely – Hisa, Mako and Yuuki- were up to in their first interhigh match. Two of their rivals schools are watching them play.  Okay, it may be because they will be their opponents but this is a live match. Shouldn’t Eisui be concerned about Himematsu first?

Of course judging by Eisui’s ensuing conversation. They might be concerned about the school that beat Ryuumonbuuchi. ^^

Especially Amae Koromo. As a recent poster has reminded me, its a bit ridiculous that she managed to put two schools down to zero on her opening match. And then put three schools meaning all her opponents in negative points on the second. Then, you factor that she did this without the full moon. Yeah… Koromo is a pretty badass moon rabbit. ^^

 

Komaki really shined in her scene here. There is this aura of quiet nobility around her.

Jindai: Even if another region has twenty school, that means they won just as many games as the team we played at the Kagoshima finals. And among those three finals schools in the prefecture tournament, were there any we could afford to underestimate?

Pretty quotable too.

 

 

 

Anyway, while this te-a-te is happening, Hisa is being badass. And managed to unleash a haneman on the sixth bonus turn. Putting a school below to zero. And of course, ending the match.

.I must say that is a pretty bold and eye-catching opening match. Kiyosumi just managed to win their first round in the Interhigh without needing Nodoka and Saki. ^^

 

Hiroe’s reaction here is pretty interesting as well.

Hiroe: Now this is interesting. I’m going to have to teach them a lesson.

It says quite a lot about Hiroe’s personality. The first is her boundless confidence. And the other is well… Hiroe is quite a trash talker. ^^

Its really quite a contrast to Komaki Jindai’s quiet dignity.

Jindai: Let us meet all of our opponents with respect.

Stark difference isn’t it? ^^

 

 

 

Fast forward a little. And we are now on Day 5. Side A Quarter finals are starting. And Kiyosumi is watching Shiraitodai’s match specifically Takami’s.

It also means they are not watching the Achiga and Senriyama showdown that happened at the same time.

You know… I wonder about the comments. Yuuki and Kana mentioned all the other schools that are fighting Shiraitodai and said they are good. There is a conspicuous absence of Shiraitodai on their comment…

 

 

 

Notice that Saki didn’t watch the match. She’s really avoiding Teru. Even cable version of Teru. ^^

Saki looked a bit melancholy in this shot…

 

 

 

 

And Yuuki is really learning her lessons. Take note: she ate Tacos in the waiting room. In the prefectural tournament she took them in the match room which caused it to get eaten by Jun. ^^


Notice the commentators billing of this match. “The compelling match-up of Eisui High School and Himematsu High School.” 

Most probably think the same. That the match would be a showdown between the two schools. Consequently, the two winner is already decided in their mind as well. And the commentator for the match is a surprise as well.

Kainou-pro. 

Interesting choice for the quarterfinals. Though quite worrying considering what will happen next.

But, enough about that.

More factoid. Kainou-pro alma mater is Oujou High School. I took the liberty of checking the tournament brackets for you guys and the team that they lost to.

Remember them?


That’s right. The Tea ceremony/Mahjong club. ^^

Anyway, time to introduce the competitors.


First is of course, Jindai Komaki.

… I’ve gotta say. There is something weird about the bridge there. I know its Shinto maiden thingy but its weird. Why is there something like the in the tournament venue? lol Either Jindai’s family spruce it up (their probably rich enough) or its some sort of prayer room in the tournament, that was probably given since well… Eisui team are shinto maidens.

 

 

Shiro from Miyamori.

Another unknown school like Kiyosumi.

My first impression. Lazy. ^^

 

 

Next is Suzu from Himematsu.

According to the announcer, she used to be the vice-captain but now she is playing the vanguard. Quite a position change. And harder on Suzu in general. The vice-captain is usually easier than the vanguard round right now. The current school of thought is putting your ace as the opening.

 

 

 

And of course, Yuuki!

Notice the cape!

Looking pretty heroic and powerful there, Yuuki!


Exhibit A: Media in Saki-verse are idiots. Take everything especially if it isn’t a pro commentator with a grain of salt.

Just kidding. ^^

To be honest, its probably expected. Though, the amazing performance of Kiyosumi in Nagano leaves no doubt to their strength to those who watched it. I don’t think the media is one of the watchers. After all, there are like 52 simultaneous qualifying tournaments going on. And Nagano being small and less famous is probably not the most covered prefecture.

Thus, Kiyosumi’s fame is probably exclusive in Nagano. And that’s true, we could see they have a lot of fans in the previous part of the episode.

The small memo does show that someone took note of them. Just not the current field reporters. sigh…

Yuuki is understandably upset. Saying that Nagano’s level went down meant that the reporters are looking down on them. Her team and her new friends from the training camp.

… And its something that she can’t allow.

Meta-wise, its also a very absurd statement. Nagano prefecture is a hell hole. The difficulty level there is just insane. Half of the National teams if they decided to transfer in Nagano won’t make it to the final round.

Just remember that Achiga. A team which effortlessly breezed through their prefecture. Which made it to the final round of the interhigh, can’t beat Ryuumonbuuchi. And if anime sequence is right. They also lost to the top tier players of Nagano when they practiced.

So Yuuki! Fighto! Show those stupid reporters whos the boss!

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Episode 3.2 – End of Preparation

I’m seriously behind the Saki episodes. Anyway, here is part 2.

Part 1 is here.

We begin with a short scene between Fujita-pro and our favorite congress President which is very nice.  It really showed the familiarity between the two. It feels like the two are long time friends.

And while, I’m insanely curious about how that came to be. This scene also set-up some foreshadowing of something beyond the Interhigh. They  name-dropped two tournaments – World Junior Championship and the National Tournament. It seemed that Fujita was scouting for the one or both mentioned tournament and asked Hisa to arrange the camp.

I have a feeling that this is connected to the change in the tournament rules as well. As Hisa guessed they are looking for player’s you wouldn’t find in normal qualifying tournaments. Which understandably lead to some  speculation that the tournament is set-up to favor occult style.

I disagree  with the above assumption btw.

Personally, making the rules favorable for one type player irks me. It will also make me want to question the result of the tournament. And I want to assume whoever planned this Interhigh which is probably the Mahjong Association of Japan or something like that has some sort of integrity. Thankfully, its not the case here.

I think that in many ways the tournament rules is a compromise. Its true that the rule set favor some type of occult power. But, it actually nerfs the monsters. Just think of what happens if you allow double yakuman or give Teru/Koromo longer matches. ^^

… If you’re thinking of unmitigated disaster with one player deciding the whole match. You’re probably on the right track. ^^ Anyway, this scenario is bad considering this is supposed to be a TEAM tournament so even though I’m against nerfing in general. I can understand the thought that went to it.

I personally believe that whoever made the tournament rules is aware of both sides and is catering to them. The normal players gets a chance to strike at the monsters while the occult players gets a chance to demonstrate their skills. The monsters get to contribute meaningfully as well but not on the level of singlehandedly deciding a match. ^^

<cough>

I went off tangent….

Let’s go back to the training camp. ^^

We get the results here.

Maho is in last place for the 3 sets of hanchan. That’s to be expected. Outside of her power, Maho was seen to be pretty terrible.

The last three is more interesting and unexpected. ^^

  • As shown, Nodoka is pretty steady, she didn’t get a minus score even if she doesn’t win a match. This is the reason why she does well in the individual. She may not win big but she won’t be getting big loses. Thus, little by little her score adds up.On the other hand, it also shows that Nodoka is capable of getting big scores as well. +42 and +66 is a blowout. ^^
  • I’m actually surprised that Muro won a match. Its a pretty big win too. +41. On the other hand, its also the most suspicious match score wise. -41/ +41/ +10/ -10 really? The numbers match-up a little too well. ^^  … Either I’m underrating Muro or a certain someone did something. Considering this is probably the round that she does that earnestly I feel I have a right to that feeling. ^^
  • I don’t need to mention the third interesting thing right? (Hint: Saki’s score) ^^

And with that done, you might be wondering what is the point of it all.

 

Maho served as some sort of reference for Mako. If you guys remember, she was in trouble with Kaori of Tsuruga because her database doesn’t have much beginner plays stored in there.

With Maho, a eternal beginner around, she can collect and expand her data.

 

And another point of bringing Maho is to “frighten” Saki.

Unlike Mako, this move by Hisa is pretty controversial.

On one hand, I’ve always thought that anything that adds to Saki’s mental instability is automatically a bad thing. Saki being not serious but happy is good.  She actually plays better when on that mood compared when she is a nervous wreak. (See: Nagano Captain Prefecture Match) 

In fact, a friend of mine suggested the best way to prepare Saki for a match is overdose her with Prozac. lol

On the face of this, Hisa’s coaching decision is strange, downright counterproductive. But, as I’ve mentioned in the post before, Hisa’s ability is to feel the significance about a particular tile and I’ve thought that this segues nicely to her high coaching ability.

Thus, I hypothesize that maybe Hisa thought that there is something amiss with Saki’s generally happy mood. After all, Hisa used the word unsteady to describe Saki right now. And considering what little we know about Saki’s past that may fit Saki’s disposition post-prefecture tournament.

After all, Saki’s big goal in this tournament is to “talk” to Teru. Winning the prefecture tournament means one step closer to her goal. Happy Saki is to be expected. But, that is only in the surface.

We now know that Teru is… err… not welcoming of her sister to put it mildly. And Saki is aware of that. To put it bluntly, Saki’s current happy state may be a result in Saki ignoring/repressing this tiny detail.

Thus, unsteady. 

In light of this, Hisa’s decision make more sense. Hisa may be able to feel significance of that tile that comes to her. But, acting on that feeling almost always put her in a bad position than if she ignored it.

Thus, even if Hisa metaphorically popped Saki’s happy bubble causing her to play worse  initially than if Hisa didn’t do so. It might pay off in the end. After all, better pop that bubble now when in a controlled environment than in a life and death match. This has the added bonus of making Saki ready if someone pulled a rinshan on her or something similar to it.

Anyway, this sort of coaching fits Hisa’s character. She is really the type to pick the worst odds that have a potential large pay-off a the end. ^^ 

 

 

As for Saki, as we could see she’s thinking of what happened.

I’ve thought that while this move is necessary, Saki seeing someone else use Rinshan Kaihou other than her  is perhaps more than a bit painful.

Rinshan Kaihou is undoubtedly something precious to Saki. And I’m 90% sure that its related to Teru.

Imagine then, Saki seeing such a move replicated, copied effortlessly. Made worse, that Maho used the same exact way that Saki does. Imagine what could she be feeling then. That something she considered unique isn’t so. That it can copied That it might have no special meaning.

And consider the implications that it will have on what it mean regarding Teru and Saki’s relationship with her.

As I’ve said.

Ouch.  

But, its probably something that Saki will need to face in the future.

 

 

We have here Yuuki and Nodoka clowning around. lol

I really liked this sequence because though Yuuki and Nodoka will probably stronger just by facing stronger opponents. Hisa hasn’t forgotten them and is brainstorming a method to help them.

As for Hisa herself, she prepared by fighting the strongest opponents she could.

On the list is of course:

Koromo 

It just warms my heart how happy Koromo is compared to before the prefecture tournament. Right now, in the training camp a lot of people are happy to play with her. ^^

 

 

 

Yumi 

Momo’s jealousy is amusing. lol

And I swear Hisa is a troll. Did she have to say it that way. ^^

 

 

And of course, Mihoko.

The BGM change on this part is a nice touch. Subtle in shipping this anime is not.

And I’m sure that there have been many speculation on Kana pushing Mihoko to Hisa. From the romantic to the pragmatic. I say its both. lol

As a romantic speculation, I think Kana’s motion is trying to make Mihoko happy. I’m pretty sure Mihoko’s obvious *crush* on Hisa is hard to miss especially by Kana.

For practical purposes, I’m with Cytrus. Mihoko need all the experience she can get to succeed in the individual

 

 


 Pretty nice scene here.

Hisa is showing her tsundereness at the direct support. Once again. ^^

 

And this one is a nice touch showing that this is truly a 4 team training camp. Its true that Kiyosumi was the host. But the other  schools have mingled and interacted as well. ^^

And with this scene ends the training camp flashback.

Tune in for part III.

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