Saki Manga: Major High School Tournaments Revealed!

Previously, I’ve taken a stab at guessing what the major tournaments of the manga are here.  It looks like I’m mostly right. Most of my mistake is because I renamed the Spring Tournament to “Winter” due to folding it with the Fall Tournament and picking the season in between. Heh.

I’ve rechecked that post and with just a quick name change, it appears everything is alright again. Yey!

Anyway, the latest chapter of Saki has confirmed that there are at least four! major mahjong tournaments for high school students. Seriously, MAHJONG is SERIOUS BUSINESS in this verse.

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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 Zenkoku Episode 8.5 – The Devil’s Gate Opens (Vice captain Second Hanchan)

Its time for the second hanchan of the Vice-Captain Match. And things are getting intense!

If you guys noticed the seating is different this time. For one thing, Nodoka is the dealer when Hatsumi is in the North. 

uh- oh. What then will our valiant heroine do?

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Hatsumi (Rock) vs. Sae (Paper) vs. Nodoka (Scissor)

This is a companion to my episode review for the Vice-Captain Match. Just to balance it out.

I have a feeling that people are seriously overestimating Hatsumi. There is this thought that without Sae there, she would seriously lopside the score. And while, I have fun with the hypothetical potential scores and hyping her up in my recent post (yakuman user are fun) ^^

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Saki Episode 8 – Fortress


The episode starts with Hatsumi on the north seat.

Which as explained in the show with Sae and Granny is very very bad news. When she is seated there, Hatsumi gets the north and east tiles very easily. And once, she called a set of those tiles, the south and west is drawn as well.

That means she can trivially aim for Daisuushii (Big Four Winds) and Shousuushi (Little Four Winds).  Yikes.

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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 6 – Withering


Our prologue scene is about our favorite opposite commentator duo. They are commenting on the other match going on this day.

Remember, this is the schedule for the interhigh.

Day 1 – Side A Block A Elimination Match [Shindouji is here]

Day 2 – Side A Block B Elimination Match [Achiga is here] 

Day 3 – Side B Block C Elimination Match [ This is the day wherein Hisa brought a school down to zero, not needing Nodoka and Saki to play.  This is also the day where we saw Hiroe trap someone in playing toward her yakuman. Miyamori is also having a match on this day as well.] 

Day 4 – Side B Block D Elimination Match 

Day 5 – Side A Quarterfinals [ Shindouji vs Shiraitodai   happened of screen. At the same time with Senriyama vs. Achiga.]

Day 6 – Side B Quarterfinals [ We are here. Kiyosumi vs. Eisui vs. Himematsu vs. Miyamori. And now thanks to our helpful commentator, we know that Rinkai vs. Uzusan vs. Yamasu is happening at the same time. ]

Its interesting to note that Rinkai is leading for the first two players. So we can probably surmise that they have strong players at the front.

…. Or their opponent is weak. Who knows? *whistles*

 

 

Is this some sort of private lunch area for the pros? Hmmm….

Anyway, while Kokaji and Kouko is having lunch, Fujita and the coach from Kazekoshi appeared. They’re interaction reveals a few clues.

First, Fujita and Kokaji know each other well. Not surprising since the two of them is featured in mahjong cards in-universe. And if those work the same way as basketball cards, they must be prominent players. Thus, its easy to assume that they must have played quite a lot of times.

…. I just wished that Akasaka (Himematsu’s sub-coach) delayed her arrival and allowed Fujita to finish what she was about to say.

…. Who am I kidding, its probably about the future tournaments that they keep namedropping.

Anyway, the next thing that is notable is the fact that Fujita and Kazekoshi’s coach seemed to want to avoid Ikuno Akasaka.

That is the second time that Ikuno seemed to have left a negative impression on someone. First is of course from Kyouko (her team’s strategist). I wonder what is up with that. lol

 

 

Its official all pros are weird.

Kainou-pro is the cousin of Eisui’s third player, Haru Takimi.

… Wait.

I know that Eisui’s current team is made up of Jindai’s branch family. If Takimi and Kainou-pro is related. Does this mean she’s part of Jindai’s branch family?

I suppose the chance is 50/50. This bears investigating.

 

 

In Miyamori’s resting room, Aislinn is taking her loss hard.

Her teammates comfort her, saying that they’ll make up for it.

This is one of the reason I like Saki, every team is likable. There’s no team that is truly “EVIL” TM.

 

 

I’m beginning to think teams from Osaka are big eaters.

I was curious and researched it a bit.

The food thing is apparently a big specialty for people in Osaka. Its called “KONAMON”. Kona means flour and mono means thing. Konamon means any food made with flour.

Example include: Takoyaki (octopus dumpling), Okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake) and Ikayaki (Flour coated grilled squid).

Now, look at Himematsu’s lunch menu. ^^

 

 


We also have s small scene with Kei’s crew and most importantly some backstory shedding light on Fujiwara Rise. Someone that will undoubtedly become important in the Individuals.

Fujiwara seemed to have a nice rivalry going with Jindai.

… I swear Jindai seemed to have a nice harem going on. First, with all her team. Now, with Fujiwara Rise. lol

 

 

… And awww…. Jindai is still asleep. ^^

Thus, Team Eisui chose to forego lunch and just eat after the match when Jindai is presumably awake.

 

 

And on our team, Hisa is pumped and raring to go. She even made a checklist. Even if its a tad weird.

  • Banana and Milk – I suppose this is a callback to Hisa’s advice on Nodoka on prefecture tournament. I really wonder what weird commercials is she watching.
  • Toilet? -This on the checklist is probably useful for Saki. 
  • Eyewash?
  • Cold Compress?

… Ok.

Anyway, beside the assorted weirdness, seeing Hisa visibly excited is quite weird. She usually likes to play it cool even if she’s inwardly burning inside.

It almost seemed like she’s overcompensating about something.


 I really liked the journey of Hisa toward the stage where the match is held. Her movements seemed to be too fast and stilty, not fluid. And when she entered the door, the camera angle makes it seems that the walls are moving.

Then, this shot showing how little Hisa is compared to the stage- the nationals.

The animators really did a good job of showing how overwhelmed Hisa is.

This looks like a metaphor for the ground  trying to swallow you up. ^^

Hisa literally freezes.

She hasn’t even noticed time passing her by. Until her opponents arrived.

This has been a plot thread since we stepped in the Nationals, but Hisa hasn’t been acting Hisa-like.

She’s also busy worrying about everyone that she might have forgotten taking her of the one that need it the most- herself. Beside that, as we see in her imagination sequence she seemed to have allowed the expectations and support to weigh her down.

Hisa is so pressured that she has been making easy mistakes like exposing a tile to her opponent.

 

 

Hiroe is really a schemer.

Remember the 6 of circles complete either this set of wait. 

4-5 or 7-8

Thus, if 6 of circles is unneeded by the opponents in theory they also won’t need the 3 of circles or 9 of circles.

By making a big deal of not wanting the six of circles, Hiroe lured people on discarding the  3 of circles, its suji pair. It probably worked better since Hiroe know that Hisa is nervous. And people have a habit of clamming up/being defensive or sticking to safe and tried things when they are at that state.

And Hisa is getting really intimidated.

In some ways, I think that Hisa is trying too much for her team. She feels that she must bank points. And every single time she failed to so instead losing points drive her mentality further.

Plus, there is the fact that this is her last chance. 

This are the last few games she can play in High school. Its no wonder Hisa is feeling pressurized.

Sometimes, its really when you can’t afford to make any mistakes that you make all the mistakes that you can possibly make because your too nervous for anything else.

 

 

Thankfully, Hisa gots her groove back!

Pop quiz which tile should you discard?

  • The six of characters?
  • The seven of characters?
  • The red five of characters?

If you picked the six of characters. Congratulation on being a paragon of logic like Nodoka. The six of characters gives a possible iiepeiko and keeps the red dora.

If you picked the seven of characters. You do get a possible yakuhai. Though since we know that one of the east wind is already discarded… this is not as optimal as the six of characters But, you do keep the red five as well.

If you picked the red five?

Congratulations on being Saki!   I meant genre savvy. If Hiroe dropped the East Wind, Hisa will be getting the yakuhai yaku as well as an extra dora.  But, anyway Hiroe didn’t do that. Good thing your other wait is the next one you draw. ^^

 

 

We get a flashback of Eisui. This time about Haru.

Her power seems to be related to sensing. She can feel if her opponent will have an expensive hand.

And some more exposition. The rest of the Eisui team beside Jindai are third years which meant that they are Haru’s senpai. Jindai on the other hand is their princess. Thus, perhaps, Haru feels a bit out of place.

Well, not surprising that there is some stratification on Eisui. I think the branch houses clued as well enough.

Anyway, while playing mahjong Haru feels that this barrier breaks and they’re just friends. Not senpai and kohai.

A 4 sided wait if I’m looking at it right. (Three of bamboo, six of bamboo, eight of bamboo and nine of bamboo)

Its a pity that Eisui and Kurumi conspired against each other to stop it. Haru making an obvious and cheap hand so that Kurumi can ron.

 

And Hisa’s chick magnetism strike again! Making stoic Haru smile to the surprise of her teammates.

 

 

I think its adorable how supportive Kana is of Kiyosumi. How worried she is. And still retain her decidely negative opinion of  Hisa. No doubt born of their love rivalry.

Just kidding. ^^

Hiroe is a gluton for praise, huh?

And ooh! foreshadowing. The captain match is full of monsters! (What else is new?)  lol

Though, Kyouko herself seems to indicate that she is normal.

Anyway, next time is the continuation of the match!