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?

Captain Quarterfinals Part VI – Saki Strikes Back!

When we last left the game, Kasumi is dominating using her god mode! Which wouldn’t do for our brown haired protagonist for Kasumi has reached the point where any wins from her will make it significantly harder for Saki to get +/- zero and first place.

Though, stopping Kasumi was easier said than done. As we have noted in our previous analysis, Saki may or may not have tried to do so in the last hand; only for Kasumi to win before her.

And it looked like Kasumi wasn’t obliging again this time.

Holly Molly isn’t getting that sort of hand regularly kinda cheating?! 

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Captain Quarterfinals Part V – Kasumi invokes Godmode! Literally!

Previous post here:

http://randomwalloftext.com/2013/11/30/captain-quarterfinals-part-iv-toyone-attacks-and-attacks-some-more/

When we left of.

Toyone’s dazzling display of her second ability has left her opponents  pressured. This goes double for Kasumi since Eisui is now last. Her fantastic defense isn’t going to help them win now if she didn’t get any points.

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Captain Quarterfinals Part IV – Toyone Attacks! And Attacks some more!

Hello guys, we are finally in the half time of this match. And the next few chapters is dedicated to the cutest Alucard clone TOYONE!

Anyway, before we dive back into the analysis.

 

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Prediction for Saki Season 2!

Ok. The manga is still ongoing for the semifinals of Side-B. And in this post,  I’m going to try and  predict what will happen. I’m putting it here for future posterity so I can laugh myself silly for being so far off the mark.

On the tiny probability that  I’m right  though, I’m treating myself to a new mahjong set. The glass one that I saw online. So everybody wins.^^

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Looking ahead to the Climax of the Tournament!

The dust has settled on Side-A and we now know who will be waiting for Kiyosumi on the final round. And of course, the preview on Season 1 has already spoiled that Kiyosumi will be going as well.

This essentially meant that we know 3/4 of the finalist and make our prediction

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The Captain Quarterfinals Part 3 – In which Toyone Pursues Kyouko

This is the continuation of my analysis of Side-B Captain Quarterfinal match.

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咲 (Saki) – Meaning behind the Name (Part 1)

Lately, I’ve developed a keen interest in etymology and I thought let’s go look at the meaning of the names for fun . I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a beginner here and I will probably make a lot of mistakes feel free to point it out in the comment section.

First would be Saki (咲). The title of our show and of course the protagonist. ^^

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To Richer Soil (Prologue)

Prologue

Where the forgotten gathers…


In front of a suburban house, a tearful goodbye was taking place.

“Saki, this is temporary. We’re not actually leaving you. You can always call us on the phone. I got one installed yesterday remember. Besides, we’re just a few train rides away. I’m expecting several visits.” At this the elder woman’s face twisted, “Even if you have to be accompanied by that useless man.”

For Saki, her mother’s soothing words did nothing to dispel her torrent of tears. It just made her try to bury herself in her warm embrace, not knowing if it will be the last time she can do so. “… This is my fault…” The younger girl sniffled.

“No, its not.” Her mother’s stern voice rebuked. “That man and I just can’t keep living with each other anymore. This is just the consequence of that. It is not your fault.”

“But, Onee-chan…”

“Teru was just stressed honey. I’m sure she didn’t mean it. She loves you.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

That was the first night Saki dreamt of the space wherein there was no light.

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