Saki The Battle for Fifth Place: Why are you happening in the first place?!

One of the things I like about this series is the fact that I could go away for a quarter of a year and still be able to catch up to the series in under an hour.  The fact that Saki moves  at the pace of a particularly lazy snail is something to be expected by now. Still I do admit , its freaking useful especially when I went MIA for a good chunk of the year.

Anyway, if the title of this post didn’t clue you in. I’m going to be talking about the incoming “Battle for the Fifth Place”

So spoilers galore for anime only viewers.

Continue only if you want to be spoiled. 

The end of the Semifinals Side-B went by in a flash. I meant that literally and metaphorically, the last three hands is literally Nelly won. The end.

….Which is probably best, now that I think about it.

Ritz needs that match to end with Rinkai and by extension Nelly dominating. Its to set-up, Kiyosumi’s crisis and to build up the opponents for the finals. More information at this stage is going to poke holes at that mystique. To be honest,what information we have like  the last hand end state is very suspicious already for me. But, I’ll reserve that comment when I make a match analysis. (Whenever that might be)

But, perhaps, more interesting. to the fanbase eternal gratitude

<drums beat>



Then, chapter 154 happened and the bomb dropped.


<sobs quietly in the corner somewhere>


You have discovered a secret level! 

Its like the time when you are near the corridor  of the final boss and you decide to poke your head into a side tunnel, then you get warped into a brand new room.

How did that happen? 

Because frankly, while its reasonable to make a match for fifth place. There is no time for that match to happen. We’ve already constructed a nice timeline ages ago and there is no extra day between the Semifinal Side-B and the Finals itself.

See this post   And look at my bad attempt at paint to see the Achiga and Saki timeline.  (If you want a larger version, click on this)

Fortunately, for us, Ritz dotted her i’s and crossed her t’s on this one.  Which gives me hope that this isn’t just a shoehorned tournament to extend the life of Saki. But, something that is tangibly related to the main plot.

Some facts about the match for fifth place.

  • It will only be 1 hanchan for each round.
  • It will last way into noon at the very least.
  • It will happen at the same day as the Finals match.

So far those facts check out.

We know that a typical Team Match takes the whole day. And if some rounds are longer, the captain round could break into the evening. So half a team match should last until noon. But, like Hisa said and from someone who have designed a few tournaments myself. It makes more sense to make the match for the fifth place a full day in the first place.

So, the big question,  why did Ritz design the whole tournament like this?

In games, secret levels are like an extra something. Sometimes, its purely cosmetic fun. At other times, its just some extra information on the setting. But, there are certain games mostly RPG, where the secret levels are the key to the plot. Like you can only unlock the perfect ending if you did the secret level type of importance. (I’m looking at you Suikoden.)

So how does the recently unlocked secret level of Saki compare?


  • Lore and Setting exploration.

Well, exploring more teams isn’t wrong.

And Himematsu vs. Senriyama would at least be interesting in a personal connection level. I meant both teams are in the same region. Himematsu’s two starting members is the daughter of Senriyama’s coach. Senriyama’s data gatherer and Vice-Captain is their cousin.

And last chapter has Kyouko connecting with Ryouka. And they also drop hints that Hiroe know Sera. Most importantly, these two are going head to head so that would be fun to see.

It would also be nice to know the effects of the semifinal match. Toki was admitted to the hospital and I don’t know if Ryouka’s new power is per match or something. On the other side, Uzusan’s captain have lost some gods, so she’s also running with limited ammo. So there is that.

And perhaps the most important reason of them all.



Remember, the “Battle for Fifth Place” is happening at the same time as the Finals.  It will most likely end somewhere at noon. Since, the Finals itself isn’t going to be magically shorter, then this means that a good half of the final match is going to end up in the evening. Eyeballing it, the captain match is going to end up somewhere from 10 p.m to 1:00 a.m.

Which is the perfect time for the stars to be out. lol

Yeah, Ritz is really really going out from a motif point of view.

I meant with this set-up, a good portion of the finals and specifically the captain is going to be played metaphorically at the top of the mountain (Just look at that hilariously decked stage and tell me if that doesn’t evoke a mountain) and now due to the fifth place matches, its going to end up under the stars.

This could all just be Ritz setting up the atmosphere. But, to be honest, I would not be surprised if this isn’t a plot point or something. I meant its not like there isn’t any player who might be connected to a heavenly body seen only at night. *cough* Awai *cough* And heck, its not like there are no precedent like the phase of the moon affecting a player’s superpower or something. *cough* Koromo *cough*

Now, we only have a monsoon or something being announced at the day of the finals and everything would be complete. lol

Additional Note: 

I  was a bit focused on the captain match and I forgot that Teru has a sun motif.  And the Vanguard match is more than likely going to happen at noon….which is the time where the sun is at its highest.

lol. Poor other players if this speculation proved true. ^^


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10 Responses to Saki The Battle for Fifth Place: Why are you happening in the first place?!

  1. Alex says:

    Welcome back

    Huh that would make sense for why there is a fifth match though that predition of a year or too till the finals we made a while back is still going strong may need to be extended for the flashbacks and history that comes along with the fifth match. Personally i think the main point is to flush out people in preparation for the individuals.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      I believe the individuals is going to be important. Its where Saki and Teru could conceivably meet in a match after all. But, the fifth match seems to not connected to it though. We already have explored Senriyama, Himematsu, Uzusan and Shindouji's abilities That there are almost nothing hidden about them. (Well, Uzusan's captain probably still have a few tricks. Meh. ).Though, I wouldn't put it pass Ritz to sneak a few tidibits and make a few rivalry's in the fifth match as well as some random exposition which would be important later.

      I would sooner bet that the fifth match might just be an attempt for time. Nosy reporter did find something. And if Shiraitodai and Kiyosumi go to the venue early, we could actually have an accidental Saki and Teru face-off.Or an additional event before the finals hit. Or Ritz is going for the foils angle. After all, there is the familial connection but in adversarial team within Senriyama and Himematsu which is similar to Shiraitodai and Kiyosumi.

      Or she's going to do all of the above. (I vastly prefer this option.)

      • Alex says:

        I agree with all of the above being better. However if that does happen a minimum of five months was just added on to how log we will have to wait for the individuals to start

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          I was happily ignoring
          But, yeah with added flashback and fleshed out battle the fifth battle would add five more months (probably more) waiting period before the finals and individuals. sigh.

  2. Cytrus says:

    There is also the theory that the manga 5th place match won't be shown or be largely summarized, and serve as a buffer for the anime to make a season out of the Saki semifinals + anime original 5th place match + filler for all the other teams. If we wait for the finals, we have at least two more years ahead of us…

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      This would probably be for the best. Though, I'm not really a fan of the single anime original arc that we have gotten like the individuals. I am a fan of the small anime original that they keep inserting in zenkoku and achiga though.

      I wonder if the pacing for that would be kinda awkward as well since after the semifinal, the protagonist would kinda fade away? Unless, they put a Saki-Teru and the reporter sideplot happening in the background while the 5th match is going on?


      • Cytrus says:

        Saki and awkward/difficult pacing have gone hand in hand since season one. In the first season the production side had more prep time and breathing room, so they did manage to produce a balanced two-cour series by applying several tricks. The strain was much more apparent in Achiga and Zenkoku.

        That said, with the manga's pacing being what it is, there is really no perfect solution.

        • nightsentinel09 says:

          Yeah. Thinking about it. Zenkoku, the recently finished Semifinals, the Fifth Match and heck the Finals itself are all parts of a big arc called Nationals. In a perfect world, I would love to have a 50 episode long runner for it. But, that would meant waiting for close to a decade. So, I can see why they didn't do it. ^^

          Still, can't actually blame Ritz for it even if we the manga's pacing is close to a lazy snail (that is generous estimation). Tried rigging the mahjong matches and its freaking hard to make it realistic and be true to character power. When, Ritz isn't doing much mahjong she seems to work much faster like Shinohayu. And the main appeal of Saki for me is the "realistic" mahjong (as much realism as magic powered mahjong there can be.)

          But, yeah, we are due for a Saki anime somewhere soon. I think the last one is in Winter 2014? Beside, your proposed Semifinal+Fifth Stage match. I think they could also animate Shinohayu. Though, that is a different side-story altogether. I'm still wondering how that plot is tied in the main manga somehow.

  3. Ryuuka's Thighs says:

    I feel like loser-hen is going to be part of the new Toki spinoff instead of main Saki.
    The timing of announcements match up.
    Gives time to go more in depth.
    What else apart from the foreshadowed middle school parts will the Toki spinoff be about?
    Even though we see matches from different points of view it would be weird to suddenly have no Kiyosumi members be there. They might not even be watching.
    Toki is confirmed to be playing in them.

    It just makes sense to have the 5th player match be in Tokihayu instead.

    • nightsentinel09 says:

      I didn't know that. They announced a Tokihayu or something? On one hand, I'm happy. But, on the other hand, I wonder if Ritz is spreading herself too thin with two spin-off + the main series.

      Oh well. The main manga can't get any slower anyway. At least this way, we have more content.

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