Late Merry Christmas to you all.
Finally, the holidays are over and I have finished my socialization quota for the year. Its time to imitate a reticent cavemen and go enjoy my introverted tendencies. Meaning time to catch up on my reading. And of course Saki is in the list since I know that’s its updating this December.
…. On one hand, its freaking nine pages. On the other hand, I could probably cheerfully forgive anything since its about the Saki-Teru plotline.
MANGA SPOILERS BELOW HERE
Before we go through our broken assumptions, let’s go to the one thing that everyone predicted right.
Nothing significant will happen with the meeting.
Teru is just going to ignore Saki.
…. I suppose everyone saw this coming due to Season 1 ending teaser.
That said, considering the revelation later in this chapter, I think its worth it to analyze the few color panels that Ritz made. Because unless the first few pages is a Saki-vision that is heavily skewed with the true reality …. Teru really acted cold upon meeting Saki.
I meant look at the full blown picture.
Notice Teru’s clenched fist, the way that her eyes were glaring at nothing, the slight frown on her face as if she is displeased with something, the way that Teru coldly ignored Saki as if she isn’t there….
Saki isn’t imagining anything.
That is not the face of someone who cannot spit something out.
From Saki’s point of view, her thinking that Teru is definitely angry at her is the logical conclusion. Which is an important detail to remember. Mostly because readers have noticed that Saki’s “logic” has a tendency to be a bit skewed from reality. Thus, one of the hypothesis regarding the disconnect between present Teru’s cold and stoic personality and Saki’s ridiculously fluffy and heartwarming Onee-chan flashback is Saki whitewashing Teru through a rose colored glasses.
Now that we see a bit of Teru’s flashback in her first year though. I think its safe to say that there is no disconnect involved or at least very little. Past!Teru is a very different beast from the present Something happened to change Teru’s personality. And its probably related to whatever Saki thinks Teru is angry at her about.
And now for the big bombshell….
Damn. I wish Ritz finished drawing it. This is probably the largest expression of emotion that Teru have displayed in the entire series to date considering how stoic she is.
It would have been magnificent. Even unfinished, I could feel that there is something forlorn and helpless about Teru’s expression. A complete 180 from the stoic and unstoppable force of nature that she is usually depicted. While we know that mention of Saki is one of the surefire way to break Teru’s stoic tendency (showing there are a lot of emotion regarding her little sister boiling under the surface). This is beyond even my wildest expectation.
It is a bit hard due to see due to the it being an unfinished product. But, the aftermath of Saki’s meeting with Teru is pretty telling. In the color pages, you could see how calmly Teru is snubbing Saki. But, once out of Saki’s presence, observe how Ritz drew a large gap in Teru’s steps, its as if our dear champion is hurrying; almost running away from her little sister. And once Teru reached a safe venue she practically collapsed against the wall, energy spent.
And then, this dialogue.
“I met … her. I met my little sister.”
“But, what should I tell her. I couldn’t think of anything.“
“Anything at all.”
Wow. Talk about turning the relationship between the siblings on its head once again.
Because I don’t think that is the behavior of someone that is supposed to be harboring a grudge or hate toward someone. Quite the opposite in fact.
And yet, as I’ve said on the above section, Teru being cold isn’t just in Saki’s head. While it would be freaking hilarious to explain everything as Saki misinterpreting everything. As the chapter demonstrates, Teru is really snubbing her and acting like Saki didn’t exist.
Its a consistent treatment even! Remember at the early chapter of the manga where Saki described going to Tokyo to see Teru once?
“My sister wouldn’t say a single word to me.”
“She’s definitely still angry at me.”
And no, I don’t think Teru is autistic enough not to realize how her behavior is being perceived. Back in the prefecture tournament, when Nishida asked if Saki is her sister. Teru blatantly lied and is distancing herself from her younger sister.
The cold act is freaking deliberate. For some reason yet to be revealed, Teru wants Saki to think that Teru is angry at her and their sibling relationship is unsalvageable.
But, as this chapter reveals, Teru’s cold font regarding Saki is more than likely fake. Whether Saki did or did not do something in the past, I believe that Teru isn’t actually angry at Saki for it or have long forgiven Saki for it. Right now, she’s most likely using that incident in order to push her sister away.
My current throw away theory pending more puzzle pieces is this.
I think that Teru could not actually bear to hurt/push Saki away more than what she is currently doing. But, she want Saki to distance herself for whatever reason. Hence, Teru is stuck with nothing to say.
After all, consider what happened in this chapter:
We know that Saki is going to be mentally fragile after meeting with Teru. We are expecting that. Saki has always been a bit inane about her sister. And its really understandable that not being recognized/ignored by someone you love is painful specially since you went through such a great effort just to see them.
What we didn’t expect is for it to be reciprocal. Teru freaking BROKE DOWN after that little confrontation.
Seriously, if this is how much impact the Miyanaga sisters have with each other. I can see the logic on why Ritz postponed their match into the individuals (after probably some character development in the finals). The two of them is clearly not be ready to confront each other yet.
Fortunately for Saki’s plan to reconcile with Teru. I now feel more enthusiastic about it. Mostly, because I could finally see how its going to WORK.
One of Saki’s greatest weakness (and sometimes strength) is the fact that when something doesn’t work, she has a tendency to “turtle” and not try again until an opportunity presents itself from a different angle. Saki rarely press her attack again even when its to her advantage. Unlike most protagonist, Saki doesn’t go determination and willpower to overcome an obstacle. You can pretty much observe this in most of Saki’s matches .
Examining Teru’s breakdown from Saki’s brief contact. If its true for every encounter, the only way that Teru managed to stonewall Saki over the years is taking advantage of that particular weakness.
As in once Saki knew that talking didn’t work, she willingly gave up that avenue. This is supported by the fact that Saki said that she went to Tokyo once. I think that Teru is counting on that little flaw of Saki to keep her away. And to be honest, it was working. It was only when Saki discovered that she can actually enjoy mahjong and can use it as a different way to reach Teru, that Saki is trying again to reach out.
I think, Teru expect Saki to give-up on “reaching” her and reconciling. But, the more Kiyosumi advance, the more and more uncertain Teru is.
Because it seems that Saki won’t go away this time.
If nothing else, this chapter is good for feeding epileptic trees.
I kinda like the fact that Teru has a different personality from before. Considering that Saki confirmed that Teru changed playstyle and how a mahjong is often a direct influenced by the person’s personality. A drastic personality change may mean a completely different way of playing mahjong.
Also, I’m beginning to see the reason why Ritz is putting so much emphasis on Rinshan and Saki’s resilience last match. Also, “There is something that I will not stray from” regarding Rinshan Kaihou and Saki’s uncharacteristic stubbornness regarding about is getting more and more clearer.