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.  Continue reading

Zenkoku OST: Himematsu (Or not really. Just comments about the team in general)

Sorry for my long absence but unfortunately work is quite soul sucking in the past few months that I barely have any time for myself.

In any case, I’m back and now going to start working on the Zenkoku OST series that I should have finished ages ago. And since the Saki main manga is currently focusing on Himematsu. Might as well get this one out of the way.

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Team Analysis Eisui : Playing Your Tiles too Close to Your Chest

This is the third in probably six  or seven post series exploring the Saki Quarterfinal teams and the Zenkoku anime. And probably my last post regarding Eisui in a while.

But, before we begin.

I would like to ask a question, who thought that Eisui won’t make it to the semi-finals? Because it is certainly not me. ^^

I find myself still a bit grinning at that still. There is just something about having my expectation overturned by a new variable that is sitting there for the whole time  ….. which is probably why I love Side B Captain Quarterfinals to bits.

And as I analyze the quarterfinal teams more, I began to have  a very big  appreciation for the care that Ritz-sensei took even for the losing teams. Even though, Eisui lost  you could see that they didn’t lose by being idiots. In this post, we will be exploring Eisui’s strategy.  ( which technically meant their roster positioning since Saki Nationals doesn’t allow for position switching, most of the strategy is already decided before the prefecture tournament. ^^ )
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Kasumi Iwato: Eisui’s Most Dangerous Player?

Having some writer’s block on next Eisui post, and while I was talking with my friend about it, we discussed their power ranking.

Mine goes like this:  1. Jindai (?)    2. Kasumi   3. Hatsumi   4. Haru    5. Tomoe

Jindai truthfully hasn’t impressed me yet, but she’s supposedly something like Koromo so I’ll hold my judgement until the individuals and give her the tentative number 1 ranking. The stickler on this list though is the Kasumi and Hatsumi rank.

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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 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 5 – Gods and Demons

We begin the episode with a flashback from Himematsu.

The interaction between Himematsu’s coach and Kyouko is interesting to say the least. You can clearly tell that there are some sort of tension with them. Kyouko is particularly rude about it. Emphasizing the term substitute. 

Meaning not the original, a placeholder.

Not the real one.

Either Kyouko has a heavy attachment  to the original coach which we found out has been hospitalized. Or Akasaka is one of the reason that their coach is hospitalized. Or most likely both. ^^

Though, not all is doom and gloom on our team from Osaka.

Just as this scene reveals tension in place between their chief strategist and coach. It also reveals that Kyouko despite the one who punishes Suzu is also the one who believes on her the most; Recommending Suzu in place of herself on the previous tournament.Believing in the power of her explosive streaks.

Unfortunately, Suzu failed to explode at all. ^^

There is actually a good explanation on that.

You see, as stated Suzu’s power has a high chance of triggering the more powerful the opponent is. And in the vanguard match, Jindai woke up early and Yuuki’s power is only active for half of the match.

So yeah…. ^^

Yuuki’s hand.

Its a three sided wait ( the one of circles, three of circles and four of circles). Without the riichi bet, Yuuki should get a menzen tsumon and 1 dora for 2 han and 30 fu aka 500/1000 points.

Pretty cheap. So I don’t blame Yuuki for calling that even if it backfired.

No one could have predicted Jindai would awa— I meant sleep for the final hand.  ^^

Pretty badass shot there — Jindai.

 

 

And we also get some Eisui post game discussion.

Apparently, Jindai has never played a public game wherein a god didn’t come down and possess her. Meaning, she’s almost always asleep. Consequently this means that she never have to consciously to call a god.

But, as Kasumi speculates and as we saw, Jindai might have been scared of Yuuki’s riichi that she reached out and this time was voluntarily possessed.

That is a big thing. Considering that each god seemed to have different playstyles. Jindai being able to consciously control some of the possession, even if only the timing of it, is going to be a very scary player indeed.

 

 


… I wish I could take this scene seriously. lol

Though, this does explain what the heck are the Shiraitodai members were doing.

If I remember right. Teru and Sumire have a press conference just the night before. And apparently the media wasn’t done with Shiraitodai. Thus, while Side-B quarterfinals is happening they’re doing individual interviews. 

Well, not surprising since the media is hyping them and they are the favorite to win. 

 

 

Anyway, the sergeant match begins.

And all eyes is focused on Kiwi— I meant Aislinn from Miyamori. She has an astounding tenpai rate. As Kyouko put it, she has an astounding rate of closed tenpai before the thirteenth turn came up.

And when Miyamori’s pov was given, we know that it isn’t coincidence. As Shiro put it, “Aislinn materializes her own dreams, her ideal tiles onto the table.”

 We even have a demonstration.

And its a doozy.

As a result of Aislinn’s power, she gets to see all what  her end hand will be like and since she sees the discards, she will also know how to get there.

This is kinda like Ryuuka’s Toki fairy in Achiga-hen. Only, more broken. Since in addition from that, Aislinn can also see the final hands and discards of her opponents. AND unlike Ryuuka she can do it all the time! 

I also bet that Aislinn might affect/influence the flow as well to give her desired hand. Since the description is projecting her ideal tiles on the table. lol

Broken power is broken.

On the hand itself, I don’t see anything eye raising on her discards. And the final result itself, its going to be a mangan. 4,000/2000 points.

Her opponents are in a similar state. I don’t see anything wrong with their discards as well.

With this we could see that her teammates confidence in Aislinn is well placed. It really looks  no one will be able to beat her.

Fortunately, Mako isn’t really one to follow any plan.

As Hisa put it, Mako threw away an all simple flat pure double chi hand which is already one tile away from tenpai to go for a double sided wait which btw is also lower in points.

Its unthinkable. Illogical. And far from ideal. 

Which is why its the right choice.

Next hand, Aislinn should get  a tsumo ipeiko with one dora. That is if everything went to plan. 

Which as shown in this episode isn’t happening. lol

If you guys followed the players discards and their final hand as shown by Aislinn. They played really well. All of their discards are logical and efficient. They showed a great basic skill actually.

But, most importantly, Aislinn’s power showed that they wound’t have won if they keep on doing that. ^^

Aislinn projects her ideal tiles on the table. Thus, as long as the players plays are like that. They are within Aislinn’s projection.  Thus, the key to breaking Aislinn’s power is breaking away from that ideal.  

Mako does this wonderfully.

In here Mako discarded the five of circles. The dora one as well.

… I really don’t have to tell you guys that this is illogical right? ^^

Anyway, I think the reason why Mako discarded that is she needs someone to change the drawing order. Discarding the five dora especially the red one when the ura dora indicator is 4 of circles meant there is a high chance that someone is collecting that tile and will call on it.

And she was right. Himematsu’s is doing so.

But, more importantly for Mako the drawing order is changed. Aislinn’s winning tile isn’t going to come to her anymore. The hand that she imagined is no longer possible. That is why Aislinn’s power break.


And nice.

Also some nice power interaction here. As we could see from Aislinn’s imagination board, most of the hands she imagines or projects on the table is conventional.  

Mako’s power works best the more familiar she is with it. Due to Aislinn’s power everyone is nudged to conventional hands. Making it easier for Mako to read the table.

All in all. Its not surprising that Mako takes this match hard. ^^
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