And now the moment that we are waiting for has finally arrived! Saki Zenkoku-hen is here!
And I loved every second of the first episode. Just watching the old cast and the new ones receiving voices and animation is enough to make me satisfied. ^^
Still, though, I’m not blind to its fault. Namely, its a terrible first episode for those who are unfamiliar with the Saki franchise. Heck, judging from comments I read on some forums even anime only viewers would feel lost here.
Don’t worry though.
This is why I’m making this post! Here, I’ll try to give you guys background of the characters as non-spoiler as possible so you’ll enjoy the show better. (Except if you highlight the text which says spoiler of course) ^^
The episode starts with a short scene.
If you don’t recognize anyone of them anime watchers, don’t feel bad. You’re not supposed to. This is the first time they were shown. *sweatdrop* Though, from the way this episode is set up, you could easily deduce that they would be future opponents of Kiyosumi in the tournament.^^
Anyway, people with sharp memory would recognize the old lady that served as their coach. Toshi Kumakura was the one who met with Akado Harue of Achiga and the one who previously scouted her for a team.
This little scene shows the team that she was coaching.
The team is Miyamori High. And they are an unknown team like Achiga and Kiyosumi. Breaking into the nationals for the first time like Kiyosumi. That little scene was the official arrival of Toyone, a strong player that their coach personally recruited from far away.
Next we go to one of the more familiar characters – Awai! From Shiraitodai!
Somehow this scene no longer inspires dread in me. Especially, since I know that Awai is making a great mistake.
Really, Awai, did you have to double riichi there? When the announcer helpfully pointed out that your miles ahead in points? Shouldn’t not revealing your secret move and saving it for a tight spot in the nationals the wiser move?
Anyway moving on: Here is the rest of the team.
Shiraitodai! The Current Reigning Champion for two years consecutive!
The announcer has some Interesting tidbit here.
According to her, West Tokyo (the prefecture that Shiraitodai is from) was known for third rate players. But, Shiraitodai or team Tora-Hime (probably from the combination of Teru-Sumire being the tiger and the princess respectively. Or probably from Teru alone. There are some tiger motifs in Teru’s style after all being the aggressive and powerful and most importantly direct player that she is. Plus in Asian mythology, its the tiger that is the King of the animals, not the lion. And really as Kouko, our helpful announcer has pounded in our heads, Teru is the INTERHIGH CHAMPION)
And that’s it for Shiraitodai, we now move on to the Unknown team.
Rinkai of East Tokyo!
As every sport story enthusiast know. One of the staple opponent team is the “rigged team”. Now, we look at Rinkai’s team composition.
Their sole Japanese player is the third ranked in the individual.
That meant coming in third before freaking Teru and just one more person.
Their sergeant happened to be the Champion of Chinese Style Mahjong.
The middle player has a world-Rank. She actually has a nickname as well. “Goddess of Winds”
Which probably meant she has a power related to the wind. Either the wind tiles or the wind turns.
Megan is the sole remaining player from the previous team.
And while we don’t know if she has a fancy world rank. We do know that Ryuumonbucchi and Rinkai met on the semi-final in the previous tournament.
Guess, who knocked out Ryuumonbucchi while playing against Cold Touka?
And lastly, Nelly who distinguished herself from the WORLD cup tournament.
Looks at Rinkai’s line-up? Can you say rigged? lol
Thankfully, they won’t be Kiyosumi’s problem until the semi-final. Remember, as the drawing lots ended. Kiyosumi is on the same block as Himematsu and Eisui.
Who are they you ask?
As the announcer said, Himematsu is a veteran school in the interhigh.They’re from Osaka like Senriyama (Toki’s school). This happens because big prefectures are divided into two. The two examples here would be Osaka and Tokyo. Osaka was divided into North (Senriyama) and South (Himematsu). Tokyo into East (Rinkai) and West (Shiraitodai).
Anyway, continuing on, its actually weird that Himematsu isn’t seeded. Still, current consensus, says that they are among the top 5.
… And oh the reason why Himematsu isn’t seeded? They lost it to Eisui in the last tournament. Which incidentally is also in the same block. Yey. Rivalry fuel. ^^
Anyway, the episode tells us some interesting tidbits about them.
They won the final match of their prefecture tournament without having the captain (5th player) play.
Due to their Vice-Captain Nopan.
Who can use some sort of wind yakuman finishing move. (Yakuman = highest hand that you can get in mahjong 32,000 points minimum)
And they have another notable player.
You may have heard her name namedropped a few times in the series before. Jindai Komaki is one of those “loved by the tiles“. And the monster that debuted last year with KOROMO!
So yeah…. *tough block to start with is an understatement.*
Buchou. Your hell wait luck follows you everywhere. ^^
Hope it helps. ^^
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Click this pictures for some Saki Merchandise.