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.

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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 2 – Support

Episode 1 is here. 

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.

 

They’re rich!

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.

None.

^^

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!

Episode 3 – START! 

Have a Teru figure?