Zenkoku OST: Team Eisui

Anyway, still listening to SAKI ZENKOKU HEN SOUNDTRACK.

And there is nothing like the Captain Match going in the manga in order to motivate me into posting Saki stuff.

In the break that Ritz is taking, I’m planning on making a series of posts related to Zenkoku-OST.  Mostly because I bought one from Amazon and its kinda the only CD on my car thus I keep hearing it.  And since Alex asked me if I would do some newer BGM…. sure why not?

The other reason is because I don’t think I’m going to be doing an episode analysis of the last two episodes. Thus, this will serve as a closure to the Quarterfinals Zenkoku anime so I can move on to other matters.  Beside, showing some pretty sweet instrumental; the goal of this planned series of posts  would be to give an in-depth look at the teams participating in the Side-B quarterfinals.

Starting with Team Eisui!

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Zenkoku-hen OST – Saki

I have been listening to Saki Zenkoku-hen OST (Check it out! It rocks!)

When, I had the urge to blog. So sure why not?

If there is one thing I unconditionally love about the Saki, it is  their soundtrack. Normally, reading the manga first and then watching the anime makes it feel less thrilling. I have to say that I haven’t felt this on the Saki franchise, simply because the music makes the anime worthwhile. (That and the flashy special effect).

I really believe that the music in Saki should have a special place in a fan’s heart. And this blog post is dedicated to it.

First up is the title character ost of course.  ^^

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Saki Zenkoku Episode 11 – Threat

Wait. Episode 11? Aren’t you supposed to be writing Episode 10?

I am. I tried. But, sadly the awesomeness of Saki defied petty thing such as causality and you are seeing my review of Episode 11 before 10. ^^

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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 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 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 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.

Hisa is awesome! Click to buy!

Episode 3.1 – The Meaning behind the Shape

Episode 2 is here 

Episode 3 is pretty jam packed with goodies. So it gets more posts ^^

I. Nodoka’s middle school years

We begin with a flashback from Nodoka.


Take note of the Achiga uniform. Nodoka hasn’t transferred yet. But, she’s already drifting away from Shizuno. We know that Ako  has went  for another school so yeah…

Though, this does  make one wonder if Shizuno and Nodoka aren’t that close.  After all, Shizuno and Nodoka even if they aren’t classmates were still in the same school, I would have thought they had more contact. Or since this happened after  Ako went away. Perhaps, Ako was the bonding glue and without her the friendship collapsed apart?

… Or I’m thinking too much about this. Its a bit depressing but this sort of thing happens all the time.

We get a bit of introspection with Nodoka alone in her computer to highlight her loneliness and perhaps regrets.

Everyone drift bit by bit…

If I knew it would feel like this. I would have ….

Remember, the picture dramas implied that the only reason that Nodoka picked Kiyosumi was because Yuuki, her friend, will be there. (Yuuki of course picked Kiyosumi because its the only school that sells tacos in the cafeteria ^^)

We also know that Nodoka opposed the decision to transfer out to Kiyosumi despite her father’s rather sensible objections. And we know how much Nodoka values “logic”.

I think this shows how much Nodoka want to avoid what happened at Achiga. Friends drifting away, losing contact.  Nodoka doesn’t want that to happen with her team, her friends. She was given a brand new chance and she’s not going to waste it. This time, she will hold onto them as long as she could.

 

Yuuki and Nodoka meeting was fun though. Btw, want to guess which friend Yuuki reminded Nodoka of?

AKO!

That’s right. Not Shizu. Don’t believe me watch the early parts of Achiga. ^^

We also meet the rest of Nodoka and Yuuki’s teammate.  Most notable is SUBARA! The wonderful vanguard for Shindouji in the current tournament.

And I swear Muro and Maho is being shipped as a couple. Its a bit weird though that Maho is the one who pick up Muro considering Maho is younger and looked like the less responsible of the two. But, as they say don’t judge a book by its cover. ^^

And with this the flashback ends and we resume the match which was left the following episode.

II. vs. Maho 

 

Maho’s starting hand. Nothing abnormal here. Her discard is also in line with a digital player.

That’s because Maho is copying Nodoka. She even plays online and have a digital avatar. But, as Muro explains “Super Mahocchi” is pretty weak and has a rating of R1200.

… That’s frankly terrible. If online mahjong in Sakiverse mirror our rating in the real world for this sort of games, a 1200 rating is for a beginner player. For comparison, I remember that Nodoka has a rating of 2300 or somewhere in that range when she plays.  And last time I checked, there is like 3 people in tenhou with that rank. ^^

 

 

Anyway, take a look at Maho’s hand. Its not a bad hand. Has lots of waits. Two tiles away from winning. A bit cheap though. Its also no-brainer which tile you should discard if you want to pursue a win. (The 2 of circles)

Of course since she’s playing like Nodocchi. You guys know what she picked. The more logical one. Getting a cheap hand isn’t really worth the danger of getting hit with Nodoka’s probable expensive hand. So she discarded her seven of bamboo and bailed.

 

If you look at Maho’s discards her defensive ability is quite good. She discarded the seven of bamboo because its in Nodoka’s discard pool. Her subsequent discards follows the same pattern using safe tiles or tiles that were reasonably safe

.

And here things gets interesting since we can actually hear Maho’s thoughts. She’s using Hisa’s power giving us a window to how it works.

Take note of that hand:

If Maho went for the logical route discarding the 3 of circles she would have three waits: (assuming she picked it up herself)

  • four of bamboo  which would probably give something like a menzen tsumo + sanshoku doujun for 3 han 40 fu = 1,300/2,600 points
  • seven of bamboo has no additional yaku beside the probable tsumo 1 han40 fu =400/700 points
  • eight of bamboo is probably 1 han 30 fu = 300/500 points

If Maho kept the 3 of circles though. She would have a probable mangan. 8,000 points. But, it would probably be a hell wait.

If Maho aims to play like Nodoka she would have picked the win with more option cheaper as it was. But, since she’s playing like Hisa.

…She picked the 3 of circles and consequently won. ^^

In any case, it shows that Hisa’s power isn’t really hell wait. She has certain special feeling about some tiles that come in her hand which she interprets. In this case, keeping the dora which resulted into her win. The hell waits is the consequence of her special intuition for certain tiles, not the power itself.

Its pretty versatile all things considered. Come to think of it, it may be one of the reason why Hisa is good at advising.

 

Next hand, Maho is using Saki’s power. ^^

We see a typical Saki hand, one with a ready kan. Its also a hand that is waiting for 5 of characters.

 

 We were also shown Saki’s hand herself. Its waiting on the 5 of character and 8 of character for a two sided wait. ^^

Its pretty intriguing that Maho realized that Saki was waiting on the 5 of characters  I wonder if its because she could sense what her opponents hand was. Or just realized that because they have the same power, they’ll probably waiting on the same thing. Or both.

 

 

Anyway, Maho got her rinshan which showed that her power is the genuine article.

But, by now you’re wondering what power is it?

Yesterday, I’ll probably answer with this.

Maho copies powers from people near her.

But, after making further analysis. I think that this is oversimplified. It implies that Maho can use the copied power as a tool. And with more experience and skill she can use them better. I don’t think Maho can actually do that.

For Maho doesn’t  just copy powers.  I think that Maho becomes the person that she is emulating. (If for just 1 hand) 

Let’s take a look at Nodoka’s “power”. She has a great analytic mind capable of discerning the most beneficial path possible from all the variables available to her. But, Maho  in Mahocchi mode didn’t just copy Nodoka’s analytic mind. Maho took on Nodoka’s mannerism, her values and perhaps even her personality as if its her own.

This can be seen with Hisa’s and Saki’s as well. Take note of the way that Maho won and moved. The way that she announced her score. The way she literally thought. Its markedly different each time she used a different  power.

I suppose we should have expected this. In this verse, the powers that the players wield usually embodied and symbolized something important to them. It should no surprise then that to copy the powers successfully, Maho should become the player in question. For its the players biases, judgement, values, those are the reasons why a player pick and discard a tile and thus is the foundation of their playing style.

And since we’re on that subject of player’s powers reflecting something important to them. Maho’s power itself arose from admiration of the powerful players that surround her. She admired them so much that she can’t help but copy them. After all, copying is the sincerest form of admiration.^^

Before we leave this sequence though, its also worth noting that Maho didn’t copy MAKO’S power.

I have three theories on why this happened.

Theory 1: Maho’s power stem from her admiration of a player.Since Maho hasn’t seen Mako displaying her power and making it look desirable as compared to Hisa and Saki. Maho doesn’t admire Mako enough to emulate her powers. (isn’t it sad, Mako?)

Theory 2:  Mako’s power stem from watching and remembering thousands of games played. Maho can’t copy it because even if she imitated Mako’s mindset, she doesn’t have any thousands of plays to draw the experience from. Just like Maho still needs tacos to activate taco power.

Theory 3: The manga ran out of page time. (Just kidding ^^)

I favor theory 2 though. Theory 1 and theory 3 feels like bullying. ^^

Last but definitely not the least, Saki’s reaction to Maho getting a rinshan.

 

Some have interpreted that Saki became fearful of Maho when she used her Rinshan and I won’t deny that there were elements of fear and surprise there. But, the most surprising reaction for me was the ANGER or perhaps FRUSTRATION
that Saki displayed.

Because that clenched fist cannot be anything else.

And that is intriguing because Saki is a pretty laid-back person. She doesn’t anger or frustrate often. (Actually amend that, we haven’t seen a peep of it on the entire run of the show. ^^ )

Until now, that is.

And quite a surprising trigger too.

Doing a Rinshan Kaihou. 

And its even more interesting when you take note of her reaction to cold! Touka just a while ago. If you remember Cold! Touka stopped her kan dead in the water and she didn’t mind. In fact, Saki was excited at the prospect.

Both times consequently, someone has interfered with her territory. And both times Saki has a differing reaction. And thus, I want to ask what makes stopping Saki’s kans and copying Rinshan different? What drew the different reaction?

For now, the clue we have is the brief flashback we have of Teru and Saki regarding said yaku. And what I’m reiterating in my post for a sometime. That is  “powers represent something important about the user.” 

The main question is then, what? What does the yaku symbolized for Saki?

I leave it for you readers to decide.

But, best bet is probably something about Teru. ^^

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?